Lowcountry Food Scene

GO-TO ADVICE FOR WINNING WINES AND COCKTAILS

My friends, here we are again. Another year has flown by and we are staring down the barrel of the holiday season. So many presents to buy and wrap, so many meals to plan and prepare… It can be daunting, especially without the benefits of a festive tipple. But what should we drink? Here are a few tips to get you in the holiday spirit:

PODCASTS DISH ON FLAVORS, HISTORY AND CULTURAL APPETITES

Podcasts seem to be cropping up everywhere, covering every subject on the planet — and for good reason. They’re free and can be listened to on your schedule using an app like iTunes, Soundcloud, Player FM, TuneIn, Google Play, Stitched, Spotify, etc. And because most podcasts run about 30 to 60 minutes, they’re not a huge time commitment. Looking for a few treats for your ears? Here are a few podcasts to snack on — though listener beware: Some of these podcasts may contain salty language.

A CELEBRATION OF DELICIOUS FOOD, TASTY BEER AND SIPPABLE LIBATIONS

Traditionally, pubs were places to drink and the food was something to serve so that the clients could continue to indulge in more of the same. Coined in the 1990s, the term ‘gastropub’ is a pub where more upscale food is served.

Owner John Kelm II opened his 125-seat Original 46 Gastropub in April of 2017. “I’ve been involved in three restaurants locally and I have always wanted to showcase craft beer and bourbons. We have over 130 bourbons. Our culinary team is very hands-on and creative. What we are doing is taking pub food and putting a lot of love into it with better ingredients and taking it to the next level. But the thing that makes it really special is that we have a fantastic staff.” says Kelm.

Chef Wendell Osborne and Concept Chef Lee Lucier have that special bond that comes through developing recipes, experimenting with new ingredients and talking about and tasting food endlessly. “We want to be able to be a great fish house. It’s not stuffy food. We’re foodies and we all came from the back of the house and the food has got to be right. We’ve worked together for over seven years at Windmill Harbour. Wendell is from here and has a good understanding of what food and culture are here.” explains Chef Lucier. FISH owner JR Richardson’s father, Norris Richardson, built Coligny sixty years ago. The first quickserve restaurant was in Coligny - a simple, fried seafood and chicken spot called Fin and Feather.

Mouth-watering pastries and desserts are displayed in shiny glass cases – cinnamon rolls, chocolate dipped madeleines and scones disappear as quickly as they come out of the ovens. Macarons are lined up like colorful polka dots. The delicate macarons bring pure joy to the customers, which in turn brings pure joy to the owner of The French Bakery Marek Belka. “It’s a family dream. My son Tomazs and my daughter-in-law Ellie and I all work together. Ellie runs the front and Tomazs is cooking and running the kitchen. I used to be in corporate life so I missed a few of my son’s football games so now I’m with him every day.” says Marek.

Few Hilton Head Island restaurants can claim the history that Barbara and Vassili Maniotis can. They’ve been running It’s Greek To Me on the island since 1997. But their story really begins back in 1979, when the couple fell in love and got married. During their month-long honeymoon in Greece, Vassili’s home country, Barbara learned to cook traditional Greek dishes and mastered Vassili’s family recipes. Many years later, when the couple moved to Hilton Head, they opened It’s Greek To Me, which quickly became one of the most popular in the area.

Michael and Lauren Cirafesi are the owners of OMBRA Cucina Rustica in The Village at Wexford. They are pictured here in their restaurant with their sons (from left to right): Paul, Kurdt, Tim, David, Laer and Salvatore.

VIVA LA FAMIGLIA!

For Lauren and Michael Cirafesi, running their award-winning restaurant OMBRA is all about family. And for them, family includes not only their six sons, but also their staff and guests.

An interview with host and chief executive foodie Jesse Blanco

QUESTION. What’s your take on the food scene on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton?
ANSWER. The food scene in Hilton Head Island has always been a few steps ahead of anything else in this area. It is a large part of what made the island so popular. It's nice to have a big beautiful house on the beach or a place to play golf, but unless there are great restaurants, then it’s just not the same. What is going on in Bluffton, meanwhile, is nothing short of amazing. So much good food popping up there. No surprise really with the number of people moving there. I'm even hearing about restaurants in Savannah expanding to Bluffton. That will tell you how they feel about the area.