Wining and Dining at Charleston Wine + Food

Nothing brings people together like great food, and of course drinks.  The ultimate social event that does this on a whole other level is Charleston Wine + Food, and I was so honored to be a part of their #CHSWFFStreetteam.  Sampling food from world renowned chefs is what I do best, and learning about the story behind the food was the cherry on top.

One of my favorites was literally a farm to table experience at the Fresh Future Farm Lunch.  This non-profit urban farm and fresh market is located in North Charleston in the middle of a food desert.  Visionary Germaine Jenkins created an urban oasis to grow organic food and independent grocery store for her community.  The four-course feast was veggie heavy which I loved, and created by chefs across the U.S. –  Executive Chef Todd Woods of The Oak Table (Columbia),  Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery (Cary, NC), Stuart Brioza of State Bird Provisions and The Progress (San Francisco), and Jason Vincent of Giant (Chicago).

The SFA Dockside Supper was a family style three-course meal held at the charming Cotton Dock at Boone Hall Plantation.  When I walked down the Oak lined pathway to the beautifully renovated barn I knew this dinner was going to be spectacular.  The SFA (The Southern Foodways Alliance) celebrates the diversity in Southern food and featured Angie Bellinger of Workmen’s Cafe.  This soul food neighborhood restaurant is right down the street from my house in James Island and I can’t believe I’ve never been there before. After trying her famous Mac n’ Cheese and Lima Beans, I know I’ll be regular.  Angie worked alongside a host of other chefs to create a meal to remember.

Just when I thought I’ve been everywhere in Charleston I discovered Runnymede Plantation for the From the Ashes event.  I felt like I was transported to another time when the only way to cook food was over fire, hence the name From the Ashes.  The exception was the food was gourmet and ran the gamut of oysters to woodfire oven pizza.  I sipped and ate the night away while listening to live music and watched fire jugglers by the marsh.

Charleston Wine + Food is right up there as one of my favorite Charleston events, alongside of course  Charleston Fashion Week.  If only we could overlap the two so I can get my food on in between runway shows.

Photography by Libby Williams

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Diggin’ on that Dandy

The yearly style frenzy, Charleston Fashion Week is exactly one week away and I’m so excited for the fashion marathon to begin.  5 nights of runways shows featuring emerging designers, established designers and local boutiques including one of my favorite stores, Dandy Boutique who will be on stage for their first time.  If you’ve read my blog before you know that I’m a long time collaborator with Holly McGetrick, the owner of Dandy Boutique.  I’m teaming up with her to style her retro-infused show next Tuesday night at Charleston Fashion Week.

To kick of Charleston Fashion Week  I’ll be featuring Dandy Boutique, Leo & Sage, and Maris DeHart on Lowcountry Live this Friday at 10am.  Tune in to see some sneak peek looks that they’ll be showing under the tents at Marion Square.

We couldn’t resist a photo op with this ’66 Mustang from Dream Classic Rentals.  Our friend Pierre has quite a collection of hot rods that literally stop people in their tracks. I think this should be the official mascot of Dandy, don’t you agree?

After our little vintage car shoot we popped into Carmella’s Dessert Bar on East Bay, and we were literally in for a treat, I mean countless treats. If your a dessert lover like me, Holly, and Libby of Plate South are, then you’ll feel like you’ve died and gone to dessert heaven.  Every sweet you can imagine, and other ones you didn’t even know existed live here at Carmella’s. On top of the pastry case filled with daily gourmet desserts, they always serve Gelato, Gelato Paninis (their version of an ice cream sandwich), 4 different versions of Waffles and Ice Cream, and a complete savory menu to balance out your sweet tooth.

 

This beauty right here is stuffed with maple bacon gelato, topped with whipped cream and chocolate covered bacon.  If you like Chicken & Waffles, then you’ll be a fan of this one. View more if you want to see more of these decadent desserts at Carmella’s Dessert Bar and fun pics with the Dandymobile.

Wearing Emily and Fin jacket $86, Emily and Fin shorts $60, Sunglasses $20, BC Footwear shoes // Holly wears Traffic People dress $86, sunglasses and bags all from Dandy Boutique

Photography by Libby Williams, Vintage 1966 Mustang from Dream Classic Rentals, on location at Carmella’s Dessert Bar

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Nibbles at Napa

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A couple of weeks ago I had the honor of hosting a lunch at the newly opened Napa Mt. Pleasant in Mt. Pleasant Towne Centre.  Situated across the street from the movie theatre, this is primo location.  Towne Centre is known for it’s great shopping, and having another quality place to eat is always an added bonus.

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I invited a few of my friends for an afternoon of tasty delights and as always great conversations.  We were greeted with mimosas, which is a nice treat in the middle of the day. I was joined by Erin Kienzle and Tom Crawford of Lowcountry Live, Liz Martin The Charleston Weekender, Libby Williams of Plate South, Jaime Huffman of Charleston Blonde, Dominique Mackins of Charleston Fit Foodie, Jenny Dennis of Skirt Mag, Gillian Ellis of The Charleston Blog Society, Emily Kotarski, Mimi Striplin of The Tiny Tassel, Melissa Bowman of The Blue Root, Venita Aspen, and Julianne Taylor of Taylor Burke Home.

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We were lucky enough to be treated with a 4 course meal that represented the fresh, local ingredients that their menu is based on.  Chef Ken Aponte explained every course in detail, and it was endearing to hear his story and the thought process that goes into every dish he creates. When you know the back story and what goes into your meal, I always think it tastes better.

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We started off with the fresh baked bread and homemade pomegranate butter.  It was hard not to have seconds and thirds of this.  Next up was the mozzarella stuffed meatball on top of a crispy polenta cake covered in pomodoro sauce.  I don’t eat beef, but this meatball really wanted me to change my ways.  Instead I got to trade in my meatball for another polenta cake, no complaints about that.  The 2nd course was the roasted beet salad with frisee, goat cheese, tomatoes and candied walnuts.  If anyone knows me they know I always order the beet salad, and this one did not disappoint!  For our entree we had the Maple Leaf Farm duck breast over a wild mushroom and fennel risotto with that distinct truffle oil that makes every dish over the top.

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With Venita Aspen, and Julianne Taylor cheersing to that amazing meal!

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We always have to take pictures of our food before eat it, especially when it’s this photogenic.

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The standing ovation was this “Chocolate Deathstar” as Chef Ken describes it.  Inside this chocolate work of art was a tiny ginger cheesecake topped with a raspberry gelée.  I almost didn’t want to eat it so I could take it home to my kids and just admire it for a little while.  It’s creative dishes like this that get me excited to come back for more.  Whether it’s a dinner date night with my hubs or lunch with the family before we catch a flick, I’ll definitely be coming back to Napa Mt. Pleasant.

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Warehouse tie waist shirt dress $70 from Asos // Vivacious Dress Pump in Indigo $28.46 by BC Footwear from Amazon // Blue Planet Eyewear Sunglasses $49.95 from Amazon // Chloe ring with diamonds $395, Madison ring with 3 diamonds $295, Sage earrings with diamonds $175, Silver Leah ring $25, Vanessa ring with diamonds $355, 3/4″ Paula cuff $225 all by Ash Hoffman // RMS Beauty nail polish in Beloved $15 from Anthropologie

Photography by Libby Williams

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Oh My Darling

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Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and with so many great places to eat out for that special night, it can be so hard to decide.  Well, hopefully I’ll make it easy for you by sharing my experience at The Darling Oyster Bar.

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V-day isn’t just for couples, it’s also an excuse to get all dressed up and spend some QT with your single ladies to celebrate each other for a Galentine’s get-together.  A few nights ago I joined my girl Libby Williams of Plate South for a seafood feast at The Darling Oyster Bar.  Even on a Monday night I like to wear a saucy little number like this dress from House of Sage that’s only $70!  It’s a great feeling when you can save a little money on your outfit, so you can spend your cash on drinks or that extra app.

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The first thing that grabs your attention is the beautiful decor in the renovated century old building that sat vacant on Upper King for so long.  The warm brick walls and original tile give it a rustic feel and the nautical, maritime accents bring it into the modern world.

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The first order of business was to order a round of oysters sourced both locally and outer regions like North Carolina and Virginia.  I know the raw bar is trending in Charleston right now, but you can’t beat parking it next to the window at the Darling while you slurp some oysters with a view.

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Another must try is the fries with the clam chowder dipping sauce.  If your saving up for your cheat day, this is the place to do it.  The combo of these two are decadent and so worth it.

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If you didn’t get your fill with the french fries then you’ll have to try the fried clam strips topped with cabbage, cilantro, carrots, sweet chili, avocado mayo.  Fried food isn’t that bad as long as it’s paired with veggies right?  My other favorites were the Tuna Poke and the Blue Crab Tagliatelle.

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Searching for more Valentine’s gifts and experiences that you and your loved one will enjoy?  Tune into Lowcountry Live this Friday at 10am for gift ideas from other local businesses Woodhouse Day Spa,  Luxury Simplified Retreats, Frampton’s Flowers, and of course The Darling Oyster Bar.

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And if you want to hint at a gift to splurge on, this lizard clutch by Taxidermy from Germain Dermatology is pretty amazing.  The rose gold rings from Gold Creations aren’t too shabby either.

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Dress by L’atiste $70 from House of Sage // Lizard Harper Clutch $795 by Taxidermy from Germain Dermatology // Rose gold hoop earrings $225, 14k rose gold ring with morganite and diamonds $1,250, 14k rose gold ring with diamonds $775 from Gold Creations // Sam Edelman Women’s Audrey Dress Sandal $109.98 from Amazon

Photography by Libby Williams

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Wine Down

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My friends know I’m not a big drinker, but when I do partake wine is my drink of choice.  Recently I went to Freshfields Village to check out 48 Wine Bar and sample their wide variety of wines. For someone who likes to dabble in wine and try a few sips to find out what they love the best, this place is perfect!  Their wine station gives you a precise pour whether you want a half or full glass.

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It’s not a proper wine bar experience unless you order the cheese plate.  This one was accompanied perfectly with berries and pickled veggies.

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The flatbreads are the way to go at 48 Wine Bar.  This one topped with portabella mushrooms, arugula, goat cheese, was drizzled with balsamic vinegar perfection.

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Freshfields Village and 48 Wine Bar always have something cooking and on Friday, February 17 they’ll be having their annual Art & Wine Walk from 4:00 to 7:00 pm.  Sip on wine while you take in live art demonstrations, peruse art work from local and visiting artists, and enjoy live jazz music.  A trip out to Kiawah is always a good idea, especially when there’s good food, drinks, and shopping involved.

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Sweater by Krochet Kids $58 from Be the Change Boutique // Jeans from House of Sage // Sunglasses by Blue Planet Eyewear from Amazon $50 //  “Kendi” necklace in Rose Gold, “Baby Moon” necklace in Rose Gold, “Jessie” ring in Rose Gold, “Suzy” skull ring in Rose Gold, by Ash Hoffman // Vans Sk8 Hi Moc from Sneaker

Photography by Libby Williams

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Hom Sweet Home

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I’m always on the hunt for the best veggie burger in town and I was so excited to try Hom’s on my 1st foodie adventure in 2017 with Plate South.  Hom is definitely known for their mouth watering burgers topped with unconventional toppings and remixes like the Pizza Burger.  I don’t do beef so I opted for the Earth Ultra made with quinoa, tempeh, peanuts, beets, carrots, onions topped with tomato jam and truffled vinaigrette arugula.  This burger was beet heavy, which I love and so different than any other veggie burger I’ve tried.

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And for those sweet potato fry lovers out there, this one will blow your mind!  Topped with roasted garlic, herb aioli and blue cheese, these were some of the most decadent fries I’ve ever had.  They made it to my top 5 fries I’ve tasted in my life – true story.

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If your into tater tots like I am, then you’ll love their homemade ones with with fresh herbs, melted parmesan and truffled aioli.  Yes, this is not your average school cafeteria fare.

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I love Hom’s laid back atmosphere, and the fact that you can play ping pong while you wait for your food is always a bonus. Hom has become a staple in the Upper King foodie district and now I know why.  I can’t wait to come back and try their Falafel burger!

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Sweater $62 from House of Sage //  Rings by Gold Creations // Necklace by Ash Hoffman // Bedford Woven ankle booties by Corso Como $69.30 from Nordstrom Rack // Python Mackie tote by Taxidermy

Photography by Libby Williams

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Feast Your Eyes

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Right before my holiday break I was fortunate enough to host a special dinner of The Feast of Seven Fishes at Vincent Chicco’s. Located on one of the most romantic streets of Charleston – Hutson Alley, this Italian restaurant is both grand and intimate.  The perfect place for both a group dinner and date night with your hunny.

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Before my feast with friends I had to swing by Dandy Boutique to see what new goodies Holly had stocked her shop with.  I’m so glad I did because I found this cute maxi dress for only $72!  The sunglasses and hat from there were the perfect 70’s accent to this dress. I can always count on Dandy for the coolest, most affordable sunnies for under $30.  They’re located on John St. just a hop, skip, and a jump away from Vincent Chicco’s.

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It might not be brunch time, but Candy Shop Vintage is serving breakfast all day with these Croissant earrings.  Deirdre Zahl, the designer of Candy Shop Vintage recently launched her Cafe Collection complete with a Croissant choker, poodle and perfume charms on earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.  If your looking for vintage jewelry or retro inspired accessories, then you’ll have to visit her shop on Cannon Street in the Cannonborough area.

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Being half Italian American I knew about eating fish for Christmas Eve dinner, but this 7 course seafood feast was on another level.  I was joined by Plate South, The Cocktail Bandits, Holy City Handcraft, Charleston Foodie Babes, Charleston Blonde, Southern Meets Chic, and Venita Aspen for a stretchy pants approved food fest.  The first dish, and one of my favorites was the Bacalao.  It was the perfect blend of textures with the crispy fried salted cod sitting on potatoes stewed in tomato sauce.

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As each course came out executive chef Aaron Lemieux came out to explain in great detail every dish, giving us a greater appreciation what we were devouring.  The Calamari Fritti was my other favorite with the lemon garlic aioli, roasted peppers, and balsamic tomatoes.  This was a Calamari dish I was glad I didn’t have to share.

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After the 5th course I was pretty stuffed, but I had to save room for dessert which was the perfect size for me. The Sfogliatelle was a ricotta and hazelnut stuffed pastry sprinkled with powdered sugar.  And that chocolate sauce on the side was the perfect amount to dip it in.

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It was a fun night catching up with old friends and making new ones at Vincent Chicco’s.  Now I’m looking forward to getting back there soon so I can try some of their homemade pastas!

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Dress $72, hat by San Diego Hat Co. $52 and sunglasses from Dandy Boutique // Croissant earrings by Candy Shop Vintage $60 // Boots by Corso Como

Photography by Libby Williams

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About Charleston Shop Curator

Charleston Shop Curator serves as a fashion blog and shopping guide to showcase the incredible diversity of style in Charleston, South Carolina. We continually strive to expose local creative talents from designers to stores. Here you can find all of the treasures Charleston has to offer, and more.

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