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Best of Charleston: Top Eight Most Memorable Plates

In a culinary destination like Charleston, South Carolina, finding a place to eat can be really overwhelming. With so many popular, highly acclaimed places to choose from and a lot of healthy competition, I can understand why I am often asked for restaurant recommendations. While it would take a lot more time than my year in Charleston to explore all the city has to offer, I did discover some pretty delectable dishes during my time there. These unforgettable appetizers and entrees from my culinary explorations are both classic and out-of-the-box, but they all possess one common denominator: Fresh food made with quality, local ingredients, presented in style.  Continue reading “Best of Charleston: Top Eight Most Memorable Plates”

I posted this tweet expressing my excitement last year on moving day bound for the Lowcountry.

I posted this tweet expressing my excitement last year on moving day bound for the Lowcountry.

Life is full of curveballs. One year ago on this very week, I was packing my bags for Charleston, so excited to begin my new job in a brand new city. I wrote to update you on my whereabouts; you may remember the post “All Things New in 2015; Some Kinda Good Greets the Lowcountry.” Today, I find myself packing yet again, this time for a city not-so-brand-new, and with feelings more somber than excited.  Continue reading “When My Job Quit Me”

Savannah Highway Bright Spot: Angel Oak Restaurant Unique, Delightful

Angel Oak Restaurant
John’s Island, S.C.

I love discovering quaint, off-the-beaten-path delights. That’s what I would call Angel Oak Restaurant, a small, family owned spot on John’s Island. Located right off of Savannah Highway, about 10 miles from downtown Charleston, Chef Jay Kees is serving up some of the most flavorful Southern fare in the city, combining a balance of down home dishes with those that compete with the forward thinking, highfalutin’ standards of Charleston dining. That’s one reason it isn’t hard to believe Angel Oak Restaurant holds the title for longest running business in this location. Going on more than three years in service (they opened in summer 2012), the eclectic space was once a general store, a Mexican restaurant and an ice cream shop.

wpid-1115151333.jpgThe one room eatery holds 15 tables with bench style seating and an assortment of wooden chairs. Guests may also choose to sit outside, where bulb lighting and table lanterns create a soft ambiance. At the entrance, a large hostess station filled with paper menus and reams of craft paper greet guests. Staff members dressed neatly in blue jeans and plaid button down shirts work the dining room.

 

Filled with intentional and meaningful details, the setting creates a warm atmosphere perfect for families or date night. Popular tunes play on the speakers. Small bottles filled with fresh flowers make inviting, simple centerpieces, coupled with a mix of blue, green and clear Mason jars for drinking glasses. Utensils rest comfortably on nautical cloth napkins. Open for lunch, supper and Sunday Brunch, I’ve had the pleasure of dining here on many occasions for all but supper.

wpid-1115151258.jpgOne of the most popular Sunday Brunch dishes has to be the House Made Beignets, a plate piled high with powdered sugar-dusted doughnuts, served with chocolate sauce. Reminiscent of dulce de leche, the sauce has sweet caramel notes. Other Sunday Brunch dishes include hearty selections such as Country Fried Steak and Eggs, Chicken and Biscuits, Bacon, Egg and Cheese Croissant, and the Croque Madame. If you enjoy a good champagne cocktail, the $10 bottomless mimosas make the restaurant a motivating choice.

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The Bacon, Egg and Cheese Croissant is served with your choice of one side, and a garnish of watermelon. Home fries make a crispy accompaniment.

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The Country Fried Steak and Eggs feature two buttermilk biscuits topped with collards and country fried steak, finished with poached eggs and gravy. Come hungry!

Consistent with the widely held belief of many a good chef, the husband and wife team at Angel Oak Restaurant prides itself on sourcing local, seasonal ingredients to best highlight the cuisine of the community. South Carolina farmers and purveyors including Geechie Boy Market and Mill, Legare Farms, Blackbird Farms, Limehouse Produce, Saffron Bakery and Burbages provide fresh ingredients from breads and grits to produce, beef, pork and eggs. The restaurant boasts its own herb garden.

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The Croque Madame is my favorite dish yet! It’s a toasted ham and cheese sandwich topped with a fried egg, finished with mornet sauce and served with a bright arugula salad garnished with pickled red onion.

Lunch, including a daily Blue Plate Special, features a variety of appetizers, salads and entrees. On my last visit, I ordered the sampler plate with Bacon Braised Collards, Tomato Salad and Mac N’ Cheese. Fresh and well executed, it was every Southerner’s taste of home. Mainstays like Fried Green Tomatoes, House Made Pimento Cheese and Fried Pickle Chips offer familiar comfort. A nice selection of local beers are available, along with a standard wine list.

So, the next time you’re stuck in traffic on Savannah Highway, stop in to Angel Oak Restaurant. Unassuming and rustic, its recipe for success is clear: Quality ingredients, locally sourced + friendly service in a unique environment. What more could a diner want?


New to Some Kinda Good?

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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, her 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.

Angel Oak Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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!

Seafood Marshside with Local Beer to Boot

Bowens Island Restaurant

Bowens Island Restaurant 
Charleston, South Carolina

In my short six months as a Charlestonian, I’ve learned one very accommodating notion about the food scene: The Holy City offers a dining experience for every frame of mind. Without a doubt, diners will find their every hearts’ desire–Want high-end fare, served with keen attention to detail on white tablecloths to the tune of jazz music? How about brunch in a funky roadside dive or on the porch of a historic Victorian home-turned-culinary delight? Maybe it’s serenity you seek in the natural surroundings of the Lowcountry–a place where you can gaze upon the marshlands while sinking your teeth into the ocean’s bounty. Chucktown has it all.

While hand-crafted cocktails and perfectly plated entrées are a luxury, sometimes just the taste of crunchy fried shrimp or a good hush-puppy dunked in cocktail sauce and chased by a cold glass of sweet tea does the trick. On a warm Friday night recently, I found such a place: Bowens Island Restaurant. Down home and casual as can be, you’d never know it existed (the restaurant has no website or Facebook page) unless you had a little insider insight.

The view as you walk up the ramp to go inside the restaurant.
The view as you walk up the ramp entrance to the Bowens Island Restaurant.

Just as traffic breaks free on the way out to Folly Beach, visitors will notice a large spray painted sign which points the way down a washed out dirt road to 1870 Bowens Island Rd. Take this road slowly, not just to avoid a flat tire, but because you won’t want to miss the glorious mansions on each side of the road, flanked by shade trees and grandiose Southern porches.

Guests stand in line to place their orders.
Guests stand in line to place their orders.

You’ll stand in line to place your order. It can be a long line, because people are willing to wait for good food. I met some friends there around 7 p.m. on a weekend, and we waited about 10-15 minutes.

A boater passes by the docks at Bowens Island Restaurant.
A boater passes by the docks at Bowens Island Restaurant.

Views of boats motoring up to the docks, the smell of fresh-caught seafood and the sun setting over the water will keep you pretty entertained. Not to mention the anticipation of at least 10 local brews on tap.

There’s not a bad seat in the house–or outside “the house” for that matter. Take your pick of where to rest your weary bones: Indoor dining room, indoor bar, or outside on the deck facing the water. Should you pick inside, be forewarned, there’s no air conditioning. Ceiling fans and the natural sea breeze keep the air circulating. The dining room is a bustling place. Waiters come barreling out of the kitchen with trays of hot fried seafood, hollering the name on your order.

Orders are served in recyclable cartons with plastic utensils. A big roll of paper towels sits on each table. The menu has everything from fried and boiled shrimp to in-season oysters and fried chicken tenders. The food is well seasoned, hot upon arrival and for those blessed to have eaten a lot on the coast, familiar. Unlike a large percentage of Charleston dining establishments, there won’t be an item on this menu you can’t pronounce or an ingredient you have to question. Hush-puppies, french fries and coleslaw come with just about everything. The “Big Ol’ Seafood Platter” is the most expensive thing on the menu, coming in at $19. Simple, and Some Kinda Good!

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The only sign posted on the two-story shack-like restaurant faces the gravel parking area.

If your idea of a night on the town is a laid back, no fuss Lowcountry experience, this is your spot. Open six nights a week from 5 – 10 p.m., you can bet I’ll be there again soon, sipping on a cold Corona.


Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk
Food Enthusiast Rebekah Faulk

Now based in Charleston, South Carolina, Georgia native Rebekah Faulk 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.

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All Things New in 2015; Some Kinda Good Greets the Lowcountry

Hey Some Kinda Good followers! 2015 is full of promise and all things new. I’m super excited to tell you about a few major changes that have happened in my life in recent months–I’ve moved from the coastal plains of Southeast Georgia to the South Carolina coast, my left hand has a shiny new friend and my career has grown LEAPS and BOUNDS after a very longtime coming. Take a look at my “news!”

My boyfriend Kurt graduated to fiance after proposing to me on Dec. 20.
We got engaged on December 20, 2014.

New Ring
1) Allow me to begin with the most exciting of all. My good lookin’ proposed over the holidays in his native Savannah at a quaint and perfect local Italian restaurant. I said YES and we couldn’t be happier! May the wedding planning commence.

New Job
2) I’ve accepted a brand new job in my absolute dream location! It’s an incredible opportunity and I’m thrilled to be back in the health care field working as the Director of Marketing & Public Relations for a wonderful hospital system in the South Carolina Lowcountry.

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The view from my second floor balcony. Beware of gators!

New Home
3) I’ve relocated from Statesboro, Georgia to Charleston, South Carolina. I have to pinch myself every few seconds while walking around my two bedroom apartment (sneak peek below). I find myself saying out loud throughout the day, “I live here now. I really live here!” I love my kitchen; it has a breakfast bar and lots of cabinet space. As many of you know, Charleston is full of award-winning restaurants and celebrity chefs. It will take me a lifetime to discover all it has to offer and I will enjoy every last-minute of it, especially sharing my food finds with you! As I get to know Charleston, I welcome your favorite restaurants, coffee shops and hangouts. Have you been? What beach do you recommend? What are the top places I should check out? I haven’t met anyone yet who doesn’t love the Southern, coastal city. In other news, my final Statesboro Herald food column will run on Sunday, February 15. ‘Boro locals, there’s a special message from me to you there…don’t miss getting your copy.

It was the famous American baseball player Babe Ruth who said, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” It’s true what they say about perseverance, and hard work really does pay off. 😉

My Lowcountry Boil Birthday Bash

On a cool Friday night in early spring, all the conditions were right for my lakeside lowcountry boil. I was celebrating the last year in my 20’s, and I was ready to have one dang good party.

Check out my video to see us cooking, but be forewarned, we are not professional videographers, there’s a lot going on and I was really excited…LOL!

View the photos below to see how the rest of my birthday bash went down:
For weeks, I anticipated the celebration keeping in mind simplicity, coastal inspiration and rustic elements. I covered the tables where guests would eat with burlap, then placed silver pails on top for discarding shrimp hulls. Yellow flowers popped, and votive candles, sprinkled throughout, illuminated the evening.
I found this nautical fabric and just had to incorporate it in the party! I made silverware bundles with it using rope to keep with the theme of things. It’s all in the details!

If I had to think of one meal that expressed exactly who I am, without a doubt, a lowcountry boil it would be. Potatoes, shrimp, corn and sausage with Old Bay seasoning…does it get any better? Poured out on a newspaper-covered table, it’s everything I am…laid back, delicious and colorful. HA! I really can’t think of any other combination of ingredients that says “Let’s Party!” more.

Much like a cocktail without a garnish, no lowcountry boil is proper without Charleston Benne Wafers. On a recent trip to the Carolina Lowcountry, I picked up some crab dip mix and a package of the popular cookie at the Charleston Market. Learn more about my trip by checking out my post, Carolina Lowcountry Classics with My Best Friend. Also pictured above: Mom’s cheese ball with jalapeno pepper and pineapple served with Ritz crackers, coconut cupcakes with coconut-cream cheese frosting, garnished with toasted coconut and lime cheesecake pies.

Fresh fruit is always a welcomed dish. These strawberries came from The Strawberry Patch, a Mennonite Farm in Waynesboro, Georgia and the pineapple, you just gotta love it.

When all the food was ready, the table looked amazing–especially combined with a yard full of friends and family, and our Bourbon and Blenheim signature cocktails. The menu also included fresh bread and my mom’s amazing crab stew made with sherry. I found the perfect bowls for serving the stew at a local restaurant supply store.

This is my good friend Patrick, and our bartender for the evening. Our signature cocktail, called a B&B featured high quality bourbon and Blenheim, a spicy ginger ale from none other than Charleston. Garnished with fresh mint, the beverage was a refreshing palate cleanser. Iced tea, bottled water, Coke, wine and beer, along with boiled peanuts, also were served.

Getting ready to grub down! From left: My brother Joey, and my best friends Levi and Angela.

A fine evening indeed. From left: Angela, me and Patrick.

 There’s no greater feeling than being surrounded by people you love. I’m blessed.

After we ate, everyone drifted over to the fire to hang out, play guitar and sing. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect.
My fabulous guests and new friends Tori and John–Love them!

That was one heck of a party, if I do say so myself! A GIANT thank you and shout out to my mom, dad, brother Joey and sister-in-law Sarah, and my friends Patrick, Angela and Levi for help with set up and break down, cooking, cleaning and bartending. 😉 It certainly takes a team to pull off a party like that and I couldn’t have done it without y’all!

As I looked around the fire that night, I realized that I’ve had the same friends since I was 12 years old. Birthday after birthday throughout my life, they’ve all been there. In addition to that, there were new faces too and I couldn’t be more blessed. To each one that made my birthday special, I am thankful for you everyday.

Now, if only I can top that party for the big 3-0!