Skipping Across South Carolina: Hominy Grill, Terra, City Roots and Southern Belly BBQ


Last we spoke, I was living it up in Charleston, pigging out at FIG and Husk and Butcher and Bee. The next morning, I was supposed to leave right away for Columbia but felt the pull of the one place I hadn’t managed to squeeze in over the previous 48 hours: Hominy Grill. And Hominy Grill serves breakfast. Surely, I could race over there and shovel some food down my throat before leaving for Columbia? Reader, that’s exactly what I did.

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Chowing Down in Charleston, South Carolina: FIG, The Lowcountry Oyster Festival, Butcher & Bee and Husk


“Things like that happen in Charleston.”

That’s what a woman working at a kitchen store said to me after something extraordinary happened to me right in front of her. It was one of two extraordinary events that I’m going to tell you about in this post all about my time here in one of America’s great food cities. I was brought here by South Carolina Tourism as part of a larger trip that’ll encompass Columbia and Greenville; but this post is all about my 48 hours here in Charleston.

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The Ultimate Food and Musicals Quiz

Jonathan Gold is the only Pulitzer Prize winning food writer in history and, as far as I’m concerned, I will never do anything in my food writing career that comes anywhere close to what he’s been doing for the bulk of his. Except for this. You see, the other day Mr. Gold, who writes a regular quiz for The L.A. Times, posted a “Food and Musicals” quiz that was a lot of fun to take. I got 9 out of 10 right. But the quiz left me feeling like Gold favors a specific brand of Broadway musical, heavy on the Lerner and Loewe. Also, there was an Oliver question which seemed a little too obvious to me. So last night, in a heated moment, I began constructing my own Food and Musicals quiz. It goes from the esoteric (Falsettos) to the extreme mainstream (Wicked) with various diversions along the way. There are 30 questions. I could’ve done more. Some are very hard, some are pretty easy; mostly, though, this is my favorite thing I’ve done on my blog ever. Let me know how you score in the comments!

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Our Skeleton Twins Sundance Adventure


When I first laid eyes on Craig, it was in the spring of 2006 at Joe on Waverly and he was with a guy slightly shorter than him working on a screenplay. I didn’t know they were working on a screenplay; mostly, I wondered if they were a couple or just friends. When Craig went to get water, we made eye contact. A few weeks later, totally randomly, he looked at my Friendster profile (remember Friendster?) and I sent him an e-mail. We went on a date. And another date. And now we’ve been together for almost eight years. And that screenplay he was working on with his friend (who turned out to be Mark Heyman who’d later go on to write Black Swan and to marry my good friend Diana)? It became a movie–The Skeleton Twins–that just premiered to wild acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

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Cold-Killing Chicken Soup with Ginger, Chili Paste and Soy Sauce


The first time that I made a really good chicken soup (documented here), it felt like I’d translated an ancient Jewish text–the Dead Soup Scrolls–and that the resulting soup was irrefutable, everlasting, not-to-be-tampered with. Then, over time, I began to realize that the recipe, which is really just a formula for a very concentrated chicken stock, flavored with root vegetables, and freshened up with more vegetables and dill at the end, was really just that: a formula. A guideline. You could play around and the Jewish police wouldn’t arrest you. So, a few weeks ago, when I had the start of a pretty nasty cold, I decided to integrate some of the flavors that make ramen so curative when colds start to hit hard. And the results were tremendous indeed.

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A Nifty New Interactive Banner

You didn’t think I’d let my tenth anniversary pass without updating the blog’s banner, did you? Well this new one’s a doozy. It’s a totally interactive, deliciously clickable banner–featuring my most popular/significant posts from the past ten years–created (and coded) by the remarkable Lindy Groening. And this is as good a time as any to salute her work, which has given this blog its identity for almost a decade: check out her previous banners here. And thanks for all your kind anniversary wishes, yesterday! You guys are the best.

Ten Years A Food Blogger


Dear Me of Ten Years Ago,

Let’s see if I can remember the moment. You’re in your room of the apartment you share in Atlanta, Georgia with your friend Lauren, avoiding the stack of law school homework on your desk, and trying out potential blog names on Typepad. A week earlier, you posted a question on Ask Metafilter: “How do I become an internet phenomenon?” You asked that question in a manner that was both tongue-in-cheek and sincere. In a few months you’ll graduate law school, and then what? A career as a lawyer? Litigating toxic torts for the law firm where you spent your previous summer in L.A.? The folks on Ask Metafilter offer advice, but this nugget from Aaorn stands out: “Having a single, narrowly-focused topic (assuming it’s an interesting single topic) will draw people more consistantly than a hodgepodge of random things that interest you.” Until you read that, you considered just doing an Adam Roberts blog with bits about musicals and books and the occasional recipe; but, really thinking it over, you realize that food–a subject that’s fascinated you ever since, two years earlier, you started watching Sara Moulton and Mario Batali on the Food Network–is something you’d enjoy blogging about on a regular basis. You type the words “amateur gourmet” into the HTML box and hit publish. A few minutes later, you write your first post–“The Birth of An Amateur Icon”–and send it out into the ether. You then frantically wait for your first comment. It comes from your friend Josh who, along with his wife Katy, urged you start the blog in the first place. Katy, I’d soon learn, would be my first troll, with comments like: “OMG!!!! You are HILARIOUZZZ!!! Are you singel seriously because I LOVE GUYZ WHO ARE FUNNY AND ALOS I LOVE FOOD!!!!”

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East Coast vs. West Coast Porchetta


On a cold December day in New York, I took the 6 train down from the Upper East Side to the Astor Place stop with porchetta on my mind. No, not Sara Jenkins’ glorious Porchetta sandwich served at her sandwich spot so devoted to porchetta it’s called, well, Porchetta. This time I was headed to Il Buco Alimentari e Vineria to try a porchetta sandwich that made a bit of a splash when it first appeared a year or two ago. Now the New York food media has moved on, as it tends to do, and that sandwich continues to be served with slightly less fanfare. I knew I had to give it a try before it disappeared entirely.

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