Dish Dining Guide - Winter 2014
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Welcome to a new installment of Dish. In most issues we often focus on trends, perfectly executed plates, new cocktails, or the performances of first rate chefs. This time, of course, is no different. But there’s another element of our F&B industry we decided to illuminate this time around, especially in light of the late-night debate — the everyday people keeping Charleston’s restaurants afloat. No, not the star chefs you’ve read about time and again. We’re talking about the workaday individuals, prepping, cleaning, greeting, and serving; the unsung heroes of the Holy City’s food scene. And finally, there’s an essay from our own under-appreciated scribe, Robert F. Moss. In this issue Moss bids his years of reviewing adieu. But don’t worry, we’re gonna guilt him into contributing for years to come (whether he likes or not). Enjoy. ­­— Kinsey Gidick

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Why Charleston is the place to eat right now
Why Charleston is the place to eat right now Local Bounty

Over the past year, we've lost some dear old stalwarts and few restaurants have opened to replace them, but if you've followed the Charleston food scene, you have to be excited. Yes, the headline remains our continued dominance of the James Beard Best Chef: Southeast category — this year featuring a win by Sean Brock of McCrady's — but a larger, more global shift has been taking place, and in the process it's redefined the essence of what it means to cook and eat in Charleston. — Jeff Allen

Crab cracks may be rare, but the blue crab gets plenty of attention
Crab cracks may be rare, but the blue crab gets plenty of attention Crab Trappings

I'm often asked by visitors for the best place to go for local crabs. Upon further questioning, it usually turns out that what they have in mind is one of those places where they dump whole steamed crabs out on newspapers and you crack them open with big wooden mallets. Charleston, I have to explain, just isn't that kind of town. If you want to get down and dirty and ruin your clothes with shellfish juice, we've got oyster roasts and Lowcountry boils. All the trappings are there: big gas burners and steamer pots, the long improvised tables covered with newspapers. We bring out big silver baskets of steaming-hot oysters and fat pink shrimp and dump them out on the tables for diners to attack. But few folks ever seem to throw in a few bushels of crabs. — Robert F. Moss

Pimento cheese remains a Southern staple, and for good reason
Pimento cheese remains a Southern staple, and for good reason Country Caviar

Pimento cheese is, in many ways, a dish of the people. Its widely available ingredients — sharp cheddar cheese, mayonnaise, and pimentos — invite even the least ambitious home chef to whip up a batch. Of course, for the culinary minds that reside in the kitchens of Charleston's best restaurants, the creamy spread is an invitation to experiment, similar to what's been done with staples like grits or green tomatoes. — Cameron Jones

Downtown neighborhood shops cater to the foodies
Downtown neighborhood shops cater to the foodies Corner Store Gourmet

Every corner store needs to stock the basics: smokes, wine, beer, tubs of pimento cheese. OK, some of these items might be optional, but downtown's favorite corner shops cater to both the college students and the neighborhood foodies, who can sometimes prove to be the very same people. Sprinkled throughout the streets south of Calhoun Street are a handful of locally owned stores that have shelves full of the staples their modern clientele demands. They'll sell the frat boys a pack of cigarettes and a suitcase of Busch beer, but they're also ready to help a harried mom get dinner on the table or let a single guy pull up a chair and sit down for a quiet meal with his newspaper — Stephanie Barna

A lesson in the art of bread making
A lesson in the art of bread making An Artisan Approach

An artisan is a craftsman, someone who produces handmade goods using as little machinery as possible. The goal for a craftsman is not making money or attaining a big, glamorous lifestyle. His goal is to deliver an honest product made with honest ingredients and intentions. — Jeffrey Alexander

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