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Mt. Pleasant, SC, best places

Should add 17 North Roadside Kitchen which has opened since I first posted on this thread. Brett McKee from Oak Steakhouse downtown opened this comfort food place. Went in late December and had a good meal. Husband's fried chicken was wonderful and better than my shortrib, but no complaints about the short rib either.

Someone mentioned how loud Red Drum is. This place is pretty loud, too.

Jan 07, 2010
msbo78 in Southeast

Looking for a good chocolatiere

There's a place in Mt. Pleasant (just outside Charleston) called Christophe Artisan Chocolatier that opened earlier this year, and their chocolates and truffles are wonderful. Also had some sort of caramel pecan petit four awhile back that was quite tasty.

Nov 06, 2009
msbo78 in Southeast

Bakeries In and Around Charleston

Baked, which is the second (and only other) location of the Brooklyn bakery, is great, but they don't sell bread. I'm also looking forward to trying Wild Flour, which is also downtown. Again, don't think it sells bread, but pastries and sweets.

Oct 22, 2009
msbo78 in Southeast

Mt. Pleasant, SC, best places

I've always had very good meals at Red Drum Gastropub. Friends seem to like the Greek place next door, but I've not been and am totally blanking on the name. It's been several months since I've been, but if you're looking for dinner, Jacob's Kitchen is pretty good.

For lunch/sandwiches/salads, Village Bakery (owned by same people who own Mustard Seed and Boulevard Diner) and Square Onion are both quite good.

And I've heard mixed reviews on Langdon's. Not really that it's not good, but that it's perhaps overpriced.

Sep 29, 2009
msbo78 in Southeast

Charleston: Casual/Outdoor Seafood Rec?

The Wreck is great, but you should call ahead to see if they'll be able to accommodate such a large party. They have plenty of room, but they're often crowded. They don't usually take reservations, but might for such a large party.

Agree that Fleet Landing is not good -- though it is kid friendly. I also don't think the food at the Boathouse at Breach Inlet is good. I probably wouldn't go so far as to say it's terrible, but I'm not going back and I'm not recommending it to anyone. And if you go to Shem Creek Bar & Grill, you're not going for the food. As with most places on Shem Creek, you're going for waterside dining.

Oct 27, 2008
msbo78 in General South Archive

First time cooking FLANK STEAK tommorrow! Suggestions/Tips?

Agree with everything here. My husband didn't slice against the grain one time and it was like chewing rubber. Five minutes per bite. When guests were over for dinner. Not one of my entertaining high points.

The other thing I would add about it being thicker and fatter at one end -- if you don't care about presenting one big piece of meat, cut it in half before grilling so you can pull the skinny end off before the fatter end.

Aug 13, 2008
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Charleston--Alluette's, delurking to rave

I'll agree with you on the price. Overpriced and small portions. I'm usually one to complain about how restaurant portions are oversized, but here, I agree with tennreb, they need to lower their prices or increase the portion size.

I'm also going to be a dissenting voice on food quality. My husband and I went for lunch not long ago and ordered the shrimp burgers, a daily special. They were okay, but far from deserving of the raves others have posted here. Worse, though, were the "hand cut" fries. Awful. Truly awful. Limp, greasy and completely unseasoned -- not even underseasoned, just completely lacking in seasoning. If the shrimp burger hadn't been so tiny, I would have taken a single bite and left the remainder untouched.

I really wanted to like the place -- lowcountry food with a focus on organic and local. Unfortunately, while I might be willing to return (with a little arm-twisting or continued rave reviews from other 'hounds), I won't be able to drag my husband back.

Aug 08, 2008
msbo78 in General South Archive

Chocolate Cake in Charleston

I had her cakes at the Food and Wine Festival back in February. Scrumptious. Wonderful, wonderful chocolate cake. Very chocolatey. My complaint about chocolate cake is that it usually just isn't chocolatey enough, that the chocolate flavor is a but muted. Not so with her cakes. And very moist.

Jun 20, 2008
msbo78 in General South Archive

Honeymoon in Charleston

If you can time it so that you'll be waiting for a table at the Wreck while the sun is setting -- wow. Gorgeous. You sit outside right on Shem Creek right by all the shrimp boats, and the sun sets across the creek, over the Ravenel bridge in the background. When I brought my mom and sister there, some dolphin kindly obliged and went swimming by right as we walked up.

Jun 17, 2008
msbo78 in General South Archive

Coming back to DC...

Had a very good meal at Vermilion on Saturday night (better than good, but not great). I got the $50 tasting menu (four courses). The highlight of the evening was the softshell crab appetizer. I've had softshells at a lot of places and this version was one of the best. They were perfectly fried -- crispy, light and not at all greasy. Served with a raw root vegetable crudo, and "green goddess" dressing. Ocean trout served on a "barley risi e bisi" (barley that was creamy like risotto with peas). Second favorite of the evening. Might've been the favorite, but I didn't realize how similar in taste ocean trout would be to salmon, and salmon's not one of my favorites. Third savory course was the worst of the lot. Lamb and merguez sausage skewer with a sauce/salsa with olives and feta. The lamb was perfectly done (my mom's was a little overdone), the sausage was dry and the feta olive topping was (not surprisingly) way too salty. To the point that it overwhelmed everything else on the plate. Dessert was supposed to be some sort of angel food cake, but I subbed in the brownie sampler. I'd say three out of the five brownies were really good. The other two were just "good" as brownies go.

The only real problem of the night was timing. The meal was paced pretty well until dessert. We waited a really long time. Long enough that they comped the desserts.

Despite the dessert snafu, everyone really enjoyed their food, so overall, the night was a success! Thanks, everyone.

Coming back to DC...

We're off to Vermilion on Saturday. Thank you, everyone, for all your input! I'll be sure to report back.

Coming back to DC...

I had totally forgotten about Evening Star. A nice, casual place, and a good possibility.

To jaydreb, Elyssa, and Ericandblueboy -- do you think Majestic's or Vermilion's menus have a Southern flair? I had thought of both of those, but that was a concern of mine.

Thanks for all your help.

Coming back to DC...

Hey, all -- I'll be visiting DC for an extended weekend this upcoming weekend after having moved away about 6-7 months ago. I'm trying to pick a place for dinner Saturday night. Old Town would be the preference, but can do DC in a pinch. Price point, moderate to moderately expensive (i.e., Tasting Room at Eve is out). I confess I haven't kept up with the DC food scene since I've been away, so I need your advice!

The one limitation is no Southern -- I moved to Charleston, SC, and we get good New Southern food, but that's about it down here. Looking for something I can't really get down here.

TIA for all your help!

Bake-when-ready Chocolate Chip cookie dough?

I do the same thing. I freeze dough balls on the cookie sheet. Once they're hard enough that I don't have to worry about them sticking together, I pull them off the cookie sheet and pop them into a ziploc bag.

Mar 11, 2008
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Heading to Charleston

I had a bad experience at Coast. I ordered grilled red snapper and it arrived at the table overcooked, dried out, and tasting overwhelmingly of charcoal. I'd skip if I were you. I had a pretty good experience in November at Rue de Jean (despite a lengthy wait to be seated). I'd go again, but it didn't wow me.

Skip Hymans and AW Shucks. Never been to Jestine's or the Wreck. I'm not rushing to try Jestine's given the negative buzz around here, but I hope to try the Wreck sometime soon. I'm hoping it'll outshine the other lackluster (putting it kindly) food on Shem Creek.

Never been to High Cotton. Had a wonderful dinner with the family Christmas Eve at Anson. Nothing outrageously creative, but all well-executed. I also ate at Circa 1886 and McCrady's in December. Both were fantastic, but I think I preferred Circa 1886, which I haven't seen much mention of on the boards. McCrady's edged out Circa 1886 in terms of creativity and Circa 1886 had the edge in terms of execution in my opinion. The two other people who ate with me at both places shared my thoughts.

I think Oak is overpriced.

Hanks was good the last time I went, but it's been quite awhile.

And in answer to your question about Shem Creek -- it'll probably take you 10 minutes if you're staying in historic downtown.

Jan 08, 2008
msbo78 in General South Archive

Why do my cookies go flat?

I was going to say overmixing too. If you can get your hands on a CI Holiday Baking 2007, they have three pictures in there of cookie dough: undercreamed, properly creamed, and overcreamed. Apparently overmixing -- in addition to adding air -- also causes the butter to melt more. So even if your butter was at the proper temperature to begin with, it may not have been by the time you were done creaming.

Dec 12, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Great Spanish cookbook?

I have this one, too, and I've been disappointed. I've made only two recipes from there, but both were huge disappointments. I couldn't even get my husband to eat seconds, let alone leftovers.

Aug 09, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Dessert cookbook for gift

I love In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley. I can think of only one disappointment from that book. And my husband's two favorite desserts are from that book: Little Lime Soaked Coconut Cakes and Sweet Potato Cake with Rum-Soaked Raisins and Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting.

There's also a lot of good introductory information (almost the first half of the book) about equipment, ingredients, techniques, substitutions, flavors, etc... in the beginning.

Aug 08, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking

I have tamarind paste. What should I do with it?

I'd like that recipe if you don't mind. Sounds good, and convenient since I'm trying to clean out the pantry (impending move) and have some tamarind concentrate to use.

Jul 27, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Vosges Chocolate Bacon Bar

I've also seen Vosges bars at the Balduccis in McLean. I don't know whether the other branches carry them, but it's worth a shot.

Maestro -- go now

Sietsema just reported that Trabocchi is leaving Maestro, and relocating to NYC. His last day at Maestro will be August 18.

I had a fabulous meal there last November -- like I said, go now!

What's a good recipe book/ blog for untalented beginers? [Moved from Not About Food board]

If you don't already, I would watch some of the cooking shows (not Iron Chef America, etc...) on the Food Network, or better yet, PBS. So much of cooking is visual -- knowing what something looks like at a particular stage or how to do something like truss a chicken. Things like that, IMHO, aren't conveyed as well in a recipe, straight instructional text, or even diagrams or photographs.

This is how I got hooked on cooking. I saw Sara Moulton cook something one day (jambalaya if you must know), and I thought, "Hm, that doesn't look to complicated, I bet I could do that." Watching someone else do it first made it much less daunting. Cooking with ma-in-law would serve a similar purpose (plus the added kissing-up bonus).

If you still want a cookbook, Joy, The Best Recipe or Gourmet would be my choices. My selections from Bittman have been hit or miss.

Jul 19, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Dinner choice: Central, Komi or Blue Duck Tavern?

I'm with the sea of people recommending Komi. I've been to all three, and Komi is far and away the best of the bunch. The food is fresh, creative and inspired. The service wasn't memorable -- both in a good and bad way.

I agree with other posters who've said BDT is overpriced. Admittedly, I went to lunch once there not long after it opened, so perhaps things have changed. When I went, though, I was underwhelmed. Everything was good, but the bill was still a bit higher than I thought it should have been.

I'm one of the few dissenting voices on this board on Central. I've been twice -- once for lunch and once for dinner. I didn't love the gougeres or the lobster burger, which are often praised around here. They were both good, but not as "love-worthy" as some make them out to be. I've had the shrimp burger and fried chicken. Of those, I preferred the fried chicken. The shrimp burger was a bit too greasy for my taste. I just think if someone else's name were on the door, they wouldn't be able to charge nearly the same prices for the food being served. (I'm sure I'm opening myself up to all sorts of criticism here.) Not to mention, I've had service problems both times I've been.

One final word -- Central is much more bustling and noisier than BDT or Komi. If you do Komi, plan on a peaceful, leisurely evening.

best brownie sundae or best choc chip cookie?

I used to LOVE their chocolate chip cookies, but I think they've gone downhill since they were voted as having the best chocolate chip cookie by Washingtonian. I never could get into the Firehook ones, which I've seen recommended here before. As for the brownies, MM brownies were wonderful the last time I had one, but it's been awhile. Some on this board love the Breadline brownies. My reaction was -- good, but not overwhelming.

Good yellow cake?

I love the one from The Best Recipe, too. Wonderful. A friend, who's unfortunately accustomed to box-mix cakes, ate it and declared, "Oh my, you can taste the butter and the sugar and even the eggs!" She said it reminded her of her grandmother's cake.

Jun 07, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking

Which snacks to beat pre-dinner munchies/diet sabotage?

Such a tough question. The same thing happens to me.

Some suggestions:

-veggies with hummus
-Laughing Cow cheese on Wasa
-popcorn (no butter)
-a few pretzels
-nonfat/lowfat yogurt -- I was just reading the other day that nonfat Greek yogurt has a lot more protein than other nonfat yogurts (but less calcium), so that might be something to consider.

Above all, watch portion sizes. Look at the portion size specified on the box/bag, take out just that much, put it on a plate/in a bowl, then close the bag/box and put it away. If I eat directly out of the bag/box, I always eat way more than the serving size.

I also avoid nuts and nut butters as snacks, because while they're a great source of protein, they're really calorically dense. I always feel like I haven't eaten much because the correct serving size was gone in a bite or two.

As for pickles -- they're great and low-cal, but they'll make you retain water like crazy. Something that can seem like a frustrating set-back if you're trying to lose weight.

And I always feel more filled up if I have some water (sparkling or flat) with my snack.

Good luck!

Jun 07, 2007
msbo78 in General Topics

1789 or Komi

Don't necessarily cross Hank's off the list because you don't do oysters. They have many non-oyster options. While I've had the fried oysters as an app both times I've been, I've never had a raw oyster there. One word of caution -- no dessert! Apparently the kitchen isn't big enough. They give you a chunk of semisweet baking chocolate instead. I guess this is just an excuse, though, to try another place for dessert. :)

I'll also chime in on Dino vs. Tosca to say that you should know they're VERY different places. Dino is a laid-back neighborhood place, and you'd be more than comfortable in jeans there. Tosca, on the other hand, is much more expensive and is a white table cloth place.

Central Review: Fancy Cheesecake Factory for People with Food Pretensions

And the last time I was there for lunch they told us that they didn't offer the gougeres at lunch.

1789 or Komi

I just had one of the best meals I've ever had anywhere at Komi. It is fantastic food, but there's nothing particularly "DC" about it. 1789, on the other hand, is old-school DC, but Komi's food is better. Depends what your priority is.

I'd skip Mie N Yu and Clyde's as other posters have recommended. Clyde's isn't a bad place for lunch in Georgetown, though, if you're wedded to the idea of Clyde's. Pizzeria Paradiso is, IMHO, a better Georgetown lunch option. Whichever you choose for your last night, maybe sub the other (Komi or 1789) for Mie N Yu.

I really like the food at both Zaytinya and Central, and both are very cool -- especially Central right now.

Whatever you choose, choose soon because reservations at both Central and Komi are among the more difficult in town.

Good luck and have fun!

Easy but a-m-a-z-i-n-g cookie recipe??

Second this one. I've never tried the toffee, but I just might have to now.

May 29, 2007
msbo78 in Home Cooking