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February 2021

R E AL E T ESTTA INGS LI S INSIDE

At

home with

RAUL SANCHEZ Ruta Smith

MAKE YOUR HOME MORE ECO-

FRIENDLY

HOW TO DEAL WITH

4 PESKY PLANT PESTS

a Charleston City Paper publication


CHARLESTON COUNTY ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT

RECYCLE RIGHT! Volume 1, Number 7

P A P E R B O A R D

&

C A R D B O A R D

PLASTIC BOTTLES & CONTAINERS G L A S S

B O T T L E S

&

A L U M I N U M

Feb. 10, 2021

J A R S &

S T E E L

INSIDE AT HOME IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

Sanchez bases country-style cuisine on tradition BY PARKER MILNER

.......... 17

DIGGING YOUR HOME

C A R T O N S

P A P E R

How to make your home more eco-friendly

.......... 19

FROM STAFF REPORTS

PLACE MATERIAL LOOSE IN CART, NO PLASTIC BAGS

ALL MATERIAL MUST FIT IN CART

DIGGING REAL ESTATE

Properties for sale and rentals in your area

.......... 20

DIGGING LOCAL

Q U E S T I O N S ? C I T I B O T :

T E X T

H E L L O

T O

VISIT AND LIVE CHAT: RECYCLE.CHARLESTONCOUNTY.ORG 8 4 3 . 7 2 0 . 7 1 1 1

Digs, our monthly home-focused publication, connects the people who make the Lowcountry special with content they’ve been missing. Digs gets up close and personal with stories on local personalities, home design and remodeling, plants and gardening, home repair and real estate. To learn more about advertising opportunities offered through Digs, contact our advertising team at (843) 577-5304 or send an email to: sales@charlestoncitypaper.com. Dig it! PUBLISHER Andy Brack

P L A C E A T L E A S T 3 F E E T F R O M A N Y O B J E C T

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BY TONI REALE

8 4 3 . 8 0 0 . 4 1 2 1

F O L L O W U S O N F A C E B O O K @CHARLESTONCOUNTYENVIRONMENTALMANAGEMENT

C A L L

Treating and preventing 4 pesky plant pests

A W A Y

H A N D L E S F A C I N G H O U S E

EDITOR

Sam Spence

STAFF

Parker Milner Ruta Smith

CONTRIBUTOR Toni Reale

Published by City Paper Publishing, LLC Members: J. Edward Bell | Andrew C. Brack

Views expressed in Charleston City Paper cover the spectrum and do not necessarily reflect the views of the publisher. Charleston City Paper takes no responsibility for unsolicited manuscripts. © 2021. All content is copyrighted and the property of City Paper Publishing, LLC. Material may not be reproduced without permission. Proud member of the Association of Alternative Newsmedia and the South Carolina Press Association.

CHARLESTON CITY PAPER 02.10.2021

H A V E C A R T O U T B Y 7 A M O N Y O U R B I - W E E K L Y C O L L E C T I O N D A Y

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AT HOME IN THE LOWCOUNTRY

Sponsored by

Sanchez bases country-style Mexican cuisine on tradition BY PARKER MILNER

Maya del Sol Kitchen owner Raul Sanchez’s parents didn’t want him to be a chef. But after spending five minutes with Sanchez in his West Ashley home, it’s clear he’s found his calling. In fact, it’s painfully obvious as shown in his newly renovated kitchen and a lush backyard garden that soon will be filled with hot peppers that will make their way into bottles of hot sauce. “I was born and raised in Chicago — Mexican parents, both were chefs — so I’ve been in the food world ever since I can remember,” Sanchez said. “My parents didn’t want us to get into the food world obviously, but I’m the only one from eight who did.” Sanchez, the oldest of his siblings, recently opened Maya del Sol Kitchen, his third local venture since he arrived in Charleston in 2011. The Reynolds Avenue restaurant, open for dinner Thursday through Saturday and brunch on Sunday, defines the country-style Mexican cuisine that Sanchez cooked with his mother and grandmother during his childhood. The experienced chef wasn’t always drawn to the culinary field, but a chance encounter with a friend led him down the path he’s happy he traveled. “I happened to have a friend who owned a temp agency, and one of her biggest clients was Dean Foods,” said Sanchez, recalling the days before he accepted a temporary job at one of the largest milk, butter and ice cream processors in the country. The three-month assignment as a data analyst in 1995 turned into a full-time corporate chef position after Dean Foods learned of Sanchez’s lineage. The main perk of the job, Sanchez said, was the company’s willingness to pay for his culinary training.

As is the case with many chefs, Sanchez’s journey to opening his first restaurant took him out of the culinary field for seven years. But when the time came to leave the Midwest, he had some help deciding where to land. “My grandma had been in South Carolina for 30-plus years. We would visit her once a year,” said Sanchez, recalling discussions with his grandmother before he moved to the South. “My grandma says to me, ‘You said if you ever left Illinois you would give Charleston a try,’ so I ended up here by guilt.” Sanchez initially planned to open an Italian restaurant called Raul’s Tuscan Flair, but his disappointment in Charleston’s continued on page 18

Sanchez’s kitchen offers comfortable prep space with iconic art on the walls. Ruta Smith

DIGS | charlestoncitypaper.com

Sanchez’s grandmother brought him to South Carolina

17


THE LOWDOWN ON RAUL SANCHEZ Age: 50 Birthplace: Chicago, Ill. Education: Phillips College of Chicago. Current profession: Maya del Sol Kitchen, executive chef and owner. Family: Oldest of eight siblings. Hobbies: “Any time that I get the opportunity to be free for two or three days, I just like to go to North Carolina or any place that has mountains and explore them. I love nature and the wilderness.” Favorite meal in Charleston: King’s Pizza (Ladson) gnocchi with vodka sauce. Favorite wine: Daou Vineyards cabernet sauvignon. First job in the food and beverage industry: Dean Foods corporate chef. Describe one thing people would be surprised to know about Mexican cuisine: “Mole is not a chocolate sauce; it may or may not contain chocolate, but it still tastes like chocolate. It’s peppers, fruits, nuts, spices and tortillas or breads. When you fry (the peppers) in oil and you take a bite of them, you swear you’re biting into a spicy truffle. So that’s where the chocolate flavor comes from.” Favorite ingredient: Besides peppers, garlic. Turning point in your restaurant career: “I had customers when I opened (Raul’s in 2011) maybe the first two months, but then it steadily started declining. In the fourth month, The Post and Courier (review) came in. There was a line around the block, and we were full for four months. Then, the review from the City Paper came out. We were busier, again.” Favorite street food: Pan-fried smashed potatoes in Tuscany.

CHARLESTON CITY PAPER 02.10.2021

Pet peeve: “I don’t like the word ‘authentic’ because when people say ‘authentic,’ they’re describing something they had in the past. A perfect example: Not everybody here makes fried chicken the same. Authentic is what I grew up eating, and your authentic is what you grew up eating.”

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Anything about the pandemic affected you in particular: “Like everybody else, the fact that at the very beginning I didn’t work from March all the way until August. So it affected me, but we have learned to adapt and do what we have to do to make a living.” One Mexican dish that portrays your style of cooking: Picadillo. New project: “I’m hopefully going to come up with a cookbook that would have what I would consider very traditional home as-I-grew-up recipes.”

Sanchez continued from page 17

Mexican cuisine led him to open Raul’s Taqueria and Mexican Grill in 2011 at the intersection of Rivers Avenue and Remount Road in North Charleston. He moved to a new Park Circle digs a year later before closing up shop in 2016 — but Sanchez wasn’t finished sharing his Mexican cuisine with Charleston.

Chef cooks Italian, Mexican dishes at home Several parallels exist between the Mexican food Sanchez grew up eating and the plates he found on an extended trip to Tuscany, the chef said. “Traditional Mexican food is like traditional Italian food. The grandmas cook all day on a Sunday for everyone to come to dinner on Sunday evening,” Sanchez said. “I cook a lot of Italian here, and I cook a lot of Mexican as well.” Sanchez’s home is filled with not-so-subtle hints at his profession, such as the cast iron pans by the fireplace, the 8-foot butcher block in the kitchen and the floor, where he’s filled in cracks in the tile with silverware. “My friend and I did the floors ourselves,” Sanchez said. “We went all the way to the subfloor because there was a sinking problem. When we fixed that, we tried not to break the tiles, but when we broke those, I said ‘You know what, I can do a pattern with spoons and knives.’ So, that’s how that became. A fixed mistake.”

Sanchez’ personal style can be seen at both his restaurant (above) and at home (below).

Backyard bridges gap between home and new restaurant After spending four years at R. Kitchen’s West Ashley location, where he owned part of the restaurant and featured Mexican Night on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Sanchez set out on his own again postpandemic, opening Maya del Sol Kitchen in January. The restaurant features Sanchez’s signature country-style Mexican cooking, plus he’s offering bottles of his extra spicy hot sauce made from peppers grown in his backyard. “That was one of the reasons to get the house,” he said. “There are flower beds ready for the spring, and we’ve got a bunch of seeds germinating so we can put them in the flower beds in late February.” And, this isn’t your average hot sauce — Sanchez’s has chocolate habaneros, Trinidad scorpions, ghost peppers and Mexican cayennes. “It’s very flavorful, but very hot,” he said. “You put it in your mouth, and it doesn’t kill you. I always tell people that you’ll be surprised by how much your tongue will tolerate if it hits you with flavor first.” Spice and flavor are exactly what you’ll find at Maya del Sol, where Sanchez serves a five-course meal with beverage pairings for $60. He has several specialties, including carne en su jugo, house-made tamales and his signature “mole,” a one-of-a-kind sauce you won’t find anywhere else in Charleston. “Growing up in a multicultural city, we had a family from Puebla who introduced me to their mole,” Sanchez said. “So I took that recipe and some of the items that I like the most from my mom’s and some of the items that I like the most from my grandma’s, and that’s how I came up with the mole I sell at the

Photos by Ruta Smith

restaurant. Depending on what I can find, it’s about 75 ingredients.” Opening a restaurant during a pandemic has meant long hours and late nights, but Sanchez is looking forward to spending more time at home in his garden and that newly renovated kitchen, where there’s still more work to be done. “I have so much working space, you know. I can knead dough; I can butcher and experiment,” he said. “I’m still working — I want to do a metal tile ceiling.” Tried-and-true family recipes are the hallmark of Sanchez’s cooking, a style he’s proud to showcase at Maya del Sol. “(The restaurant) gives me an opportunity to explore a lot of dishes that I have had in the back of my brain from my grandma and my mom.”


DIGGING YOUR HOME

Sponsored by

How to make your home more eco-friendly FROM STAFF REPORTS With people across the Lowcountry spending more time at home these days thanks to the coronavirus pandemic — and with spring just around the corner — it might be a good time to make minor adjustments at home that will make your living spaces more eco-friendly. Here are five things you can do to boost sustainability at home in ways that will enhance the enjoyment of your space, improve comfort and reduce expenses related to energy consumption:

Simply opening up blinds to let in the sun will help warm your home and lower heating costs. Photos by Gettyimages.com

tips to manage your water usage: https://on.nrdc. org/3pXwqff. Improve air quality. Your flooring may not be the first thing you think of when it comes to clean air, but it plays an important part in your home’s air quality. For example, a dirty carpet can contribute to poor air quality. Be sure to vacuum frequently to minimize dust, dander and other allergens. Also, look for other ways to improve ventilation (using ceiling fans and opening win-

dows) for natural air circulation so you don’t have to rely on energy-dependent filtration systems to boost your home’s air quality. Simple adjustments that use the sun, eco-friendly cleaners and technology, as well as strategies to reduce water usage and improve air quality, can make a big impact on your monthly energy expenses. Family Features contributed to this story.

DIGS | charlestoncitypaper.com

Harness the sun. There’s a reason bright rooms with plenty of natural light tend to be warmer: that light carries heat. Although the effect is less in the winter than in the summer months due to the sun’s position in relation to the earth, those rays can help warm a room. Throw back the curtains and let the light stream in. Not only will you capture some natural warmth, but a bright, airy room requires less electric light, so you’ll save on electricity, too. Swap out cleaning products. While exchanging traditional daily cleaners for more earth-friendly products are often top of mind when considering your health and the environment, don’t overlook other types of cleaners, such as your laundry detergent. Consider detergents that are bio-based and provide a plant-based clean. They work! Bonus: they often are hypo-allergenic, which makes them a good option for people with sensitive skin. Get smart about technology. Not only do smart devices add convenience to your home, but they can be highly effective tools for helping to manage energy usage. Programmable thermostats are especially useful because you can set them to adjust temperatures automatically when you’re away from home. Other devices, such as smart lights, can also be programmed to recognize motion or adjust at certain times of day to reduce energy consumption in unused spaces. Added tip: LED light bulbs are less expensive than ever. They don’t produce the heat found with traditional bulbs and are far less expensive to power. And, they seem to last forever. Manage water usage. Many people don’t realize how much water they waste at home. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates about 30% of each household’s water goes to the toilet and chances are good you’re literally flushing away that natural resource. Manage your water usage by only running full loads of dishes and laundry, eliminating leaks, reducing shower times and switching to a low-flow or other eco-friendly toilet. Visit this link for more

Help manage your water usage by running full loads of laundry.

19


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DIGGING LOCAL

Treating and preventing 4 pesky plant pests BY TONI REALE, ROADSIDE BLOOMS A houseplant’s demise can sometimes be mistaken for owner neglect, but lack of care may be a misdiagnosis. Infestations from the most common houseplant pests, such as spider mites, scale, mealybugs and fungus gnats, can sometimes be the culprits. Fortunately, there are many ways to prevent and treat an infestation. With patience and persistence, most Reale houseplants can be fully rehabilitated.

Mealybugs produce like rabbits in the insect world. Photos by William Fountain/University of Kentucky; Joseph LaForest/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org

Mealybugs are insects that appear to be surrounded by cotton fuzz. They move slowly often hiding in hard-to-see places. Most plant parents dread mealybugs — because they are difficult to control. According to Homestead Brooklyn, mealybugs reproduce like rabbits in the insect world. Females can lay about 600 eggs at one time, and in seven to 10 days, you can have an infestation. Another month or two later, those babies turn into full-grown adults and the cycle restarts. Despite being voracious reproducers, their mobility easily allows them to move from plant to plant. If you see tiny flies zipping above the surface of the soil of your houseplant, you likely have fungus

gnats. They aren’t sucking the sap out of the leaves like spider mites, mealybugs or scale; instead, they’re either eating tiny root hairs or soil nutrients, killing your plant from the bottom up.

LOCALS RECOMMEND TREATMENT OPTIONS There are chemical and non-chemical options for treating these common pests. B.J. Stadleman, owner of Haegur plant shop on King Street, creates his own non toxic concoction made of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and water. Preferring peppermint scent because it has the added benefit of repelling most pests, he continued on page 22

DIGS | charlestoncitypaper.com

WHAT TO LOOK FOR The first step is to know what you are looking for. Before bringing out your magnifying glass, some easy-to-identify signs that you might have a pest problem include small silky webs, little round white crust-looking spots on the underside of a leaf, gnats flying close to the soil or tiny specs that look like cotton fibers. If you know you are properly caring for your plants, but leaves turn yellow or plant edges crinkle and fall off, you may have a pest problem. Identifying and treating the four most common pests that plague houseplants will save them from becoming compost. According to Clemson’s College of Agriculture, spider mites are actually related to spiders, not insects. Their eggs are translucent to light yellow in color and can usually be spotted nestled in a silky web. More mature mites appear as brown dots on leaves. Discolored areas on leaves could be spots where a mite has sucked out sap. Scale is an insect that lives most of its life on the woody stems and undersides of leaves. They live up to their namesake by looking like a brown-ish raised scale. Their armor-like exterior protects them from predators as they use their spiky mouth to remove nutrients from plants.

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Specializing in Conventional and Non-Conventional Mortgage Products Jumbo Loans, Self Employed Loans, Investment and Second Home Loans, Non-QM loans Yellowing leaves or crinkling plant edges might signify a pest problem. Chazz Hesselein/Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Bugwood.org

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the plant for pests. Plant shops inspect frequently as no one wants an infestation in their inventory, but sometimes the continued from page 21 insects can evade even the most careuses ½ teaspoon of the soap to 16 ounces ful observer, especially when plants are of warm water in an amber-colored spray immature. Before placing your new plant bottle. Stadleman recommends taking the into your home collection, quarantine plant outside and giving it a good spray it for a few weeks just in case anything to ensure the mixture reaches all of the hatches. This simply means placing it insects. Once it dries, carefully hose down away from your other plants but still in the plant. Repeat, if necessary. a spot suitable to meet the plant’s needs. For fungus gnats, Kendal Leonard of If possible, when styling your plants, be Meeting Green garden center, also in sure to place your plants so that leaves Charleston, has a three-pronged approach. don’t touch. This will help prevent Treatment includes spraying neem oil once things like spider mites or mealybugs a week at the soil level then letting the soil making their way to your neighboring dry out. Gnats need water to reproduce, so plant friends. Houseplants under stress from lack letting the soil dry out interrupts their life of proper care are more vulnerable to cycle. If that doesn’t do the trick, she recommends sealing the pot using plastic bags infestations. Taking good care of your plants so that they to suffocate the gnats. Even when purchashealthy will help Taking good care of are ing a new plant for them to survive herself, Jesse Nersesian, should pests take over. your plants so that If you do spot an owner of Plant Babe they are healthy will infestation in one of located nearby, is not help them to survive your houseplants, be scared off by a little to quarantine insect infestation. But should pests take over. sure this plant immedishe likes to know what ately, then inspect she’s dealing with, addyour other plants right away. Treat the ing “having plants and coming across bugs infected plant. Return it to its former go hand in hand.” Her go-to fix is Bonide’s Systemic Houseplant Insect control for pre- spot only after it appears the infestation vention or wiping diluted rubbing alcohol all is gone, which may take a few weeks. over the plant and putting it in the shade. Amy Gangi of Leaf Me Alone Plant DON’T BE SO HARD ON YOURSELF Getting an infestation can be Club in Park Circle prefers a mix of devastating to any plant parent’s neem oil and water. The mixture is a “safe, organic insecticide that you can use morale. So realize that no one is immune. Pesky pests come with the around kids and pets; perfect for indoor territory of plant parenthood. The best plants,” she said. thing you can do is to be observant so At Roadside Blooms, we like to use you can spot any early issues and treat a cotton swab with either neem oil or a them right away. soap mixture to physically remove pests after they’ve been sprayed or hosed down. Toni Reale is the owner of Roadside Some of these pests are pretty tenacious, Blooms, a unique flower and plant shop especially scale, and ensuring the treatin Park Circle in North Charleston. It spement gets under their armor sometimes cializes in weddings, events and everyday requires a little elbow grease. deliveries using nearly 100% American PREVENTION IS KEY and locally grown blooms. Online at Before purchasing a new plant, it is www.roadsideblooms.com. 4610 Spruill imperative that you carefully inspect Ave., Suite 102, North Charleston.


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DIGS | charlestoncitypaper.com

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Charleston City Paper: Digs - February 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...

Charleston City Paper: Digs - February 2021  

Founded in 1997, the locally owned and operated Charleston City Paper is Charleston’s only weekly alternative newspaper and the second-large...