Union Provisions

I have to admit, I’m ashamed with how late to the game I was with this new restaurant on Upper King Street. Union Provisions has been open for a couple months now and I think everyone has been except for me and I don’t like that! That sounded really pouty. I’m not pouting. I just like being the first know-it-all and I can’t lose my street cred! So… last Thursday on my evening off, I grabbed my two college roomies, Callee and Katie, (who had been before of course) and headed to the famous corner of Morris and King Street to keep my restaurant knowledge status alive.

up

The building itself is beautiful. It holds down the perfect corner location with large glass windows that allow you to peer inside. On the night we went, it happened to be raining so we had to run across the street from my car to hurry out of the nasty weather. We were somewhat disoriented, but walking into the restaurant we left it outside as Union Provisions is extremely inviting. As soon as I saw the exposed brick walls and large light fixtures hanging from the ceiling adding a warming glow to the place, the raindrops had already melted off my skin and I felt pacified. Oh and now thirsty, hungry, and eager for MY Union Provisions moment. The only thing I had really heard about the restaurant was how loud it can get inside. I was a little surprised to notice the restaurant was quite the opposite though as we were one of few people in there. We were seated at a four top by the window and handed menu’s as I began to fasten my seat beat.IMG_0019

The menu focuses on small plates so I needed to try as much as possible. Then I noticed immediately the prices. They seemed more of appetizer and entrée prices to me, average about $14 per small plate. When I studied in Granada, Spain, every single drink came with a free tapas. Genius. Step up Charleston. Anyways, I couldn’t let this affect my mood because this is my passion and what I like to spend my money on so moving on.

The waiter approached the table and explained the menu to us and took our drink orders. He recommended their specialty cocktail of the night to start off with: King Charles Vodka distilled next door at Charleston Distilling Co with simple syrup and muddled strawberries poured into a martini glass. I was 100% down with this and then he said it resembled a strawberry short-cake. Hmm…I asked him if this would be better for an after dinner-drink instead and he said no, perfect to start off with. I stuck with his suggestion, but after my first sip it screamed dessert. It was certainly good, but very sweet (and VERY strong) and not great to start off with. I wish instead I had gone with Callee’s Pimm Cup drink which she described as, “spicy with some heat from the gin and ginger combo and then a cooling and refreshing aftermath from the cucumber.”

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Now for the ordering We were told 2-3 plates per person should be enough food for the three of us. So after much discussion and racing heartbeats on my end, we went with the:

  1. Marinated Green Beans
  2. Assorted Cheeses
  3. Duck Confit Dumplings
    IMG_0005
  4. Seared Diver Scallops
  5. Duck Bacon Carbonara
  6. Sliced Grass Fed Flat Iron Steak
  7. Grilled Shrimp FlatbreadIMG_0006 IMG_0017IMG_0020 IMG_0018
  8. and the Mexican Chocolate TartIMG_0012

Okay. I’m having to stretch at my desk to find the words I need to type out. I hate giving Charleston’s restaurants bad reviews, especially after striking presentations of food. However, the only two words coming to my mind are 1) Not 2) Impressed. The cheese was by far my favorite small plate. The Duck Dumplings were extremely dry and I had to coat them in the soy sauce to find any hint of flavor. The Green Beans were the girls’ favorite dish and those were marinated with tons of salt. The scallops ($17) came with only two and between the three of us we didn’t even finish them. The Carbonara was only good because it had a fried egg over the top, but the pasta was bland and the bacon was chewy. The steak I also chewed so long I actually had to take it out of my mouth and hide on my plate. The polenta it was served with however was amazing- my next favorite thing. The Flatbread-not what I expected and wasn’t excited about. It caught my eye because the menu accompanied it with bone marrow, manchego, arugula and bacon. I am the biggest fan of the Macintosh’s Bone Marrow Bread Pudding and was hoping for the same thrill. Wishful thinking. And lastly, the Chocolate dessert. It was delicious, but such a small portion!

Along with being late to the restaurant, I was also late to hearing what the Post and Courier had to say. I’m glad I read this after my own personal review though so that I would not be influenced.

Regardless of the disappointing food, my night’s upbeat mood did not drop. Usually food affects my attitude, but I think the atmosphere and company played a strong defense. The restaurant is beautiful and I was happy to be there with two of my best friends. I will be back to Union Provisions, but for drinks and perhaps another go at A small plate, but certainly not for a full dinner.IMG_0013

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Leon’s: Fine Poultry & Oyster Shop

So following my last post, I figured nows a good a time as any to tell you about Leon’s. Leon’s is a new restaurant that opened up last Saturday on upper King Street. leon'sI’ve been anxiously awaiting the restaurant’s opening as I drive by it often. Also, my buddy Tom, Louise’s boyfriend, is the main bartender up there and he has been getting me pumped and telling me great reviews on the place. The menu is simple:

menu

Three main components: Oysters, Fried Chicken, and Vanilla Soft Serve Ice Cream.

How genius? The simplicity is what I’m attracted to. It targets a direct audience…those craving oysters and fried chicken. I didn’t even realize this is something I would crave at the same time, but now I can’t stop! I already want to go back. Also, the atmosphere is beautiful. You walk into an open-air bus shed type of building with dark wooden rafters as the ceiling, hanging lights, funky vintage chairs and tables, music playing that Danielle says takes you back to the 20s, and then a connecting outdoor patio where we started off our night.inside

My dinner accompaniments consisted of my front desk team at Charleston Place with a hint of accounting (Danielle). I made clear that there were 3 rules: 1) We must try everything 2) please allow for a picture before diving in and 3) we have to get a group picture before the night is over. These are pretty much the standard guidelines for a Crockpottuesday outing as you already know. So to start…you guessed it…OYSTERS.

The waitress explained two different raw oysters they were serving for the night. Virginia oysters that are big and have a medium salt flavor and Massachusetts oysters that are smaller with more salty flavor. The table decided on Virginia. Great choice.

rawNext we had the grilled oysters. I had never had grilled oysters before and was pleasantly surprised by the smokey flavor. The charcoal spice is also a different experience when mixed with the soft texture of an oyster instead of a typical firmer texture of meat.grilledNow for the Traditional Rockefeller oysters- my favorite. These were covered in a spinach puree that was similar to a pesto flavor. Not to be confused with pluff mud.rockafeller

Next we ordered two sides before our entrees. The first were fried brussel sprouts. These were okay- didn’t really do it for me. I was expecting them to be completely fried, more like  fried okra.I think brussels should stick with being roasted.photo 2The second side was smashed avocado on sourdough bread. This was amazing. The bright lime green avocado was mixed with lots of lime so the tangy flavor really stuck out and was a perfect match with the shaved radish on top. I will have to try this at home.photo 1Now Crockheads- for the best fried Chicken in town and for the best price possible just look at the picture below. This 2-piece light meat fried chicken was so juicy and so crispy I had to take a second. For all you country folk- better than gas station fried chicken. For all  you city folk-better than ritzy high-end fried chicken you eat with a knife and fork. I’m talking straight classic dictionary fried chicken y’all. Can’t beat it.photo 3Even comes in sandwich form!

photo 4My only complaint about Leon’s was that a very vital component of the menu was not available. The soft serve ice cream machine was down! What better way to finish off a meal like that than with some soft serve!! Hopefully it will be back and working though soon because I will definitely be back! Now everyone go to Leon’s and see Tom!photo 5

I have a Problem

It’s official. I have a problem. It was made obvious to me particularly today at work by two people. First by Lewis Booth- the manager of the hotel’s bell stand. Lewis and I are always talking food and showing each other our pictures. Usually, Lewis is telling me about the awesome meal he’s cooked the night before from the Lee Brother’s cook book and I’m telling him about my latest restaurant excursion. This past week I did back to back restaurant night outs at Leon’s on Wednesday and then at The Drawling Room on Thursday. As I was telling Lewis about them, he stopped and all of a sudden looked at me perplexed with an expression of I can’t believe I haven’t ask her this before and says, “Who’s paying for you to dine at these restaurants?” Ha! This honestly made me laugh. I could take this question in two ways. 1) Lewis considers me a paid food critic and is legitimately wondering who picks up my bills. Okay that’s probably false. Or 2) he’s genuinely concerned about my spending habits and wondering if I myself am aware. More likely #2. The second person to reiterate my self-awareness of my restaurant obsession was my roommate Kendall. Later on in the day she asked me if we could get together and dine soon at the Charleston Grill. Twist my arm-absolutely. We went and looked at the schedule and noticed that we both had Sunday off! Perfect. Then I remembered, I already have plans to meet Kelley at the new restaurant on Sullivan’s Island, the Obstinate Daughter. So we looked again, my only other free evening off would be Wednesday. Then again, I realized that was the night of Amy and Douglas’ 30th birthday party at The Macintosh that I arranged. So yes. I Suzanne Kassel, am a restaurant addict. There will be no initial step of denial. I will stand with confidence and accept that what I spend my money and time on is restaurants and food. I have even ordered a specific credit card that rewards me for doing so. So for now, it is I that picks up the bill and I am aware of my addiction!  And just like Lewis added after our conversation, do it while you’re young and you can! Thank you for listening to my rant. Peace Love Foodproblem

New Orleans

“The dirty Charleston.” This is what I have always heard about New Orleans. “Oh you’ll love it, it’s just like Charleston, but dirty!” Let me say it right now, disagree. This is false. You can’t compare the two. It’s like saying, “this dark roast black coffee tastes like this sweet raspberry tea because they both have caffeine.” I’m trying to think of more comparisons, but having trouble so you get the point. New Orleans has a completely alternate vibe than Charleston. I’ve never seen a city like NOLA. The closest resemblance I can make is a mix between the Caribbean and Europe. It obviously depends on where you go in both cities, but I experienced different happenings in New Orleans than I do currently in Charleston. colorful house euro

Being a food enthusiast, I had Crockpottuesday intentions set before I even went. I planned to write about the food as a whole and make it my center piece of the trip. Okay, so I guess here I’ll give those people who relate the cities some comparison credit because I’ve always heard amazing things about New Orleans’ cuisine. Upon being picked up from the airport(and realizing I was waiting for Zoe in the departures pick up and not the arrivals pick up for 30 minutes) we headed straight to my first dining experience, Booty’s Street Food. The restaurant features street food from around the world and brings it back to New Orleans. I indulged in a falafel sandwich with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, and tahini that hit the spot and was all served on an awesome funky plate presentation. FALAF

Okay- this was a hip, cool, locals spot…maybe I’m seeing a little bit more of how you can say it’s like Charleston? Then something foreign happened. It was time to leave and I wasn’t finished with my delicious frozen slushy and the waiter brought me a to-go cup. OKAY- here we go, not like Charleston!   Throughout my trip I never got use to this custom, but certainly did not hate it!

Later that night Zoe took me out to some of her favorite spots and something else magical happened. You know that feeling I get after a bite of something so delicious I become speechless? Many of you have seen this face when we dine out together in Charleston. It’s what makes me Susu. It’s what makes me love writing about food. It’s the passion I have found in the restaurant scene. It’s how excited I get about a Crockpottuesday dinner. Well, this same, strong emotion, hit me smack in the heart when I heard the most amazing jazz band at the Spotted Cat, the very first bar Zoe took me to. jazz band

It was compelling and moving. The sound was amazing. There was a trumpet, a saxophone, a horn, a clarinet, a base, and probably other instruments I can’t even name. I couldn’t turn my head and couldn’t stop listening with every bone in my body. People were dancing and everyone’s focus was on the band. I was so happy. It felt like the first time I really fell in love with music. This might be common for a lot of you. Many of my friends go to shows all the time and chase music around. For me though, this was a new appreciation. In that moment, listening to the live jazz band right before me, I realized I was as happy as tasting pork belly for the very first time.

After the Spotted Cat, Zoe took me to a bar called Maison. Here, of course, was another live band. And because it is such a small world, I ran into my two roommates from New York on Caitlyn’s bachelorette weekend! Zoe and I partied the night away with them and had a blast. I also may or may not have gotten on stage and had the guitarist play his guitar over me…Zoe too. Another large distinction between the two cities, bars in New Orleans literally do not close. Charleston, they close at 2am. roomies

The next morning, after being slightly destroyed in a good way by the city, I decided that my center piece would be shifted. The focus would now revolve around New Orleans’ music scene. The unique music experiences I had there are why the cities are so different. Every restaurant and bar we went into there was a band. This is such an exceptional attribute New Orleans holds. You can’t find live music like this in Charleston. It seems that everyone there plays a musical instrument and its evident walking down the streets.

French Quarter

street jazz

africanThe Maple Leaf- Johnny Sketch and the Dirty Notesphoto 3Cafe NegrilbandVaso
sax

Another apparent difference that I immediately appreciated upon learning my way around NOLA was the unity. There’s no sense of social class, color, or discrimination in New Orleans. People of all walks are neighbors and everyone is friendly. In Charleston, unfortunately there is a very clear line dividing the South end of the peninsula from the North and East side of the peninsula. I wasn’t in NOLA long enough to have that much credibility on my observation, but as a visitor, it certainly seems like a hodgepodge of cultural living. It also seems that music is the joining force that sustains NOLA’s harmony. Zoe put it into perspective for me by saying, “The culture really permeates life. There are a million things that only happen or are the way they are in New Orleans.” house houses 2

I can’t help it- let’s talk a little bit more about food now. Our fancy dinner was at Boucherie. Here, our waiter sold me on the fried duck skin appetizer. I am a huge fan of duck and then to add a sweet glazed fried skin to the mix…kill me now. It was hard to slow down especially while in front of people I had just met at the table. For my entrée, I was sold again by the waiter on the ribs. This is not something I usually order out, but he convinced me to try them. They were delicious and served with tempura fried broccoli-wow. And for dessert the table split a Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding. What? Probably the best dessert I’ve ever had. The funny part, the waiter said every week they order 500 doughnuts and every time Krispy Kreme is utterly surprised…and they’ve been doing it for 5 years.

picstitch

I also experienced crawfish for the first time. I wish I could do this. I can’t. I understand the fun though so I’m not a hater.

craw

I would just rather stick to eating beignets at Cafe Du Monde.cafe dumontZoe, you were an awesome host and that was such a memorable trip for me already. New Orleans, thank you for my new found appreciation for jazz and music. Until next time!

zoe

 

Pane E Vino

On May 2nd, a few friends from Charleston and I met at a local restaurant just down the street on Warren called Pane E Vino.

Group

My friends Edwawa and Trig arranged a meeting in the courtyard to discuss business matters.

Table ShotThey had us pay them for the gathering and in return gave us plenty of red drink and Italian dishes.

olives

Food

dessert

It was very sophisticated.

Clips of nightOur food was even blessed by the man himself, Trig.

trig

If you would like to read more about the food and our experience, the dinner will be featured in the South of Broad Living June Issue. Stay Juned…lemon cillo
P.s. Who was that guy that stood up and told us to turn our cell phones off? weird…

Elliotborough Mini Bar

If I lived in the Elliotborough neighborhood…. I would ride my bike home from working at Charleston Place, park the bike in the back of my cute sea-foam colored two-story skinny house with ground level and second level white porches, I would go inside the back door to the kitchen, go up the stairs to my bedroom and drop off my bags and change out of my black skirt and top from work, put on something a little more comfortable, go back downstairs,  walk  through my first living room to get to the front door, exit and cross the street, and enter the doors of what I would like to think as my second living room: Elliotborough Mini Bar.

inside pic

Imagine living in a wild, crazy, hectic city such as New York City. You are dodging the public and tourist with major anxiety and stress, and then you find the coziest, small bar tucked away from the main avenues. You have a moment of ‘this is the place!!!!’ and upon walking in the door, your heart beat immediately relaxes and you feel you’re in a safe haven with just familiar faces, perfectly dim lighting enhancing the beautiful rustic wooden walls, a local musician in the corner playing all of your favorite songs, and the scent of comfort that reminds you of your own home. The bartender immediately caters to you, and maybe even recognizes you, and asks beer or wine?music

Okay, maybe a little exaggeration here. I did not have to hustle down Ashley street with a quick right on Bogard to get to Mini Bar. However, all the other emotions are accurate. Mini Bar does pull you into an oasis unlike any other bar/restaurant I’ve been to in Charleston. I have always wanted to go here on a Tuesday because this is the night the bar serves food from a guest chef from town. All other nights Mini Bar just has drinks and a few appetizers. The only way to get the deets are by calling or checking out their facebook page.

This past Tuesday, I met Alex and Catherine at Mini Bar for Guest Chef Night. girlsAfter our first glass of Sauvingnon Blanc and laughing over high school memories, two more familiar faces surprisingly walked in and joined us. boysSee what I mean now?? At this point I was in my element and so excited for dinner to begin. Erin Plasterer, who is a sushi chef, was on deck. menuErin’s sushi was amazing. She set up in the small kitchen behind the bar and rolled the sushi fresh to order. When remembering back to each bite, what first comes to mind is how fresh each roll tasted. We ordered the Seaweed Salad, The Veggie Bliss, The Spicy Tuna, The Under the Sea, and the Gangsta and all was beyond delicious. My favorite roll was the Gangsta.seaweed

sushi

After our meal Erin came out and introduced herself and we were able to tell her in person how much fun we were having and how awesome her sushi was. At that point, Alex says give her your Crockpottuesday card! I started to look through my purse and suddenly began feeling like an unpreparred fool as I realized I didn’t have any on me. Then like a flip of a hat (is that the right saying?), Alex and Catherine BOTH pulled out my card from their wallets eager to pass over for me to give to Erin. I cannot even explain how tickled and almost proud I was at that moment. It was such a cool thing and I was just overall happy. Erin gave me her card as well which states, “I’ll roll to you!!!” Check her out and even hire her for an event- RollingwithErin@yahoo.com 843-810-0837.

So, for now, I will continue to drive or ride my bike to Elliotborough Mini Bar, but once I move into my sea-foam house on Bogard I will let yall know!

Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen

Crockheads! Hello and Happy Crockpottuesday day. I haven’t posted recently and I’ll tell ya why, I’ve been in a cooking drought. It all started with Trader Joe’s. My friend and co-worker, Carlos, has been training me at the gym recently (Insert:briefly shows off arm muscles) and after, we’ve been
making treks to Trader Joe’s. I have been taking advantage of the cranberry chicken salad, the mangos, the strawberries, the sliced deli meat, the yogurt with chia seeds, the list could go on. My point being, I haven’t been crocking or really cooking, or dinning out for that matter, but instead indulging in fresh Trader Joe’s produce. Then, last night, dinner happened at Lee Lee’s Kitchen! I called up my crew of Odom, Danielle, and Shannon and we all met uptown at 218 President Street.

restaurant

The menu is remarkably extensive starting with appetizers, soups and salads, and then chicken, seafood, beef, and vegetable dishes with rice as well as noodles. Our waitress went over the menu and explained that the portions are family style and to order plates to share. Right off the bat along with our drinks we put in appetizers of the vegetable spring rolls, Sichuan dumplings, the scallion pancake, and the crab ragoons.

The spring rolls were light and crispy and served with a bright orange plum sauce-Mom you would have really liked these. For the dumplings, the table decided on the spicy version. Recently, I have been working on my spicy palate so I was game. After eating one, I have to say this was probably my favorite appetizer. Danielle said they weren’t even hot, but I’m still going to give myself credit here. I like dumplings because of the soft, delicate pasta that surrounds the meat. The sauce here is also what made this dish, a spicy pepper sauce with peanuts and green onions.

dumpling

Next to come out were the ragoons and the pancake. Ragoons are always a favorite of mine, crispy wontons stuffed with a crab and cream cheese mixture. They were served with homemade sweet and sour sauce, also my favorite. The scallion pancake was served like a quesadilla with a giner-soy dipping sauce. The pancake didn’t have a lot of flavor to me, it tasted like a fried pita with scallions. I made sure to dunk it extra times in the sauce though to make up for it and I was happy.

appss

Then for some reason we decided to all order our own entrée because isn’t that what you do at a Family Style restaurant? I went with a Susu classic and ordered the Cashew Chicken. This is a stir-fried dish served with water chestnuts, carrots, peas, zucchini, and roasted cashew nuts served over white rice. Cha-Cha use to make Stir-Fried Chicken all the time when Jake and I were growing up and this is what it reminded me of- good ole comfort (American) chinese food. Shannon went with the Chicken with Broccoli which was similar to mine, but with different vegetables. Danielle ordered the General Tso’s Chicken which was my next favorite dish. I liked that the chicken was crispy compared to my boiled chicken and it was served in their signature spicy sauce. And for Odom, he ordered their chef’s specialty -Black Pepper Beef served with onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms in a black pepper sauce.

dinner

The best part about Lee Lee’s, for all that food and a drink each, AND leftovers, it was only $25 a person! I would say that is certainly a deal for downtown Charleston in a competitive food market. My only complaint would be that there was no dessert. I’m not a dessert person, but of course Danielle had to bring it up and then I was already committed to the possibility. Instead the waitress gave us fortune cookies and mine read, “Every man is a volume, you must learn how to read him.” Okay fortune…I had to eat my cookie to wait and read that?? Regardless, Lee Lee’s we shall be back!

group

After dinner Odom and I hopped on our bikes and road back to our houses after a lovely dinner with great company 🙂bike

 

Edmund’s Oast

Edmund’s Oast. If thy shall decide to dine at the Edmund’s Oast on the up skirts of the peninsula, thy must speak with the English tongue and drink whisky and dark bourbon and nibble on exquisite bites (in my best accent). Honestly, if you’re like me you will find yourself playing a certain role while at Edmund’s Oast…or maybe not I don’t know now. Regardless, the brewery is a beautiful restaurant with large ceilings, tall table tops, a display window of dried meats above the open kitchen, and a bar with endless options on tap.

meat 2

wall

I went to Edmund’s with Alex, Casey, and Danielle and I was confused at first with the menu. To my surprise, Edmund’s Oast is more of a fancy brew pub for drinking and social gatherings than an order a full dinner restaurant.  The menu is fairly light on food and focuses more on the variety of drink offers. So, while at Edmund’s Oast you must do as they do- drinks and small plates.

They first brought out to us a fresh charcuterie board with three different meats and nuts.

meat board

Next came Alex’s delicious lamb meat balls. They were light and tender with a nice browned outside. They were served with a citrus apricot sauce and mint.

lamb balls

Our third small plate should be pictured next, but as I’m writing this I just realized I didn’t snap a pic…any guesses on what and why that would be?? Because it was cheese. Pretty sure we devoured the cheese before my conscience even knew to take a picture. I will say we all wanted more because who can resist cheese…..not Alex! 😉

Next was the Carolina Gold Rice Heritage Chicken Porridge. Talk about comfort food. I would have ordered this as an entire meal. It was composed of shredded chicken and blue crab pieces in a creamy thick rice porridge. It had the perfect texture and the saltiness kept me from putting my fork down. For those of you that like shrimp, there were three large shrimp on top too.

porridge

The last side dish we ordered was the Whey Cooked Polenta- good call Danielle. This dish tasted like very light creamy grits and it had a slow poached duck egg in the middle.  The garnish was micros greens, charred pickled leek tops, and finely shaved parmesan cheese. I wanted to get full off this dish particularly, but each bite dissolved too soon. I think an enhancement would be three large seared scallops on top.

polenta

And lastly the desserts: the Blood Orange and Almond Cake and the Chamomile Panna Cotta. The Blood Orange cake’s outside was amazing with sweet citrus flavors and then balanced with the almond flavor in the inside and whipped buttermilk on the side…aka Michelin man.

orange cake

The Panna Cotta was also delicious with a beautiful kiwi and flower presentation, but I think we were all laughing through it.  When the waitress brought it out and described the dish, Alex yelled RICOTTA CHEESE??? She was clearly still upset that the cheese plate was too small and gone.

panacota

We had so much fun at Edmund’s Oast that we all decided on one more cocktail to end the evening. The waitress told us about a special cocktail off the menu that was like a bourbon milk punch with milk soaked apple jacks. The drink at first sip was so strong, but in a manageable way and made bourbon taste delicious (sorry Dad). And actually, with each sip the cocktail started to taste more and more like the sweet milk after eating apple jacks cereal. By the end of the night we were falling out of our chairs laughing and crying…”Carlos likes his cottage cheese on toasted toast!”

group 2

Edmund’s Oast- go now.

Vincent Chicco’s

I know I said Edmund’s Oast was next on the restaurant journey, but I made a quick detour last Friday. My boy Rich$ was intown so I gathered up Odom, Shannon, Fallon, and Louise and made reservations for Vincent Chicco’s. This is ANOTHER new restaurant in Charleston. The Holy City Hospitality group is on a roll with three new openings all in the same building: Michael’s on the Alley, Victor Social Club, and then Vicent Chicco’s. Michael’s is a steak house, Victor’s is a cocktail club, and Vicent Chicco’s is an old-fashioned Italian American restaurant. restaurant 3

Upon walking in the building, I loved the tall ceilings, elaborate staircases (I have a thing for staircases), and dark lightning that gave off the vibe of-whoa we’re in a nice place. We were seated right on time in the best seat in the house, a large semi-circle booth with a view of the restaurant. Our server was excellent. She immediately asked if we had dinned at Vicent Chicco’s before and then proceeded to give us a history lesson. Vicent Chicco was an Italian man that migrated to Charleston during the prohibition era and was known as the ‘King of the Blind Tigers’. People would pay to visit ‘The Blind Tiger’ in exchange for a free drink. See below his picture above us, he is the one on the right.

group 2

To start we ordered a couple appetizers and sides for the table. Excuse me, to start we ordered cocktails and wine, let’s get the priorities straight. So, the first dish was Salumi which is the chef’s selection of artisanal meats paired with homemade jellies, mustards, roasted pine nuts, and sautéed eggplant. The meats were certainly delicious, but when it came out it made me laugh a bit. Do yall ever feel like small portions= trying to be fancy? I mean this in a humorous manner because I really did enjoy the board…but, easy on that drizzle by the bread in the middle.

meat board

Next came the bruschetta which I always love. It was served on house focaccia bread, with local tomatoes from John’s Island, olive oil, goat cheese, basil, and an arugula salad. The bread was crunchy on the outside with a soggy flavorful inside. I thought it was creative how it came out on a long cut of bread and the mixture was finely chopped, making it easy to eat and enjoy. bruchetta Now for the beets. All I gotta say is, PASS THE BEETS. These were the biggest hit at the table. No one could get enough so thank you Fallon for the last-minute impulse order. The dish consisted of roasted gold and red beets with bleu cheese mousse, white balsamic reduction, and hazelnuts. I think the mousse is what did it. It was extremely light and flavorful and was a perfect combination with the beets. I would bet that even if you don’t like beets, you would like this…

beats

Fallon and Louise also ordered the gorgonzola salad which I unfortunately don’t have a picture of, but I tried Louise’s. It came with bib lettuce, pears, hazelnuts, figs, gorgonzola, and a pear red wine dressing. I couldn’t taste much of the dressing and thought the salad was bland. Fallon’s feedback, “Buzzkill.”

For my entrée I ordered the Carbonara Pasta dish. My favorite dish growing up was buttered pasta with peas so this dish was right up my alley, but in a grown-up way. It composed of bacon, peas, pappardelle pasta, and romano and parmesan cheese. So..yes the pasta was good..but, nothing special. It was very thick and heavy and I think the dish would have been better if it had more of a creamy consistency. Richard got the same dish though and I was pleased to see that they were able to make it gluten-free for him.

pasta

For dessert I had a bite of Fallon and Odom’s Tiramisu. The layers were drenched in cream and chocolate and coffee and was hands down ridiculously delicious-thanks for sharing. dessert

Overall, Vincent Chicco’s doesn’t lead me to rave and rant like I am known to do over restaurants I really love. The drinks were great, the beets were great, and the dessert was great, but everything else was okay and overly expensive. However, what I loved the most was dinning out with great friends and being able to share my experience on Crockpottuesday. group 3

Delish Bakery & Bistro

I’m a little shocked that I’m on the late train and have just recently discovered Delish. As soon as I opened the seafoam door I swear the bakery started echoing “SuuuuuuuuuuuSuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu.” I am a huge fan of cafes and I didn’t realize it until I lived in Spain and New York. One of my favorite things was stumbling into random coffee shops because it helped make the cities seem smaller and more comfortable. I’m a very extraverted person, but I really enjoy and appreciate being by myself with a cup of coffee and a local paper/magazine in a cozy cafe. I thought I had found them all in Charleston until I spotted the seafoam door at 272 Meeting Street.

The cafe kind of reminds me of Alice’s Tea Cup in New York if any of you are familiar. It is a quaint spot and has a lot to take in. When you walk in, you first notice the place is covered in seafoam. Sea foam walls, seafoam pictures, seafoam dishes, seafoam counter, AND a seafoam BIKE! So you probably now understand why I’m obsessed.

The menu ranges from bakery items to paninis, wraps, and salads. I went simple with a bagel and cream cheese and a coffee. I settled down at a table by the window and had the best little morning to myself. And then it got a little better when my bagel came out on a seafoam plate!

photo

Yes. Seafoam is my favorite color.

Have a wonderful day!