Tuesday, November 25, 2014

"Recently a young baker came to visit and asked how it was possible to have your own bakery without a patron. This is a very, very good question. I told him you can build anything yourself if you are willing to wait for it. And in that time you must work. You must work harder than you want, longer than you can and with such tenacity that you forget what you’re working towards. In that time you must hold one thing in mind ~ that you are not looking for money, you are looking for truth. This is artisan. This is handmade."

Via: http://smokesignalsbaking.tumblr.com/post/101842919273/waiting-in-limbo

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Charleston Food Tour: Highlights

Like Venice, Charleston has the feeling of a city once occupied, now reborn as a tourist destination. The College of Charleston incongruously sits in the middle, so your hip coffee spot might be on a fraternity row, and frequented by students in leggings rolling out of bed at 1PM.

The Southern food on hand is largely of good quality, as has been frequently described by NPR. Between walking the Battery and admiring the pretty houses, here are some food highlights:

Black Tap Coffee: Hardwoods, Counter Culture pour-overs, friendly baristas.
Minero: Sean Brock's taco spot.  You can get a Tecate with lime with a proper taco, but I would have enjoyed this more if it was served off a truck.
Husk: Sean Brock's flagship.  Extra Southern.  Nerd Southern.  Carolina Gold rice in abundance.  Salads were the highlight.
Recovery Room: Dive bar.  Upon asking if they had any house cocktails, the bartender muttered something unintelligible followed by "...mostly cold beer".
Faculty Lounge: Grad student dive bar with an impromptu dance floor.  Dark and hard to find (it looks like a shotgun apartment with no sign), which lent to its authenticity.  
The Ordinary: Mike Lata's oyster spot.  Thumbs down for food (the raw shellfish just wasn't fresh enough, and most had been imported from afar).   Thumbs up for ambiance/decor (tall airy ceilings with the pretention of an epic New York restaurant) and the kindly service.
Charleston Farmers Market: Many open air food stands here.  Highlight was Outta My Huevos.  Possibly one of my favorite chicken biscuits ever with almost a quarter pound of pimento cheese and pickled jalapeƱos on top.   Surprisingly few farmers at the market (probably less than at Durham Farmer's Market), and some were reselling SC produce purchased elsewhere.  I guess no one cooks at home in Charleston, you just go out.   
Xiao Bao Biscuit: Laid back place, simple, small bowls of food.  Hipster waitstaff brought the informed city recommendations and energy.  The highlight was the the black bean encrusted fried chicken.  
Artisan Meat Share: Sloppy sandwiches made from in-house cured meats.  It's one that we could have skipped, but I was still hungry.  Good picnic food for nearby Hampton Park.
The Belmont:  This cocktail bar brought the sexy though the cocktails themselves didn't convert the extra point.  Art Deco vibe.  Fun infographic-laden cocktail menu with legend (e.g. icons for sweet, sour, rocks, citrus, boozy). 
Gin Joint: Good drinks. Gross food (did I really need to pour the buttermilk over that butternut squash cornbread and eat the whole thing?).  
Folly Beach: A good place for snacks from home, especially Ninth Street Bakery Chocolate Chip Mandelbrot.

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