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Queen of the Food Age


Blossom’s Gumbo Recipe

February 28, 2017

Fat Tuesday (or as I call it: Tuesday) is the day before Ash Wednesday, aka Lent, when good Catholics give up something dear to them for 40 days to represent the 40 days Jesus spent fasting in the desert. In a more secular sense, it’s also Mardi Gras, the biggest party in New Orleans. And what says Mardi Gras like a bowl of steaming seafood gumbo?

Photo via Yelp

Charleston’s Blossom restaurant has you covered for all your gumbo needs.  Locals are encouraged to head into Blossom to satisfy their Cajun cravings, while home cooks can kick up their Mardi Gras parties with Blossom’s essential recipe. Featuring jasmine rice, gumbo filé and a mix of the South’s best seafood, this traditional Mardi Gras favorite is simple to create in the comfort of one’s kitchen to celebrate this festive time of year.


  • 2 pounds unsalted butter
  • 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 head finely chopped celery
  • 1 large finely chopped onion
  • 1 finely chopped poblano pepper, seeds removed
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 can (up to 14.5 ounces) unseasoned chopped tomatoes
  • 1 gallon (16 cups) lobster stock or chicken stock
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves, tied in cheesecloth
  • 1/3 cup Tabasco
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon gumbo file
  • 3 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2 pounds andouille sausage, cut lengthwise then into 1/2-inch pieces (half-moon shape)
  • 1 pound okra, ends removed and coined
  • 6 ounces cooked chicken or shrimp (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a saucepot, melt butter. Combine flour and mix well to make the roux. Transfer roux to a casserole dish and place in pre-heated oven. Continue to cook until dark, approximately for 1 1/2 hours while stirring every 10 minutes.
  3. Remove from oven and add celery, onions, and peppers. Mix well and set aside. Allow to rest for 20 minutes before adding liquid.
  4. Over medium-high heat in a large heavy-bottomed stockpot, add Worcestershire, tomatoes, stock, thyme, bay leaves, tabasco and seasonings; bring to a boil. Slowly add roux until well incorporated.
  5. If you have an immersion blender, purée the liquid mixture over medium-low heat; otherwise, remove from heat, cautiously purée in a blender and return to pot.
  6. If the mixture is too thick, add more stock as needed.
  7. Over medium heat, add the sausage, okra and chicken/shrimp; adjust seasoning to taste.
  8. Tip: A great way to prepare the okra before adding to mixture is to quickly sauté over high heat or flash-fry in a fryer. This will help the okra be less slimy.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Charleston Restaurant News Restaurant Openings

Chubby Fish to Open in Charleston This Spring

February 27, 2017

Already pegged as one of the most anticipated restaurant openings of 2017, partners Geoff Shyatt and James London are pleased to officially announce the opening of Chubby Fish, coming to Charleston in May 2017. Set to open at 252 Coming Street, on the corner of Bogard, the 1,300-square foot restaurant will highlight daily catches from local fisherman, expertly prepared in a casual setting.

So much seafooding.

A post shared by Jay Fletcher (@jpegfletcher) on

Shyatt and London, lifelong friends and South Carolina natives, have a collective 30 years in the restaurant industry, having worked in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Nashville. Their shared experience lends an air of promise to their first collaborative venture. Having identified a need for a reasonably-priced seafood restaurant with a chef-driven menu in Charleston, Shyatt and London believe that Chubby Fish will be the perfect compromise between fine-dining and a classic neighborhood joint. The restaurant’s counter-service model and open-kitchen plan allows guests to enjoy inventive, sustainable seafood dishes in an approachable atmosphere.

Chubby Fish (Facebook)

A preview menu is divided into Raw Bar selections, Small Plates, Entrees, and Whole Fish, complemented by a selection of seasonal side dishes. Early standouts include Chicken Fried Yellowtail Collars, Seasonal Pickles and Comeback Sauce; Hacked Softshell Crab Rice Bowl with Benton’s Bacon, XO Sauce, and A Slow Poached Egg; and Smoked Scallop Crudo with White Soy, Serrano, and Grapefruit. The menu will be rotating continuously, always highlighting the freshest ingredients available. An intelligently-curated bar program will include regional craft beers along with a few big names and an ever-evolving, boutique wine list.

Conceived in collaboration with Atlanta-based interior designer Elizabeth Ingram (Beetlecat, State of Grace, King + Duke, The Optimist), Chubby Fish’s 48-seat dining room will boast a bright, airy atmosphere with subtle nautical touches throughout. The space will have community-style seating, window banquettes, and an 8-seat chef counter. Future plans include a 16-seat patio for communal al fresco dining due in 2018.

A Clemson graduate, Managing Partner Shyatt has worked on some of the Southeast’s most up and coming dining landscapes. Most recently, Shyatt worked at Atlanta’s critically-acclaimed BoccaLupo named as one of Atlanta’s best restaurants by such publications as Southern Living, Garden & Gun, and The New York Times. Chef/Partner London, a graduate of both the College of Charleston and The French Culinary Institute, was the Executive Chef at the Michelin Guide recommended NIKO Restaurant, The Hotel on Rivington and San Francisco’s landmark Elite Café.

Charleston, SC Quote of the Week

Quote of the Week – 2/26/17

February 26, 2017

It’s the best week of the year: Charleston Wine + Food! This year, I have a media pass, so I’m going to be attending every event I possible can (this would be one of those times where a cloning machine or time-turner would very much come in handy).

In honor of this awesome event, here’s a quote from Lin Yutang that pretty much summarizes what’s so great about the culinary scene in Charleston:

“Our lives are not in the lap of the gods, but in the lap of our cooks.”
-Lin Yutang



Charleston, SC

Slow Food Charleston Debuts New SnailBlazer Micro-Grant Program

February 23, 2017

Slow Food Charleston is committed to building connections between all the facets of the community’s food culture.  We recognize the importance of new local efforts and support the existing food traditions of the various communities and cultures that make up the Lowcountry’s heritage and its future.

The SnailBlazer Micro-Grants are an extension of the original SnailBlazer Award, awarded to Germaine Jenkins of Fresh Future Farm at the inaugural Snail Awards in 2016. The next awardee will be recognized at the upcoming annual meeting. Jim Martin of Compost in My Shoe will receive a SnailBlazer grant in the amount of $1000 for an heirloom pepper project which will test the viability of various varietals at his Lowcountry farm. Martin has been an avid supporter of Slow Food and his role as a mentor in Lowcountry Local First’s Growing New Farmers program exemplifies Slow Food’s investment in the next generation of farmers and the future of our foodshed.

Grants will be awarded throughout the year to help underwrite the costs of new or promising projects aimed at advancing Slow Food’s mission of Good, Clean and Fair food for all. Slow Food Charleston is currently calling for nominations for two grant opportunities. These opportunities are the $1000 SnailBlazer prize awarded annually at the Snail Awards, and a $1000 scholarship to Lowcountry Local Works Growing New Farmers program for one participant, which effectively cuts program costs in half. We are seeking nominations for both awards now. Find the SnailBlazer application here.

Additional grants will be awarded on a rolling basis throughout the year, made possible by community funding.  Are you interested in supporting SnailBlazer Micro-Grants? Sponsorship opportunities are available. Funding will largely dictate the size, scope, and growth of the program.

Special thanks to The Addlestone Foundation for enabling the launch of the SnailBlazer Micro-Grant program.

Charleston, SC Giveaway

Win Tickets to CHSWFF from Limehouse Produce!

February 21, 2017

Limehouse Produce, a proud annual supporter of Charleston Wine + Food, has wrapped a delivery truck again with a special festival design to celebrate and promote the 2017 festival. The wrapped truck features images from Charleston Wine + Food’s 2017 ad campaign. This year’s truck showcases a female eating a watermelon sourced by Limehouse Produce, and can be seen driving around town making deliveries.

Steps to enter:

  1. People that “Find the Truck” can snap a photograph
  2. Post the photo to Facebook and tag: Limehouse Produce and Charleston Wine + Food
  3. OR tag on Instagram: @limehouselocal and @chswineandfood
  4. Include the hashtag #CHSWFFLimehouseTruck

One lucky person who submits an image will be selected randomly to win four tickets to Sinister Siesta on Sunday located at The Royal American. The deadline to submit photos is Monday, February 27 at 4:00 p.m. for consideration.

Anyone can submit photos and there is also no limit to the amount that one posts to the sites. Limehouse Produce does ask that all photos are done parked and not while driving a vehicle.

To learn more about Charleston Wine + Food, visit www.charlestonwineandfood,com. To learn more about Limehouse Produce, visit

Charleston Restaurant News

Cypress Launches “Monday American Classics” Upstairs

February 20, 2017

Starting February 27, Mondays on Cypress’ 2nd floor mean dining on American Classics, where guests select from an array of traditional American dishes recreated by James Beard Award nominated Chef Craig Deihl. Upstairs at Cypress, encompassing the cozy bar as well, has always been a destination in Charleston for a casual yet amazing dinner, and now each Monday showcases time-honored recipes.  Paying homage to some of the nation’s most celebrated dishes, diners find a rotating selection of entrées and appetizers available at both the bar and dining room space on the second floor.

Every Monday evening, guests are presented two appetizers and two entrées from Cypress’ American Classics repertoire, including Roast Prime Rib, Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken & Dumplings, Shrimp Cocktail, Clams Casino, “Steak Night,” Fried Chicken, and more. Specials are available from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on a first come, first serve basis with limited quantities. Diners may even find guest appearances by local and regional chefs sharing their own classic recipes.

Menus will be shared in advance via Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.
Reservations are not available.


Brunch Cocktail Recipes

February 19, 2017

So one of my favorite activities every year is watching the Academy Awards with my besties from Atlanta. I spend the first part of the year trying to watch all the nominated films so that I’m prepared to have an opinion on which one is best (I still have 1 more to go, so I’ll hold off on my opinion until then). We spend all day prepping food (similar to the Super Bowl), and then get all dressed up to watch the show. It’s the best.

But no Oscar Watch Party is complete without some fancy cocktails! Here are a few you can whip up in no time using your favorite vodka (from my friends at Dixie Vodka)!

Dixie Firefly

  • 1.5 oz. Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
  • 1.0 oz. ruby red grapefruit juice
  • .75 oz. lime juice
  • .50 oz. simple syrup

Shake and pour over ice. Garnish with a fresh jalapeno

Beau’s Berry

  • 1 oz. Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • 4 oz lemonade
  • Muddle 2 blackberries in tumbler

Shake with ice and strain into ice-filled glass.

Dixie Shandy

  • ½ bottle Dixie Southern Vodka
  • ½ bottle Dixie Black Pepper Vodka
  • 5 cups cranberry juice
  • 1.5 cups simple syrup
  • 5 cans (16 oz each) dry hard cider
  • a few sliced lemons
  • a few sliced limes

Chill vodka, cranberry juice, and dry hard cider. Combine first four ingredients in a large punch bowl. Top with hard cider and slices of lemons and lime. Serve with ladle and enjoy!


  • Muddle 2 strawberries in tumbler
  • 2 oz. Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • juice from ¼ lemon
  • 4 basil leaves, torn

Shake with ice and top with soda (or champagne if you’re feeling frisky).

Charleston Charmer

  • 2 oz Dixie Mint Vodka
  • 4 oz Cannonborough Grapefruit Elderflower

Georgia Twang

  • 2oz Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • 4oz Nehi Orange Soda
  • shake with ice
  • squeeze of 1/4 lime

Cherry Picker

  • 2 oz Dixie Citrus Vodka
  • 4 oz Cheerwine
  • shake with ice
  • squeeze of 1/4 lemon
  • squeeze of 1/4 lime
Charleston Restaurant News Restaurant Openings

The Granary Officially Re-Opens on Coleman Blvd

February 18, 2017

ICYMI, The Granary’s new Coleman Blvd location (835 Coleman Boulevard) officially reopened yesterday! The Granary delivers Lowcountry-inspired American fare featuring seasonal ingredients in an expanded and casual new space. The contemporary restaurant mirrors the inviting design previously staged at Belle Hall with a stylish interior featuring dark wood tables, high ceilings, industrial chandeliers and antique farm stools. New to the concept is an extensive raw bar, a 50-seat bar area and an al fresco dining space out front.

At the helm of the menu is executive chef Brannon Florie, a passionate proponent of local farmers, fisherman, brewers and distillers, who takes pride in celebrating the community. Florie works closely with chef de cuisine Chris Wehking, an honorable companion who uses his extensive science and experiment-oriented background to test his hand at new curing and pickling techniques, leading The Granary’s impressive charcuterie program.

Florie and Wehking have created a menu that boasts a selection of starters, vegetables and entrees featuring familiar and approachable Southern components. Entrée highlights include the braised short rib pot roast, duck Cassoulet, and Shem Creek shrimp and grits, as well as a fried shrimp Po boy and smoked barbecue spiced pork chop. Lighter options include vegetable selections of kale with sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and a roasted vegetable curry cauliflower flatbread. A kids menu is also available.

The bar program, led by beverage manager Roderick Weaver, includes an abundant selection of wine, beer, cocktails and whiskeys. Guests are invited to take a front row seat at the bar for happy hour every Monday through Friday, from 4 to 6 p.m. and enjoy $2 off draft beers, $5 house wines and mules, and $6 select small plates. Overseeing the front of house, general manager Lindsay Lenehan manages day to day operations and ensures quality service throughout the guests’ time at the restaurant.

“Chef Brannon has been a long-time partner of mine and I’m excited for him to be able to show off his capabilities in a great new space,” says Steve Palmer, managing partner of The Indigo Road. “We’re confident in the team we’ve put together and look forward to sharing our restaurant with you.”

The Granary now serves dinner Sunday through Thursday from 4 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 4 to 11 p.m. On Sundays, guests can indulge in half-priced bottles of wine, followed by a Lobster Roll special every Monday. Sunday brunch is served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will begin in March. For more information, visit The Granary online and on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Charleston Restaurant News

Jayce McConnell of Edmund’s Oast Travels on a Five City Southern Road Tour to Promote Restaurant’s 3rd Anniversary & Upcoming Expansion

February 15, 2017

Head bartender Jayce McConnell of Edmund’s Oast will hit the road for a five city “Bitter and Then Some” Southern Road Tour to celebrate the third anniversary of the restaurant. He will also be touting the upcoming expansion of the soon-to-open brewery—Edmund’s Oast Brewing Co.—and the relocation, new name and focus of the retail wine and beer store—Edmund’s Oast Exchange. Patrons that attend the pop-ups on the tour can register-to-win dinner for two at Edmund’s Oast and a tour at the brewery to redeem next time they visit Charleston. One lucky person will be selected to win the prize.

Jayce will also be partnering with BevCon™, an industry-only beverage conference held in Charleston August 20-22, to promote plans for 2017’s event. Jayce serves on the national advisory board and was a founding member instrumental in creating the event. At each stop, beverage professionals can come and learn more about the event and register for a chance to win a free trip to Charleston to attend BevCon.

At each location, Jayce will be serving a special menu featuring some of his favorite cocktails from Edmund’s Oast. Stops include:

  • Friday, February 17 from 7:00-11:00 p.m. at The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill, NC
  • Saturday, February 18 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Nightbell in Asheville, NC
  • Sunday, February 19 from 6:00-10:00 p.m. at Bastion in Nashville, TN
  • Monday, February 20 from 4:00-10:00 p.m. at Saint Leo in Oxford, MS
  • Tuesday, February 21 from 5:00-8:00 p.m. at Porcellino’s Craft Butcher in Memphis, TN

Most events are open to the public and guests can order off a special menu offered. For the finale, Porcellino’s will be featuring small bites paired with cocktails for $75 per person.

Charleston, SC Events

Countdown to Charleston Wine + Food

February 9, 2017

So one of my favorite festivals in the Holy City, Charleston Wine + Food, is coming up in less than a month (*fan girl squeal*) and I couldn’t be more excited (obviously). This year’s event is shaping up to be bigger and better than ever before, and to get you excited for CHSWFF17, I’m going to be featuring different events from the festival each week leading up to the big shebang. This week’s feature is the:

Culinary Village

Charleston Wine + Food hypes up Culinary Village returning favorites and launches new events, shows, speakers, and competitions for its 12th year, including a Top Chef inspired Quickfire Challenge hosted and moderated by Bravo Top Chef’s Gail Simmons and Charleston’s own Frank Lee.


On Friday at 1PM on the Main Stage in the Culinary Village, guests will witness a true Top Chef experience as local chefs battle in a Quickfire Challenge. Competing chefs will include: Emily Hahn, Jamie Lynch, Casey Thompson, John Tesar, Sarah Grueneberg, Dale Talde, Joy Crump, and Keith Rhodes. This experience is included in a Friday Culinary Village ticket.

Three days of nonstop cooking demonstrations, tastings, special guests, and local artists are among the highlights of the festival’s heartbeat, the Culinary Village, and as always there will be plenty of new additions for guests to enjoy.

What’s new:

  • Top Chef Quickfire Challenge:  Top Chef fans will be treated to the ultimate performance and epic chef throwdown on Friday at 1PM.  Bravo Top Chef’s own Gail Simmons will moderate a Quickfire Challenge on the Main Stage.
  • Main Stage: A fusion of high energy cooking demos, music and friendly competition. This space is a melding of what was the Hands On Kitchen and the Music Stage. Full schedule available online.
  • The Corkyard: The all-wine addition that will feature wines from over 20 vineyards around the world. The Wine Retail Shop presented by Bottles is conveniently located in the Corkyard so attendees can take home wines they taste throughout the day along with accessories for the home bar.
  • Snack Shacks: Four new spots will be scattered throughout the Village featuring exotic twists on Lowcountry favorites. “Duck, Duck Goose,” “Grit Happens,” “Nice Buns”, and lastly “Beer-Battered + Fried” will make for an intimate Village tasting experience between chef and attendee.
  • Teepee Talks: Heritage Radio Network’s new, expanded Teepee Talks are returning with an additional second teepee for more chatter and fun that everyone can take part in.

On Sunday, locals are able to purchase a discounted ticket to the Culinary Village for only $75. Locals should enter their billing zip code upon checkout to receive the $50 discount.

For more information + to purchase tickets, visit Charleston Wine + Food’s website + join the Facebook event.

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