Top 10 food-related things Iraq vet can't wait to do 

When he gets back to Charleston

A couple months ago, I got an email from a loyal reader, Franklin Arevalo, who's stationed at a base near Baghdad. He regularly checks the CP website to feel connected to what's going on back home, a bittersweet exercise since it reminds him of all he's missing, but he does it just the same. (He says he can't wait to check out Jason Houser's Meathouse bacon.)

As a token of his appreciation, he sent us an American flag that's been flown over the base in Iraq, a very cool gesture from a cool guy. Arevalo expects to be home in as soon as three weeks, and looks forward to getting back to work and eating good food again. Before he left he was working as a waiter at Halls Chophouse. He sent me his list of top ten food-related things he wants to do when he gets home, and I'm completely charmed by it, particularly his number one. I'm gonna have to figure out how to make sure all of these happen — with fanfare.

10. Awesome barbecue from Melvin's on James Island. I love the ribs and chopped pork ... and the cheeseburger for dessert

9. Five Guys fresh burger with a big bag of Cajun fries. Oh yeah, double patties of course.

8. Basil lunch for pad Thai, stuffed shrimp, Basil beef, and the seasonal mango with sticky rice, in that order

7. Finally eat dinner at McCrady's. Chef Sean Brock here I come.

6. Margaritas at Zia Taqueria on James Island for happy hour because they are cheap and strong.

5. Spend a day at the beach without a care in the world and a bottle of Sweet Tea Bourbon and then walk to Taco Boy and Snapper Jack's with friends and Halls peeps for happy hour.

4. Seafood at FIG with Mike Lata. How I have missed a good piece of fish. I am tired of this seafood out of the box — frozen and overcooked

3. A medium rare big, juicy dry-aged ribeye from Halls Chophouse. They cook all the steaks well done over here, and it breaks my heart.

2. Eat dinner at my mom's with family. Pernil with arroz, frijoles, and tostones. Favorite meal of all time. I can taste the skin of the pig.


1. After a visit to Whole Foods, cook a romantic dinner for two with my dear Jess who was without me for the last few months. She deserves it.

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