Thursday, November 29, 2012

700 degrees is HOT!

So the server at Burwell's Stone Fire Grill asked me how I wanted my "Petite Filet" prepared.

I said "medium please, pink in the middle."

Actually, I cooked it to taste at my table.

The 700 degree Searing Stone that warmed my face - and the rare steak - let me finish preparing the delicious 9 ounce hunk of meat.

I sliced the thick steak into bite-size pieces and placed them around the stone and the sizzling continued.

I saw the chef also could prepare foods in the 1400 degree wood fire grill.

My indoor cooker at home heats up to about 400 degrees.

Dining out IS different.

I attended a media dinner tonight at the downtown location (14 Market Street) and am singing their praises.

My fellow blogger Joan and I shared a starter plate of  Pork Belly and Scallops.

There's a surf & turf combo I had not tried before.

This was after the Chef's Surprise was placed in front of us.

A tiny quail egg and caviar.

This was an evening of "surprises" and taste delights in an upscale setting.

As a blogger, I often take photos of my food.

Tonight, several cameras were out and people snapping away.

 I don't use flash because I like the look of shadows and textures in available light photos.

I saw major renovations had been made to the building since I had eaten there before when it was a seafood place.

Walking in I noticed the sidewalk had been built up and I was told the actual floor also had been elevated.

Flooding in that area had affected several buildings in the past and I see efforts had been made to make sure that doesn't happen here.

Smart move.

They're cooking with much higher heat than I can do at home and Chef Eric Huff is committed to using local foods.

Joan's entree was Cedar Planked Lump Crab Cake, grilled with persimmon salsa and remoulade.


We shared our filet steak and crab cake so a good sampling was achieved.

Yes, that's Joan with her SLR and be sure to check her blog for her views of our dining evening.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

We both ordered sides of Truffle & Red Dragon Mac & Cheese, but didn't get to it. They boxed it up for us.

Will make a nice lunch tomorrow.

Burp. (Excuse me.)

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Remember the classic movie "A Christmas Story?"

One of the famous scenes is how the family had their holiday meal at a Chinese restaurant.

Oh yeah, the goose with the long neck.

My Thanksgiving kinda happened like that.

My buddy had to work so we headed out around 7pm on Thanksgiving to check out the few restaurants that were open.


No, none would be available with turkey toppings.

An Indian restaurant was open nearby but we thought maybe we should try something new.

A small Vietnam place - Phuong - had just opened near my house so we headed there.

It was SO new (only 3 days open) that it still did not have a beer or wine license. I ordered sweet tea.

Obviously a  SOUTH Vietnam beverage.

The Spring rolls were wrapped around shrimp and beef and included flavorable basil.

I was so hungry I skipped photos of the meal but it was tasty pork chops on top of steamed rice and a small salad.

The cup of fish sauce added some additional flavor when I drizzled it over the meat.

We agreed the meal was worthy of another visit in the future.

The lady who took our order did not speak much English but we later found she was the owner.

Her son came over to speak with us and to answer any questions we had.

The college-aged young man said he was helping the family-run eatery get up and running.

He told us that on the planned opening day, there were delays getting the CO (Certificate of Occupancy) and it was received literally a few minutes before they opened the doors to the first diners. Whew.

Years ago, on a trip to Montreal,  I saw a replica of the leg-in-a-stocking lamp that Ralphie's dad received as a present.

I laughed out loud and could see why the Mom was not too eager to have it shining in their home.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

This holiday season, be sure to look for this classic film. Funny and nostalgic.

And think twice about giving a youngster a BB gun as a present.

Take your family for a Christmas meal at an Asian restaurant.

Try the pork chops and sweet tea. And Pho.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Face IS Familiar....

I'm sure that everyone who has ever traveled to see the Mt. Rushmore site has taken a picture like this.

Using Photoshop, I tried to create a granite effect on the added face.

And he's not even an American!

Geoff  Marshall was on an extended visit to South Carolina from England.
He stayed here several years.

He is an excellent videographer who taped and produced a delightful travelogue of his drive though all of the contiguous states before he headed back to London.

50 for 50 - Yes, he had already visited Hawaii and Alaska.

I met him through my blog and followed his antics as he shot/edited videos for the Post & Courier during Spoleto.

A funny bloke, Geoff also trained up through several levels of improv  classes offered by Theatre 99.
Through the wonders of the internet, we have chatted a few times since he returned to the UK.

I remembered the altered photo of him in the Dakotas and sent him a copy today.

Thought I'd share the effect with you as well.

Actually, when I watch Craig Ferguson on the CBS Late, Late Show, he reminds me of Geoff.

No, NOT the skeleton robot sidekick named Geoff.

 Craig bears a facial resemblance to the Geoff I know.

But Craig is from Scotland. And doesn't like the British very much. But he likes Geoff.

This is getting confusing.

(Click on the photos to see more detail.)

There are only four faces at Mount Rushmore.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Tuesday so it must be movie night...

The subdued, understated Regal Charles Towne Square 18 Theater sits quietly in North Charleston.

But Tuesday is becoming a busy night.

ALL 18 screens with ALL the movies showing are $6.

Yep. A flat 6 smackers for us Seniors and all you Juniors.

Family of four = $24. Money left over for refreshments at the snack bar.

I've been doing this for several weeks now. One night I even received a coupon for a free popcorn. Yikes.

There are other Regal Theaters in the area but ONLY this one makes this offer.

I did see a sign taped to the box office window that said Christmas and New Year's would NOT be included in the $6.00 offer. Huh?

Oh, both holidays fall on a Tuesday this year.

And, hey, if that's not enough, there's Cowboy Brazilian Steak House  opening next month, across the parking lot, next to City Hall.

But, wait, there's more!

It's possible that a well known singer sneaks into this North Charleston area to enjoy her seafood treats.

Not naming names but her initials stand for Jennifer Lopez.

The web listings for the Regal Theaters don't seem to mention this unique Tuesday special. I always call first before I head over there.

Be a good idea to do that.

(Click on the pictures to see more details.)

Even theaters that offer a special rate for matinees - before 6pm - are not as low as this.

My Loyalty card for Regal still earns me points for each show.

I can't afford to stay home.

Especially if I skip lobster. Sorry J. Lo.

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Top Drawers Entertainment...

OK. Let's just start...toward the end.

Nathan Palmer is the lead singer for Truckstop Preachers.

He led his band in an "open" manner last night at Tin Roof. Yes, his pants are down around his ankles.

Most of the set he was whipping his shirt on and off so the drop trou was a natural progression.

On my blog in the past,  I have shown a totally nude guy on stage, so this stopped just short of that extreme exposure.

Nathan had fun. We all did.

We were warned by the opening act The Defilers that Nate was "sorta touchy-feely" with the audience. Arleigh Hertzler, lead singer for the opener, said they would stick around .... but at a safe distance.

The band is from Charlotte and were in town to play a wedding at Folly Beach today (Saturday).

Man, that must have been SOME beach party!

Nate sang  Cash, Elvis and Buck Owens songs while holding up over-sized poster faces.

He explained the shirt he kept taking off and putting back on, was handmade by his 92-year old grandmother.

She died unexpectedly, he added.

Had not seen this group before so the antics may have been performance art rather than alcohol-induced.

Either way, the crowd seemed to enjoy his coming off stage and groping the fans.

A lot of booze and beer WAS being consumed so maybe the good feelings were shared.

Arleigh of the Defilers came back onstage for the final number together.

He was wearing his signature tattered straw hat and Nathan wore his ripped shirt.

Nate announced they had a good time and probably would just call in sick to the wedding.

I hope he was kidding.

(Click on the photos for more details.)

The Tin Roof is a great spot for "different" types of music.

Every time I go there, I tell them they are terrific.

Check it out.

I got permission to pop in the back door onto the stage, crouch down and take a shot of the Defilers while they were performing.

That was cool.

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Just Skip The Sunset.....

 I had just showed a buddy my version of shooting a sunset.

Yes, a tripod is required.

He wanted my advice and it was a slightly cool evening so we put on jackets and headed out in West Ashley.

I warned him there were very few clouds so I knew the effect would not be spectacular.

Turns out, that was not the problem.

As the sun sank lower, we attached his camera to the tripod and I suggested lens and shutter settings to get him started.

The message on the back of his camera immediately flashed "Replace Batteries."

He answered my query with "No, I don't have any spares. I thought these were good ones."

We tried a few shots with my camera in the fading light.

However, the best way to teach is to have him  do it on his own camera so we packed it in for the night.

And realized we were hungry.

We passed a stunning building  on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard that I believe had just opened and stepped in.

The entire place - inside and out - had been transformed.

I later found out it's by the same people who do Tristan on the Market downtown.

There was extensive use of wood - which I really like - and splashy colors.

My eye went to a whole wall covered with plates, cups and saucers.

Probably some pots and pans as well.

I saw some spoons too.

After admiring the view, I remembered why we had stopped.

We were hungry and thirsty.

A cold craft beer and tasty appetizers (Jerk- rubbed baked chicken wings) got us started.

Then came probably the best Reuben sandwich I've ever had.

The place started filling up and I asked how long they had been opened.

"It's been three weeks, " the smiling and helpful wait person answered.

We had missed a glorious sunset but had found a place I'll go back to when I'm in the area.

Maybe even drive crosstown to sample the delicious food and the delightful surroundings.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

The chicken wings include both parts so it's like a double order.

Eat more chikken.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Somethin' Cookin' In The Kitchen...

My kitchen is large and looks nice.

Most visitors remark on its size and how much room I have to roam around as I cook.

Living alone, I don't really "cook."

Sam's Club and I have worked out a plan that does well for me.

I defrost and then microwave.

But I digress.

The good looking bright yellow kitchen paint needed some touch-ups on the walls.

Oops, I remembered tossing away many, many cans of paint last year during a massive cleaning downstairs.

Including the "mom's kitchen yellow" one.

The nice young lady in the paint department at Lowe's showed me MANY samples of "yellow."

I described the floor, cabinets and table and she suggested I paint the walls blue.

Because the walls have been some shade of specially-mixed yellow since 2004, I opted instead for a color in the same "family."

I bought several gallons of Burnt Orange.

Well, Valspar says it's Toffee Cream.

Whatever the name, the room started to look dramatically different after I did all the prep work and started applying paint.

Stunningly different.

The familiar pale yellow look of the kitchen has started on a path of change.

The saleslady told me the obvious - a darker look needs to be offset by lighter, brighter accent colors.

Well, all the trim is white as are the cabinets.

I bought some matching Valspar glossy white to freshen around the doors and windows as well as the floor trim next to the wood flooring.

The fridge, washer and dryer all are white so the room should NOT be gloomy.

The blinds, though brown, are actually bamboo and light comes through nicely.

All in all, I think the new look will be good.

After cleaning the brushes in warm soapy water and making sure everything was sealed and ready for Day 2, I was watching a little tv before going to bed and heard scratching.

Yikes,  I had put the cat in the spare bathroom so she wasn't underfoot.

I didn't want her knocking over the paint can or stepping in paint and tracking it around.

She didn't want to be away from the action any longer so I let her out and she inspected the kitchen thoroughly.

Hope she doesn't realize she'll be back in the bathroom later today.

She'll catch on when I take her bowl of Kibble in there. She already knows where to get water.

"Orange" you glad I take care of her?

(Groan and click on the pictures for more detail.)

During the clean up when I disposed of many cans of touch-up paint, I also tossed all of my drop cloths.

Masking tape and newspapers took care of Day 1.

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Some Capital Blues....

WOMP* did it again..

The 18th annual Columbia Blues Festival on Saturday at Five Points featured Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang as the headliner act.

The star's son - Eddie Vaan Shaw - appeared with his now-familiar 3- neck guitar.

I just noticed the top neck is a 12-string and the others are "regular" 6-string.

He plays all of them great.

His Dad was in fine voice and played the sax and sang with hearty gusto.

*Word Of Mouth Prods has been putting this free concert together since 1994 and announced they plan to create a 19th and a 20th.

At least.

We drove past a lot of bars and eateries coming through Columbia but didn't stop.

We used the sponsor booths for our drinking and eating at the concert site in Martin Luther King Park.

Each year we are reminded the "Free" event is made possible by the generous help from the community and sponsors.

I was proud to help by drinking Yeungling Ambers and having a hot slice of pizza from the Village Idiot for lunch.

Another tent - downwind - was grilling tasty hamburgers with all the fixin's  and you can't ignore that aroma too long.

Made a nice late supper. With a homemade brownie for dessert.

Tom Principato, down from Washington, DC performed his 90-minute set just before the closing headliner.

He announced they had CDs at the merchandising tent, along with t-shirts, etc.

"Come buy a CD and I'll sign it for you. We have 17 titles, " Tom said.

Dang, a long-time pro. Some bands don't even know 17 SONGS!

Earlier in the day we watched a Savannah-based trio called Swamp Cabbage.

Good blues music and great banter from the leader Walter Parks.

He often stepped down from the stage to play atop the row of sturdy speakers.

It was a beautiful day and the sound system was excellent.

I had forgotten my hat and tried to find a shady spot.

As the day went on, the shade was moving away from the edge where I sat.

A fellow nearby offered me some of his 30 SPF sun screen. It was a family-friendly crowd.

One lady spent the day enjoying the music and grooming her HUGE curly-haired dog.

It was about the size of the giant stuffed main prize at a fair's midway booth.

She - and her friendly pet- were a winning couple.

(Click on the photos to see more detail.)

This was my third trip up to the festival.

It's timed each year for the USC football day-off  weekend.

Wonder how many players came to listen to the music?

Didn't see anybody in uniform.

Please click

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Thursday, November 01, 2012

Bonsoir, Mesdames et Messeurs.....

 You go to the Pour House on James Island for many different types of music.

Touring national acts such as Taj Mahal and Leon Russell.

Regional stars like Tinsley Ellis.

Assorted Jam Bands and even up-and-coming local performers.

But, the night before Halloween, I went to brush up on my Cajun French.

C'est bon.

The Lost Bayou Ramblers are on tour and dodged Hurricane Sandy by being safely down in the south instead of up in New York. Huh?

Sounds crazy and mixed up but they announced they were next heading to Brooklyn. They said they will call first to make sure it was still a viable venue.

The group was started in Pilette, LA by the Michot brothers.

 Louis on violin and vocals and Andre on Cajun "Squeezebox" (aka Acadian single-row diatonic button accordion.)

The bass player is Cavan Curruth and the drummer is known as Deathwish

His real name is Pauley Etheredge but the band heard it differently and call him "Death" for short.

They don't call him that while going through airport security.

Click the link to hear the music and the Cajun French vocals. Sing along as a few did at the PoHo.

The beat made the dancers in the crowd VERY happy and energetic

Strictly speaking it was not "just" Cajun or Zydeco.

Lots of that of course but also a blend of  Punk Rock, Jazz and even some French Rap.

The tinkling of tiny (and large) triangles was a counterpoint as was Andre with his laptop guitar.

It emitted a series of tones rather than slide-type  guitar notes.

Sort of a bayou didgeridoo with strings rather than a wind instrument.

They announced their long-awaited vinyl record had just been released so check that out.

It was a quiet, chilly Tuesday  and I think the promise of a French-speaking evening with a band from Louisiana is what brought us out to the Pour House.

Being the Eve of Halloween meant a few patrons showed up in costume.

Yes, that was a green-haired bumblebee sitting on the front of the stage during the break.

The band came back for a full second set and the bee went buzzing.

(Click on the pictures for more details.)

Halloween was a bust again at my house the next night.

No kids stopped by and I am forced to eat the candy I bought.

Luckily I buy the kind I like.


(Please click

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