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Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bon Annee!

Well, the offices here at PP headquarters are looking quite spiffy what with the new paint and all. I confronted a dust bunny behind our Accountant's desk that sat there and said, "Hey, what's up." I'm just saying, a vacuum was definitely in order.

In other news, hey, it's New Year's Eve! Fish is doing things up in style, as usual. (You know you want to ring in '09 with your favorite Frenchman.) DJ JAZ starts spinning at 10 pm. And then there's a four course supper for $50...(wine pairings with each course are an extra $15).

Bon Annee!

1st course: Fried local shrimp spring roll with thai vinaigrette

2nd: Pan-seared scallops with local peppers and pad thai noodles

3rd: Roasted duck breast with crystallized ginger, haricot vert, smoked bacon potato gratin & duck jus

4th: Fudge chocolate cake with white chocolate mousse, divine chocolate sauce & peppermint ice cream

For you die-hard fans, our regular dinner menu will also be available. Oh, and at the stroke of midnight, we'll have a complimentary champagne toast.

Let's recap: delicious, affordable food, champagne toast, funky vibes and great people. Rock on, 2009.

And finally, special congratulations to our Charleston Magazine pal Misty Lister, our New Year's Eve bride at Lowndes Grove!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Have yourself a merry little painting party...

Season's Greetings, sportsfans! Just back in the office today after several days of holiday merry-making and hope you did the same. Short post today as I'm all tuckered out and covered in paint freckles. Yes, we're doing a little New Year's spruce up over at the PP headquarters offices. Things are shaping up nicely and hey, it's always nice to wear jeans. For the record though, baseboards are bad. Very bad. More when the paint dries.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Simple pleasures & the PP year in pictures

'Tis a blustery day awfully close to Christmas, and the PP offices have thinned out with folks taking time to visit family and friends. I hope you get to do the say, Internet, because it's important to take time and sit with some good folks and laugh your biggest belly laugh and hopefully eat something wonderfully warm and/or comforting. (I keep my pleasures simple, people.)

Here's a peek at the PP year in pictures for your enjoyment. Safe travels and cheers to all of you.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Giving Tree

Yesterday, Lowndes Grove and the PP family reached out to a neighbor in need. The Florence Crittenton Home is a local non-profit that provides a therapeutic residence and support for pregnant and parenting young women, ages 12 to 21, and it's literally right down the street from Lowndes Grove. Unfortunately, like many area non-profits, it's experiencing severe financial difficulties, largely due to our struggling economy.

So, to support these great women and spread some holiday cheer, Lowndes Grove hosted a festive gathering, complete with homemade cookies, hot chocolate, holiday music and gift cards hung on an evergreen tree for the moms and children’s most needed things. Macy Gray, Lowndes Grove GM Ashley Gunnin's cat, was a hit with the ladies too, even if she is a bit shy.

Was talking to some friends about the "state of things." It only takes a minute to get truly down about the economy, war and all around struggle. It's enough to stop you in your tracks and keep you from doing anything at all, which is the greatest trap of all. I suppose when it comes down to it, you just do what you can. Like Mother Teresa said: "We can do no great things, only small things with great love."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Puttin' the BAR back in BARgain

You like that? That's what writing nonsense and doodling on a conference call will do for you, kids. Magic!

But truly, Happy Hour drink prices (subhead: during these trying economic times) are nothing to sneeze at. As a reminder, Fish now proudly offers Happy Hour, or as the French call it, Bonne Heure, Monday through Friday, from 5:30 until 8 pm. During which time, you can partake in:

$2.50 Bud & Bud Light

$3.50 well drinks

$4 specialty cocktails

$5 house wine

$1 dim sum!

And, far be it from me to reccomend something I did not actually try. I was present for Fish's inaugural Happy Hour and I must say it was an extremely pleasant, yummy, relaxing and affordable experience. Hip hip hooray!

While we're talking economic conditions, I must say I am always fascinated and delighted by what advertisers, artists, writers, marketers and creatives of all shapes and sizes will do to make us laugh in spite of our worries, anxieties and other things that make our shoulders crawl up toward our ears. AND reveal little moments of greatness and beauty while they're at it. For instance, take a look at this WWII propaganda redux that is just as true today as it was in 1939.

Check this out, too. I was talking to some folks the other day about our collective "need to know," especially during times of uncertainty. We want to know and feel good about our decisions: from who is growing our vegetables to taking the time to handwrite a note...or NOT, as the case may be. This is genius and also somehow disconcerting. Pay someone to write a lovely card for you (strict no stalking policy). I'm just not sure how I feel about it and yet, as a writer and lover of paper, I'm thrilled. Mmm, mixed feelings. Still, nice stationery! Take a letter, Maria!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Patrick Properties, how refreshing!

What's up at PP today, you ask? I bought a whirling dervish from Zinn Rug Gallery today. And then I informed several PP staffers just exactly WHAT a whirling dervish is. I'm a big Rumi fan so it just sort of follows that you also adore the dervishes.

In other news, several of the PP staffers and I are partook of Fish's inaugural Happy Hour last night. I'm pleased to report that the mood at the Fish bar was, in a word, HAPPY. One might even say CONTENT. One could so far as to say DOWNRIGHT GIDDY. I am NOT making this up. Who knew $4 specialty cocktails could make one feel so dandy?

In WAY other news, I have been utterly obsessed with this vintage advertising blog. May I ask, for one quick second, why the golden light in the 1960s and '70s? Did it say comforting? Trustworthy? Anyone? Anyone at all?

Monday, December 15, 2008

Gardens, red snapper, HAPPY HOUR!

One of my personal heroes, Alice Waters, is at it again. This time, offering her services to President-elect Obama. Check out the full article here. Ms. Waters' request, sent via letter the day after the election, calls on Obama to "set the tone for the changes we need to make in the way our country feeds itself. The purity and wholesomeness of your campaign can find a parallel in the purity and wholesomeness of the food at America's most visible and symbolic address: the White House." That's right, turn that White House lawn into a Victory Garden in the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt.

It's not such a revolutionary idea. It's a request to bring hope and change to what is perhaps our most basic need: nourishing ourselves.

While I'm on the subject of food, the Post & Courier ran a piece this weekend about the plight of the red snapper. It seems that the federal government is poised to shut down the harvest of red snapper in the South Atlantic, commercially and recreationally, and close down miles of the offshore to bottom fishing due to research that shows the species is in steady collapse. Local fishermen, including our own Mark Marhefka of Abundant Seafood, are, as you might imagine, worried about their future. FYI: Fish has already substituted vermilion snapper for red snapper on the menu. But the passionate debate continues, on and off the water. For more information, go here.

Let's segue to something a bit more fun: HAPPY HOUR at Fish! It begins today. Details are as follows:

5:30 until 8 pm, Monday through Friday

$3.50 well drinks

$4 specialty cocktails

$5 house wine

$2.50 Bud/Bud Light

$1 dim sum

Are we clear? Fabulous. Meet you at the bar.

Actually, I spent a moment at the Fish bar on Friday night. And many thanks to PP staffers Courtney Jo, Charlotte, Rachel, Shannon and our own Managing Partner Randall Goldman who helped add some panache to Brennan Wesley's photo shoot. If you play your cards right, you may get to see some outtakes later in the week.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A visit with Peter Kaminsky

Executive Chef Nico Romo, Managing Partner Randall Goldman, General Manager Jodie Battles and I had a very cool conversation yesterday with a fantastic bunch of folks: Megan Westmeyer, Queen of the Sustainable Seafood Initiative at the SC Aquarium, Mark Marhefka, our favorite local fisherman and Peter Kaminsky, author, food critic, chef and all around good egg. Megan and Mark were escorting Peter around the Holy City, stopping at some of their favorites restaurants (we're awfully proud to be on their list!) so he could do research (read: eat and chat) for an article he's writing on the sustainable movement.

It was so interesting to talk about the sustainability and local products with: 1. Megan, who's work is to educate, advocate and put producers together with chefs and the masses. 2. Mark, who's actually out there in the high seas catching fish. 3. Nico, who's honoring the fish and produce with his creativity and culinary skills and sharing it with all who enter the restaurant. 4. Peter, who makes his life diving deeply into the beautiful minutia of food, chefs, culture and how it all melds together.

Sidestory: Peter told us about the origins of Bibb lettuce. First of all, "created" by a man aptly named Bibb. Secondly, it comes from Kentucky which is a state rich in limestone. Limestone, it seems, is wonderful for all living things, like Bibb lettuce and say, thoroughbred horses. So, then Mark adds in that he heard that Wadmalaw, which produces some tasty local Bibb lettuce, used to have an actual limestone quarry back in the day. Fascinating!

So, we ate, talked, laughed (Peter "named" our new Molly Right bottlecap art piece, "Our Lady of Perpetual Dr. Pepper"), mused and generally enjoyed our time together. And I for one, came away knowing a little more, questioning even more and loving the opportunity to meet up and share some time over great food.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tap your foot if you love LOCAL!

Hey there, sorry I missed you yesterday. I was laid out with some form of flu-ishness. But I'm back in action. So, if you missed the Buy Local Bash at Lowndes Grove on Sunday, I am so sorry. It was great big, chilled out, fantastic local food, huddle by fire, nip in the air, shake hands with your favorite chef, drink some local alkey-hall, stomp your foot to super-cool music FUN, FUN, FUN. I mean it.

Unbelievably awesome props go to Megan Morgan of Luke Wilson Special Events. She was instrumental in helping Lowcountry Local First pull together all of the rentals and create an utterly stunning and inviting setting. There were fire pits by the river, sweet spaces to lounge and stargaze and then of course, a tent full of chefs who whipped up an array of local deliciousness.

Here are some of my favorite moments of the evening, in no particular order:
  • Walking around the property with Lowndes Grove General Manager Ashley Gunnin and lighting votives together

  • Listening to Nico talk about the Pho lentil soup

  • Meeting members of the V-Tones, especially a man named Noodle from Texas. Yes, really.

  • Loving every minute of Cary Ann Hearst, especially when she got behind the drum kit!

  • Oh that pate!

  • Seeing Alan and Erin's baby girl, Olivia, all bundled up

  • Warming my hands by the fire pit next to the Ashley River

  • Watching a brilliant sunset

You can check out a write up here and stay tuned for more photos in the coming days. Congratulations to Lowcountry Local First and to the many hands who helped make it happen. These local get-togethers just keep getting better.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Hi, we've made your plans for the weekend and they are FUN!

It's a big weekend for PP! We have events at Lowndes Grove and The William Aiken House. DJ JAZ spins at Fish from 10 pm until 2 am.

Then, tomorrow is Shopping with Friends on King Street. And, since we would rather you not shop until you actually DROP...Fish is offering $3 house liquor drinks from 5:30 until 8 pm.
Should you need a little nosh, our $6 - $8 small plates are the perfectly delicious way to fuel up and keep on shoppin.’ Then, DJ Todd Cadley starts spinning at 10 pm. Fun fact: he's a Jersey native and used to be in music production where he helped promote folks like used to promote Lauryn Hill, Bjork and Tricky. Cool!

Finally, Sunday is Lowcountry Local First's Buy Local Bash at Lowndes Grove where Fish, FIG, Monza, Taco Boy, Maverick Southern Kitchens and many more dish up local favorites. Cary Ann Hearst is playing too! Get your tickets online now now now!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Skirt! sirens & carnival weddings

Check it out! Our favorite local siren (and fellow Jersey native) Elise Testone graces the pages of this month's Skirt! magazine. Local photographer Marni Rothschild Durlach joined us at Fish on a recent Thursday to catch Elise wowing guests with her sultry, soulful voice and fierce piano accompaniment by Gerald Gregory. The dynamic duo plays tonight, kids. 6 until 9 pm.

Came across this utterly cool carnival wedding shoot. I especially love the shot of the Tornado! Really, nothing says I love you like a little motion sickness. Ear of roasted corn, honey?

Should you be on James Island tonight, don't miss checking out the documentary Independent America at the Terrace Theater in celebration of Buy Local Week. $15 cash or check at the door also gets you into the after party next door.

Can't leave you without sharing the Lowndes Grove sunset photo one more time. It's just that good.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Whose Birthday Was It?

Sooo, last night we threw a little surprise birthday party for a certain Director of Events by the name of Jennifer Goldman. Most everyone here at PP was in on the surprise and the whole shebang was masterminded by Managing Partner/husband Randall Goldman. Photos from the shindig are here. Don't miss the exquisite sunset shot over the river at Lowndes Grove. Stunning! Delicious nibbles were provided by our fabulous catering team and an incredible profiterole cake was created by our Pastry Chef Susie Ieronemo. (She is wicked good during a time crunch situation.)

Tonight at Fish, we're celebrating Lowcountry Local First's Eat Local. Our local dish is slow roasted grouper with lcreamy tatsoi and peppers, local purple potato puree with pork belly and hoisin jus. Shut the front door, that sounds deelish! And yes, everything was locally produced. Come on over. We just put up the holiday decorations, so we're lookin' darn festive.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Moon, planets & holiday things!

Did you see the amazement last night? The moon, Venus and Jupiter, all in one happy heavenly glimpse. Check out several views from all over the world.

In other local news, the Give Local Bazaar is already underway at 10 Storehouse Row. It's a fabulous afternoon of evening of local artisans, cooks, musicians and nonprofits all gathered together to showcase Charleston’s rising talent and philanthropists. And hey, great local gift ideas!

I walked into Fish earlier to find Evan (Cherub) up to his eyeballs in festive greens, lights and poinsettias. Woohoo, holiday cheer!

And thanks to yesterday's reader/commenter, more photos of Charleston in-season coming soon!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quick list of 3 good things

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving? Sufficiently stuffed? Did you brave the Black Friday madness? (Seriously, what do we need so badly that we must have it at 4 in the a.m.? 'Tis ponderous.)

By the by, we're officially in a recession. (Um, duh.) During my Turkey Day travels, I got some firsthand glimpses of how our economic troubles are manifesting across state lines and businesses. As I walked into Hertz at the Cleveland Airport to pick up my rental car, I was amazed at how eerily quiet it was. I asked the woman helping me what was up. She reported that they had laid off about half of their staff, as well as reduced their fleet of cars by half. That's at the airport in Cleveland, people. Wow.

Then, while at my Mom's house in Findlay, Ohio, I noticed she had a poster in her window that read: We heart Cooper Tire. When I asked her when this love affair with a tire company began, she informed me that sales for Cooper Tire have been awfully low due to high raw material costs and competition from low-cost imports. So, they're going to close one of their manufacturing plants: one in Findlay; Albany, Georgia; Tupelo, Mississippi and Texarkana, Arkansas. And the folks in Findlay are hoping they'll stay online.

So yes, the economy is for real and goodness knows we need to take the appropriate steps. However, let us not panic, there are good things for which to be grateful.

Quick list of 3 good things:

1. Buy Local Week. It kicks off tomorrow. I know you know this already but it bears repeating and perhaps tattooing on your arm: buying local helps sustain our city and neighbors, and plus it just feels good, knowing exactly where your money is going.

2. Louisville, Kentucky. One of the women I work with spent the holiday in Louisville, AKA her hometown. This morning she regaled me with tales of her adventures with such fervor, I am now compelled to take a trip there. P.S. If anyone out there is listening (Reggie Gibson), Charleston is simply crying out for a 21c.

3. Infused bourbon. Our resident mixologist (and cherub) Evan makes it. It makes you feel warm and toasty on the inside and really, when it comes to an economic brouhaha, every little bit helps. Please proceed directly to the Fish bar.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pre-Thanksgiving Happiness

I am heading out of town early tomorrow, folks, so I'll bid you a fond adieu and Happy Thanksgiving now. (Don't worry, I'll write from the road. I always do.)
Remember, should you need to...shall we say PREPARE for the holidays, do join us at Fish tomorrow. $4 holiday cocktails should be first on your to-do list. I'm just sayin'.

In the meantime, I leave you with the gem above, from the Life magazine archives. Riddle me this: is her feather shrug made of turkey feathers? Inquiring minds want to know. Safe travels.

Nothing says happy holidays like seafood on a treadmill

It's really your choice: crab on a treadmill or shrimp on a treadmill. No, it's not some new special Nico whipped up. It's the College of Charleston making headlines on the Today Show. And might I say? It's quite riveting.

Here at PP today, we're gathering for a Thanksgiving staff lunch. Potluck thankfulness if you will. I will try to snap a few pics to share.

In other pre-Turkey news, you're cordially invited to Fish tomorrow evening to prepare for the familial onslaught. We'll have $4 holiday-inspired cocktails and $6 to $8 small plates. And, we have very nice bartenders that can talk you down from most any family anxiety/stress you might have. They're good like that.

Oh and don't forget to put the Buy Local Week events on your calendar for next week. Seriously, do it now because you might forget after all the turkey and stuffing and then you'll start next week feeling behind and then you'll be all stressed and who needs it? (See what I did there? I nurtured.)

Ahem, to review:

Monday, 12/2: Give Local Holiday Bazaar, 3 to 8 pm, 10 Storehouse Row at the Navy Base

Tuesday, 12/3: Eat Local Night at select area restaurants

Thursday, 12/5: Watch Local: the documentary Independent America at The Terrace Theater at 7:30 pm. After Party at Zia Taqueria

Sunday, 12/7: Buy Local Bash at Lowndes Grove: 12 area restaurants, live music, local beer, wine and fantastic local food, 6 to 10 pm

For tickets and more information, simply go to www.lowcountrylocalfirst.org.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The American Theater, Wings & things

Had a fun meeting about social media with Ginny Deerin and Liz Mester from Wings for Kids yesterday. Check out the Wings for Kids creed while you're at it. They are doing amazing things.

Charleston Ad Fed joined us at American Theater last night, more specifically in our newly refreshed Stars Lounge. For those of you who have been in Stars before (for Piccolo Spoleto, TheHaveNots! and sundry other events), you will be amazed. On that note, we were showing our pal David around the new ballroom last night and he snapped the photo above on his super snazzy iPhone. Really shows the beauty and expanse of the space.

If you're out and about on this blustery evening, don't forget, our man JAZ is spinning at Fish starting at 10 pm. I have it on good authority that at least one of the Fish bartenders can pop and lock.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

William Aiken House Holiday Ornaments: Just $19.95!

Here's a memory: it's about 1978, and I give my Mom a Christmas ornament that I made with my own wee hands. It's the top of a jelly jar, made into a picture frame. I glued holiday-themed fabric to the back and inside was my school picture. The whole sweet mess hung from some very festive red yarn. I am quite certain my Mom cried when I gave it to her. (Um, because she thought it was SWEET, thank you very much.) Might I add, my Mom still hangs that ornament from her tree every single year.

Anywho, I share that little moment as a preface to something a bit more...shall we say, professionally done?

To ring in the holidays, we are offering a limited supply of the fabulous ornament pictured above. Handcrafted by Charleston Gate Jewelry by third and fourth generation silversmiths, these heirloom sterling silver ornaments take their inspiration from historic Charleston gate designs, like say our very own William Aiken House gate. And yes, they are perfect stocking stuffers, hostess gifts or keepsakes for those Charleston history buffs. (Let me have my QVC moment, please.) Cost, you say? $19.95 + tax. No, I am not making this up. See, marketing is not always fun and games. But truly, they are really pretty and if you play your cards right, you just might be able to convince your Mom you made it. You could pass for a silversmith, couldn't you? Place your order by calling 843.853.1810.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

It's international day at PP!

Today in the PP LLC office, we got treated to quite the international lunch. First, our very own Staff Accountant Elena Hacker, she of the Polish variety, spoiled us ever so rotten with homemade pierogies. Holy mother of potatoes, they were amazing. Then, because we just can't get enough, we ordered up the pho noodle soup from Fish, which P.S. is the dish you should order up on a cold, blustery day. It's spicy, slightly citrus-y, full of noodles and pulled chicken and I have to stop talking right now. Happy sigh.

By the by, back by popular demand tonight at Fish is...Mercy of the Chef! To review, 3 courses = $25. You put your trust in Chef Nico and he will treat you right. Which is very comforting in such trying times, no? For $5 extry, you can get wine pairings to go with.
And finally, if you didn't get enough Pecha Kucha, here's your chance to relive the magic.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Equality, DJs, etc.

Check out the dog for equality! In community news, I ventured out for a march to protest Proposition 8 on Saturday afternoon and let me just say, I am just so proud of Charleston. The protest was peaceful, orderly and the community at large was super supportive: honks of support from all sides! P.S. How funny is this?

On Saturday night, Managing Partner Randall Goldman and the Patricks joined me at AFFA's Taste of Equality, their 10 year anniversary shindig held at Memminger Auditorium. It was an incredible night (especially on the heels of a successful protest earlier in the day). Everyone looked absolutely smashing, and the night raised money, spirits and awareness. Good stuff.

Oh, and P.S. DJ JAZ created quite a stir at Fish on Friday night. Things were jamming! Don't worry, he'll back next Friday night...and so on and so on and so on!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Birthday scone cake, anyone?

First of all, Happy Birthday to PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman. Our fabulous Pastry Chef Susie Ieronemo made the fantastic scone cake pictured above expressly for one Randall Goldman, founding member of the scone of the month club. And no, I don't know how old Randall is. I think we'd have to cut him open and count his rings to find out.

PP is abuzz with activity. Check out Lowndes Grove in the Party Scene for Charleston Magazine for Charleston Ballet Theater's recent shindig.

Some lovely moments from Laura and Chris' wedding at The William Aiken House captured by photographer Olivia Griffin.

Nico cooked up some crab rangoons at last night's grand opening for our new neighbors at King Street Kitchen Company. The store is beautiful and the opening was jam packed with fun folks. And, Nico got some help with the rangoons from his new pal, Olive.

If you're out and about tonight, you need to stop by Fish to hear the sweet sounds of DJ JAZ (aka John Zahl). Take a listen. JAZ starts at 10 pm. Come get your groove on. You know you want to.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Pecha Kucha

Like everyone else, I've been thinking a lot about the economy lately. I try my hardest to look at challenging times as an opportunity to try something new, offer help to someone who needs it, get out of my own head and take a long look around. Some days are better than others. Last night was a great one.

Last night at Memminger Auditorium, 9 fantastically creative people from an array of disciplines inspired, encouraged, enlightened and entertained a group of more than 200 people, in six minute and forty second increments. The evening was called Pecha Kucha, and it goes down as one of the best nights I've ever had.

Our own Nico Romo was one of the presenters and whipped up a six minute bouillabaise while still-life photos of the ingredients flashed behind him. What was more interesting than the food he produced was the story he told, of his multi-cultural upbringing (Italian, Spanish and French influences) and the inspiration for the French-Asian concept at Fish and his passion for fresh, local ingredients. Even I forget sometimes that a Chef is an artist, a creative spirit constantly on the search for inspiration, always willing to try something new.

At the other end of the creative spectrum were Upper King Street neighbors Brady Waggoner from Hook, (whose talk about reggae and hip hop was magical), Blue Bicycle Books' Jonathan Sanchez (his dry humor slays me), Tim Hussey (unbelievable photographs with the story to match) and Marcus Amaker (lyrical spoken word and design). Equally as wonderful were urban designer Jacob Lindsey, LEED certified architect Whitney Powers, artist Colin Quashie and filmmaker Justin Nathanson.

The planners and sponsors deserve applause, high-fives and kisses. From start to finish, Pecha Kucha was perfect, in its imperfections, its vibe and earnestness. Most of all, it served as a reminder to the Charleston creative community that there are so many of us here, and really, we need to get together more. Because when we do, people laugh and get inspired and share and challenge and hope. And we can all always use more of that.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lowndes Grove: the Ralph Lauren Rugby shoot

So, on Sunday, Lowndes Grove began its temporary transformation to FASHION CENTRAL for the Ralph Lauren Rugby photo and film shoot. Yesterday, the day began early: 5:30 am for me (earlier for our illustrious sous chef and event folks). I was directing pre-dawn traffic with my flashlight, decked out in my warmest jacket and hat. "Drop off here (air traffic controller gesture). Park here." (air traffic controller gesture) Sidenote: if you haven't watched a Charleston sunrise lately, you should make a point to do it. 'Tis magical. Sidenote 2: I was truly impressed with all of the Wagener Terrace early risers. Tons of walkers and joggers.

The Rugby shoot was amazing, in large part to its ambitious schedule to shoot both photography and film under the same tight time constraints. A large, energetic team managed to pull it off and I'm proud to say the Lowndes Grove team came out in full force to help the hospitality side of the day run perfectly.

The bluestone terrace (currently tented) turned into wardrobe and styling where seamstresses, models, stylists, gobs of Rugby finery (hats, belts, ties, shoes, trousers, scarves, blouses galore). The River House served as home to breakfast, lunch and snacks (read: caffeine and can we have some more caffeine, please?).

The shoot made great use of the property, from a rugby scrum on the front lawn to a pillow fight in on the second floor to an action-packed pool party (yes, really). Check out a select few pics. As the shoot wrapped at 6 pm, cast and crew hustled to pack things up (planes to catch, etc.). But, most everyone stopped dead in their tracks, at least momentarily, to quietly witness one of the more stunning Charleston sunsets I have ever seen. The river was still; the light was pink, and it was so wonderfully peaceful. Quite an end to a very eventful day on the river.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Well, hello & welcome to Lowndes Grove!

Just got back from Lowndes Grove where I met up with some of the Ralph Lauren folks who came over to scope out the property for the Rugby photo shoot on Monday. A fine group of guys, might I add. (Sidebar: when I walked into the LG sales office prior to the Ralph Lauren crew's arrival, the Event Managers were hard at work Googling the models for the shoot. Information is power, ladies!) Thanks to the entire Lowndes Grove team for helping make this shoot flawless.

Getting fired up for Pecha Cucha next week. Spoke with Nico this morning and he's going to be doing a 6-minute bouillabaise. ADD Frenchman, anyone?

Came across some amazing photos from a recent wedding at The William Aiken House by Lauren Slusher. Love how she used the surrounding neighborhood, too.

Also had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth Huggins today. She's Director of Membership & Development for the Preservation Society of Charleston and is charged with recruiting the next generation of preservationists.

And finally, congrats to our pals at Blue Ion, Gil Shuler Graphic Design and Formo who won AIGA Awards for their snazzy designs.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Bacon, Ballet...mmmm good!

I have to say I agree. Bacon does beat fries. (Thanks to Serious Eats for that one.)

Director of Events Jennifer Goldman just popped by on her way to Lowndes Grove for tonight's Charleston Ballet shindig.

In other Goldman news, beginning December 1, PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman is VP of the Charleston Civic Design Center (CCDC), whose mission is to enhance the quality of life in Charleston by engaging the community in creating a dynamic urban design. Congratulations, Randall!

Vintage cars, Pecha Cucha, Twittering

Let me just put it out there that there is no typical day here at PP. Case (cases) in point: Yesterday I spoke with interior designer and fine car afficianado, Merrill Benfield. Seems the Ralph Lauren folks are looking for a super cool vintage car for their Lowndes Grove photo shoot coming up on Monday. Merrill was incredibly helpful and offered his 1967 champagne yellow Lincoln Continental convertible. (Sidenote: I am tempted to rent it myself if RL passes!) We'll see what happens. Many thanks to Merrill for his graciousness and to Liz Rennie from the CVB for the info.

Nico received an incredible invitation to be part of next week's Pecha Cucha get together. If you haven't heard about Pecha Cucha (once you start saying it, it's quite addictive), you must read this now. In a nutshell, it's happy hour meets open-mic meets creative conflab (I can die happy now. I used the word conflab in a sentence.) Nico and all the presenters get approximately 6 minutes to do their thing. It's fast and furious and I can't wait. Really cool folks are in the line-up. Again, check it out.

Met with one of the PP interns earlier this week. She's a hospitality major at COC and all about metatags and Google analytics. It's interesting to watch the hospitality industry wrap their collective arms around technology. Along those lines, check out this Twitter-er. P.S. A little "vernacular" tip. To "Twitter" is the verb. The result of Twitter-ing is a "Tweet." You are now one step closer to tech dork status.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Voting stories, New York stories, Fish stories

Just another day here at Patrick Properties. That's Jerry and Ingram, hard at work painting on John Street. Or, they are working to become a haz mat team. It's a toss up in my mind.

So, here I am, back from points north. I have to say it was quite wonderful to unplug for a few days. I recommend it whenever you're able. I spent Halloween with my best friend, his wife and their 17-month old daughter (see bunny here.) We took the baby trick or treating, and it was just big fun. From surburbia, I moved to New York City to visit recently engaged friends who live in a Chelsea co-op with a fantastic view of the Empire State Building. When I arrived, my friend and I went up to the rooftop deck for sparkling red wine, bread, cheese and honey. We watched the sun set, ate, drank and just reveled in the goodness of the fall evening. Couldn't ask for more.

In other news, I voted (2 hours from start to finish), and I hope you have too or are on your way to polls.

Here's my sweet story from the poll line: standing in front of me was Alice Guess from Gibson Thompson Guess Architects and her daughter. In front of her was a couple she knew and their two young daughters (one 7, the other, 2). As we finally got into the school itself (line was wrapped halfway around it when we began), the 2 year old jumped up and down, and with great exuberance, shouted O-BA-MA! (She emphasized the BA, which made it that much cuter.) And to that I say, go girl.

Charleston Weddings and an array of local planners and floral purveyors spent today at The William Aiken House shooting gorgeous bridal bouquets and centerpieces for the Winter issue of the magazine. The few peeks I got this morning were just incredible. Thanks to Melissa Bigner and the whole crew for thinking of us for the shoot.

And finally, don't forget to join us at Fish when you exit the polls. We'll be sporting $5 politically-inspired cocktails, $6 - $8 small plates and two T.V.s for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Notes before I go...

I'm leaving...on a jet plane...Actually, I'm getting ready to get out of town for a few days. No, not legal trouble, vacation in the Jerz and New York if you must know. Anywho, isn't it always the busiest EVER just before you leave town? Wowza.

Thus, I shall regale you with several tales before I depart.

1. Fish is launching our new, late Automne menu (French spelling, people) tonight. Main course highlights include cassoulet, coq au vin (Keegan Filion Farms chicken) and triggerfish. Personally, I am all about some cassoulet.

2. Election Day at Fish goes a little something like this. All of you good citizens get out there and vote (sidenote: have you seen this?). Upon exiting the polls, enter Fish. The bar has two T.V.s for your viewing pleasure. Plus, $5 politically-inspired cocktails (Ask Evan.), $6 - $8 small plates, and of course, our new dinner menu. Bring your posse and belly up to the bar I say.

3. For the upcoming Ralph Lauren photo shoot at Lowndes Grove, they're looking for a circa 1970s Cadillac convertible and/or a 2002 TTI BMW. If anyone has either of these, could you drop a line? Thanks.

4. Happy Halloween, since I won't be seeing you. Remember, pennies do not treats make.

Friends in need

I wrote the other day about the torrential rains last Friday, and how our event staff and planning team weathered the storm. Yesterday I heard how the rain resulted in severe damage to some of our farms. I'm the first to admit that when bad weather comes, it takes me a few moments to realize the impact it will have on oh, say ALL THE THINGS THAT GROW and the people who nurture and tend that growth. But it's the reality, and some of our friends (Rita Bachmann of Rita's Roots) were devastated by last week's storm. I share this as a point of a community understanding, a call for empathy. And though we understand that plants and crops do grow again, we also understand that a lost crop is lost money to folks who rely upon it. I guess what I'm talking about is compassion for each other, in good weather and in bad. It's certainly time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Neither rain nor downpour nor torrents of water...

How about that rain on Friday, people? We are talking buckets of rain, n'est-ce pas? The event staff at The William Aiken House (Kris, Rachel, Shannon, Richard et al) certainly earned their stripes at Friday's wedding. Despite a record rainfall, our pal Luke Wilson and his team of superstars , photographer Squire Fox and the entire event staff made what could have sincerely become a washout (pun intended) a truly fabulous event. That's what we call grace and professionalism, folks. Congratulations to all. You have done your wellies proud.

Yesterday, Nico cooked for a small group of about, ohhhhh, 200 for the Aquarium's Sustainable Seafood Festival. And he still had time to create a new, late Autumn menu to be launched this week.

Oh, and breaking news: we just confirmed a photo shoot at Lowndes Grove for Ralph Lauren. They'll be shooting photos and video for their Rugby line. Preppy co-eds on the river, y'all!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Design Walk Highlights!

Last night's Upper King Design Walk was a smashing success. Did you see? Were you there? The streets were packed; every shop had a great crowd and the energy was just phenomenal. Check out the funny write up from City Paper's Erica Jackson here. And, check out TheDigitel's cool video too.

We here at PP had a thoughtful strategy for the evening and it worked out even better than planned.

1. Meet at Fish for pre-walk cocktail. (I had the Upper King Design Walk signature cocktail, the High Fashion.) Got to see pals from Blue Ion and MUSC.

2. Said hi to super songstress Elise Testone and pianoman Gerald Gregory. Sipped our drinks.

3. Said hey to Margaret from Skirt! and fabulous photographer Marni Rothschild Durlach who popped in to shoot Elise for perhaps an upcoming edition? Finished drinks.

4. Walked in and out of neighborhood shops, ate some delicious snacks, had a yummy snowcone (thanks, Elizabeth!), saw innumerable friends and colleagues (you know you who are!) and shopped (a supersweet fedora and amazing green bag were among the purchases. Thanks, Gus and Andrea!)

5. Returned to the Fish bar, now packed, to listen to Elise and Gerald. P.S. "Boogie On Reggae Woman," "Walking After Midnight" and "Virtual Insanity" were a few of the highlights. I KNOW!

To sum up, the Upper King Design Walk was incredible. Personally, it was especially moving to watch our neighbors and friends who have gutted it out these past few months, amid much uncertainty, revel in their respective businesses, the thing they love to do most and just shine brightly.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Upper King Design Walk Tonight

Starting...now! Come visit all of your favorite Upper King haunts, like B'Zar, Lesesne, Blue Bicycle Books, Max Jerome...and, of course, Fish! Remember, Elise Testone and Gerald Gregory begin at 6 pm. See you soonest.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

All manner of good stuff

About to head over to Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant to watch Nico prepare some fabulous slow cooked triggerfish. If you're out and about in Mt. P around 6 pm, plan on stopping by. You too could have a recipe card and a Q&A with our dear Frenchman!

As I've mentioned before, all manner of interesting things happen here at PP. Recently, Ginny Deerin, CEO/founder of wings contacted Managing Partner about our use of social media (blog, Twitter, Flickr). So, yesterday Randall and I met with Ginny to talk about what's worked for us, and, more importantly, we got to take a peek at wings in progress. In a nutshell, wings is an after school program for kids at Memminger Elementary and Chicora Elementary. But it's much much more. Wings is about nurturing social and emotional intelligence in children in a dynamic, fun and safe environment. At one point, Program Director Ericka Parker asked the children to recite the wings creed, and let me just tell you, more than 50 voices, ages 5 through 12, spoke those words (and it's NOT short) with unbelievable exuberance. It was impossible not to feel hopeful and wonderful after a moment like that. What's happening in that classroom is something we can all feel hopeful about, no matter what the news tells us.

Tomorrow is the Upper King Design Walk and, of course, it's also the day that Elise Testone and Gerald Gregory perform, so it's sure to be big fun. All of our neighborhood shops will be staying open late, and you know Fish will be jumping, too.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Naked moo shu, the death of Zima & Whole Foods

In office news, today our staff accountant Elena ordered her moo shu NAKED. I know, it's darn near illegal, but she did and said it was quite delicious.

If you haven't been outside yet today, you need to stop reading this blog immediately and get out there. Go ahead, I'll wait.

Lovely, right?

While you're feeling good, please brace yourself for this rather upsetting bit of news. The malt-liquor magic that was Zima is coming to an end. (Moment of silence.) When I shared this news earlier with a few PP staffers, I was regaled with no less than three stories of the Jolly-Rancher-in-the-Zima phenomenon. Class? Anyone? Rite of passage or just unfortunate common first-time drinking story? You decide. At any rate, don't fret, there's still Boone's Farm.

In tastier news, tomorrow at 6 pm, Nico will be doing a fabulous cooking demonstration at Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant. Our main Frenchman will be preparing slow cooked triggerfish, which is just ridiculously good. Stop by for fun and fantastic prizes, including a recipe card, Q&A time with Nico and, the best part, a sample of the dish. Several PP staffers will be on hand to heckle, I mean, cheer Nico on. We'll save you a seat.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Lowndes Grove Super Trooper

Super trooper, and I mean that in the goes-above-and-beyond-the-call-of-duty as opposed to the ABBA way. That's Laurel Prasch, one of our illustrious Lowndes Grove event managers, helping set up plates for Saturday's wedding while she's nursing a broken foot. How's that for dedication, folks?

In other Lowndes Grove news, check out some wonderful shots taken by photographer Jill Higgins. While I'm at it, don't miss our pal Leigh Webber's finely tuned vision in these lovely moments from The William Aiken House.

And, take some first glances at The American Theater Grand Ballroom. Thanks to Clara from Tiger Lily florist for the beautiful centerpieces, our expert shooter Brennan Wesley and The William Aiken House event staff who put the room together with lightning speed TWICE!

Friday, October 17, 2008

So, about that economy...

I haven't spoken much about the economic brouhaha everyone's experiencing, but if you've been in downtown Charleston lately, you know that the streets and cash registers have been awfully quiet. That being said, I believe tough times often inspire people to come together and get creative. Read a New York Times article about NYC restaurants extending their hours in an effort to bring in more patrons and revenue, or in some cases, trimming their prices. (P.S. At the other end of the spectrum are flagrant displays of wealth like this.)

Our neighbors at B'Zar are profiled in today's Charleston Regional Business Journal for their talent in marketing themselves via social media sites like Facebook. As you know, we here at PP are big fans of social media. Oh yeah, we Twitter. And the results are often near instantaneous and nearly always inspiring. Check out the supercool visual examples our friends at Blue Ion did. And did I mention it's free? In this economy we all need to find ways to reach each other...and it usually starts right in our own neighborhood.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

For our next trick, pumpkin carving!

I work with the coolest people. Josh Moore, one of the Fish line cooks, created this fabulous jack-o-lantern for no other reason than he wanted to. He also makes some mean moo shu. And, he and Pastry Chef Susie Ieronemo made me laugh out loud, all before 11 am. See? Good people.

P.S. Should you be out and about tonight, don't forget: Elise Testone and Matt Chase play from 6 until 9 pm. If you're lucky, she might play her kazoo. And, she takes requests.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Fish loves a good debate: join us tonight at the bar!

As you may know, tonight is the final Presidential debate (is that a nationwide collective sigh of relief I hear?). Rather than sit at home and play drinking games (during the VP debate, "maverick" did all but do a girl in), why not join us at the bar at Fish? Why? Because from 6 until 9 pm, you can relax to the sounds of the Charlton Singleton Trio, have a bite to eat and just generally center yourself. Which, when you think about, is the perfect way to prepare for how fired up you'll be during the debate. (No slinging dim sum in anger at the t.v. screen.) And, our resident mixologist and favorite cherub, Evan Powell has created a signature political cocktail: The Obiden. What's that you ask? Take the cocktail classic that is a sidecar. This is a new twist on the classic, much like Obama has a new way of looking at old politics. The bitters and sugar in the Obiden symbolize both good times and the bad…the things both men have overcome/survived and the sweet times ahead when get elected! Oh, and the blue curacao symbolizes the Democratic party…and one more thing: the brandy has its roots in ancient Greece and Rome, the birthplace of democracy! See, you think you're just getting a great cocktail, but you're also getting a great story. See you at the bar, friends.

The American photo shoot

Our pal, photographer Brennan Wesley took some fantastic photos of The American Theater yesterday for some upcoming promotion/spreading of the gospel. Let me just tell you how good that Grand Ballroom looks all dolled up for an event! Many thanks to General Manager Kris Rowe and Rachel, Shannon and Sarah from the event staff who flipped the room in mere moments so we could shoot the room in different "outfits!" Photos to come soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The secret life of Elizabeth Kitchin

Director of Human Resources by day, back up singer with The Drifters by night. You heard it here.

Friday, October 10, 2008

It's random Friday at Patrick Properties!

What a week it's been, kids. Just to let you in on a taste of what goes on behind the scenes in Charleston's finest hospitality company, I offer you the following array of randomness.

At left: our pals and neighborhood quality beef producers at Cordray's apparently dabble in other forms of...um, game? GATOR!

Below are Hanz & Franz, former residents of the Lowndes Grove Main House, now adding "character" and not just a little levity to the Lowndes Grove sales office.

And finally this is Hitachino, a lovely Japanese beer with one of the best designed labels (you know what a sucker I am for design) I have seen in a while. It's served at Fish. I highly recommend it. Especially after a week like this. Hanz and Franz haven't tried it yet, but they are more into Prosecco anyway.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Class is in session

The other night, Managing Partner Randall Goldman and I got to hang out with College of Charleston Professor Robert Stockton and his architecture class at The William Aiken House. The house encompasses four different architectural styles which makes it a bit of an enigma in Charleston. It also makes for a very concise tour: 4 styles in one house, so it lends itself to class tours. Professor Stockton has nearly encyclopediac knowledge of The House. In fact, back when Glenn Keyes Architects tackled the renovation of the house, Glenn and Professor Stockton spent much researching its history together. It's always interesting to walk through any of our properties with someone who can illuminate elements you might not have noticed or thought about from that particular perspective. Of course, that's one of the wonderful things about historic properties, the abundance of details and compelling stories.

For me personally, the whole experience was enhanced by Professor Stockton himself. He speaks slowly with a smooth Biloxi accent. And, (I hope he doesn't mind me saying this) he sort of resembles Donald Sutherland, which lends him an authoritative yet approachable, charming vibe. What can I say? Guess I'm a sucker for smooth talking architectural historians.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Instant moo shu, like instant karma, but tastier.

No sooner did I send out the alert on the Fish $10 lunch via email, Twitter, etc etc. did some folks over at TheDigitel waltz on over, eat some moo shu, then write and post a snazzy write-up. Poof, instant review!

Okay, new topic. If you happen to be the person at your company who is responsible for the holiday party, may I offer a couple of suggestions. (Not that there is, in theory, anything wrong with pigs in blanket and Swiss Miss, but you know, just in case.)

We here at PP have a lovely array of historic properties just perfect for your holiday shindig. For instance, go holiday-Deco at The American Theater Grand Ballroom. Or, live the estate life for a hot minute at the Lowndes Grove Main House. Better yet, go downhome at the Lowndes Grove River House. Perhaps a Lowcountry supper at The William Aiken House? A seated dinner at Fish. You think about it. Let us know.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The $10 lunch. Yes, really.

Here's the thing: we think lunch should fill you up not clean you out.

Hence, the $10 lunch at Fish.

Starting today, lunch at Fish is $10. That includes your entrée, fountain drink and tax. That’s right: ONE Alexander Hamilton. (Or TWO Lincolns or TEN Washingtons, etc.)

So, say you come in and order shrimp moo shu with the local tomato salad and a coke. $10.

Or maybe you fancy the seared tuna salad with the cilantro yuzu dressing and a sweet tea. Oh, just $10.

Actually, what you really want is a bowl full of steamy pho noodle soup with chicken and a seltzer. That will be $10, thanks.


Why are we doing this, you ask?

Because...multi-billion bailout, anyone?

Because we want to be your regular lunch spot.

Because we now have a great big bar and why don’t you come by?

Because food is a comfort, and we'd like comfort to stay affordable.
We look forward to seeing you soon.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Did someone say speakeasy?

Not only is Jessica Kafer a fine Corporate Sales Manager here at PP, she is also someone near and dear to my heart. And, she's one of the funniest people I know. Sometimes I think we shared the same childhood. So, I want you to know her and love her like I do, hence I've asked her to be today's guest blogger. Please make her feel right at home!

Can we talk about the American Theater? Of course we can because I’m in charge and the new ballroom is freakin’ fantastic! (Can I say freakin’?) I know, I’m the sales manager and you think I’m supposed to say that, but my job is great. I get to see the look on lots of faces that are seeing the ballroom for the first time, and let me just say that it is rewarding.

You see, we (me + clients) talk about the old theater and how it is hard to imagine that this new space exists, and we need to sing about it from the rooftops. We admire those ridiculously cool new chandeliers. We talk about making custom posters for the marquees. We have this great idea about pre-dinner cocktails in the lobby with parmesan truffle popcorn and old fashioned cocktails. We talk about cigarette girls and speakeasies, we become like family or at least old friends then we hug it out, grinning ear to ear. It is good times, and I love every minute of it.

I know it’s not up to me what you type of event you plan at the theater, but I love that space and it deserves a good party. If you care about my happiness at all, then here are my wishes.

1. Speakeasy! Secret knock or password at the street front ticket booth. Bathtub gin and moonshine. Oysters Rockefeller. Live music and guests dancing the Charleston. Debauchery!

2. A holiday party with a fake fireplace projected on the 9x12 screen on the stage. The Beach Boys and the Partridge Family Christmas albums piped in through the sound system. Turtlenecks, gaudy cardigans, lots of laughs, corny gifts. Don’t judge.

3. A realistic holiday party with a fun-loving group of folks. Hot cider, secret Santas, cranberry, pumpkin, roasted game, red wine. A trio of musicians in the background.

4. Ryan & Grayson’s wedding. Theme is The Notebook (one of their favorite movies & so happens the big date scene was filmed here). Okay, so it’s not a theme per se, it is art deco elegance and style. Dapper. Candlelit, creams, gold. Tuxes, gowns.

5. Corporate meeting that uses every inch of new technology in our projection booth. Now that the presidential debates are over, I guess I’ll settle for the State of the Union Address. Does it have to take place in DC or is location optional?

Call me. (843) 737.9225
Email me. jessica@patpropevents.com

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Good and good for you.

This edition of the PP blog is fortified with 9 essential vitamins!

What a day here at PP. Busy, busy. Executive Chef Nico Romo and Chef de Cuisine Charron Henry will be cooking tonight at the 13th Annual Charleston Stage Gala at the Gaillard. The fundraiser will feature 15 chefs and Greg Tavares from the HaveNots! is master of ceremonies who will lead the party in a Musical Salute to Hollywood Musicals. THAT should be priceless. Sneek peek of Nico's menu:

amuse bouche
Local Shrimp Lollipop
Sweet Soy Ginger Ice Cream with Spicy Crushed Cashew

first course
Grouper, Clams, Mussels, Fingerling Potatoes, Bok Choy,
Fennel, Mushrooms, Thai Coconut Broth

second course
Chocolate, Ginger Braised Short Ribs
Nori Rice Cake, Candied Haricot Vert


A Trio Mini Cheesecakes
Hot Chocolate, Raspberry and Peach

In other news, our pals Elise Testone and Matt Chase are playing at Fish tonight from 6 to 9. Don't miss it.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Divine American Theater

The team at Glenn Keyes Architects was at it again this summer, turning The American Theater’s concession area and back theater into 2,300 square feet of elegant and glamorous Grand Ballroom space (accommodates 140 seated, 250 theater or 160 classroom style guests). I know, you were wondering what all that banging was about, right?

I use the word DIVINE on purpose and believe you me, I don't throw Miss M's image around lightly. But I am just saying this Grand Ballroom is just that. Details include two, handmade milk glass chandeliers and a warm, stylish Art-Deco palette (think creams and celestial gold). Very gorgeous, very elegant, very retro. And also, so very modern with all the hot tech/A/V equipment one needs for a truly fabulous celebration. (a 9 x 12 screen with ceiling mounted projector, state-of-the-art AMX A/V system, multiple handheld, lapel and headset microphones and a 340-square-foot stage for presentations/performances)

I'll tell you a secret: Corporate Sales Manager Jessica Kafer and I are both dying for someone, somewhere to have a Prohibition-themed party in the Grand Ballroom. Wouldn't that just be the most fun? Do it. Who isn't crying out for a Prohibition-themed company holiday party? Call Jessica, she has special packages and pricing too. 843.737.9225

Monday, September 29, 2008

When in doubt, half-priced wine.

When you read headlines like: Stocks tumble as bailout plan fails in House, it's understandable you might feel a wee bit twitchy. Add to that the totally unremarkable (in my humble opinion) Presidential debate on Friday, and you could feel downright downtrodden. However, I will say that I did see Burn After Reading this weekend, which is hilarious and if nothing else, reminded me to embrace the quirky and dark.

As a rule, I am not one to push the panic button, though I would be fibbing if I said I wasn't personally feeling the result of higher gas and food prices. But, bear in mind, I am the child of a father who was born in 1929, the year of the stock market crash.

To say that my Dad was prudent when it came to all things financial just might be the understatement of my life. Growing up with a Dad that was forever turning off lights ("Do you think I own stock in the power company?") or turning down the thermostat ("Put on a sweater!") was, during those moments, a bit of a burden to bear. Now, years later, I see that the reality of his rants is actually darn pragmatic and dare I say, more sustaintainable. Something to mull over.

At any rate, my thought for the day is this. Breathe in and out. Take a walk outside. Try not to panic. And should you still feel twitchy, remember, Fish has half-priced select bottles of wine tonight.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Kazoos & congrats

Elise Testone and Matt Chase rock my world. Sat at the bar last night and just thoroughly enjoyed myself and chilled out to an electic mix including "Fly Me To Moon," "Crazy," and "Virtual Insanity." Seriously amazing. You need to make Thursdays at Fish a regular thing. That's all I'm saying. Oh, and Elise plays a mean kazoo.

Congratulations to our recently betrothed friend and style guru Laura Kirkman, proprietor of Maddison Row. Laura and I worked together several years ago, and I have always been in deep admiration of her marketing acumen, passion and tenacity. Watching Maddison Row launch and flourish has been such a pleasure to witness.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Wednesday evening on Upper King

Met with photographer Brennan Wesley late yesterday about some upcoming projects. Then, friends from Blue Ion and luxury shoe and handbag designer Mary Norton met at Fish for cocktails to celebrate the launch of the new Mary Norton e-commerce site. Be sure to check out the Dream Tree and the Book of Mary, and of course, purchase some fabulous, handmade in Italy shoes and handbags! It was lovely to be at the new Fish bar, listening to the Charlton Singleton jazz trio, next to the open door letting in the lovely fall evening. Really not bad for a Wednesday evening.

Friends from the Upper King Design District also joined us last night for the neighborhood meeting. Can I just say? When you gather all the amazing people in our neighborhood together, the creativity and energy in the room is palpable.

Had coffee and a great talk with Jamee Haley from Lowcountry Local First the other morning about an upcoming Buy Local Week. That's right, the first week of December will be proclaimed Buy Local Week by Mayor Joe Riley, and the tentative events will be a perfect blend of all things local. We here at PP are hoping to have a major role in one of the events. I can say no more...Stay tuned for details!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Poetry & basket weaving

Doesn't that title sound like electives available during your senior of college? Anyway, went to hear poet Thomas Lux read the other night at Ashley Hall. If you've never been to a poetry reading, you should go, mostly because it's never what you have it in your mind to be. I say that after attending nearly three dozen in my life. Lux, who currently teaches at Georgia Tech, is really funny. Smart, clever and so clearly loves what he does. And, should you get the chance to catch any sort of performance at Ashley Hall, you should also go because it's just a gorgeous space. Fantastic, historic architecture, this little oasis in the middle of downtown Charleston.

Architect Reggie Gibson has introduced us to some fascinating people through the course of the Fish renovation. Last week, we met Molly B. Right, a local artist who creates portraits and landscapes out of vintage bottle caps. Yes, really. Molly starts with a painted portrait on a sheet of metal. She then glues to the bottle caps to the metal in an overlapping fashion, "like the scales of a snake." The results are stunning.

And today, I just took a quick photo of Nancy Basket from Walhalla, South Carolina. And wouldn't you know it, she just so happens to make baskets. In fact, she hand wove the kudzu fishing basket light fixtures in Fish. We're trying to capture all of these stories as they are happening, because well, they're wildly interesting and really, who doesn't want a good story to pass along?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sometimes you just need theatrics.

We're putting the final touches on the new Grand Ballroom at The American Theater, and may I say, it is, in a word, glamorous. I will put out there that I am a fan of Art Deco style. Check out Miami's Raleigh Hotel, especially the pool. You just want to put on a floral bathing cap, a one piece and go synchronized swimming immediately!

Anywho, I will regale you with the many outstanding details soon, but for now, I will just say that this space is worthy of once-in-a-lifetime events, like say an incredible corporate incentive gathering, a 1940s-inspired wedding reception or perhaps a royal coronation. It could happen.

And if you don't think it's a romantic setting, may I just remind you of Love, American Style?

Friday, September 19, 2008


That's Nico (and his nice gams) dressed in the kilt he wore when he accompanied me to the Skirt! magazine party last night. Might I say, I found out who the real men were last night, because there were a number of men in attendance who did not wear skirts. (They are now dead to me.) Actually, Nico had an interesting conversation last night with Chai, owner of Basil and Chai's. (Chai's skirt was long and looked to be batiked.) Anyway, Chai was telling us that he had to ask his friends to "hold his stuff" for him, as his skirt has no pockets. See? Little moments of insight into the female experience, courtesy of Nikki Hardin and the talented women at Skirt. Love it.

This is Nico running away from General Manager Jodie Battles in the parking lot like a movie star running from paparazzi! Again, may I say? Nice gams.

And though I didn't have much time to sit and really enjoy the music, the few moments I got to share with Elise Testone and Matt Chase last night were just perfect. We're so thrilled to have them with us. Remember, Thursdays from 6 to 9 pm.

In neighborhood news, congratulations to Gus and Andrea Serrano, owners of B'Zar. Suite Sole, their new sneaker boutique, opens on Spring Street this weekend. Go get some sweet new kicks from some of the coolest people I know.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Found this gem on Flickr. That's the Obama cake, made with loving hands by the friendly Dems at Bleeding Heart Bakery in Chicago. What's even cooler is that up until the election,$2 of the sale of very Obama cake will be doanted to the Obama/Biden 08 campaign. I love grassroots campaigning. You recall how I love to talk about politics and food, don't you? Political bake sale, everyone!

Scenes from the bar

Had a late brainstorming meeting over Sapporos with pals from Blue Ion last night. So much fun to actually sit down at Fish's purple heart wood and watch people come and go. Last night was also the triumphant return of The Charlton Singleton Trio, so it was a big night all around. I've talked with many people about how all of us here at PP are so curious to see what sort of crowd our new bar is going to draw. After all, Upper King is an eclectic area in and of itself, enticing folks old and young, straight and gay, students and professionals, artists and bankers, architects and dancers. To me, sitting at the bar last night was like watching the first scenes of a movie or a play unfold. There is an excitement and anticipation that is palpable, like a hum of electricity just below the surface.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Elise Testone & Matt Chase: This Thursday at Fish

I first heard Elise Testone at Lowcountry Local First's Chef Feast, by far the best and most relaxed Charleston fundraising/food get togethers I've attended. A fantastic group of chefs, local growers, restaurateurs, owners, foodies of all kinds gathered at Middleton Place for a near perfect afternoon. As I sat down with plates of local goodness, the music started and this big, soulful voice emerged from this petite woman and swept over the party like a wave of contentment and joy, and I was just in awe. I mean to tell you, everyone stopped to listen. Here's a listen. And, more importantly, Elise and piano player Matt Chase will be spending this Thursday from 6 to 9 pm with us at Fish. Stop by and you'll understand. P.S. She's a Jersey native, too. HOLLA!

Monday, September 15, 2008

It wasn't infidelity; it was the crème brûlée.

Perhaps the best/funniest comment we've received about Fish thus far. "My boyfriend is leaving me for Susie's s'more. I'm leaving him for the crème brûlée." If that isn't a ringing endorsement for dessert, I just don't know what is.

On Friday, our invite-only moo shu lunch launch was just a big hunk of fun, happy, full folks, and we couldn't have been happier. Thanks to everyone who came by to wish us luck, sample the moo shu and provide feedback. Special thanks to Cupcake who came bearing gifts of...you know what! I could seriously mug for their red velvet cupcake.

In other news, we bid our friends from Elegant Bride a fond adieu. They spent the better part of last week with us at Lowndes Grove shooting an array of exquisitely elegant event settings put together by the lovely and talented ladies of Soiree. They gave me a couple of sneek peeks of the footage, and let me just say: gorgeous, lovely, frame it, get married, you gotta have it, okay?

Friday, September 12, 2008

6,250 reasons to Come Out to Fish

A most heartfelt thank you to everyone who joined us Tuesday and Wednesday for our Coming Out Celebrations. As you may know, we asked our invitees to "Pay What You Will" and donated all of the proceeds to AFFA, the Alliance for Full Acceptance. Over two days, we raised $6,250. Personally, I was just plain overwhelmed by peoples' generosity. Not only did folks take the time to share their feedback about the new Fish experience with us, but their energy and generosity made our first two evenings that much more amazing. Many, many thanks to all of you.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Coming out stories

Well campers, last night Fish had its first opening party, a "Coming Out Celebration," which was also a fundraiser for AFFA, the Alliance for Full Acceptance. An incredible group of folks joined us last night to taste the new menu and take in the new sights and sounds of our bar and the dining room. Guests were given detailed comment cards on which we asked for their opinions on everything from food to service to decor and music. As I walked through the restaurant last night, it was incredible to watch a sea of faces laughing, enjoying and savoring their experience. Of course, we had a few opening night glitches (only one of three printers working in the kitchen), but on the up side we had fierce food and Mitchell Crosby in the dining room, so you do the math!

And, last night our wonderfully generous guests donated nearly $3400 that goes directly to AFFA, and we are so thankful. Not bad for our first Coming Out Party.

Also, as promised a select few photos from the Patricks' birthday bonanza last week. What, you think I'm going to give away the interiors of the restaurant before you get in there? Silly.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Celebrations & finishing touches, like tp holders

PP closed the offices as many folks in the area did to avoid getting caught in the clutches of Hanna. Thankfully, we avoided flooding and wind damage of any kind.

I will, without fail, have photos from the Patricks' Birthday Bonanza/Opening Party to peruse tomorrow. In the meantime, do know that all of the Fish Launch Madness, I mean CELEBRATIONS kick off tomorrow evening. Today, among other things, I picked up celebratory Fish Opening t-shirts (fun fact about Randall: if it can be celebrated, it can have a t-shirt made!) from our pal Greg White in Mt. Pleasant and then dashed over to a fine hardware store to pick out some brushed nickel paper holders for the new bathrooms at Fish. You think I'm kidding? I told you hospitality marketing was glamorous.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Let the reopening madness begin!

Because we love a challenge, PP decided to throw a multi-birthday party celebration at Fish for the Patricks, their friends and family. TONIGHT.

Yeah, we're funny like that.

Anywho, all hands were on deck today for the final push today. And, to kick things off right, we had a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Managing Partner Randall Goldman. As luck would have it, the Charleston City Fire Marshall was here at the same time, to make sure everything was good to go. During his perusal of the space, he set off the alarms, which were routed to our alarm company who quickly and efficiently dispatched the Charleston Fire Department. So, the big red fire truck came roaring down King Street, sirens and lights a-blazing. It was definitely a moment.

(P.S. The firefighters are wonderful guys.)

Oh, and then Randall cut the ribbon and POOF! A restaurant.

Party pics to come.
And, might I also just add amid this frivolity, please be careful out there with the impending Hanna situation.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

How about...

How about Charleston all up in the Daily Candy? Quite a nice write up on our fair city, although kids, you completely and utterly missed the Upper King Design District. (They did however, catch Hominy Grill.) But they did mention both hoop skirts and mint juleps. (Neither of which I've come across since I've lived here. Ponderous.)

How about being in the 9th inning of the Fish renovation as hurricanes swirl their way to our area? You want to see a tense group of folks? Come on over and talk to Team PP. Mind you, no one (thankfully) has lost their sense of humor, but holy smacks, what a week we're having!

How about walking my pal from Blue Ion through Fish and The American Theater in their various stages of renovation/super cool disarray and still getting the ooohs and aaahs?

How about culling together some of the amazing back stories of various design elements at Fish to share?

How about laughing hysterically with my office mates because we are slap happy from lacquer fumes and menu edits?

How about feeling old because one of my coworkers never heard of the Violent Femmes?

How about a list to try to illustrate how many things going on here on any particular pre-hurricane, pre-opening Wednesday?