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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?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

The moo shu has been brought

When last we left Patrick Properties, Fish was in the throws of its final push to get finished. Today, we're still in the throws, and it's looking divine. And, the Fish Management team is also conducting orientation with their new staff. Lots going on.

However, I must share bigger news. And that is, the PP team had a tasting of the new moo shu lunch concept on Friday. Back story: I have to say, as supportive as the PP team is, food is food, you know what I'm saying? Everyone wants to be wowed, surprised, swept off their feet, etc. (Especially since a certain Marketing/PR person has been whipping everyone up into a frenzy with mysterious messaging, but I digress.) So, a bunch of us gathered in the PP catering kitchen for moo shu 101 on Friday afternoon. And without getting too gregarious and gushy about it, that moo shu was simply everything I hoped it would be and more. Simple, fresh, delicious. A seamless and surprising blend of flavors that turned a group of, can I say cynical, or perhaps experienced, hospitality folks into ooohing and aaahhing and yumming moo shu fans. It's an exciting time, kids. Lunch has been brought.