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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.