March 6 - March 10, 2019

Charleston Wine + Food

Tasting Notes

CHSWFF Blog

Beyond The Plate: The Art of Restaurant Design with David Thompson

When you visit your favorite restaurant or discover a new one, what do you notice the most about your experience? The food and drinks are of course an important part of dining out, as well as the service, but the architecture of the building around you can have a significant influence on your visit. For many new restaurants in Charleston, David Thompson of David Thompson Architect is the one who helps make the visions of restaurateurs a reality. David is the architect behind some of the most influential restaurants in Charleston, including FIG, Butcher & Bee, The Grocery and more. I had the pleasure of talking with David about how he started his career in architecture, why restaurant design has more in common with residential design instead of commercial, and about the stories behind both The Cigar Factory and The Ordinary. David will be talking even more about these two projects during this year’s Charleston Wine and Food Festival, at Flavor By Design.

  How It All Began David Thompson knew at an early age that he wanted to pursue architecture as a career (in 1st grade to be specific). It all started when a famous playground designer came to his school in Northern Virginia to create a new playground at a time where there was a movement in the industry.   “It was a revolution in playground design where they were going from the really minimalist, awesome metal playgrounds of our grandparents time to really elaborate maze-like wooden structures,” said David. The designer selected a representative from each grade to help design the playground, and David was the one chosen to represent his first-grade class. Although elements of architecture were in his genes (his father was a land developer along with a grandfather who was a house framer), this moment was what lead him to the career he has today. Upon arriving to Charleston in 1999, David worked mostly on development related projects like office buildings and strip malls, which didn’t appeal as much to him. In his next job, David primarily designed elementary schools in the Lowcountry (including Mary Ford, Malcolm C. Hursey, and the Early Childhood Development Center). Although this was a more rewarding experience, it was after he joined Reggie Gibson Architects when restaurants became part of his focus.   What Makes Restaurant Design Unique “Well, the interesting thing about restaurants is that for such a small project they are really complicated. In some ways building a new building from the ground up is simpler than designing a restaurant. Restaurants are kind of the perfect storm between residential design and commercial design. So you have all this attention to detail, craftsmanship and interior design that's much more like residential design, but in a commercial application.“ Even if designing a restaurant feels more like a residential project at times, the process is much faster. While custom residential projects can take years, the average restaurant for David Thompson Architect takes only 12-14 months - from design to opening. “It’s really fast and intense, which is fun but stressful.” Outside of the speed and intensity, there’s also a level of care and investment in restaurant design that’s not normally seen in commercial projects. During the process, an intense relationship is formed between the architect and the restaurant owner and operator. “One of the reasons the process its so rich is because it means so much to them.”
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    Uncovering the Past for the Present The Cigar Factory is one of the more notable projects David Thompson has been involved in, and for that project (like many renovation projects on the peninsula), there was a unique story behind the building that was important to preserve in its next life. “Our personal belief inside this office is that restaurant design, and really any design, is an opportunity to tell a story. So sometimes you have to make that story up - and a lot of restaurant design involves sort of a fantasy component. It's like a theater project. But it's better when it's real and it's authentic. One of the great things about renovations in Charleston is the story’s usually there- you just have to uncover it. Then it's all about how you want to present it - how does it then weave into the story of whoever's using space now? Because it's not just all about what used to happen. It’s what happened first, second, third, and now what is going to happen next.“ With some of these renovations, however, an uncovery and discovery process happens first, especially when a historic building is updated by others for modern-day use. The Cigar Factory was unique since its previous use was relatively utilitarian, which did not require much to be stripped away. The bigger challenge was preserving the architectural integrity of the building while also adhering to modern day building codes.  
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  “There’s a battle of compromise of how much can you do so without losing too much - and can you just make the best of it. I'd say a good example of that in Mercantile and Mash is that although the developer already structurally reinforced all the floors, they had not done the same for the columns. So you had these big, beautiful wood columns throughout the space, and as you start to add weight to them they actually were so old they wanted to bust. The knee-jerk reaction and simplest thing would be to sandwich them with all this wood and you never see them again. We developed this really beautiful steel strap that is basically like a girdle for the column- so when under pressure and they don't explode. And it's in the style of the industrial connections you would have found through the building. I don't think people probably realize that those are new, and for me, that's a win. I think it's great when that line gets blurred. It's not a copy but it's done in the right spirit to where it doesn't jump out at you with a flashing neon light.’’ The Ordinary, from an uncovery and discovery process, was a very different project. Prior to its transformation into one of the standout seafood establishments in the Southeast, 544 King Street was home to a branch of Bank of America. From the outside, you can tell that it is a beautiful building, but according to David, no one involved, from the contractor to Mike Lata, really understood how concealed the beauty of this building was until walking inside.  
  “When we walked in there was a standard office ceiling at about 11 feet with fluorescent lights, cubicles and carpet. And the only thing you saw that gave you any hint of something cool going on was the vault door that's still there.” Once they started removing walls, beautiful brick walls with recesses that matched the windows outside were revealed, and a stairway hidden within offices in the back of the building lead to the discovery of a mezzanine.  “When you went on the mezzanine and looked over the drop ceiling, you realized there are 10 to 12 more feet up there. And then you could see the ceiling that you see today - it had just all been covered up. It was unbelievable.”   The Importance of Local As David mentioned earlier, telling the story of a building through architecture even after a renovation is an essential part of the process. On projects like The Ordinary and The Cigar Factory, David collaborates as much as he can with local artisans and craftsman. During the discovery phase of a project, so much is revealed, and having someone nearby to “freestyle with” at a moments notice is invaluable, especially when the unexpected is revealed. “You can get online and find any number of reclaimed wood guys that will sell you beams from Germany or anywhere else - beams that look really believable. But it just doesn't enrich the process. And it also doesn't do anything for your local economy. As important as the design component is the localist perspective of keeping money in Charleston and supporting local businesses.” Outside of supporting the local economy, local artisans have a sense of ownership in the process that is hard to achieve when working with someone outside of the region. “When you bring artisans in and don't try to prescribe the entire design for them, and instead let them participate, you get so much more because they believe in as much as you do and it has their signature on it.”  
To read the original article, check out http://jaieats.com/blog/beyondtheplate.  
Illustration by Tyler Pate 
 
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Brunch, Please

Are you a pancake person or a waffle person? Savory or Sweet? Do you run to the mimosas or Bloody Marys? These are the ultimate questions of every brunch enthusiast. Nothing beats a late morning feast with the people who understand chicken on waffles is a necessity and pancakes without blueberries are almost unlawful.   Thankfully, Charleston has no shortage in brunch adventures to keep you happy and full all weekend long. Even better, Charleston Wine + Food is bringing Charleston’s brunch game to the next level with four festival events that satisfy all types of brunch goers.   For those looking to have a colorful + collaborative brunch experience #BRUNCHSQUAD is meant for you. Join the wonderful host Ellen Bennett of Hedley & Bennett, and her all-star chef co-hosts in a morning of prepping, making + enjoying a brunch that is sure to satisfy all of your brunch goals. Anyone looking for a soulful +  inspiring brunch, look no further than Harlem + Hominy. Take your time, sit back and relax while your tastebuds take you from Charleston to Harlem. A brunch event set among the oaks of Ashley Hall, each plate is full of soulful bites.   All the morning people out there, the loud + proud brunch goers, Queens on King is calling your name. Sip champagne and channel your inner diva with our guest Monica Van Pelt of Lips, Atlanta's Exclusive Show Palace for an early afternoon of entertainment you won’t forget. Calling all those looking for a southern + flavorful brunch, 1KEPT Breakfast is for you. Join executive chef Trey Dutton and his guest Allan Benton for this tasteful brunch. Filled with gourmet offerings, characteristic flavors along with cocktails and mimosas, this is morning worthy of waking up  for.  SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave SaveSave
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Cocktail Competition finalist: Morgan Hurley from Mex 1 Coastal Cantina

The beverage director at Mex 1 Coastal Cantina puts his own spin on the classic cocktail 2018 Cocktail Competition finalist Morgan Hurley has been a part of Mex 1 Coastal Cantina since the beginning. Getting his start at the Tides hotel on Folly Beach, Morgan made the switch to Mex 1 after his father, an original investor in the restaurant, asked him to join the team as the beverage director. Since his first night, Morgan has become a fixture behind the bar at Mex 1, creating exciting cocktails and training a new generation of mixologists. His competition entry “A Noble Hospitality” focuses on the soul of the tequila. Blended together with Aperol and pineapple juice, the tangy cocktail is served with a mezcal spritz and orange garnish. Morgan is proud that he and fellow competitor and coworker Shannon Standhart are representing Mex 1 in the competition. “Yes I’d like to win,” Hurley said. “But I just want to see Mex 1 bring home the title.” You can see Morgan and the other finalists of the 2018 Cocktail Competition battle it out at Souls + Saints: Día de los Muertos on November 1st. Tickets can be bought here.
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Local Love: Elevating Recycling + Compost Efforts This Festival Season

Reduce, reuse and recycle - a familiar eco-friendly mantra that we are putting a bigger emphasis on this festival season. Recycling has always been a priority of Charleston Wine + Food, but this valiant endeavour has not been an easy task. While the City of Charleston assists in disposing cardboard + glass after events, this year, we are also partnering with Smart Recycling to elevate our recycling efforts through a compost, recycle + trash initiative. Our shared mission is to reduce trash and generate creative ways to upcycle food waste from the festival. A significant amount of waste is unavoidable as a food + beverage festival, but we are excited to leave a greener legacy, one that recycles smarter, reduces the carbon footprint, and prioritizes Charleston’s environmental future. This year’s compost program will serve as a trial run to establish best practices for sorting festival waste. Our guests will see three bins this year, one for recycling, one for trash, and one for compost. Volunteers will staff each station to assist guests in disposing everything from merlot-stained plastic cups to remaining morsels of food. The majority of festival waste comes from the Culinary Village, so for this first year our recycling program will live in the village. And the best news?  We use biodegradable products, so almost everything will be able to be composted or recycled. Composted products take just a short 30-40 days to turn into rich viable soil, so within a month's time local farmers will be utilizing compost produced directly from the festival. The effectiveness of the Smart Recycling partnership will be tracked through the number of times each bin is dumped, with the hope that this effort will result in a significant reduction in the amount of garbage produced and an increase in compostable materials. Smart Recycling will train festival volunteers and help facilitate the trash + composting process. Our very own Erin Connolly and Lauren Turgeon are championing our recycling program, and shared this secondary goal of training volunteers to understand the difference between the items for compost, recycle, and trash to not only reduce festival waste but also help educate and motivate guests to continue recycling + composting at home. We are proud stewards of the land, protecting + preserving the beauty of the #1 city in the world. So we ask you to join our eco-friendly initiative and help us #PourIntoCharleston.
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Find the Truck

Limehouse Produce, a proud annual supporter of Charleston Wine + Food, has wrapped a delivery truck again with a special festival design to celebrate and promote the 2017 festival. The wrapped truck features images from Charleston Wine + Food's 2017 ad campaign. This year's truck showcases a female eating a watermelon sourced by Limehouse Produce, and can be seen driving around town making deliveries. Steps to get involved are: 1.    People that “Find the Truck” can snap a photograph 2.    Post the photo to Facebook and tag: Limehouse Produce and Charleston Wine + Food 3.    OR tag on Instagram: @limehouselocal and @chswineandfood 4.    Include the hashtag #CHSWFFLimehouseTruck One lucky person who submits an image will be selected randomly to win four tickets to Sinister Siesta presented by The National Pork Board on Sunday, March 5 located at The Royal American. The deadline to submit photos is Monday, February 27 at 4:00 p.m. for consideration. Anyone can submit photos and there is also no limit to the amount that one posts to the sites. Limehouse Produce does ask that all photos are done parked and not while driving a vehicle.
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10 Can't Miss Events Under $100

It’s crunch time people! With the festival less than almost a week away, those looking to purchase last minute tickets to the best events can look no further. Check out our favorite events under $100 here: Fowl Mouth - $95 This’ll be the best #partyfowl you’ve ever seen. Check us out at Cooper River Brewing Co. for all things winged fowl. Accompany your smoky snacks with fresh beer, wine, and deep bourbon cocktails at this low-key hangout that’s sure to kick off your weekend the right way! Dynamic Drinking: Making Sinsky Of It All - $95 For one of the best deals of the festival, make your friends jealous with this once in a lifetime chance to hear what Master Sommeliers and elite vineyard owners have to say about some of the best wine in the world. Sustainable and environmentally friendly wines are the focus of this panel, so sit back and get ready to have your tastebuds tannon-talized! Commodores + Admirals - $75 Think delicious party at Charleston’s hottest new late night hangout, The Commodore. Yummy snacks and craft cocktails to be provided by Roti Rolls accompanied by special guests from The Lot on James Island and Eric Warnstedt of the Hen of the Wood (Burlington, VT). Come dance the night away with us at CHSWFF’s hottest new event of 2017! The Ice Age of Mixology - $75 Ever wondered what it takes to make a good cocktail? Fresh mixers, elite liquor, and ICE, of course! Come to Proof with mixologist Charlotte Voisey to learn how ice can make or break a great drink. What The Pho? - $70 Oodles of East-Asian inspired noodles and high energy music by DJ Rehab, this event held at the Le Creuset Atelier is sure to go down in the history books. Imagine a dozen of your favorite local and guest chefs partyin’ all night long- chopsticks provided. The Business of Food - $70 With guests speaker stars like Chef Danny Meyer, Nancy Silverton, Ruth Reichl, Darcy Shankland, and Steve Palmer, those looking to get the inside scoop on the restaurant business look no further. Those already in the local food + bev business, enter code INDY17 and receive a $25 ticket! Namaste Bubbly - $65 Join us in the Cedar Room at the Cigar Factory for an exclusive yoga class taught by local favorite Cortney Ostrosky followed by Sunday champs and healthy fare. Round up your friends and let’s get fizzical! Pedals + Pints - $65 Bring your own bike or rent one from Trek Mt. Pleasant for a stylish, leisurely ride through downtown Charleston with your favorite brewmasters. Reward yourself after with local food truck bites and drafts; this event is sure to be snatched up by beer and bicycle lovers everywhere, so don’t wait! Iron Mixologist - $65 This live action, Iron Chef America-style cocktail combat is back and supported by Imbibe to bring guests the ultimate exhilarating experience. Enjoy exclusive cocktails crafted by local mixologists at Bar Mash and watch the competition unfold! Pecha Kucha + Wine + Food - $40 Join an all-star lineup of local chefs and restaurateurs MC’ed by Tradesman Brewing Company’s Chris Winn to be inspired by food + bev chatter and snacks + drinks. Get your tickets now for this 3rd time event that’s sure to be the opposite of boring. Didn't find the event curated perfectly for you + your crew? No fear! Find a complete list of all of our events with a simple click!
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Of Rice + Rum: A Middleton Tradition

The last day of the festival is typically reserved for the events we’re most proud of- annual traditions and historical dinners grace our Sundays full of pride and love for the Lowcountry.  For our twelfth year, we’ll be at the illustrious Middleton Place for “Of Rice + Rum” to learn from their specialists and a few of our own (Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills) about the centuries-old story of rice in South Carolina.  Presented by Mount Gay Rum, those dishes with a backstory will be highlighted by the oldest rum in the world from the island of Barbados.  Join us for an event you won’t soon forget! Keep scrolling to learn about our favorite grain’s origins at Middleton Place and what makes this ingredient so special.  Much of what follows is excerpted from the book, Beyond the Fields – Slavery at Middleton Place: Jamal Hall, a historic interpreter at Middleton Place, demonstrates the process by which grains of rice were prepared for market. Rice was placed in a mortar and “beaten” or pounded with the square end of a pestle to remove the husk from the grain. Fanner baskets to separate the rice from the bran were the final step before the grain was packed into barrels, made by skilled slave coopers, for shipment to English ports. At Middleton Place, the interpretation of rice cultivation has evolved from the display of somewhat romantic images by Alice Ravenel Huger Smith on display in the Mill to a demonstration rice field planted annually with a small crop of the famous Carolina Gold grain. Rice cultivation, although introduced in the 1690s, did not provide a significant cash crop for planters until the 1700s. As the rice industry grew, so too did the need for more laborers to work the rice fields, especially workers experienced in cultivating the grain. That meant the importation of increasing numbers of slaves from the western coast of Africa, an area stretching from what is now Senegal to Sierra Leone and Liberia. In this region the inhabitants had been growing and consuming rice for centuries. On Africa’s Atlantic Rice Coast, rice, along with seafood, was the major source of nourishment. In their clay cooking pots, coastal Africans cooked rice in various ways. One very special dish combined rice, spices, seafood or sometimes meat. These gumbos or pilafs (also spelled pillau or perloo), as we now know them, were introduced into this country by slaves and became staple dishes on southern tables. If you’re craving more, don’t wait any longer- purchase your pass to Middleton Place now! http://cwf.obviouslee.com/events/of-rice-rum/ Programing at Middleton Place includes a number of annual events specific to rice culture. On April 22nd and 23rd (subject to weather conditions), visitors will may join a costumed historic interpreter in planting Carolina Gold Rice – the crop that defined the Low Country. Presentations will also be given on the cultivation, processing and cultural impact of rice in South Carolina during the 18th and 19th centuries. Several months later in August or September, depending upon the weather and growing season, the rice field will be harvested and hands-on activities such as threshing, pounding and fanning the rice will be demonstrated. For more information, visit www.middletonplace.org  
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The Culinary Village: What To Expect

The Culinary Village is the epicenter of Charleston Wine + Food.  Three days of nonstop cooking demonstrations, tastings, special guests, and local artists are sure to be among the highlights of your culinary experience. Here you’ll make those festival memories you won’t soon forget.   All-day access to the Village is available with just one ticket, and if you’re from Charleston, you can purchase a ticket to Sunday’s village for just $75!  Talk about local love. Returning favorites are sure to please: the Artisan Market, Rosé Garden + Grilling presented by Chateau d'Esclans, Biergarten presented by Bay Street Biergarten, and The Hub are all the buzz for festival veterans.   But wait, there’s more! Be sure to check out what’s BRAND NEW in the Culinary Village this year: Top Chef Quickfire Challenge:  Top Chef fans will be treated to the ultimate performance and epic chef throwdown on Friday at 1pm!  With Bravo Top Chef’s own Gail Simmons moderating the Quick Fire Challenge, you’ll want to grab a seat in the front row. The Corkyard: Our new all wine, all the time, Corkyard will be open for those vino devotees eager to taste creations by over 20 wineries from around the world. Wine not spend all day here?  You’ll be able to chat with fellow wine lovers and drink your way to red, white, and rosé heaven.  Oh! And don't forget to check out the Wine Retail Shop presented by Bottles to take home some of your new favorites along with wine-o accessories for sommeliers + newbies alike! Snack Shacks: Four new spots for a tasty twist on some of our Lowcountry favorites.  “Duck, Duck Goose” will feature exclusively duck and foie gras dishes. “Grit Happens” will highlight our beloved Southern chefs firing up what they know best.  Strictly sliders are on the menu at “Nice Buns”, and lastly “Beer-Battered + Fried” will appear in the Biergarten for everyone’s inner greasy glutton. The interactive environment between chef and attendee make for an intimate Village experience. Teepee Talks: Heritage Radio Network’s new, expanded Teepee Talks are returning for an extra large second helping in the Village this year.  We’ve added a second teepee for more chatter and even more fun that everyone can take part in. Grab a drink, put on your conversation cap, and join the party! Can’t wait til March? Salivate on this for now: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s_OwSc8cNE0[/embed]  
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Festival 101

As we get closer to the festival (40 days to be exact!), there are a few things you should keep in mind as you begin thinking about your Lowcountry travel plans. Here are a few things any festival-goer needs to know: Grab your tickets...Your tickets to the festival are easily printable, but can also be accessed on your mobile phone!  Use the latter method for a paperless, guilt-free, and organized event experience - because we know you’ll be having too much fun to worry about anything else. Navigate safely...Whether you’re a visiting attendee or a lucky local, remember that parking can often be tricky downtown.  Take advantage of our partner Über and their fantastic app, they'll be your designated driver.  Our city isn’t too big to navigate if you plan on driving on your own or even if you’re strictly walking, just remember to keep a map of the city on hand in case you get lost! Dress in layers...Charleston’s bipolar weather time and time again proves to be just as unpredictable as it is beautiful.  Whipping wind or intense rays can ruin your day if you’re not prepared, so plan on packing an umbrella, your sunnies, and a cute hat just in case.  If you’re attending an excursion or an event outside for several hours you might also want to include a travel-size sunscreen to protect your skin.  All events are held rain or shine. Necessary gadgets...A few fun items can and will make all the difference for your festival experience.  Check out these wine wipes to get rid of any messy stains and keep you smiling bright; they’re perfect for wine lovers everywhere.  To ensure you can snap photos all day without running out of battery, pick up a phone case that protects and charges your cell at the same time!  Last but not least, comfortable footwear is an essential for those long Charleston days and even more exciting nights, so keep your precious toes in mind! Ask us...Don’t be afraid to ask questions!  The CHSWFF staff and our volunteers will be around the Culinary Village and at select events in order to ensure you have an incredible weekend!  Don’t know where to meet up before your excursion?  Have a ticketing question?  Just wanna chat about an upcoming event? We’re here to help! You can always call (843) 727-9998 or email ticketing@cwf.obviouslee.com for all inquiries! Pace yourself...Attending too many events in one day can be exhausting for jetsetters and chillaxers alike.  We want you to enjoy the festival in all its glory - so sure, have that fifth glass of wine (or 6th, 7th...we won’t judge), just make sure to schedule some R&R in that busy agenda of yours! We truly hope you enjoy every moment of your festival experience in the best city in the world, and don’t forget to stop and look around once in a while.  You won’t wanna miss this.
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And the winner is...

Congrats to Ryan Welliver of The Cocktail Club! His fabulous rumtastic cocktail, "Storm the Beach", was chosen to be our 2017 Official Cocktail. In addition to industry bragging rights, Ryan will receive a trip to NYC to sling drinks alongside Nick Bennett at Porchlight Bar, and a feature on ImbibeMagazine.com. Ryan and his custom rum cocktail will also be featured exclusively at the festival’s kick-off event, Opening Night: Rooted in Charleston, Wednesday, March 1, 2017.  Congratulations is also in order to Allen Lancaster of The Spectator Hotel whose cocktail, "No Bunny's Bizness", won Crowd-Favorite of the evening. Catch all four finalists at What The Pho? during the 2017 festival weekend on Saturday, March 4, 2017.  
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843 727 9998
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635 Rutledge Avenue, Suite 101, Charleston, SC 29403

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