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Best of Charleston.....with small child

The only places I would suggest you steer clear of with a child that small are McCrady's, Circa 1886, and Peninsula Grill. The main issue is the dining rooms are intimate so they would have a difficult time accommodating the bassinet, and if she is fussy there isn't anywhere to go with her.

I have been to Husk and High Cotton when there were small children and it wasn't an issue. FIG is more refined so I would suggest asking the restaurant. Charleston Grill, while upscale, is busy enough that your daughter shouldn't be a problem. If you have a car, Fat Hen on John's Island is outstanding and blue jeans casual. I also very highly recommend Cru Cafe on Pinckney Street. It business casual and has excellent Lowcountry food.

I really want to like Hominy Grill but I just don't. It's good but not great and I think it's overrated. I keep going back hoping I'll discover that thing that I'm apparently missing, but I haven't found it yet. I would go to The Glass Onion instead.

Jan 20, 2012
cubert in Southeast

Charleston Restaurant Week Round 3: Anson

Where did you sit in Anson? We were in one of the booths and the lighting was so bad it gave me a headache.

Jan 20, 2012
cubert in Southeast

Can I really bake dinner in a toaster oven?

Add me to the list of Smart Oven fans. That thing is flipping AMAZING.

Jan 20, 2012
cubert in Home Cooking

The Etiquette of Communal Tables

I have no problem at all with communal tables. They're common in ski lodges and I thought it was fun when I was in European beer gardens. Some restaurants here have counters against a window that looks into the kitchen, which become communal tables. I usually eschew them in finer places, unless it's part of history of the region the restaurant embodies. We have an excellent moderate-to-high-end Italian restaurant that features two communal tables that will seat up to eight. I loved the communal dining in Rome and I didn't think it was the least bit off-putting. Some of my friends who haven't been to Italy thought it was uncomfortable.

Having said all that, there are times when I want privacy and when I do I make it a point to make that clear either in the reservation or with the host or hostess.

Sep 23, 2011
cubert in Features

Stand Up OpenTable and It Will Dump Your Ass

OpenTable gives you one strike and you're out. Or at least they did a few years ago when they suspended my account.

A couple of years ago I made a reservation for my anniversary, we arrived a few minutes early, and we were checked in and seated. Everything was great. The next day I got an e-mail from OpenTable informing me my account was suspended because I was a no-show.

When I contacted OpenTable I was told the restaurant must not have checked me in and if I faxed them a copy of the receipt they would remove the suspension. I paid with cash and didn't have a copy so I asked OpenTable if they could contact the restaurant since this was clearly an oversight. I expected them to say "He's made over 100 reservations and never missed one, let's give him the benefit of the doubt on this one."

Instead OpenTable refused and told me it was my problem and up to me to work with the restaurant to get a copy of my receipt. To pour both salt and vinegar on the wound, our local Restaurant Week was starting that night and I had twelve more reservations over the next two weeks that OpenTable canceled when they suspended my account. It was a mad scramble to re-book my reservations -- including having to shift some around to different days and get in touch with the various people dining with me -- then nearly two weeks of back and forth between the restaurant and OpenTable before I finally got it sorted out.

I was shocked when they suspended my account, and livid when they put all the burden on me. OpenTable has all the power and they wield it like a club.

Sep 23, 2011
cubert in Features

Can Eating Poppy Seeds Make You Fail a Drug Test?

My husband is a chemist in a hospital lab that does blood chemistry testing including drug screening. He said that about 15 years ago this was put to rest by technology advances that allowed the instrumentation to differentiate between culinary poppy seeds and ones processed as opiates. Some labs still use old equipment still that isn't as sensitive, but if someone is a habitual user it will show up as a strong positive. The technicians should know that a mild positive result is almost always from something dietary. A lot of the places using older equipment will send all positive results to another lab to get a confirmation of the result, or they have another instrument that is more sensitive that they will run it on. They don't use it routinely because it's more expensive per test.

So the short answer is yes, eating poppy seeds can result in a positive result. It depends on how much you eat, how frequently and consistently you eat them, and the instrumentation used to do the testing.

Sep 16, 2011
cubert in Features