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Thursday, July 31, 2008

First news from Jodie in New York City

As you know, Fish General Manager Jodie Battles arrived in the Big Apple today to start her big adventure with the folks at Tom Colicchio's craft restaurant. Turns out the hotel a certain online travel agency booked for her was um, condemned. Errrr. Ummm. Anyone have a short-term sublet?

Random news blip: As the price of bread and milk continues to rise, oddly, the price of lobster is dropping. Ponderous.

Power outage, bees & trees part two & the final turn of the spinning meat

How about that storm yesterday? The power went out here at PP headquarters, and we all headed out a tad early (it's beer thirty!). On the way home, I noticed folks also without power hanging out and talking on their front stoops or piazzas. Nothing like a temporary blackout to bring neighbors together. I just love that.

So it's Bees & Trees Part Two out at Lowndes Grove. You recall our Bee Relocation Program, yes? Turns out there are um, lots more bees in that tree. Check out the honey! (In my scary little marketing brain, I'm thinking of all the branding possibilities: Lowndes Grove honey, anyone? Quick, whip up some packaging!)

Finally, it is with sadness that we bid a fond adieu to our King Street neighbor, Papa Zuzu's. Yesterday marked the last day of business for the King Street location (thankfully, their Mt. P. location is going strong). I think the small space that is Papa Zuzu's will get swallowed up by condominium madness. We here at PP headquarters placed our final order for gyros (oh, how I mourn the loss of the tzaziki!) and pizzas. It was, as ever, fresh and totally delicious. Goodbye, Papa Zuzu's. We will miss you. We'll see you and your twirling stick of meat across the bridge.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bourdain & Birds

I believe I have made it abundantly clear here that I adore Alice Waters and all that she stands for, yes? Yes. What I might not have shared is my utter fascination with Anthony Bourdain, chef, world-traveler, author and host of the Travel Channel show, No Reservations. Bourdain is like Keith Richards, one of my dear friends' loud Italian dad, a philosopher, a wise guy and you know, a fabulous chef, all rolled into one very sarcastic and sage package (insert Marlboro Reds here).

If you haven't ever caught an episode of the show, it's well worth a look. The premise is simple: Bourdain travels all over the world eating the food, meeting the locals and experiencing the culture. Last night, Bourdain left me with this wonderful line that is still, clearly, resonating with me: "Food brings everyone to the table, literally and figuratively." A lovely enough line to leave alone, methinks.

And how about this gem? Over at The William Aiken House, a bird's nest came tumbling out of one of the chimneys. Sadly, several baby birds perished from the fall, but three also survived. As I began this post, General Manager Kristen Rowe was on her way to the vet with the bird survivors! More on this as the story develops...And you thought hospitality was boring?!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cafeteria trays, hipster bakeries, iPhone, local peaches & Jodie's NYC adventure

So, think back to the days of when you shuffled along in a cafeteria line with your tray. After the obligatory meal stuff, did you also go for the bowl of pudding? (Personally, I have a hard time ever saying no to pudding.) Maybe some jello? A side of something? An extra glass of juice? The point here is that folks tend to fill up the holder, in this case, the tray, with food that we may never actually eat, which translates to waste of both food and money. Turns out an array of colleges are saying goodbye to cafeteria trays. (Moment of silence for those of us who also used trays as makeshift sleds in winter.) According to the article, colleges that have tested the concept have seen food waste reduced by 50%. I love when a simple idea produces big results. Brilliant! Just another way to stay mindful of what we put in our bodies. And, to truly enjoy what we choose to eat.

In other cool food news, ran across this super cool blog: cakespy. Full of recipes and some of the cooler bakery profiles and stories I have ever seen. Do check it out.

So, did you stop by the King Street Apple Store Grand Opening on Saturday? Where you part of the fracas? My friend Joe was there and took photos of the whole crazy Mac scene. Remind me to tell you how much Nico wants an iPhone. Holy cow.

If you haven't tried any local peaches yet this summer, I am here to tell you to do it. Immediately if not sooner. I had a peach cobbler at EVO in Park Circle on Saturday that was so good, I almost wept when it was gone. Get some local peaches, people.

And finally, Fish General Manager Jodie Battles is packing her bags for the Big Apple. She's spending some time with the folks at Tom Colicchio's craft. I can't wait for updates from the road!

Friday, July 25, 2008

More reasons to love Charleston

Why Internet, how lovely you look today? Is that a new top? How about Charleston and even more exciting, Upper King Street pals B'Zar, Wonderland, Kudu, Raval, Global Awakening as well as folks like Rita Bachmann of the Farmer's Market, getting some love from the New York Times?! (P.S. Look at Chris Nixon's photo. PP is front and center!) Remember, you can have Rita's goodies, along with an array of local producers' goods for your very own, when you visit the Farmer's Market tomorrow. How good is your life?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Join me at the bar, won't you?

I TOLD you we were tripling the size of the bar at Fish. See what Franz did! When it's finished, you'll be there, eating delicious dim sum, sipping a cocktail crafted by our resident mixologist, perhaps listening to the silky sounds of The Charlton Singleton Trio and laughing with your friends. I'll be the mysterious writer scribbling on a napkin at the end of the bar. (I'm deep.)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Light Brite Wedding Dress, Bobby Flay, The Farmer's Markets & More!

Can I tell you? I just received an incredibly touching email from a man who wants to use The American Theater marquee to propose to his girlfriend. He and his girlfriend are big fans of the movie, The Notebook, several scenes of which were shot in front of The American Theater. Anywho, we love when we get to play dream maker for people. We're on the case!

While I'm on the topic of nuptials, I have several things to share. One: congrats to Tara Guerard of Soiree and The Lettered Olive, her letterpress stationery line. They (and Charleston) just got a nice shout out on Martha's wedding blog. Two: the above wedding dress photo was given to me today by a colleague. Now, while I'm all about everyone asserting their individual style, I must politely and gently ask, "Can you turn the dress lights off and on by clapping?" Because that would really be something.

In food news, Our pal Bobby Flay is about to open a burger joint. Granted it's in Connecticut, so we can't rush right over for the grand opening or anything (although a certain PP staffer might book a flight if she was guaranteed an encounter with Mr. Flay...). At any rate, I dig the logo and hope the "griddled" burgers are just deelish. Bummer part is that the Connecticut Board of Health requires they cook the burgers medium and beyond. (I'm all for medium rare personally.) If you're ever at the Smith Haven Mall (sigh, the mention of the word "mall" makes me a tad homesick), do check out Mr. Flay's Palace o' Beef.

In local food news, did you know that there are four, yes FOUR, Farmer's Markets in the Charleston area where you can be purchasing fresh, local produce from area farmers on a weekly basis? What, I say WHAT, are you waiting for? One of my colleagues shared some of the biggest blackberries I've ever seen in my whole life ever recently. From the Marion Square Farmer's Market of course. They were heavenly. Like a burst of sweet summer. Get thee to the Market.
  • Downtown, Marion Square – Saturday, 8-2

  • Mt. Pleasant – Tuesday, 3-Dark

  • Chicora Elementary School – Wednesday, 3-7

  • North Charleston, Park Circle – Thursday, 3-7

In more food news, I'm a big believer in the collective unconscious. Meaning, if some particular subject or thing is rolling around in my head, chances are I will soon see or hear about it from some other source, because you know, it's out there in the universe. Not too delve too far into that, but I offer that as evidence because just the other day I was getting a lesson in a Kentucky Hot Brown (an open faced turkey sandwich with tomato, bacon and a cheese, cream, bernaise sauce of goodness) and sure enough, it turns up on a blog I regularly read. Good ole Louisville.

And now, as I take my leave of you for the day, I offer this gift, a token I received from the Serious Eats blog. It's about food choices. It's about the seventies. It's about Mackenzie Philips and The Jackson Five Variety Show. Enjoy.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Goldman Drops Out of VP Race: Donkeygate to Blame

I guess I should have anticipated this outcome. It seems that what with the showing of the "ass" and all, some of the powers that be (Stephen Colbert and his muscle men) have suggested that Randall rethink his run for Vice President. This comes as deeply upsetting news to many, including one of Randall's biggest supporters, Samantha Power. When reached for comment on Goldman's decision to leave the race, Power said, "Well, f@#&." I guess this is a lesson to us all: think twice before showing your ass (donkey).

Friday, July 18, 2008

Hey Jen, Grab Our Bags, I Found The Rental!

Well Internet, it's Friday and the PP gang tends to get a bit silly on Friday. Perhaps it's that 48 hours of free time ahead of us? Too much sugar? The drugs plateauing? Really, it's hard to know. In any case, I'd like to share a few photos from Randall and Jennifer Goldman's vacation in Dubrovnik.

Randall shared some of his photos with me yesterday and as soon as he stopped at the one above, I said, "Oh, THAT is going on the blog." I have to say that I'm incredibly fortunate to be trusted with such sensitive and timely photographs. In the spirit of that trust, I thought it high time to ask the PP staffers to "caption that photo." An as yet unnamed prize is up for grabs for the best entry. And let me just tell you, Internet, PP is chock full of funny, creative people. In my call for entries, I reminded team PP that um, ya know, this is a family show. However, when you glance at the above photo, I mean really, the possibilities are simply endless.

Here are a few choice entries:
  • We all knew Randall was a devout Democrat, but now we’re nearing an intervention!
  • Hey Jen, check out my ass! (It's a donkey, people.)
  • Get me a saddle and I'll break this bronco!
For more photos from Dubrovnik, click here. I'll just sign off now, before they escort me from the building. Later!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Kids, Hoosiers, Architects, Barbecue

Though parts of it are under renovation, The American Theater still manages to extend its hospitality to a truly inspiring local organization. This Saturday, Stars Lounge in The American Theater will host 15 of Louie's Kids. A local non-profit to treat childhood obesity, Louie's Kids works to to find the best treatment options for each individual child. At Stars, the kids will be watching Hoosiers, a fantastic movie that makes you want to run out and join a basketball team. (Like when you watch the original Rocky, you just want to go to Philadelphia and run up the steps.) In fact, here!

In other news, we had a great meeting with the folks at Gibson, Thomspon, Guess Architects this afternoon. I am always struck by the creative process, which is part of why I do what I do. It's even more interesting to see that kind of creativity in the creation of actual structures. The GTG office is full of interesting objects: magazine clippings of exotic places, pieces of rock or plant, samples of flooring, upholstery, color swatches. The office is rich with texture. All of which obviously makes for great work. Anywho, during this creative love fest, Reggie started telling us about this excellent barbecue place he frequents: Scott's Variety Store in Hemingway, SC. As Reggie regaled us with the details of his experiences ("they put the sauce on with a mop"), and I laughed and got delighted by his absolute passion. I thought: this is what good food is about. The stories, the sheer delight in sharing the details of a great meal, ("sometimes the yam man is there"). And, you know, now I am absolutely compelled to make the two-hour trek to this "cathedral of 'cue" (That brilliant name was coined by Alice Guess.) So, that's what you get when you visit Gibson, Thompson, Guess Architects: creativity, a great story and directions to the world's best barbecue.

The Randall Goldman Phenomenon

Gentle Reader: You may recall a few months back that Managing Partner Randall Goldman put himself in the running for Vice President of the Free World? Apparently he's been busy since his vacay in Dubrovnik. Check it out.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lowndes Grove Bee Relocation Project: Day 2

Note: no bees were harmed in the writing of this post. How remiss of me to not share the specifics of the Lowndes Grove Bee Relocation Project. My apologies. The Lowndes Grove bees have been happily relocated to Bee City Honey Bee Farm & Petting Zoo (how appropriate and no, I am not making up the name). I cannot even believe the sheer volume of offerings at Bee City! The petting zoo has lemurs, llamas, alpacas, monkeys and deer (so the bees won't be lonely or bored). Then, there's the store where you can buy honey and other bee-related products, like say, lip balm! And finally, there is the cafe that serves, among other things, excellent seafood. Seriously, WHO KNEW?

While I'm on the bee thing, I coincidentally ran across this story: The Fairmont Royal York in Canada has a V.I.Bee Suite (again, NOT making this up). For real, the hotel has a rooftop bee aviary , at which they harvest their own "private stock" of honey! And, for a marketing dork like me, check out the names of their hives: the Honey Moon Suite, The Royal Sweet and the V.I. Bee Suite. Too clever.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Jodie hearts Tom & the bee relocation project

Who is that dashing Jerseyan?

In Fish news, General Manager Jodie Battles is heading up to the Cape Cod area for some vacation while the restaurant renovation continues. After a short stay with her family, she's off to New York City to spend two weeks with the folks at Tom Colicchio's restaurant, craft. In case you don't know, Tom Colicchio is a renowned chef who got his chops cooking at prominent New York restaurants like The Quilted Giraffe, Gotham Bar & Grill, Rakel and Mondrian. In 1994, he opened The Gramercy Tavern with partner Danny Meyer, which garnered three stars from Ruth Riechl. Just a year later, he opened craft to rave reviews and has since launched into craftbar, craftsteak and 'witchcraft with an array of locations. I'm exhausted just typing that. And, you may know Colicchio best from his gig hosting Top Chef on Bravo. P.S. He's from New Jersey...holla! So, Jodie will be in New York working with the craft front of the house team. (I hope she gets to eat, too!) She will be in close contact with PP headquarters so we can share all of the stories with you. Make us proud, Jodie. Or at least bring us some leftovers.

I received a barrage of text messages from Lowndes Grove General Manager Ashley Gunnin this morning as she set out to record what we are calling the Lowndes Grove Bee Relocation Project. That's right. It seems that a bee colony found itself a home in one of the majestic oaks. While we love honey bees, having a whole colony of bees in proximity to events where perfumed and cologned people are hanging out and eating. Maybe not so much. Hence, the Bee Relocation Project. Check it out.

Fashion Forward Fish

Internet, I've got a surprise! It's a sneak peek at the very fresh, very new, very pret a porter look for the servers at Fish. A quick run down: black shoes, blue jeans, black bistro aprons and a very smart, black-chef type jacket (ladies will have a jacket that ties in the back, ya know, to create a lovely silhouette). The wardrobe change reflects the refreshed and invigorated vibe of the restaurant. It's sleek, hip but not overpowering, so you can get back to what you're joining us for in the first place, fabulous food and warm people. As you know, we're knee deep in our first renovation since opening in 2000. In addition to tripling the size of our enigmatic purple heart wood bar, we're expanding the dining room (70 seats!) into the first floor of 440 King Street. New photos of the progress to come to later this week!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Who had their sedatives, WHO?!

Really, what's funnier than your Executive Chef all doped up before knee surgery? I am just not sure! So yes, our young soccer star/chef had ACL surgery yesterday and is recovering nicely, thank you. Personally, I'm looking forward to hearing about his sedative hallucinations. Did you see colors? Ponies? Organic sea beans? Do tell!

Here at PP headquarters, we're currently working on our contact high (Note to self: how did this become a chemically induced posting?). Sean, one our absolute favorite Fish team members, is hard at work painting the hallway that leads up to the PP office. P.S. He's been regaling us with songs all day as he sings along with his iPod.
In other news, read an interesting article on Twitter today. If you don't use Twitter, you are missing something quite fun and definitely addictive. Anywho, Jack Dorsey, who came up with the idea of Twitter, took his inspiration from the "Away" messages people used for their instant messenger. For the record, my personal best "away" messages:
  1. Updating my resume faster than you slap a tick.
  2. Here, desperately trying to respond, but trapped under something heavy. (With respect to Nora Ephron for blatantly ripping of a bit from "When Harry Met Sally.")

If you think Twitter is as silly as it name might imply, consider this: the Obama campaign is using it. And CNN. And Apple. Should you decide to Twitter, look us up: Patprop.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

ETV RoadShow Films at Lowndes Grove

Lowndes Grove General Manager Ashley Gunnin had her close up today (Mr. DeMille) as part of ETV's RoadShow upcoming anniversary show. Ashley became pals with some of the folks at ETV during her days with the SC Aquarium. She was there at the very beginning of the RoadShow and now, four years later, she was asked to help them celebrate their anniversary, in her fabulous new backdrop, Lowndes Grove! We are big fans of ETV, especially the RoadShow, which we think is THE way to find out about some of South Carolina's best kept secrets. Like say, the Button King of Simpsonville...

Monday, July 7, 2008

Getting back up to speed

Well, hello Internet. I trust everyone had a good long weekend. It's funny what one runs across over the course of a long weekend. There's a bit more time to think about things, linger over a newspaper or a magazine or a good book. Or you know, inadvertently send bottle rockets screeching into your neighbor's magnolia tree. (My apologies.)

And now, the news. I am still rather befuddled by this, from the Martha Stewart "Bride's Guide" blog. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE M&Ms. I mean it, I'm a huge fan. But somehow, the face of my soon-to-be-married friend ON MY M&M? Not so much. P.S. Do click on the photo that accompanies the posting, because it's that much weirder. No, M&M, no. Thank you.

Managing Partner Randall Goldman took some photos of the Mt. Pleasant Fire Department training in the property PP donated to them. Amazing to see how they vent walls and create spaces out of nearly nothing at all.

Love this. The good folks at Slow Food Nation just began work on a Victory Garden, an edible, ornamental garden right smack dab in the middle of the San Francisco Civic Center. The garden is actually being planted on the very same site a post WWII victory garden was planted nearly 60 years ago. Watch the evolution of the garden here.

Our friends over at Charleston Magazine surprised us with a great piece in this month's issue, "The Heydey of The Silver Screen" that highlights many of Charleston's old picture palaces, including our very own American Theater.

Post & Courier writer Kyle Stock penned a super piece about all the happenings on this end of King Street . Kyle is soon off to NYC to attend a prestigious journalism program. Best of luck, Kyle. Don't worry, fans. He'll be back in Charleston upon completing the program.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Nothing says independence like moonwalking...

Have a safe and Happy Fourth of July weekend! To send you off right, I offer you Rick Snyder, owner of Plantation Painters, moonwalking his way across the second floor of the Main House at Lowndes Grove. Be safe out there!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

You say tomato, I say Lowndes Grove

You know, riverfront land tends to be pretty darn fertile, as is evidenced by the surprise tomato plant that sprung up right outside the Lowndes Grove sales office. That's right, amid the hubub of weddings and corporate events and the final days of construction, hope springs eternal. Actually, hope springs tomatoes. How about it? I'm hoping some of the LG staff will pick a couple when they're nice and ripe. Tomato and mozz sandwiches, anyone?

I met with Susan Lucas this afternoon. She heads up the Upper King Design District and is also a wonderful photographer, business owner and true creative. We caught up on what's happening in the neighborhood and man, it's a LOT. I've now worked in the Upper King Design District for nearly 3 years and I have to say: it's wonderful to be part of a community that's growing in such amazing ways. To be mentioned in the same breath as places like Basil, Lesesne, Lulan, Dwelling, Morris Sokol, B'Zar, Wonderland, 52-5, The Charleston School of Law, The Charleston Ballet. Well, let's just say it's darn fine company to be in.

I'll leave you today with this gem. We here at PP headquarters sometimes feel the stress that goes along with the hospitality business. But just know that we handle our stress in truly healthy and constructive ways. Check out these guns!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Band of Angels, Franz & Steve Jobs Sightings

An array of folks from the Hallmark Hall of Fame upcoming production of "Band of Angels" have been checking out The William Aiken House over the past few weeks. You know, checking angles, perusing furnishings, getting the vibe. I've met some fantastic people. Today I met with Joe, one of the production designers, who just finished up a project in Athens, Georgia. I find it really interesting to hear where people have been, and, of course, what brings them to Charleston. I especially enjoy watching creative folks like Joe "take in" the view at any of our properties. It's as if you can hear their wheels turning with ideas.

In renovation news, I got to meet Franz today. Franz is the master craftsman who built the original purpleheart wood bar. As you know, part of the renovation of Fish includes a major overhaul of the bar. Franz, who was originally a master craftsman boatmaker, will build an extension of the bar that will triple its size. We're talking beautiful here, people. We're talking a bar worthy of great stories, delicious dim sum and some very hearty libations. I will endeavor to take a few "sneak peek" photos as the bar goes up in the coming weeks.

In King Street business news, I heard from a pal that a mutual friend of ours is off in California training at Apple Headquarters for the soon-to-open (anyone have a date?) Charleston Apple store at 301 King Street. Though I usually write these posts from a PC at dear old PP headquarters, I am truly a Mac person at heart. Tonight I write to you from my beloved Macbook. Anywho, our friend even saw THE MAN himself, yes a Steve Jobs sighting! Pretty cool. For those of you who may not know Steve Jobs, it would be akin to the excitement I would feel meeting Harper Lee, Alice Waters, Heather B. Armstrong or Madonna (not necessarily in that order).