The 2nd Annual Charleston Food Film Festival

The 2nd Annual Charleston Food Film Festival is returning April 24-26 for 3 days of BBQ, movies, and celebration!

Like "scratch and sniff," but like A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER. (Photo courtesy of The Food Film Festival)

Like “scratch and sniff,” but like A THOUSAND TIMES BETTER. (Photo courtesy of The Food Film Festival)

I’ve been lucky enough to receive free tickets to this event and I’m so excited for it. Because I love you all, I’m going to help you to attend as well! Get 10% off your ticket price when you enter the promo code “QUEENS10″ at checkout! Plus, you can feel good knowing that your ticket to the festival benefits Growfood Carolina, The Good Food Project, and the Food Bank of NYC. The only thing better than having fun is having fun for a good cause!

Food and Movies, 2 of my favorite things (photo credit Olivia Rae James)

Food and Movies, 2 of my favorite things (Photo Credit: Olivia Rae James)

So basically, we’re going to watch a bunch of short films about food and then you get to try the foods featured in the films. I’m personally looking forward to Best Fish Tacos in Ensenada and Biting Into The Ramen Burger, which both sound delicious, but How To Make A Turtle Burger intrigues me, as well. Click to the Charleston Food Film Festival for a full list of the films to be featured.

This is a collage of pictures I liked from this year's films.

This is a collage of pictures I liked from this year’s films, and one shot of last year’s festival.

Since it is a 3-day event, here’s a breakdown of each event from the Food Film Festival website. I’m going to all three, and I am SO PUMPED.

YORKTOWN_KINGSOFBBQ-750x1024Thursday 4/24/14: The Kings of Barbecue presented by Sticky Fingers Smokehouse
Location: The flight deck of the USS Yorktown, Patriot’s Point
Details: The Official Kick-off of the 2014 Food Film Festival season, The Kings of Barbecue features an exclusive screening of The Kings of BBQ Barbecue Kuwait, by Emmy-Award winner John Markus, which follows world champion competitive pitmasters as they join forces to cook a BBQ feast for 5,000 troop in Kuwait. That’s followed by an all-you-can-eat smoked brisket and chicken dinner cooked by world champion pitmasters Nicole Davenport, Jamie Geer, Tommy Houston, John Markus, Paul Schatte, Tuffy Stone, and Johnny Trigg.

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Friday 4/25/14: The Food Porn Party
Location: High Wire Distilling Co.
Details: Celebrating the art of beautiful, close-up images of food set to music, The Food Porn Party showcases unique food films and dishes from local and national chefs and purveyors…from West Coast doughnuts and Baja fish tacos, to fondue and the Turtle Burger (it’s not what you think!).

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Saturday 4/26/14: Edible Adventure #010: Ramen Burgers + More
Location: High Wire Distilling Co.
Details: For the 10th installment of its Edible Adventure series, the Festival brings Ramen Burger creator Keizo Shimamoto to Charleston for one night only to serve his famous dish following the southeastern premiere of Director Mike Fox’s Biting Into the Ramen Burger. Many more exotic flavors will be featured, from Chef Karl Palma’s Takoyaki Balls to Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookie and much more.

If this photo is any indication, this event is going to be a total blast (Photo Credit: Adam Chandler)

If this photo is any indication, this event is going to be a total blast (Photo Credit: Adam Chandler)

So go get your tickets (don’t forget to enter QUEENS10 at checkout to save 10%) and I’ll save you a seat!

Weekend Roundup: I Never Want To Eat Again

This weekend was a wonderful blur of food, friends, drinking, and adventure. Sean, Lily, Christine, and I started the weekend on Thursday night at Coast Brewery and Frothy Beard and dinner at La Nortena in North Charleston. We all ordered too many tacos and felt kind of crappy before going to bed. Friday morning, Lily met us at Bombay Bazar for an Indian lunch, which was delicious, but also left me feeling overfull and kind of gross. Friday night, Drew finally got into Charleston from Charleston (West Virginia) and we went to the Joe for the Riverdogs game, courtesy of Persimmon Cafe, which was so much fun!

Although Charlie's face would suggest otherwise.

Although Charlie’s face would suggest otherwise.

Saturday, Sean made breakfast (with assistance from some Hardee’s biscuits), and we watched Frozen before meeting up with Chrissy & Harry for a disappointing lunch at Fleet Landing. After lunch, we strolled through Waterfront park and along the battery before napping at Lily’s house until dinner at Taco Boy and drinks in Avondale.

 

Like moths to a flame we flock to the glow of the Taco Boy sign.

Like moths to a flame we flock to the glow of the Taco Boy sign.

On Sunday, we had a delicious brunch at Lost Dog Cafe before bidding adieu to Sean, Christine, and Drew. Lily and I met up with Charlie to walk around Second Sunday on King Street. Sunday night, a bunch of people came over to my house for a Game of Thrones themed watch party, featuring “Baratheon Belly Sliders” (aka pulled pork sliders), “Take The Black Bean Dip,” and Pigs in a Blanket inspired by Theon Greyjoy (I’ll let you draw your own conclusions there).

Spoiler Alert: They aren't his fingers.

Theon doesn’t think we’re very funny.

Quote of the Week 4/7/14

Sean and Christine are coming! Sean and Christine are coming! So excited to see them tonight!

Sidenote, my office, matchstick social, is hosting an open house with free cocktails featuring Kansas Whiskey as part of Dig South’s Space Walk tonight from 4-6. If you find yourself in the area, you should stop by!

This week’s quote is from Adam Peterson and I think will sum up the next couple of days that I’m spending with my 2 best friends (and not just because Sean & I will argue about the merits of preheating the oven… but mostly because of that).

“Pre-heat the oven? Really? If I was the sort of person who planned ahead, I wouldn’t be eating this Totino’s Party Pizza in the first place.”
–Adam Peterson

 

I wasn't sure which Adam Peterson was responsible for the quote, but I definitely know which Totino's Party Pizza he was referring to.

I wasn’t sure which Adam Peterson was responsible for the quote, but I definitely know which Totino’s Party Pizza he was referring to.

Weekend Roundup: Here Comes The Bride

Friday night Harry took me out for impromptu date night at Wild Olive for delicious Italian food. We started with a special appetizer of house-cured pancetta and then split veal agnolotti and braised short ribs for our entrees and finished with a slice of tiramisu. After dinner Harry surprised me with an after-dinner “picnic” (read: bottle of wine and blanket) under the stars at Melton Peter Demetre Park on James Island. We had a beautiful view of the Charleston Harbor and it was the perfect way to end the night.

I'm so spoiled. (Photo courtesy of Josh A.)

I’m so spoiled. (Yelp)

Saturday morning I decided to chop my hair off! I now have a semi-bob. It’s a little shocking, since it was nice and long before and now I can barely put it in a ponytail. But I love it! It takes me half as much time to get ready now, and it always looks cute. What do you think?

Apparently I only make Muppet faces.

Apparently I only make Muppet faces.

Saturday night, I had the honor of attending my freshman year roommate, Laila’s, wedding to Jonas Hall at Legare Waring House in Charlestowne Landing. It was a beautiful ceremony and reception and Harry and I had a wonderful time. Laila made such a beautiful bride! I know people say that all the time, but she was like extra beautiful.

But I wouldn't expect anything less from Laila.

But I wouldn’t expect anything less from Laila.

Sunday, Harry and I met his friend Shannon and my friends Becca and Cori at the Cajun Festival at James Island County Park. I got to try crawfish etouffee (A-2-fay) and Harry got to try a Tiger’s Blood snow cone and then we ate our weight in cajun boiled peanuts. We ended the weekend with the Game of Thrones premiere, which was SO AWESOME.

"How's it hangin'?"

“How’s it hangin’?”

What were the highlights of your weekend?

 

Food Quote Of The Week 3/31/14

It’s been a while since I’ve done a food quote of the week, sorry about that! But let’s get right to it. This week’s quote is dedicated to Laila, my freshman year roommate who’s getting married this weekend! Congrats Laila!

“There is one thing more exasperating than a wife who can cook and won’t, and that’s a wife who can’t cook and will.” –Robert Frost

 

Although that's not to say that Laila's a bad cook! Just that I thought this quote was funny.

Although that’s not to say that Laila’s a bad cook! Just that I thought this quote was funny.

Weekend Roundup: The Mud Between My Toes

Hope everyone had an awesome weekend! Mine was really fun. Friday night, Harry hosted game night at his house and Julianne was in town and we all drank a little too much wine. Saturday morning Lily, Julianne, and I drove around for awhile trying to find a good brunch place before settling on Chick-fil-a because we were hungry and didn’t feel like waiting in line.

No regrets.

No regrets.

After “brunch” Lily, Harry, and I went to Brittlebank Park for the 2nd annual Spring Jam Music Festival. There were 2 stages, 10 bands, and 2 performance art groups, food trucks, beer tents, vendors, artisans, and mud. Lots of mud.

Most of which ended up in Lily's shoes.

Most of which ended up in Lily’s shoes.

We had so much fun though. I found a bunch of new favorite bands, like Space Capone, Kopecky Family Band, and Brave Baby.

Not bad for my first music festival!

Not bad for my first music festival!

We also got to try a new food truck, Pep Rolls, which was awesome. According to their Facebook page, a “pep roll” is a “whole wheat based roll stuffed with delicious pepperoni, topped with seasoning, and baked to a golden brown perfection.” We tried the Sleazy Cheezy which had pepperoni, nacho cheese, and jalapeno. Soooo good.

Seriously. Why isn't that in my face right now?

Seriously. Why isn’t that in my face right now?

Sunday morning, Lily and I had a proper brunch at Edmund’s Oast, which was fantastic. Expect a full review soon, but let me just say, their cornbread was possibly the best I’ve ever eaten. I can’t wait to go back for dinner.

Which may or may not be due to the giant dollop of honey butter on top.

Which may or may not be due to the giant dollop of honey butter on top.

Hopefully you all have a great week (and didn’t get fooled by too many April Fool’s Day pranks!)

CO

So I’m a recent Vietnamese food convert. I’m kind of surprised it took me this long, but nobody’s perfect. I’ve been eating banh mi for a couple of years now, and am obsessed, but I never really ventured any further into Vietnamese cuisine until one fateful day back in December when I stumbled on a tweet from Foodmancing The Girl talking about how much he loves Pho.

You had me at "free dumplings."

You had me at “free dumplings.”

That first lunch was awesome. I took Foodmancing’s advice and got the pork belly buns (pork belly, pickled cucumber and carrots, hoisin, cilantro, $6), and those suckers were on point.  The buttery bread, the perfectly cooked pork, the crisp pickled veggies…I’m drooling a little just thinking about them. If it wasn’t Friday during Lent, I’d probably head there for lunch right now.

Seriously. They're so good.

Seriously. They’re so good.

The main purpose of my visit, however, was to try Pho for the first time. I was a little intimidated because I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I opted for the beef pho (rare beef, rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, cilantro, thai basil, scallions, beef broth, $12) which was so good it’s sinful. Not really knowing what the protocol was, I just dumped in all of the accoutrements, including lots of hot sauce, which added a little more heat to the broth than I was prepared for, but it was still delicious. The beef was sliced really thin and cooked perfectly and the flavors of the soup came together perfectly. I was instantly a fan.

My strategy for most things is "throw everything in there and hope it tastes good."

My strategy for most things is “throw everything in there and hope it tastes good.”

When Naomi came to visit, we were excited that CO had a vegan menu for her to choose from. We started out with a couple of fancy cocktails, which were delicious. Naomi really enjoyed her asian pear cider (spiced rum, schnapps, asian pear, cinnamon, $9) and I thought the spiced mandarin caipirinha (cachaca, grand marnier, muddled mandarin & lime, star anise simple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, $9.5) was pretty unique and awesome as well.

Look at that smile!

Look at that smile!

and then ordered some Tofu buns (crispy tofu, pickled cucumber and carrots, cilantro, $6) which were really good (although not as good as the pork belly. But as a carnivore, I might be biased). My only complaint is that without the hoisin sauce, they were a little dry.

Tofu and I have an uneasy truce.

Tofu and I have an uneasy truce.

I was trying to branch out and try something other than my usual pho, so I deferred to the waitress who recommended the hanoi noodles (spicy yellow curry, onion, carrots, zucchini, rice noodles, shrimp, shanghai sausage, $14). I really liked it, although the flavors started getting a little overwhelming towards the end. The shanghai sausage wasn’t my favorite, but the shrimp was perfectly cooked and really delicious. Also it’s asian food, so there’s a lot of grease.

Still delicious, though!

Still delicious, though!

Naomi was really sad that the green curry was not vegan for some reason (and they never responded to my tweet asking them why), so she ended up ordering the vegan yakisoba (rice noodles, tofu,  cabbage, carrots, onion, zucchini, garlic, sweet mirin soy sauce, $14) instead. She absolutely loved it and was basically licking the bowl by the end. I really liked how well they cooked the tofu, which is high praise coming from me.

Gotta love a restaurant that gives you plenty of cilantro with every dish.

Gotta love a restaurant that gives you plenty of cilantro with every dish.

Next time I go, I really want to try the curry laksa (shrimp, shredded chicken, bun rice noodles, shredded cucumber, thai basil, baby bok choy, spicy coconut broth) and the mapo doufo (ground pork, tofu, edamame, carrots, black bean garlic sauce), which both sound delicious. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend you check it out, especially their new $4 happy hour special weekdays from 4-7.

Plus the space is just so sexy!

Plus the space is just so sexy!

CO
340 King St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 720-3631
Co on Urbanspoon

Best of Charleston 2014!

Today’s the day that the 2014 Best of Charleston winners were announced in the Charleston City Paper. Last year I did a mini version of my picks for the best of Charleston, so this year I thought I’d do a follow up. Obviously the only section I care about is the Best Charleston Food section (especially since I wasn’t voted “Best Local Blog” … again … way to drop the ball, guys).

Let's do this!

Seriously. I expect more out of you next year.

Best Sandwich
Persimmon Cafe

Best Vegetarian Restaurant
Dell’z Deli

Best Neoplitan-Style Pizza
Desano Pizza Bakery

Best Lunch When Someone Else is Paying
Husk

Best Bowl Of Soup
Five Loaves Cafe

Best Sunday Brunch
Lost Dog Cafe

Best Fried Chicken
Martha Lou’s Kitchen

Best Italian Restaurant
Wild Olive

Best Food Festival
Smoke on the Harbor

Best Boiled Shrimp
Bowen’s Island

Best Chinese
Lee Lee’s Hot Kitchen

Best Sushi Roll
The King’s Speech at Zen Asian Fusion

Best Local Brewery
Frothy Beard

Best Falafel
Ali Baba Mediterranean Cuisine

Best Barbecue Buffet
JB’s Smokeshack

Best Margarita
Taco Boy

Best Mac and Cheese
Crave Kitchen & Cocktails

Best Butterscotch Cookies
Sugar Bakeshop

Best Late Night Eats
Butcher & Bee

Best Mexican Food
La Nortena

Best Gourmet Grocery Store
Southern Season

Best Tater Tots
The Alley

Best Pho
CO

Best Cocktails
Rarebit

Best Place I Tried During Restaurant Week
Trattoria Lucca

Best Sandwich on Johns Island
Southern General

Weekend Roundup: Too Much Food, Too Little Time

I spent most of last week sitting in bed with a wicked chest cold, but Friday night, Lily and I met up with Lauren, Shay, and Marlowe in Columbia to see the Divergent movie (since we’d all read the book). Before the movie, we got sushi (and delicious cucumber mojitos) at Miyo’s. My eyes were definitely bigger than my stomach, and I ended up giving most of my sushi away because I was too full. After dinner, we walked to the theater and settled in for the show. Shay & I were really pleased with the movie, but Lily, Marlowe, and Lauren all had some serious issues with it. Either way, if you read the books, I think it’s definitely worth the watch!

If for nothing more than to stare at Theo James for 2 hours.

If for nothing more than to stare at Theo James for 2 hours.

Saturday morning, we had a pretty disappointing lunch at Copper River Grill before spending a couple of hours wandering around the mall. We all went our separate ways around 3 (except Lauren who had to leave at 5 am to go be in a parade), and I spent most of Saturday afternoon laying in bed catching up on Grimm and eating the edible fruit bouquet that my parents sent me.

Because nothing says "get well soon" like chocolate covered pineapple slices shaped like high heels.

Because nothing says “get well soon” like chocolate covered pineapple slices shaped like high heels.

Around 9, I met up with Harry at his friend’s house where they were having a wine and cheese night to celebrate his friend’s new job. We hung out there for a while before meeting up with Cullen & Taylor at The Alley to get a few drinks to celebrate Taylor finally being 21! We ended the night at Butcher & Bee with a burger, some buffalo fries, and a lamb gyro. It was pretty delish. We also met up with them Sunday morning at Lost Dog Cafe for brunch before they headed back to Greenville.

Oh, sweet nectar of the gods.

Oh, sweet nectar of the gods.

After brunch, Harry & I took a cooking class at Southern Season entitled “Asian For A Crowd.” We made a cold Thai noodle salad, Korean beef bulgogi, Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches, bok choy kimchi, and a floredeliz salad for dessert. We immediately regretted the decision to get brunch before the cooking class because we were stuffed for the rest of the day.

There was enough food for a crowd, but only 2 people to eat it.

There was enough food for a crowd, but only 2 people to eat it.

After the cooking class, Harry & I were so stuffed that we spent a couple hours lounging on his porch, soaking up some sun and trying to keep our stomachs from exploding. That night, while he was running some errands, I met back up with Lily to see Muppets Most Wanted, which was entertaining, but nowhere near as good as the first Muppet movie. We also celebrated my sweet kitty, Fezzik’s, birthday. I can’t believe he’s 3 already!

Look at those eyes!

Look at those eyes!

Here’s hoping that everyone has a great week and that I finally kick this cold!

Weekend Roundup: The Luck of the Irish

Sorry, I know I’m a little behind but I’ve been sick this week, so I hope you’ll cut me some slack. On to the weekend! I started my Friday with a Hummer wrap from Dellz Deli, inspired both by not being able to eat meat on Fridays during Lent and because the pictures from my review just looked so darn delicious. And it did not disappoint.

Although it never really does.

Although it never really does.

Lily, Harry, and I left Charleston en route for St. Paddy’s in Atlanta and stopped in Columbia to pick up Marlowe and get some Chipotle for dinner. The whole weekend was a green, Guinness-laden blur that went by way too quickly. Saturday morning, we started with our ritual hungover breakfast at Waffle House.

I mean, really what else do you need?

I mean, really what else do you need?

For the St. Paddy’s Day feast, we each contributed something delicious: Sean made sausage balls and buffalo chicken dip, Lily and Marlowe made pigs in blankets, Harry bought a bunch of Guinness, Raina brought Irish Cream, Jason & Kat made Devils on Horseback (aka bacond-wrapped cheese-stuffed dates), Christine supplied hummus, and I made spinach and artichoke dip (for the first time, yo!), which was pretty exciting. Then we all ate and drank way too much. It was awesome.

I know you're jealous.

I know you’re jealous.

We all dressed up in our finest green apparel and accessories and proceeded to play games, do Irish car bombs, laugh, and take a bunch of goofy pictures. Basically St. Patrick’s Day is my new favorite holiday.

Pictured: fun

Pictured: fun

My least favorite holiday? The Sunday after St. Patrick’s day. Although it’s made slightly better with good friends and morning snuggles.

Lily is a little overly attached to snuggling.

Lily is a little overly attached to snuggling.

We had our post-St Pat’s Day hangover breakfast at a place called Jack’s New Yorker Deli in Smyrna. I got The Italian panini (salami, pepperoni, cappicola, prosciutto, provolone, red onions, oil, vinegar, and oregan) with a side of fresh cut fries, a cup of chicken enchilada soup, and a drink for just $12.70. A great deal, and one of the best italian sandwiches I’ve had in awhile. Harry got a turkey rueben and Sean got one of their signature sandwiches, and they were all delicious, so I’ll definitely be stopping here again.

That panini was legit.

That panini was legit.

So that was my weekend. How was yours?

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