The Lunch Bunch

Lunch Bunch (Without the Bunch) at Beaufort Academy

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

April 28, 2011

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a luncheon at Beaufort Academy, coordinated by Bethany Byrne, director of development and enrollment. As an alternative to my regular Lunch Bunch column, I decided to write about the luncheon and Beaufort Academy’s invitation to local leaders in the community.

Catered by City Java, the luncheon was attended by leaders in economic development in the Beaufort area, including the Chamber of Commerce, Penn Center, USCB, TCL, Kazoobie Kazoos, United Way of the Lowcountry, 303 Associates, Beaufort Memorial Hospital, BJWSA, The Beaufort Gazette, BJHCHS, the city of Beaufort, the Town of Port Royal, SCE&G, the Lowcountry Economic Network, and, of course, The Island News.

This was the second in a series of four luncheons with intent to inform more people in town about Beaufort Academy and to gain valuable feedback from the community.

The first, catered by Berry Island, included area realtors. Two additional luncheons in May will focus on the military community and additional realtors and community leaders.

The lunches are funded by generous supporters, and the idea was initiated by BA alumni, local business owner, and BA development committee member, William Trask. Under the lead of BA board member and Development Committee Chair Chilton Simmons, the luncheons have been a success.  They fit in perfectly with part of BA’s new strategic plan, presented by the board of directors, to be more community focused.

Dr. Randy Wall said, “These lunches are a much needed opportunity for us to tell the community who we are and about our focus and vision. We are very grateful to our guests who are giving up their lunch time to come visit with us.  Our goal at Beaufort Academy is to not only make sure we can guarantee each student go to the college of their choice, but also be successful at that level.  We value athletics and arts and, among other things, the leadership opportunities they provide, but our primary focus is academic college preparation.”

“BA’s low teacher/ student ratio enables its teachers and administration to know each child as an individual and enables them to focus on the whole child. The small school atmosphere also fosters lifelong friendships that provide roots in an increasingly transient business climate and world. These roots are grounded in BA’s core values of excellence in intellect, respect, integrity, leadership, and (school) pride,” remarked Chilton Simmons.

During the luncheon, community learned more about the following topics:

• College acceptance by BA’s students. All of the school’s graduates are accepted into four-year colleges and universities, and they are attending schools both in South Carolina and all over the country.

• With some 30%-35% of students receiving some portion of financial assistance, assistance awards are based on need.  The awards given are part of the annual operating budget of Beaufort Academy.

• Through continuing reaccreditation, the school is being continually evaluated to keeps its top-notch standards and teaching up to date.

• BA graduates average higher SAT/ACT scores than both local and national averages.  There is also a full-time college advisor for its students. BA averages about 80-100 students in grades 9-12.

• The Learning Center is open to the community, whether or not you attend Beaufort Academy. It is intended to serve college-bound students with diagnosed learning differences. The school is currently hosting an SAT Prep Course, and the school hopes to add more programs like this soon.

I was humbled and honored to have been asked to attend one of these luncheons and congratulate Beaufort Academy for its forward thinking initiative in today’s times.

I was among respected members of Beaufort’s diverse leadership, and I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation.  Thank you Dr. Wall and Bethany Byrne for the invitation.

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Southern Graces Bistro offers Upscale Food with a Luxurious Lowcountry Twist

By Wendy Nilsen Pollitzer

April 21, 2011

Bethany and Christopher Hewitt, owners of Southern Graces Bistro at the Beaufort Inn recently invited Kim, Elizabeth and me to dinner at the famed restaurant within one of Beaufort’s most desirable Bed and Breakfast’s.

Just last month, Southern Graces expanded its services to offer lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, as well as their popular Sunday brunch.  And, we couldn’t be happier they did!

Southern Graces Bistro specializes in upscale Southern food with a luxurious Lowcountry spin on classics and a modern take on fantastically fresh food. And the three of us appreciate their creativity as well as their deliverance, taste and presentation.

Tuna Tar Tar

Sea Island Oysters

Southern Sushi

We began the evening with three innovative appetizers.  Ashley, our courteous and knowledgeable server, brought us Tuna Tar Tar and a toasted Corn Grit Stack, served with Avocado relish; Sea Island Oysters, baked with Collards, Bacon and Hollandaise and “Southern” Sushi, which featured smoked Shrimp and Grits and rolled in Coconut crusted Nori.

Do you understand now what I mean by “creative?” We devoured these amazing starters and repetitively commented on the unique blend of southern ingredients.

Black Pepper Crusted Filet of Beef

Shrimp and Sweet Potato Grits

Kim and Elizabeth were undecided between two entrees; so, they agreed to get both and share.  The sisters ordered the Black Pepper Crusted Filet of Beef served with Porcini Cream Sauce and whipped Buttermilk Potatoes and Asparagus. They also opted for the Shrimp and Sweet Potato Grits, served with Sautéed Spinach and Prosciutto Cream.

They were ecstatic that they chose both, because the girls were equally pleased with both entrees. The Filet was prepared perfectly rare, and the Sweet Potato Grits offered a delectable twist on a Lowcountry staple.

Sweet Tea Salmon

I admit, I am not a fan of Salmon. But, when Ashley explained this entrée, I became very curious.  I took her advice and ordered the Sweet Tea Salmon, topped with a SC Honey Glaze and served with Whipped Buttermilk Potatoes and Asparagus. And, yes, I was in heaven. It was the right choice, and I will try Salmon more often because of this dish.

Although we were full and satisfied, we still wanted to know about the desserts. Ashley chose off the dessert menu for us, and we’re grateful she did.

Warm Chocolate Skillet

Coconut Creme Pie

Ashley brought us Celebration Cake, Coconut Crème Pie and a Chocolate Skillet, served warm. Oh my, what gratifying indulgences! These were the kind of desserts you dream about!

Beaufort is lucky to have Bethany and Christopher Hewitt in town. Their experience across the country is noteworthy.

Both arrived in the Lowcountry after various culinary ventures nationwide. Bethany has designed and catered for HGTV, The Food Network and Country Music Television, among numerous other organizations. Christopher has worked with celebrity Chef Bobby Flay at Flay’s Mesa Grill in New York, was the Executive Chef of The Harley Davidson Café in Manhattan, NY, and has made appearances on The Food Network’s “Iron Chef,” as well as on weekly segments of “The Early Show” on CBS.

Thank you Bethany and Christopher for treating Kim, Elizabeth and I like royalty at Southern Graces. We had such a wonderful time. Your culinary hospitality is top-notch!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Chris Gibson, Ron Tucker and Rebecca Berry

Shoofly Kitchen, home of fresh and affordable food on the fly!

By Wendy Pollitzer

April 14, 2011

The Lunch Bunch was thrilled to be invited back to Shoofly Kitchen, located at 1209 Boundary Street for the third time!  After reviewing a lunch and breakfast at Shoofly, owners Rose Anne and David Steele decided it was time to bring us back. And we couldn’t have been more pleased.

The food is simply phenomenal at Shoofly!  I’ve written over 50 Lunch Bunch columns, covering Beaufort and the Sea Islands. For the first time ever, the Lunch Bunch could not agree which item was the favorite of the table.  So, we have determined that each selection deserves title as Must-Have at Shoofly.

Turkey Panini with Mango Chutney

I remembered the crab quiche from the last time The Lunch Bunch dined at Shoofly. I had it on my mind all morning. But after ordering, our polite server said, “Oh darn, I think we just sold the last slice.” Thanks Chris Gibson!  But fear not…I selected something off the Specials menu in its place, and was thoroughly satisfied. I ordered the Hot Turkey Panini with Mango Chutney and topped with a mixture of cilantro and cheddar cheese. Yes, it was a Must-Have, and I really hope they put it on the menu!

Roast Beef Panini

Barry also ordered off the Specials Menu and got the Roast Beef Panini, complete with Brie cheese, French fried onion rings, mustard and horseradish with a garlic butter spread on the outside. Again, a Must-Have!

Baby Blue Slider

Kim and Elizabeth opted for the sliders. Kim ordered a Baby Blue Slider, which consisted of Angus Beef, Applewood Smoked Bacon and topped with spicy Arugula. She also ordered the potato salad, which actually tastes like a loaded baked potato, and so yummy!

Elizabeth asked for the Baby Marley Slider, which included the Angus Beef, pork and a chorizo patty topped with a specially made Jamaican relish.  And yet again, both sliders are Must-Haves!

Dessert Platter

David brought out a tray of desserts for the table to share, and I thought we’d all died and gone to heaven.  He served a peanut butter mousse, a black pepper mocha mousse (interesting, huh?), red velvet lollipops and lemon bars.  All were absolutely exceptional. I can’t believe this was the Lunch Bunch that April missed. Thankfully, Kim and Elizabeth brought a couple left over. You just gotta love them!

Don’t forget about Shoofly when you’re needing a quick lunch to-go. Packed in the most adorable boxes, the lunches at Shoofly are prepared to take on the move. Going to Waterfront Park, on a Carriage ride, out in the boat? Don’t forget about Shoofly! Call ahead at (843) 379-9061 or visit them on the web at www.shooflykitchen.com.

Thank you Rose Anne and David for yet another memorable experience. We just can’t get enough!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Laura and John Trask III, Marie Belden and Betty Bellomy

Wren Bistro and Bar, Laid-Back Sophistication with Lowcountry Charm

By Wendy Pollitzer

March 24, 2011

The Lunch Bunch dined at the elegant and casual bistro, Wren, located at 210 Carteret Street in Downtown Beaufort. Wren is one of my favorite lunch spots in town, and I was so excited to eat there with my gal pals for my special “Birthday” Lunch Bunch.

Lace Cruze was our server, and she was so patient with our group. We arrived one by one for at least 20 minutes, and the place was packed! But, she was a class act, and served us with a smile.

The Lunch Bunch was smaller than normal this week. Pamela went on vacation to Disney World, and Barry was hard at work.  So, April, Kim, Elizabeth and I enjoyed the ambiance and food at the hip restaurant, owned locally by Anne and Brad Sergent.

Wren, which used to be Beaufort Realty, is situated on the popular corner between Bay and Port Republic Streets. Managed by Cindy Lawson, Wren is now in its third year at its present location.

I could go on and on about the décor of the interior.  It’s so my taste! It’s Lowcountry mixed with industrial panache.  Burlaps mixed with Steel, twine accenting exposed brick, oversized chairs that invite laid-back sophistication. You can come off the boat to visit the bar or dine before a symphony at Wren. The interior is attractive to all types.

Yes, I go for the atmosphere and friendly servers.  But I also frequent Wren for their delicious food! And, last week, the menu was singing to us.

Tomato Bisque

The four of us started with savory soups. April and Elizabeth ordered the Shellfish Bisque, which featured jumbo lump crab cake in a shrimp and lobster, sherry-laced consommé.  Kim and I asked for the Tomato-Basil Bisque, made with San Marzano tomatoes and Italian cheeses. Definitely order one of these if you come with an appetite. Both were so tasty and are signature creations of the restaurant.

Southern Tiered Fried Green Tomato Sandwich: A Must-Have at Wren

Kim knew immediately what she wanted when she arrived…the Southern Tier Fried Green Tomatoes topped with Applewood bacon, goat cheese and a charred tomato relish.

Bella Sandwich

Elizabeth opted for the Bella, an herb-roasted Portobello sandwich filled with artichokes, roasted roma tomatoes and red peppers and Parmesan and provolone chesses.

Southwest SaladApril asked for the Southwest Salad, which included grilled chicken, roasted corn, sweet pepper, black beans, cheddar jack, red onion, avocado and crispy tortillas with a creamy herb dressing.

Croque Monsieur

I ordered the Croque Monsieur, a sandwich made with rosemary ham, Swiss, and Gruyere on a Ciabatta roll dressed in mayo and Dijon.

So whose dish was the table’s favorite? You guessed it…Kim’s Southern Tier Fried Green Tomatoes. It is a “Must-Have” at Wren!

Another “Must-Do” at Wren is the Thursday night themed Burger night, when their scrumptious 12 ounces of pure cattleman’s beef burgers are half-price and domestic bottle beers are $2. Um, that’s a no-brainer.

Devils Food Cake

Coconut Cake

Lace brought out two desserts for my birthday, a coconut cake and a Devil’s Food Cake with a milk Chocolate cream filling, both equally delicious! Desserts at Wren are made by the owner, Anne; and let me tell you, they are phenomenal!

What a wonderful experience we had at Wren! Thank you Anne and Cindy for inviting us, and thank you Lace for a delightful meal. You all know we’ll be back!

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Luther’s, where it’s always rare, well-done and fun

By Wendy Pollitzer

March 10, 2011

The Lunch Bunch went to Luther’s Rare and Well Done, located in the heart of Downtown Beaufort.  Formerly Luther’s Pharmacy, the building is a staple in the streetscape of historic Bay Street.  Michael “Stretch” Stavac invited us to sample Luther’s specialties, and boy were we excited to enjoy the food and the view!

01 The WeightWe sat waterfront, of course, with the beautiful Beaufort River within eyesight. If you’re at all familiar with the Big Chill soundtrack, as I believe most of our readers are, you’ll recognize “The Weight” by The Band. It played as we ordered, and we couldn’t help but feel nostalgic as we reminisced a bit about the movie that put Beaufort on the map.

Pot Stickers

Fried Pickles

We were pampered with appetizers.  When you go to Luther’s, you must get the Fried Pickles, spicy battered spears paired with a side of Ranch dressing. They are simply delicious.  We also got the Pot Stickers, because “Stretch” says (printed on the menu) that we “gotta have ‘em.”  He was right!  The stuffed fried wontons wraps served with teriyaki sauce were incredible.

Shrimp and Crab Dip with Bugels

Lastly, Pamela ordered the crab and shrimp dip for the table. She suggested them as a Must –Have as well. She was right too!  The dip is served with the classic snack, bugels.  Maybe it’s my age, but bugels take me right back to the 80’s, I guess a time when I cared less about excess salt and calories than I do now.

I digress.  So all three appetizers are Must-Haves. They are perfect for the table, especially this time of year…March Madness.  Get a group together, order some tasty samplers and watch some exciting basketball on one of the many t.v.’s at Luther’s.

Shrimp Burger

Elizabeth ordered the Shrimp Burger, one of the few in town that are actually served as a patty.  Kim and April asked for burgers as well, but not from the sea.

Brewsky Burger

BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger

Kim ordered the Brewsky Burger (named for a former Bartender at Luther’s),  a Char Crust® Garlic and Peppercorn cheeseburger topped with blue cheese, bacon and grilled onions. April got the BBQ Bacon Cheeseburger, made with SOCO barbeque sauce and cheddar.  They were both very pleased, and left with no boxes.

Grouper Po Boy

Spinach Salad with Grilled Shrimp

French Onion Soup

Barry opted for one of the specials, a grilled Grouper Po’ Boy, flavored with lemon pepper. Both Pamela and I asked for the Spinach Salad, which featured mushrooms, bacon, boiled egg and provolone with Balsalmic dressing. I also got a cup of the French Onion Soup, served Luther’s style with sautéed ribeye added to the savory consommé.

We all thoroughly enjoyed our entrees. Luther’s is a hit with locals and tourists alike. It’s the neighborhood bar where everyone can enjoy an ice-cold beverage and watch a game. It’s also a great spot to enjoy the scenery of kids playing in Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park. And, it’s always a THE place on Bay street to get a nice juicy steak, rare or well-done! Thanks Stretch for having the Lunch Bunch.

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Authentic Dishes, Intimate Dining Define Suwan Thai

March 3, 2011

Last week the Lunch Bunch traveled to the village of Port Royal and ate at one of the best-kept secrets in the Lowcountry…Suwan Thai. Owned and operated by Tassana and John Champatong, Suwan offers authentic Thai entrees prepared with fresh ingredients.  And the décor adds to the flavor of the restaurant. If the food isn’t authentic enough, the atmosphere yields a sense of being in the home of the chef.  Is there such a description as Victorian Thai? Laura Baker? Carol Waters? If so, then that’s what the interior of Suwan looks like! And it feels so comfy.

John met April first and thought she was a bit of an anomaly. We all know April to be a Meat and Potatoes girl, but John didn’t know that about her upon their first introduction.   He then figured she didn’t like to stray much from mainstream cuisine, so he chose a classic Thai, but semi-American dish for her-the Cashew Nut Chicken over Jasmine Rice. He chose correctly, because she loved it!

I asked John to choose for me as well. I wanted something made especially spicy; so he recommended the Green Curry. And, he was right again. In fact, my dish was the favorite of the table! The Green Curry is a definite Must-Have at Suwan!

Barry ordered the Beef Panang, while Pamela opted for the Ginger Chicken, both over Jasmine Rice. They were equally pleased with their selections.

The sisters chose genuine Thai entrees. Kim got the Pad Thai, and Elizabeth asked for the Drunken Noodle. I tasted both, and we all agreed that both were prepared exceptionally well, noting the distinct flavors.

All of our meals were accompanied by Chicken Coconut Soup and a Spring Roll. Come with an empty stomach, because you will leave replete with great food.

We ended the meal with four desserts: homemade coconut and mango ice cream, purple sticky rice and coconut custard on sticky rice-all Must-Haves at Suwan! My goodness, I have never tasted such unique and delectable desserts.  If you have a large group, you must get all of these for the table to share!

And I recommend large groups. Suwan is a great place to entertain a supper club or Girls’ Night Out. Just make sure you read the Chalk Board!

Tassana and John were so delightful to talk to. Tassana, a Thai native, explained the different regions and cuisines of Thailand.

When we sit down to a Thai meal, we are experiencing the many different styles and flavors of the country: The curries and seafood of the South; the courtly dishes of the North; the herby, earthy recipes of the Northeast, with their river fish; and the sheer inventiveness of the fertile Central region.

While ninety percent of Thailand’s population is Buddhist, the population of many of the Southern provinces are predominantly Muslim, whose ancestors immigrated into the area from the Indian subcontinent over the past two thousand years. Therefore, of all the regions, the foods here bear closest similarities to Indian food. So southern Thai tends to be heavy, rich, pungent, intense and very hot and spicy.  I did a little research, and the variety of Thai cuisine is fascinating.

As we were settling up, Tassana just happened to mention that her son was a celebrity. Get this…He is a mega star in Thailand! He’s on a TV show equivalent to Friends here. His character is like Joey’s. His name is Two Popetorn. Google him; he’s awesome!  Tassana joke that he had 900,000 friends on Facebook, and she only has 17. She was a hoot!

Celebrity son aside, John and Tassana Champatong were famous for their cooking and hospitality! We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and look forward to coming back! Trust me, once you’ve been, you’ll definitely go back for more!

UPDATE:   PS- Be sure to try the Oyster Pancake appetizer!!!!  Simply Amazing

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Riley Randall

Old School Pizzaria offers Real Italian Pizza

By Wendy Pollitzer

February 24, 2011

The week, the Lunch Bunch traveled to Beaufort’s neighboring village of Port Royal, where we dined at Old School Pizzeria located on Paris Avenue. Owned and operated by John Rotondo and his wife, Liezl, the hometown pizzeria offers real, New York style pizza made with quality ingredients. You won’t get a cheap tasting  $5 pizza here. No sir, it’s the real deal…hand tossed dough made fresh daily with a variety of toppings available.

Antipasto Salad

Liezl brought out a platter of delicious cheese sticks with marinara and an Antipasto Salad plate, complete with salami, provolone and pepperoni paired with black olives, tomatoes and peppers.  The table devoured both!

Hawaiian Pizza-A Must Have at Old School Pizzaria

Kim, Elizabeth and I knew we wanted pizza, from the moment we smelled the heavenly aroma as we entered. For goodness sake, it’s their specialty!  We ordered the Hawaiian Pizza with ham & pineapple. And, we all agreed it is a must-have! The dough is just incredible, and Italians just know how to prepare it best.

Barry opted for the chicken parmesan sub, topped with Provolone cheese while April asked for the Pepperoni Calzone, filled with ricotta and mozzarella cheeses. They were equally satisfied with their entrees.

While some restaurants pay $50 or so for a box of specialty cheese, Rotondo forks out $99 per box. He says it’s the quality ingredients that matter in a pizza. And, I couldn’t agree more.

Rotondo has owned Old School Pizzaria for 8 years; but, five years ago, he moved from his location across the street in the Old Schoolhouse-hence the name.  The present building is  in such a convenient location with ample parking on both sides of the street.

Lunches are inexpensive, and the service is quick. Old School Pizzaria is open Tuesday-Friday, 11am-7:30pm and Saturday, 11:30am-6pm. They are closed on Sundays and Mondays.

Thank you John and Liezl for a delightful midday meal. The Lunch Bunch enjoyed the food and especially admired your enthusiasm for real, Italian pizza.

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Tony Makar, William Shetzer and Gene Brancho

Smokey Chef Catering is on fire with good barbecue

By Wendy Pollitzer

February 17, 2011

Chris Mixson stands outside his restaurant, The Smokey Chef, on Lady’s Island.

If you haven’t been to Smokey Chef Catering, at 81 Sea Island Parkway on Lady’s Island, it’s time for you to go for fine barbecue. Chef Chris Mixson is the owner and pit master, and Rory Fosberry is the operations manager for the casual restaurant. Together, they bring tasty and memorable cuisine to Beaufort.

Smokey Chef is not only a fabulous lunch spot, it is a catering business as well. Smokey Chef “brings parties to life,” and offers holiday meals as well as dinner, comfort and event menus. Mixson’s Lowcountry cuisine is a hit among locals.

A pulled pork platter with fried okra and a side salad.

Elizabeth, April and I ordered variations of pulled pork. Elizabeth chose to have hers on a sandwich, with a scoop of coleslaw on top, which is totally a Southern thing! April and I opted for the plates with sides of lima beans, hash n’ rice and fried okra. We were elated with our meals and loved the choice of sauces on the table. We were able to choose from three — mustard, ketchup and vinegar-based — giving each bite a different flavor.

Kimmy ordered a half rack of ribs with hash n’ rice and okra while Barry asked for the fried chicken breast basket and fries. I can say without hesitation that all bits of food were gone from the table. No to-go boxes this week!

A signature fried fruit-filled pie, a must-have dessert.

The five of us were treated to Smokey Chef ’s signature fried pies for dessert. Mixson brought out blueberry, peach and apple fried pies that had the most amazing cinnamon crust surrounding the sugared fruit-filled pastries. The fried pies are a definite must-have. In fact, I think I’ll go by Smokey Chef today and get my girls and I treats for after dinner.

Smokey Chef is a great place to grab a quick and delicious lunch. If you’re planning a wedding shower, baptism party, house warming or birthday extravaganza, definitely remember Smokey Chef as your full-service planning, decorating and catering business. Give them a call at (843) 489-4800 to book your next party. Or stop in for your next midday meal. You’ll love it!

Testimonials from Smokey Chef’s website:

Chris, Your Lowcountry Boil was awesome! You and your staff knew what you were doing and made our housewarming party a special one. It really let Kim and I enjoy ourselves and our guests. Thanks! Todd and Kim Stone, Cat Island

Just wanted to drop you a note to let you know what a wonderful job you and the Smokey Chef crew performed this past Wednesday. Your BBQ was a hit with everyone! I cannot tell you how many people praised the Mac

& Cheese and collard greens, not to mention the cream cheese brownies. It was a pleasure to deal with a professional and courteous crew. I will highly recommend you guys to anyone whom asks.

Matt McAlhaney, Owner, City Loft Hotel and City Java & News

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: David Tedder and Rick Toomey

The Lunch Bunch Celebrates 1st Anniversary at Bricks on Boundary

February 10, 2011

Owner Josh Poticha in front of his new Airstream renovated with kitchen equipment for Bricks on-the-go

I have one disappointment with our visit to Bricks on Boundary.  I’m frustrated we haven’t gone any sooner than now!  We’ve been reviewing local lunch spots for a year now, and each of us agree we waited too long to visit Bricks.

Don’t get me wrong, we all go to Bricks on our own to watch the popular game on TV, participate in Thursday nigh trivia, watch an entertaining band or enjoy their awesome food from time to time. Bricks also happens to be my Dad’s favorite spot when he comes into town from Mt. Pleasant. So, my girls and I eat at Bricks quite often when Grandma and Grandpa visit.

As the Lunch Bunch, however, last Wednesday was our inaugural visit; and boy, did owner, Josh Poticha, pamper us! Voted #1 out of 72 restaurants in Beaufort on Trip Advisor, based on popularity, Bricks on Boundary proved its ranking to the Lunch Bunch with ease.

A former chef with Marriott Hotels and Wolfgang Puck’s restaurants, Poticha learned a thing or two about the business, especially deciding fair price points. Since Poticha doesn’t serve anything frozen, he must choose ingredients (and proper amounts) wisely.  And it’s all incredibly affordable, because Josh is just like you and me. And, he’s fair with his pricing, because he knows we all want good food.

And that is how Josh Poticha has found his niche at Bricks on Boundary, cleverly dubbed by locals because of its proximity to the National Cemetery (beautifully surrounded by bricks). His menu is filled with tasty, intriguing and reasonably priced items. And better yet, it’s a Sports Bar! And…kid-friendly!

Fried Oysters with Buffalo Sauce and Blue Cheese- A Must Have!

Shrimp Quesadilla Roll

Fried Mushrooms and Pickles

Ashley, the familiar bartender and our friendly server brought a few appetizers out to start.  The Lunch Bunch enjoyed the fried mushrooms and pickles, the buffalo blue oysters and a shrimp quesadilla roll.  We devoured all of it, but unanimously agreed that the fried oysters served with a zesty buffalo sauce and topped with blue cheese crumbles and scallions were a definite MUST-HAVE.  I promise you Beaufort, you will love them!

When I say that Poticha is fair with his price points, please don’t assume that the portions are skimpy. Not at all, my friends! Our lunch meals were huge, enough to feed 2 people or take home for later.

Pamela, Kim and I ordered similar meals that took on a Greek and Moroccan theme.  Each of us ordered Greek salads with cucumbers, tomatoes, grilled onions, sweet peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese with balsamic dressing and pita points and tzatziki sauce on the side. Kim’s salad was topped with Moroccan Sirloin tips, mine with Greek sirloin k-bobs and Pamela’s with a lamb patty.  Each was distinctive in flavor, and prepared exactly to our liking.

Elizabeth asked for the mushroom wrap, which enfolded sautéed wild mushrooms and pesto mayonnaise with lettuce, Pico de Gallo, caramelized onions, grilled peppers and mozzarella cheese in a flour tortilla. 3-2-1…gone!

Barry opted for the fish & chips, which highlighted Guinness Beer battered flounder and was served with shoestring fries and lima bean blue cheese Cole slaw. If you don’t get this as your side, the Lunch Bunch recommends ordering this in addition to your meal for sure. This Cole slaw is out of this world, and another definite MUST-HAVE.

April got the Boom Boom Spicy Low-Carb Blue Burger, a ½ lb. beef patty served with an iceberg cup, tomato, onion, blue cheese, balsamic dressing and Bricks’ signature Boom Boom sauce.  And it’s served with no bun, perfect for the low or no-carb dieter, like April (who, by the way, is looking marvelous, simply marvelous)!

We had such a good time at Bricks last Wednesday. The food was affordable and delicious, the service fast and friendly and the ambiance casual and welcoming. What more can you ask for in a neighborhood gathering spot? Additionally, we were treated to a private tour of Bricks’ new traveling trailer, delivered that very day. Have you seen it yet?

Go by Bricks on Boundary today to see Josh Poticha’s new toy. It’s a shiny airstream travel trailer, renovated to perfection with state-of-the art professional kitchen equipment inside. Josh wants to use it for festivals, catering, special events, etc. If you’re interested in Bricks coming to your function, give Josh a call at (843) 379-5232 or better yet, visit him at 1420 Boundary Street.

You’ve got to love Bricks’ motto…Saving the World, one meatloaf slice at a time. Yes, indeed Bricks, you certainly saved this group! Thank so much for having us. The Lunch Bunch loved it!

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Just around the curve, the goodness of Magnolia Cafe and Bakery awaits

By Wendy Pollitzer

February 3, 2011

The gracious, dedicated owners, Evangaline and Dana; red-velvet cake with chocolate ice cream; the Capri Crepe with fresh fruit.

Kim’s “Chef ’s surprise” salad with pasta salad, chicken salad and cottage cheese over greens.

Recently, the Lunch Bunch got a trifecta of super service, delicious food and a relaxed atmosphere to make for a perfectly pleasurable lunch at Magnolia Café, Bakery and Garden Gift Gallery, owned and operated by Evangaline and Dana Jing. The Southern name gives an impression of good, old Carolina cooking, and the restaurant delivers with traditional Lowcountry dishes as well as Chef Dana Jing’s French twist with homemade crepes and healthy alternative sides.

Located at 703 Congress Street on the corner of Congress and Carteret, Magnolia Café overlooks the Beaufort River. It’s simply a quiet and adoring get-away at Bellamy Curve, close enough to downtown yet distinct with it’s exclusive presence in a non-commercial area. It’s an ideal spot for locals and tourists alike.

So, yes, location, location, location. Magnolia Café has it. But, they also have an incredible menu to compliment the great spot. I knew it as soon as Sherice, our super-friendly server, explained everything on the menu with exquisite precision.

We were delighted with a surprise tray of mimosas at the very start of our lunch. I did not know that Magnolia’s had a liquor license; but, they do, and we all enjoyed the refreshing cocktail (or two).

Paired with our mimosas were servings of lobster bisque and house-smoked salmon on crostinis. Chef Dana takes great pride in using a Norwegian, cold-smoking method to prepare the salmon. We collectively agreed this appetizer was the “Mac-Daddy” Must-Have!

Elizabeth opted for the shrimp salad sandwich on a croissant with a side of fruit while April chose the smoked oven-baked chicken breast salad dressed with honey mustard.  Barry ordered the crab cake sandwich and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Kim couldn’t decide on a particular item on the menu, so she asked the chef to surprise her. Kim is the risk-taker of the bunch. Dana chose to make a tasty, healthy, entrée-sized salad, packed with romaine, seasonal mixed greens with carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives topped with a trio of chicken salad, cottage cheese and pasta salad.

Pamela and I were loving the French “crepe” theme. She ordered the Capri Crepe, complete with sun-dried tomato, pesto, ricotta and Parmesan.  I likened to the Bellamy Curve Crab Cake Crepe special. Both crepes were topped with an amazing Mornay sauce and just delicious.

We were all stuffed, but still managed to order one dessert per person. We got the Vanilla Bean Crème Brulee, the Chocolate Suicide Cake, the Key Lime Pie, a Mixed Berry Pie a la mode, a raspberry cheesecake, and a red-velvet cake topped with sweet cream cheese. Talk about icing on the cake. Wow!

Thank you Magnolia Café. Thank you Evangaline and Dana. Your hospitality was first-class. We will be back!

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The “New” Original Steamer Oyster and Steakhouse

January 20, 2011

A bucket of fresh local oysters at Steamer

The Original Steamer Oyster and Steakhouse, located on Lady’s Island,  is a good ole’ fashioned Southern Fish House. It comes complete with bucket holes in the tables and has been a favorite in Beaufort for years and years.  In fact, it was the first restaurant I visited on my original trip to Beaufort back in 1996.  There was no Publix, no Family Dollar, no Walgreens, etcetera, etcetera.  Sam’s Point Road was in front of The Food Lion and Sea Island Parkway was only two lanes.  My how things have changed.

The first Lunch Bunch that frequented The Steamer was not The Island News Bunch.  Back when Sully owned The Original Steamer in the 1980′s, he put name plaques on the old wooden tables to honor his frequent customers.  The table we were seated in was appropriately labeled “The Lunch Bunch” table.  Its original members include Richard Gray Jr, Marvin Dukes III, just plain Marvin Dukes, Edward Dukes (yes, those three are related), “Zack”, “Don”, Harry Deaton, Buddy Bullard, Harry Tarrance, Tom VanBramer, Richard Gray, Willie Scheper, Buster Meeks, and Bryan Loadholt.  I wonder how we new comers matchup to the original guys?  (That was a rhetorical questions… no emails required!)
The decor at The Steamer hasn’t changed much since then.  However, we have insider information. Lisa, the new manager, let us in on a little secret.  The new owners (YES, I said new owners!!) are going to be doing renovations very soon.  Among other things, changes include remodeling those old bathrooms! I know all of you locals are excited about that.
I personally don’t care about any renovations. I go for a bucket of fresh local oysters and a cold Coors Light every time!  You just can’t beat Beaufort’s local seafood.  Lisa’s motto is, “If it’s in season and it’s local, we’re going to serve it”.
The Lunch Bunch has a few favorites as well.  We all agreed that the hushpuppies are a “must have”.  They have just the right amount of “crispy crunch and sweetness” to them.
I don’t know what they do to the calamari appetizer, but it is simply out of this world.  Juicy and crispy at the same time with fresh marinara sauce.  Try it!  You won’t be disappointed.
Lizzy bellied up to a HUGE plate of crab legs and a loaded baked potato.  (If there’s one thing I can say about any and all of my  Harding Sisters, it’s that they can put away an amazing amount of food!)  The snow crab legs are always a good choice at Steamer.  Lizzy says, “Make sure to dip them in the melted butter and eat them while they are still steaming hot.  Yummy deliciousness”.
Barry, originally from Upstate South Carolina, had his first ever shrimp burger.  For those of you that aren’t familiar with this, just imagine taking out the ground beef and substituting it with ground shrimp. You might notice that Beaufort has a lot more shrimp than it does cows, and Steamers opts to go with the LOCAL shrimp, not the oriental version.  Much tastier, we all agreed.  As usual, Barry did not need a to go box, he scarfed down the entire platter.
Heart healthy April ordered a lighter fare.  Believe it or not, you can get some of the best juicy, grilled chicken fingers I have ever put in my mouth at The Steamer.  The next time I’m looking for something quick and healthy for the kids, I’m going to order this.  April did spice it up a little by ordering the sweet potato fries with her healthy chicken, although I don’t think she had a chance to try them… Lizzy and I had to do a little taste testing.  Umm, umm good!
The entire group agreed that there is an obvious change at the “new” Original Steamer.  It had such a good reputation under Sully’s ownership, and it is back to it’s old greatness.  Old Lunch Bunchers come back!  You will be impressed.  The food is fresh and local, and the service is good.  Also, The Steamer Pub is open again with $1 beer on Tuesdays and Thursdays and Karaoke on Wednesdays.  (And the beer is SUPER cold!).
Go to the bar to have a little food with your drink and to the restaurant to have a little drink with your food.  Lisa and the staff will make sure your experience is enjoyable every time.

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Looking back on a year of awesome food

By Wendy Pollitzer

December 30, 2010

The original Lunch Bunch (from left): Wendy, Elizabeth, Christina, Heather, Kim and April in the Wine Room at Breakwater Restaurant

The Lunch Bunch formed in February of 2010. Every Wednesday, we go to a restaurant, sample their food and enjoy the pleasantries of each other’s company. It’s the only time during the week when the staff of The Island News gets together as a group, and we love it!  The Lunch Bunch has changed a bit since its inception. We started with Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, April Ackerman, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and myself. We’ve now added two incredible members to the Lunch Bunch and to our growing staff-Pamela Brownstein and Barry Thompson.

I asked each member of the Lunch Bunch to tell me their favorite food or experience from this year. It was a treat to recap memories from our beloved eateries in Beaufort. Here’s what they said:

Christina: One of my most memorable Lunch Bunch foods was the sushi on fire at Sakana Sushi, the Birthday Roll. I’d never seen anything like it – and it tasted amazing! Also I keep going back to Sweetgrass on Dataw… best sweet potato fries ever & great atmosphere.

April: My favorite was Southern Graces and their deserts. Oh My Gosh! Another favorite of mine was the Sweet Potato Roll at Mizu. I know they are closed, but it was the best roll I have ever had. I wish I could find someone to make that for me again.

Elizabeth: I would have to say that I really love the banana pudding at the Sandbar. Also I loved the Prosciutto and fig sandwich from City Java! Incredible! And also, their beet salad was delicious!

Barry: In the short time since joining the Lunch Bunch, my favorite would have to be the fresh local shrimp courtesy of Mike Pressley, owner of Rosie O’Gradys. Being new to this area, I’ve come to realize how great the local shrimp are when prepared perfectly; and, he takes it to another level with the homemade “Yum Yum Sauce”. It’s a must-try in my book.

Pamela: I loved the food and atmosphere at Patois (and was disappointed to hear it closed); and I can still taste the delicious desserts at the newly opened Sandbar.

Kim: The Coconut Cake at Plums was to die for! And my favorite atmosphere was in the Wine Room at Breakwater Restaurant when Lunch Bunch After Five dined for dinner.

Heather: A chicken salad aficionado, I loved the preparation at Shoofly Kitchen!

Wendy: I love oysters! When Chip Dinkins brought out two-dozen on the half shell at Plum’s, I nearly danced on the table. Also, Will and Grace from Rita’s Italian Ice were very hospitable; and Will and I share a birthday, which happens to be the first day of Spring. Rita’s gives free Italian Ices that day, so mark your calendars!

Thank you Beaufort restaurants for feeding the Lunch Bunch and filling our tummies with your delightful creations! We love meeting once a week and tasting what Beaufort has to offer. There are plenty more restaurants to come, so definitely keep reading the Lunch Bunch column in 2011!

Compliments to the Chef:

Thank you to all of the following restaurants and caterers who have hosted the Lunch Bunch in 2010: Restaurant Fuji, Yes, Thai Indeed, Fryed Green Tomatoes, Rita’s Italian Ice, the Original Steamer, Upper Crust, Bistro Patois (Lunch and Dinner), Plum’s, The Office, Shoofly Kitchen (Breakfast and Lunch), Groupers, Pizza Inn, Mizu, Nippy’s, English Afternoon Tea Parties by Colette Wright, Cat Island Grill and Pub, Bella Luna Café, Sweetgrass at Dataw Island Marina, Panini’s, Gourmet on Wheels by Tony Makar, Happy’s, Southern Graces, City Java, Taco Burger, Sushi Sakana, Barbara Jean’s, Carolina Wings, Alvin Ord’s, Breakwater Restaurant (Lunch Bunch After Five), Firehouse Subs, Outtakes, Mario’s Italian Ristorante, MoonDoggies, Big Joe’s BBQ, Lady’s Island Country Club, Piace Pizza, Keith’s Place, Junsei, Jade Garden, Rosie O’Grady’s, The Sandbar and Uptown Grill.

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Dick Stewart and his 303 Associates, Darien Haley, Courtney Worrell, Ralph Fermin, Norma Duncan, Sharon Stewart, Lou Ann Jones and Jean Brown.

Uptown Grill is the new Hot Spot

By Wendy Pollitzer

Fried Calamari-A Must-Have at Uptown Grill

The Lunch Bunch had a Holiday feast at the Uptown Grill at 1001 Boundary Street.  This week, Pamela’s husband, Daniel joined the group. Barry was happy to have another male at the table; listening to a group of six girls jibber jabber every week makes him a little uncomfortable at times.

Uptown Grill was packed, but that didn’t stop the great service.  The chic eatery specializes in modern American cuisine and is a hot spot for ladies’ lunches. Stephanie waited on us, and she was ever so delightful and prompt.  She brought the table some crispy spring rolls and calamari to start.  We all liked the appetizers and were unanimous that the calamari is a Must-Have at Uptown Grill.

Stephanie explained the day’s specials, New England Clam Chowder and Fried Oyster Caesar Salad. It was exactly what I had in mind. And boy, was it good. There were probably 10-15 fried oysters in the salad. It was enough for two, but I found the room to eat it all.

Kim ordered a salad as well. She got the Beet and Goat Cheese salad, with spinach, walnuts, mandarin oranges and a hard cooked egg with citrus vinaigrette. The beets were so delectable, she asked for more. Then a lengthy conversation about beets followed. Barry looked at Daniel and said, “see what I deal with every week.”

Daniel, Barry and Pamela opted for sandwiches. Daniel ordered the crispy fried flounder on a Kaiser roll, while Barry got the pan seared crab cake sandwich. Pamela liked the walnut chicken salad sandwich on a baked croissant. No to-go boxes this week for this trio!

April saw an incredible BBQ burger on the menu with hickory smoked bacon, melted cheddar cheese, crispy fried onions and BBQ sauce.  The burger queen loved it!

Elizabeth was in an indecisive mood, but finally chose the Italian sausage with marinara sauce, fresh basil and parmesan. The meal came with a Caesar salad. She was ultimately happy with her decision, and even got to take some home for dinner.

Of course April reminded us that we needed to order dessert. She chose for the table. We devoured the Pumpkin Spice Cheesecake and the Key Lime Pie. While we were eating dessert, we heard the peppy Happy Birthday tune begin.  The table to our left was celebrating  the birthday of Tia Cooper. Marlena Smalls and Sumitra Stewart were there to help her welcome another year. Happy Birthday Tia from the Lunch Bunch.

We were all very impressed with the quality of service and food at Uptown Grill. Mehdi Varedi, owner and Manager at the restaurant has done a fabulous job attracting large parties. And his tasty creations are indeed worth the visit. Thank you Mehdi for a memorable Lunch Bunch experience.

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Rosie O’Gradys was O’So Delicious!

By Wendy Pollitzer

December 9, 2010

Irish Drunken Shrimp and Yum Yum Sauce

The Lunch Bunch traveled to Rosie O’Gradys in Beaufort Town Center, next to K-Mart this week.  We were pleasantly surprised and treated to a mountain of great food! Owned and operated by Mike Pressley, the Irish Pub and restaurant has all you need to enjoy a fun dining experience.  T.V.’s on every wall, it’s the perfect location for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon football game.  And, it’s got all the mouth-watering appetizers and sandwiches you love with a few hidden treasures you have to try as well!

Mike generously brought out a few samplers to munch on while we waited for our entrees.  We tasted the Irish Drunken Shrimp boiled in Guiness Beer and served with “Yum Yum” Sauce, Rosie O’Buffalo Shrimp rolled in Scampi Hot Sauce and Garlic and the Breaded Mushroom Basket served with an incredible Horsy Sauce! Okay, the Irish Drunken Shrimp are definitely a Must-Have. Not only are the Shrimp delectable, but the sauce that comes with the shrimp is the most amazing dipping sauce you’ve ever put in your mouth! I guess that’s why they named it, “Yum Yum.” Mike can’t reveal the secret ingredients of this spicy sauce. You’ll have to go try it for yourself!

The menu is full of old favorites and new creations.  Said to have the best wings in town, Rosie O’Gradys offers a variety of Rosie O’Wings, including Jamaican Jerk, Teriyaki Glaze, Jim Beam BBQ, Frank’s Hot Wings, Szechwan, Orange Wasabi, Lemon Pepper, Garlic Butter, Honey Mustard and Habanera. Kim got Frank’s Hot Wing’s, a bar favorite, and she loved them!

Elizabeth and April were in burger moods and opted for the Beaufort Burger with Jalepenos, Swiss and Bacon and Rosie O’Sliders respectively.  The Black Angus burgers were mighty tasty, according to the girls. But neither had the courage to try Rosie O’Gradys signature burger, the Samuel L. Jackson Chili Cheeseburger from Hell. Next time girls, next time!

Pamela ordered the Bluffton Buffalo Shrimp Wrap that included the spicy “Yum Yum” sauce rolled in a soft tortilla. And Barry opted for the Savannah Anna Melt, a grilled 5 oz. chicken booby topped with BBQ sauce, bacon, and Pepperjack on a Kaiser roll. I really love how all the entrees are named after local towns. Other creations are the Frogmore Philly Cheese Steak, the Tybee Island Rescue Squad Fish and Chips Basket, the Pocataligo Pulled Pork Barbeque and the Yemassee yard Bird!

I got the Southwest Savannah Eggrolls, chicken and black bean eggrolls served with an Orange-Wasabi Marmalade. I was too stingy to share, but I do believe that it was a table favorite! Yes, I know it’s my own opinion; however, I know this Lunch Bunch well. If they would have tasted these, they would have agreed-the Eggrolls are a Must-Have as well!

Rosie O’Gradys boasts “the Best Damn Happy Hour” Monday-Saturday from 4-7pm and also offers a variety of specials each weeknight. Mondays and Tuesdays are “In the Biz” nights. If you work in Food and Beverage, expect 15% off your bill. Wednesdays are Ladies Nights with $2 House Wines and $1 Vodkas. Thursdays are Man Nights with $2 Beam and Miller Lite. Fridays and Saturdays, you’ll love singing karaoke with “Big B” and “Melissa.” (Do you hear that Ash M., Kelly C. and Sonya R?) Of course, college Football rules on Saturday afternoons and NFL dominates Sundays. And, you can enjoy $2 Peppy & Kamakazis, Busch, Icehouse and PBR all the time!

Rosie O’Gradys is the best-kept secret in town. The Sports Pub and Eatery is a new favorite of mine. The food and service were exceptional! Thank you Mike for inviting us! We will be back!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: the Mitchell Brother Clan and Dr. Gene Grace

Keith’s Place Hosts the Lunch Bunch Before Renovations

By Wendy Pollitzer

November 11, 2010

We’ve been waiting for this one for a long time! For months, Beaufortonians have recommended Keith’s Place for lunch; and finally, it worked out that we could all go.

Keith’s Place, owned and operated by Keith Potts is a local favorite.  The food is just delicious! It’s the kind of food you dream of after a big night.  Just about everything on the menu is worth ordering; it’s all got the perfect amount of grease to satisfy the hungriest appetite, and Keith makes sure he gives you large portions.

And the variety of sandwiches is incredible. You can choose from a huge list of toppings, meats, cheeses and breads if you aren’t in the mood for a hot meal.

I really don’t know why we asked for a sampler platter of onion rings, mozzarella sticks, chicken fingers and fried ravioli. We knew we were about to get stuffed with our entrees; but we ordered it anyway.  Oh man, you can never go wrong with a plate of flour-battered fried food! We polished it off pretty quickly.

The Cheeseburger: A Must-Have at Kieths Place

The cheeseburger came highly recommended. So I ordered it all the way with a side of fries.  I have to say, it might be the best in Beaufort!

Pamela, our new Copy Editor, opted for the chicken wrap while Elizabeth got the Italian sub. Heather asked for eight medium wings with ranch on the side. All the girls were very pleased and definitely needed boxes for leftovers.

April, still counting Weight Watchers points ordered the roast beef and turkey on wheat. To date, April has lost 9 pounds. We are so proud of her. It took strong will power to opt for a healthy choice at Keith’s!

Lastly Barry, our new ad rep, got the Buffalo chicken sandwich and fries. Barry never needs a to-go box. The boy can eat! And he devoured this meal.

By the time this article comes out, Keith’s Place will likely be closed or almost closed for renovations.  Potts will reopen in 6-8 weeks as Keith’s Steak and Seafood.  He has beautiful plans to expand the restaurant and revamp the popular Ribaut Road spot as a family-style eatery.

The food will stay the same, but the pool tables will disappear. Gone will be the days of the smoke-filled bar and grill. Keith hopes to make the restaurant more inviting to a more diverse crowd to include children. That’s good news for me, Abbie (7) and Julia (6)!

So why write an article about a restaurant about to temporarily close? Well, we wanted to give you a heads up about Keith’s plans and excite you about the February reopening.  Also, we want to remind you that Keith will continue to cater during the Holidays.  Give him a call at 521-9345 to arrange a catered event.

Keith didn’t give a definite date of closure, but said it would be soon. So, it’s also worth a call this week to check to see if they are open.  You better get in there quick for a last meal of 2010! Keith would love a mad rush before the chaos of renovations.

Thanks Keith and Linda, our super-sweet server who pampered us with refills and southern charm. We enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and look forward to coming back in February.  Your food rocked!

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The Lunch Bunch Eats at Piace Pizza and then Gets Hot!

By Wendy Pollitzer

November 4, 2010

Piace, Italian for “Enjoy.” And that’s exactly what the Lunch Bunch did last week…we enjoyed ourselves thoroughly at the neighborhood pizzaria in Habersham Marketplace owned by Brian Ferry.

Piace serves traditional pizzas, salads, and sandwiches (both hot and cold); all of which are incredibly fresh and made to order. Chef Brian and his team make their pizza dough from scratch every single day.

Think New York style pizza. Think every bite melting in your mouth with the perfect amount of crunch and zest. Think the topping of your liking and pairing it with  the most savory cheese. Beaufort, you don’t have to think about it anymore. It’s here, and it’s right in our back yard! And even better, Piace will deliver DOWNTOWN!

To start we ordered the Caprese Salad (with tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, basil and a balsalmic drizzle) and the Pizza Garlic Stix for the table. The basil is grown in an herb garden directly behind the restaurant. Talk about fresh! And the Garlic Stix and marinara? They were literally gone in one round.

The lunch Bunch decided we wanted to sample a few pizzas, so we ordered three for the table.

Mr. Hawaii-A Must-Have at Piace Pizza

We opted for Mr. Hawaii with ham, pineapple and banana peppers, the Margherita with olive oil, garlic, sliced tomatoes, fresh buffalo mozzarella and basil and the BST a Ricotta and basil spread topped with bacon, spinach and tomatoes.

I can honestly say the pizzas were equally delicious. But the table agreed on one favorite…Mr. Hawaii. The pairing of the sweet pineapple with the tanginess of the banana pepper and the salty ham was inventive, yes, but also perfectly proportioned! It really is a Must-Have at Piace!

If you’re looking for a quick and tasty bite to eat for lunch, remember Habersham is really only a 6-minute ride from downtown. The service is exceptional at Piace and the cost is reasonable.  And if the weather is nice, you can dine al fresco.

Or, if you don’t feel like driving at all, order in! Call 379-3287. They’ll deliver to the City of Beaufort in a heartbeat!

Thank you Brian for a pleasant and scrumptious lunch. Piace Pizza is definitely worth the short drive!

Wendy Pollitzer, Elizabeth Harding, Kim Harding Gallant and Christina Byrne

After our amazing pizzas, the Lunch Bunch had the ride of a lifetime on Burton’s newest fire truck, the 2010 Quantum Pierce Pumper. Burton Firefighter/EMT Daniel Byrne and Burton Firefighter/Paramedic Bobby Davidson, volunteered to drive the Lunch Bunch around the Habersham neighborhood on their day off in the new truck, which was not in service for emergency response, as a way to say “thank you” to the community for their support.

The 2010 Quantum Pierce Pumper meets not only all National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards for fire apparatus, but also the Insurance Standards Office (ISO) guidelines. Both the NFPA and ISO agencies study and analyze national statistics and data on not only fire losses, but losses resulting from any disaster, and from that data establishes minimum standards to assist fire departments in ensuring that they have the minimum equipment to protect their citizens.

FAST, Firefighter Assistance and Support Team for Burton Fire District recently threw an Ice Cream Social to welcome the newest fire engine to the department. FAST was started in September 2007 as a way for the spouses of Burton Fire District Firefighters to pull together and help the firefighters on exhausting fire calls.

Burton Firefighter/EMT Daniel Byrne and Burton Firefighter/Paramedic Bobby Davidson.Burton Fire District revived tradition on September 27th as firefighters of all ranks, and even some children of firefighters, gathered in front of the Burton Hill Station, placed their hands on the front of the newest engine and pushed it back into the firehouse.

The new fire truck cost $495,000; however, $250,000 of the cost was paid for by impact fees, which are fees paid by new development in the Burton area to assist in the community’s ability to ensure infrastructure support to meet the resulting new demands for services. The new fire truck cost tax payers only $245,000 and required no tax increase to purchase.

The new truck, which will be servicing a high commercial and industrial area, went into service for emergency response on Monday, November 1st.

The Lunch Bunch was honored to ride on the new fire truck and certainly humbled by Byrne’s and Davidson’s dedication and service to the community. Thank you gentleman for a job well done.

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Herman Gaither, Jack Shaffer and the Lady’s Island Country Club Men’s Golf Group

The Lunch Bunch Gets the Royal Treatment in Royal Pines

By Wendy Pollitzer

October 28, 2010

The Lunch Bunch traveled to the Lady’s Island Country Club in Royal Pines this week, and once again, we were treated like Lowcountry Queens. Lori Westerfield, Events Coordinator at Lady’s Island Country Club, invited us to enjoy the Bar and Grill’s casual cuisine.

We started with an entrée for the table to share, the Club’s signature Crab Quiche.  We were quite pleased with each bite of savory crabmeat, which exceedingly overpowered the egg and cheese favors.  Needless to say, the quiche was gone in less than 2 rounds of the table.

Royal Pines Bar and Grill has the typical Country Club menu, perfect for a post round of golf meal or a girlfriends’ luncheon.

Elizabeth and Kim were in the Soup and Sandwich mood, each ordering a cup of the Tomato Bisque and thoroughly pleased with their selection. Kim paired her soup with a BLT on Wheat and Sweet Potato Fries, while Elizabeth favored the Triple Melt Grilled Cheese with American, Swiss and Provolone Cheeses.

Christina opted for the French Dip, Roast Beef and Provolone with au jus on the side. She also asked for the Sweet Potato Fries, which the table agreed were the favorites of the week. When you go to the Club, the Sweet Potato Fries are a Must-Have!

April, still counting her Weight watchers points, ordered the Pita Pocket filled with Turkey, Swiss, Raspberry Vinaigrette, Sliced Almonds and Baby Greens. She carefully added her low points for that selection so that she could order the Cake Brownie for dessert. And, boy was it heavenly! Yes, she shared!

Heather asked for the Chicken Tenders and Onion Rings, and I opted for the traditional Cobb Salad, complete with Mixed Greens, Diced Chicken, Bacon, Egg, Tomatoes, red Onion and Cucumbers. Each of us finished our portions…eagerly.

The meals at Lady’s Island Country Club are reasonably priced. Most selections are between $5 and $8. The service is outstanding, and the atmosphere is relaxed.

The Club also offers banquet services for private events.  The Club has a pool, a dance floor and a large dining facility, ideal for a wedding, corporate meeting or club gathering.

My family hosted my mother-in-law’s 70th birthday party at Lady’s Island Country Club, and we were delighted with the professional staff, the delicious food and the casual environment. I highly recommend calling Lori Westerfield at 522-9700, ext. 224 to book your next event.

Thanks Lori and the staff at Lady’s Island Country Club for the delightful experience.

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The Lunch Bunch Dines at Big Joe’s Bar-B-Que

By Wendy Pollitzer

October 21, 2010

Uni Flores, Owner of Big Joes Bar-B-Que

The Lunch Bunch traveled to Big Joe’s Bar-B-Que this week, and boy were we treated to good old-fashioned, southern food!

Uni Flores bought Big Joe’s in January when the previous owner was contemplating going out of business. Uni said to Joe Able, “Take that sign down Joe. I’ll buy it!” And that’s what she did.

Flores, the previous owner of China Express, House of Tokyo and Sonny’s, also owns a fishing boat and business, Little Joe’s Seafood.  She knows a thing or two about good seafood, and definitely delivers great Bar-B-Que as well!

Uni served an order of fried corn nuggets to the table to start. If you ever went to Duke’s, you’re familiar with good corn nuggets. Well, believe it or not, these were better! Like Elizabeth said, “They’re little pieces of heaven!”

We have a new Lunch Bunch member, and guess what Beaufort-it’s a guy! Yes, the Lunch Bunch has gone co-ed!  Barry Thompson is a new advertising representative for The Island News. Please welcome him to town when you see him. Originally from Anderson, Barry is excited to make Beaufort home.

And what a way to meet Beaufort than to join the Lunch Bunch!  Barry ordered the pork sandwich with a side of hash and rice. Actually all of us, except Elizabeth, ordered the hash and rice. It’s a must-have at any Bar-B-Que joint!

Lowcountry Boil, A Must-Have at Big Joes

Lizzy Lou asked for the Lowcountry Boil, which was tied for Favorite dish. Barry’s delicious pork and Elizabeth’s fresh, local shrimp were easily voted on as best dishes!

Christina opted for the chicken breast sandwich, while I ordered the fried fish.  Both were equally pleasing and filling!

Kim decided she was going for the dinner-sized portion. She got the rib dinner with potato salad.  Poor Kim was teased a bit when we all made fun of the way she ate ribs (with a fork)!  It seems Kim doesn’t like getting her fingers dirty. She even eats pizza with a fork!

We were all super stuffed when we left Big Joe’s!  The portions were enormous. Each of us, except the newbie, brought home boxes.  Congratulations Elizabeth and Barry for Favorite Dishes, even though we all agreed each of our meals were worth mega praise!

Thank you Uni for inviting the Lunch Bunch to your fine southern establishment and for the genuine, good service.  We will be back for sure!

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MoonDoggies serves doggone good food

October 14, 2010

If you go:

Lunch: 11:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Dinner: 5-9 p.m.

Tuesday through Saturday closed Sunday and Monday.

MoonDoggies Café & Grill

10th Street and Paris Avenue

Downtown Port Royal

843-522-1222

www.moondoggiescafe.net

By Pamela Brownstein

MoonDoggies embodies all that we love about locally owned restaurants: friendly service, laid-back atmosphere and — most of all — delicious homemade food.

Owners Nancy Vista and her brother Jeff Vista have created a sure-fire dining destination by offering high-quality dishes at reasonable prices.

The inside feels like what would happen if your hippie parents bought your grandparents’ Victorian house, restored the wooden floors then decorated it with colorful artwork, white Christmas lights and old-fashioned maps. The effect is airy, eclectic and fun.

How did the café get its whimsical name? According to the menu, the story begins with Miss Tascha, a Weimaraner that gave birth to 10 puppies on Superbowl Sunday in 1994, “an event that forever changed and enriched our lives.” The mural on the walls of the main dining room depicts Tascha looking down from a Carolina crescent moon and “celebrates her life and the joy she brought our family for nearly 14 years.” It’s a touching tribute to anyone who has ever cared for a furry friend.

MoonDoggies takes the animal theme even further. All the dishes are named after pets, such as “Buellah’s Bodacious Reuben” or “Clipper’s Deli Sandwich.” You can also dine with your four-legged companion on the screened-in back porch, where they’ll serve doggie bowls.

Our six-person table in the back room was dressed for fall with a large, tin watering can centerpiece filled with flowers in autumn hues. Hostess Becky Keister and waitress Jennifer Watson were attentive and knowledgeable about the most popular dishes and the specials of the day.

They both recommended the crispy fried pickle chips as an appetizer and brought out two large bowls of the “chips” with ranch dressing and horseradish sauce.

As the newest member of the Lunch Bunch, I cringed a little when I heard pickle because I can usually eat anything, but that’s the one thing my taste buds do not favor. I felt like I was in a bit of a pickle myself: Should I politely decline to eat or ‘fess up and admit I don’t like them? I didn’t want to seem rude, so I decided to at least try one. And I liked it. A lot. I definitely ate my fair share (and confirmed my theory that everything tastes better fried.) I wasn’t the only one who liked the pickle chips; Elizabeth pretty much polished off the bowl closest to her.

From sandwiches to salad to seafood, everyone enjoyed the thoughtfully prepared main dishes.

April was pleased that the “Champ’s grilled salad” she ordered made with mixed greens, tomatoes and grilled and sliced Portabella mushrooms was worth almost zero Weight Watchers points. She asked for no cheese and light ranch dressing for an even healthier meal. She also stayed true to her efforts to expand her palate since she had never tried a Portabella mushroom.

Kim sampled “Hermie’s pan-fried lump crab cakes,” a house specialty. Served with a salad, hush puppies, remoulade sauce and asparagus spears, these cute cakes burst with fresh crab flavor.

Elizabeth tried “Bonnie Rose’s Rockin’ Rachael,” a monster of a sandwich stuffed with Boar’s head smoked turkey, Swiss cheese and sauerkraut on rye with Thousand Island dressing on the side. It also came with giant crinkle fries, making for a hearty dish (and even a little for later.)

Heather liked the hot kick that accompanied “JR’s spicy shrimp burger.” She didn’t leave one bite of the big pan-fried patty of local shrimp mixed with herbs and spices served on a bun with tangy remoulade sauce, lettuce, tomato and onion and a side of homemade potato salad.

Since I’m still learning the Lunch Bunch rules, I had to be reminded about the competition for Favorite Dish, but this time it was a tie! And I’m proud to say my dish was one of the winners. I ordered the excellent pesto chicken wrap special. The chicken was grilled to perfection and the pesto tasted like the basil had been freshly picked.

The other Favorite Dish was Christine’s “Buddy’s Portabella Sandwich.” The smoky provolone cheese melted over a grilled and marinated Portabella mushroom with lettuce, tomato and onion on a Kaiser roll was packed with phenomenal flavor, and rivaled a giant burger in size. With a yummy fried eggplant special on the side, Christine had my vote for best all-around plate.

Of course, no meal at MoonDoggies would be complete without one of the “Double Dog Dare Ya” homemade desserts. April and Christine wasted no time choosing a coconut cheesecake and a peanut butter cake with fudge for the whole table.

We all raved about the sinfully rich treats. Christine said each bite of the cake was like eating a Reece’s peanut butter cup. Although I should have been full, I found myself craving more of the cake, and Heather and I made sure the plate was clean.

From beginning to end, MoonDoggies delivers doggone good food and is a great place for lunch or dinner.

To extend your time in Port Royal, stroll over to Nancy’s adorable shop TK down Paris Avenue. You’ll get some exercise after your meal and you’ll also get a chance to admire the beautiful pottery, jewelry and other unique items on display. Many of the pieces are made by local artists and make great gifts.

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Tailgating 101

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 30, 2010

Unfortunately, the Lunch Bunch had too many conflicting schedules to get together for our weekly midday meal. I guess it’s that time of year when busy moms and dads race around town, chauffeuring kids to dance, soccer and karate. Where does the time go on any given day? We’ve let ourselves as a society spend too much time running errands and not enough enjoying the finer things in life…like tailgating!

We’re in the midst of one of my favorite times of year: Football season!  And there’s no better way to spend with family and friends than hanging out behind the tailgate of your truck anticipating the big game or settled in the comfort of your own air-conditioned home, watching pigskin and grazing an appetizer-filled table all day!

I’ve gotten some recipes together from the Food Network to make for your fun-filled day of football. Other than the food, the only other prerequisite for tailgating is relaxation and, well maybe, some booze. Hey, we are in the South!

Next week, the Lunch Bunch will feature Mario’s Italian Restaurant on Ribaut Road, and the following week we go to Moondoggies in Port Royal. Until then…enjoy!

Traditional Southern Deviled Eggs

Recipe Courtesy of Paula Dean

Ingredients

  • 7 large eggs, hard boiled and peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sweet pickle relish
  • 1 teaspoon prepared mustard
  • Salt and pepper, for taste
  • Paprika, for garnishing
  • Sweet gherkin pickles sliced, for garnishing
  • Pimentos, for garnishing

Directions

Halve 7 eggs lengthwise. Remove yolks and place in a small bowl.  Mash yolks with a fork and stir in mayonnaise, pickle relish, and mustard. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Fill egg whites evenly with yolk mixture. Garnish with paprika, pickles and pimentos. Store covered in refrigerator.

Grilled Chicken Wings with Spicy Chipotle Hot Sauce and Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dipping Sauce

Recipe Courtesy of Bobby Flay

Ingredients

  • 46 chicken wings
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Chipotle Hot Sauce, recipe follows
  • Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dip, recipe follows

Directions

Heat grill to high. Toss wings in a few tablespoons of oil and season with salt and pepper. Place on the grill in single layers and grill until golden brown on both sides and just cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Chipotle Hot Sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups red wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons chipotle pepper puree (depending on how spicy you like it)
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder

Whisk together the vinegar, Dijon mustard, chipotle puree, honey, and oil in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Melt butter in a large skillet or a large pot on the grates of the grill. Add the hot sauce mixture and bring to a boil. Whisk in the ancho chile powder and season with salt, to taste. Add the wings and cook, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dip.

Blue Cheese-Yogurt Dip:

  • 1 pint thick Greek yogurt
  • 3/4 cup crumbled domestic blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped red onion
  • 3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Sliders with Chipotle Mayonnaise

Recipe Courtesy of Bobby Flay

Ingredients

Chipotle Mayonnaise:

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
  • 1 tablespoon adobo sauce
  • 1/2 lime, juice
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Sliders:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 pounds ground chuck, 80/20
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Cheese slices, your choice
  • Mini burger buns
  • Chipotle Mayonnaise
  • Pickles
  • Red onion slices

Chipotle Mayonnaise:

Directions

Add all the ingredients to a food processor and puree. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.

Sliders:

Preheat grill over medium-high heat.  Form the meat into 2 to 3-ounce portions, packed tightly. Season with salt and pepper.  Place the sliders on the grill. Wait until they are nice and crusty on the first side, about 4 to 5 minutes and then flip and cook another 4 minutes. When the sliders are about done, top with desired cheese and close the grill, allowing the cheese to melt.  Place the slider on mini burger buns and top with chipotle mayonnaise and any other desired toppings.

Lucky 7 Layer Dip

Recipe Courtesy of Rachel Ray

Ingredients

  • 1 (15-ounce) can refried beans
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 scallions, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 (16 to 18 ounce) jar green chili or tomatillo salsa
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro, a palm full, chopped
  • 1 (15-ounce) can black beans
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin, 2/3 palm full
  • 1 (16 to 18 ounce) jar chipotle salsa
  • 2 cups sour cream
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped
  • Salt
  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • Pimiento stuffed jumbo Spanish olives, chopped
  • Tortilla chips, buy 2 sacks in 2 different colors/varieties

Directions

Heat refried beans in small nonstick pan over medium heat and season with hot sauce. Transfer the beans to a small, deep casserole dish. Scrape pan clean with rubber spatula and return to heat.  Add a little extra-virgin olive oil to the pan and raise heat to high. When the oil smokes, add the scallions and sear them, 2 to 3 minutes. Add green salsa to scallions and heat through. Add cilantro, remove salsa from heat, and layer on top of the beans.  Return the same pan to the stove, lower heat to medium and add black beans, heat through and season with cumin, layer on top of the green salsa.  Top the black beans with a layer of chipotle salsa. Mix sour cream the lime zest and juice and spread on top of the chipotle salsa.  Combine the meat of 2 ripe avocados with garlic, lemon juice, jalapeno and salt to form a chunky guacamole. Top the salsa with guacamole. Garnish the dip with the final layer of diced tomatoes and sliced olives.

Taco Soup

Recipe Courtesy of Kim Harding Gallant, Publisher of The Island News

Ingredients

•  1 lb lean ground beef- browned

•  1 large can diced tomatoes

•  1 can Rotel tomatoes

•  1 can shoe peg corn

•  2 cans Kidney Beans- rinsed and drained

•  1 onion- diced and sautéed

•  1 red pepper- diced and sautéed

•  Dry packet of Taco Seasoning

•  Dry packet of Ranch Dressing

Directions

Combine all ingredients and simmer for 1 and 1/2 hours.  Easy, feeds 8 and is perfect for a fall, football feast!!

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Lunch Bunch Dines at Bistro Patois

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 23, 2010

Nicholas Miranda (left) and Penn Ten Eyck

Once again, the Lunch Bunch had the divine pleasure of going to dinner instead of the usual lunch this week, and we were more than pleased with our experience, our food and our service!  Director of Operations at Plums, Inc., Chip Dinkins and Chef de Cuisine, Penn Ten Eyck of Bistro Patois invited us to the old-French style restaurant in Habersham Marketplace.

Bistro Patois is a gem of a dining establishment. If you haven’t been, make reservations this evening!  It’s incredible. I mean everything is top-notch.  The quaint dining room reminds one of a true French farmhouse on the countryside. The food is simple, yet bursts with flavor. Dishes are comfortable and approachable, yet served with elegance and flair.

Executive Chef at Plum’s Inc. is Jim Spratling. His commitment to utilizing fresh, regional ingredients and locally farmed produce strengthens his already solid relationship with area farmers, many who know “Chef Jim” by first name.

Nicholas Miranda served the table. His professionalism and charm impressed the Lunch Bunch.  He was our server last time we visited during lunch, and we were happy to work with him again.

Nicholas brought the table a delicious Cheese Plate, complete with farm fresh crumbled Blue Cheese served with tasty blueberries and Tupelo Honey from Bluffton.  The trio melted in our mouths. It was the perfect combination of bitter and sweet.

Unfortunately Christina and Heather could not join us this week. However, we were delighted with the company of Pamela Uhles, a new friend of The Island News.

Pamela ordered the Steamed Mussels Mariniere, served with white wine, garlic and herbs to start. Elizabeth and Kim shared the Beef Tartare, accompanied by capers, shallots, Dijon mustard and baguette toasts. Both appetizers were amazing.

April did not order an appetizer. Get this. She ordered dessert first. She was craving something sweet and said, “What the hell.”  I’m reminded of the quote, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first” by Ernestine Ulmer.  I just love April’s attitude. If only everyone could get a little bit of April, we’d all live uncomplicated, happy lives!

Anyway, April ordered the Chocolate Mousse, made by none other that Susan Zara of SuZara’s Bakery.  Sea salt was sprinkled on top for added zest.  Oh, it was yummy! You can never really go wrong with SuZara’s baking.

April then asked for the Grilled Skirt Steak served with maitre d’hôtel butter and pommes frites.  Pamela asked for the Duck Leg Confit and Summer Vegetables while I opted for the Flounder A’ La Meuniere with sautéed sweet peas and a slab of bacon.  The three of us were pleasurably satisfied with our meals.

Kim and Elizabeth quarreled a bit over who was going to order the Pan Seared Sea Scallops, served with a cauliflower puree, plump golden raisins and capers. Kim won (the older sister always does)!  So Elizabeth asked Nicholas for the Gnocchi A’ La Parisienne, summer mushrooms (grown on Woody Collins farm) and pearl onions.  She was glad she did. It was such an interesting and tasty dish.

Lunch Bunch Favorite: Pan Seared Scallops with Cauliflower Puree

So Kim won for favorite dish. The Pan Seared Scallops were out of this world. But even more scrumptious was the cauliflower puree that accompanied the meal. It was so good, we ordered a side for the entire table to share. The flavor was simply awesome!

Nicholas then brought more Chocolate Mousse for the rest of us who enjoy sweets after dinner. We also shared crème Brule, which was equally flavorsome.  Needless to say, we were all quite replete.

Thank you to the staff at Bistro Patois for another unforgettable experience.  We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!

And remember to make your reservations today by calling 379-2207. You may also visit www.bistropatois.com and view the full menu.

If you’re interested in hosting the Lunch Bunch at your establishment, please email us at theislandnews@gmail.com. We’d love to come visit!

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The Lunch Bunch Goes Back to School

Outtakes at USCB Offers Salads, Sandwiches and Starbucks

By Wendy Pollitzer

The Lunch Bunch went back to school this week at the University of South Carolina Beaufort at Outtakes, located on campus at 801 Carteret Street beside the Library.

You don’t have to be a student to visit Outtakes, but it certainly caters to the busy scholar. It’s inexpensive and delicious too!  For $5 you can choose from a variety in the Chef’s Case and get a protein and two sides. Meat and 2 is perfect for the freshman waiting for his or her next class, the faculty member who is juggling schedules or the downtown businessman wanting a fast and tasty lunch. And it’s so convenient! Parking is free (no meters or machines that pretend to be meters), and the spaces are right beside the door.

Also, lots of children will soon be rehearsing for Mulan, and many will also attend the show. Need a place to chill out and eat while you wait for your child? Well, Outtakes is the place to go! I’ve yet to mention that it houses a Starbucks. That’s right Beaufort, the only Starbucks on Port Royal Island is right on Carteret Street.  Outtakes offers nearly the entire traditional Starbucks menu.

In addition to gourmet coffee, Outtakes serves quality food prepared by Sarah Wuttke, a former Soux Chef at Saltus River Grill. She fixes grab-and-go style sandwiches and salads for those in a hurry as well as items placed in her Chef’s case, which change daily.  She prepares a variety of meats and sides for lunch and breakfast items for the early bird, which stay in the case until 12 Noon.

We all chose from the Chef’s Case. If served warm, Sarah will heat up the items and bring them to your table.  April, Kim and I chose meals hot meals.  April opted for the Pesto Chicken, while Kim and I ordered the BBQ Pork.  Christina chose the Turley, Apple and Brie Wrap, and Elizabeth ordered the Shrimp Salad.

Additionally, we each got two sides. We selected from the dill potatoes, the green bean and carrot melody, sautéed squash and zucchini, a strawberry Caesar salad and a garden salad.

We couldn’t believe how tasty our meal was for $5! And, it was so quick. The five of us were in and out of there in 30 minutes. And you know how much we like to chitchat! We were very impressed at the quality of the food too.

Outtakes is open Monday through Thursday from 9am to 7pm and Fridays, 9am-1pm. They also cater and can host large or small events. Remember, it’s right beside the Library, and it offers free Wi-Fi, of course. So, if you need a quiet place to work, relax or dine with friends, keep Outtakes in mind.  I know I’m going to remember Outtakes when I need to write my next column.

Thank you Rochelle Reese, Director of Dining Services at USCB for inviting the Lunch Bunch back to School. We had a delightful experience!

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The Lunch Bunch Beats the Heat at Firehouse Subs

By Wendy Pollitzer

September 9, 2010

Firehouse Subs, located at 2219 Boundary Street, recently opened as Beaufort’s newest sandwich shop. The franchise now has 392 locations in 19 states.

Robin and Chris Sorensen, brothers from Jacksonville opened Firehouse Subs after trying numerous business ventures. Firehouse became successful because of careful research on the product, the desire to serve a hot sub without using a microwave, the longing to create a family-oriented environment that focused on customer-service and the need to find a theme that was authentic and that people could relate to.

It didn’t take long to develop the theme. The Sorensen’s mother’s family had decades of service on the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department (JFRD), and her relatives inspired their father to join the fire department. 
The Sorensen’s dad retired in 2004 with 43 years of service as a Combat Captain, and the family has more than 200 years of public service as firefighters.

It is a theme that is personal to the Sorensen’s, but is appealing to people of all ages, and is embraced in every community. The finally had a recipe for success and opened their first location in Jacksonville, Florida in 1996.

When you walk into Firehouse Subs, you’re immediately acknowledged by an employee, which always makes the customer feel welcomed.  When you place your order, the friendly staff member asks your name. You’re then invited to fill your drinks, sit and relax until someone calls your name, finds you at your table and delivers your order. It’s an added touch that makes the sandwich shop a bit more unique.

Elizabeth, Heather, Christina, April and I all ordered hot subs. Firehouse Subs uses a steamer to heat the meat and cheeses, which adds moisture and makes the flavors burst.

Elizabeth ordered the Italian on Wheat, complete with Genoa Salami, Pepperoni, Ham, Provolone Cheese and Italian Dressing sprinkled with Italian Seasonings.

Heather asked for the Hook & Ladder Sub, Smoked Turkey Breast and Virginia Honey Ham smothered with Monterey Jack.

Christina, wife of a Burton Firefighter, enjoyed the Firehouse Hero Sub,a 3-meat combo of Premium Roast Beef, Smoked Turkey Breast, and Virginia Honey Ham topped with melted Provolone.

April loved her Engine Company, Smoked Turkey Breast and Premium Roast Beef, which arrived steam’n hot with melted Monterey Jack.

I opted for the Firehouse Steak & Cheese, tender slices of sauteed Sirloin Steak smothered with melted Provolone, sauteed Onions and Bell Peppers, Mayo and Mustard.

All of our hot subs were delicious! We were more that satisfied; and, if you order a large, like I did, you’ll be extra happy with its portion size. For a reasonable price, you get lunch and more to take home for dinner!

Kim, not the sandwich enthusiast, ordered the award winning chili, which she insisted was “incredible.”

Firehouse Subs continues to grow nationally with franchises popping up all over the country. The restaurant is repeatedly recognized in Entrepreneur Magazine with numerous awards.

The franchise offers a kid’s menu, party platters and online ordering, among other services. It also has an array of hot sauces from which to choose.

In addition, founders Chris and Robin Sorensen launched the Firehouse Subs Public Safety Foundation in 2005 to extend the Firehouse Subs mission to give back to the community from where the founders started, in the firehouse. 
The foundation provides funding, resources and support to local public safety officers in communities that lack essential life-saving capabilities.

The Lunch Bunch enjoyed our midday meal at Firehouse Subs. Thank you to the staff for a quick and delicious experience. We’ll be back!

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Lunch Bunch After 5 Goes to Breakwater Restaurant

September 2, 2010

The Lunch Bunch had the divine pleasure of dining at Breakwater Restaurant for a savory dinner and elegant experience at the upscale, but reasonably priced downtown bistro.  We enjoyed a private, early evening meal in the distinguished Wine Room, where J.C., our server delivered five-star hospitality and cuisine from the renowned local menu.

So last week it was breakfast, and this week, supper? Is the Lunch Bunch growing tired of the midday meal? Blasphemy! We’ve just opted for alternative times of day, since some restaurants in town aren’t exposed to the lunch crowd, like Breakwater.  Gary and Donna Lang and Beth Shaw, owners of Breakwater graciously invited the Lunch Bunch for a casual and memorable meal, so we kindly accepted.

The Lunch Bunch After 5: (From Left) Wendy Pollitzer, Elizabeth Harding, Christina Byrne, Heather Bruner, Kim Harding Gallant and April Ackerman

Donna Lang, Director of the Dining Room and Events escorted the Lunch Bunch into the Wine Room. Always cordial and accommodating, Donna welcomed the six of us and offered her assistance throughout the evening.

Executive Chefs Gary Lang and Beth Shaw immediately surprised us with two Southern Sampler Platters, clever teasers of any four tapas of your choice listed on the menu.  Breakwater offered the Lunch Bunch eight delightful and tasty selections of Fried Shrimp and Oysters, Cured Salmon, Smoked Duck, Pickled Shrimp, Pimento Cheese, a Crab Stack and the Shrimp Salad.

The Must-Have’s from the Sampler Platters are (drum roll please) the infamous Pimento Cheese served with flatbread crackers and the Lowcountry Pickled Shrimp made with the traditional recipe of red onions, lemons, capers and local shrimp. These two really stood out among the Lunch Bunchers. And, they’re both favorites among the regulars as well! How do I know this? I’m a regular, of course!

It was time to choose our entrees from the menu. Elizabeth and I knew we were in the mood for red meat, so we agreed to share a bottle of wine. J.C. brought tasters of two fine Cabernets. We chose the Earthquake Cabernet from Lodi, California, a bold and intense red that was just as smooth as it was balanced.

Elizabeth started with a seasonal summer salad that featured local speckled butterbeans, corn and tomatoes marinated in lemon zest, evoo and sherry vinegar served over a toasted French Baguette.  The salad accompanied her entrée, the Ancho Chili Grilled NY Strip Medallions, hand trimmed and served with buttermilk-mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and an espresso mushroom sauce.

I ordered the Fire Grilled Filet Mignon, an 8 oz. barrel cut filet topped with caramelized onions and gorgonzola and served on top of rosemary grits and seasonal vegetables with a truffle demi glace.

Elizabeth and I were quite satisfied with our meat selections. The Earthquake Cabernet complemented both entrees nicely and was the perfect addition to the aromatic dishes.

Christina and Kim opted for items from the Tapas menu.  They chose Tuna Tartare, lime, soy and chili marinated sushi tuna served with an avocado salad, wasabi aioli, soy syrup and wanton crisps; the Drunken Duck Breast, pan seared and served with a mushroom risotto, a cherry brandy demi and drunken cherries; and lastly, the Black Pepper Seared Beef Carpaccio, a seared encrusted NY Strip served with Barefoot Farms arugula, extra virgin olive oil, sea salt and truffle pecorino.  Christina and Kim were overly pleased with their appetizers, large enough to be considered meals, in fact!

Heather opted for the Iceberg Wedge Salad that was a prelude to her entrée, the Blackened Mahi.  The Wedge of cold, crisp lettuce is topped with chopped bacon, Carolina sweet onions, tomatoes and Breakwater’s signature homemade blue cheese dressing. Her Mahi was local, of course, and was served with buttermilk-mashed potatoes, spinach and crab beurre creole. Heather, like the rest of us, was also very delighted with her choices.

And then, there was April, predictable April. As she requested dressing for her Caesar Salad with Shaved Country Ham, the table chuckled when she was denied Honey Mustard.  J.C., our server, jokingly responded, “This isn’t Outback.”  If I was at all concerned that this would offend April, I hope you know I wouldn’t write it. But April laughs, and confidently defends her conservative palette, “Hey, I know what I like, and I know what I don’t like. It works.”

Well April fooled all of us. She won for Favorite Dish for the entire table! She opted for the Special Fresh Catch of the Day, a corn meal crusted pan-fried Catfish served over Carolina Rice with creole succotash. Oh my! We all sampled her plate and were equally convinced that it was the best thing we’d put in our mouths all night. Any time you’re presented with a Special that the Chef has specifically prepared for the evening, you’ve got to know that it is his or her unique creation for which they’ve given terrific attention to detail. And this was no different. Chefs Shaw and Lang hit the ball out of the park with this entrée!

We finished off the evening with a dessert sampler of Cappuccino Crème Brulee, a Key Lime Panna Cotta and a Pecan Tart.  How we had any room at all for these delicious sweets, I’ve no idea; but, we ate each and every one with as much zest as we did with the appetizer samplers! These desserts were absolutely great and served with such panache! What an end to an incredible experience!

When Donna, Gary and Beth invited the Lunch Bunch to dinner, we were anxious and excited. When we finished our meal, we were ecstatic, like a child on Christmas Day.  When all the gifts are unwrapped, the family sits around and enjoys each other’s smiles. When we ate our last bite, we sat around for quite some time and took pleasure in the moment.

The staff at Breakwater is exceptional!  They are professional, courteous and eager to deliver a quality product. In fact, they truly believe in their product, and it shows!

I really can’t say enough about the superior service Breakwater demands of their employees.  And, it’s delivered so effortlessly!  The ambiance at Breakwater is relaxed and welcoming.  It is truly an indigenous favorite, encompassing sustainable seafood and produce from local farmers, growers and fishermen. It is, in fact, on it’s way to becoming a Lowcountry Institution!

Thank you Donna, Gary, Beth, Taylor, J.C. and Kendra for a perfectly marvelous affair! We thoroughly enjoyed the cuisine and were appreciative of your Southern Hospitality!

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The Lunch Bunch Goes to Breakfast at Shoofly Kitchen

By Wendy Pollitzer

Back in April, the Lunch Bunch dined at Shoofly Kitchen in Uptown Beaufort (1209 Boundary Street).  Remember how much we loved the service and the homemade meals prepared just right?  Our Lunch Bunch experience at Shoofly was one of the best!

Well, now you can patron Shoofly for the hardiest meal of the day, breakfast! That’s right; Shoofly is now serving morning meals to get your day started. Roseanne and David Steele, owners of Shoofly have been serving breakfast for a little over a month now, opening at 7am and diving right into lunch at 11am.

And, the breakfast is just as good as the lunch! Our girl Roseanne is quite the chef, and she’s created some delicious items for what most Beaufortonians agree to be the most important meal of the day.

To start, Roseanne brought out an Apricot Braid for the table to share. The cream cheese-filled pastry was served hot with apricots oozing over the sides. If you’re in the mood to splurge, order this! The Braid flirted with our taste buds so much; we could have easily forgotten men and dreamed about this sweet tartlet all day. It was that good! Sorry guys.

The Lunch Bunch ran into two of Shoofly’s most loyal customers while we were there. When I wrote the Shoofly “Lunch” column months ago, Rick Butler sent me a praising email about the write-up and Shoofly. He was so grateful that Shoofly was featured, because he considered the restaurant to be the best in town. Well, coincidentally, Rick and his wife, Carol were at Shoofly eating breakfast for the first time when we arrived. They were equally impressed with breakfast. So, instead of “Spotting” Rick and Carol, I decided to include them in the column. They are Shoofly regulars for goodness sake.

April and I arrived first, so we got early dibs on our orders. She decided on the Breakfast Burrito, which included scrambled eggs, sausage, onions, peppers and cheddar and asked for fruit as her side dish.  What a filler! She had to carry half of it home in that cute little to-go box Shoofly proudly lays claim to.

Crab Cake Benedict-A Must Have!

I opted for the Crab Cake Benedict with a side of home fries. My poached egg and crab cake on an English Muffin, topped with spicy hollandaise won for favorite dish. That’s right folks, Wendy finally won!  This meal is a MUST-HAVE at Shoofly!

Elizabeth ordered a unique dish. She likened to the Shrimp Hash, which came with 2 eggs over medium and a side of fruit.  Lizzy Lou was very impressed!  Like most of our dishes, hers was gone pretty quickly!

Before Kim even chose an entrée, she noticed sliced tomatoes offered as a side. She didn’t hesitate to ask if they were local. And indeed, Roseanne acknowledged that they were from St. Helena. So, Kim requested the 3 egg, cheese and bacon omelet with a side of the Lowcountry’s favorite stack of savory, red fruit… the summer tomato.

French Toast- A Must Have!

Lastly, Christina heard around town that Shoofly’s French Toast was to die for. So that’s what she ordered, and her recommendations were right on!  Cristina’s words were,” Oh my gosh, this is incredible!”  So the table agreed, the French Toast is another MUST-HAVE at Shoofly!

The Lunch Bunch had yet another pleasant experience with the Steele’s at Shoofly!  There’s always something new going on at the Boundary Street eatery.

For instance, Shoofly will be hosting Chef Anderson, former owner of A Matter of Taste and Whitehall on August 31. The famed local chef will offer a cooking class, beginning at 6:30pm and will show students how to make use of readily available ingredients in the local grocery stores and markets to prepare delicious and appealing meals. It should be a lot of fun!

Stop by Shoofly, or email Roseanne at contact@shooflykitchen.com for more details. You may also call her at (843) 379-9061 if you’re interested in the class, which is $35 per person.

And don’t forget, Shoofly also caters special events. They’ll even customize their cute boxes to match your event with identical color palettes and themes.

Thanks so much Roseanne and David for the invitation to dine with you for breakfast. Your hospitality is always superior, and your cuisine is dynamite!

3 Egg Omelet

Apricot Braid

Breakfast Burrito

Shrimp Hash

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Alvin Ord’s Sandwich Shop, an Institution in Beaufort!

By Wendy Pollitzer

August 19, 2010

When I first moved to Beaufort as an intern at Fripp Island 13 years ago, I asked where to get a good sandwich in town. The overwhelming response? Alvin Ord’s!!! “Well, what do I get there,” I asked the locals. “THE SALVATION,” they insisted!

Ever since that summer of ‘97, I’ve been going back to the infamous sandwich shop at 1415 Ribaut Road in Port Royal nearly three times per month, ordering the Salvation every time! Now depending on my hunger, I’ll order a small, medium or large. And yes, I have been known to take down an entire large order in one sitting! But, normally, if you order a medium, you’ll be sure to take home half the sandwich to finish at dinner.

Alvin Ord’s is an institution in Beaufort, and hopefully will remain one for years to come! In fact, since I’ve been writing this Lunch Bunch column, many people have approached me and asked why we haven’t gone to Alvin Ord’s yet. The truth is…everyone in the Lunch Bunch eats at Alvin Ord’s so frequently, we’ve been faced with the dilemma from week to week that one of us (or a few of us) had already eaten there. But, we thought it was finally time to write about the beloved eatery, established in 1983.

We know you’ve all been there. And if you haven’t, drop your plans for lunch today and head to Port Royal! Like I said, it’s an institution in Beaufort. My Charleston buddies liken Alvin Ord’s to Schlotzky’s Deli. But, in my opinion, it doesn’t even compare! Alvin Ord’s sandwiches are so much fresher! And the experience is way more enjoyable!

Everyone, sans me (frown face as I write this) had their kids with them at Lunch Bunch this week. Granny had mine, because I was getting ready for my brother’s wedding in Charleston. On the eve week of Back-to-School, it was especially nice to have all the kids with us. Where, oh where did this summer go?

The Salvation, a Must-Have!

We were accompanied by Hanna (April’s precious daughter), Ashten (Christina’s Citadel-bound daughter), Cohen and Skylar (Heather’s precious son and daughter) and Perry and Anna Katherine (Kim’s sweet girls).  We all devoured our sandwiches! We ordered the Roast Beef and Turkey, the Sliced Turkey, the BLT, the Tuna Salad, the Grilled Cheese, the Meatball and, of course a couple of the Salvation sandwiches!

All of the sandwiches are available on Fresh Baked French or Whole Wheat Bread. And, you may choose ingredients to add or delete from the made-to-order sandwiches.

Additionally, if you’re a Sweet Tea fan, Alvin Ord’s has some of the best Sweet Tea south of the Mason Dixon Line! I usually refrain from ordering the syrupy beverage, but I just can’t help myself at Alvin Ord’s!

So, just in case you forgot about Alvin Ord’s (but I don’t think you have), the Lunch bunch recommends another visit! Remember to call ahead if you’re in a hurry. The number is 524-8222. Program it in your phone! Call-ins get first priority. And, it’s always packed at lunch, because it’s just so darned good!

Thanks Alvin Ord’s for a delicious and memorable Back-to-School meal! The kiddos and the mamas loved it!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Simons Hane, Aaron Sarathy, Steve Leverton, Terry Stone, and Mary Beth Gray Heyward

A New and Improved Carolina Wings… Just in time for Football Season!

August 12, 2010

Football season is right around the hot August corner. Looking for a place to watch a heated Saturday afternoon rivalry? Well look no further than Carolina Wings, which recently reopened under new ownership.

Larry and Stephanie Fries

The Lunch Bunch dined at the beloved chicken wings and barbeque establishment in Port Royal, and we all got super pumped for football season! Larry and Stephanie Fries purchased the franchise and installed TV screens in all of the booths. There are also multi-sized screens all over the restaurant, including a 97-inh projection screen in a private room for a total of 25 TV’s in all!  I could hear the Tiger Rag roaring in Kim and Elizabeth’s heads as they gazed into the screens, dreaming about Clemson football.

Carolina Wings, known for Family, Food and Fun is ready to host kids of all ages. Don’t like football? Don’t worry…let the kids choose a program on TV while you and the hubby (or wifey) get an undisturbed chat. Or better yet…send them to the arcade room complete with 12 games while your party enjoys an adult beverage and some pigskin!

The motto, Family, Food and Fun rings true for the Fries. Larry’s mother, Deborah also works at the restaurant preparing the delicious salad bar every day. They want to create a family environment at Carolina Wings.   Larry and Stephanie actually met working at a Carolina Wings and have been together for 10 years now. They moved from the Charlotte location and are very excited to be in the Lowcountry!

The Lunch Bunch started with the Sampler Platter packed with cheese sticks, fried mushrooms, chicken fingers and fried zucchini, which Christina and April insisted was the best.  Of course, this had to be the day I was late and missed all of the samplers.

In addition to the new salad bar, Carolina Wings also has a Wing Bar! It’s loaded with wings, drumettes, rib tips, barbeque, veggies and all the sauces you want! April, and I both got the Wing/Salad bar and got quite full! The ingredients on the Salad bar were incredibly fresh. And the barbeque was so moist! The table agreed that the barbeque was the favorite on the table.  It’s a definite must have!

Elizabeth noted the fresh toppings as well. She got the salad bar in addition to 8 medium boneless wings, which were, “Yummy!” Kim also got the boneless delicacies and loved them! And, in case, you’re wondering, Kim is still on the Perricone Program; she just needed a small lunch break from the 28-day challenge.

Christina ordered the Buffalo Shrimp salad. I tasted one of the shrimp, and it was scrumptious!  Heather asked for the Famous BBQ Sandwich with a side of fries that we agree are the best in Beaufort! They are more like potato wedges and perfectly fried!

I’m not sure what we liked better…the food or the atmosphere.  We certainly appreciated the service! Shannon was our server. We all loved her sweet southern accent. And, employees repeatedly came to the table and asked if everything was okay. It was evident that Larry and Stephanie value good customer service!

We were all sad when Carolina Wings closed; but rest assured it’s back, better than ever! Countdown to College Football season…23 days, but who’s counting! And, if you want to bring a big party in to enjoy the large private room, just call ahead at 379-5959.

Thanks Larry and Stephanie for a perfect experience!

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Lunch Bunch Goes in Water Festival Detox!

By Wendy Pollitzer

August 5, 2010

This week, Kim invited the Lunch Bunch to her house to sample a meal from the popular Perricone Program, a 28-day challenge that Dr. Nicholas Perricone, M.D. claims to fight fat, rebuild muscle, transform your skin and preserve beauty.

The Lunch Bunch eagerly obliged.  All of us (except Heather, who was on vacation) were coming down from a week’s worth of Water festival activities.  We were in, what I’ve dubbed, WFD…Water Festival Detox!

We all had so much fun, but at our ages, fun comes with a price. You know what I’m talking about. How many of you woke up on the morning of July 26th, and said, “I am too old for this!”

The Monday after Water Festival is comparable to January 1st.  Everyone in Beaufort starts making resolutions about diet and alcohol consumption.  I would imagine August to be a slow month at the liquor store and a profitable one at It’s Only Natural and all the local gyms and yoga studios!

Needless to say, we were all on board for a healthy, low-key meal. And we were also excited to share all of our Water Festival stories! It seems Friday night was April’s favorite, according to Christina who got a glimpse of happy April at the River Dance! Kim, Elizabeth and I rehashed tales from the sandbar. Some, hilarious…some, not so pretty (and certainly not appropriate for publication)!

As always, I digress.

Kim went to Publix and purchased all of the ingredients for the month as recommended by Dr. Perricone for the 28-day challenge. His approach is intended to decrease inflammation in every organ system, improve your metabolism, lift your mood, make your heart resistant to disease, decrease the risk of cancer, improve bone density, repair the skin, rejuvenate your immune system, and possibly help you lose weight.

If you’re interested in the challenge and want to see all of the recipes and fitness plans, please visit their website at www.perriconemd.com

For an appetizer, Kim served a plate of celery and roasted garlic hummus for us to share. We then engaged in the main course: a bowl of chicken, sausage and lentil soup with a side of cantaloupe and honeydew.  I was rather impressed at how quickly I filled up! And, the soup was delicious!

Lentils have been shown to be an excellent source of some vitamins and minerals such as Iron, Potassium and Folate. Lentils are also considered to be a good source of Niacin.  In terms of actual diseases, the consumption of legumes (such as lentils) have been shown to: reduce the risk of coronary heart disease; lower cholesterol levels; provide a source of beneficial high fiber for persons with diabetes; and help in reducing triglycerides.

So, the Lunch Bunch got a small taste (no pun intended) of the 28-day challenge. Kim is steadfast and continues her trial. As for the rest of us?  Well, read next week’s column and find out if we kept our healthy promises.

As for Water Festival…Until we meet again! Thank you for only coming around once a year!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Dave D’Amore was celebrating with colleagues at his Retirement Party at Barbara Jean’s. D’Amore retired as a civilian marine in Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs with USMC after 35 years and 9 months. Congratulations Dave!

Barbara Jean’s is Still a Local Favorite

July 29, 2010

The Lunch Bunch visited a local favorite, Barbara Jean’s on Lady’s Island this week.  Owned by Jim and Barbara Jean Barta, the restaurant specializes in seafood and home-style, made-from-scratch dishes. And we all agreed, there’s nothing better in Carolina than good ole’ southern cooking!

The restaurant started on St. Simons Island, GA and now has expanded to 6 locations in the southeast.  The northernmost spot is in Mt. Pleasant, and the other five trickle down the coast to Amelia Island, Ponte Vedra Beach and Palm Coast, FL with the original still located on St. Simons.

The Beaufort location is where we dined, of course. And boy, was it good! We started with an amazing starter of dirty rice and the infamous ‘Eastern Shore’ crab cakes for the table. Now, the crab cake was certainly good; but the dirty rice was incredible! It had sausage, chicken, onions, bell peppers and tomatoes mixed in with rice. You can get it as a side or as an appetizer complete with spoons for everyone at the table. It was delicious, and by far the favorite item of the day!

The healthy Harding girls chose salads for their entrees. Elizabeth got ‘BJ’s’ Blue Salad, complete with blue cheese, romaine and iceberg lettuce, mandarin oranges, pecans, red bell peppers, honey-basil vinaigrette, and topped with grilled chicken and crumbled bacon. Kim ordered the Salado, mixed salad greens with tortilla strips, tossed in a basil vinaigrette dressing. The sisters love Barbara Jean’s salads. Says Elizabeth, “They’re so good and delicious!”

April ordered the BLT with a side of broccoli rice casserole, which was “very yummy” according to Mrs. Ackerman.

Christina and I both went for it this week, ordering the most caloric items on the menu. But, man were they good! She got the Chicken Fried Chicken with squash casserole and carrots, and I got the Chicken Fried Steak with a side of mashed potatoes and green beans. Needless to say, we were stuffed!

The dessert loving April also asked for a slice of Key Lime Pie for the 5 of us to share. She insists, “It’s the best in town!” And after trying it, we all concurred. It was the perfect combination of bittersweet!

If pursuing a meal after a long, hard day at work or after a late night with friends (like this particular day for me), Barbara Jean’s is definitely the place to go. You’ll get full, and you’ll love the food! Thanks Barbara Jean and Jim for a delicious meal!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Christina Bates, Nick Jones, Guy Talley and Christian Petersen (with an e, not an o-Norwegian, like me!)

Sushi Sakana is a Hit with the Locals

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 22, 2010

The Lunch Bunch had the divine pleasure of dining at Sushi Sakana, located at 860 Parris Island Gateway in the Bi-Lo Shopping Center in Port Royal this week. Owned and operated by Choi and Monica Kim, the Japanese restaurant is a new favorite among locals.

We were immediately surprised with a Birthday Roll, prepared by Choi and delivered by Monica in burning foil.  The roll, made with mango, cream cheese and shrimp tempura actually cooks on the table in front of you. The sushi gets barbequed! Oh my, it was original, delicious and gone in 2 seconds!

Monica then brought out a Marine Roll, made with cream cheese, eel, cucumber, avocado and shrimp tempura topped with tuna, marinated crab and four different types of flying fish roe.  Again, creative and yummy! We couldn’t keep these rolls on the table!

The Lunch Bunch had a visitor this week. Michele Jamrozik, Kim’s roommate from Clemson, who now lives in Luxembourg joined us for Sushi. The seven of us were awed with the innovative presentations. And equally impressive was the quality of the sushi! It tasted so fresh, prepared just right.

The four people who were spotted agreed.  Christina Bates told me, “We have friends who come from Sun City to eat here. And, if you come a lot, you get your own pair of chopsticks!”

Christian Petersen agreed, “The Sushi here is great!” He also told me about the chopsticks. I’ll have to go back soon for my pair!

I don’t know if my habitual Lunch Bunch readers will believe this, but April actually won this week for best meal! Our meat and potatoes girl is expanding her palette and ordered the TJ Roll, named after the Kims’ grandson.

The roll of crab, avocado, cream cheese and cucumber was topped with steak tataki and Sushi Sakana’s special sauce. Sweet April let us all have a piece, which melted in our mouths. The tataki was the perfect addition to the already tasty roll. Good thing April got the Chicken Bowl as well, because we devoured her TJ Roll!

Christina ordered the Shrimp Bowl and the Avocado Roll while Heather asked for the Sushi Lunch Combo that included the NY and California Rolls.  I kept humming Empire State of Mind and California Gurls as she ordered. What Sushi personality are you? Are you a Katy Perry/Snoop Dogg or Jay-Z/Alicia Keys kind of sushi eater? I’m East Coast, all the way!

I digress.   Kim and I both ordered the Tuna Cucumber Wrap, which enveloped tuna, avocado and flying fish roe among cucumber peels. It was a healthy choice, indeed! But wholesome Kim stopped at the wrap. I asked for the Spicy Shrimp Roll as well.  And, I’m glad I did. It was scrumptious and had the perfect amount of kick.

Elizabeth got the White Castle, white tuna and avocado topped with more white tuna and specially marinated red tuna.  It was classic! And again, the tuna was so fresh!

Michele, our European friend ordered the Shrimp and Chicken Hibachi. If you’re not a Sushi fan, you’ll love the Hibachi, served with Fried Rice & Soba and Vegetables.

Monica brought the table one more delightful surprise, Japanese Yogurt Juice for dessert. It was so light and summery. It had a unique flavor that was sweet, but had a touch of sour. The drinks looked like a tray full of White Russians upon delivery. You should have seen our faces at Noon on a Wednesday!

The Lunch Bunch is so excited to have a new Sushi and Japanese Cuisine place in town. And for all of you working with the Lowcountry Medical Group, Sushi Sakana is a quick, easy and charming eatery for a midday meal!

Thank you Choi and Monica for a wonderful lunch! I’ll be sure to come back and get my pair of chopsticks!

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La Tribu de Almuerzo Cenamos en Burger Taco de la Semana

(The Lunch Bunch Dines at Taco Burger This Week)

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 15, 2010

The Lunch Bunch dined at Port Royal’s best-kept secret this week, San Jose Taco Burger at 1742 Ribaut Road. You’ve probably passed it many times, and hopefully stopped in and gave it a try.

Well if you haven’t, you will now. It is inexpensive, fast and delicious! The authentic Mexican fare is made fresh daily and most items on the menu range in price from $1.99 to $3.50. Combos will cost a little more, but the meals include sides.

Got a car full of kids with differing opinions on where to eat? No problem. You’ve got American and Mexican choices at Taco Burger. Their menu is packed with burritos, tacos, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), quesadillas, burgers and hot dogs, and they are open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. And best yet, they have a drive-thru!

While we waited for the orders to come, we went to the condiment bar to load up. Taco Burger allows the patron to get as much salsa, tomatillo sauce and cilantro as they like. They also have the most scrumptious pickled carrots and jalapeños on the condiment bar to accompany the dishes. But we ate them as appetizers, and they disappeared pretty quickly.

Christina asked for two orders of chips and guacamole to start for the table. Man, oh man was it good! You could really taste the fresh cilantro.  And it was prepared with chunks of avocado stirred in, which we all preferred over extra creamy guacamole.

My girls joined the Lunch Bunch this week. I’d love to say it was a fun visit, but Crabby Abbie was anything but cooperative on this particular day. Poor thing was tired, bored and sick of adult conversation. Looking back, I wish I had let her bring a friend. Sorry Ab! I hope you at least liked your beef tacos made with homemade corn tortillas! Julia really liked her chicken taco! And both of them adored the corn tortilla chips that accompany each meal.

Elizabeth and I also had the hard chicken tacos, while Kim likened to the soft chicken taco. Again, all the tacos are made with homemade shells that are super crunchy and yummy. And, priced at $1.99 a piece, you could order for the family and stay under Ten bucks! What a deal!

Christina got the torta pastor (marinated pork sandwich) stuffed with lettuce, avocado, tomato, onions, beans and mayonnaise.  She was more than pleased with her selection; and yet again, I think Christina won for best dish!

Heather and April went toward the American side, but each of their dishes had a touch of Mexican detail. Heather wanted the chili cheese fries, but unlike the American staple, this dish was smothered with tasty queso dip. Oh, let me tell you how good this was! April ordered the restaurants namesake, the Taco Burger, a beef patty on a soft shell tortilla topped with cheese, lettuce and hot sauce. She loved it!

San Jose Taco Burger is owned and operated by Ramona Dore.  Next time you’re over that way, stop in and tell Ramona the Lunch Bunch sent you! And don’t forget to try the pickled carrots and jalapeños!  Thanks Taco Burger for a delectable lunch that was easy on the wallet!

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City Java Now Serves Lunch! And the Lunch Bunch is Thankful!

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 8, 2010

City Java has gone to the next level…lunch!  I’ve been waiting for this since Matthew Pieper, Java’s General Manager, told me they were bringing soups, salads and sandwiches to the already delicious menu a few weeks ago.

You see, I go to City Java nearly every morning for a cup of Joe and an occasional serving of oatmeal. I check emails, write a few articles and organize my day. Essentially City Java is my office and Ian Leslie’s office, and Carrie Carper’s office and a host of other young professionals’ office. I guess the folks under City Loft like us so much, they decided to add a meal to keep us here throughout the day!

And they nailed it! The menu is packed with creations made with organic ingredients purchased locally.  Tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, arugula and more come from local farms on St. Helena Island, Lowcountry Produce, Three Sisters organic farm and the Brant Family organic farm. Most of the produce is purchased from one of the three local Farmer’s Markets in Downtown Beaufort, Port Royal and Habersham.

Even their wines, which are exceptional by the way, are organic and biodynamic-great for the planet, since grapes are among the most pesticide-laden produce. But what does organic and biodynamic really mean, you ask?

100% Organic carries the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) organic seal (the certifying agency must be listed) and indicates the wine is made from 100% organically grown ingredients and has been monitored throughout its entire production process. This wine can contain only naturally occurring sulfites (or sulfur dioxide, an antimicrobial substance) in less than 100 parts per million (ppm).

Organic also carries the USDA organic seal and indicates the wine has 95% organically grown ingredients (the other 5% must not be available organically). Again the certifying agency must be listed and the wine has the same sulfite requirements as 100% organic.

Made with Organic Grapes or Made with Organic Ingredients means the wine contains at least 70% organic ingredients. It can have artificial sulfites added, but it may not contain more than 100 ppm. (It does not have the USDA organic seal.)

Biodynamic is based on the precise observation and an attempt at balance of nature, a concept originated by the early 20th-century Austrian philosopher Rudolf Steiner. So, biodynamic wine is not only 100% organic, in addition, the grower has gone beyond to try to bring the farming process more closely in tune with nature. For instance, biodynamic wine growers may make their own compost and/or watch the stars and planets to time what they do.

So, the folks at City Java have done their research about earth friendly products with regard to wine and produce, and it’s working! Our lunch was a memorable, if not perfect meal that Pieper and owners Matt and Laura McAlhaney delivered to the Lunch Bunch this week.

And, this was the first Lunch Bunch experience that allowed us to sample wine. Kim, Christina, Elizabeth and I enjoyed the 2008 Cline Cashmere from Sonoma and the Frog’s Leap Sauvignon Blanc, also from California. They were the ideal compliment to the ultra fresh midday meal.

The staff brought out three salads to start, and the six of us shared the tasty greens eager for more. We dined on the Beet Salad (Red Beets, Arugula, toasted Pecans and Chevre Cheese), the City Java Salad (prepared with Romaine Hearts, hard boiled free range eggs, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber and locally grown sprouts) and the Caprese Salad (tomatoes, home made Mozzarella, Basil and EVOO). All were served with our choice of Balsamic and Citrus Vinaigrettes and a creamy Bleu Cheese dressing, each created in house.

We all agreed the Beet Salad was our favorite. But we were very impressed that Pieper made his own Mozzarella on the Caprese Salad. Matthew gets milk curd and flavors it with spices, breaks the curd down and puts it in boiling water. He then stretches the cheese himself in the boiling water, resulting in the yummiest dairy product you’ve ever tasted!

Heather ordered The Veggie, packed with avocado, lettuce, cucumber, sprouts, Provolone Cheese and Mustard Vinaigrette while Kim took the opposite route and asked for The Beef, which included Roast Beef, Caramelized Onion and Bleu Cheese.  Both ladies were beyond pleased with their selections.

April and Christina knew from the moment they looked at the menu what their selections would be. April opted for The Turkey (Roasted Turkey Breast, Muenster Cheese, Avocado and Herb Mayonnaise), and Christina liked the Mozzarella so much in the salad, she ordered the Caprese sandwich.

Honestly, since I frequent Cit Java so often, I’d already sampled almost everything on the menu. But, I had not tried the H/C (Peppered Ham, Gruyere Cheese, Spicy Brown Mustard and lettuce and tomato). It was delicious! Pieper allows his customers to order the sandwiches hot or cold, and a good ham and cheese is always better hot!

Yeah for Elizabeth! She won this week for best dish. She picked the Prosciutto and Fig sandwich served with Arugula, Fontina Cheese and Fig Preserves from Lowcountry Produce. Oooooooh, it was so yummy! Even April, who had never tasted figs before, loved it.

We are definitely a group of girls who don’t mind passing plates or double dipping! How on Earth would we ever decide who got best dish? It is funny to watch though…twelve hands reaching for the same dish talking a million miles a minute about work, kids or miscellaneous goings on around Beaufort. What scene!

The meal didn’t stop at the sandwiches. Oh no! Although full, we saved a little bit of room for the Rockslide Brownie and Blueberry Gelato.  These two desserts crossed the “t” and dotted the “i.” putting the perfect end to a delightful lunch. And I highly recommend any of the flavored Gelatos City Java serves. Is there a better treat in the summertime?

So, when I asked Matthew if he was the chef at City Java, Pieper quickly responded, “No, I’m just a dude that loves food.” He explained that he doesn’t exactly cook anything. He just brings fabulous ingredients together for delectable delights. He’s worked at fine dining establishments his whole life, and always asked the right questions with regard to unique dishes.

We’re glad you did Matthew! You’ve taken the chic coffee hang out and made it into an organically infused bistro, exactly what our generation demands. And we love it!

If you’re thinking about a bringing a small group to lunch, remember City Java. It’s not just coffee anymore! Thanks Matthew for a refreshing lunch! Keep being the “dude that likes food!”

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Treated like Queens by Southern Graces at The Beaufort Inn

By Wendy Pollitzer

July 1, 2010

The Lunch Bunch received the royal treatment last week, as Southern Graces at the Beaufort Inn pampered us with indulgent creations by Bethany Hewitt, chef, designer and owner of the restaurant and catering company that takes a fresh approach to food and events.

Hewitt combines Southern Classics, a flair for French Country and a dash of whimsy that is nothing short of “Sophisticated Grace.”  The food, the atmosphere and the presentation are regal; and the experience is unforgettable.  And the best part, it’s affordable too.

As a patron at the Beaufort Inn, you can’t help but feel important. Service form the moment you step through the door is exceptional.  You are the only person on the server’s mind, and it is evident that she will do whatever needed to make your experience as perfect as possible. And our server was Freda Boles. Her attention to detail was extraordinary, and she delivered each dish with as much pride as the owner.

We were each given a sample of appetizers to start.  April, Kim, Elizabeth and I were treated to She Crab Soup, a Beaufort Bay Shrimp Wrap and Fried Green Tomatoes.  Now, I’ve lived in the Lowcountry my entire life. I’ve tasted She Crab Soup in hundreds of restaurants from Hilton Head to Murrell’s Inlet. Southern Graces’ cup of She Crab is hands-down the best I’ve ever eaten. And Kim agreed. The consistency between the crab and sherry was ideal. And it was served with a pimiento cheese straw that accompanied the flavor perfectly.

The Shrimp Wrap, also stuffed with sausage and lump crab meat was delivered in a wonton skin, flash fried and served with garlic sweet and spicy sauce. The dish won at the 2008 Beaufort Shrimp Festival, so locals agree, it’s the best in town!

Southern Graces’ take on the southern classic of Fried Green Tomatoes was clever. The appetizer was served with a sweet corn sauce that created a nice balance of sugar and salt.  And the presentation of this dish especially was creative and exquisitely designed.

Each of looked at the menu and were equally pleased with our entrée selections. And this week, we decided to add the photos with the article simply because the dishes were so beautiful!

Elizabeth ordered the Vertical Cobb Salad, a dramatically stacked salad with layers of avocado, tomato, eggs, bacon, blue cheese and fried shrimp with a Black Pepper Buttermilk dressing. Just take a look at the picture below, and you’ll drool at the thought of putting this delicious creation in your mouth!

Kim got the Fried Green Tomato, Bacon and Pimento Cheese Panini served on Ciabiatta bread and Southern Graces’ house made pimento cheese. She was ever so pleased and kept reminding the rest of us how delighted she was with her choice.

April asked for the Gourmet Blue Plate Wednesday Special, the Smoked Shrimp Burger. Southern Graces makes a week’s worth of these delectable southern staples, and each of them are served at the low price of $9.95. April loved her Shrimp Burger and said it was the ”best she’d ever had!”

I saw something on the menu I’d never seen before, so I had to try it.  The Shrimp and Sweet Potato Grits were as pleasing to the taste buds as they were to the eyes. The sautéed local shrimp were served with Prosciutto Cream over Anson Mills’ Sweet Potato Grits, two of my favorite starches paired skillfully and tastefully.

So by now, we are satiated! But how do we say no to desserts?   And, how do we say no to three of them?  Freda brought out small portions of their Southern Banana Pudding, Chocolate Crème Brulee and Wendy’s favorite all-time dessert…Hummingbird Cake. Have I used the word indulgence yet in this article? I believe so, but it’s the only item in the dictionary that expresses my thoughts on these desserts. Pure indulgence!

As Amazing Grace played in the background, I thought about my grandmother, Elsie Blume. Granny was from a little town called Starr, right outside of Anderson. Granny was the quintessential southern lady. She made those large midday meals for a family of six every day. Her cooking was classic and delicious!

Amazing Grace played at her funeral, and every time I hear it, I think of her.  On the day I ate at Southern Graces, I fondly remembered Granny and thought about all the gracious southern ladies out there who rarely treat themselves to a sophisticated lunch.  There are many of you out there, and I promise you will be treated like queens when you dine at Southern Graces. Ladies, you deserve it! Granny, you deserved it!

Southern Graces offers weekly Sunday Brunches and Friday Supper Clubs once a month.  And they are open every day for lunch.  You will enjoy every minute of your experience, I promise.

Bethany, your hospitality was sincere and gracious. I see why you named your business Southern Graces, for you are the epitome of Grace in our beloved Southern world, down here in the heart of the Lowcountry. Thank you for everything!

I’m planning a girl’s weekend with friends from Charleston soon, and I will definitely be taking them to see you at the Beaufort Inn. Wow, what a Lunch Bunch event! Thank you, thank you, thank you Bethany!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch: Fran Tuttle, Mike Jones and Tom Davis (the local musician, not our State Sen.)

Lots of Smiling Faces at Happy’s

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 24, 2010

The Lunch Bunch was all smiles at Happy’s Sandwiches, Scoops and Sweets, located at 7 Robert Small Parkway in the Staples/Big Lots Shopping Center. This small eatery is Beaufort’s diamond in the ruff waiting for everyone to find it.

Owned and operated by Cle and Rachel Daniels, Happy’s is known for its courteous service, fast delivery and repeat customers.  Once you dine there, you’ll be a regular. And Cle will make sure your next visit was as good as the first.

The clever names for the sandwiches made ordering fun.  And when Cle told us all of his breads were made from scratch, we all drooled at the selections of herb, white or honey wheat. We could also choose from a white, jalapeño cheddar or tomato basil wrap.

April, who arrived first and ready to eat ordered the Hunka Hunka Honey Ham. And, oh did she love saying that!  Just picture April with her best Elvis impersonation and a curled up lip. The ham and Swiss was delivered in a tomato basil wrap with honey mustard dressing the interior of the extra filling Burnin’ Love delight.

Christina asked for the Happy Veggie, a sandwich with avocado, spinach and your choice of veggie accompanied by the restaurant’s signature Happy Sauce.  She commented about how fresh and crisp the vegetables tasted. She also chose a package of Utz potato chips as her side. Daniels has these Fed-EXed from Pennsylvania, because they are not sold as wholesale items. He orders in bulk though. These potato chips are out of this world!

We were fortunate to have Christina’s mom, Bea, or as Christina call her, Madres, with us at Happy’s.  Madres quickly spotted the Porto-Royale on the menu.  This creation consisted of oven roasted Portobello mushrooms layered with provolone, spinach and red and green onions on Honey Wheat bread.  We all knew Christina had good taste, and now we know where she got it! Bea won this time for best dish! It was yummy!

Elizabeth got the Starvin’ Parvin, which was packed with ingredients. Turkey, ham, bacon, cheddar and jack cheeses, lettuce, tomato, red onions, sprouts, pickles, yellow mustard, Cajun mayo and a dash of garlic powder on herb bread was oh so tasty. Elizabeth said, “It’s kind of like a sub, but not as bready. It’s very good!”

I ordered the Happy Jack, turkey, Monterey jack, tomato, avocado and spinach on herb bread with Happy Sauce.  “It’s the favorite item on the menu for returning customers,” says Cle. I see why. It was so flavorful and summery. I especially liked my selection of the herb bread paired with this sandwich. I took the other half home, excited to eat it later only to find it gone from the refrigerator the following day. My hungry sister-in-law was in town and found it first. Boo-hoo. Cle, can I can back and get another, please?

Heather asked for the Born to BLT, the All-American lunch staple on Honey Wheat bread. How do you go wrong with bacon on anything? Heather agreed.

Heather’s super sweet baby girl, Skylar was with us again. Her mama ordered her a peanut butter and marshmallow sandwich. Uh, hello everyone with kids out there. This is a must for the little ones! They get their protein with a little sweet excitement!

We ended lunch with two super tasty cupcakes, the Red Velvet and the Chocolate Chocolate cupcake. All of the cakes, cupcakes and cookies are also made from scratch. In addition, there is a huge selection of ice cream flavors for the young and old alike. Remember, save room for dessert! You won’t be sorry!

To see photos of our fabulous sandwiches, go online to www.YourIslandNews.com. We’ll also post a link to Happy’s website, so you can order online.

Thanks so much Cle for a Happy visit! We thoroughly enjoyed the food and we’ll be back again. You’ve made us repeat customers!

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Gourmet on Wheels Comes to the Lunch Bunch

By Wendy Pollitzer

The Lunch Bunch, sans Heather dined at Kim’s house on Cat Island this week. The meals actually came to us thanks to the generosity of Tony Makar, owner of Gourmet on Wheels.

Makar has found his niche in Beaufort. He’s combined his experience with food and beverage and healthcare to initiate his new business venture.  He wanted the older population to be able to eat healthy, conveniently.

The idea is perfect for the young professional or older couple who don’t like (or want) to cook and have a desire to eat healthy gourmet meals.  It’s for “people who love great taste but don’t have time to eat out or shop and cook.”

The concept is simple. Order your meals online at www.gourmetonwheels.org, and Makar will deliver to your home!  Makar and his 100% Italian mother, Dolores Ziccarello prepare all meals on Mondays at the Lady’s Island Country Club and deliver to your door on Tuesdays. The meals are packed to be enjoyed within a few days of delivery. Just heat them up in microwave or oven, and you’re ready to go!

And oh, are they so good! Each of us ordered from the weekly menu online.  And we were pleasantly surprised when each of us received the large portioned dishes, enough for two people or two meals. We each basically got two for the price of one. Not a bad deal!

April ordered the pork tenderloin with mustard potatoes. I got the seafood stuffed tilapia with sweet potato chunks and asparagus. April and I both liked our potatoes, but after sampling each other’s, we swapped. I thought the spicy alternative was delicious, while she thought the sweetness of the orange potatoes complimented her pork very well.

Christina asked for the Mediterranean turkey stew. It was the most interesting dish, and oh so tasty! The flavors were perfectly distributed in the stew.  Again, Christina won for “Best Dish!”

Kim went for the pot roast with root vegetables. She was delightfully impressed and very excited she could save the other half for dinner.

Elizabeth was very pleased with her selection of Oprah’s creamless corn chowder and broccoli quiche.  The light meal was ideal for a hot summer day. The chowder was served cold, and very appetizing. The quiche was also full of flavor!

Thanks this week to Micah, April’s daughter who watched Abbie, Julia and Anna Katherine at the Cat Pool, or as my kids call it, the Kitty Cat Pool, while we ate.  The kiddos had a great time, while the mamas ate like queens!

Take a look at photos of our meals below. And remember, Tony will customize the meals for you.  If you have allergies, prefer no/low salt and/or sugar substitutes, he’ll prepare the meal to your liking. There are no contracts, and catering is also available!

Thanks Tony for delivering a gourmet lunch to our bunch! We thoroughly enjoyed the tasty meals! We’ll be calling you at 812-8870 for more!


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The Lunch Bunch Loves Panini’s

By Wendy Pollitzer

Panini’s , you rock! What a Lunch Bunch experience we had this week with Skylar (Heather’s daughter) joining us again. It was absolutely fab!

Skylar Bruner enjoys her lunch at Panini’s and shows off her Silly Bands.

John, our server was exceptional. He was so on the ball with refills; I think we all visited the Ladies Room during our visit.  Tea and water will do it every time. Seriously though, he was great and attentive! And Elyse, Panini’s manager, was also friendly and helpful. Generous and professional service at a restaurant is always appreciated and should never go unnoticed.  So thanks John and Elyse for superior hospitality!

Elizabeth, Kim and Christina usually meet early; so they’ve started a tradition of ordering appetizers before the rest of us get there. How excited are we upon arrival when a table full of food is waiting for us!

This week, we enjoyed the Almond Crusted Calamari and Panini’s signature Antipasto Plate.  Oh my, they were both so delicious!

The burnt honey flavor on the calamari added a tad of sweetness to the nutty breading. And the Spicy Aioli and Fra Diavolo sauces were the perfect accompaniment to the already tasty dish.  Christina, who doesn’t even like calamari, loved this dish and, “could eat it all day!”

Panini’s selection of imported meats and cheeses on the Antipasto Plate is impressive. They’ve done a terrific job at pairing pickled items with prosciutto and bleu cheese. For a larger group, it’s the ideal starter meal and easily passed.

After a hilarious conversation about the quick popularity and super cool fad of silly bands (notice the photo of Skylar), we all agreed that kids today learn barter and trade much better than we ever did.  Just so everyone knows, The Island News loves trade! And this particular writer needs contacts and/or prescription sunglasses! A camp for two kids one week this summer would be awesome too!

That was a serious digression. Let’s get back to food!

This week, Kimmy ordered the Fettuccini Alfredo with chicken and a blend of Parmesan and cream.  This traditional Italian dish hit the spot, and was large enough to bring leftovers home to the kiddos. Who got it first Kim? William, Perry or Anna Katherine?

Sister Elizabeth asked for the House Salad with Shrimp. A delectable creamy tomato dressing and olive puree complimented the bed of Romaine lettuce topped with fresh local crustaceans from the sea. Lizzy Lou was certainly impressed.

Christina got the Fresh Tomato Panini, complete with basil pesto, charred red onion and house made mozzarella cheese. The pasta salad that comes with all hoagies and paninis is to die for! According to Christina, “it should be sold by the gallon!” I ran into Megan Feight later that day, and she agreed, “it’s the best in town!”

Heather opted for the Capri pizza, and what a choice! It had spinach, dried tomatoes, onions, feta, mustard aioli and olive oil drizzled on top.  Ooh, it looked good! And Panini’s is known for its pizzas, so she was very satisfied with her decision.

April, predictable April, ordered the chicken cheese steak sandwich. She really cracks me up. Mrs. Ackerman walks the straightest line when it comes to food. Why not? You always know what you’re going to get. She’s definitely not a box of chocolates kind of girl!

Lastly, I chose the Spinach salad with pancetta, red onion, boiled egg and an incredible herbed buttermilk ranch dressing. But I couldn’t stop there. I had to order the side of house made meatballs of beef, veal and pork with fresh tomato sauce.  A dear and knowledgeable friend recommended them; so I listened to the advice and loved them! Thanks BP!

For all the photos of our beautiful meals, definitely visit www.YourIslandNews.com. Also, we’ve added pdf’s of menus from each of our Lunch Bunch spots. Take a look at Panini’s menu if you’re looking to dine in or take out.

Thank you to the kind staff at Panini’s, especially John and Elyse. And also, to Nick Borregine, owner for hosting this week’s Lunch Bunch. We had a wonderful time and look forward to coming back soon!

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Sweetgrass at Dataw Marina is Classy and Casual

By Wendy Pollitzer

June 3, 2010

The Lunch Bunch traveled to Dataw Island Marina and ate at Sweetgrass Restaurant overlooking Parrot Creek.  Wow, what an experience! The charm of the décor impressed the six of us upon entrance. The look is classy, yet relaxed with calming colors accenting the natural view. Greens and blues and distressed wood create the ambiance of a seaside café.

And that’s precisely what Sweetgrass is. Do you want to take a boat ride for a casual dinner and not sure where to go in Beaufort? Look no further on your nautical chart than mile marker 521 on the ICW and three miles south.

Or if you’re driving, let the gate guards know where you’re headed, and they will be happy to write you a pass to enjoy yourself at the Marina restaurant.  Lauren Tillapaugh, owner and operator at Sweetgrass will be glad you did.

We started the meal with some shrimp fritters and deviled eggs with bacon and chives, topped with crabmeat. Both appetizers were quite tasty and full of distinct flavor. And shh, don’t tell Heather, but Elizabeth ate the last deviled egg before Heather arrived. I think she liked them!

Once again, the Lunch Bunch was joined by a sweet 5 year-old. Skylar, Heather’s little angel came to dine with us. And oh, how she loved her mac n’ cheese prepared especially for her.

And Heather ordered the chicken salad plate with a cup of asparagus soup. Remember Heather’s fascination with chicken salad?  She was very satisfied with her selection and highly recommends Sweetgrass’ preparation!

Kim asked for Picnic on a Plate, ¼ Cornell BBQ chicken with a carrot raisin salad and sweet potato chips that were perfectly fried with sprinkles of powdered sugar. She said the chicken had a sweet flavor to it and enjoyed the meal immensely!

April got the Sea Burger, Sweetgrass’ signature shrimp burger with a creamy and spicy sauce on a fresh baked Kaiser roll. She was pleased and satisfied, wanting more!

Christina ordered the tomato, avocado and turkey sandwich on whole wheat with the sweet potato chips.  I was tempted to get this as well. It seemed light and summery, and she confirmed!

I finally decided on the shrimp salad on a bed of greens with delicious red wine vinaigrette. I also requested the cream of asparagus soup, which was savory and memorable. I’ll order it again the next time I go for sure!

Elizabeth first asked for the asparagus, beet and goat cheese salad, but Lauren came to the table and told us the beets weren’t as fresh as she would have liked.  We all though that was very classy of Lauren. Rather than present a meal that met half of her expectations, she wanted Elizabeth to have the best. So Lizzy got the chicken salad sandwich and a cup of the cream of asparagus as well. And she loved it!

The Lunch Bunch enjoyed our trip to Dataw. In fact, it was one of our favorites! The atmosphere was just so peaceful.

Paul Simon played in the background.  Dolphins swam in the distance. Pleasant conversation accompanied a delicious meal.  What more can you ask for?

Thank you Lauren for a memorable experience! Next time, we’ll come by boat!

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The Desserts are Worth the Drive to Bella Luna Café

May 27, 2010

If you’re headed out to the islands or in the mood for a short drive to St. Helena, do yourself a favor and stop by Bella Luna Café, 859 Sea Island Parkway in front of the Frogmore Inn. It’s Little Italy in the Lowcountry.

Owned by Maria Jackson, Bella Luna offers authentic Italian cuisine with original flair.  And if you’re hungry, you’ve come to the right place.

Elizabeth and I were a bit late this week. I had to pick her up after she was told her transmission needed to be replaced. Uh-oh. We then headed to EC Montessori to pick up my youngest, Julia. Granny was at Fripp for the week visiting with college friends, so Mommy was on Julia duty (and it was fun)! Julia got to join the Lunch Bunch!

Julia Pollitzer with her Shirley Temple

We arrived, and to our surprise and pleasure, the girls had already ordered appetizers: the stuffed garlic cheese bread with roasted red peppers, sausage and mozzarella and the fried calamari-jumbo rings with an incredible diabolo sauce. The Lunch Bunch and Julia loved both of these!

Elizabeth and Kim ordered the Veal Scaloppini over risotto to share. They really enjoyed this dish! It was creamy and sweet. The Marsala wine reduction and fresh rosemary complimented the entrée perfectly.

Christina and April both ordered the Chicken Parmesan Salad with a sun dried tomato vinaigrette dressing. They were equally impressed with the special, and wanted more!

Heather got the Meatball grinder and only ate half. It was huge! She later said she couldn’t even eat it the rest for dinner. If you’re going in Bella Luna with a large appetite, definitely order the grinder!

My baby Julia (not really a baby, now 5) ordered the spaghetti and meatballs of course! And she ate every bit of those balls of beef. There is just something magical about the meatball when you’re a kid, isn’t there?

I had the other special, fried local oysters with a remoulade dipping sauce over a bed of greens.  I could really taste the saltiness of the oysters. They were surely from around here, and I loved them! And they gave me over a dozen!

Not only are the oysters local at Bella Luna, but most of the vegetables and herbs are as well. Most all of Maria’s ingredients come from St. Helena. It’s better quality than the imported stuff, I’ll tell you that! And all of her dressings are home made, giving the menu an added bit of panache.

Okay, so you probably know by now that the Lunch Bunch loves our desserts! And April especially appreciates a sweet ending to a fabulous meal. But we weren’t expecting this!

Maria brought out a sampler of all her desserts and placed them in the middle of the table for all of us to share. We were treated to a Belgian Mousse Torte, an Amaretto Crème Cake (similar to tira misu, but with amaretto and toasted almonds), Chocolate and Vanilla Cannolis, a Torte della Nona (Grandmother Cake with a sugar crust and lemon custard topped with powdered sugar, almonds and pine nuts) and an Exotic Bomba (passion fruit, mango and raspberry sorbet covered in white chocolate).

Not a word was spoken at the table for 5 minutes! Take a look at the photo, and you’ll see why we were drooling! I think Julia picked the right Lunch Bunch to attend!

Thank you Maria for a divine lunch, a casual atmosphere and great service! Bella Luna is a new favorite of mine and well worth the short drive!

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Spotted this week by the Lunch Bunch: Katherine and Ashley Hefner, Mandy Griffin, Sean O’Connell, Colin Crumpton and Robert Boles

Lunch Bunch Dines Al Fresco at Nippy’s

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 20, 2010

When it’s a sunny afternoon in the Lowcountry with the temperature steady at 85° and minimal humidity, a true Beaufortonian will eat outside and enjoy the weather. And a lunch date can’t begin without commenting on the beautiful day. As each of us walked up to the table at Nippy’s on West Street in Downtown Beaufort, we all remarked about the pleasant conditions outside. We were at the right place on the perfect day in May!

If you want to dine at a casual eatery al fresco, Nippy’s is the place to go! Owned and operated by Diana Deaner and Robin McGrath, Nippy’s reminds me of a beach shack in Southern California. The tunes of Jimmy Buffet or Jack Johnson play in the background, the menu is jam-packed with seafood items, and the service is relaxed, yet quick and friendly. It’s just plain cool!

Most of us had the fish tacos, a staple at Nippy’s. Heather ordered her fish blackened, while I requested fried (lightly fried FIT trainers)! Elizabeth chose a fish taco and a shrimp taco, both blackened. “My favorite is the shrimp, although the fish is pretty darn good too,” she says.

Christina knew she wanted the shrimp basket claiming Nippy’s has “the best shrimp in town!” You think she’s been here a time or two?

April, our meat and potatoes girl, chose the bacon cheeseburger, not seafood but delicious nonetheless!

Kim got the flounder basket, fried like me! The basket comes with choice of fries or onion rings. We had so many baskets of fries and onion rings around the table, we were sure not to go hungry!

Okay, 5 words to remember next time you’re at Nippy’s: Malt Vinegar on French Fries! Oh, so tasty! Elizabeth introduced it to us, and we were hooked! I remember putting it on my fish as a kid, but never my fries. I’m a fan now, and you will be too.

Every Thursday Nippy’s offers a Corn Hole Tournament. Elizabeth and I have gone, and it is a lot of fun! Choose a partner and play all night. It can get quite intense sometimes. There are some seriously good Corn Hole players out there. And, they have live music! What better way to spend a Thursday evening than drinking a beer, throwing a bean bag and listening to acoustic!

It’s a long, cold winter for the owners at Nippy’s. Since most of it’s sitting area is outside, people tend to come when the weather is warm. Well folks, the time has come to frequent Nippy’s! The days might be getting hotter, but never fear. Giant live oaks canopy over the tables at Nippy’s. There’s always shade! And, there is bar seating inside for those who dig the AC!

Diana and Robin are such nice people. When you’re at Nippy’s, you feel welcomed and appreciated.  It’s probably one of the most unpretentious dining establishments in Beaufort. Even if you’re in a suit, you’ll feel like you’re wearing flip-flops and Bermuda shorts by the time you leave.

Thanks Nippy’s for a laid back and appetizing dining experience. It’s always a pleasure!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch:

Several Buggy Tours filled with pleasant tourists eager to see the beauty of Downtown Beaufort.

Pinkies Up with the Lunch Bunch

By Wendy Pollitzer

May 13, 2010

Kathy Dilsaver and Colette Wright

This week, we had the pleasure of being pampered by Colette Wright, owner of English Afternoon Tea Parties and Events. We ate on Elizabeth’s extra wide Lowcountry porch at her adorable downtown cottage. Colette did all of the work, from bringing dishes, to setting the table. That’s her niche. She brings a lovely afternoon tea with all the fixings to you.

And what a treat it was. Colette brought her friend, Kathy Dilsaver to help. Colette is originally from Manchester, England and knows a thing or two about a formal tea. And Kathy, long time Beaufortonian was as knowledgeable about southern hospitality.  You know, you have to love Beaufort. If you talk long enough, you’ll make some connection about who you know. As we talked, I realized that Kathy’s son Ryan and I were on the same co-ed softball team that represented the Beaufort Clemson Club. We played against those obnoxious Beaufort Gamecocks, of course. (I hope everyone knows I’m joking)!  And we realized we had a table full of Clemson fans…Elizabeth, Kim, Kathy and myself.

Additionally, Kathy’s brother, Billy North, was on the cover of my Images of America: Port Royal book, which she’d just purchased a few weeks ago. She said, “Pollitzer…any kin to Big Stratty?” And so the connections were made.

I digress.  Colette and Kathy made the most amazing food that surprisingly filled us up! And again, they brought all of the dishes and prepared the setting, so we didn’t have to lift a finger. It’s the perfect idea for a bridge game, bridal luncheon or book club. They do all of the work for you! In fact, Kim wants to hire Colette for her daughter’s upcoming birthday. I might talk my 6-year-old into the same idea!

We were served buffet style in the kitchen and brought our food outside on this beautiful May afternoon. The duo made scones, with raisins and without, served fresh fruit with a delicious whipped cream dip and prepared finger sandwiches perfect for a light lunch.

We chose from three sandwiches: a cucumber with white vinegar on white bread, a cucumber mint on wheat and an egg salad on both wheat and white breads. We all loved the cucumber/white vinegar combo. It was refreshing and summery.

And then we indulged ourselves with two cakes, a Black Forest Gateau and a Hummingbird Cake, hands-down my favorite cake of all time! My grandmother always made it for my birthdays growing up. Ooh…so delicious with pecans, pineapple, dates and a cream cheese icing. The Gateau is layered with chocolate cake, whipped cream and cherries. Oh, April and Heather, you both missed a good Lunch Bunch this week! Your Weight Watchers points would have been axed very quickly! And, by the way, Happy Belated Birthday April!

And how can I forget the teas? Oh, we felt so British! Colette served both an Earl Gray and an English Afternoon tea, accompanied by milk, sugar cubes and lemon. I particularly liked the Earl Gray, but the others preferred the English Afternoon. The dishes were so fancy too! The tea was served in fine china with a variety of beautiful floral patterns.

Colette educated us on the principle behind holding your pinky up when you drink tea. It has nothing to do with etiquette or socio-economic class. It is purely functional. If you hold the handle of the tea cup with your thumb and fore finger, your pinky must be pointed outward to balance the weight of the cup. So actually, the placement of your fingers on the handle would be noted by Emily Post first, not the locale of your pinky.

If you’re interested in a no-hassle, formal tea party, you need to call Colette Wright with English Afternoon Tea Parties and Events at 812-6364! You’ll be treated to good food, delightful conversation, no preparatory work, and the best part…no clean-up! Tell the girls the Lunch Bunch sent you!

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Spotted by the Lunch Bunch this week: Frank Gibson, Chris Gibson and all of the employees at Insurance Services of the Lowcountry (Frank Gibson was honoring them as part of Administrative Appreciation Day); Bob and Frances Kuzinski and their friends from Long Island, Ron and Mary Butler

Cat Island Grill and Pub Welcomes the Lunch Bunch

By Wendy Pollitzer

We had the pleasure of dining at Cat Island Grill and Pub, formerly the British Open Pub at Cat Island this week.  Peggy Hopkins, Membership Director for the Sanctuary Golf Club invited us to the pub, which just opened under new management on March 26.

The restaurant has a new, but familiar menu. Original items, such as Ahi Tuna on Wasabi Parmesan Grits, Filet Encroute, Wild Coho Salmon and Duck Breast are now listed on the dinner menu. And there are a few changes to the lunch menu, but, for the most part, it has all the favorites from the British Open Pub days and then some!

We were very pleased with the service and atmosphere at the Cat Island Grill and Pub. The decor was impressive, and we all took note of the artwork on the walls.  All the paintings were created by Olga Stamatiou, a graduate of Boston University’s School of Fine Arts and contemporary artist currently living in Beaufort.

In addition to the décor, we were equally impressed with our menu selections!

Tis the season for Soft Shell Crabs, and Elizabeth jumped at the chance to order the Special. The beer battered crustaceans were delicious and perfectly fried to make them extra crispy.

April ordered the Taco Salad with extra, extra sour cream. She loved it, but did make the comment that she’d  “just like to skip to desserts from now on.” April has quite the sweet tooth! Of course she asked for the Chocolate Lava Cake, prepared by SuZara’s Bakery. Once again…bye bye Weight Watchers Points. She saves them for Wednesdays!

Heather went light this week, choosing half of a tuna salad sandwich and a cup of She-Crab soup.  I was surprised she didn’t ask for the chicken salad, being the aficionado she is!  But she was pleased and appreciative of the richness of the soup.

Kim chose the chicken fingers, also lager dipped (beer battered).  She was delighted with the crispiness of both the chicken fingers and the extra large onion rings that accompanied them!

Christina, who always seems to order the best thing on the menu, got the Special Pot Pie with a side salad. The puffed pastry on top of the pie made for great presentation. She described the dish as tasting very homemade and loved it!

I was so late, the girls ordered before I got there; so I was slightly rushed at picking my entrée. But I immediately saw the Tuna and Gruyere Panini and thought, “that’s what I’m in the mood for!” White Albacore never tasted so good!

I love it when all of us are present for Lunch Bunch! Our final proof for the paper is on Tuesdays, which can be somewhat hectic. So, on Wednesdays, we get to let our hair down, relax for a bit and enjoy each other’s company.  This week, we were all in a very giggly mood, reminiscing about the fun bike race the night before, telling funny kid stories and sharing tips about what to do when your phone falls in the toilet (like mine did Tuesday)! Anyway, our Lunch Bunch is therapeutic for me, especially. You girls make me laugh, and I just wanted to say thanks!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer


The Lunch Bunch Dines at Mizu

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 29, 2010
This week the Lunch Bunch sans Heather and Christina dined at Mizu Japanese Restaurant, located at 1370 Ribaut Road, and boy was it a treat! If you’re looking for fresh sushi, fast service, and affordable prices, Mizu is the place to go.

Lin Lim, our friendly server, was more than accommodating.  She was courteous, quick, and just so darn sweet!

Kim and Elizabeth, who frequent Mizu, know Lin well. Lin immediately asked if they wanted the Lady’s Island, which is sushi-grade tuna elegantly served in an avocado with dipping sauce and fresh roe on the side. I think the sisters have had this a time or two. Take a look at the online photo of this dish at www.YourIslandNews.com.  It’s fabulous-looking!

Kim ordered the shrimp and vegetable tempura and fried rice. Although it was quite delicious, Kim had a hard time finishing it. The portion was enormous!

Elizabeth, most often the healthy Lunch Buncher, had the spicy tuna roll and six pieces of sushi chosen by the chef. Again, look at the photos online. These dishes are simply beautiful, not to mention super yummy!

April got the Benton Box, a dish equally divided into four sections, and again, stylishly presented. April chose the sweet potato roll, the spring roll, chicken teriyaki and fried rice. I tasted the sweet potato roll because it seemed interesting.  It had cream cheese and sweet potatoes.   It was certainly tasty!

I ordered the shrimp hibachi with fried rice. I wasn’t so healthy this Wednesday, but definitely walked out with a full and satisfied stomach.

All of our meals were accompanied with either a salad or soup.  This incredible deal just can’t be beat. You can get so much for your dollar, and the service is fast.

Lin asked if we were ready for dessert. Stuffed, April and I said we were full. But, oh no! Kim and Elizabeth made us try Mizu’s signature dessert. And I am ever so thankful we did.

Lin brought us six fried Oreo’s. That’s right, Oreo cookies…fried. Man,oh man, were they delicious! And they were served with whipped cream and cherries. That’s even better, right?

Mizu is a great place to dine, for lunch or dinner. If you’re in the mood to watch the chef prepare your meal, enjoy the Teppanyaki cook-top grill table, which accommodates up to twelve people. It’s great for birthday parties or staff get-togethers. Also, the kids love it.

The Lunch Bunch would like to thank the staff at Mizu for a wonderful dining experience.  And, thank you, Lin, for making our day happier.

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Kids Again at Pizza Inn

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 22, 2010

This week the Lunch Bunch had the thrill of being kids again. We dined at Pizza Inn at Town Center and were treated to an afternoon of good food, quality service and youthful entertainment.

The friendly Manager, Brandy Gray, led us to our private room, typically used for birthday parties. We sat and noticed a giant cup of quarters on the table, waiting for us to spend them in the video games that chirped at us in the next room. You can only imagine the anticipation!

If you’re a fan of a good pie, you’d be in Italian heaven at Pizza Inn, owned by Jim and Cynthia Gray. We all had enormous appetites, so we started with the salad bar (loaded with toppings), gorged ourselves with pizza and concluded with tasty desserts!

Take a look at all the pizzas the Inn offered: Zesty Buffalo Chicken, Pizza Inn Special (kind-of like a Supreme), Bacon Cheddar Ham, Bacon Cheeseburger (complete with pickles), the Veggie Max, Chicken Fajita, Pepperoni and Cheese. The bar also has breadsticks, spaghetti and meatballs and macaroni and cheese for the kiddos.

The Lunch Bunch agreed that the Zesty Buffalo Chicken was the best! Definitely try it when you go!

We then headed for the desserts, cleverly dubbed Pizzerts. We chose from Fruit, Chocolate Chip, Bavarian Crème and Cinnamon Stromboli Pizzerts.  I have to say, the Bavarian Crème was my favorite, although everyone else really liked the Stromboli.

So after lunch, we headed to the Game Room.  Kim was especially ready to put a tight hold on the joystick and maneuver Pac Man around the dots and away from the ghosts. But, when she put her quarters in, she accidentally chose Gallaga instead of Pac Man. No problem! I love Gallaga!  I stole the joystick and started firing shots at those spaceships with rage! The game didn’t last long though; I think I’ve lost my touch.

Elizabeth and Christina were determined to win a stuffed animal in that non-winnable machine that everyone loves to hate. You know the one, the big mechanical arm that drops and gets hold of an arm or leg of a $0.59 stuffed animal only to drop it elsewhere in the pile. Why are we bull-headed enough to waste $3.00 in quarters for this?

Now, April and Heather chose to spend their quarters on the machine (sorry, can’t remember the names of these) that is kind-of like Tetris. You have to stack blocks to the top without getting out of vertical order And, the prizes are always super cool. But, they didn’t win either.  Darn these games!

Oh well… we didn’t win any grand prizes, but man did we have a ball in the Game Room! Take a look at the pictures online at www.YourIslandNews.com. You’ll notice a lot of smiles!

Thanks for your hospitality Brandy. Everyone at Pizza Inn was kind and courteous, and extra willing to serve.  It’s always nice to frequent a restaurant with so many welcoming faces.

Since we’re all moms, we’ll definitely be bringing our kids back to enjoy the games soon. But watch out Abbie and Julia (my precious girls), Mommy is determined to excel at Gallaga. We might be at the Inn for a while! I guess I better save my quarters.

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The Origin of “Hush Puppy”

Hello!  I love your Lunch Bunch.  I always heard that the help used to feed the dogs fried cornbread between the kitchen and the main house to keep the dogs quiet.  A Civil War legend exists where soldiers would feed their dogs fried cornbread with the command “hush puppy”.

Milbry Gnann

I can’t tell you exactly where, but, by tradition, hush puppies were invented in Southern hunting/fishing camps.  At the end of the day, the men would ready their catch/kill for frying by coating them in cornmeal and seasonings.  All good Southern hunts required hunting dogs, and the dogs would begin to howl and sniff around the frying food.  To keep them quiet, the men would roll up balls of the cornmeal mixture, throw them into the deep fat for a few minutes, then toss the product to the dogs to hush them–hence “hush puppy.”

Diane Voge

My aunt (a true southern lady) told my son (almost 4) that the name hush puppies came from fishermen.  To quiet their barking dogs, they would tossed leftover ‘stuff’ (batter, corn…anything left from making dinner) into the frying pan and then to the dogs and said “hush puppy”.  So, when she makes hush puppies during our visits, my son waits on the floor ‘barking’ and she tosses him fried fritters and says ‘hush puppy’.  Don’t know if that is the real origin or not but I think it makes for a good story!

Katie Nicka

Hush Puppy:  The Confederate Soldiers during the Civil War kept there dogs quiet while they were cooking by feeding them Fried Dough Balls hence the name Hush Puppy.

Will and Grace from Rita’s Italian Ice

The name hush puppies came from the fact that Confederate Soldiers would use their corn meal rations to feed to their dogs to quiet them in order to avoid detection from Union Soldiers, hence the name, hushing the puppies.

Jay Lovell

I have no documentation for the story I will relate below concerning the origin of the term ‘hush puppies’. It makes some sense to me at any rate.

As I heard it, fishermen up and down the east coast would take the fried balls of bread with them each day as they set out on their fishing adventures. The bread was fried since that would keep it from taking on humidity as quickly as regular bread. These fishermen would also take their loyal canine friends with them for company, but since fish can be startled by loud noises, the fishermen could not allow their dogs to bark incessantly during the day. To keep the dogs quiet, they would toss the animals these fried bread balls with the admonition, “Hush Puppy”. The admonition stuck as the name of this Low Country delicacy.

This is my story and I’m sticking to it. I hope your Lunch Bunch finds it feasible or at least enjoyable.

JD Rogers

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Lunch Bunch Dines at Grouper’s

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 15, 2010

Spotted by the Lunch Bunch this week: Nancy Ware and Kathy Charbonnier

This week the Lunch Bunch traveled to Grouper’s, located on Factory Creek (where Ollie’s used to be). Decorated with Caribbean colors and artwork, the restaurant boasts a boater-friendly atmosphere. The large deck is a perfect spot to dine after those late-summer evenings on the river.

Owned by Sally and Caesar Moona and operated by their son, Donnie, Grouper’s offers traditional Lowcountry fare as well as Island cuisine.  You’ll even see Goat on the menu!

We started with some Grouper bites and hush puppies for the table. And, oh were they yummy… and perfectly fried! I would love it if someone could email me and let me know where the term hush puppies originated!  The first person to do so will appear in next week’s Lunch Bunch column! Email theislandnews@gmail.com, ATTN: Wendy.

Three of the Lunch Bunchers were craving shrimp! Heather ordered the Southern Marinated Shrimp, served in a Martini glass.  Christina asked for the Shrimp Po Boy, and Boy, did it have a lot of shrimp! And Elizabeth got the Shrimp, Mango and Jicama Salad served with red onions and a pineapple vinaigrette.

April, our truest Carolina Girl, opted for the Carolina Barbequed Sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. I just learned that BBQ originated in Port Royal. Janie Lackman (today’s Profile) was talking to me about the Friends of Caroline Hospice event, Bands, Brews and Barbeques to be held on Labor Day Weekend. She explained to me that the past South Carolina BBQ Association president, Lake High, created a history of BBQ.  And sure enough, BBQ came from the Lowcountry! Attention Larry Rowland: another Beaufort connection!

Kim and I wanted the grouper, since the restaurant chose its namesake. Kim got the grilled grouper with veggies. And I loved the pecan and cranberry-crusted grouper over a bed of greens.

Thanks Groupers for your hospitality!  We’ll be back, next time by boat!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Just Like Home at Shoofly Kitchen

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 8, 2010

Spotted this week by the Lunch Bunch: Carol Waters, Derek Gilbert, Mary Lohr and Jeff Myers

This week the Lunch Bunch felt right at home at Shoofly Kitchen, owned and operated by Roseanne Steele.

Steele, with whom many may be familiar, used to be the chef at Firehouse Café. Since she’s always had a passion for cooking, she recently decided to open a restaurant of her own in Uptown Beaufort at 1209 Boundary Street.

It’s a family affair at Shoofly. David, Steele’s husband and Jo Beth and Nash, their two daughters, all work at the restaurant. Perhaps that’s why there’s such a comfortable feeling at Shoofly.

When the Lunch Bunch sat, we were surprised with individually wrapped cranberry cookies, tastefully bagged with Shoofly’s original logo.  And they were so moist and light! Nothing like a delicious treat bag when you arrive at a restaurant!

As you walk in, the server behind the counter is pleased to take your order. And there are no menus. You order from the large chalkboard up front. Very planet-friendly!

The server will then bring your items in the cutest to-go boxes you’ve ever seen! The box unfolds to become a plate if you’re dining in or can carry well if you’re looking to picnic outside. And again, it’s recyclable!

When Elizabeth, Kim and I arrived, the others had already ordered. Three items were immediately scratched off our list, since it is the Lunch Bunch’s unwritten rule to eat different dishes.

April ordered the Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich with a side of the Orzo Salad with Feta Cheese. She absolutely loved it!

Christina opted for the Special Ham and Brie with Cranberry Sandwich. She said it tasted, “very homemade,” and was quite pleased with her selection.

Heather asked for the Cranberry Chicken Salad. Okay, she is searching for the best chicken salad in Beaufort. It is a personal quest.  She’s put Shoofly’s Chicken Salad in her Top 3.  “The pecans were toasted just right,” she says, “and they don’t put a lot of mayo in it.”

Elizabeth and I were torn between the Pimiento Cheese Sandwich and the Crab Quiche. We played Rock, Paper, Scissors to see who would decide.

I won with Scissors (over Paper) and chose the Crab Quiche. Whoa…this quiche was phenomenal! It had so much crab in it, and creamy!

So Elizabeth obviously ordered the Pimiento Cheese on Sourdough. She raved about its perfect amount of mayo (just as Heather did) and the big chunks of cheese in it.

Kim was craving seafood on Wednesday. She liked the Shrimp and Corn Chowder.  And the portion was huge! I’d definitely recommend a bowl!

Roseanne then surprised us again with a platter of cupcakes…Strawberry, Lemon and Boston Crème. Oh Beaufort, you know how much the Lunch Bunch adores our desserts! Once again, we were in Heaven!

In addition to serving lunch, Shoofly also caters special events. If you’re looking to host a bridal shower or Luncheon or want to provide treats for out-of-town guests, call Shoofly with your requests. They can even customize their boxes to match your event with identical color palettes and themes.

Roseanne would be happy to discuss possible menu items for your event. Give her a call at (843) 379-9061 or email her at contact@shooflykitchen.com.  Also, you can take a look at the menu at www.shooflykitchen.com if you want to pick something up to carry out.

Thanks so much Roseanne for a wonderful lunch and such a pleasant experience. We all loved it!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Just Another Day at The Office

By Wendy Pollitzer

Apr. 1, 2010

This week the Lunch Bunch never left The Office. But working, we were not! We enjoyed a nice afternoon in the Beaufort Town Center restaurant owned and operated by Jim Laferriere, The Office.

Laferriere and his staff will celebrate The Office’s 1st Anniversary Friday, April 2nd. But, if you cant get in there this Friday, know there’s always a daily special going on that will entice you to this local Sports Bar.

Mondays are Rib night, Tuesdays…”Lobstah” night and Wednesdays, you can get all the Wings you can eat. And, The Office just added a Steak night on Saturdays. A 12-oz. t-bone, hand-cut by Island Meats on Lady’s Island will be served.

Do all of these special nights sound familiar? For you locals, you’ll get a laugh that The Office was just dubbed, “Harold’s East” by one of Laferriere’s patrons.

But don’t worry about choosing a night with Happy Hour specials. The Office hosts Happy Hour every night from 4-7 with $1 off all drinks! And don’t worry if you’ve had too much to drink. The Office offers a free cab ride home if you’ve exceeded your limit. Yes, that’s right Beaufort…I said it, FREE! The Office partnered with Budweiser to bring this unique and kind service to the community. Maybe that’s why The Office remains on the “Safe List” of bars by the U.S. Marine Corps.

And, trust me, you could stay at The Office for hours! They have 23 television screens throughout the restaurant with the capacity to play four games at a time on each TV. Don’t worry about missing a game during March Madness. The Office is sure to have it on! And, the more popular games are shown on their brand-new 100- inch HD flat screen.

In addition to watching sports, you can play a few on your own. The Office has soft and metal darts, ring toss, corn hole, ping (beer) pong and video games. And, with live entertainment nightly, you can play everything while listening to your favorite tunes! They even have Wii for the children! Want to keep the krazy kiddos quiet during a long lunch with friends? Let them play Wii, and they’ll be entertained for the duration!

So, you’ve got to pair good food with fun entertainment. And, The Office won’t let you down! Laferriere makes everything from scratch. The wing sauce, his chili and meat loaf…all homemade. And, both of his daughters, who also work at The Office, have their grandmother’s secret recipe for the family’s famous New England Clam Chowder.

The Lunch Bunch started with some Crab, Spinach and Artichoke dip with pita wedges and chips and salsa, also homemade and delicious!

Most items on the menu are given clever titles, like the Copy Room that April ordered, a hickory smoked bacon and smoked cheddar. And Christina asked for the Filing Cabinet, warm bow-tie pasta tossed with all sorts of toppings, enough to fill…you guessed it…a Filing Cabinet!

Elizabeth dared to try the hot and dried Cajun wings. And they were hot! Good for Lizzy, eatin’ like the boys watching basketball…her favorite pastime in March!

Heather got the Bruschetta Chicken Wrap, Jamaican chicken with feta, bruschetta tomato and greens in a spinach wrap. She said she needed to get her “spinach” for the day. Aye Aye, Popeye!

Kim, the smart girl out of the Lunch Bunch, remembered that Tuesday was “Lobstah” night. So, since it was Wednesday lunch, she asked for a lobster roll, though not on the menu. And Jim was happy to make it for her!

I ordered the open faced Swai Fish Melt. Swai, you ask? Swai is akin to grouper, but farm-raised in Russia. It was nice and flaky like grouper and even better with caramelized onions and smoked Swiss on top!

April then asked for The O.T. for dessert. A warm walnut fudge brownie topped with a Klondike Bar and whipped Cream came out, and the Lunch Bunch devoured it! Good call April!

So okay, the majority of the Lunch Bunch bleeds Clemson Orange. So we were very delighted to learn that The Office is home to the Beaufort Clemson Club! I know where Kim, Elizabeth and I will be if we’re not in Death Valley in the Fall!

The Office is also a Red Sox Nation Location and a New England Patriots Fan Spot.  But even if you’re a Yankee fan, a Colts lover, or heaven forbid, a Gamecock, The Office welcomes friendly rivalry.  Laferriere says, “Bring it!”

If you like sports, good music, weekly specials and tasty food, you’ll love The Office!  Jim Laferriere wants you to have a good time, so take advantage of it! Sit back, watch the game and order a cold one. You’ll be glad you did!

Thanks Jim for a wonderful lunch!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Plum’s is Back!

Mar. 25, 2010

By Wendy Pollitzer

Spotted this week: Evan Thompson, Scott Stowe, Danny Stroud, Beth Grace, Grace Simmons, Kathy Tupper, Sally Fordham, Wanda Scheper, Hedy Williams, Mary Anne Harrison, Joy Avera

The Lunch Bunch has been anticipating the renovated completion of Plum’s for some time. And, boy was it worth the wait!

When Shipman’s Gallery closed, Plum’s expanded to include the space that fronts Bay Street. Now, bigger and better, Plum’s promises to deliver the same quality food at the same competitive prices.

The décor is simple, yet inviting. The cool, distressed look is reminiscent of a New England Ice House.  The clean lines of the Subway tile behind the raw bar and the aged wood combination makes for a comfortable, relaxing ambiance.

Let’s not forget the food and the service! From start to finish, personable wait staff accompanied quick delivery. Jennifer (with the super-cool glasses) was our server, and she was great! Thorough and attentive, Jennifer won our smiles!

Local Eddings Point Oysters from Maggioni Seafood Company

Chip Dinkins, Director of Operations for Plum’s, Inc. won our hearts quickly!  He brought out a dozen raw, local oysters straight off the dock from Eddings Point. The delectable bivalves came from Maggioni Seafood Company, operated by Roddy Beasley on St. Helena Island. If you haven’t tasted an oyster from Maggioni’s, do yourself a favor, and get on down to Plum’s!

So okay, the food! Amazing, creative, fun, tasty and consistent! I could go on and on with desirable adjectives about Plum’s Lunch.  You can visit our website at www.YourIslandNews.com to see photos of all the good food; but, for now, I’ll tell you a little bit about each of our meals.

Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Burger

Kim ordered the Blue Cheese and Caramelized Onion Burger, but the chef accidentally forgot to include the onions. Kim quickly realized the omission, and asked for a side. Our girl Jennifer delivered them promptly!

Christina opted for the Barbeque, Bacon, Avocado and Pepper-Jack Burger. Surprised by the size, she had to take one of the patties off to fit the burger in her mouth. Kim didn’t, however. She ate the whole thing without regard to alteration. We love our Kimmy!

Barbeque, Bacon, Avocado and Pepper-Jack Bu

April asked for the Egg Salad Sandwich, after changing her mind from the Egg Salad Salad. It’s one of her favorites on the menu!

I got the infamous Biarritz, sliced smoked turkey, bacon and Brie in a grilled pita with strawberry spread. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I ordered it for the first time about 8 years ago and can’t seem to get anything else when I go to Plum’s lunch. Now,

Egg Salad Sandwich

dinner is a different story. I have a few favs on that menu!

Elizabeth decided to get her favorite as well, the Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich on Toasted Wheat, instead of a tortilla wrap. Almonds and dried cranberries accompanied the yellow curry chicken. Ms. Harding loved the strong curry flavor; and, after I tasted it, completely agreed!

Biarritz

So each and every one of us, (without Heather this week-she had a sick child) asked for sweet potato fries as our side. No question, they are the bomb! But Elizabeth also asked for a side of Blue Cheese to dip her fries in. I tasted the combo, and it was quite good! So, if you’re not in the mood for ketchup, give it a try next time you’re at Plum’s.

Curry Chicken Salad Sandwich

Many of us in the Lunch Bunch enjoyed Plum’s more than once last week.  The restaurant offers a little something for everyone. Whether you’re in the mood for an organized Wine Lunch from a specialty vineyard (take a look at Celia’s Wine column) or if you want to enjoy a good band on a Friday night, or if you want a relaxing early-bird dinner, or if you’re looking for consistent service and good food, Plum’s offers it all.

So, we have been told now by several women in town that they are the original Lunch Bunch. We say…the more Lunch Bunches, the better for Beaufort! There is no more of a fun way to catch up with girlfriends and take a break from the hectic week than to organize a Lunch Bunch. I’m sure the area restaurant owners would agree!

One Lunch Bunch, who also dined at Plum’s last week, has been getting together for 38 years in Beaufort. They are Beth Grace, Hedy Williams, Kathy Tupper, Wando Scheper, Connie Trask (not present) and Sally Fordham. Little Grace Simmons, a future Beaufort Lunch Buncher, accompanied the group of dear friends. Keep it going girls! Our Lunch Bunch hopes to run into you again!

Thanks Plum’s for everything! You’re a true Beaufort staple, for returning tourists and locals alike!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Lunch Bunch goes to Bistro Patois

by Wendy Pollitzer

Spotted at the Lunch Bunch this week: Mark Hayward and Jeff Tomas; Lauren and Patrick Kelly and Alan Eisenman

The Lunch Bunch dined  French Countryside Buffet-style at Bistro Patois in the Habersham Marketplace this week.

Ooh-la-la, what a meal!  Nicholas Miranda welcomed the Lunch Bunch with sophisticated charm and a thorough description of our courses.  We sat down at the French-style bistro with a farm table in front of us full of food, ready for us to devour as soon as we were settled with drink orders.

Christina and Elizabeth ordered the San Benedetto Aranciata, an orange sparkling beverage Christina remembers when she spent three years in Italy, and Elizabeth recalls when she studied abroad. They agreed… it was their favorite non-alcoholic drink when they lived in Europe!

Whoa, what a spread! Penn TenEyck, Chef at Patois prepared a delicious and memorable feast. We chose from Truffled Chicken Liver Pate, Pork Rillette and Sopresatta. We then moved on to the Hickory-smoked Mussels with Truffle Oil and plump Golden Raisins. Also on the table was a Butter Leaf and Frisee Salade Aux Herbs. And the best-tasting item on the buffet, unanimously agreed upon by the Lunch Bunch was the Salade de Boeuf et de Betteraves (cold beef and beat salad).

All six of us praised this salad, even April, whose palette is maturing with each Lunch Bunch experience!  The beats and beef melted in our mouths with just enough flavor and texture. I am not kidding when I say I went to the table three times, just for this salad!

This idea is a great one. Patois hosts this Lunch every Tuesday from 11:30am-2:30pm. As soon as you’re seated, you may take your plate and enjoy the spread on the farm table. You may also order other selected items from the menu. It’s fast and mighty tasty!

This week, each of us chose from three Quiches: Quiche Lorrain, Quiche Aux Crevettes and the Tomato and Goat Cheese Quiche. All were delicious, but I favored the Quiche Lorrain over the rest. It was incredibly creamy!

We finished with a Flourless Chocolate Mousse Tort. There were six gone in under 30 seconds! I’ve never heard silence for so long among six women. I literally almost through all my graces out the window as I contemplated licking the plate.  But I could see my mother’s manner-watching eyes scowl at me in my head. Get the picture?

Thank you to the staff at Bistro Patois for an unforgettable experience! It WAS the best- kept secret in Beaufort. Not any more!

Take a look at the website for photos of our meals at www.YourIslandNews.com.

If you’re interested in hosting the Lunch Bunch at your establishment, please email us at theislandnews@gmail.com.  We’d love to come visit!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Lunch Bunch dines at Upper Crust

by Wendy Pollitzer

Mar. 11, 2010

Spotted at Lunch Bunch this week: Colden and Patricia Battey and Kelly Lesesne, owner of Carolina Jasmine

The sextet ate at another Lady’s Island staple this week, Upper Crust Pizzeria at 97 Sea Island Parkway.

We began lunch with a conversation about how much fun we’re having with the Lunch Bunch.  People all over town are commenting on our spots. I even had a woman call my personal cell the other day to ask me the location of a restaurant we covered in a previous issue.

A group of 6 women ate at a local establishment recently, and it was overheard that the wait staff asked if they were the Lunch Bunch. We’re getting popular!  So we’ve decided to ask community members to join us at Lunch Bunch every week. Beginning next issue, we’ll highlight our invited table guest.

This week, we enjoyed ourselves at the Italian eatery every busy family in Beaufort likes to frequent during the hectic days and evenings of softball and baseball games, tennis matches, play rehearsals, etc. Don’t have time to cook, let’s go to Upper Crust! Isn’t it amazing how many Saltines and butter crackers your kids can eat in 5 minutes?

Veggie Wrap

Chicken Wrap

Christina and Elizabeth ordered wraps, a veggie and chicken wrap. Both were rolled in a super-crunchy bread, almost like a thin-crust pizza dough. Elizabeth upgraded from chips to fries, always a good decision!

Kim got the Eggplant Parmesan and a salad. She loves a good pasta meal! I asked for the Greek Salad with chicken, a favorite my friend Wendi and I used to order weekly when our kids were babies.

Eggplant Parmesan

Upper Crust Chicken Salad with Fries

I’ll end with a story about April. Every Wednesday, she and her husband order from Upper Crust. The restaurant has her cell number on file and knows exactly what she wants…the original Chicken Salad with Fries, no pepper, no olives, no onions and honey mustard.  The salad has French Fries on it! The Lunch Bunch personally renamed her dish, “The Ackerman.”

Thanks Upper Crust for the quick service and the delicious meals! We’ll be back soon!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Lunch Bunch goes to The Original Steamer

Mar. 4, 2010

The Lunch Bunch visited an old favorite last week. We enjoyed an afternoon at The Original Steamer.

The main restaurant was under renovation, so we ate in what I call, “The Annex.” The entrance has a fresh new look with a brick landing.  And, by the time this article appears, the floors will be refurbished and renovations in the main building will be complete. General Manager, Lisa Elder and Chef Kent Klein are excited to invite their customers back to the welcomed changes.

So how do you go wrong at Steamers? Elizabeth and I were craving grease! We were all about fried food on Wednesday. Lizzy got the fried shrimp basket and a loaded baked potato, “the best in town,” she says. They use real bacon. Everything is better with real bacon! And the shrimp was impeccably fried.

I got the ½ fried oyster, ½ broiled shrimp basket with fries. My body might have been craving grease, but my mind was counting calories. I was not disappointed! The kebob-style shrimp was cooked to perfection! And the oysters were oh so tasty!

April ordered the BBQ sliders. They had just enough slaw inside to make the bite crunchy. She also asked for a salad instead of fries. She was being the good girl! April was extra pleased with her meal, so much so that she didn’t want to go home. Well, to be fair, her heat went out in her house, and it was COLD on Wednesday!

Kim chose the deviled crabs, a lowcountry staple. The two came in little crab-shaped tins that were adorable! The meal came with two sides and a baked potato. Thankfully, Kim didn’t have any leftovers this week prior to coming to Lunch Bunch, so she was able to enjoy the entire portion.

Heather had the crab cakes, an ideal portion if you’re in the mood for a light lunch. And Christina won with best dish again. She ordered the shrimp burger. But shhh, don’t tell Jared at the Gym, she says!

Expect new surprises at Steamers when you go for lunch or dinner. They will boast a new wall of fame, where photos of recent marine graduates and their families will hang. And graduates will eat free! Also, Steamers is starting a Birthday Club. You’ll be able to take $5.00 off a birthday lunch or $10.00 off a birthday diner. And if you come in with a crowd of 6 or more, Steamers will throw in a free dessert.

On Saturday, March 13 from Noon to 5pm, come to Steamers and show your support for our marines in Afghanistan and Iraq. All proceeds will go to the Moss Creek Marines “Adopt a Combat Unit Program.”  The Steamer will serve Frogmore Stew, Chile, Pilled Pork, Beer and More! Tickets are $1 each.

Thank you to The Original Steamer for an excellent lunch! We’ll be back for sure!

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Lunch Bunch: April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and Wendy Pollitzer

Lunch Bunch dines at Fryed Green Tomatoes and Rita’s Italian Ice

Feb. 25, 2010

This week the Lunch Bunch ate at Fryed Green Tomatoes. The group enjoyed the cafeteria-style atmosphere and the friendly service, but especially liked the huge portions!

Christina couldn’t be with us this week. She was attending Ash Wednesday Service at St. Peter’s Catholic Church.

April knew from the start she’d have the Fryed Green Tomato BLT. But get this… she added an egg to it, and made it a BELT! Only in the South!

Kim was eager to try the Oyster Po Boy. Since she doesn’t like bread, she ate the fried oysters off the sandwich.  Her side of collards were particularly good, but SPICY! She didn’t taste them before she doused them with Texas Pete Pepper Sauce.  Whoa, they were hot!

Elizabeth settled with the Meat and Three. She ordered fried chicken with white gravy, green beans, mac n’ cheese and fried okra. She had to order an extra side of white gravy, because it was so yummy! And the chicken…really good and crunchy!

Heather enjoyed the Tri-Salad plate with chicken, tuna and shrimp salads on top of greens. If you like mayonnaise, you’ll love the chicken salad! The shrimp salad was by far her favorite!

With the exception of Heather and myself (who had the Special Crab and Spinach Quiche), everyone took home boxes of complete meals for dinner. Like I said, the portions were enormous!

Since the meals were set a good price points, and most of us carried home our dinners, Fryed Green Tomatoes was a cost-effective spot to dine this week!

Within walking distance is Rita’s Italian Ice. The Lunch Bunch was invited by Will and Grace Hein, Rita’s owners to enjoy dessert after our lunch. Can you say DELICIOUS!

Grace wasn’t in the store, but Will served us as we drooled over our samples.

For those of you who haven’t been to Rita’s, you should know that everything is made from scratch everyday with no imitation ingredients.

Kim missed out! She had to go get her hair done while the rest of us got spoiled! Most of the Lunch Bunch took pleasure in the Gelati, a layering of your favorite Italian Ice and Frozen Custard of Slenderita fat-free soft serve! April had the Birthday Cake Slenderita, while Christina (who was able to make it after Ash Wednesday Service) enjoyed the Strawberry Margarita. Elizabeth loved the Black Cherry Slenderita while Heather was perfectly content with the Green Apple. I was the oddball who ordered the coffee-flavored frozen custard with hot fudge sauce.  I was in Heaven!

Will and Grace are gracious hosts. Every Super Bowl and First Day of Spring (ironically also the birthday of Will and myself…March 21st… hint, hint), Rita’s gives away FREE cups of Italian Ice. Just come in the store on Boundary Street, and get a free dessert. No gimmicks, just smiles! Last year, Will and Grace gave away over 1500 cups of the flavorful treats on the First Day of Spring. This year, that day comes on March 20th, not the 21st.  Be sure to mark your calendars! You won’t be let down!

The Lunch Bunch was especially grateful to Will and Grace for inviting us to their establishment. What a treat! Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, do yourself a favor and visit Rita’s Italian Ice in Beaufort Town Center. Tell them the Lunch Bunch sent you!

Lunch Bunch goes to Yes Thai, Indeed!

by Wendy Pollitzer

Feb. 18, 2010

Yes, we indeed enjoyed ourselves at the Boundary Street eatery, Yes Thai, Indeed! The Lunch Bunch sans Heather met on Tuesday at the unique midday meal spot. Did you know the building used to be a Kentucky Fried Chicken? I didn’t. A Beaufort Native told me.

We sat, having to wait briefly since it was so packed…a good sign in these economic times! Service was fast, and we quickly ordered some dumplings. All of us were starving!

Christina and I ordered from the Specials menu. She got the Pineapple rice and I asked for the Mango shrimp. I think we both had visions of the tropics on this cold February day.

April, a Thai novice, ordered the Pad Thai based on expert Thai advice from Elizabeth and Kim. The sisters ordered their favorites; Kim wanted the Massaman Curry plate while Elizabeth craved the Pad Kee Mao.

We were all chatting about the week when we were surprised with individual servings of Tom Yom soup. None of us were expecting this with our meals, and were pleasantly surprised!

Hands down, Christina won with the best dish! We all sampled each other’s meals, and hers was the tastiest! The pineapple added a sweet perspective, but didn’t overpower the spicy flavors of the typical Thai dish. Whoa, it was good!

The rest of us were more than content with our selections. My mango shrimp was flattering while Kim’s mild chili paste plate was ever pleasing. And Elizabeth’s stir-fried noodle dish was prepared perfectly al dente!

We are all working with April. Being the newbie to Thai, she needs a little more persuasion to eastern cuisine. If anyone wants to treat her to more, I’m sure she’ll give it another try! Pad Thai was a little overwhelming to her palate. But she’s game to try it again!

Thanks to Yes Thai, Indeed for a memorable and tasty lunch!

The Lunch Bunch goes to Restaurant Fuji

by Wendy Pollitzer

Feb. 11, 2010

The girls at The Island News are taking you to Lunch! Each week, the staff will visit local eateries and tell you about our entrees and the experience. Our group is called, “The Lunch Bunch.” We are April Ackerman, Heather Bruner, Christina Byrne, Kim Harding Gallant, Elizabeth Harding and myself.

This week, the girls went to Restaurant Fuji, located at 81 Sea Island Parkway on Lady’s Island. Wouldn’t you know, I couldn’t go, and Fuji is one of my all-time favorites in town! Had I gone, I would’ve had the infamous Shrimp Bowl, always consistent and packed with flavor. It’ll also fill you up pretty quickly, so don’t expect to workout afterwards!

Christina had the Veggie Bowl with extra mushrooms. “The bowl of veggies, steamed rice and shrimp sauce always hits the spot. And it costs less than $4. What a deal!”

Kim is honest and straightforward. “Since I had left over country-fried steak for breakfast, I had to order light for lunch,” she admits. So, she had the Tuna Takaki appetizer. “The tuna was fabulously fresh and lightly seared. It was covered in a delicious spicy sauce (unknown to the server).” She says, “It’s a very good choice, but don’t order it on date night. It was covered in raw onions!”

Elizabeth enjoyed the Miso soup and Sushi! “The Miso soup was just what I needed to warm me up on a cold day! The crunchy green onions added a great, yummy texture! The sushi was also delicious!  The Spicy Tuna roll is always top on my list, and it did not let me down,” exclaimed Elizabeth.

April had the chicken bowl and, “it was really good and filling,” she explains. She also had a small house salad with the ginger dressing. And she’s not really a fan of the ginger dressing, but said it was great!

We hope you like our little column. Where will we go next week? You’ll find out in the next issue. If you ever see the Lunch Bunch dining, please stop to say hello. You could be part of the column!

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