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The Pat Conroy Cookbook is more than just that. It’s a virtual ‘Ode to Joy.’ Read it; cook from it. You will eat better than you ever have in your life, and will know more about Pat Conroy, perhaps, than he would ever tell you.” – Anne Rivers Siddons

The news of author Pat Conroy’s death just yesterday evening (March 4, 2016), has wrecked me. Pancreatic cancer took him from us at the age of 70. To feel such a connection to a man I’ve never met, never looked in the eye or shook hands with is surreal. As we take in the tragic loss of one of the greatest writers to ever grace this earth, that feeling of closeness and sense of shared place is exactly what so many of Conroy’s fans are experiencing. Continue reading “Farewell to The Great Pat Conroy”

Mastering the Art of the Fried Chicken Sandwich

Boxcar Betty’s sits right off of Hwy 17 on the left headed toward Folly Beach.

Boxcar Betty’s 
Charleston, South Carolina

“This place is like a fancy Chick-fil-A,” said Kurt, my good lookin’ husband, as he took a juicy bite of his “Build Your Own” fried chicken sandwich at Boxcar Betty’s on Saturday afternoon. Kurt has a way of putting everything in layman’s terms, so there’s no mistaking the meaning. I thought his perception was spot on, as this “purveyor of gourmet fried chicken sandwiches” is known for its high-end take on a classic Southern delicacy. Their philosophy is simple: Pair the best chicken with locally sourced ingredients. They take one thing – fried chicken – place it between a soft bun – and offer a variation of toppings and sauces so customers can customize their sandwiches. This is a place where only FRIED chicken – not grilled, baked or roasted – reigns supreme.

A large menu is front and center on the wall, as customers stand in line to place their orders.

As a resident of West Ashley, I had driven by the place a hundred times. Intrigued by the look of the outside, and the inviting words “Chicken Biscuits” that often appear on the sign, we pulled in to discover a real delight. Upbeat music plays over the speakers, and regulars bring books to read by the window as they await lunch.

Fried Pickles between an order of sweet potato fries and a chicken sandwich.
Fried Pickles between an order of sweet potato fries and a chicken sandwich.

We started the meal with an order of fried pickles, served with house-made ranch dressing. With just one look, I could tell they were done right. Crispy with a thin coating of seasoned flour, the recipe starts with cucumbers sourced from Joseph Fields Farm in Charleston.  Just $4 will get you an order. Check out Food Editor Hannah Raskin’s take on these pickles in The Post & Courier. The handcut fries (pictured below) are seasoned while they’re hot and have a nice crunch. Growing up at home, my dad would make them like this and let them drain on a paper grocery sack on the countertop.

A custom fried chicken sandwich with handcut fries.
A custom fried chicken sandwich with handcut fries.

Here’s how it works: You can choose from three predetermined sandwich options – #1 The Boxcar including pimiento cheese, peach slaw, house pickles and spicy mayo; #2 The Chicken “Not So Waffle” with bacon jam, maple syrup, pimiento cheese and tomato; or #3 The Buffalo with blue cheese sauce, tomato and bibb lettuce. If the three of those don’t get your mouth-watering, opt to Build Your Own, with toppings such as Kentucky beer cheese, sweet chili sauce or shallots. There’s something for everyone! Kurt built his own and kept it simple with Swiss cheese and honey mustard and an order of handcut fries, and I chose The Chicken “Not So Waffle” with sweet potato fries. That bacon jam combined with pimento cheese and the crispy skin of that fried chicken was SOME KINDA GOOD, now! With a big bite of my sandwich, I happily bobbed my head to the beat of Michael Jackson’s “The Way You Make Me Feel” as the lyrics perfectly echoed my emotions toward the sandwich.

Inside the restaurant, antique, exposed wood creates a retro vibe while a mix of colorful boxcar wall art and modern lighting combines old with new. Guests can sit on bar stools or at tables in the quaint dining area. Nothing on the menu is over $7, and aside from the chicken sandwiches, the menu offers chicken tenders for kids, and a few salads. Pecan pie is served in a cup and floats are also available for dessert.

Chicken + Bun = Some Kinda Good!

When you eat at Boxcar Betty’s, you’re also helping the environment. All the materials on your tray come completely compostable. You’ll find the chicken + bun stamp on everything from the paper-wrapped sandwiches and order numbers to the front doors. If it’s fried chicken you seek, Boxcar Betty’s does it well. It’s refreshing to discover a place that takes pride in every ingredient. Dine here for a truly unique and memorable meal – they’ve genuinely mastered the art of the fried chicken sandwich!


Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser
Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser

Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia native Rebekah Faulk Lingenfelser is a freelance writer, entertainer and food enthusiast who writes and speaks about her love of good food and the Coastal South. A Season 2 Contestant on ABC’s “The Taste,” she is the former Statesboro Herald food columnist and past host of the television program Statesboro Cooks. From 2012 – ’14, she appeared regularly as Celebrity Chef at the Statesboro Main Street Farmers’ Market and wrote as a guest blogger for Visit Savannah and The Local Palate. In addition, Faulk’s work is published in Moments magazine and Connect Statesboro. Her culinary accomplishments are recognized in two publications: She is a featured alumna in Georgia Southern Magazine (Spring ’14) and the “Go Girl!” in Moments magazine (March 2104), a tabloid for Moms and Modern Women. To learn more, visit RebekahFaulk.wix.com/RebekahFaulk.

Boxcar Betty's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Whiskey Fit For A King

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Contributed photo

What do you get when you combine a bunch of food and beverage lovers, a beautiful venue and exquisite whiskey? One hell of a SOME KINDA GOOD Tuesday evening! The high was 96 degrees in the Lowcountry, without a cloud in the sky. We met on the roof of Stars Rooftop and Grill Room in downtown Charleston on historic King Street for one reason: to explore two new variants recently introduced by Crown Royal Canadian Whisky. Here I would meet Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, the brand’s first-ever blended rye whisky, and Crown Royal Hand Selected Barrel, a drink which pays homage to the brand’s signature smoothness.

The crowd turned out in true Charlestonian fashion -- dressed for a proper night on the town.
The crowd turned out in true Charlestonian fashion — dressed for a proper night on the town.

During cocktail hour, waiters circulated the rooftop with trays of summer tomato-mozzarella skewers and shaved salmon crostini with capers and cream cheese. I met other marketing professionals and beverage connoisseurs, among them Susan Lucas of King Street Marketing Group, representatives from The Local Palate, Taneka Reaves and Johnny Caldwell of the Cocktail Bandits (super fun girls!) and Robin Rodriquez of locally owned Egan’s Spirits.

Meet Brandon Verkaik and Bud Huber, the two mixologists who created the four signature cocktails of the evening: Holy City Brunch Punch, Royal Shandy, The Light Dimmer and Wild Flower Whiskey Sour. I can’t wait to share one of the recipes with y’all! Choosing a favorite of the four cocktails is a bit like being partial to your best friends or family members…you appreciate them each for what they bring to the table. If I had to choose one though, I’d pick the Wild Flower Whiskey Sour. This drink features Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye, known for its oak flavor with spicy notes of vanilla and a hint of butterscotch.

For the guided whiskey tasting portion of the event, we made our way into the air-conditioned (thank you, Jesus!) Wilkinson Room on the second floor of the restaurant where we were enlightened by Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson. At one point, this guy asks if anyone in the room is a fan of country music. Are you kidding!? Without hesitation I raised my glass and in my sweetest Southern accent, said with fervor, “You can’t be a whiskey fan and not love country music!” He later asked how we enjoyed whiskey best, and I told him “To the tune of George Jones.” Is there any other way? Maybe a Jack Daniels audience would understand this better. 😉

Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson teaches us how to sniff and taste the libation for its full pleasure.
Master of Whiskey Stephen Wilson teaches us how to experience the libation at its fullest. Contributed photo. 

I was pleased to learn Wilson first discovered Crown Royal Deluxe in none other than the beautiful Savannah, Georgia. Here’s a guy who grew up on the Tennessee Virginia line, and says he “fell into” a career as a Master of Whiskey and now works for Diageo, the company who owns Crown Royal. He said, “There’s no right or wrong way to enjoy whiskey. Good conversation over a glass of good whiskey is what it’s all about.” Sounds like we share the same philosophy! He taught us that Crown Royal was first created as a gift for the King and Queen of England to celebrate their visit to Canada in 1939. The iconic purple bag which the whiskey is purchased in is a concept from the original packaging! It was developed to suit the royal occasion and outfitted with gold drawstrings, a tradition that continues to this day.

A decadent chocolate cake in the form of a whiskey bottle! What's not to love?
A decadent chocolate cake in the form of a whiskey bottle! What’s not to love? Contributed photo

The attention to detail at this event was unmatched! Dessert was a moist, rich chocolate cake shaped like a bottle of Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye whiskey. Who knew eating whiskey could be fun too? HA!

Tastemakers sampled three varietals during the evening: Crown Royal Deluxe, Northern Harvest Rye and Hand Selected Barrel.
Tastemakers sampled three varietals during the evening: Crown Royal Deluxe, Northern Harvest Rye and Hand Selected Barrel. Contributed Photo

I’ll leave y’all with this: A refreshing concoction suitable for any summertime happy hour, courtesy of the mixologists mentioned above. Thanks to Taylor Strategy for an evening really well done, and a valuable education on the top-selling Canadian Whiskey in the United States.

This is the best whiskey sour I've ever had.
This is the best whiskey sour I’ve ever had. Contributed Photo

Wildflower Whisky Sour

2 oz. Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

1 oz. St. Germaine

.5 oz. Yellow Chartreuse

1 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice

.5 oz. Wildflower Honey Syrup

Stir together ingredients. Serve over ice and enjoy!

That Awkward Moment When Someone Labels Me a “Food Critic”

It happens all too often, and most assuredly slips off the tongues of the most well meaning people. A common misconception, an innocent remark on the road to Hell paved with good intentions. In the awkward and embarrassing seconds that follow, the damage has already been done; the label already applied. It’s that first impression introduction where a good friend is excited to show me off, to brag a little about my success–and it’s almost always in front of someone whose slaved away in the food industry. It goes something like this:

The person introducing me to {Insert stranger}: “Hey, so-in-so! I want you to meet my friend Rebekah. She’s a food critic.”

Screeeeeechhhhhhh. First impression fail. Stop right there. Back that train up. Let’s rewind and reboot. No. No. No. Can anybody say awkward?

It’s happened upon meeting the restaurant owner on my first visit to a new eatery. It’s happened while shopping at my local farmers’ market on Saturday morning. It happens commonly at work functions and social events. And I get it. I really do.

People think it’s cool and different that I write about food. They love revealing the fun fact that my blog is one of Urbanspoon’s top Georgia food blogs and that I was a contestant on Season 2 of ABC’s “The Taste.” Some like to share about my writings as the former Statesboro Herald Food Columnist or that my Grilled Georgia Peach Recipe wound up on The Dr. Oz Show. While I sincerely appreciate the enthusiasm and support, there’s absolutely nothing worse than being labeled a “critic” of any kind, much less of something I dearly love and respect, and more importantly that utterly contradicts the very nature of my personality. Ask any one of my best friends and they would tell you that I would find the bright side of the situation even if my life mirrored The Book of Job (okay, maybe that’s a bit extreme, but you get the point).

I created Some Kinda GOOD, and I emphasize the GOOD, because my mission has always been to bring positive attention to the chefs and restaurant owners out there doing amazing things. Whether it be a mind blowing dish or a super passionate cook, I love sharing great food discoveries and cool places with others. In the more than three years that Some Kinda Good has been in existence, you won’t find a negative restaurant review on my blog because honestly, I have much better things to do with my time. Who am I to criticize the creation of someone else’s dish, when Lord knows I’ve butchered too many a meal to count. Furthermore, I can’t conceive of a more arrogant attitude than to think I would go out to eat with the intention of judging every morsel of a dining experience. I actually enjoy eating, and don’t get my kicks by broadcasting negative opinions about other folks who’re just trying to make an honest living. That’s simply Some Kinda Bad.

If you’ve seen the fantastic movie “Chef” starring Robert Downey Jr., and Scarlett Johansson, you’ll remember this scene where a famous and influential food critic visits a restaurant for the second time after writing a terrible review. The head chef confronts him face-to-face in the public dining area and completely loses it. This scene captures every single reason why I never want to be THIS GUY.

How SMUG!
How SMUG!

So, if we’re ever out in public together and you’d like to introduce me to someone, do me a huge favor and please consider this: “Hey so-in-so!! Meet my friend Rebekah. She’s a food enthusiast.

It’s way more accurate, lacks the negative connotation and doesn’t make me want to crawl under the table. Thanks for that.