Our blog has moved!
Check out our new home:

Friday, May 30, 2008

He slices, he dices, he juliennes, he texts!

TGIF! Holy smacks, Internet, it's been a week, huh? This posting serves as a bon voyage to Jennifer and Randall Goldman as they head off for a 2 week vacation to Dubrovnik. During their Eastern European escapades, Randall will be addressing students at the University of Dubrovnik on the subject of historic renovation and honestly, who knows what else. (When Randall gets revved up, the sky's the limit!) Anywho, safe travels!

In other news, I just walked over to Fish for a second and on my way back to the PP office, I saw these beautiful ribbons blowing in the breeze at the entrance to The William Aiken House. There is something so lovely about a wedding in the middle of the city. I love to watch the passersby try to sneak glimpses through the wrought iron gate. Sweet moments.

And finally, check out the fastest texter this side of the Atlantic. He may be limping currently, but he can outcook and outtext just about anyone out there. Go Nico, go!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

In case you were wondering: lard is the new butter

Picture it: my better half and I are eating cupcakes outside in front of 444 King Street during our lunch hour as Executive Chef Nico Romo walks by (actually, limps by, because he's on one crutch due to his still injured knee) and TOTALLY CATCHES US STUFFING OUR FACES. Stone cold busted. I had no reply save for a full-mouthed, "Wanna bite?"

In other news, I got some very excellent samples of fabric, flooring and lighting from those talented architects at Gibson, Thompson, Guess. That's all I can tell you right now. You won't get another word out of me. Maybe next week. I mean it, that's it for now.

Moving right along, I have to tell you that I think questions of etiquette are nearly always intriguing and entertaining. Check out this gem from the Martha Stewart wedding blog:

Dear Darcy,
I am getting married this summer and my fiancé and I are saving to buy our first house together. We would love monetary wedding gifts to add to our nest egg but worry that it may be rude to state this somewhere in the invitation. Should we say something like "we are not registered for gifts, but we really want a house someday?"

All the best,Desperately Need Wedding Cash

This VERY PROPER response comes from the folks at Crane & Co. (of course)

Dear Desperately Need Wedding Cash,

I certainly understand and appreciate your intent to want to build a “nest egg” to purchase your first house, but keep in mind your wedding is a sacred event celebrating the joyous joining of two people and should not be treated as a financial fundraiser. Your invitation should remain pure in its intent and should never include gift or registry requests.

There are ways to discretely meet your objective while keeping your occasion one that will be cherished by family and friends. The best way to let people know is by word of mouth through family and friends. If this is not practical, your save-the-date card is the least offensive place to include the URL for your wedding website, which can inform guests of registry information or gift preferences. Your website is also a great place to tell your personal story about your aspirations of building a home together.

Good luck,
Crane & Co.

I got the biggest kick out of that response. It's just so darn well-worded, isn't it? P.S. Can I mention that I've been to more than one wedding where there was a tradition of Dollar Dances with the Bride? Would that make the folks at Martha Stewart and Crane & Co. just ITCH or what?

As you may know, my world view has much to do with writing, word choice and the telling of stories. I am fascinated by how "old" sayings and slang work their way into our daily language. Specifically, I must call out this winner. It goes like this: __________ is the new ________. I KNOW you have seen, read or even said it. As in: 50 is the new 40. Brown is the new black. Today's Food + Wine blog headline is my new favorite: LARD: THE NEW BUTTER. And...scene!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The devil, the deep blue sea, the wreckfish, the cheese rolling

As promised, photos from the Patrick's "Between the Devil and The Deep Blue Sea" Spoleto Party are here. And here too, courtesy of the professional hob knobbers at Charleston Magazine. Details, you ask? Here are a couple of morsels: the very cool lighting and projection were courtesy of our pals at PDA Lighting, Sound & Effects. The most popular dessert of the evening? A gingergread man crepe (Yes, I said man crepe.) with berries, whipped cream and flambeed with Grand Marnier. (Note: this is based on the "Biscuit Tin Revolution" part of the Spoleto show.) There are so many places I could go with this, what with the man crepe, flambee and the like, but just this once, I will restrain myself. Deep, cleansing breath.

I was also told that a number of well-mannered party crashers showed up as the party was winding down. (They just wanted more, more, more.) A set of horns (remember, the theme) also made an appearance at this shindig. Fun tidbit from last year's festivities. Apparently, a party-goer accidentally fell into the pool. She left the party, went home and changed and returned to the party. I just admire that kind of spunk and commitment.

In Fish news, our friend, photographer Terry Kuzniar was just here shooting for an upcoming story about local wreckfish in Lowcountry Living Magazine. You would not believe how difficult it was to find wreckfish. For the past several weeks, I've been in touch with writer Holly Herrick and Nico about the apparent lack of wreckfish in the local waters lately. Very strange because it is, after all, wreckfish season. Anyway, finally the wreckfish gods smiled upon us and there was wreckfish for all.

Finally today, I will leave you with this gem, shared with me by Managing Partner Randall-I'm-nearly-on-my-way-to-Dubrovnik Goldman. It's the Annual Cheese Rolling Festival in Gloucestershire, England, kids! Apparently, the weather was rather dismal which made cheese rolling conditions a bit dangerous. There were some injuries, however no cheese was harmed during the rolling. Badumdum. Thank you, I'll be here all week.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Like prom queen & king, only way nicer & more knowledgable about food & wine

Well, Internet, it was a rather wacky and wonderful weekend. Started off with some much-needed adult beverages with several PP staffers at an undisclosed Upper King Street watering hole on Friday evening. Saturday, I hit the Charleston Farmer's Market (heavy Spoletian traffic) with all of its delicious goodness. Mmmm, crepes. Saturday evening, I met friends at EVO in Park Circle, where due to their recent fabulous press on their homemade desserts, they were completely SOLD OUT! (Note: I was already remarkably full. Perhaps it was a sign from above for some restraint.) On Sunday fun day, my better half and I hit the beach at Sullivan's Island where we were hit not once, but TWICE by a para-surf sail gone awry in the gusting North winds. (It didn't hurt, but um, TWICE? Dude, do you mind?) And last night, I received a text message from our William Aiken House General Manager, Kris Rowe, who was working the Patricks' annual Spoleto party. It read: "Celeste's party is amazing! Charleston Magazine is here!" Look for more details and photos as they arrive.

On Sunday, I had the honor of hand delivering a Fish gift certificate donation to some very special folks. Meet Theresa Ravenell and her family. Dakota Walker, Executive Director of Isabelle's House, put together a team of volunteers who, with the help of many generous members of the Charleston community, forever changed this family's life. When I arrived at the family's home on Sunday morning, I found Dakota and more than 30 volunteers working feverishly to complete work on renovations to the family's home as well as stocking it with much-needed food, toiletries and furniture, before the family came home. Yes, it was surprise! Take a look. Many thanks to Dakota and Karen Siegel who shared the Ravenell's story with us. We wish Theresa and her family the very best.

Finally today, I'd like to introduce you to the Prom Queen & King of Fish Restaurant. They look forward to seeing you soon. Perhaps after something rather Spoleto?

Friday, May 23, 2008

Cherubs, Spoletians & the pool at Lowndes Grove

I think I have spoken before about the wholesome goodness of Fish Manager and Mixologist, Evan Powell. I have, in fact, nicknamed him "Cherub," due to his generous nature (and his ruddy, fair-haired complexion.) He arrived at the PP headquarters office this morning with three of his homemade iced coffees, made especially for my two office mates and me. Right on. I will also say that Mr. Powell looked especially dashing today, in his jacket. When questioned the reason for his extra spiffiness, he said in all seriousness, "I have to go big for Spoleto." Indeed.

While I'm on the subject of the Spoletian Invasion (um, have you SEEN King Street today?), it's extremely exciting to see the press the Festival is already garnering. New York Times writer Daniel J. Wakin is here covering Spoleto in its entirety. Check out his rave review on Amistad at the new Memminger Auditorium (which I cannot WAIT to see). P.S. I know this fantastic restaurant for pre and post Spoleto activities.

In other news, the pool at Lowndes Grove opens this weekend (photo above). No, you can't do a cannonball, but I so appreciate you asking.

Rita gets wheels

Back in April, Fish took part in the Chef's Potluck a fantastic food event put together by our friends at Lowcountry Local First. Part of the proceeds of the event went to local grower Rita Bachmann of Rita's Roots. The event was so successful that Rita is now able to purchase a refrigerated truck in which she can transport her bounty of fresh produce to the Charleston Farmer's Market, an array of local restaurants (including Fish!) and her many loyal customers. Such a pleasure to watch folks rally and support each other in a way that ends up serving the community even more.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Curtains, birth announcements, friends in the news & our ongoing greening

Internet, get this: got a fantastic gift from our friends at Charleston Stage, a curtain! We're talking a serious theater curtain here that will beautify American Theater for years to come. Many thanks!

So Executive Chef Nico Romo and Chef de Cuisine Charron Henry made it back from Chicago. Nico spent far too much time gallavanting upon his bum knee (the doctor scolded him), but they resturned with both inspiring ideas and presents (I'm waiting for mine, Nico). And, to top it all off, Nico is yet again, uncle, this time to sweet Maelle. Felicitations!

Super write up in today's Post & Courier on John Battles, Sous Chef at Evo Pizza in Park Circle. Congrats, guys!

Had a very productive meeting with our fine Sales team yesterday about new and exciting ways to showcase all that Patrick Properties has to offer, both from the weddings perspective as well as the corporate perspective. And, we managed to cut the number of pages in our sales packet nearly in half, which means another green step for events! This comes in addition to recycling every single piece of glass, #1 and #2 plastics, aluminium and tin. (FYI: the average wedding can produce 17 cases of wine bottles...and that's just the bridal party. KIDDING, everyone!)

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A horse of course

In all the hub bub of the photo shoot, I believe I forgot to mention Cisco. That's him there, pulling the fancy carriage. Cisco is 18 years old (horses live well into their 30s) and is about as sweet as he can be. He held very still for all of his close ups with Frank Edwards and let everyone pet him and call him sweet names. When he's not trotting around historic streets and event venues, you'll find him in his pasture in Ravenel with his buddies. He also likes long walks on the beach and carrots.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Breaking in the River House & a windy city warning

So, today we hosted our first CHEC luncheon at Lowndes Grove. CHEC, The Charleston Hoteliers Exchange Club, is a networking, non-profit for the hospitality industry. Everyone got a great tour of the newly opened River House. According to some inside sources, there were a number of "ooohs" and "aaahhs" overheard. Bear in mind, this part of the property had never been used as event space until now. Makes it even nicer that some of the hospitality industry's finest enjoyed themselves at our new digs. Thanks, y'all!

Windy City Warning: Executive Chef Nico Romo and Chef de Cuisine Charron Henry are currently in Chicago running amok, I mean attending the 2008 National Restaurant Association (& International Wine, Spirits and Beer Event). Some super cool chefs will be speaking and/or signing books. Personally, I'd be psyched to meet and talk to Charlie Ayers, Executive Chef for Google who is putting together a cafe concept of healthful, artisan-style, sustainable cuisine in a fast and affordable format. Oh, and get this: Presidential hopeful John McCain will also be speaking. Interesting, huh? Especially when you recall other comments I've made about the state of food in this country and other politicos. Anyway, if you should run into Nico or Charron, please say hey and have your bail money ready. Kidding, people!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Happily waiting on a bride

From the bluestone at Lowndes Grove.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Today's misfiring synapses

Hello, Internet! Got to meet the talented Leigh Webber this afternoon for a quick advertising shoot at Lowndes Grove. Leigh has a great website and A BLOG! She's recently taken some amazing wedding photos at both The William Aiken House and Lowndes Grove. P.S. Leigh also has the grooviest, letterpress business card, created by none other than our pals at Gil Shuler Graphic Design.

The Charleston Weddings fashion shoot was a smashing success and finished up yesterday evening during a most exquisite sunset. In preparation for the final shot, photographer Frank Edwards asked if we could clear some recently fallen leaves from the front lawn (See? It isn't all glamour.) Josh, Frank's photo assistant, bravely took charge with our leaf blower, and so the shot went on without a hitch (and a very pristine green lawn). Many thanks to everyone involved with the shoot. I am giddy with anticipation to see this issue when it hits the stands.

Random Upper King story. This morning, on the way to grab coffee at Kudu, Elizabeth and I happened upon what looked like the remnants of what I can only describe as a CUPCAKE ASSAULT. I have several theories that I'd like to run by you. 1. The holder of the cupcakes fell hard, more than once, with a large number of cupcakes. 2. There was an altercation involving the holder of the cupcakes and someone who WANTED the cupcakes. A tug-of-war ensued; then, in a fit of rage, the cupcake holder began WHIPPING the cupcakes at the cupcake wanter. 3. A down and dirty, seriously fun cupcake fight, which in my mind is so wasteful. I have a hard time supporting the reckless destruction of dessert. Feel free to come up with your own theory.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Felicitations, congrats, big squeeze!

Mere moments ago, the whole PP family gathered at Fish to say congratulations to Executive Chef Nico Romo, Chef de Cuisine Charron Henry and Catering Manager Richard Jones (AKA the Hotlanta Wrecking Crew, teehee) for an outstanding first year of service. Managing Partner Randall Goldman gave a funny and heartfelt speech, in which he spoke of how the guest experience has been elevated because of the passion, skills and breadth of experience of these fine gentleman. It was warm fuzzies all around. Congrats, gentlemen.

It's Day 2 of the Charleston Weddings photo shoot at Lowndes Grove. When I left, Lizzie, our doe-eyed model, was workin' the Valentino pumps. HOLLA! Yesterday's shoot finished up as the sun went down. Had to share this wonderful horse and carriage sunset moment with you. 'Tis a bit shaky, as I took it with my phone, but you'll get the idea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Lowndes Grove gets its fashion on

I've been out at Lowndes Grove most of the day for the Charleston Weddings fashion shoot. First of all, the weather couldn't be lovelier. Secondly, this is a professional and fantasticly fun group of folks. The man behind the lens is none other than Peter Frank Edwards and his assistant Josh. Not only is Frank just an outstanding photographer, but he could also load my Ipod any day of the week. Roxy Music AND The Smiths, okay? Editor Melissa Bigner, Style Editor Ayoka Lucas, Lizzie the ravishing model, stylist Ashley and assistants Mimi and Danielle made the day whiz by beautifully and effortlessly. P.S. Just WAIT until this issue hits the streets, people. (Melissa said it would be August.) I have given you the merest sneak peek above. For the rest, I insist you wait for the professionals.

Monday, May 12, 2008

And when I say FIERCE, I mean awesome.

What a weekend, kids. C of C graduation, also known as the onslaught of white dresses and dinner jackets, wedding season in full swing (more white dresses), not to mention Presidential daughter nuptials in Texas, Mother's Day, tornadoes, oh MY!

Was reading a bit about Jenna Bush's wedding. Father/daughter dance song? "You Are So Beautiful" by Joe Cocker. Yawn. Her Oscar de la Renta dress was lovely, but I really wanted to see the 14 (um, huh?) bridesmaid dresses in varying shades of Texas wildflower. (That's what they said, I swear.) At any rate, I also happened upon the site of dress designer Jenny Lee during this research. Not only did I dig many of her designs, I was struck that many of the dress models were photographed "in nature." Although, none, may I say, were as striking as the gem above taken last summer at Lowndes Grove by our pal Taylor Stewart. Fierceness in the Lowcountry, y'all!

By the by, tonight is our Sequoia Grove wine dinner with winemaker and green goddess, Molly Hill. I am sure you will be there with your Mom since I gave you that great tip about it being the best Mother's Day present and all, right? That's what I thought. (Evan donned a jacket just for the occasion!)

Friday, May 9, 2008

From now on it's lethargy, cigars & scotch.

Upper King is just the funniest little neighborhood sometimes. AC's, one of our fave places for a delicious bar burger, had its front window boarded up when I walked by today. Not exactly sure what happened, but two people had written on the board in magic marker. One quipped: "Ouch, that hurt." The other: "And that's why you should always tip well." I think that made my whole day.

Nico Knee Update: So, it appears as if Nico may have done some damage to his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament: I know. You love it when I talk medical.). That usually spells surgery, but Nico is currently WAY too busy for that, so it will have to wait. He's currently loading up on anti-inflammatories and hobbling around in a brace. He told me this morning that "this staying in shape thing leads to nothing but injuries!" Agreed, from now on, it's lethargy, cigars and scotch! Giddy up.

As we're heavy into wedding season here at The William Aiken House and Lowndes Grove, it just breaks your little heart to see rain on the weekends. I saw some of The William Aiken House event staff scurrying about in crocs this morning as it poured. Thankfully, in true Charleston style, the rains gave way to clear, sunny skies. From my window, I can now hear the music from a ceremony about to begin. Not bad on a Friday afternoon.

As always, don't forget our friends at the Charleston Farmer's Market tomorrow.

And, should you need a gift for Mom (I know you procrastinated.), how about reservations for the Sequoia Grove wine dinner on Monday? Simply call 843.722.FISH, and you will be redeemed. Thank your Mama right. Take her to Fish.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

PP news at 5:30, you've been warned.

Man down! In sports news, Executive Chef Nico Romo, who moonlights as goalie for the local recreation soccer team, "blew up his knee" last night in the heat of battle. The scoop is he "heard a popping noise" and basically crumpled onto the field. (Note: in my experience, the popping noise? Not. Good.) Anyway, after driving himself home (as we say here at PP, "don't be a hero!"), and did I mention he was trying to shift?! Again, not good. The diagnosis? A sprained knee which equals bedrest, a brace and some pain meds. Woohoo! We feel quite certain that Nico will be up and around in about 30 more minutes (doctor's orders or not). You just can't keep a good Frenchman down. Feel better, Nico! (Let us not forget that yours truly suffered a bloody lip as a result of this so-called "recreational soccer team." And, two of our next door neighbors were injured this week as well. Joe took a kick to the eye (WHAT?!) and Adam rolled his ankle. SO NOT RECREATIONAL.)

In local news, our very own Staff Accountant made the 11 o'clock news last night. Elena Hacker was accosted, I mean interviewed, by Channel 2 News as she finished up shopping at her local Pig. (Well, if you must know she was picking up roast beef, muenster cheese and Corona.) The reporter asked Elena about rising gas prices and Greenbax. I'm told the interview was riveting and the words, "It's huge," were used profusely.

In award news, congratulations to our friends at Skirt! magazine who picked up about 1,000, okay 5 GAMMA awards. Most excellent.

In food news, while reading the Food + Wine blog, I came across this cocktail recipe that I immediately sent to our Mixologist at Fish. Picture it: a pint of Hoegaarden beer topped with a scoop of homemade orange sorbet. Oh! Catch me, I swoon!

And lastly in marketing news, I have received 2 so-called humorous remarks on our identity package, both of which began, "Yeah, it looks great. Did you know that [insert property name] was misspelled?" I told you that PP is a sick, sick group of loveable hospitality experts, didn't I?

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Blogstar, biz cards & Mother's Day gift ideas!

Let's recap, shall we? Stunning day weather-wise in Charleston in case you were wondering. A hint of the summer heat that awaits.

Though I missed seeing it over coffee this morning, I later watched my favorite blogger, Heather Armstrong, be interviewed on the Today Show. Heather writes a daily blog and just published a book called What I Learned About My Father (in therapy). It's a collection of essays written by a fantastic group of her blogger pals. Anywho, not only is Heather a great writer. She writes funny; she writes touching; she writes unabashed. Plus, she coined a phrase in our popular vernacular. (Throat clearing) Ahem, to be "dooced." To be fired from one's job for blogging about one's job.

Anyway, back to the interview. I will keep this brief as this is not an entertainment blog, however I have to just say that it's worth your entire day to watch Kathie Lee Gifford very carefully almost say something not that kind to Heather. I have my own thoughts about Kathie Lee Gifford, which I will keep to myself, unless of course you ask me outright. (Joke, kinda.) At any rate, the interview is an amazing look at the power of the blog as a means to build community (be it online or person to person) and as an art form.

In other news, we received a big portion of our new identity system from the printer today. Let me tell you, I just looked at those new business cards and said, "Hello, lover." Well, maybe that's an exaggeration, but I was really psyched and as our pal Gil Shuler says: "Good design is good for business." Can I get an A-MEN?

By the way, if you haven't already made reservations at Fish for the Sequoia Grove Wine Dinner with Molly Hill...well, I hope you don't make me come over there. It's Monday, May 12 at 7 pm. (Um, hello, great Mother's Day gift!) Nico is preparing 3 courses to go with 3 incredible Sequoia Grove wines. Winemaker Molly Hill will be on-hand to regale you with stories of each wine and will delve into how she helped this fine Napa Valley vineyard gain its organic status. It's $45/person, which includes the wine pairings, and honey, that is just a sweet deal. As we say here in the South, holler at me! 843.722.FISH.

By the way, I took the photo above on my way home this evening. Just a reminder of all the history here.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Thoughts from the second floor hall

Was perusing Charleston Magazine this morning, (by the way, Nico is profiled in the Chef's Table feature.) and ran across an ad for the Cigar Factory condos. Front and center in the ad is one of our Blue Ion pals, the dashing Robert Prioleau, all chilled out on a couch. I will say I knew him when...
Also appearing in the magazine, our friend David Thompson from Gibson, Thompson, Guess Architects in a piece that profiles local architects and their eyewear. Yes. Really. Apparently, all the sassy eyewear in this town belongs to the architects. Who knew?

Thanks to Kathleen Dayton over at the Charleston Regional Business Journal who wrote a piece about the Lowndes Grove River House. Photo above is from the Main House second floor hallway.

Our Identity

Had a great drive up to Columbia yesterday with our pal Gil Shuler to press check our new identity package at the printer. May I just say? It looks FIERCE! Not only am I excited because this identity system looks so good, but I'm also thrilled that we've been able to create a sophisticated, clean and solid foundation upon which we can build anything. Remember, we're talking about a company that just 10 short years ago owned just The American Theater!

Friday, May 2, 2008

"It's a Sicilian message. It means Luca Brasi sleeps with the fishes."

We can only hope that the Charleston International Film Festival will strive to bring us lines as memorable as that classic. (I'm also partial to "Leave the gun. Take the cannoli.)

In a nod to our very own Frenchman, Nico Romo, I shall plug one of the film fest's Saturday evening features,"Black Night is Falling." It's a French drama directed by Kook Ewo. Here's the synopsis from the website, which I have to stay made me giggle. Marie, sitting on the windowsill, is reading a magazine. The scene is soothed by the atmosphere of the city: noise from cars, shouts from children who are playing upstairs, the life of the neighborhood... Suddenly, a telephone rings. Gripping, right? Anywho, may I suggest a Saturday night out on the town: say, dinner and movie? Movie then dinner? You decide.

P.S. Don't forget to visit our pals at the Charleston Farmer's Market this weekend. And, SCENE!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

A Fish Story

Having only been with PP since October, there is still quite a bit of history I'm still learning. This story is so good I have to share it with you.

Some of you may know that building that Fish occupies was once a bakery. I love thinking about that (and not just because I am a sucker for good bread and pastries), because bakeries are, in many ways, community. When I was very young, my Dad would sometimes treat us to a trip to Lindee's Bakery on Sunday. That heady, sweet smell is forever in my memory. The ring of the bell on the top of the door. The bread slicer behind the counter. I loved every bit of it. (For the record, I was always torn between the giant smiley face cookie and the Linzer tart.) This particular bakery we frequented was nearly always packed. Everyone was always in a great mood, trading stories, picking up treats for special occasions, catching a quick moment with someone they hadn't seen in a while.

I like thinking that particular scene was probably quite similar to the one at Fish when it was a bakery. Full of heady, delicious aromas, full of conversation and community.

What's also interesting is that Managing Partner Randall Goldman named the restaurant Fish in homage to a restaurant he visited in Singapore called Fishes. The owners, a Chinese couple, who were also Buddhists, believed to honor the soul of the "beings" they used for food, you should let the true flavors speak clearly, so they limited themselves to only using 6 or 7 other ingredients. Obviously that idea spoke to Randall, because nearly 8 years later, Fish is still here.

And though things have changed radically through the years, I find it fascinating that this special space is still full of heady, delicious aromas, still full of conversation, still full of community. It's nice to think that maybe the soul of this building is in our hands for our safe keeping.