Quote of the Week 2/23/15

I hope you’re having a wonderful last-week-of-February. I, for one, could not be more excited about the new season of House of Cards coming out on Friday! I’m going to be enjoying it from the heart of the show, Washington DC! I’m so pumpedddd.

Also, congratulations to the winner of my recent “Kitchen Gadget Giveaway,” Jess Burns! Thanks to everyone who entered (there were over 150 entries!) and to everyone who took the time to vote for me for Best of Charleston!

Enjoy your week and this wonderful quote from Erma Bombeck who always keeps me laughing.

“I am not a glutton. I am an explorer of food.”
–Erma Bombeck

glutton-quote

At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.

 

Quote of the Week 2/16/15

So. Yesterday was kind of a big fat giant deal for me. I closed on my first house!! I’m officially a homeowner! Yeah! So this week’s quote is short because I have about a million things I need to do.

I love all of you people!

“There are times when wisdom cannot be found in the chambers of parliament or the halls of academia but at the unpretentious setting of the kitchen table.”
–E.A. Bucchianeri

And yes, that is my ACTUAL kitchen :)

And yes, that is my ACTUAL kitchen :)

R Kitchen

Ok, so I’m torn about writing this post because I want R Kitchen to stay a hidden secret, but at the same time I want to shout my love for this wonderful restaurant from the rooftops.

Can you tell?

Can you tell?

The first time I came to R Kitchen, it was for Lauren’s birthday in December and we were both a little unprepared for what was about to happen. To begin with, it’s less of a restaurant and more of a place where you just hang out while a friend cooks you dinner. The space is super small, we’re talking like 12 people can fit into the restaurant tops. Chef Ross Webb offers up a stellar 5ish-course prix fixe meal for $25, and you sit at the counter and watch him cook. It’s like dinner and a show!

Chef Ross, hard at work being awesome.

Chef Ross, hard at work being awesome.

The first meal, our culinary adventure began with a delicious local corn succotash made with shrimp and a bunch of other delicious vegetables. Chef was also nice enough to make Lauren’s without shrimp since she doesn’t eat it (although that really would’ve just meant more for me).

Corn Succotash = Amazing

I’m not complaining.

I was hooked after the 1st course, but it took Lauren until the second course, the wilted kale and chick peas, to really fall in love. I’m always afraid of kale, because 90% of the times I order it, I receive bitter, chewy, shrubbery. Chef Ross’s kale was something else entirely. Garlicky and tomato-y and In fact, if I didn’t know any better, I wouldn’t have known it was kale.

Because that's the best way to eat kale.

Because that’s the best way to eat kale.

He also did a special surprise course of smoked salmon and bacon deviled egg, which was pretty delicious. And I hate eggs. So that’s really saying something.

Or is it?

Or is it?

Our first main course was the steak and potato hash. My steak was prepared perfectly and went really well with the potatoes, which were soft and crispy and wonderful.

I love steak

Can someone please teach me how to cook a steak kthxbye.

The final (and best) main course was the fried pork chop with dirty rice. I can’t remember what made the rice dirty, but I do remember that I loved it. The pork was awesome; the breading was crispy, and whatever the sauce was was nice and tangy and tied the whole dish together perfectly.

Because fried pork.

Because fried pork.

Our “dessert” course was brie and honey with some grapes. Lauren was crying at this point because she was so full, so I ate both hers and mine and it was glorious. I love brie.

I can eat cheese at any time of the day.

I can eat cheese at any time of the day.

The second time I went was with Harry and my mom. We had early reservations and were the first people in the restaurant. We were very excited.

Especially Tina.

Especially Tina.

Our first course for the evening was smoky mac and cheese. It was amazing and I loved it. I especially loved when they got out the blowtorch to burn the cheese and breadcrumb topping a bit and give it that extra smoky flavor.

Is this the best restaurant ever, or what??

Is this the best restaurant ever, or what??

The second course was a take on a thai coconut soup using a traditional coconut broth, which Chef Ross added crab to. I thought it was really yummy without being overly “seafood” tasting, which I was a little worried about. It also had this cracker thing in it, which gave it a really nice texture.

I love soups that look like gravy.

I love soups that look like gravy.

After this course, we had a little meat plate with some salami and prosciutto. It was good, but not spectacular. I did really like the mustard that accompanied it.

Because meat.

Because meat.

The next course was a really fresh salad made with local Johns Island beans and pieces of ham. Normally I’m not a huge fan of ham, but if this salad had a fan club, I’d run for president.

The greatest salad ever.

The greatest salad ever.

The first main course was a “pork & mole” that Chef Ross served over a bed of angel hair pasta and topped with avocado. Tina doesn’t really like meat sauces, but I thought the pasta was really good. It had a different flavor than what I was expecting because of the mole sauce, but it was very hearty and homey tasting.

lol

Like a warm blanket in a bowl.

Our final course was steak and risotto’d potato. Tina was freaking out about asking to get her steak cooked well done, but Chef Ross was more than happy to do it for her. He laughed and agreed that he doesn’t understand why chefs get so irritable about serving steaks at anything above a medium. I think that’s when Tina officially fell in love.

I, however, like my meat to bleed. It reminds me that I'm on top of the food chain.

I, however, like my meat to bleed. It reminds me that I’m on top of the food chain.

Chef Ross was nice enough to pose with us for a picture in between all of his cooking. What a great guy. Thanks for having us, we can’t wait to come back!

Chef Ross and the Peanut Gallery.

Chef Ross and the Peanut Gallery.

R Kitchen
212 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 789-4342

R Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Quote of the Week 2/9/15

So, it’s almost Valentine’s Day, and for some reason, Harry and I decided to try this whole “paleo” thing. No idea why. I think we’re both brain damaged. We’re on day 3 and it’s actually going better than I expected it to. The only real issue I have to report is that I almost started crying when my boss brought in a cheeseburger and french fries for lunch. The smell alone…

But I digress. Here’s this week’s quote. It’s all about love and stuff. Enjoy!

“Love and sausage are alike. Can never have enough of either.”
— Trixie Koontz

 

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Get your mind out of the gutter.

Kitchen Gadget Giveaway

bestofsm

As I mentioned last week, dear readers, I’m hosting a giveaway for you with some of the coolest gadgets and pantry items that I love as a thank you for nominating me for Best of Charleston 2014! If you haven’t voted yet, please vote Queen of the Food Age for “Best Local Interest Blog.

Here’s what’s in the box:

  1. Babycakes Waffle Stick Maker ($24.99)
    Breakfast just got fun again! I love this machine, it makes you feel like a kid again :)
  2. Kuhn Rikon Cookie Press ($24.95)
    Comes with lots of different designs so that you can make cookies that look like they came from a professional bakery!
  3. Sushi Rolling Mat ($3.95)
    Roll sushi like a pro with this handy mat!
  4. Sfoglini Pasta Trumpets ($7)
    Sfoglini is Brooklyn based & produces pastas made from locally-sourced ingredients. Can’t wait to see how you guys use this pasta!
  5. Monari Federzoni Glaze with Balsamic Vinegar ($9.95)
    This glaze is awesome on everything from pork chops to vanilla ice cream!
  6. Cilio Fondue Pot, Red ($27.95)
    I love fondue and I especially love the color of this adorable little fondue pot!
What a bounty!

What a bounty!

All you have to do to enter this kitchen giveaway is vote for me in the Charleston City Paper (comment below to let me know that you’ve done it)! You can also choose to like me on Facebook, follow me on Twitter, or tweet about the giveaway for extra entries! Contest ends 2/17 at 11:59 pm. I can only ship to the US and you must be over 18 to win! Good luck and thanks again!

NOTE: Only people who comment “I voted” below will be entered to win! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Best of Charleston 2015 Voting

Hello, my beautiful, talented readers. Thanks to you, I’ve had the honor of being nominated alongside some pretty talented folks for “Best Local Interest Blog” for this year’s Charleston City Paper’s “Best of Charleston 2015.” You guys really don’t know how much it means to me that you nominated me and I’m just so pumped to be listed next to such huge names like Holy City Sinner, Eater Charleston, Charleston Grit, Charleston Daily Photo, and Charleston Thug Life.

Since you’ve helped me get this far, I’d like to ask your help in taking me one step further! Take 5 minutes or so to vote Queen of the Food Age for “Best Local Interest Blog” and any other Charleston businesses you think deserve recognition for the great work they’ve been doing.

I started this blog for fun and to have an excuse to go out to eat more, so to see how far I’ve come is really inspiring and it makes me want to cry and hug each and every one of you individually (even if that makes you uncomfortable). You rock and I love you all. To thank you, I’m going to host a giveaway next week full of fun kitchen gadgets and some of my favorite Charleston things. Keep an eye out!

Again, thanks so much. You guys are the best.

Swig & Swine

One of my favorite new restaurants to open in West Ashley recently was definitely Swig & Swine. I love me some good pork and boy, does Swig & Swine have some good pork!

I mean, basically.

Also, your body weight in pulled pork seems to do the trick.

The first time Harry and I went, we couldn’t decide what we wanted, so we ordered the Family Platter (Smoked Chicken Wings, Ribs, Smoked Turkey, Pulled Pork, Beef Brisket, Smoked Pork Belly, Homemade Sausage, w/ 3 sides, $38), since it had basically everything on the menu.

Seriously. Everything but the kitchen sink.

Seriously. Everything but the kitchen sink.

All of their meat is amazing. The ribs and the chicken wings are something else entirely, and the brisket is so flavorful. I’m not as crazy about the pork belly, but that’s more of a texture thing for me.

Talk about a successful before and after pic.

Talk about a successful before and after pic.

The pulled pork is smoky and yummy all on its own, but that’s unnecessary because Swig and Swine has 4 different sauces you can use, a sweet red, Carolina mustard, vinegar, Alabama white, and they’re all delicious. My favorite is the mustard and it might be one of the best mustard sauces I’ve ever had. Their sweet red is also great, and you’ll like the Alabama white if you like that white sauce at Japanese restaurants (which I do).

If you love BBQ sauce, this is the place to be. Photo via Swig & Swine's Website

If you love BBQ sauce, this is the place to be. Photo via Swig & Swine’s Website

For the sides, we chose Mac & Cheese (obviously), Beans w/ Brisket, and Pickled Vegetables. The mac and cheese is awesome, I highly recommend it if you like a classic shells-and-cheese-style macaroni.

Seriously good macaroni.

Seriously good macaroni.

The baked beans are tangy and meaty (from the brisket) and smoky, and just great all around.

Beans, beans, the magical fruit...

Beans, beans, the magical fruit…

 

The pickled vegetables are the perfect texture, not too soft, not too crisp and I love the taste of the vinegar they’re soaked in.

And what an array of veggies!

And what an array of veggies!

On a follow-up visit, we got the same family platter, which we split between 4 of us, so we managed to have some room leftover for dessert (Banana Pudding or Mini Pies, $5). I went with the chocolate pecan pie, which was served as a mini-pie-for-one with homemade whipped cream on top, which was nice and fluffy and just a touch sweet. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

It's so cute and miniature!

It’s so cute and miniature!

Lily got the banana pudding, which I’m normally not a fan of, but this was pretty darn good. It tasted like real bananas and not banana flavoring, and was nice and creamy and topped with something that had the consistency of meringue.

It tastes much better than it looks, I promise.

It tastes much better than it looks, I promise.

Ben May and Harry both got a blueberry cream pie (I think that’s what it was), and it was thick and creamy with fresh blueberries on the bottom. We were all very quiet as we ate our desserts, which is very unlike us, so that’s how you know it was good.

This definitely had a different name than "blueberry cream pie" but I can't for the life of me think  of what it was.

This definitely had a different name than “blueberry cream pie” but I can’t for the life of me think of what it was.

If you get a chance to go to Swig & Swine, you definitely should. Get the family platter and let me know what your favorite meat or side is!

This is exactly how a classy roadside BBQ joint should look.

This is exactly how a roadside BBQ joint should look. Photo via Swig & Swine’s Website

Swig & Swine
1217 Savannah Hwy
Charleston, SC 29407
843-225-3805

Swig & Swine on Urbanspoon

Quote of the Week 1/12/15

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I know I’ve been a bit slack in posting lately, but I’ve made it a goal of mine to post more often on my blog in 2015. I’m going to start some new segments, bring back some old segments, and just generally write more. Starting today!

This week’s quote (and the first quote of 2015) comes from fashion icon and Coco Chanel rival Elsa Schiaparelli, and I think it really gets 2015 off to a great start. Cheers!

“Eating is not merely a material pleasure. Eating well gives a spectacular joy to life and contributes immensely to goodwill and happy companionship. It is of great importance to the morale.”
— Elsa Schiaparelli

 

I mean, you can't argue with that.

I mean, you can’t argue with that.

Queen of the Food Age is Readers’ Choice Best Food Blogger

A few weeks ago, I asked you, my loyal readers, to vote for me for “Best Food Blogger” in Charleston Magazine’s 50 Food & Bev Favorites… and guess what? You did it!

Pick up a December copy of the Charleston Magazine, and you’ll see me listed as the Readers’ Choice Best Food Blogger in Charleston!

My next recipe? Humble Pie.

My next recipe? Humble Pie.

I’m very thankful for all of your support. Continue to support my efforts (and keep me eatin’) by nominating me for Best of Charleston’s “Best Local Interest Blog.” Nominations go thru January 6th. Let’s do it!

The Rarebit

Most nights in Charleston when I end up going out for a drink, I’ll either end up at Rec Room or Rarebit (or realistically, both). Their menu is delicious (and designed by my newest chef obsession, Brannon Florie). Their drinks are creative and tasty and the atmosphere is usually pretty fun. Plus I’m a sucker for their Moscow Mule (Smirnoff vodka, Sweatman’s ginger beer, limeade, $8), which uses the best ginger beer in town.

I'm a sucker for a good mule.

I’m a sucker for a good mule.

But mostly I go there for the mac and cheese ($3.50 as a side). (Prepare yourself. There will be lots of pictures of mac and cheese in this post). This is probably my second favorite mac and cheese in Charleston. It’s creamy and cheesy and just so delicious.

I mean, just look at it.

I mean, just look at it.

All their food is flavorful and fresh, and I’ve never had a bad meal. The Country Fried Steak (skillet fried, battered steak with buttermilk pepper gravy served with creamy mashed potatoes & green beans, $15) is my standby favorite. I order it 9 times out of ten and I’m never disappointed. It’s served hot and crispy, topped with a flavorful pepper gravy…the whole thing just comes together perfectly.

And of course I get it with the mac and cheese. I mean, are you even surprised?

And of course I get it with the mac and cheese. I mean, are you even surprised?

Lily has ordered the Southern Fried Catfish (local farm raised catfish served with mac & cheese and sauteed spinach, $14) is good, too. It’s also served hot and crispy and perfectly seasoned. I’m not usually one to order fish, but I’d definitely order this again.

Oh, hey, look. More mac and cheese!

Oh, hey, look. More mac and cheese!

They even have food for vegans! The Vegetable Rarebit (baked squash, zucchini, seasonal vegetables, spinach & portabella saute served over a chili pepper chutney garnished with a glazed baby carrot, $11), which is awesome. Just make sure they don’t put honey on it like they do their “vegan” burger. Someone in the kitchen is not vegan enough for the vegans I know.

When Naomi ordered this, she definitely thought that carrot was a hot dog and almost passed out.

When Naomi ordered this, she definitely thought that carrot was a hot dog and almost passed out.

After 10, they only serve their breakfast menu, which is ok with me, because they consider a Patty Melt (two pressed flat Angus patties topped with American cheese & caramelized onions on rye toast) to be breakfast food. And it’s a great burger (better than their actual burger, in my opinion). Especially at midnight after one too many Moscow Mules.

via Yelp

If there even is such a thing. Photo via Yelp

Speaking of catfish, the Catfish Po Boy (fried catfish with lettuce, tomato & housemade mustard remoulade on a New Orleans French roll, $9) is just awesome. You get the same piece of catfish as pictured above, served on a freshly baked N’awlins roll, with their sweet and tangy mustard remoulade. What’s not to love? We got it was a side of the breakfast potatoes which are also really great. They’re cubed and fried so that they’re nice and crispy on the outside and soft and potato-y on the inside. Exactly what you’d want.

Did I mention that I'm usually here at night?

Did I mention that I’m usually here at night?

As far as their sides go, they’re delicious. Here are a few of my favorites (other than the mac & cheese, obviously). The Succotash Salad (lime beans with fresh corn & sundried tomatoes, $3.50 as a side) is healthy food disguised as a treat because it tastes so darn good. A great option if you’re dieting (like me) but don’t want to feel like you’re missing out on all the good food.

Or just don't even try to pretend like you're being good and order it with the mac and cheese, which is what I'd do.

Or just don’t even try to pretend like you’re being good and order it with the mac and cheese, which is what I’d do.

The Bacon Lentil Salad (exactly what you’d expect, $3.50 as a side) is also a good “healthy” alternative. Lentils are healthy, right? These guys are delicious and just a little smoky from the bacon. Not your typical southern comfort food, but it gets the job done. Ok, the one thing I’ve been disappointed by in all of my visits, was the Track Burger (pressed flat steak burger with ketchup, mustard, and pickles on a Cuban bun. Single, $4, Double, $6, Cheese, $1). The meat is absolutely perfect, very flavorful and yummy, but the problem is that the patty is just so flat compared to the bun. There’s really no point in even ordering it unless you get a double.

Pictured here with the Track Burger and (you guessed it), mac and cheese.

Are you bored with all the mac and cheese pictures yet?

I went with Lala one time when she ordered the Tomato Soup (roasted tomato and basil puree, $5), which I really enjoyed. I’m a little iffy about tomato soups, but this one tasted homemade and not like it came out of a can. It also had a bit of creaminess to it that I really appreciated. She ordered it with a side of grits ($3.50 as a side), which came out really dense and a bit dry, still in the shape of the scoop they portioned it with. They were a little disappointing, but not bad. She also got bacon (because hey, why not) which tasted like bacon.

I love it when food keeps the shape of the thing it was in before it was on your plate. Love. It.

I love it when food keeps the shape of the thing it was in before it was on your plate. Love. It.

It can get a little crowded on a weekend night, but I love the atmosphere of the place. The wait staff is dressed in like a modern take on a 1950’s diner, and the decor is fun and modern as well. It’s usually pretty dark inside, and seating is a bit limited, but I still love it.

I'm obsessed with the decor in here. How cute is that light??| Photo via Acacia Falzone Photography

I’m obsessed with the decor in here. How cute is that light??| Photo via Acacia Falzone Photography

The Rarebit
474 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 974-5483

The Rarebit on Urbanspoon

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