Food review

Charleston Donuts offers decadent treats

By Loretta Jophlin

By Loretta Jophlin

I squealed with delight when I discovered Charleston Donuts by accident. I was on my way to an office supply store in the Wando Crossing Shopping Center and while I didn’t plan to eat donuts that day, I embraced the opportunity. Nestled in a corner of the strip mall, this family-owned donut shop is easy to overlook. I was greeted by an incredible aroma and several enthusiastic employees who explained the protocol. Pick a donut, pick a glaze or frosting and choose your toppings. The decorators will then create your custom donut while you watch.

I debated within my head. Should I choose cream cheese frosting with bacon? Chocolate frosting with coconut and almonds? Vanilla frosting with mini M&Ms?  I settled on strawberry frosting, sprinkled with Fruity Pebbles and pistachios. Before I could even pay for it, it was ready. It took incredible restraint to take the photos for this article and not dive right in. It was… the best donut I have ever had. The outside was crispy and the inside was cakey but still fluffy. And it was served piping hot. The gooey berry frosting and crunchy toppings were perfectly complimentary.

I had only planned on having one donut but found myself back at the register ordering another one. They took my old standby, chocolate frosting with rainbow sprinkles, to a new level. The chocolate frosting was dark and rich. What a decadent treat. This time I also ordered a cup of coffee and it was very good.

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They have other donut choices beside the white cake type such as a seasonal apple cider donut. They also accept suggestions for novel donut toppings. Anyone up for cinnamon toast crunch? For breakfast or a sweet snack this is a great local option. Need dessert for the potluck dinner party? This would be perfect. Need to apologize to someone? Donuts trump flowers every time. Birthday celebration? Arrive with a dozen custom donuts and be the life of the party.

 

Charleston Donut is open daily from 6:30am to 2:30pm and can be found online at http://www.charlestondonuts.com.

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Categories: Charleston, Charleston Daily, Donuts, Food review, Mount Pleasant | Leave a comment

The Newest Restaurant to Roll Into James Island — Rollin’ South Kitchen

By Tyler Sexton

 

From the first turn onto Folly Road to the ocean, we drive past dozens of delicious restaurants.  Veering off at one of the side streets is where we find the local treasures.  These are the places where we won’t bump into tourists, because these spots aren’t on the direct path to the beach.  The newest addition to this small list of restaurants is Rollin’ South Kitchen.

Rollin South’ just opened up a short two weeks ago in the building that was formerly The Sloppy Cow.  With a fresh paint job on the outside and an open and welcoming interior, this new diner has been bringing in crowds from all corners of James Island and the peninsula.  Their lunch menu starts with Jim Island Snacks, which includes traditional comfort foods like Chuck Town Chips and Folly Fries, and then progresses through salads, hot sandwiches, cold sandwiches, and options from the grill.

The interior is decorated in our Charleston beach fashion, with comical life lessons painted on old wooden planks, and the dishes have witty names like the Fatty Patty Melt, Bubba’s Bacon, and the Reuben You The Right Way.  Considering that they’ve only been open for such a short time, the staff were very knowledgeable about the menu.  They were able to point out and explain their favorites from each category of food on the menu.  The Reuben You The Right Way got the highest recommendation, and I opted to go with pastrami over the corned beef at the managers suggestion.

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The name fits.  The pastrami was tender and juicy, and it brought a pleasant bit of spice to the sandwich without over powering the other ingredients.  The tartness of the sauerkraut paired wonderfully with the kick of the pastrami, and the melted swiss cheese worked well at everything together.  Thousand Island dressing brought that familiar zest while the toasted rye kept all the flavor of the pastrami from escaping.

The fries are done just right here as well.  They cut them in house and fry them to perfection, leaving them with a crispy golden outside and flaky white inside.  If malt vinegar is your thing, they’ve got you covered here.  If not, you can’t go wrong with ketchup.

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The portions were perfect.  I was completely content after cleaning my plate, but I was so satisfied with my lunch that I couldn’t help but to ask about dessert.  My server said that the key lime pie is her favorite, and she hadn’t led me astray thus far.  I love key lime pie because of the pairing between the tartness of the lime and the sweetness of the graham cracker crust, and this pie fits the bill.  Just when you are about to pucker up from the sour filling, the sweet crust balances out each bite.

With their welcoming and hospitable staff and the delicious food options, Rollin’ South Kitchen has kept their tables full since the day they opened.  It looks like the newest addition to the James Island food scene is here to stay.

Located at 1023 Harbor View Road, Charleston, SC

Categories: Charleston Daily, chseats, Food review | Tags: | 1 Comment

A Culinary Vacation with Caribbean Soul Food – Georgean’s Caribbean Soul

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By Tyler Sexton

There are some great eating and drinking experiences hidden on the side streets that criss-cross between Meeting St. and E. Bay St., but there is one that you might actually have to hunt down.  I found it by mistake one day trying to circumnavigate a traffic delay.  I cut down Line street, and I noticed two tables on the sidewalk and small sign fastened to the fence in front of what looked like any other house.  The sign said Georgean’s Caribbean Soul, so I made a quick mental note to come back sometime. Well, I finally checked it out, and I was astounded.

It’s hard to think of a restaurant that epitomizes the expression neighborhood restaurant better than Georgean’s Caribbean Soul.  This quaint kitchen is nestled right in the middle of two houses on Line St., just across from a church.  Oh yeah.  Did I mention that they will deliver Sunday supper right to your church parking lot?

I arrived a few minutes before they opened, but the co-owner Deborah welcomed me in early, commenting, “If you know I’m here, just knock and I’ll let you on in and take care of you.”  Deborah is the co-owner with Chef Tim Jackson, who named the restaurant after his grandmother.  Opening in January this year, the two work together to bring authentic Caribbean cuisine to the Charleston food scene.

When I asked Tim how they wound up in this location, he replied, “There weren’t many restaurants in this neighborhood.  There was a Church’s Chicken a few blocks down, but most other restaurants are too far away.  We wanted to offer something closer to the surrounding neighborhoods.”  What better way to do that than to open up shop right in the middle of the neighborhood?

Aside from the two small picnic tables outside, Georgean’s is strictly take out.  When you step inside the door, the only thing separating you from the kitchen is the front counter and a few feet of space to move around in.  A small and fairly simple menu on the counter offers their various food options.  This means you have a front row seat to watch your meal cooked from scratch.  They don’t par-cook or reheat anything here.  Everything is made to order from the freshest local ingredients available.  This does mean that there will be a bit of a wait, but it’s worth it.

The flagship menu options are definitely the jerk or curried chicken.  I opted to go with the jerk chicken with cauliflower mash and macaroni and cheese.  It may not have looked like much, walking to my car with the styrofoam to-go box and sweet tea, but don’t be fooled.  Let me tell you, that trip back to school felt like the longest five minute drive ever.  The sweet and savory aroma quickly filled my car, and I found myself contemplating digging in on the drive back, but I waited… and waited… and nearly ran from my car to the break room and jumped into this Caribbean dream.

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I’m usually not one for skin-on chicken, but it didn’t slow me down one bit.  In fact, I wish I had slowed down.  Before I knew it, I was looking at an empty plate, gasping for air and wondering what the hell had just happened.  I basically inhaled my lunch in a blur of spices and flavors that made up what was one of the top five best meals I’ve ever eaten.  The jerk chicken had a delicately crisp skin and an oh-so-tender center that was bursting with flavors.  These flavors come from the wet jerk seasoning that the sliced chicken breast is sautéed in.  Notes of ginger, clove, nutmeg, allspice, and brown sugar shine though in every savory bite.  The farm raised, preservative free chicken was sliced and served over a bed of creamy cauliflower mash.  After I finished the chicken, the cauliflower worked perfectly for mopping up the juices left behind.  The macaroni and cheese was what my inner child has been searching for all these years; each creamy bite was oozing with a delicious blend of three different cheeses.  My only regret is that I didn’t order more.

For such a great meal, I would not have thought twice about paying upward of twenty dollars, but the chicken and two sides came up to just under ten dollars.  This is a great deal for the caliber of food you’re paying for.  Georgean’s has successfully cooked its way to a very fond place in my heart.

Georgean’s Caribbean Soul

8-D Line Street

Charleston, SC 29403

Hours:

Monday – Thursday:  11:30 AM – 8:00 PM

Friday – Saturday:  11:30 AM – 10:00 PM

Sunday: Closed

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Categories: Caribbean, Charleston, Charleston Daily, Food review, Soul, Tyler Sexton | 1 Comment

Ooh La La France in Charleston – Delight with Baguette Magic

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By Mark A. Leon

If you frequent Folly Beach, you have passed this small unimposing bakery just to the left on Folly Road.  It is hidden near a salon, boxing center, barber shop and La Hacienda.  You will notice the blinking open light, but many are unaware of the bakery creations that lie inside.  Baguette Magic offers a unique French Style Bakery experience right in your own backyard.

Their menu is small enough to fit in your wallet and their pricing is very similar to the Euro system where all tax is built in.  They even offer wallet size menus upon arrival so you can plan ahead for the next time.  Let us lay out the menu to help show the simplicity of this establishment.  Baguette Magic will not win you over with complex or fancy, but pure delicious delicacies.  The fresh baked fluffiness is in sight and smell from the first step inside.

They offer five culinary categories:  Bread, Croissant, Sandwiches, beverages (juice, milk, water) and Saturday & Sunday Brunch.  Of course, no meal would be complete without a fine coffee selection.  If you are looking for a traditional cup of drip coffee, keep making your way to Starbucks, for Baguette Magic only serves French Press pour.  It is rich and robust and wakes you like a zesty bar of soap.

Their breads and croissants are authentic French style and this authenticity, makes it a breath of fresh air in James Island.

The interior is small and quaint with a bar top area, a few booths and tables and a staff right in front of you baking away before the sun even rises.

If you are looking to start your morning right, start with a berry or almond croissant.  The soft flaky outside combined with divine fresh ingredients inside will leave your mouth wanting more.  Savor each bite and eat slowly for the taste lingers on.

If you find your way there for lunchtime, you may lean toward a Salmon & Dill Croissant, Prosciutto & Mozzarella with Basil Croissant or their unique offering of Pate de Campagne.

Baguette Magic can cater to one, an adoring couple starting their day before a bridge walk or cater to larger groups.

At $3.00 for a berry or almond croissant, $2.00 for a cup of coffee and $8.00 for a sandwich, the prices are incredibly well within any price range.

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If you arrive to a line, don’t fret.  Be patient and enjoy the aromas throughout this small intimate bakery.  The wait will be worth it.

Starting in the fall, Baguette Magic will start to offer homemade desserts to its menu.

The staff truly compliments the food with a kind demeanor and welcoming smile with each visit.

Baguette Magic Website – 792 Folly Road, James Island, SC (843) 471-5941

Hours:

Monday:        Closed

Tuesday:        7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Wednesday:  7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Thursday:     7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Friday:          7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Saturday:     7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

Sunday:       7:00 AM – 3:00 PM

 

Categories: bakery, Charleston Daily, Food review, James Island | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Charlie’s Grocery Offers a Memorable Falafel for Charleston

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Downtown Charleston is home to several corner stores but few have the rich history that Charlie’s Grocery  does. Opened in 1996 by Charlie Dabit, the Jasper Street grocery store has kept nearby residents and college students in stock with the essentials and more. Anyone who has ever experienced Charlie’s knows there is an impressive deli within. Beyond the Boar’s Head and large selection of homemade salads and jumbo pickles, there is one of Charleston’s most delicious treats, falafel. While falafel can be found at a few restaurants downtown and beyond, Charlie’s is arguably the best. The Charleston Daily (CD) sat down with Abe, Charlie’s eldest son who is now at the helm of day to day operations. We talked history, falafel and the future.

CD: Tell me about Charlie’s.

Abe: Charlie’s is our family’s store. We have been in business going on 18 years in April. The Jasper Street store was opened in April of 1996 and we recently opened a second store at the corner of Spring and Rutledge.

CD: Looks like you are running the Jasper Street store now. Where is Mr. Charlie?

Abe: My father is still around. Every morning he is at our Spring Street location. He’s very much a part of the business still. He has given a lot of the responsibility to me and my brother though.

CD: Enough small talk. Tell me about the falafel.

Abe:
(laughing) What do you want to know?

CD: What makes it so great? Whose recipe is it?

Abe: It’s just really fresh. The falafel is my mother’s family’s recipe and it hasn’t changed. It’s really simple. There is a basic ratio of chickpeas, onions, cilantro, and spices but there is no real measuring. It’s based on taste.

CD: So it’s a secret…. Would you ever considering opening a restaurant?

Abe: Yeah, especially with Middle Eastern food including falafel. Charleston kind of lacks in that area, but we have a few places around like Tabbuli and Manny’s. We have definitely considered opening a restaurant.

CD: What is the strangest thing a customer has requested?

Abe: That’s a toughie… Actually, pig’s feet! We used to carry them in jars. We had to talk my father into dropping them. People would request them, and there you are, reaching in, grabbing a pig’s foot, stuffing it in a bag and sending them on their merry way. Disgusting.

CD: What is the biggest challenge Charlie’s has experienced?

Abe: Finding trustworthy, good help. My father is very old fashioned. It’s very difficult to walk away and allow someone else to do this job.

CD:
What does Charlie’s mean to your family?

Abe: Charlie’s is ours and we take care of it like it is a child. It’s everything to us.

On that note, I dove into the falafel pita Abe had carefully prepared for me. The pita was generously stuffed with flattened orbs of fried falafel and refreshing cubes of cucumbers, tomatoes and onions. The falafel were crispy on the outside and tender inside. Where so many falafel are dense, these were light and bouncy. The optional hot sauce was no joke, even for me. The creamy hummus was a welcome option and it gave the sandwich a layer of depth that made it a satisfying meal. This falafel, like the many others I have enjoyed from Charlie’s, was perfection.

Charlie’s original corner store and deli is located at 1 Jasper Street. Charlie’s second location is open at Spring and Rutledge. Their hours are Monday – Saturday 9am-8pm and Sunday 10am -6pm. Falafel and other sandwiches can be ordered ahead from the Jasper Street location by calling: (843) 853-0351

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Categories: Charleston, Charleston Daily, chseats, Food, Food review | Leave a comment

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