Lowcountry Food Scene

BARRY KAUFMAN / PHOTO BY RUTHE RITTERBECK

WHAT’S TRUE OF WHISKEY IS TRUE OF THE WHISKEY ROOM: PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE

The thing about whiskey is that it needs to be aged properly. That slow buildup not only makes the flavors more robust and pronounced — giving them time to reach proper maturity and blossom to their fullest potential — but it also builds up anticipation for when the barrel will finally be ready. There’s a reason why just a little bit of time can make the difference between a good whiskey and a great whiskey.

MOCKTAILS LET PARTYGOERS ABSTAIN WITHOUT MISSING OUT

Want to cut down on your drinking in the new year? Many people are embracing the idea of a “Dry January” or “Sober Spring,” choosing to pass on booze either for health reasons — like medications that don’t mix well with alcohol or if they’re pregnant, for example — or to see life a little clearer, without so-called beer goggles. But your designated driver should have more options during a night out than a virgin bloody mary or sparkling water — and more and more restaurants and bars are happy to oblige.

At The French Bakery on Hilton Head Island, freshly baked, house-made, mouth-watering pastries, breads and desserts fill glass cases. Cinnamon rolls, chocolate-dipped madeleines and scones disappear in a flash. December is a busy month for the family-owned bakery, which recently celebrated its 20th anniversary. Marek Belka, his son Tomazs and daughter-in-law Ellie work especially hard at the holidays, much to the delight of their customers. Marek recently brought Chef Robert Plantadis, a French baker and founder of Bluffton’s Midnight Baker, on board to help expand The French Bakery’s offerings — including the creation of more vegetarian items. 

WINES TO GIVE AS HOLIDAY GIFTS OR TAKE TO GATHERINGS

The holiday season is upon us, and whether you are gifting to your friends, family or office colleagues or enjoying other traditions that remind you it’s “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” I want to share some tips that may come in handy as you select the perfect bottle of bubbly or other beverage to toast the holiday.

Hosting the holidays can be stressful, but with a beautiful table setting, good cheer and a few life hacks, you’ve got this!

Professional party planners live by a list, and using one will make your holiday celebration go more smoothly. Plan ahead, and don't be afraid to delegate.

BY CARRIE HIRSCH | PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

The motto of this family-owned business is “there are no strangers at Stack’s, only friends we haven’t met yet.” This welcoming philosophy continues as Randy and Debbie Harvey celebrate their 15th year this spring at Stack’s Pancakes and More. Their daughter Kimberli and her husband Michael joined the team five years ago. They continue to offer a warm and friendly atmosphere and menu items with high quality ingredients. The restaurant retains a Southern influence and generous portions.

BY CARRIE HIRSCH | PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

Founded by European colonists in 1607, Santa Fe is the oldest state capital in the U.S. which gave it centuries to develop a cuisine of its own.

“Finding new and flavorful things to do with red and green chilies are a big part of what we do – going back to the days of the Mexican –American War to see the origins of Southwestern food – big steak, chicken and pork dishes with chile sauces, along with corn and flour tortillas. I took our chefs to Santa Fe to learn about the history of the food,” says Marshall Sampson who purchased Santa Fe Cafe twelve years ago with his business partner Sean Crosby, now in its twenty-fifth year of operation. He doesn’t consider Mexican restaurants competition and says “I’m not saying we’re better than Mexican food - we’re just different. We have our own niche.” No doubt the chefs also took in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the works of Georgia O’Keefe.

BARRY KAUFMAN | PHOTOS BY ROB KAUFMAN

MEET SOME OF THE FOLKS BEHIND YOUR FAVORITE SUDS AT AREA BREWERIES.

Beer comes in a variety of styles: Thin and hazy, carrying the piney fragrance of hops. Opaque mahogany, topped by a thick creamy head. German lager. Czech-style Pilsner. Crystal-clear sour beer, dry as a bone and sparkling with notes of champagne.