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restaurants

Little Jack’s Tavern
Mar
28

About this time last year, we opened Little Jack’s Tavern, an old-school, timeless American tavern serving classic cocktails, great burgers and steaks, fresh and raw seafood, and beautiful vegetables and salads. I had the privilege of working with partner Brooks Reitz and chef John Amato on multiple tastings and testings in the months leading up to opening, and we were excited to share the bounty with Charleston. Since then, the team at Little Jack’s has won accolades and awards from local and national publications and festivals, and most importantly have developed a loyal following and constant influx of new fans. Here’s to many more years of success!

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New Restaurants
Feb
16

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This spring, I’m opening three restaurants (with more to come) along the beaches of the Florida panhandle, on beautiful highway 30a between Alys Beach and Seaside, with two partners, a great chef, and a growing, talented team. The venue is called the Hub, and the restaurants are Red’s Chicken Shack (fried and roasted chicken, homemade biscuits, house made pickles, beautiful fresh salads), Crave Roadside Burgers (grass fed beef burgers on delicious buns from H&F bread in Atlanta, fries, hot dogs, house made pickles, and vegetarian / vegan options), and Mile Marker Fifteen, a Southwest / Southern spot serving tacos, tequila, and more. Over the past months I’ve been working with our chef, Nick Walton, to develop the menus and recipes, and source the best, hiqhest quality, most flavorful ingredients we can find. To see more and follow our progress, please check us out and like our facebook page at The Hub 30A.

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Eating Portland: Empire Chinese Kitchen
Aug
15

Empire_dumplingsMy final stop in Portland last week was Empire Chinese Kitchen, a Chinese restaurant right downtown, that calls itself “Portland’s first deluxe Chinese Restaurant.” They specialize in dim sum, and also do great renditions of traditional Chinese soul food — but with a strong preference for cooking with the bounty of Maine’s local produce and seafood.

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Eating Portland: Fore Street
Aug
15

ForeStreet_raw_croppedI could  go on and on about my recent culinary shotgunning of Portland, Maine. Here’s a quick snapshot of a beloved spot in Portland that’s doing great things with the best ingredients from the waterways and farms nearby.

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Eating Portland: Miyake
Aug
02

miyake_girl (1 of 1)After teaching two cooking classes at Stonewall Kitchen’s Cooking School last week, I drove up to Portland for three days and two nights of, bascially, eating.

I kind of fell in love with Portland, and  its progressive, rugged, Nordic feel, cool summer weather, beautiful harbor and island views, and packed, pedestrian-friendly urban scene brimming with amazing restaurants, both high and low.

There’s all kinds of eating in Portland, but I especially sought out Maine seafood, and beautiful local produce which was at its peak.

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Eating Raleigh: Poole’s Downtown Diner and Joule Coffee
Jul
12

Poole's_tomato_saladJames Beard award-winning chef and restaurantrepreneur Ashley Christensen is on a roll in downtown Raleigh. After winning Best Chef: Southeast this year, her flagship restaurant Poole’s Downtown Diner is humming, as are her four other places: Beasley’s Chicken + Honey (specializing in fried chicken), Chuck’s (specializing in burgers), Fox Liquor Bar (specializing in being a great bar), and Joule Coffee (a farm-y breakfast spot). Christensen has three new projects in he works a few blocks away: Death and Taxes, a wood-fired-inspired restaurant, Bridge Club, an event space and cooking classroom, and Aux, a commissary kitchen that will serve all of Christensen’s venues.

This week I had a couple of book events in Raleigh, so dropped by Poole’s for dinner,  Joule for breakfast the next morning, then walked through her other downtown properties. When I walked into Poole’s, I couldn’t help but think back to sitting at the bar with law school friends a decade ago at Enoteca Vin, the downtown Raleigh spot where Christensen got her start with Chapel Hill chef Andrea Reusing (of Lantern Restaurant, also a Beard award winner). We’d hang out with Christensen for hours and talk food as guests dropped in and out at a leisurely pace. These days Christensen is harder to pin down, bouncing between projects.

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Eating Charleston: Leon’s Fine Poultry and Oysters
Jul
10

Leon's_peas_edit-2Charleston, a town with many a restaurant opening these days, has picked up a doozie this summer. Leon’s Oyster Shop, on upper King Street, is raising the bar for casual (but impeccable) new Southern food in Charleston.

It’s all about simplicity, and the details. Brooks Reitz and Tim Mink have put their stamp on everything, from the seamless, warm design, to the way in which the three different fresh herbs in the Siam Salad are sliced.

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Bon Appetit: Charleston Towers
Sep
10

Here’s my recent article on Charleston’s restaurants featured in the Navigator column of September’s Bon Appetit. The culinary scene in Charleston and the South in general is blowing up, and this was an opportunity to write about that from a local perspective.

Of course, Charleston has long been known for Lowcountry cuisine, and that’s still the case. This piece highlights chef-driven restaurants that are using local ingredients but branching out into different cuisines, from Italian, to Asian, to Israeli.

In the article I profile hip spots like Xia Bao Biscuit, Two Boroughs Larder, Butcher and Bee, and FIG chef Mike Lata’s new seafood brasserie The Ordinary.

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Frying Chicken at Ben Thanh Market
Mar
29

In Ho Chi Minh City, one of the best markets I visited was Ben Thanh, right in the heart of the city. Here’s a shot from that market, taken about 10 am when a group of women was busy frying chicken for the impending lunch hour. The food counters at Ben Thanh were tightly packed together in the center of the market, beckoning customers, and selling everything from spring rolls, to pho, to fried chicken, to fresh juices. The shot illustrates one of the many commonalities between Southern cooking, and the cooking of tropical and temperate climates around the globe, like Vietnam.

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