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cuisine for Seasoning the Body & Spirit By Kurt Walker

If you search for Alluette’s Café online, don’t be surprised about the number of bloggers, articles and even websites such as Yelp.com raving about one of the Charleston community’s genuine treasures. Nestled in the middle of Reid Street downtown, Alluette’s is one of the peninsula’s best examples of the fabric of the communal cloth. It is a family run business in the truest sense of the phrase. Alluette Jones, along with her husband Clifford and daughter Freda, work diligently to prepare some of the finest organically grown, slow-cooked dishes to be found in a marketplace saturated with more restaurants than churches. Does this mean that the Holy City, so named for its inordinate number of steeples, is ready for a new moniker? There is a reason Alluette’s is frequently featured in local, regional and national publications such as the July 2010 issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. I recall reading a column by local writer Jack McCray describing a place in town worth visiting for a great sandwich. The organic and slowcooking process intrigued me, so I gave Alluette’s a try. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the door and was welcomed by a familiar face, one I remembered from a community meeting we both attended, where this dynamic woman led a discussion about food, diet and exercise. As I glanced at the menu, my eyes were drawn to the Geechi Girl burger. I asked about this item and was convinced by Clifford to give it a try. Many visits later, it’s still my first choice. Like many family traditions, the ability to cook passes from parent to offspring. Freda has inherited her mother’s skill, to the delight of Alluette’s regular patrons. So while mother is away buying fresh, organically grown vegetables on Johns Island, for example, daughter steps in to keep the operation moving fluidly. The restaurant’s fame has spread beyond the peninsula. Alluette still has a loyal following from her previous establishment in Beaufort, S.C., and they visit her Charleston eatery regularly. Neither great food nor conversation is in short supply at Alluette’s. Discussions can begin with a question about the menu and turn quickly to some of life’s more serious subjects, such as Alluette’s opinion on the health of her clientele. Freda Jones

Fried Whole Okra

“I am still trying to get people to eat clean and eat less,” she said, as she discussed her journey from Line Street Grocery in 1993, to Beaufort and then back to Charleston.

1lb of fresh okra (medium length) 1 cup of organic cornmeal ¼ cup of organic flour 1 teaspoon of sea salt ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper 2 cups of buttermilk

That is, after all, the essence of soul food. A friend of mine once told me I could eat at a different place in downtown Charleston every day for an entire year without visiting the same restaurant twice. Even if I were so inclined, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to avoid Alluette’s for 52 weeks at a time. Alluette’s Café is located at 80-A Reid St. and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

42

native magazine

april/may

PHOTO BY RICH SINGLETON

After dining at Alluette’s, your belly will be full and so will your spirits. According to Alluette, “You are feeding your most prized possession, which is your body, and if you don’t love it enough, then you will suffer the consequences.”

visit thenativelife.com

Wash okra under cold running water. Leave whole. Place okra in a deep bowl and pour buttermilk over okra and set aside. Let okra stand for 15 minutes. Mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Coat fresh okra in cornmeal mixture and fry at 350 degrees until golden brown.

visit thenativelife.com

april/may 2011

native magazine

43


cuisine for Seasoning the Body & Spirit By Kurt Walker

If you search for Alluette’s Café online, don’t be surprised about the number of bloggers, articles and even websites such as Yelp.com raving about one of the Charleston community’s genuine treasures. Nestled in the middle of Reid Street downtown, Alluette’s is one of the peninsula’s best examples of the fabric of the communal cloth. It is a family run business in the truest sense of the phrase. Alluette Jones, along with her husband Clifford and daughter Freda, work diligently to prepare some of the finest organically grown, slow-cooked dishes to be found in a marketplace saturated with more restaurants than churches. Does this mean that the Holy City, so named for its inordinate number of steeples, is ready for a new moniker? There is a reason Alluette’s is frequently featured in local, regional and national publications such as the July 2010 issue of Oprah Winfrey’s O Magazine. I recall reading a column by local writer Jack McCray describing a place in town worth visiting for a great sandwich. The organic and slowcooking process intrigued me, so I gave Alluette’s a try. I was pleasantly surprised when I walked through the door and was welcomed by a familiar face, one I remembered from a community meeting we both attended, where this dynamic woman led a discussion about food, diet and exercise. As I glanced at the menu, my eyes were drawn to the Geechi Girl burger. I asked about this item and was convinced by Clifford to give it a try. Many visits later, it’s still my first choice. Like many family traditions, the ability to cook passes from parent to offspring. Freda has inherited her mother’s skill, to the delight of Alluette’s regular patrons. So while mother is away buying fresh, organically grown vegetables on Johns Island, for example, daughter steps in to keep the operation moving fluidly. The restaurant’s fame has spread beyond the peninsula. Alluette still has a loyal following from her previous establishment in Beaufort, S.C., and they visit her Charleston eatery regularly. Neither great food nor conversation is in short supply at Alluette’s. Discussions can begin with a question about the menu and turn quickly to some of life’s more serious subjects, such as Alluette’s opinion on the health of her clientele. Freda Jones

Fried Whole Okra

“I am still trying to get people to eat clean and eat less,” she said, as she discussed her journey from Line Street Grocery in 1993, to Beaufort and then back to Charleston.

1lb of fresh okra (medium length) 1 cup of organic cornmeal ¼ cup of organic flour 1 teaspoon of sea salt ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper 2 cups of buttermilk

That is, after all, the essence of soul food. A friend of mine once told me I could eat at a different place in downtown Charleston every day for an entire year without visiting the same restaurant twice. Even if I were so inclined, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for me to avoid Alluette’s for 52 weeks at a time. Alluette’s Café is located at 80-A Reid St. and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Thursday through Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.; and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

42

native magazine

april/may

PHOTO BY RICH SINGLETON

After dining at Alluette’s, your belly will be full and so will your spirits. According to Alluette, “You are feeding your most prized possession, which is your body, and if you don’t love it enough, then you will suffer the consequences.”

visit thenativelife.com

Wash okra under cold running water. Leave whole. Place okra in a deep bowl and pour buttermilk over okra and set aside. Let okra stand for 15 minutes. Mix together the cornmeal, flour, salt and cayenne pepper. Coat fresh okra in cornmeal mixture and fry at 350 degrees until golden brown.

visit thenativelife.com

april/may 2011

native magazine

43


Native Magazine April / May 2011  

Native Magazine April / May 2011

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