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Friday, January 30, 2009

Launch party with a side of butter

Thanks to everyone who came out to Fish last night to celebrate the launch of the new PP website. Pals from Blue Ion, photographer Brennan Wesley, neighbors from Lesesne, a large contingent from JMC Charleston, Andra Watkins from Positus, Deidre from Mary Norton and myriad friends and neighbors drank, nibbled dim sum and generally made merry. (Sidenote: my cold has kicked in for real today, and I sound a bit like Kathleen Turner after an extremely festive night.) Also, extra special thanks to Mike from Blue Ion and our own Elizabeth Kitchin who basically reconfigured our wireless router over the phone to help make this night possible! Great moment from last night: a Charleston Place staffer being introduced to William Aiken House/American Theater GM Kris Rowe, saying, "Oh, I recognize you from the website!" Nice!

And, had to share this tidbit from the Food & Wine blog (one of my personal faves). I don't know how to say this other than just coming out and saying it. Is it a sign of impending doom that the Sex Pistols are selling butter? Go forth and use this line: "It's not Great Britain; it's great butter." And....SCENE!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Historic memorabilia & romance! What a day on the blog!

Know what's fun about owning historic properties? Finding historic memorabilia tucked away in the nooks and crannies. Exhibit A: a vintage campaign button for one L.C.A. Roessler, apparently running for County Clerk. Circa early 1900s as far as we can gather and google. Where was it, you ask? Oh, just stuck in the window jam at The William Aiken House sales office. Swear!

Theories abound as to how the button got in there. Was there a heated button throwing war amongst the campaign team? Did someone deem the window jam as a makeshift "time capsule?" Did they run out of window sealant and think, heck, we'll just use the leftover campaign buttons! 1900s recycling!

In other news, I thought I'd take a quick moment to remind you that Valentine's Day is approaching, and we put together a couple of uber-romantic Staycation packages with just you in mind.

WHO: The William Aiken House Carriage House Suites, Lowndes Grove

$395 per suite includes:

A one night stay, choose Friday, 2/13 or Saturday, 2/14. If you feel crazy in love, add another night for $149. And, should you need a 2pm check-out on Sunday, you got it.

$100 gift certificate for Fish restaurant, which can be used during your stay or at another time. DELICIOUS DINNER!

Champagne or sparkling cider in your room upon arrival. BUBBLES!

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries in your room upon arrival. CHOCOLATE!

A flower on your pillow. ROMANCE!

Continental Breakfast of fresh fruit, scones & juice delivered to your door. BREAKFAST IN BED!

Historic, lovely accommodations. Snuggle up by the Ashley River or stay tucked away in the heart of Upper King.

Reserve now, kids! 843.853.1810.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Hi, I'm Your New Website!

Hi, Internet. I'm so happy to be able to finally let you know in on what we've been up to the past couple of months. Today, we officially launched the new Patrick Properties website! Congratulations and thanks go to the creative and strategic minds at Blue Ion who never cease to amaze me. (sidenote: I've worked with them for years now.) Extra special thanks also go to photographer Brennan Wesley, whose shots are beautiful and spot-on and did I mention he's just fun to hang out with? I must also thank Tim Zielenbach, Tracy Turpen, Lynn Mitchell and David Edwards for their incredible photographic contributions.

The challenge this project posed was mighty. Bring four separate websites into one visually-stunning, emotionally-driven experience. Over the course of my tenure with PP, we've made a conscious effort to cross-market our family of properties. You may recall the new identity system we worked on with the super talented folks at Gil Shuler Graphic Design. The question is: how do you earnestly cross-market? How do you do it and not overwhelm people? The answer, we believe, is to remember that more than anything, people are looking for a warm and beautiful place in which to create great moments. We're fortunate enough to have a few of just those places and even more fortunate to host and play a part in some of life's best moments. Thanks again to everyone for their creativity, mad skills and hard work.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Green is SO the new white

One of our fantastic Event Managers, Sarah McSweeney, is engaged. Even more exciting is that she and her fiance chose Lowndes Grove (AKA her place of employment) for their vows and festivities. Even MORE exciting is that Sarah and Tommy are trying to find news ways to "green" their wedding. And, Sarah is heading up the newly created Patrick Properties Green Team. Obviously, there's a story here, so please help me in welcoming Sarah as our Guest Green Blogger!

Since Patrick Properties is a company that focuses on historic preservation, it makes perfect sense that we are also committed to preserving the environment. When I discussed my upcoming wedding with Jennifer Goldman, our Director of Events, she suggested I check out www.carbonfund.org. I used their "carbon calculator" to estimate my wedding's carbon footprint. That is a lot of carbon talk I know—let me explain. The calculation tells me how many metric tons of carbon my wedding will emit into the environment. My estimate was 49.9 metric tons. Yes, tons—with overseas flights, car travel and hotel expenses that seems about right. The good news is we can offset the cost by supporting carbon-reducing projects like renewable energy, energy efficiency and reforestation. Imagine if every bride and groom actually went through the process of offsetting their carbon emissions from their wedding! The positive effect on the environment would be astronomical.

From calculating my carbon footprint, to researching “green” companies, I came to the realization that though Patrick Properties is already a green company, there are always new and innovative green initiatives springing up. So, I'm heading up the PP Green Team, and you'll hear more about that soon. To get things going, check out the 5 Things You Can Do To Green Your Event. More to follow...don’t you worry I am just getting warmed up!

Location, Location, Location
With friends and families so dispersed these days, it is important to pick a location that's convenient for the majority of your guests. Not only will it decrease their travel costs (which they will be grateful for), but it will also decrease the carbon footprint of your wedding. Having your ceremony and reception in the same location is helping the environment and saving extra travel for guests.

Choose Local and Seasonal Flowers
Couples spend an average of $2,000 on flowers. Flowers are one of the most heavily pesticided crops in the world, and more than half of the flowers available in the United States are imported from overseas (which uses fuel and contributes to global warming). By choosing seasonal flowers, you not only decrease the cost of your wedding, but you decrease your impact on both the environment and human health.

Go Organic and Local
Ask your caterer (and we hope it's FISH) about including seasonal, local organic elements in your menu. If you can’t find a green baker, look for vendors are willing to substitute in organic flour, sugar, eggs and milk. I know Ms. Susanna Ieronemo, our Pastry Chef, will be more than willing to add a bit of green into your life!

The average wedding produces 600-800 pounds of garbage! Try to cut down on waste by skipping one-time use of items like favors. A great idea is to pass along a flower bulb that guests can plant. Or, ask your bridesmaids to truly be a part of your day by wearing something they already own or pick dresses in a specific color and style so they will wear them again.

Recycle and Reuse
You can have a luxurious wedding, save a ton of money and decrease your impact on the environment by borrowing, renting and purchasing pre-owned items. For example, one of my favorite go-to sites is www.oncewed.com. Featured on the site is an entire section for past, present and future brides to buy or sell wedding dresses. You will also see lovely tidbits for d├ęcor and accessories. I will just mention that I found a lovely piece that will be showcased on my big day courtesy of Muscari by Easter Yu. Ok, no more hints. Yes it is YOUR day, but do remember that it is always the season to donate and think of others. Local hospitals and nursing homes could always use some cheering up with a lovely floral arrangement leftover from your big day.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hope, dreams, faith & friends

Today's post was written PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman.

To non-believers, hope, dreams and faith all sound like simplistic remedies to the plight in which we find our country. America is tired, our military is tired, and yes, I’m tired. But yesterday’s inauguration however brought a sigh of relief and proof that these three words are anything but trite. It is a firm belief that tomorrow will be better than today.

Like Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I Have A Dream” speech or Fannie Lou Hamer at the Democratic National Convention in 1964 who spoke of freedom, rights and dignity. These words of hope, dreams and faith were the impetus for “Yes We Can.”

On October 5, 2007, I stood in a courtroom in Atlanta, Georgia to witness 126 people representing 56 nations take the oath of U.S. citizenship. One Frenchman, our Executive Chef Nico Romo, stood among the new U.S. citizens. At the time, we had barely begun our friendship, but I remember how proud he was and how he wept with happiness.

What I would learn about Nico through the course of our friendship only served to endear him to me more: from his apprenticeship in the bowels of the restaurant industry to years of hard work, paying his dues, all to earn the exquisite “right” to wear the chef’s toque. Through my own learning experiences as a growing chef, from the seemingly barbaric teacher that demanded I touch a hot oven to “toughen me up” saved me from burns and pain later, I came to share an understanding with Nico of what it means to be called a chef.

Knowing Nico is also knowing that our country is better for having him as a citizen. I am better for having him in my life and blessed to call him my best friend. On Tuesday, the world witnessed a black man born from a Kansas mother and an African father become the leader of the most powerful country in the world. Today, I reflect upon October 5, 2007 when America opened her arms and welcomed this French chef, this friend. Stories like this make a nation many have died for. The inauguration was a battle cry, a desperate plea and a gasp for new breath. It’s a quest to plant a new generation of Victory Gardens that nourish the right for every man to hold self evident that we are all created equal. The election’s value comes not from the victory of one party over another but for one country’s victory over cynicism. "We are not a collection of blue states or red states we are the United States and until we drop the proclivities of social classifications and labels we will never realize the dream of a United America.” It’s not an America that does for us but the call for us to do for America, to transcend culture, religious and economic barriers. I have a dream of hope; I have a dream of faith for my best friend, my three-year-old son, and my wife of a decade. Tomorrow will be better.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Yes we can and yes we will.

Photo of the "huddled masses" from the Inauguration viewing in Marion Square is courtesy of the CRBJ's Leslie Halpern. What a day! Bitter cold in Charleston?! A restaurant full of neighbors, friends and citizens gathered over moo shu and champagne (yes, really!) to watch President Obama's (I can not get over how happy I am to say that) Inauguration. It was so quiet in Fish during his speech you could have heard a pin drop. I'm still not sure I was breathing. What a perfect stretch of moments. Thanks to all who lunched with us today and raised your glass (thanks for the Twitpic, Adam!) And, if you missed lunch, join us for the Fish Inauguration Celebration: $1 dim sum and drink specials starting at 5:30 pm. Yes, I'm headed there myself in short order! Cheers.

Monday, January 19, 2009

MLK Day on Upper King & Inauguration Celebration

Happy King Day! (to be followed by a warm smile and wave.) Thanks to Adam for sharing his amazing photos (left: view of parade in front of The American Theater and The William Aiken House and here.) MLK Day is one of the BEST days to be on Upper King, because we are right on the parade route for all the music, smiles and festivities. Highlights? Among others, this song blasting and this car.

I don't know about you, but I am positively giddy about tomorrow's inauguration. Fish will have our T.V.s tuned in for every moment of President-elect Obama's swearing in. Enjoy our $10 moo shu lunch as you watch in awe! Then, starting at 5:30 pm, we'll be hosting our Inauguration Celebration. That's right, hope, change and cocktails. $1 dim, $2.50 Bud/Bud Light, $4 specialty cocktails and $5 house wine. Call me sentimental, but I think Upper King is the only place to be for inauguration day.
Oh, and thank you to Abby over at StyleMePretty who shared the lovely story of a recent Lowndes Grove wedding by Ooh Events with photography by Marni Rothschild.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Comedy, Wynton Marsalis, spiced bourbon

What a weekend at PP! Tonight kicks off the Charleston Comedy Festival. Several of the PP staffers and I went last night to a pre-festival improv show at Theater 99, and I was laughing so hard I was crying. Oh, laughter is simply the best.

The American Theater and Stars Lounge are just one of the six venues hosting the festival. Headliners this year are NBC's "Last Comic Standing" finalists God's Pottery. The duo of Gideon and Jeremiah, use a guitar and xylophone to sing hilariously irreverent religious tunes. Yes, really. In addition to those guys, the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre will put on three separate shows and previous years' favorites Buffoons, Hot Sauce and I Eat Pandas all return. I do recommend attending. Get your laugh on!

In other news, legendary jazz trumpetist Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra will perform at Charleston Music Hall tonight. After the concert, The William Aiken House hosts "A Window Into Education" fundraiser gala. The black-tie gala benefits the Charleston Concert Association's education program and features entertainment by Quentin Baxter. I smell jam session, people!

Bundle up, folks, it's going to be a cold one. But never fear: the Spiced Monsieur at Fish will warm the cockles of your heart. Be safe. Wear a scarf.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Love is in the air: spoil your sweet babu.

Since I wrote about this whole staycation business last time, I thought I'd offer a sneak peek of our Valentine's Day Staycation packages before they're officially released (see, there ARE perks to being a regular blog reader). And let me just say, they are AWESOME. Here are the details...

WHO: The William Aiken House Carriage House Suites, Lowndes Grove, You and your sweet babu

$395 per suite includes:

A one night stay, choose Friday, 2/13 or Saturday, 2/14. If you feel crazy in love, add another night for $149. And, should you need a 2pm check-out on Sunday, you got it.

$100 gift certificate for Fish restaurant, which can be used during your stay or at another time. DELICIOUS DINNER!

Champagne or sparkling cider in your room upon arrival. BUBBLES!

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries in your room upon arrival. CHOCOLATE!

A flower on your pillow. ROMANCE!

Continental Breakfast of fresh fruit, scones & juice delivered to your door. BREAKFAST IN BED!
And did I mention historic, lovely accommodations? Snuggle up by the Ashley River or stay tucked away in the heart of Upper King.

Book now, I say! (7 guest suites go quickly!) 843.853.1810.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Staycation anyone?

One of the best parts of my job, I mean besides the dollar dim sum and happy hour priced cocktails, is getting to see all of our properties through the new eyes of our clients and the folks we choose to work with. Our pal Brennan Wesley joined us this evening to snap some bio photos as well as several shots of the super-luxe accommmodations at The William Aiken House. Originally the property’s stables, the Carriage House has two super cool, duplex suites. Each has a living and dining area, kitchenette, master bedroom and full bath, bluestone courtyard and views of the the House, gardens, live oaks, etc. Even cooler to me is the exposed brick, high, rustic ceilings and amazing eclectic furnishings (I think interior designer Paula Adams rocked it OUT in here.) Brennan and I were discussing the many photo shoot possibilities (and whether we'd get caught if we decided to stay, say indefinitely). If you get itchy for a staycation, I'm telling you...we have just the place.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Let the cyber-stalking begin!

After much discussion and deliberation, today we started a Friends of Fish Restaurant page on Facebook (or as my Mom likes to say: THE Facebook or THAT Facebook). If you know us at all, you know that we LOVE social media, but I have to say for some reason, I was a tad bit leery about the Fish/Facebook relationship. But, it's been a few hours and you know...I feel good. I feel positive. If you wanted to, you could "friend" us, but no poking, please.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Non-sequitor Friday

Photographer David Edwards shot some fantastic photographs of local chefs, growers and producers a while back for the Lowcountry Local First's Buy Local Bash at Lowndes Grove. See shot of PP Managing Partner Randall Goldman above. Folks here were so intrigued with them,we asked to purchase a couple of prints of some of Fish's purveyors, like Rita and Mark Marhefka. The photos will soon be part of a "wall of fame" at Fish. Look for David Thompson of Gibson Thompson Guess Architects, bottlecap artist Molly B. Right, Rita and Mark gracing our walls soon.

After another week of hearing about business closings and the flagging economy, it was good to read that the Spoleto Festival beat its first week sales from last year by a whopping 17%. We like Spoletians, yes we do.

Here's another random thought. After the holidays, there's the usual resolutions, promises to one's self and loved ones to living better, healthier, dropping extra weight. Do we imagine that what with unemployment rising and all that more people are throwing caution to the wind when it comes to post-holiday weight loss? As in: unemployed and happy to hunker down over a wheel of cheese? Thoughts?

Know what's been fun in PP headquarters lately? Fielding inquiry calls for wedings at The William Aiken House, Lowndes Grove or The American Theater from super exuberant newly betrothed ladies. I can honestly say one woman was so excited, her voice reached an octave un-hearable to the human ear. Only small dogs with sparkly collars strolling on King Street could understand.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

B'Zar Love

Walked over to Fish today during lunch and man oh man, it's good to see folks taking advantage of the $10 lunch (includes entree, fountain drink + tax). It was moo shu as far as the eye could see!

Susan Lucas, or as I like to call her, Queen of King Street, continues to sing the praises of our little corner of the world to all who will listen. Because of Susan and neighbor Jonathan Sanchez of Blue Bicycle Books, Fish will be celebrating President-elect Obama's first day on the job (that's Wednesday, January 21st) with a reading and book signing by Lisa Rogak, author of Barack Obama: In His Own Words. Buy a book, get it signed by the author, join in the discussion and enjoy special hors d'oeuvres and cocktails. The festivities begin at 6:30 pm. Raise a glass to hope, economic recovery, friends, neighbors, one and all.

Like everyone else, our dear King Street has been feeling the effects of the economy. Our friends at B'Zar announced this week via eblast that they'll be closing their Upper King storefront in February. Owners Gus and Andrea are warm, wonderful people, and have brought an incredible amount of positive energy and attention to Upper King. I urge you to check out the store before it closes and more importantly, please visit their incredible sneaker boutique, Suite Sole on Spring Street. Please support and inspire these awesome people as they have us.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


These first days back after a long holiday are rough, no? Whew!

First of all, thanks to the anonymous commenter who had raves for both Fish's Monday Happy Hour specials and Jason, one of many fine bartenders.

Secondly, I need a minute here to just tell you this. A dear friend of mine told me today that she and the rest of her colleagues will soon be losing their jobs. This is, yes, the result of our flagging economy (and also possibly the result of bad management but hey, just my opinion). And though this news didn't come to my friend as a huge shock, it's still devastating for all of the regular reasons: life without a regular paycheck, benefits, etc. and ohmyGOD, who is hiring in this economy. And yet, my friend in the midst of this rather life-changing event was full of energy, ideas and humor. And rather than sit there and bemoan and berate, we sat together in the early afternoon sunshine and spoke about options and ideas. A couple of times we laughed hard enough that I started to tear. What can I say about those minutes with my soon to be unemployed friend? That this is grace. And I am abundantly grateful for every minute with her.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I started and ended with cocktails...hmmm.

Happy Monday and Happy 2009. Resolutions made? Any already broken? Don't worry, we don't judge. Our pals over at Food & Wine have the right idea: resolve to drink more cocktails. This write-up also includes, by the way, one of the best, simplest bar concepts and anti-advertising ideas EVER. Seriously, that's a little piece o' genius right there.

In other news, did I mention Lowndes Grove, all up in the pages of the new Elegant Bride? Big heaping thanks to Tara Guerard at Soiree for creating the most elegant, stylish settings. Simply wow. And, thanks to the talented and lovely Erin Swift from Elegant Bride...run, fast, pick up your copy now!

And finally, how cute is Fish's Thursday evening chanteuse Elise Testone and her sister Jenna who joined us for dinner over the holiday weekend? SO VERY. Should you be in the neighborhood, my man Jason is behind the bar and will gladly serve you half-priced bottles of wine and dollar dim sum.