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Best Cocktail Spots in Charleston (According to Our CurEaters)

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We spent five days in the Holy City for Charleston Wine + Food. Charleston is one of our favorite cities for food and drink in the South. That being said, we obviously enjoyed snacks and cocktails between events. You know as much as we do that good cocktails and beer are just as important as food. And thanks to our CurEaters, we had our fingers on the pulse of all the best cocktail spots in Charleston. For our time in Chucktown, we chose a cocktail spot from each of these 5 CurEaters’ lists.

“Best Bar in the Universe Ever…” // Terry Fox 
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Image via Man About Town

CurEater Terry Fox, Co-founder and Director of Charleston Arts Festival, made our decision to visit The Belmont super easy. He literally created a list dedicated solely to this cocktail lounge and bar. As a matter of fact if you check out The Belmont’s website, the first thing you’ll see is “A Fine Place to Drink”. After reading this Q&A with Fox, you’ll have complete understanding as to why we trust his opinion and his list.

“Charleston Beer” // Robert Donovan 
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Image by Jonathan Boncek

We know we’ve mentioned CurEater Robert Donovan a lot! But when you have lists as great as his, how could we not? Donovan has approximately five lists with the best cocktail spots in Charleston, along with breweries and bottle shops. We were intrigued by his “Charleston Brown Water” list, but we chose his “Charleston Beer” list to switch it up. Since Holy City Brewing made his list, it made it on our drink agenda.

“Bar Review CHS” // Cocktail Bandits 

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Pancito and Lefty has been on our radar for a while after we saw it on CurEaters the Cocktail Bandits’ “Bar Review CHS” list. We drank their Blood, Sweat, & Tequila cocktail, which is on draft, and the Estocada, which is mezcal, campari and beet.  We wish we would’ve had time for one more, but we had to keep the party moving!

“Drinks in Charleston” // Carrie Morey

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From CurEater Carrie Morey’s “Drinks in Charleston” list, we chose The Ordinary. It just happened to be located less than a block away from our hotel, so we actually visited a few times. I guess you could say it became our watering hole.  Carrie’s Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit also happened to be a few blocks away, so we’ll let you do that math on that one!

“Great Bars” // Randi Weinstein
Image via Southern Living

We love every minute we get to spend with CurEater and Founder of FAB Charleston,  is a minute well spent! We always have the best conversation over great cocktails. Before we left Pancito and Lefty, we pulled up her “Great Bars” list. We couldn’t choose because all the bars are, well, great, so we closed our eyes and put our finger down. It landed on Little Jack’s Tavern, which was perfect because we wanted their burger anyway. You know, that burger that bon appétit said was one of the best burgers of 2017. We will never turn down a burger, especially when it’s accompanied by a solid cocktail.

CurEater Jenn Rice: Culinary Arts and Travel Writer

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“I live for cheese, homemade tortillas, bourbon, exploring exotic locales, chasing sunsets, anything sparkling, drinking coffee on sun-drenched porches, and collecting hot sauce from all over the world.”

CurEater Jenn Rice is a writer, traveler, foodie, and all-around expert. Originally a beauty publicist, Rice’s career  evolved into freelance journalism. She started covering everything from weddings to wellness, nail polish tips and gorgeous trips. But, what interests us most about this polymath is her expertise in food and drink.

Jenn Rice for The Tasting Table: “Why Texas Pete Is The Best Hot Sauce”

A native North Carolinian, Rice now lives in and writes from Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She also travels for a good story, with stops in Raleigh, New York, Europe and Salt Lake City in between. She now covers the culinary arts and travel for publications like Food & Wine, Vogue, GQ, Extra Crispy, and Domino. A glance at some of her stories tells you she has a particular fondness for her native Southern fare. To get you started we’re particularly fans of this ode to Kentucky’s favorite soft drink, Ale-8-One. We really like this story about Matt Register’s unconventional source material at Southern Smoke BBQ. This story about why Rice thinks a certain North Carolina chain can go toe-to-toe with the NYC and LA-based burger juggernauts is a classic. 

Jenn Rice for Food & Wine: “There Has Never Been a Better Time to Eat a Chicago-Style Hot Dog.”

If you want to see more of what Rice has been working on ( you definitely do) follow her on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. To see her past work check out her website. And, of course, follow her here on CurEat.

 

CurEater Sean Lilly Wilson: Chief Executive Optimist of Fullsteam Brewery

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“(We’re) moving ‘full steam ahead,’ but we’re looking backwards to our agricultural traditions and our beer making traditions in the south.”

Sean Lilly Wilson is the owner and the self-styled Chief Executive Optimist at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham, NC. Fullsteam, under Wilson’s direction, brews foraged beers with ingredients they source from North Carolina farms. Wilson got his start in beer, by changing laws. After starting the movement to raise the ABV limits in North Carolina, Wilson decided to create a distinctly Southern beer. Fullsteam, “A Beer From The Beautiful South” was born.

VIDEO: to cure: Presents – Sean Lilly Wilson of Fullsteam Brewery

Wilson’s beautiful beer has won plenty of awards. Wilson himself has been lauded, too, including three nominations by the James Beard Foundation for Outstanding Wine, Spirits, or Beer Professional. While others celebrate his work, Wilson makes to celebrate the work of others, including his support of North Carolina’s beer month.

VIDEO: Our State: Fullsteam Brewery Beers Showcase Plow-to-Pint Ethos

Fullsteam’s beers change with the seasons. When it’s hot, we like their Southern Basil. When the cold weather rolls through, we grab a First Frost.  The brewery’s “plow to pint” philosophy means they have a strong connection to farmers and growers. The brewery also focuses on the community, cultivating close relationships with makers and artists.

For more on Fullsteam check out their website or find them on Facebook. For more from Wilson, follow him on Instagram or Twitter. Finally if you want to see where he grabs a pint and a bite to eat, follow him on CurEat.

6 CurEaters Who Are Here for You on National Pizza Day

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It’s not a secret. We’re in love with pizza. If you follow us on social media, then you know we recently embarked on our inaugural “I Wish You Were Pizza” tour — inspired by CurEater Mattie Beason and Felicia Trujillo. While you may think we’re “pizza’d” out, we’re absolutely not. In fact, some of us eat pizza more than twice a week, which means we’ll definitely be eating a slice (actually slices) for National Pizza Day. If you want to follow suit, we found 6 lists to give you some inspiration.

Mattie Beason // “I Wish You Were Pizza” List 

CurEater Mattie Beason influenced the name of our pizza tour with his t-shirt and the name of his pizza list. To say Mattie really loves pizza is an understatement. If you are feeling really adventurous and you live in the Triangle, you can take your own pizza tour this week (maybe Valentine’s Day) with Mattie’s “I Wish You Were Pizza” list. And if you’re in Baltimore, you can check out Hersh’s Pizza.

Vivian Howard // “Inspiration for Benny’s Big Time” List 

CurEater Vivian Howard recently opened Benny’s Big Time Pizzeria in Wilmington, NC. (We’re already planning a road trip to the Big Time.) We were overjoyed when she created a list of pizzerias that inspired her. Vivian’s taste doesn’t lie, so we know that each place on her list definitely hits the pizza mark. From NYC to Phoenix, you’ll 100% find a spot to fall in love with pizza all over again.

Robert Alexander // “Pizza” List 

CurEater Robert Alexander is the Master Baker at H&F Bread Co. in Atlanta, so we know his pizza list is top notch. For all you Atlanta natives and those traveling to ATL, you now have 4 solid pizzerias to choose from to celebrate the National Pizza Day today and everyday.

Bob Peters // “My Favorite Pizza Places” List

Bob Peters is a cocktail artisan and the Creative Director of Bar Operations of The Punch Room at The Ritz-Carlton in Charlotte, NC. When Bob Peters creates a cocktail, we know we are about to sip something that will change our lives. Literally. He knows how to make a solid cocktail. Seeing that we trust him to blow our minds with a creative cocktail, we trust he knows good pizza. He did create a list for his favorite pizzerias in Charlotte, after all.

Amber Faulisi // “Fav Pizza spots in the USA” List 

Pizzeria Faulisi in Cary, NC was the first stop on our “I Wish You Were Pizza” tour. We hearted everything about it, especially the interior. When it comes to finding the best pizza in the U.S., you can 100% count on Amber Faulisi to know the right spots. She has places listed from New York, Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Oregon. Thank you, Amber, for making all our pizza dreams come true on National Pizza Day.

Kevin Getzewich // “Pizza N Breakfast or Lunch” List

CurEater Kevin Getzewich, Executive Chef at One Broad Street, gives you two pizzeria options in Charleston. Sometimes it’s better to have just a few options that you know for a fact will be amazing. We’ve wanted to try Luke’s Craft Pizza for a while now, and we plan on doing so when we are in Charleston for the Charleston Wine and Food Festival. We’re coming for ya, Luke!

CurEater F. Griffin Bufkin: Soul of the South

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“We keep it real. We stay with the wood and stay with our hearts and the craft of smoking.”

St. Simons Island is a barrier island along the coast of Georgia. About halfway between Savannah and Jacksonville, it is in a great locale known for good eating from red rice to she-crabs, and now thanks to F. Griffin Bufkin classic, soulful barbeque. Bufkin is a third generation islander and a true polymath having worked as photographer, designer, and club operator before settling in to the low and slow life of a barbeque man.

VIDEO: BBQ Feeds the Soul on St. Simons

Along with Co-owner Harrison Sapp, Griffin Bufkin opened Southern Soul Barbeque in 2007. Acclaim followed, including an appearance on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Just when the rest of the country was starting to notice what was smoking on St. Simons, Southern Soul suffered a serious fire. But, they rebuilt and were quickly back in the saddle. They also got back in the habit of picking up awards like Southern Living’s 2017 award for The South’s Best BBQ. Their menu has garnered acclaim for its blend of traditional soul food sides and classic, wood smoked pork, brisket, sausage, and poultry. They also have created a line of retail products including rubs, sauces, and a particularly epic bologna.

RECIPE: Southern Soul’s Brunswick Stew

Bufkin isn’t just a student of BBQ. He also cares deeply about the cultural of soul food from coastal Georgia and beyond. He’s active in the Southern Foodways Alliance, and Southern Soul’s website provides a list of supplier, organizations, and other restaurants that share SFA’s philosophy. Bufkin’s Instagram is another great source–he frequently posts dynamic images of chefs, restaurants, and meals from his region and beyond.

For more of F. Griffin Bufkin favorites follow him on CurEat.

 

Lists for the Slopes: Find the Best Places to Eat at the Top Ski Destinations

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Let’s face it, the best part of skiing is the après. We will put our fear aside and take on a black diamond if we know there’s an exceptional dish and libation waiting at the end of the run. If you’re packing your bags for a few more winter hurrahs on some of the top slopes before beach season, we’re 120% here to help you find the best places to eat and drink. These three CurEaters have lists in some of the most popular ski destinations in the country.
Jenn Rice // Where to get a drink in park city 
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Image via Firewood

This list is it. Aside from some of the best spots to grab an after-the-mountain drink, it’s also got some pretty good eats. Whether you want a glass of wine, burger and fries, cocktail, or elk loin, you’ll find a place for each on this list. Jenn Rice definitely has her finger on the top bites in one of the top ski destinations.

Kenny Gilbert // Telluride 
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Image via Smuggler’s Brewpub

CurEater and Chef Kenny Gilbert lists his favorite restaurants in Telluride, and they’re all extremely different. Looking for the pub vibe where you can sip a brewski and eat a burger to recover from a day on the mountain? Try Smuggler’s Brewpub. If you have a hankering for authentic Thai cuisine, check out Siam. Maybe you just want a classic cheese pizza that makes you feel right at home. Well, Brown Dog Pizza has you covered on that one. You never know what you’ll crave once you conquer some of the most difficult slopes. Clearly, Chef Gilbert’s cravings differ, so you’re in luck.

Carrie Morey // Jackson Hole 

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Image via Hatch Taqueria and Tequila
With 12 spots on this list, it will be hard to pick your favorite. We would definitely start our day at Persephone Bakery because their milk toast caught our eye. We’d absolutely find our way to Hatch Taqueria and Tequilas for, yep, tacos and tequila. There really is something for everyone in Jackson Hole, so let Carrie’s list act as your field guide.

CurEater Ashley Boyd: The Art of the Pastry

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“I come at the plate thinking of how to combine flavors and what are the different ways I can get them on the plate. It’s sort of painting with flavors in a way.”
VIDEO: Order/fire: Ashley Boyd

If it seems like Ashley Boyd is at home in the kitchen of Charlotte’s 300 East, it’s because she is. Her mother founded the restaurant, and Chef Boyd started working there at age 13. Her love for pastries came after she graduated from art school while working at a Brazilian steakhouse in Chicago. After living and cooking in Detroit, Atlanta and San Francisco, she moved back to Charlotte. In addition to her role at 300 East, Boyd joined Heritage in 2015 to put her unique spin on their desserts.

VIDEO: Ashley Boyd makes cheesecake and talks about her process

If you follow Boyd on Instagram you will see the influence of that fine art degree. She creates some of the most visually delicious desserts you’ll ever see. But they don’t just look good, they taste good too. Good enough, in fact, that Boyd was part of a team invited to prepare a dinner to honor Charlotte at the James Beard House. Boyd’s desserts are visually stunning combinations of the familiar and new. For example, Food & Wine recently highlighted her tres leches cake made with classic Southern ingredients like pawpaw and buttermilk.

VIDEO: Ashley Boyd makes the perfect Chocolate Chip Cookie

Follow Ashley Boyd on Instagram, and 300 East on Facebook. Discover where Ashley Boyd likes to dine on CurEat.

CurEater Tom Gray: Executive Chef and Owner of Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

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“When an item is grown locally and sustainably, fresh-picked and served within a few hours or days of being harvested, the flavor, color, texture, vibrancy, freshness and nutrient content are all at their peak.”

Tom Gray gets it. He knows that a great meal isn’t complete without a great drink (or two). If you can source that meal and those drinks close to home, he believes they’re even better. If you want to cook with local, Florida produce, you will use a lot of seafood and citrus. The flavors of Northern Florida influence Gray’s cuisine. Think traditional Southern fare with a blend of Caribbean flavors.  Gray also makes an occasional nod to the West Coast, seeing that he worked in California early in his career. Gray wanted to bring a fun, locally-focused restaurant to his hometown and opened Moxie in 2013.

VIDEO: Make a perfect negroni with Tom Gray

Creating a locally-focused menu requires an expansive knowledge of seasonality, agriculture, and region. For example, Jacksonville’s sandy soil makes some traditional farming practices a challenge. So in the fall, Gray leans heavily on greens and shallow root veggies. “The biggest difference between us and other restaurants in Jacksonville is that we deliver local cuisine,” says Gray. “My advice for any season, any year, is to ‘support local’ and ‘ask questions.’ If you are interested in having a variety of cool, unique places to shop or eat, you have to make a decision to support them,” he told Void.

VIDEO: Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails

If you want to put Gray’s knowledge to work, follow him on Twitter or Facebook. If you want to explore Chef Gray’s Jacksonville or find some incredible tips for West Coast dining find him here on CurEat.

4 Restaurant Bucket Lists to Follow ASAP

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It’s no secret that we find comfort in the familiar. Even though we are creatures of habit, there’s nothing like stepping out of the routine to try new flavors. Because life tends to be a bit wild with schedules, it’s hard to keep track of the best restaurants and bars you’ve heard about through the grapevine. So naturally, we’re here for you. We explored and found 4 CurEaters with solid restaurant bucket lists to give your tastebuds a nudge in a new direction.

Rochelle Johnson’s “NYC on my List”

If you have a restaurant bucket list in New York City, you’re already ahead of the game. With NYC being such a popular spot for a winter, summer, spring or fall vacation, it’s a no-brainer that we share CurEater Rochelle Johnson‘s  NYC bucket list. On her list you’ll find classic Italian joints, swanky bars, and lively Mexican cuisine. Go ahead and check it out for your future trip to the Big Apple. Disclaimer: You may need multiple NYC restaurant bucket lists. 

Billy Allin’s “Billy’s List”

When it comes to Atlanta grub, we trust CurEater Billy Allin of Cakes & Ale. If you want to add the best restaurants and bars to your Atlanta bucket list, check out “Billy’s List”. From pizza joints and Southern fare to taverns and bars, you’ll find what you’re looking for.  From us to you, you’ll definitely want to put Cakes & Ale on your list. And if you go to the Cakes & Ale Café, sit at the table that’s nestled in the corner by the window.

Lydia Clopton’s “Places I Want to go”

CurEater and pastry chef Lydia Clopton has a great bucket list for the Southeast. On her “Places I Want to Try” list, you’ll find restaurants in Raleigh, Atlanta, Durham and Asheville. Seeing that Lydia is the pastry chef at PinPoint Restaurant in Wilmington, NC, you know she has bakeries on the list that she wants to visit. Follow Lydia’s list to see if your restaurant bucket list matches hers. 

Angela Hansberger’s “Bucket List Favorites”

We spent Martin Luther King weekend CurEating our way through Atlanta with CurEater Angela Hansberger. For the record, all of the restaurants on Angela’s “Bucket List Favorites” are now on our bucket list. If Angela likes it, then we know we will, too. Her list has roots all over the country with restaurants in California, Tennessee, and Georgia. If you’re looking to step out of your comfort zone, take a look at this list (and all of Angela’s lists).

CurEater Craig Deihl: Butcher, Salami Maker, & Fish Cutter

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“I’m not just a chef, I’m a husband, author, butcher, snowboarder, leader, salami maker, fish cutter and most importantly, a father.”

We can forgive you for thinking Chef Craig Deihl is just a meat guy. After all, he spent years cultivating a reputation as Charleston’s charcuterie master. First, at Cyprus, and then at Artisan Meat Share, a european style butcher shop and delicatessen specializing in salumis, sandwiches, and all things hog. Along the way he gathered national acclaim. After closing shop in Charleston, Deihl joined Team USA in the World Butcher’s Challenge–the olympics of meat preparation. In 2018, Deihl and five other master butchers and charcutiers plan to travel to Ireland where they will try and top the reigning champs–France.

VIDEO: Craig Deihl Shows how to create dishes from lesser-known cuts of meat.

So, yeah, Craig Deihl is a meat guy. But, he recently added some surf to his turf. In October of 2017, Joe and Katy Kindred announced the addition of Deihl to their North Carolina-based Kindred restaurant group. Their collaboration, Hello, Sailor, is a combination diner and yacht club with a dash of tiki bar thrown in. The restaurant takes advantage of its lakeside locale and features plenty of seafood. To the ardent carnivores, there’s no need to worry. The Hello, Sailor menu features Deihl’s mastery of cured meat including a Chicago street food inspired fried bologna sandwich.

VIDEO: The Dos and Don’ts of Making a Sandwich with Craig Deihl

Deihl is a chef with a deep sense of craft and a passion for, “techniques that revolve around old cooking styles with modern twists.” Like many great chefs, Deihl is equal parts dedicated teacher and an enthusiastic guide. Learn from him on CurEat.

Take a look at what Craig has cooking on Instagram or follow him on Twitter.