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Monday, April 27, 2009

We've moved! Welcome to PP blog 2.0!

Surprise! Thanks to our pals at Blue Ion, we're movin' on up in the blog world. You may now find our latest news, musings, Tweets and other sundry hilarity at http://blog.patpropllc.com/. See you there and thanks always for your support!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Gin & Patrick Properties Have In Common

More gin talk. Well, actually it's more about marketing, branding and positioning, but I'm using Hendrick's Gin as the example. But first, a bit o' history.

When I first came to Patrick Properties, I was walking through The William Aiken House one day with Randall. He was regaling me with his encyclopedic knowledge about the House's history. As we walked across the gorgeous wood floors, they made the indescribable noise that is unmistakable, true character. Now, I love that noise. That noise has many wonderfully rich emotional attachments to it. To me, it's an immediate sense that there's a story here. Dozens upon dozens more than likely. And you know at least some of them have to be REALLY GOOD stories. But I digress.

Suffices to say that I spent some time thinking about that. Later, Randall told me that a prospective bride that toured the House and asked if "something could be done about the floors." She no likey the creaking. Which, in my view, pretty much means, she doesn't like Patrick Properties. Because if you're not down with a good story and character, you're probably not going to understand what we're all about.

And that's fine. Really. We understand and take no offense.

Which brings me back to gin. Specifically Hendrick's. And here's the brilliance.

On the small tag that hangs around the best bottle ever, the Hendrick's people say their gin is: PREFERRED BY 1 OUT OF 1,000 GIN DRINKERS.

That's correct. In other words, not a whole lot of folks are drinking Hendrick's. (Andra and I do what we can, but people, we are only human.)

And rather than hang their heads or wring their little ginny hands, the Hendrick's folks have taken their "tiny handful of people all over the world" and made them feel unique and wonderful and like they're in on something that not everyone else "gets." Their tag line says it all: Hendrick's: It is not for everyone.

Hello, brand loyalty, I am your slave for life.

As it turns out, creaky wood floors and gin have an awful lot in common.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Earth Day & award-winning goat cheese

It's Earth Day, Internet! Oh, AND it's Administrative Professionals Day. Very busy, VERY busy.

In celebration of Earth Day, check out some insightful commentary on sustainability and some MAJOR controversy surrounding my girl Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl.

Nico just buzzed over here to PP HQ to let me know that one of our local producers, Split Creek Farm, won a bronze medal in the U.S. cheese competition. That's right, you can now eat award-winning artisnal goat cheese when you dine at Fish! Congratulations to the Split Creek Farm family. FYI: Split Creek produces not just goat cheese, but also milk, yogurt and fudge.

I unwittingly celebrated Earth Day a tad early last night when I received the gift of a tomato plant from our very own Fish Manager/Mixologist/Renaissance Man Evan Powell. (Do watch his video from yesterday.) It's always fun to receive a gift from a friend, but I have to say, it's extra meaningful for someone to give you something that is alive and needs care and grows something you can eat and share. Tomato plants for everyone!

I'll leave you today with a quote from writer, thinker, grower Wendell Berry:
"Better than any argument is to rise at dawn and pick dew-wet red berries in a cup."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Did someone say happy hour?

If you haven't met Fish Restaurant Manager/Mixologist/Fisherman/Renaissance Man Evan Powell, you are missing one of my favorite people. When it comes to wine and all things mixology, Evan is eager, passionate and tireless in his quest for more and more knowledge. He always has a fantastic wine recommendation, and whipped up a new spring cocktail today that I just had to document. It's called the nectarita: tequila, elderflower nectar, fresh lime juice and lemongrass dry soda. A little sweet, a little sour. Quite sincerely, the perfect beverage to be sipped on Fish's outdoor patio. Happy Hour begins at 5:30. See you soon.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Sunset, big moves & local potluck

Thanks to Lowndes Grove General Manager Ashley Gunnin who snapped this gorgeousness on Friday night. Sigh. Happiness along the river.

Our friends over at Blue Ion are in the process of a transitional move before they make their BIG move to a new space they're creating at 301 King Street (otherwise known as "the space above the Apple store...ooooo!")

When I first started working with the B.I. crew, their office was above Lucky Jeans on King/Wentworth. Peruse their past offices if you're so inclined. One of the niftiest things about that space was a functioning, open kitchen/bar area. It's where we always ended up talking. (We were working, I SWEAR.) Which makes sense since people always congregate in the kitchen at parties.

Anywho, what makes B.I.'s new office exercise more interesting is the thought they've put into it. It's not just about finding or creating a "cool" space on the peninsula. It's about creating an environment that is sustainable and sustaining. Does it facilitate creativity? Is it comfortable? Nurturing? If you're thinking of finding new office digs, do some serious thinking. The truth is, if you're going to spending 8 to 12 hours a day somewhere, you want that space to help you be as comfortable and productive as possible.

On the local food front, Lowcountry Local First is gearing up for its 2nd Annual Chef's Potluck at Middleton Place on Sunday, May 3 from 4 until 7 pm. If you've never been, you really need to check it out. I think this is one of the most fun, most laid back foodie events in Charleston, and everything on the menu features locally-sourced products. Fish, Hall’s Chophouse, Anson, The Glass Onion and a host of others will be on-hand to showcase the best from our local farms and fishermen. Nico's making a beef nam sod spring roll with potato puree AND a strawberry, arugula, fennel salad with a sweet soy vinaigrette. Um, YUM.

Live music will provided by Fish’s favorite Thursday evening chanteuse, Elise Testone. Local beer, wine and coffees too! Tickets are $40 for Lowcountry Local First members and $45 for non-members. You.must.be.there!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Design walk, haiku & PROM STORIES!

Last night's Upper King Design Walk was a smashing success and thanks to everyone who came out to support one of the city's best neighborhoods. The weather was lovely; the sidewalks were teeming with people and hey, the Mayor did the ribbon cutting at SieMatic! Good stuff. Check out the City Paper's Flickr pics and video of the Mayor's speech.

Check out this moo shu haiku submission. Not only is it thorough, but it rhymes! And yes, still accepting submissions via comments or email: jenny@patpropllc.com.

Soup, salad, moo-shu,
Fish, shrimp, beef, chicken, tofu
Ten dollar lunch: woo hoo

Okay, now for the crux of this post. It's Spring here in Charleston and that means it's prom season! In fact, as I type this post, the young ladies of Ashley Hall are decking out The American Theater for their Havana Night prom. We have sneaked a few peeks and the space is looking marvelous. Potted palms, large, fake butterflies and vintage Visit Cuba posters as far as the eye can see! I have to say, it got all of us at PP headquarters harking back to our own prom memories.

So, me being me, I sent out an email to the company asking folks to share their prom theme and/or song and the color of their dress, tux or suit. Here, then, are some highlights.

(Please note: it's no typo. There were, in fact, two occurrences of Boyz II Men. Names have been omitted to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.)

After deep thought, I think my theme was “End of the Road” in reference to the hot band at the time… Boyz II Men. This is embarrassing.

My dress was yellow and super big like Cinderella’s. It was the year that the style was to wear a tight fitting dress, and I was the anarchist.

“Lady In Red” is coming to mind as a prominent song. “Always” by Atlantic Starr also big. The swoon song, if you will. Hard to remember since it was so long ago and I barely have memory left at this point… I wore a lovely baby blue number with lace up to my chin. Sleeveless but had a nice big ruffle that went across the front and covered my shoulders. You’ve seen Mystic Pizza, yes? My date wore a white tux with a matching blue cummerbund.

Mine was "It's So Hard To Say Goodbye" by Boyz II Men!

I guess I have always loved me some baby blue—from Prom to Wedding.

Senior prom : dress was strapless and rose colored. Junior year: turquoise. Freshman year was a hideous dress with a rainbow bodice and blue-ish bottom.

I wore a borrowed, black strapless number. Song was “Wonderful Tonight” by Eric Clapton. My date asked me while I was in the hospital recovering from appendicitis. He broke a pact with his friends to ask me. (They were planning to boycott and go golfing.)

As I was walking downstairs to greet my date at my house, a mother came running up behind me realizing I was exposing my behind…due to my zipper being completely broken at the bottom of my dress near my rear! So, I was sewn into my dress my senior year!

I attended a prom and the theme was Shania Twain’s “From This Moment,” and we went cow tipping afterwards. Welcome to Kentucky.

I didn’t go to prom…my father showed up at school 3 weeks before and threatened to shoot the knee-caps off of anyone who thought about alcohol in my presence. Needless to say, the phone wasn’t ringing off the hook.

Our theme was Viva Las Vegas, and I wore a red dress. Got lucky, too.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Design Walk & Moo Shu Haiku

Gearing up for the Design Walk, people! It's been quite the hustle and bustle day here at PP headquarters. As you are out and about this evening, stopping by neighborhood hotspots like Lesesne, Blue Bicycle Books, Suite Sole, SieMatic (the Mayor will do their grand opening ribbon cutting!) and more, do remember that our resident mixologist Evan has put together a super fresh Design Walk cocktail: tequila, kumquat Dry soda, fresh orange and ginger. Shaken. Over ice. It's like a sassy bit of spring in a glass.

From the just good creative fun file, please peruse the MOO SHU HAIKU below. If you'll recall, I put out a call for moo shu haiku last week to celebrate Fish's $10 lunch. Please feel free to submit your haiku (5, 7, 5, kids) through the comments or email me: jenny@patpropllc.com. And thanks to all who have submitted thus far.

Half salad half wrap.
That is how I rolled today.
I live on the edge.

-Jessica, Sales Manager

PR Needs Haikus
I’ve Nothing Better to Do
Please go eat Moo shoo.

-Charlotte, Sales Manager

Siracha cream sauce
Chicken or pork? Hard to choose
Definitely chips

-Courtney Jo, Project Coordinator

Yummy rice pancake
Stuffed with grilled tofu and rice
Hot spicy sauce on top


Office takeout fave
Shrimp moo shu defines the day
More cilantro please

-Margaret, Skirt! magazine

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Good business

So, last night at the CVB Travel Council meeting, PP Director of Events Jennifer Goldman announced a darn cool corporate meeting promotion that has some serious pay it forward oomph behind it.

Here's the thing about the all of the brouhaha surrounding the recent corporate meeting scandals you've heard so much about over the past few months. WRETCHED EXCESS, anyone? Clearly, a company that's giving its highrollers beluga caviar, private jets and two-hour massages whilst they rob hardworking people of their 401Ks is not just criminal. It's bad manners, bad business, bad karma and serves no larger purpose.

At the same time, when it comes to GOOD business, nothing takes the place of face-to-face meetings. (And this is coming from me, who loves the social media.) Whether it’s a social, public or educational event, a team-building dinner or strategic planning session, it's important, now more than ever, to bring people together. (Remember, my cafeteria-style strategic planning weekend?)

So, with all of that in mind, here's what we're doing. From now until the end of 2009, Patrick Properties Events will donate 10% of any corporate venue rental fee to the non-profit (501c3) of your choice. That means having your event with us can actually help you pay it forward.

Let's talk reality. What can 10% do?

· Provide a healthy breakfast for 45 people at Crisis Ministries
· Vaccinations for meningitis, measles or polio for 50 people
· Training and employment services to help a homeless person find a job through Crisis Ministries
· Medical training kit containing basic drugs, supplies and equipment to treat 1,500 patients for three months for Doctors Without Borders

If you're thinking of planning a corporate event, you should give us a buzz. Charlotte McDowell and Jessica Kafer, our Sales Managers, are amazing and funny, too. Just call 843.853.1810.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Tuesday Museday

1. Last night, I responsibly enjoyed some Hendrick's gin with Andra Watkins of Positus Consulting. How much do love the packaging? A vintage apothecary bottle? Genius. P.S. Andra is smart and hilarious. If your business needs some new energy, you should call her.

2. Just returned from the Charleston CVB Travel Council Meeting at The American Theater Ballroom. (Yes, a short commute for me.) You can call it a hospitality industry pow wow. There was wine.

3. Funny moment from aforementioned meeting: Andy Rankin's rallying cry for everyone to use packages (accommodations, excursions and otherwise) to attract visitors. He used a package he found online called: THE PUTT & PAMPER (golf & other luxuries). It just might be my new favorite phrase.

4. Thanks to PP Event Manager Rachel Sneed and ALL of you who got haircuts for Salon Couture's Cut-A-Thon. In all, $1200 was raised for Crisis Ministries!

5. General observation: if you live in Charleston long enough, you will find that there are really only two degrees of separation.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Eggs, turnips & more!

Egg salad and deviled eggs? Does that pretty much cover the "what to make with 18 colored, hardboiled eggs" discussion?

Spent lots of time outside this weekend, in the yard, with friends, walking, playing. Much needed. Got to taste some wonderful local produce too, thanks to friends who have a share in Ambrose Farms' CSA. Here's what was on the menu: scalloped turnips, sauteed turnip greens (olive oil and garlic) and fresh strawberries over what may have been the best pound cake ever. Yes, I have wonderful friends.

On Saturday, my partner in crime made her inaugural visit of the season to the Farmer's Market in Marion Square. She scored some grapes, roasted beet and goat cheese ravioli and a gyro. Yay, Spring!

PP Event Manager Rachel Sneed spent her day off getting her hair cut as part of neighbor Salon Couture's Cut-A-Thon. All proceeds from today's business go to Crisis Ministries.

By the by, in case you didn't see it, please peruse Bill Thompson's fine piece on PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman. It's definitely the most incisive piece I've read about Randall. (Well, except for my tell-all expose, but that's a few years down the line.)

Just a reminder for Thursday's Upper King Design Walk. Remember, Lesesne has the new line from Sideshow Press! Oh, and I'll be there too. See? Bonuses all around.

Friday, April 10, 2009

A Truly Good Friday

If you're torn about whether you should go out tonight, rest assured. What better way to spend Good Friday than with Episcopalian-Priest-by-day-DJ-by-night, JAZ?
JAZ, AKA John Zahl, is Fish's Friday night DJ. And, hanging out with John when he's spinning is a nearly, well, a religious experience. That's because JAZ is passionate about what he does. He LOVES music, LOVES vinyl (it's a sensory experience, kids), LOVES interesting people. And to top it all off, he's sincerely one of the kindest, warmest people I've ever met.
More interesting tidbits: He graduated from Kenyon College in 2000 with a degree in philosophy and went on to Oxford for his Master's in Divinity in 2008. He also has a direct connection in the Charleston fashion scene. His wife, Deirdre is Creative Director at Mary Norton. See? Small world.
I have to say, I think of John in the same way that I think about a Bruce Springsteen concert. When asked about his performances, Bruce said something like, "If I get people off their butts to sing and dance, their spirits will naturally follow." A Bruce show is part opera, part comedy, part political rally and part spiritual revival. Hanging out with JAZ, well, you'll just need to follow the music and the man and see where it takes you. JAZ spins every Friday at Fish, from 10 pm until 2 pm.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

These are a few of my favorite things

Super cool paper products, friends, babies, sweets and champagne. And whiskers on kittens. (Ok, not really.) But guess what? They were all in ONE place last night: Lesesne, for Sideshow Press' launch of their latest and greatest. It was a fabulous turnout and got to have a few moments with some great folks...like Annie Byrd Hamnett, Kristin Newman, Tina Garrett and Gus Serrano just to name a few.

Chatted with designer Amy Pastre about the beautiful work on display last night. Turns out the ladies of Sideshow Press use some vintage plates along with their vintage printer. Amy said they find many of their plates at antique stores and even better, they often get them really reasonably because most people don't realize what or how valuable they are.

As much as I love you, Internet, I have to admit there is something awfully appealing about paper that's been cranked through a letterpress by hand. What can I say? I'm a writer, after all, and have a love for the full sensory experience that is a book. There, I said it.

By the by, it's shaping up to be a really busy month around these parts. On Tuesday, The American Theater will host the CVB Travel Council Meeting. Hors d’oeuvres and wine will be served as Travel Council Investors and industry experts take their time getting to know our fabulous new ballroom.

On Thursday, our neighbors at uber kitchen design boutique SieMatic will celebrate their Grand Opening. The Mayor himself will be on-hand to cut the ribbon and welcome guests. Woohoo, photo opp! And, it’s also the night of the Upper King Design Walk. AND, at the same time, The William Aiken House will be hosting 200 people for the Family Circle Cup V.I.P. party! The next day, the Family Circle Cup folks move the party to Lowndes Grove. And finally, near the end of the month Mitchell Crosby of JMC Charleston and Southern Accents descend upon The William Aiken House for a fun-filled holiday party photo shoot. I'm officially tired. Must lie down.

Oh, and one last thing. Should you be a fan of Fish's $10 moo shu lunch, I am officially putting out the call for entries. Comment with your best moo shu haiku. That's 5, 7, 5, people. Give me your haiku, and I will proudly display it here on the PP blog and make you the star I know you are. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Family-style hospitality

Check out a few scenes from today's PP Family Lunch. All PP Managers were asked to either prepare a dish to share or bring in non-perishable food items. We set up all the food as a buffet, loaded up plates and sat at one long table to eat, laugh and just have a few moments together. The lunch was delicious...and varied! Some of my personal favorites were:

Evan's lentils

Courtney Jo's broccoli casserole

Charron's penne with the best cream sauce of MY LIFE

I'll be honest: most days, we here at PP HQ eat at our desks. So, a group-get-together-sit-down-laugh-and-chat-experience is so much fun. You know me, I'm all about bringing people together over a good meal. And that's exactly what this was. After lunch, we gave the non-perishable items to our friends at Crisis Ministries.

Buffet style. Cram a plate with every tasty morsel you can find, sit with friends and eat well until you feel like you might pop.

Seriously, this was a spread that rivalled any major holiday spread. We come to eat.

I think you could safely say that we at PP HQ fancy a sweet morsel now and again. This is Pastry Chef Susie Ieronemo's banana, chocolate pie in mid-attack. We show no mercy.
Finally, if you're out and about tonight, stop by Lesesne between 5 and 9 pm for the debut of Sideshow Press' new line. Free champagne and desserts courtesy of Fish.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Ah, Spring...

In my bones, I know it's Spring, even if the weather this morning tried to tell me otherwise. Take a look at the scene outside the Patricks North Carolina mountain house! Reminds me of Easter snowstorms when I was a child. You know, shivering in your thin dress and white tights while the snow piled up? Memories.
In celebration of Spring (fluctuating temperatures aside), take a look at the list of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) farms put together by our friends at Lowcountry Local First. CSAs are a great way to support our local farmers AND keep yourself stocked up with the season's freshest produce available.
Other cool bits I ran across today:

Not only did Green Olive Media go to the original Ninfa's on their recent trip to Houston, Texas, they also introduced me to artist Amy Evans. The title to one of her paintings?
I Have Given Up Trying to Be A Gracious Lady. I’m Going Back To Raising Mandrills. ~Flannery O’Connor

The supercool wedding blog, StyleMePretty, ran a stunning real wedding story that featured a same sex couple. Nicely done on the heels of Iowa and Vermont.

Great philosophy no matter what the economy: neighbors over at HOOK do not mark up production costs on any outside services. Oh and they produce some of the most innovative and spot-on creative around. Check out the sweet environmental campaign they put together for sneaker boutique Suite Sole.

And finally today, thanks to the City Paper who mentioned Fish as a favorite outdoor dining spot. Hey, it's Spring. Join us on the patio or the piazza. (Bring a scarf just in case.)

Monday, April 6, 2009

The PP Bridge Run Team AKA The Also-Rans

Look at these world-class athletes, Internet! All members of Team PP who dashed up and over our fair city's biggest bridge on Saturday. (Thanks to Susan Lucas, Queen of King Street, for the photo!) People, I would really love to share more action pics with you, but it seems that Team PP jettisoned and/or forgot all cell phones/cameras in their valiant efforts to make good time. If you're dying for some fabulous photos, do check out The City Paper's flickr set. Suffices to say that everyone on Team PP completed the race. Thankfully, there were no injuries to report, although I do have it on good authority that a certain Executive Chef needed a massage today. (I'm just saying.)

Yesterday, Managing Partner Randall Goldman joined the folks of AFFA for their 2nd Annual Oyster Roast Fundraiser at Bowen's Island. (Sidenote: Liam, age 3, was a huge hit with the female toddlers in the crowd.) The fundraiser was a phenomenal success, raising more than $7,000 between tickets and a live auction by the one and only Doug Warner (fresh from his Charleston Fashion Week gig!)

Now, I have been out to Bowen's Island for a couple of oyster roasts now, and one PP holiday party. But I confess, I had not seen their "green" roof until now. It really is on the roof, so I did have to climb up to see it, but wow, it's impressive and beautiful.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Pre-Bridge Run Banter

Was out at Lowndes Grove earlier today for the Bridge Run Press Luncheon. Saw Mayor Riley and...randomly...three singers and dancers (or hoofers, as my Dad used to say) who did the whole Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy number. I am not kidding. It was very USO. Really got the crowd going.

Anywho, in other news, 6 members of Team PP are gearing up for tomorrow's Bridge Run. Nico will be putting his recently rehabbed knee to the test. Never fear: photos to come on Monday.

In clever and funny food advertising news, check out Julia Louis-Dreyfus as she plays the unspokeperson for Healthy Choice. Her facial expressions are so very Elaine. Great way to add some energy to the brand.

By the way, if you're looking to peruse Fish's spring menu, it's now on the website. And it. Is. Good. Perhaps you should reward yourself after the Bridge Run with a nice meal. You and Nico can trade stories about whose shin splints hurt more. Fun!

And finally, mark your calendars for next Wednesday, April 8. Our friends at Lesesne are hosting the debut of the newest letterpress creations by Sideshow Press. Fish is supplying the desserts. Shindig start time: 5 pm until 9 pm.

Okay, kids. Don't forget to stretch. And remember, don't be a hero! Good luck to all. (I'll be the one waiting at the finish line with the mimosas.)

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A veritable plethora of subjects

Boy oh boy, nothing like a little April Fool's tomfoolery to get the creative juices flowing! The Charleston blogosphere was awash in antics yesterday. I can take no credit for Randall's resignation epistle, though as it was penned by the man himself. I can honestly say I have never written nor uttered the word Brobdingnagian until, well, this moment. Tis catchy, though. Really catchy.

In other news, Fish is reviewed in the hot-off-the-presses April issue of Charleston Magazine. Writer Patricia Agnew covered every inch of the Fish experience, from decor to small plates to flavor and texture and hey, she even referenced this very blog!

In other food and beverage news, I simply adore the photo and write up of Charleston Grill's Chef Michelle Weaver. I have been a huge fan for years.

Off to meet photographer Tim Zielenbach (he of the amazing moments that open our website) in a bit. Not only is Tim a talented photographer, he's also very funny, a great storyteller and JACKPOT, a Bruce Springsteen fan! In fact, he sent me lyrics to the long lost Bruce classic: Does this bus stop at 82nd Street, which begins with the magical line: "Hey bus driver keep the change, bless your children, give them names..." Speaking of Bruce, if you haven't watched fellow New Jerseyan Jon Stewart openly adoring Bruce TO Bruce, you should.

And finally, for those of you who dig on swine, I mean, sweet pigs named Dallas Alice, check out these lovely photos from Melissa and Keith's recent wedding at Lowndes Grove.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Breaking News: Randall Resigns!

April 1, 2009

To All-

It is with great sadness and regret that I announce today that I am stepping down as Managing Partner of Patrick Properties. As you can imagine, this decision was not an easy one. In my time here in Charleston, I have been blessed to keep company with some of the finest hospitality minds around, and I have made many friends whom I will cherish for the rest of my days.

I am proudest, of course, of our efforts to continue increasing revenue while saving positions given the current economic conditions. Our staffing hires over the past few months and years have assured that we shall rank among the city’s, State and nation’s elite event destinations for years to come.

But despite these accomplishments, the hospitality can be a harsh mistress, and I have ambitions and dreams that remain unfulfilled. It is with that in mind that Jennifer and I have decided to retire to the Texas Hill country, where I will pursue my first love: raising Emus. Not as a source of food, mind you, but as a means of human locomotion.

Some of my finest hours have been spent cantering across the Texas plains on the back of an Emu. They are stately, resplendent, Brobdingnagian birds, capable of carrying a man at full gallop the length of 30 hectares on a single hogshead of millet seed.

For those who know me best, this announcement comes as no surprise. I have always been passionate about large flightless waterfowl. It is well-known, of course, that I ate the last Dodo, and less well-known that I once crossed the Straits of Magellan on the back of an Emperor Penguin.

But my passion for the humble Emu was sparked by a chance conversation with Alan Rau. Jennifer and I were vacationing with Professor Rau at his single room cabin in the Montana wilderness. Professor Rau, as was his custom, was wearing his hooded sweatshirt and aviator-style sunglasses while he worked on one of his lengthy manifestos. I chanced a remark that I was thinking of purchasing a Segway scooter (I had recently been bested in a drag race between my trusty Saab and a group of tourists on Segway scooters). Professor Rau immediately unleashed a stream of invective, something along the lines of “the Industrial Revolution and it consequences have been a disaster for the human race!”

I immediately backpedaled from my suggestion, but I was captured by a singular notion: what if I could mesh the idea of sensible personal transportation with Alan Rau’s Druidic ecological purity?

The answer, I realized, was right in front of me, as that evening we happened to be dining on ostrich burgers. But the ostrich, as I discovered after a few test rides, is a surly and noisome beast, and I quickly gravitated towards riding the more elegant, redolent, and pulchritudinous Emu.

One can only imagine the Xanadu that awaits us all, as cars are rendered irrelevant and our reliance upon fossil fuels evaporates. Cities will be redesigned, carbon emissions reduced, and in place of the automobile, Emus will become ubiquitous. We shall all bear witness to the boom of the Emu Economy, with Australia poised to lead the way, fueled by its abundance of Emus and affordable criminal labor.

And so it is with great sadness that I must bid you farewell. My time here as Managing Partner has been the finest of my life, but as I ride off into the sunset, please think of me as I’d wish to be remembered: galloping across Texas on the back of a large flightless bird.

Warmest regards,

Randall Goldman

(Ed note: Not really.)

Monday, March 30, 2009

Wedding scenes & Sarah's smile

Happy Monday, kids. Thought I'd share some smashing scenes from Michelle and Jeb's William Aiken House wedding. Photos by Squire Fox. Wedding coordination, design/decor, florals by Soiree by Tara Guerard. Cuisine by Fish.

How much do you LOVE those chairs?

In other news, say hello to the new Mrs. Sarah McSweeney Copeland, now honeymooning in Belize. She and Tommy weathered the Saturday storms in grand style and had one heckuva Lowndes Grove wedding (thanks to Luke Wilson Special Events!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Catwalks, G Love, Wayne Newton & PP Nuptials!

(Photo courtesy of The Digitel's flickr.) Wow, what a week! So, Charleston Fashion Week has been lighting up King Street all week long and last night, Fish got its turn to shine as hosts of the After Party. Earlier in the evening, my partner in crime and I made it to the tents at Marion Square to see our pal Mary Norton, Saks, Pearl and Hampden Clothing on the runway. Much fun. P.S. G.Love walked ahead of us on the way there.

The DJ's bass was so loud you could feel it pulsating through your chest (I sincerely love that feeling), and the set design looked like Lite Brite meets disco ball. The models were an interesting mix of tough and demure. (I took special delight in the model who flipped the bird to the press as the crowd audibly gasped and recoiled in horror.)

Oh, and must tell you how much I admire the folks at The Digitel. They have/had their fingers on the pulse of all the CFW brouhaha: Twittering like mad, LIVE blogging, videos, the works. Great job, guys.
Friends from Blue Ion stopped by Fish for some moo shu this afternoon after seeing WAYNE NEWTON perform for the CFW MUSC Benefit. Check it out. He's still got it, people!

And last but certainly not least, one of own PP Event Manager ties the knot this weekend at Lowndes Grove, and we could not be more thrilled. Here's to many happy, healthy years Sarah and Tommy. Congratulations!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

High-risk hospitality & fashion

Not sure if it’s Spring in the air or the collective athletic ability of the PP staff, but helmets and padded suits may soon be required attire for all event staff if we don't watch out. William Aiken House Event Manager Shannon Ilsley sprained her ankle playing arena soccer last night and Lowndes Grove Event Manager Laurel Prasch broke her shoulder while jogging. Get well soon, ladies! And, to the rest of the PP staff...walk carefully. (P.S. The hilarious FALL RISK bracelet comes courtesy of Shannon's trip to the hospital.)
When last we left Fish, we were launching the spring/printemps menu. Deelish! Tonight, Fish hosts the Charleston Fashion Week After Party. My trusty marketing sidekick and I are headed over to Marion Square later tonight to make sure we catch Saks and Mary Norton! Then it's back to Fish for cocktails and the sounds of DJ Todd Cadley. To get you in the catwalk mood, take a peek at one of our favorite flashbacks.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Charleston Chefs: Feed The Need

(Nico Romo, Charleston Grill's Michelle Weaver and FIG's Mike Lata)
Lots going on today. The Fish spring/printemps menu launches tonight! Holy escargot, kids. It is divine. It's also Pay It Forward Wednesday, so come on out and show your support to Louie's Kids, battling childhood obesity one child at a time.

This morning, Jodie, Nico, Randall and I met chefs and restaurateurs alike at the Riviera for the launch of Charleston Chef's: Feed The Need. This program and call-to-action comes courtesy of Charleston Grill General Manager Mickey Bakst. When you're talking about pulling people together, no one does it like Mickey. Mickey has gathered 52 local chefs who will produce more than 20,000 meals for Lowcountry residents in the coming year. Specifically, “Feed The Need” will provide meals to Crisis Ministries, Tricounty Ministries, East Cooper Meals on Wheels and Neighborhood House and will be organized through the Lowcountry Food Bank. During Mickey's speech this morning, he quoted Alice Waters so you know I was all in from there.

It's always amazing to gather together any community of folks in Charleston in one place. There's so much collective energy, it's palpable. It's one of the things I love most about the Holy City. Our speed and sincerity in pulling people together toward a common goal. A good day on King Street, and we can't wait to go to work. Thanks, Mickey.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Spring, birthdays, post-runway cocktails

We've just wrapped up the design of the Fish Spring/Printemps menu which launches for dinner service tomorrow. Super excited to taste some of the new petite plate additions: baked escargot, tuna tartare and a nam sod spring roll. Nico's also added a braised lamb shank to the large plates that is just incredible. Lots of seasonal, local produce to celebrate the taste of spring, too. Yum!
And, a big Happy Birthday to our friend Andra Watkins of Positus Consulting who's celebrating her big day with tonight at Fish.

And, for you fashionistas, remember that Fish is hosting the Charleston Fashion Week After Party on Thursday starting at 9:30 pm. Because you need a cocktail after ruling the runway. Everyone knows that.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Pigs & cafeteria stories

Everyone, this is Dallas Alice. She belongs to the bride and groom who got married at Lowndes Grove this weekend. She told me she had an excellent time and that you should book your next event there, too.

Back from The Mountain, kids and may I say? It was quite the productive and hilarious weekend. Yes, both at once. Fun fact about me: I never went to sleep away camp as a child. However, this weekend, I really feel like I did. The accommodations had exquisite views and were also, um, a bit on the rustic side. Think plywood, bunk beds and toilets you must pump. All part of the experience my friends. All to keep us focused on the task at hand: strategic planning.

The food was really good, which is so important for me as you might imagine. Armed with old-school cafeteria trays, we wound our way through the food choices and sat down together to eat at a long, wooden table.

That cafeteria tray plugged into all sorts of memories for me. I remember being young enough to think the tray was enormous and hard to carry. I remember the first time I was able to reach for my own bowl of pudding at Percy Brown's, a cafeteria-style restaurant in my Grandma's hometown. I even remember using a tray to careen down a snowy hill at breakneck speed when I was in college. I can tell you: a LOT of the food I have had that sat atop a cafeteria tray was really not good: processed, overcooked, what you might expect. But my memories of it are so good. Why? I think it might have something to do with the fine company waiting for my tray and me at so many tables over so many years. (It may also be that I'm mentally blocking scenes from junior high school, but stay with me.) Perhaps it's just plain goodness to gather over food with friends. Perhaps we need this time to sit, talk, laugh, eat and drink with those we love and admire. Perhaps it's good for one's digestion to linger over food, tell a story and break bread. It seems that some of my best moments have come cafeteria-style.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Strategic planning, San Francisco, Spring

Getting ready to head out for a strategic planning weekend with folks from AFFA, the Alliance for Full Acceptance. Before I go, couple of things.

Received some very cool company news. A perk, if you will. A show of appreciation, a pay it forward type thing. All PP salaried managers can now volunteer up to 20 hours per year (paid) for our favorite Tri-County 501c3 non-profit. This is cool for all sorts of reasons, not the least of which is we get the opportunity to help out here in the Charleston area. Also, when you think of how employers are struggling to reward the employees they have during this economic downturn, I think programs like this are invaluable.

In other news, one of our PP staffers just got a back from a whirlwind trip to San Francisco. Have to share some of her awesome pics and you know, live vicariously through her.

I especially love the vintage sign. Always a sucker for the marketing. And hello, sea lions!

And finally, if you're in the market for a fun blog to peruse, stroll over to Style Court. Interesting art, interior and event designs too.

Just a reminder, Fish's Spring/Printemps menu launches late next week, so stay tuned. Bon weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spring at Lowndes Grove

Some days are so brilliant you just have to let them be.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Reminiscin,' Bobby Flay, Mercy O'Chef

Memories, like the corners of my mind. Check out what we were up to a year ago today. Yep, on its very first day open, Lowndes Grove hosted Throwdown with Bobby Flay and Peninsula Grill's Bob Carter. It was big fun. We got to two pieces of really delicious cocunut cake, and that's always a bonus.

In Fish news, what's more fun on St. Patrick's Day than a French chef? I honestly don't know. Join us for Mercy O'Chef (Clever, right? I did that just now.) You know the deal: 3 courses, $25, Nico's choice.

P.S. I just finished writing the Spring dessert menu for Fish and I will give you one hint: ICE CREAM SANDWICHES, the likes of which you have never tasted. Stay tuned.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Alice Waters: enough said

If you didn't catch Alice Waters on 60 Minutes, feast your eyes. Could she be any more right on?

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thanks to blogger Sara Dobie who spent Friday night with us at Fish and then blogged about her experience. I simply love a near-instant review!

Check out the nifty recap from Nico's cooking demonstration at King Street Kitchen Company the other night. Many thanks to Josh and the whole crew for their support.

In other neighborhood news, James Quinton and the crew at Salon Couture are planning a Cut-A-Thon on Monday, April 13. Cut and blow dry for men is $20/$35 for women and all proceeds go to Crisis Ministries. You must schedule in advance, so call 843.8543.0505 for an appointment.

I think I've mentioned my love for paper and all things print before. You must take a look at this incredible handmade, printable seed paper, suitable for wedding invites, cards, promotions, etc. Yes, it grows!

Friday, March 13, 2009

My birthday dinner and all I got was this flesh wound

True Charleston story. Names have been omitted. Ready?

A PP staffer went out with friends the other night for a birthday celebration at an unnamed establishment at which hibachi is served. The table full of young women was greeted by their hibachi operator, who quickly informed them that he had:

1. Just pierced his own tongue, so his speech would be rather garbled.

2. Was under the influence of some aromatic herb.

(Strikes one and two.)

Hibachi operator begins the flippy flip/smack the skillet/dog and pony show that is his (supposed) talent. Women begin chatting amongst themselves, anticipating both food and entertainment.

Hibachi operator miscalculates a flip. One spatula goes flying through the air, slices through one of the women's full wine glasses (causing it to EXPLODE). Spatula then grazes aforementioned women's arm, giving it a nice slice that begins to bleed. (Um, out?)

Here's the kicker.

Nothing happens.

Hibachi operator does not cease all hibachi activity. He pauses momentarily, goes to find another spatula (to replace the one that both broke a glass and winged a guest) and continues on.

The group of women sits in stunned silence. The wounded woman grabs her napkin and holds it to her BLEEDING ARM for the entirety of the meal. She says, "I'm fine," to her concerned friends.

Eventually, and I mean MUCH later, the hibachi operator asks the wounded woman, "Was there something in your glass?" She says, "Yes, wine." Hibachi operator advises server that there is a need for another glass of wine.

Necessary aside to the story: I think there is a cultural difference here that may need to be pointed out. Perhaps it's customary for a young group of Southern gals to sit in silence after a traumatic hibachi incident, but I can tell you, this Jersey girl would be up in whip if anything remotely like this happened. And I would not stop until the meal had been comped, and I left the establishment. Not a scene per se, but um, ACCOUNTABILITY anyone?

Back to the story.

More unbelievable: the hibachi operator begins creating pornographic scenes with the ingredients on his giant skillet. Seriously?

And, no manager ever appears.

The group of young women eat. And presumably, they all pay for their meals. (Our PP staffer was the first one to pay and leave. The surrealism of the scene finally got the best of her.)

I have to tell you, I was/am flabbergasted by this story. Not that it wouldn't make a fantastic SNL skit, because it would. Will Ferrell with a rising sun headband? Limbs that get lopped off in the Monty Python Holy Grail vernacular? Hilarious.

But not so much in reality.

Come on, people, this is supposed to be hospitality. As in, "an act of generously providing care and kindness to whoever is in need." I will ask you to keep your spatulas to your self in the future, sir.

P.S. If anyone can top this story, please regale me and comment.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Olympique Lyonnais Forever!

Despite Olympique Lyonnais' tragic loss to Barcelona last night, Nico still managed to demonstrate how to make a shrimp spring rolls to a fantastic group of folks at the King Street Kitchen Company. Smiling and cooking through his tears...that's a professional, folks!

Here at PP headquarters, we're currently working on the design of the Spring/Printemps menu for Fish. It sounds phenomenal. We've also been fortunate enough to be part of the taste testing group for the new spring desserts and holy mother of pastry goodness, it is an experience worth remembering, especially over a nice cup of coffee. Deelish.

True story that I mentioned on Twitter this morn: last night as our Director of Events, Director of Human Resources and yours truly began walking through the gate at The William Aiken House, a male passerby asked, in all seriousness, "Is this the CLAY Aiken House?" Um, no, sir, it. is. not.

Nice photo of our pals at EVO Pizza in today's P&C. North Charleston is hoping to keep sidewalk dining alive and well. I vote yes!

In Upper King Street news, it seems that 52.5 Records is going to branch out to beers, books and beats. According to their latest Twitter, "We'll start with a small (50-60) selection of craft beers, available as singles and mixed 6 packs." Personally, I think that's a stroke of genius. Reminds me of when I was in graduate school in D.C., I spent many an afternoon (that turned into an evening) at Kramer Books & Afterwords Cafe.

And finally today, members of the PP team are getting ready to head to a neighborhood gathering at Hall's Chophouse, who's set to open this coming Monday. Congratulations to Team Hall. We wish you lots of luck.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cake for lunch too!

Highlights from yesterday's Wedding Planner Luncheon at the Lowndes Grove River House, as told to me by our fabulous Sales Managers, Jessica Kafer and Charlotte McDowell.

Lowndes Grove General Manager Ashley Gunnin welcoming everyone

Gorgeous potted orchids on each table, generously donated by Lotus Flower

Stacey from Red Letter Events on the news groomsmen gift? TENDERLOIN!

Todd with PDA talked about Contemporary Lighting Designs in a Cost-Conscious Environment

Kate Little talked about the Charleston School of Protocol. (P.S. Sit up straight, please.)

And last but certainly not least, Susie's CAKES! (see above)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cake for breakfast! And more!

Started off the morning with a delicious piece of lemon wedding cake with vanilla fondant and fresh blueberry, ginger buttercream made by our own Goddess of Pastry Susanna Ieronemo. P.S. She also bought me a cup o' coffee from Kudu. I am. Officially spoiled.
The mini wedding cakes weren't just for our gluttonous consumption. Nay, they were dessert for a luncheon meeting of 30 Charleston area wedding planners at the River House at Lowndes Grove. More on that soon.
While I'm talking food, I should also tell you that tomorrow Nico will be doing a cooking demonstration with our neighbors at King Street Kitchen Company. $12 gets you the demo with Nico for his shrimp spring roll, samples of the aforementioned yumminess and beer or wine. Plus, you get to see all of the supercool kitchens. Check out more info here.
Here at PP headquarters, we're currently working on the design of the Spring/Printemps menu for Fish. Lots of South of France and Pan-Asian influences, and, as always, lots of tasty local products.
Finally, wanted to officially congratulate our pals at Blue Ion, Gil Shuler Graphic Design, HOOK and FORMO for their ADDY wins this weekend. It's a real pleasure to know that we live and work in a place where such fine creatives reside.

Monday, March 9, 2009

What we did this weekend

It's officially event season, kids, and here's part of our Lowndes Grove crew, from left: Event Manager Laurel Prasch, Intern Erin Cicccone, Event Manager Sarah McSweeney, Intern Melanie Crowley and Sous Chef Trung Duong, all geared up for the weekend's shindig.

The Empyrean Yacht, upon which Nico prepared hors d'oeuvres for Friday's Food + Wine Festival Schmoozefest, Cocktails & Conversations.

Nico and pals having a relaxing moment harborside.
In other Fish news, our 100 Mile Dinner was a huge hit this weekend. Thanks to all of our local producers who keep us inspired and help serve up such delicious food.

Friday, March 6, 2009

He owes it all to his Popeye socks

Nico and Jodie are currently aboard the luxurious Empyrean Yacht cruising the Charleston waterways with about 25 folks and two writers from Southern Living for the Food + Wine Festival's Cocktails & Conversations. Nico's preparing an array of fantastic hors d'oeuvres to complement the cocktails mixed by Oak's Jason Hamm. And, Nico's also wearing his Popeye socks, which are my favorite. (With Nico's accent his says Popeye like this: POE PIE.) Jodie is being the consummate picture of style and graciousness and extoling the virtues of our fine restaurant to all who will lend an ear. Me? I'm in the PP offices, perched behind The American Theater marquee with the window wide open catching the perfect breeze. Goooo team! Hope to see you this weekend as we continue our 100 Mile Dinner tonight and tomorrow. Enjoy the fine weather and be safe out there!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Unemployment Humor: Act One

It's really inspiring and extra hilarious when people inject humor into life's little disastrous moments. A friend of mine was recently laid off after a long tenure with his company. A close friend and former colleague of his volunteered to write a letter of recommendation for him. The friend sent two versions. This is the hilarious one. (Names have been changed.)

To Whom It May Concern:

I known Abe in a variety of capacities for seven years. Abe was my accomplice in a series of drug deals gone bad and also my cellmate at Jackson State Penetentiary.

Abe is organized, efficient, extremely competent and has an excellent rapport with both inmates and guards. His knife skills are excellent, and his vindictiveness unsurpassed.

In summary, once he is eligble for parole, I highly recommend Abe for any position or endeavor. Abe will be a valuable asset for any organization, especially one involved with illegal narcotics, human trafficking or weapons.

If you have any questions, please do not contact me.

Sincerely yours,

Theo Kojak

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Picture it: Charleston 1951

PP Facilities Foreman Kenneth Priester, AKA one of the kindest men I have met, stopped by our office today and said, "Randall wanted me to show you this." For a moment I was truly perplexed. Kenneth is one of those men who build and/or fix almost anything and has during his tenure with PP done just that. Me on the other hand? Not so handy. (I am earnest in my attempts however.) So, when Kenneth said Randall wanted him to show me something, I was certain he was mistaken. It's like the dude from this old house having something to share with Carrie Bradshaw (leave me with my SJP dream, will ya?) Turns out Kenneth had shared the photo above with Randall and Randall immediately said: "BLOG IT; TWITTER IT!" (Randall drinks the Kool-Aid that IS social media.) The photo was taken by Kenneth's Mom back in 1951 and it's the corner of John and Meeting Streets, as seen from Kenneth's Mom's apartment window. Kenneth promises to share more photos like this (his Mom is doing some cleaning, lucky for us!). Take a look at our fair city. She's always been a pretty lady. Thanks, Kenneth.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Run Bibba Run & The 100 Mile Dinner

Director of Human Resources Elizabeth Kitchin returned to us today after completing a half marathon in Seaside, Florida. Congratulations, Bibba, we are so proud!

Oh and must share what Fish is up to this weekend. First of all, if you're doing Food + Wine Festival things, you may run into Nico and Jodie if you're one of the lucky few (25) to hold tickets to Cocktails & Conversations. Picture it: a sunset cruise. Bartender Jason Hamm of Oak Steakhouse and our own Nico Romo and Jodie Battles aboard the Empyrean yacht for a two- hour cruise hosted by Coastal Yacht Charters and the Charleston Area CVB. Sip Jason's specialty cocktails, nibble Nico's fabulous hors d'oeuvres and schmooze about the trends in Southern hospitality from the Editor Emeritus, John Alex Floyd Jr. and Editor-in-Chief, Eleanor Griffin of Southern Living. Super swank.

And, Thursday through Saturday at Fish, we'll be hosting The 100 Mile Dinner. It's a local experience, kids. Meaning, everything you eat will have traveled less than 100 miles from our fine local producers to your plate. Even more fun, some of our local producers, like Rita Bachmann and Mark Marhefka, will be on-hand to mix and mingle. So, to review, three locally-inspired courses for $35. For $12 more, you'll get some fantastic organic wine pairings. 843.722.3474.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Capturing moments with Tim Zielenbach

Hello, blustery Monday! Well, we didn't get the snow, which is a bit of a bummer. What's more than a snow in Charleston? But March apparently means business and so we're off and running.

On Friday, Sales Manager Jessia Kafer and I met with uber photographer Tim Zielenbach at Kudu, our neighborhood coffee joint. Tim's photography played a huge role in the redesign of the PP website. His background in photojournalism means he is able to weave stories through imagery and the subtle magic of moments. And you know me, I'm a sucker for a great story. As Tim walked us through the gorgeous books of some of his recent work, I was struck by the intimacy of the photographs. It's not easy to run around weddings, chock full of family and friends and tears and laughter and bands and officiants and planners and somehow disappear enough so you can beautifully record what's happening. But that's what makes Tim so good at what he does. He steps in and out of the scene gracefully and tells wonderfully elegant stories about intimate moments. We're grateful to have his work on our site to help tell our story. And, check out some of his work on Kristin Newman's new site too. (It's the opening image.)

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getcho Pecha Kucha Here!

Pecha Kucha 2: what can I say? I laughed; I cried; it was better than Cats. Seriously, the collective creative energy in this city is quite something to behold. Check out all the fun wrap-ups here and here. P.S. To The Digitel, what's the song on the video? Tis awesome! Also, check out the superfly twitter/flickr barrage from the show here. The range of presenters, like the first go-round, was wonderfully eclectic, and the presentations ran the gamut from hilarious to soulful. Among my fave were Gil Shuler, Mary Norton, Michael Maher and Sharon Graci. But honestly, everyone had something brilliant to share.

As you now know, if you were there, I got in the act a bit, too. Adam and Patrick from GoToTeam and Robert Prioleau asked me to do a live from Fish feed. If you missed it, here tis:

In other funny video news, our friend Andra Watkins of Positus Consulting unveiled her take on the perils of small business bartering. Our pals at Cupcake get in on the act, as does our own Nico Romo. Thanks to Andra for her inspiration, humor and all around wonderful self. Andra, shall we raise a glass of Hendrick's and toast? Clink!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

PK 640

I'll admit it; I'm giddy with anticipation about Pecha Kucha tonight. As you know, if you're not a golden ticket holder, you're MORE than invited to watch the simulcast at Fish. Doors open at 5 pm. And, Fish is also the place to be for the After Party, so you're set!

For anyone attending, Pecha Kucha is all about the interactive experience and feedback, so if you're Twittering during the show, add this: #pkchs anywhere in the message so they can find you. Same goes if you're uploading pics to Flickr, add the #pkchs. Now, get on your horse and get over here.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Mardi Gras, Pecha Kucha, Positus & more!

Baby Jesus in King Cake
Originally uploaded by crcg
Happy Mardi Gras (Marty Grass), Internet! Here's hoping you find the baby Jesus in the King Cake.

If you're out and about tonight, it's Mercy of the Chef night at Fish. You know the deal: 3 courses, Chef's choice, $25. Wine pairings with each course are just $10 more. Sin all you want tonight. We support you!

Here at PP, some folks are indeed giving things up for the Lenten season. Here's a sampling of the personal sacrifices being made: no wine, no carbs, no meat, no close parking (really).

In other news, we could not be more psyched for Pecha Kucha tomorrow night. As a reminder, the venue is our very own American Theater. As I'm sure you know, tickets sold out in about 35 seconds, so we're also hosting a simulcast at Fish (doors open at 5 pm). We're also hosting the After Party at Fish so you can mix, mingle and get the autographs of all your favorite Charleston creatives. Maybe Gil will even sign your shirt.

Was over at Fish earlier to meet with our pal Andra Watkins of Positus Consulting. Not only is Andra a girl after my own heart because she likes gin, she's also super talented, strategically- minded and willing to look silly in order to get the laugh and make a salient point (in my Top 5 favorite personal traits). Andra was kind enough to include us in one of her Flip forays, and I'm just going to leave it at that until she unveils it. Stay tuned!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Food for thought

Last night was the 10th Annual Chef's Feast benefitting the Lowcountry Food Bank at the Charleston Area Convention Center. Fish was fortunate to be part of this great event, spearheaded by Peninsula Grill's own Bob Carter. Fact: the Lowcountry Food Bank serves food to nearly 2,500 hungry children per week.

Sales Manager Jessica Kafer and I attended the black-tie optional evening, and I have to say, it was a feast for all of the senses. I'm one of those people who gets amazed at the sheer enormity of expansive event venues like the Convention Center. You know, a ballroom the size of a football field, the most ENORMOUS ice sculpture I've ever seen, food stations as far as the eye can see, a full, fantastic jazz ensemble and acres of people. Of course, there was some fantastic food. Among my favorite bites were: Fish's coq au vin (what can I say?), McCrady's chicken liver foie gras, oyster with citrus and yuzu from Tristan, Caw Caw Creek pork from FIG and an incredible beet and green bean salad from Fat Hen. Congratulations to everyone who gave their time and talents to help make the 10th year so successful.

In local, sustainable news, three cheers for First Lady Michelle Obama who gave a lucky few a tour of the White House kitchen before the Obamas first big dinner: "The first lady took the opportunity to put in a pitch for local and sustainable food and for healthy eating, a recurring theme of hers during the campaign and since she arrived in Washington."

Along those lines, Alice Waters just keeps coming up pragmatic solutions to our food conundrum. This time, she tackles the National School Lunch Program. I don't know about you, but the food in my public elementary school was not what you might call, delicious and nutritious. Luckily, I brought my lunch most days (packed by my Mom). I did get to have the "treat" of buying lunch on Pizza Fridays now and again. (Ellio's frozen pizza.) Sidenote: my best friend used to eat a packed lunch most every day. His Mom was big into bananas (go potassium). Anyway, he'd eat the banana, put the Chiquita sticker on his forehead and then wear his brown bag as a hat for the rest of the lunch period. Good times. He's now a high school teacher. Seriously.

A few months back, I got a tour of one of the finest private schools in Charleston. I was amazed by the facilities, the history, the intense physical beauty of the grounds and buildings. And then, I walked into the cafeteria and smelled that industrial cafeteria smell that I bet you can imagine right now. It's the overcooked-tired-food-from-giant-cans-please-God-don't-make-me-eat-this smell. Awful. And honestly, it nearly undid all of the incredible things I had seen and heard up until that point. Because if you aren't nurturing and teaching me through the food I put in my body three times a day, aren't you leaving something important out of the curriculum? How about you? Any school lunch tales worth sharing?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pecha Kucha Pandamonium!

It seems that people are cuckoo for Pecha Kucha. So, due to overwhelming Pecha Kucha demand, Fish will host a simulcast of the event next Wednesday. Doors open at 5 pm. Special thanks to PDA for making the tech of things happen. And, Fish is also hosting the after party so you can rub elbows with your favorite presenters, get them to sign your t-shirt, you know, whatever.

Just walked through the Grand Ballroom at The American Theater. It's completely decked out for tonight's Charleston Ballet Theater Oscar Gala. Each table is the theme of an Oscar-winning or nominated movie. Let me just say: there is a GIANT King Kong on the premises. And some very large fuzzy dice. Special thanks to photographer Brennan Wesley who came by to snap some shot for us.

In launch news, check out our pal Kristin Newman's new website. It's another fine Blue Ion project. Congratulations, all!

Before I head out, I must share this. As I've mentioned, I'm a huge fan of our Thursday night entertainment at Fish. Not only is Elise Testone a New Jersey native (HOLLA) but girl got pipes, okay? And, piano man Gerald Gregory is not to be missed. So, a few weeks back Elise participated in the James Brown tribute concert and that's all I'm going to say, okay?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Economic gloom & doom part 64

Fish is in for a busy night. It's Pay It Forward Wednesday where you have the opportunity to make a contribution and learn about our featured non-profit, Louie's Kids. And, for you Charleston history buffs, Danny Crooks, author of On the Eve of the Charleston Renaissance: The George W. Johnson Photographs, will be reading and signing books. The reading begins at 6:30 and our neighbor, author and bookseller, Jonathan Sanchez of Blue Bicycle Books, will be on-hand to introduce Danny and facilitate the discussion.

Thoughtful piece on the Upper King Design District in today's City Paper. You know, I'll be the first to admit how easy it is to get sucked into the frenzy that is the "bad economy mindbender." If you pay attention to any sort of media, it's nearly impossible not to. A dear friend of mine who lives in New York City, has a good, well-paying job and recently purchased a co-op called me this morning in a panic, the gist of which is "what are we going to do?" We talked about it for a while: the layoffs, the bailout, the great pressing American need for a quick fix. How we do begin to fix all of this? What sort of sacrifices are we all going to have to make? Big questions. And neither she nor I had the answers. But, we did manage to make each other laugh, which is a plus no matter what you're going through. It's a strange time. People are anxious, but the streets aren't empty. Lots of folks have lost jobs or closed businesses, but some have changed careers for the better; some are just opening businesses. For the record, a little break from the media never hurt anyone. That's my short term advice: a brief, enforced break from the media. Crank up a long-forgotten favorite on your iPod. For that matter, bust out an LP on your stereo. Find a good recipe for something comfort food-ish. Make a lot of it and invite your best friend over. Bring the leftovers for lunch. And take small, mindful steps.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pecha Kucha, Bicycles, the L word & Sanka

Lots of random tidbits today, kids.

Pecha Kucha's back. Tickets are on sale (a mere $5) and you'd better get them now because I hear talk that they are already going fast. It's another super cool line up of Charleston creatives who get to share their tiny tidbits of goodness and light in the space of 6 minutes and 40 seconds. (I'm especially excited about seeing Sharon Graci, Mary Norton and our pal Gil Shuler.)

If you're in need of a bicycle and in this economy, I hope you have one, check out C of C's bike auction on Thursday outside the Physician's Auditorium from 11 am until 2 pm.

Had a really thought-provoking conversation with one of our favorite planners a few weeks ago. During the course of conversation, she used the word "luxury," which to some, is a bad word right about now. But, I was so happy she did. Why? Because we both believe this: true luxury is really about taking excellent care of someone. Actually, honestly caring about their well-being. And to us, it doesn't need to have a price tag or a logo attached to it. It only needs to be earnest and honest. Kind of a nice moment in the midst of this economic brouhaha, huh?

In wacky news, Starbucks is now producing instant coffee. I am not making this up. The award-winning line to go with? "This is not instant coffee. This is rich, flavorful Starbucks® coffee in an instant." Soooooo...where's my Sanka?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Presidents, the never-ending Valentine's Day and a lamb.

Nothing says Happy President's Day like Barack Obama and Abe Lincoln's likenesses IN CUPCAKES. This is actually an art installation by Zilly Rosen at Smithsonian American Art Museum. (Thanks to Rachel at Cupcakes Take the Cake for the photo.
Nay, I am no President, but I am the bearer of good news. To all of you who worked this weekend (special holla to our food & beverage and SEWE friends), Fish is offering one last hurrah to celebrate Valentine's Weekend. (I'm a big fan of getting as much celebration out of a holiday as possible.) So, tonight we're offering a special 3 course, Chef's choice menu for just $35. $10 more gets you wine pairings with each course. Who loves you? Nico does, that's who.

I had family in town this weekend and yesterday we joined the masses at the SEWE. We had the best time. My niece scaled the climbing wall, and we saw rescued greyhounds and golden retrievers, a llama, an alpaca, a bearcat, monkeys, goats, ponies, the sweetest lambs and puppies of all breeds. (As an aside, I also saw a proliferation of camouflage and animal print clothing.) Also, nice work to the SEWE organizers who had recycling opportunities available. As you may know, SEWE kicks off the tourist season here in Charleston and by the looks of things around town this weekend, I'm hopeful we're in for a rollicking good season.

I leave you today with a whole hunk o' cute.