38 scene : lovin’ it! :
Lines, Lust and Love
cruise : essential :
vino : guide :
Jaguar Mk II v. XF
stir V-Day Upgrade
February Wine Choices
stir Restaurant Guide imbibe :
imbibe : feast :
Talent, Imaginations, Ingredients: MoMo’s
feast : imbibe : scene :
All Local Market
Bob, Beer and Me
Mike Davis at Blackberry Farms
Serious Beer Drinking
preview : restaurant guide : last scene :
Where to go
William “Mootray” Mclaren
6 10 14 16 18 20 25 26 30 36 38 44 47 50 55 58
20 Publisher/Designer Mark Pointer
Editorial Intern Stephanie Flynn
Editor in Chief Natasha Chilingerian
Contributing Writers Rebecca Gaetz, Violet Frances, Cindi Boiter, Emile DeFelice, Kristy Quattrone,
Director of Sales & Marketing Veronica Staub
Katie Mcelveen, Katie Alice Cox, Jenny Maxwell, Sarah Novak Contributing Photographers Scott Bilby, Ash Little
stir Magazine is copyrighted and may not be reproduced in any manner, in whole or in part, without the publisher's written permission. ©2009 All Rights Reserved
248 YEARS OF RUM KNOW-HOW.
SIMPLY BETTER. ®
DRINK CRUZAN RESPONSIBLY. Cruzan® Rum, 40% Alc./Vol. ©2008 Cruzan International, Deerfield, IL.
Photography by Scott Bilby
Elegant and Daring Jazz singer Lorrie Rivers is a part of the Southeast's growing jazz scene and her experience is not limited to the south - she has performed in New York, Toronto and Chicago. With a sturdy foundation of the stylings of Ella Fitzgerald, Billy Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and others, Lorrie has found her own voice in both jazz standards such as "My Funny Valentine" and "To Each His Own" in addition to more contemporary tunes like "Dance Me To The End of Love" by Leonard Cohen and "1234" by Feist. Blessed with a gorgeous, smoky voice, excellent pitch, and supple sense of time, Rivers is steeped in the jazz tradition, but is not afraid to embrace the music that moves her generation. Whether performing in her duo or with her quartet, Lorrie enjoys playing with the audience. Lorrie was born and raised in North and South Carolina and received a vocal scholarship from UNC-Chapel Hill. She attended Vassar College, where she majored in Theater and sang with Vassar's Big Band Jazz group and performed in New York at several venues. She is a regular attraction at The Art Bar, Gervais and Vine and Hunter Gatherer, in addition to private parties. You can purchase the much anticipated EP album of Lorrie with local guitar and vocal talent Don Russo online at lorrieriversjazz.com
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[love & money]
stir’s new dating, sex and relationship columnist explains why she’s craving some chivalry in Columbia Written by Violet Frances Photography by Melinda Register
omen of our generation would be better equipped to deal with life if only their mothers had shared the true, not so fairytale endings to the stories we grew up hearing. I was lucky. My mother was more honest than most... When Sleeping Beauty was cast under the witch’s evil spell a king came upon her, gazed at her peaceful face and had his way with her. When she awoke, she was knocked up, with twins. The king promised his beauty that he would soon return and whisk them away to set up house in his castle. Of course, the king failed to mention that he was already married. That is the original ending of Sleeping Beauty. The tale is similar to that of Columbia’s own Barfly Beauty, known by some around town as BJ beauty. She is a wench many Stir readers have likely shared a liquor drink with late night, at Locals. This dame is good-looking. She could easily snag a decent lad if she quit her whoring. Unfortunately she’s not looking to settle for a stable boy, she has high hopes of rising from barmaid to baroness. It is a sad story, really. Barfly Beauty believes the one thing that will bring her to that far away land is money, money, money. The king she spends her nights with is indeed powerful and rich. He is also taken, well into his third marriage. She hopes he will sweep her off her feet with his white horse and ride her directly to Tiffany’s where she will fill those little blue boxes with all the jewels befitting a queen. The truth is that Barfly Beauty’s king is none other than Snow White’s long lost dwarf, #8, Sleazy. He is the one with the squeaky voice, sweaty roaming hands, yellow teeth and comb over. Sleazy is fast approaching fifty and quick to fornicate anything with a vagina, ANYTHING, before he will have to rely on heavy potions and herbs to raise his valiant sword. Barfly Beauty’s belief in an ever after of power, money and luxury at the country club leads her to spread her legs for him while his wife works to schedule his next spray tan appointment in the adjoining office. Like Sleeping Beauty, the girl is a fool. Sleazy is not hiding away any of his gold coins for the likes of her. Beware, the tales I tell are true, these men are all over town and this one in particular is likely prowling at a bar near you! But perhaps I should not pass judgment on Barfly Beauty so quickly. I too have found myself misled by fairytales and the dream of happy endings. My story is similar to that of Ariel, our favorite little mermaid. The only way she could live on land with her Prince was to make a deal with the witch. She would have to drink a potion that would make
her feel like a sword was slicing through her feet with every step. Like most women I know, Ariel drinks up. (Yes I am guilty of this too). She endures the pain and sacrifices in pursuit of her happily ever after. In the end, the prince grows bored with Ariel. The chase is over. He falls in love with someone else. Hans Christian Anderson was certainly tuned into the truth about such men when he wrote that ending. Ariel’s prince was an arrogant ass. His ego got in the way of his heart. Once upon a time I too got mixed up with Prince Arrogant Ass. It all started when I drank a wee bit much fairy juice at a Charleston wedding. I butterfly fluttered my way to the dance floor in search of my prince. His bow tie was skewed, as he too had overindulged in the spirits of Budweiser. We danced all night under a hazy reality and full moon. We watched the waves crash against the shore until almost sunup. Prince Arrogant Ass is accustomed to ladies lining up to put their lips to his lute and tickle his fancy. Knowing this, I acted with all the upbringing of the most virginal fair maiden and never let him cross the Mason-Dixon line. To win Prince Arrogant Ass, a lady must use the art of enchantment. You must turn his head and swear him to service, without him ever knowing he has fallen under your spell. Be always desirable and never attainable. It was a happy time, courtesy of happy hour. He chased me from Za’s to the Sheraton Rooftop because he liked my sharp tongue and quick wit. I had him under my spell of long legs and short skirt.
He slowly began to charm me with his clever words and moony eyes. Was he still chasing me or was I chasing him? Somewhere along the way I lost my power and he was in control. Then the real fairytale ending stepped in. There is no happily ever after with Prince Arrogant Ass. It is simply impossible. He suffers from his own undeniable charm. I wonder how he fits a woman in his bed, with his ego taking up so much room. But like all fair ladies, I wanted to believe that he was the special frog that would turn into my Prince Charming. Hans Christian Anderson was right. The heart seldom wants to believe what the mind already knows. Unfortunately I have kissed 39 (oh wait-Prince Arrogant Ass makes 40) frogs and not once have they magically turned into Prince Charming. They have morphed into countless Bastard Barons, a few Drunk Dukes, the Erotic Earls, and a few, but worryingly memorable, Kinky Kings. There is power with knowledge and I know better than to mistake the five court jesters currently crowding my text inbox as Prince Charming. They are nothing but modern day timewasters, guys you allow to buy you saki at Tsunami or a Hoegaarden at the Public House because all of your other friends are married, engaged or busy. I am lucky my mother told me the horrifying true-life endings of fairytales. Others settle for the modern day Disney endings. But deep down, I guess I’m really no different. Am I wishing on a star for my happily ever after? Perhaps. THE END.
Emile’s wardrobe by Granger-Owings
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old v. new
Year: Model: Base Price: Top Speed: 0 - 60 MPH: EPA City / Highway
2009 XF $49,000 USD 155.0 MPH 6.2 Seconds 19 / 25 mpg
Mark II 3.8 Year: Model: Base Price: Top Speed: 0 - 60 MPH: EPA City / Highway
1967 Mark 2 3.8 $3500 USD 125.0 MPH 8.5 Seconds 16 mpg Photography by AshLittle.com
Static No More Stir’s New Food Columnist Intent on Dodging the Bumps in the Road started exploring the epicurean delights that dot the Columbia food scene in preparation for the launch of the Columbia Foodie blog in 2006. Only then did I begin to truly appreciate how special it is to live in this place we call the Midlands. Often misunderstood and occasionally underappreciated, Columbia’s food culture offers a rare mix of tradition and innovation. I invite you to join my journey to find the faces and places that compose Columbia cuisine. As a food writer and blogger in this land of cavernous traditions and unapologetic loyalty, I strive not only to appreciate the bounty of history that pervades the Sara Novak Columbia food scene but also to explore those talents striving to take the next step. I am thrilled to be a part of Stir’s first restaurant edition and to introduce this culinary column. Let’s journey to enjoy all the Midlands have to offer our palates. We’re likely to find some surprises in unexpected places and from unexpected faces.
Sara Novak is the author of the Columbia Foodie www.columbiafoodie.blogspot.com. She’s also an online producer for Discovery Channel’s Planet Green and TreeHugger.
[upgrade] Looking to Stir things up with your valentine this year? Can’t blame you…the same old gifts can be oh-so boring. Here are a few upgrade ideas, inspiring new twists on the classics. A bouquet of exquisite hand-blown glass flowers, ancient Mayan drinking coco, a bar of truffle infused dark chocolate that compliments countless culinary delights (and includes it’s very own grater), or her favorite scent from one of the very best perfume manufacturers in the world, will impress your sweetheart in ways that will stir up more than her usual reactions .
Hand-blown glass flowers Available from stock, or custom made by special order One-eared Cow Glass 1001 Huger Street 803.254.2444
Variety of Chocolates
Bond #9 Perfumes Available Exclusively at Pout 2850 Devine Street 803.254.5051
Available at The Gourmet Shop 724 Saluda Avenue 803.799.3705
Photography by Scott Bilby
Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 : Napa Valley It's hard to find a better "upper tier" Napa cab that's also reasonably priced! This highly-rated (92 points by Wine Spectator and 93 points by wine critic Robert Parker) wine is simply stunning and will age very well for another 10 years! It's fantastic drinking with long, expressive notes of black cherry, licorice, sage, pepper, clove, mocha and blackberry.
Ravenswood "T eldeschi" Zinfandel 2005 : Dry Creek Valley You might think that Ravenswood only makes simple, $10-$15 zins. Oh how you are wrong! They also make some amazing, single-vineyard bottlings and this is just one of them. The Teldeschi Vineyard bottling is bold and in your face with dense, chewy, inky black aromas of herby berries, roasted fig, wintergreen, pepper and dark plum.
Swanson Pinot Grigio 2006 : Napa Valley The great wines of Swanson have a distinct Italian style to them as their longtime winemaker is, well, Italian! And because their production is so small, South Carolina is actually one of only six states that receive Swanson wines! And where their Pinot Grigio is concerned, it's safe to bet your money on the fact that it's the most Italian-like wine you will find from Cali, with citrus-y lemon-lime notes that wrap around hints of apple, pear, orange and spice. Yummy.
All wines are available at and reviewed by the Cellar on Greene, Columbia's newest wine shop/tasting room located just steps away from Mr. Friendly's. You can sign up for the Cellar on Greene's weekly e-wine offerings and e-mail based wine club by sending an e-mail to email@example.com.
Suffocating beneath a blanket
Columbia’s Food Culture
Breaks Loose Written by ASara Novak, Photography by Kasi Koshollek
hile many have balked at the notion that Columbia even has a food culture, I beg to differ. Lying just beneath a perception created by the harshest of critics are several restaurants and producers pushing Columbia cuisine. I firmly believe that one can understand the history of a place through its food culture. The goal is to find out what has worked here in the past and how that is forming the future. I’ll focus on small, locallyowned restaurants and producers, who are dedicated to providing the Midlands with fresh, clean cuisine. From Terra and Hunter Gatherer to El Burrito and Motor Supply, I’ll profile restaurants across the community and find out what they’re doing to up the pleasure quotient in Midlands dining. Or maybe it’s an innovative dish you’re after, like the fire roasted artichoke at Saki Tumi or the whole fried flounder at Garibaldi. Whether it’s an artist bringing new light to tired dishes or a special restaurateur working to hone a classic, there’s much to be desired at home in the Midlands. But it’s not just cuisine that defines a food culture; it’s the hard working producers who bring the best ingredients into your home and onto the menu. More patrons are doing their research, intent
on learning about the best suppliers. We all know that shrimp and grits are just not complete without Anson Mill’s celebrated grits from native producer Glenn Roberts. This thirty-year veteran of restaurant and hotel concept design sold his worldly possessions and rented a big metal warehouse behind a Columbia carwash in 1998. Today he produces some of the best heirloom grains out there. And for those insisting on getting their daily greens, fret no more, because Five Leaves Farms is working hard to produce the freshest sustainably grown produce in the area. Great chefs have always relied on local producers. But a new popular interest in everything local means that these chefs are beginning to publish where their ingredients come from, and educating their customers on the pains they take to find the highest quality local ingredients. That’s a win for all of us, especially for small farmers that depend on the support of their local gourmand institutions to thrive. While the concepts are undoubtedly up and coming, they are coming. And I’m certainly excited to be along for the ride. So let’s eat.
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Come and enjoy one of Columbia’s landmark restaurants. For over 25 years, Hennessy’s has been a favorite place to meet, romance and dine in unique comfortable surroundings. Join us in the lounge overlooking Main Street for your favorite cocktails, cordials or desserts. FILET OF BEEF TENDERLOIN Eight Ounce Tenderloin grilled and topped with Blue Cheese Butter, and Cabernet Demi Glace. Garnished with Sauteed Oyster Mushrooms. NEW ZEALAND LAMB RACK Marinated in Rosemary, Garlic and Olive OIl. Served with Roasted Garlic and Mint Veal Glace. GROUPER HENNESSY An Almond and Herb Encrusted Filet of Grouper pan sauteed and served with Lemon Beurre Blanc. CARMELIZED SEA SCALLOPS U-10 Scallops with a Savory Bread Pudding of Mushrooms and Carmelized Onions. Served with Sauteed Spinach and Sherry Mustard Buerre Blanc.
SHELL FISH AND GRITS Jumbo Shrimp, Scallops and Lump Crab Meat, sauteed with Red Peppers, Onions and Fresh Spinach with A Tasso Cream Sauce. Served with a fried Chedder Grit Cake CRISPY SEARED DUCK BREAST Maple Leaf Farms Duck Breast seared and flash roasted. Served with Thai Orange Honey Glaze. AHI TUNA Ahi Tuna dusted with Black and White Sesame Seeds and glazed with Caribbean Pineapple Sauce. Served with Wasabi and Pickled Ginger. Best served rare.
Lunch Served Monday through Friday – Dinner Served Monday through Saturday 1649 Main Street 803.799.8280 www.hennessyssc.com stir
wows southern foodies at A Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm Written by Katie Alice Cox
hef Mike Davis does it all. He runs his restaurant, Terra, overlooking the Congaree River and the downtown Columbia skyline. He also spends five nights each week preparing traditionally appetizing Southern specialties with a twist. Finally he oversees Terra’s carefully selected wine list, popular wine dinners and a wait staff that’s second to none. So while most of us were easing back into the swing of things the first weekend in January, Chef Davis was busily preparing for a meal he was to create for the ranks of Southern foodies for A Taste of the South at Blackberry Farm in Walland, Tennessee. The event is the fifth annual fundraiser with sort of a high-school reunion feel for the Southern Foodways Alliance, a group dedicated to promoting southern cuisine – particularly farmers, artisans and chefs who value using local, organic, fresh ingredients in their cooking. And fresh South Carolina products are the bread and butter, so to speak, of Mike Davis’s cooking. Chef Davis, who attended Johnson and Wales in Charleston, has worked under James Beard Award-winning chefs Susan Spicer in New Orleans and Frank Stitt in Birmingham, and he was happy to once again work with high caliber talents at Blackberry Farm. So what did he prepare for a crowd of his hungry peers? “I made a smoked mountain trout hoecake with garden radish, Granny Smith apple and crème fraiche,” says Davis. Other rustic, Southern comfort-food-with-a-twist dishes prepared by three other talented Southeastern chefs for the weekend’s main gala Saturday evening included white bean stew with house cured ham, cornmeal
Photography by beallandthomas.com
crusted Carolina catfish and Crispy Caw Caw Creek Pork Rillette. Sound familiar? Caw Caw Creek Pork is produced right here in South Carolina. Emile DeFelice and his free-range, heirloom pork were honored at the event. And, of course, every night at Terra, right here at home, Chef Davis’s menu offers a dish or two using Caw Caw Creek Pork. “Emile’s pork is the best, and it was great to be in the kitchen for an event where his work and his farm were honored,” said Davis, who also prepared a cheese course for the evening using a pecancrusted Split Creek Farms Fromage Blanc. Split Creek Farms is another local producer, a goat dairy out of Anderson. Though the menu was carefully assembled for A Taste of the South and the diners’ trained palette, and the ambiance provided by Blackberry – a chic, small resort nestled on a large estate in the Smoky Mountains that prides itself on a consciousness of the land and nature, was luxe, the menu sort of echoes the dishes Terra offers any night of the week right here at home, where fine diners rub elbows with lovers of gourmet pizza and great wine. “I’m always trying something new,” says Davis. “We change the menu seasonally, always using what we can from around here to ensure that we serve dishes with the freshest ingredients possible. I keep our dishes simple, just a few ingredients and elements, and fresh, tasteful ingredients mean that we don’t have to add tons of sauces – we just amplify the taste.”
Written by Kristy Ray Quattronne
Photography by Melinda Register
The Flaming Mo 3 parts Hangar 1 Buddhaâ€™s Hand Citron Vodka 1 part Canton Ginger Liqueur Splash of Cointreau Served in a martini glass & garnished with candied ginger and a lemon twist.
Written by Kristy Ray Quattronne
Photography by AshLittle.com
Welcome to stir’s monthly cocktail column – an up close look at some of our favorite bartenders and their latest concoctions. In this issue, we introduce you to Katie Gauthier of Momo’s. Bottoms up!
The Bartender Name: Katie Gauthier Age: 24 Hometown: Meriden, Connecticut Education: Attended the University of South Carolina and majored in Sociology after changing her major 4 times. First and current gig: MoMo’s for 3 years Celebrity sighting: Jessica Beal, while she was shooting a movie in Columbia. People came in dressed to the nines to just mix and mingle, be seen, and catch a glimpse of her once word got out. Most annoying customer: There is someone that comes in about once a week and sits alone at the bar for hours on end talking to me non-stop. I’ll walk away for a while and when I come back they will pick up right where they left off. Worst Pickup Line: I had a man that sat at the bar one night during my entire shift. Around 1 am I mentioned to no one in particular that I was hungry. He offered to make me dinner as his place, and I told him that was not going to happen. He responded with “It’s OK my wife’s not home”, I guess he could read the disgust on my face so he plowed with “I thought you were going to come home and have sex with me.” That has got to be the worst pick up attempt known to man. Hidden talent: I do the best After Midnight Robot dance – it is a thing of beauty. Hobbies: I am a gym rat, and love online shopping. Poison of choice: Van Gough double espresso, cold.
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s t n e i d e r g n i , n o i t a o M o ’s n M i t a g n a o i t c o m b in a e l b a k r t a le n t , im a a re m M c E lv e e n B y K a t ie
t’s 2:30 on a Tuesday afternoon and, for once, the tiny parking lot that fronts MoMo’s Bistro in Shandon is empty. Inside, the cozy restaurant is equally serene. Light streams in from the checkerboard of windowpanes that forms the restaurant’s front walls, illuminating the coolly eclectic décor of abstract and impressionist paintings, modern sculpture, Venetian glass and rustic antiques. On the thick butcher block tables, sparking crystal wine glasses wait, with seeming expectation, to be filled. Step through the swinging door into the kitchen, though, and the scene changes dramatically. Filled with shelves holding industrial-sized containers of sea salt, olive oil and other staples, massive ovens and enormous sinks, the kitchen is a hive of activity as cooks mix, dice, drizzle and slice. On the spotless stove, fragrant steam rises from gigantic stockpots, each clearly identified with hand-lettered signs as veal, chicken or beef. At the cutting board, a prep cook, his knife a blur of motion, chops vegetables into tiny shards. Later that night, when they invisibly perfume the sauce they’re destined for, they’ll be just one reason for its mysterious complexity. Nearby, sous chef Bertrand Gilli who came to Columbia from his native France tk years ago, is giving a large container of tomato relish a final seasoning check before placing it back into the cooler. When it makes its next appearance, the garlicflecked, ginger and cumin-scented tangle will add a bright note to a plate of seared sea scallops. Next, he’ll work on the night’s amuse bouche, the gift from the chef that starts many meals at MoMo’s, or on the country pate that accompanies the well-
M c Q u a ry yb yA n n e h p a r g o t o P h
aged cheeses and bold cured meats that comprise the restaurant’s charcuterie plate. As Gilli works, Andy White, a Cordon Bleu graduate who cooked in Germany, Alaska and Los Angeles before arriving at MoMo’s, handles a variety of prep tasks including mixing the blue cheese-studded cole slaw that accompanies bourbon-glazed short ribs and sautéing prosciutto for loaded spinach. Head chef Jason Wilcox, a Johnson and Wales graduate with an uncanny knack with quail, duck and other game, is on the phone with a local farmer who he hopes will be able to supply him with lamb. “One of our goals is to source as many ingredients locally as we can,” he says. Although MoMo’s dishes would be perfectly comfortable in a more formal setting, the restaurant is proof that well-prepared food doesn’t have to be intimidating—or overly fancy. The signature grilled ribeye steak, for example, weighs in at a hefty 16 ounces and arrives with a basket of some of the best fries this side of Paris. But when you are in the mood for something stylish— say herb-crusted red snapper over a saffron risotto studded with asparagus tips, piquillo peppers and rock shrimp and topped with baby arugula salad, or succulent foie gras, which often graces the menu as a special appetizer accompanied by duck confit and a berry glaze—it’s nice to know that you can get it whether you’re wearing jeans or a tuxedo. Service is another of the restaurant’s strong points. Wait staff are knowledgeable about flavors, sauces and techniques, and are happy to answer questions, provide explanations and even offer tastes of unusual sauces. “You might not know the difference between a jus and a gastrique, but your server will and can easily demystify what may seem like a complicated dish.
“Later that night, when they invisibly perfume the sauce they’re destined for, they’ll be just one reason for its mysterious complexity.”
Our waiters really get into food once they’ve been here awhile, and they want to share the kitchen’s talent with their customers,” notes manager Sean Hanley. “It’s hard not to be enthusiastic when you’re surrounded by chefs and cooks who are totally into perfection and creativity.” In fact, the creative dishes that comprise MoMo’s menu are the result of a lot of interaction between staff members—both front and back-of-house—and, eventually, customers. That’s because unlike many kitchens—monarchies where a chef’s likes, dislikes and whims shape the menu—Wilcox’s resembles a democracy. Or, as he puts it, a rave. “Creating new food here is a collective effort,” he says. “When you’ve got this much talent, you should use it. Every couple of months we get everybody together to cook and taste. It goes on for hours, but some of our best dishes have come out of those food raves.” Once a potential new dish gets the thumbs-up from staff members, it goes to the customers, usually in the form of a special. “We feel pretty good about a new item before we put it out there for diners, but we tell our customers when something is new and ask them for their feedback. Even when we offer something that seems a little out of the ordinary, our customers generally will give it a try. After awhile, I guess they’ve learned to trust us.” That trust doesn’t end in the kitchen. “I’m a huge fan of bringing a new wine to a customer based on his or her tastes,” says Hanley who also serves as the restaurant’s resident wine expert. “They have to trust me to try it, but generally it’s a positive experience. And once they’ve found that they can break out of their comfort zone and still find wine they enjoy, they’re willing to try
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unfamiliar varietals.” That approach was exactly what owner Daniel Rickenmann hoped to accomplish when he opened MoMo’s in 2003. “I wanted the restaurant to become a part of people’s routine,” he says. “It needed to be affordable, but still offer fabulous meals and interesting wines that changed often so that it was like an enjoyable adventure.” To help him craft his dream, Rickenmann asked Hanley, a local restaurant manager who was also known for his wine expertise, to find a team and build MoMo’s from the ground up. He did so. Literally. “Once I got a staff in place, we did everything from create the menu and the wine list to hang ceiling tiles,” laughs Hanley. “No matter the job, though, the goal was always the same: create a neighborhood bistro that’s comfortable and casual but with fivestar food and a great wine list.” Knowing he’d have fabulous food to work with, Hanley set about choosing just the right wines to complement them. His goal? “No grocery store wines,” he says with a smile. “Not that there’s anything wrong with them, but I wanted customers to be able to enjoy a new wine experience here.” To do that, though, Hanley had to taste dozens of wines. “It was a tough job, but somebody had to do it,” he says. “Actually, I had a lot of help. I let the staff help with tastings, and, after we opened, I’d get customers to give me their opinion on a wine I was considering. Let’s face it—my palate is not the only one that matters.”
When MoMo’s opened, the small but well-chosen list featured just 40 wines, each under $40. Today, although it has expanded, to well over 200 offerings, it’s still a treasure trove of littleknown wines from small producers. It also offers 40 wines by the glass, rare for a restaurant of its size. Wait staff have tasted each of the 40 and are happy to make recommendations. “Having all those wines open gives customers a chance to try an off-the-beaten-path choice,” says Hanley. “Having servers who know about the wines they’re pouring is a big part of that process.” Not surprisingly, by including others in every phase of MoMo’s development, Hanley ended up laying the groundwork for what is perhaps the restaurant’s most unique characteristic—its atmosphere. Starting at the front door, the room buzzes with a welcoming vibe that makes customers feel like they are the guests of honor at the best party in town. All around the room, diners and staff members greet each other warmly, commenting on everything
from that night’s specials to children. “It takes fifteen minutes for people to get to their tables because everybody knows everybody else and they have to stop and chat,” notes Hanley. “It really has become a neighborhood gathering place. So many of our regular customers have become such good friends they feel like family,” he continues. “They recommend MoMo’s to their friends, which is great. On any given night, half the new faces are friends of customers.” Just before it’s time to open for the night, Hanley is giving the restaurant a final once-over, making sure the glasses are polished, the servers can describe the night’s specials and that he’s got tables ready for the regulars who’ve made reservations, as well as a few who haven’t but he knows will probably stop by. When he’s asked how MoMo’s has become such a success, he takes only a second to answer. “We’ve got great wine and a wonderful atmosphere, but it’s the food that’s the cornerstone,” he says. “It’s just incredible.”
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Written by Emile Defelice
ith a chill in the air, hot coffee steaming, and local bacon, and eggs on the skillet, a dozen farmers waited to see if our hunch was right—was Columbia ready for a real deal local market? We broke all the rules. We had no real publicity except for email. We were starting in November when most other markets had closed. We had only one produce vendor. We hoped we’d have 25 customers. Just as the 8 o’clock opening hour approached, cars pulled into the parking lot and people began pouring in. No time to look at the clock after that: we were in business. Four hours and 150 customers later, we knew we were right! The All-Local Market is a product of hope, experience, and will power. Kristian Niemi of Gervais and Vine had wandered around his booming hometown Minneapolis market and wondered—in Steve Spurrier-ese—“Why not us?” So he’d offered to open his restaurant early to cook breakfast and let us use his patio for the market. I had seen plenty of successful markets, but had only participated in ones that were failures, and had come to know the reasons good markets were good. Three things make the All-Local a great market. We are open year round, rain or shine. That gives our customers the dependability they expect. Our farmers are there in person for you to get to know, and they carry all the products you need to eat. Most farmers’ markets carry just produce, which means you still have to go the grocery for the rest of your food. And lastly—like our name suggests—we are the only market in South Carolina where everything is grown or made right here in our state! Ever look at a restaurant menu and see the name of a farm as part of a dish’s description? It lets you know that the chef has put in some extra effort into sourcing ingredients, and that you might be in for a treat. Chefs hungry to make a name for themselves are eager to carve out some singularity—after all, when every
body can get everything off the same two or three 18-wheelers, it’s pretty tough to differentiate yourself. A lot of people who enjoy that restaurant experience also want high-quality food at home. Local markets are sprouting up all over the country, because home cooks, like chefs, realize that the freshest, most flavorful food is the stuff that’s grown close to home. And as much as big state-run farmers markets and big chain grocery stores try to market local food, they’re just not set up for that. Small farmers’ markets do something none of them can manage—precisely because we’re small. One of our original customers—Anne—is a great example of the give and take of our little market. A retiree with a keen sense of nutrition and a perfect figure, Anne knew our market was good for her health and her pocketbook—but she also had plenty of suggestions. She and her husband Hans—“we like to keep him at 145,” she says—watch their salt intake very carefully. After sending me articles via email and several earnest pleas, I agreed to make some salt free bacon and sausage for her—another satisfied customer! She even convinced me to go for a long avoided check-up—and she was right, I needed to cut down on my salt! Because we’re small, we offer a different experience, the kind of personal old-fashioned market shopping that people travel to Italy and France—and Minneapolis—to experience. So, one of these Saturday mornings, put on some comfortable clothes, grab a friend, and come down for some fresh air, hot breakfast, and Put Our State On Your Plate! The All-Local Market operates 8am-noon, every 2nd Saturday at Gervais and Vine in The Vista, and every 4th Saturday at Rosewood Market, year-round, rain or shine.
A Look at the Year of Beer
Written by Cindi Boiter Photography by Cindi Boiter
The challenge before us was both simple and brilliant. Having just crossed the threshold of the second half century of his life, and firmly believing that aging has little to do with getting old, Bob and I were on a mission. For one year we would devote ourselves to finding and drinking the most quaffable beers in the world, and we would write about our quest. The hunt began in Lisbon and took us to Amsterdam, Belgium, throughout the Czech Republic and Germany, to the UK, Copenhagen and back to Germany once again, to the beer capitals of the US including Portland, Denver and both their surrounds, to NOLA, throughout the South, up and down the East Coast and into New England. Following are excerpts of our journey; the story of a year, a man, a marriage and a book, Bob, Beer and Me – a look at the year of beer. ob hasn’t always been a wise ass about beer. In fact, there is nothing in his upbringing, heritage or genes to in any way predispose him to a particular fondness for brew. A Southern boy, born and bred, Bob was a product of the mill village where he spent his childhood. While neither of his parents worked in the South Carolina cotton mills while he was growing up, his grandparents, uncles, in-laws and all of his friends’ families did, as did Bob himself during the summer and on the weekends of his pre-med days. In exchange for his services, Bob was awarded decent wages and a scholarship to attend college, which was a fine and fair trade, given the stories he collected to tell, and the lessons he learned from men with few teeth, lungs full of dust and hearts bursting with pride at their boy who had “done good.” But none of those men ever talked to Bob about beer. Back in the seventies, when sons of the South started to imbibe they were more likely to cut their teeth on Jim, George or Jack – as in Beam, Dickel and Daniels – than on quality beer. And Bob did as it was
foresworn he would, along with the rest of his mill village peers, making the occasional pilgrimage to Myrtle Beach, where they would partake of the afore-mentioned gentlemen’s offerings until they threw up their guts in the grand strand sand, ate innumerable pancakes, and started all over again. College days at the University of South Carolina were filled for Bob with studying, courting his beloved, and studying some more. When partying took place it involved rank and mysterious brew that flowed freely – free being the key word – from sweaty kegs rapidly warming in the humid air that characterized the first half of every fighting Gamecock football season, or PJ parties at which upperclassmen and hall advisors used boat paddles to stir the demon Purple Jesus liquid – a combination of assorted juices, fruits and grain alcohol – before they served it up in plastic cups to the thirsty young scholars who were in their charge. With adulthood came a heightened consciousness regarding quality of life – as well as qualities of beverage. The two of us, proverbial high
school sweethearts who were as lucky as we were stupid to marry as young as we did, committed ourselves early on to doing whatever we did with purpose and a vengeance, and to enjoying ourselves in the process. And so it was that like Frodo Baggins after the eleventieth birthday celebration of Uncle Bilbo, Bob faced the challenge that lay before him and his fifty years of accumulated wisdom. He would seek out the best of the best beers that the world has to offer, and he would make them his own. And I— his Sam Gamgee, Sancho Panza, Doctor Watson, Festus Haggen and Robin all rolled into one – would be by his side. Taking notes, taking pictures and helping him home. The quest was on.
An essential stop on any beer tour is the Czech Republic where beer is cheap, plentiful and a part of life. The Czech Republic boasts the largest annual beer consumption in the world, with its citizens each throwing back some 156 liters per year. The main breweries are Pilsner Urquell, Staropramen, Gambrinus and Velke Popovice, but there are small breweries, called mini pivovars, located everywhere from ancient monasteries to local pubs. Our temporary home in Prague, for example, the Pension U Medvidku, housed in a 1446 former brewery, makes its own special beer, Old Gott, in its mini pivovar behind the restaurant and pub, as well as a truly fierce beer simply called X-Beer. A half-dark lager, Old Gott has a bountiful body, but the X-Beer, at an ABV (alcohol by volume) rate as high 12.6%, is the beer that packs the biggest wallop, and the most intense taste. But the best of Prague’s gracious offerings, to our humble tastes, flowed from a pivovar nestled high above the Charles Bridge and just beneath the magnificent Prague Castle, the largest ancient castle in the world. The Klasterni Strahov is the home of an order of monks founded in 1142 who brewed beer from the turn of the thirteenth century until 1907. Luckily, the year 2000 saw the restoration of brewing to the In the Czech Republic, as throughout the world, some of the order. best beers come from people who have devoted their lives to God – monks. Coming from a state in which Blue Laws have traditionally prohibited the sale of alcohol on Sunday, as well as a country which spent 13 years under the smothering blanket of prohibition, this concept is more than a little jolting. The monks of the Strahov Monastery see such a connection between beer and God that they have named their brews after a true man of spirit: Saint Norbert, protector and patron saint of the Bohemian province of the Czech Republic. Drinking beer in Prague is more a sacrament than an indulgence for more than just monks. When the wood carvers ply their trade in the courtyard of Castle Krivoklat, along with their tools and tables they set up their keg of beer and drink it at whatever temperature the air and the wind and the sunshine keep it throughout the day. As we rattled along the rusty railroad tracks that run though backyards of farmers and laborers and housewives whose lives we got just a split-second glimpse into, in the way that only rail travel can afford, we saw old men sitting on buckets drinking beer; mothers hanging out laundry with babies at their feet, and a beer nearby; young people quaffing down the liquid to satisfy thirst in the way that Americans suck down sodas.
To the Czech people, beer is a right and they, more than most of us, know that rights should never be taken for granted. You can tell that in the way they drink their beer, and in the way they sell it. While cafes and bars on touristy market squares may charge as much as 100 Kc for a bottle of beer, the back street pubs where the locals drink and dine and live, charge as little as 15 Kc for the same beer. Beer is always affordable to the Czech people because it is something they recognize as essential. The health and wholesomeness of beer drinking in the Czech Republic washed us Bible-belted, recovering Baptists, like baptismal waters. There is nothing wrong, dirty, slovenly, Anti-American or ungodly about it. We took it in and felt both vindicated and absolved of all the pseudo-sins of our youth. Beer is good.
We went to Cologne, or Koln, as the Germans call it, for three things: an amazing cathedral we had seen only in photographs; the gallery of pacifist artist Kathe Kollwitz; and Kolsch. Kolsch is a light to medium bodied, lively beer with mild malty taste and just a hint of hoppy bitterness at the end. The degree of hop finish is what varies among the many different brewers of the beer indigenous to the Cologne area, but it doesn’t fluctuate much. Top fermented, the alcohol content is lower than most German beers and it is served in small portions, 0.2 liters, in short, skinny thin-walled glasses called stange. The waiters who deliver Kolsch to your table haul the liquid in tall, round trays with handles that protrude upward from the middle, called bierkranz. Their job, and they take it seriously, is to keep their drinkers supplied with fresh, cold beer throughout their drinking and dining experience. This is a taken-for-granted assumption once a drinker or diner sits down at a table. Like fairies, the waiters – called kobes – flitter around swooping up empty glasses, still lacy from a recent draining, and replace them with fresh brew. Their standard wardrobe is white shirt, black pants, a blue apron and tie. They come in all age ranges but are universally grumpy and primarily male.
At last count there were fourteen breweries producing kolsch, down from more than forty before World War II, and consolidation threatens even those. Our first kolsch was a Gaffel, named after the medieval guilds called gaffeln, and proved to be extremely drinkable – light and refreshing. The historic Gaffel brewery was built on the site of an early 1300s brewery, but we enjoyed ours under a big blue tent at the Gaffel House on the Alter Markt along with a cheery crowd and heaping helpings of tender Sauerbraten. We were introduced to the kobe habit of keeping tabs on our beer consumption by jotting hash marks on our coasters. Unsure of how to stop the beer from coming, as our kobe was particularly efficient, we observed other drinkers with their cardboard coasters over their glasses and followed likewise at the end of the night. We also sampled Fruh, Sion and Gilden kolsches, as well – not detecting a tremendous difference in any of the delicious brews.
Traveling from South Carolina to Portland, Oregon in early June is like traveling to another season. The thermometer topped out at a balmy 102 degrees on the afternoon we prepared for our flight. Hot and humid, baby tomatoes sweated on the vine and the daisies I’d planted in honor of our oldest daughter’s twenty-first birthday looked anything but fresh. Flash forward five hours and our plane has touched down at PDX. The low temperature for the day – 51 degrees. The high – 55. Luckily, what Portland lacks in weather it makes up for in, well, pretty much everything else – but especially in beer. We easily boarded the light rail Max into the city and found our hotel just a block off our stop. The Governor Hotel is one of those old majestic city queens that reigns over the downtown. Rooms here originally ran a dollar and half, and up to two bucks for breakfast and a bath back in 1909. In the 1980s the hotel was gutted and restored and now is home to Jake’s Grill, the late night Mecca where we found ourselves on our first night in the city, hungry and thirsty for some of the Portland brew we’d heard so much about. Bob’s inaugural Oregonian beers were the Full Sail Nut Brown Ale and the Deschutes Mirror Pond Pale Ale; beers that introduced us to a pristine quality in local beers we found time and again throughout our pilgrimage in the Pacific Northwest. The Mirror Pond was lightly hopped with what smelled to be Cascade, well-balanced but with a short to-the-point finish. The Full Sail Nut Brown presented with a small, off-white head, fair lace, a moderate sweetness and a mild toasted coffee aroma balanced with a scant bitter finish. These two were perfect primers for the next week of the best of Portland’s brews – efficient, purposeful beers. Our first brew target of the next day was Henry’s 12th Street Tavern in the brewery blocks of Portland’s Pearl District. An imposing structure on the site where Henry Weinhard first bought an existing brewery
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known as the City Brewery in 1864, Henry’s, with its 24-feet high ceilings and more than a hundred handles of beer and is a pleasant place to while away the hours. My Fearless Scottish Ale from Estacada, Oregon was a crisp, sweet dough smelling burgundy brew with amazing Belgian lace. It offered an unusually light and bitter finish at the end with a singular taste, not complex. Bob’s Widmer W’08 Crimson Wheat out of Portland was sweet, filtered clear of wheat, the color of red tea and inordinately fresh. The historical significance of drinking at Henry’s should be noted. Henry Weinhard’s and Blitz-Weinhard beers were first brewed in Portland in 1856 and were the much enjoyed local beers from just after Prohibition until the 1960s and 70s when, as was often the fate of regional beers in the US, they lost too much ground to the national brands who seemed to swallow every small brewery in their paths. Sold and resold to the likes of Pabst, Stroh and eventually Miller, the brewery finally shut down in August 1999, only to have the building placed on the National Registry of Historic Places the following year. Today, Portlanders and lucky visitors like us can still enjoy fine brews and raise their glasses to old Henry in the shade of his massive Brewery Tower, and there’s something good to be said about that. The shiny new Deschute’s Portland Pub down the street is an expansive place; a former auto shop converted impressively with an eye toward detail. Old re-milled timbers tower over the bar area and a massive stone fireplace graces diners. The lintels over the dining cubes are adorned with regional carvings done by Oregon artist J. Chester Armstrong and are, arguably, the focal points in the establishment. The place was packed and we hovered until a spot opened at the bar. Sitting at the bar in Deschute’s, guests can peep into the workings of the brewery, lofted a half floor above the bar, through an elaborate gilded framed window. Flat screen televisions are also framed against attractive blood red walls. The folks at Deschute’s have made a noble commitment to using local and sustainable products in their brewery and restaurant, actively supporting neighboring businesses. Their menu also proffers some delicious breworiented items including a Black Butte Porter roasted chicken almond salad, ale braised corned beef and an Obsidian Stout torte. Despite the more than two million people living in the Portland metropolitan area, the city has a small town feel to it, and a lot of that has to do with the strong role urban planning has played in the city’s growth and development. The city – its parks and streets and residences – are intentional. Make no mistake about it; the emphasis in this city is on organic, holistic health for the environment as well as the populous, making Portland one of the most environmentally-friendly cities in the world, second only to Reykjavik, Iceland. It is an artist-friendly berg, as well. We were fortunate to be in town for one of their evening arts crawls held on the first Thursday of every month. Art spaces, from upscale galleries to what appeared to be impromptu gatherings of local up-starts and street artists in warehouses and garages, open their doors, light their incense and display their
works. While the fancier places provide spreads of the requisite wine and cheese, the more informal gatherings offer card tables with cookies, some homemade, others in their original store packaging. A healthy portion of the thanks for the balance between populism, the arts, and the good life in Portland clearly goes to a pair of native born brothers known as the McMenamins, and the creation of their selfprofessed Kingdom of Fun. In the early 1980s, the brothers, Mike and Brian, found themselves disenchanted with the state of pub life in the Portland area. In place of the dark and smoky holes-in-the-wall where folks escaped to drown their sorrows, they envisioned stimulating settings, family-friendly and full of positive energy – places where folks could drink good beer and have fun. So they, along with another set of famous Portland beer scene siblings, the Widmer brothers, and a fellow named Don Younger, set out to lobby the state legislature to modify the existing brewing laws to allow beer to be sold on the same premises in which it was brewed. Witness the 1985 birth of the American brew pub as we know it. Today, the McMenamins hold a brewing empire of more than fifty brew pubs, microbreweries, music venues and notable hotels and churches, almost all of which are revitalized and restored buildings of historic significance. Their motto, “It has to be fun,” led them to recognize the combined power that art, history and live music can lend to a venue and inspired them to always bring a cadre of local artists into their restoration efforts, most of whom exhibit a distinctive eye toward the whimsical. Having educated ourselves on the McMenamins’ enterprises prior to our journey we were anxious to try out one of their local venues and, late on Thursday evening, found ourselves in the vicinity of the Mission Theater in the Northwest area of the city. Formerly the Swedish Evangelical Mission Covenant Church, the theater also saw service as the home of the Longshoremen’s Local No. 8 during their 1971 strike that paralyzed much of the Pacific coast, and briefly, as the venue for a local theater troupe. But in 1987, the church was re-invented as an establishment that preached the merits of watching movies and drinking beer. Two of our favorite things – we were ready for a religious experience. Ironically, the Mission was showing the film, In Bruges, starring Colin Farrell, Ralph Fiennes and Mad-Eye Moody himself – the irony for us was that Bruges had become one of our favorite places in the world to drink beer. But there was a lot more drinking going on in the actual theater than on the screen that night. Our favorite of the nice array of craft brews was the Workingman’s Red – a deep mahogany beer that starts out sweet and malty but finishes up smoothly with some fairly aromatic
noble hops. The theater itself was the biggest treat though, and we left wanting to bring the brothers Brian and Mike back to South Carolina so they could work their wonders at home. What did we learn from a year designed around the seeking out and devouring of the world’s best beers? For starters, that a year wasn’t nearly enough. We trudged through the frigid underground tunnels of Pilsner Urquell in Plzen, CR, home of the original pilsner style beer, and sampled real pils from an open fermented barrel and watched the goose pimples rise on our skin. We cozied up with the owner of Monk’s Café and Beer Emporium on a warm night in Philly and shared a bottle of the rare, costly and extraordinarily funky Isabelle Proximus – the love child of five of America’s greatest brewers, including Dogfish Head’s Sam Calgione. We swiped away cobwebs and dodged skirting felines as we made our way through Brussels’ Cantillon Brewery where sour tasting lambics like gueuze and kriek are fermented by way of yeast that occurs naturally in the very air that we breathed. We joined myriad German families and roamed the beer gardens of Bamberg with our children and together learned the intricacies of rauchbier, finally accepting the idea that beer could taste like smoke and ashes and peat – and still taste good. We drank real ale from some of the oldest pubs in Britain including Oxford’s Turf Tavern whose walls date to the 1400s and, just down the street, the Eagle and Child, admiring the table at which Tolkien and Lewis drank themselves into visions of hobbits and talking lions. We met and conversed with hundreds of other beer lovers, sometimes in English, sometimes in that mixed media manner in which people who can understand each other perfectly without words are wont to do. But mostly we learned that a year just isn’t long enough to stop and sip and ponder. Our year of beer matured into a life of beer – beer and all the meandering paths where it leads. Turning 50 is nothing – not when there’s beer for the drinking. Cynthia Boiter is an award winning writer of fiction, creative non-fiction and poetry who blogs at cynthiaboiter.wordpress.com. Her book, Bob, Beer and Me: A Year of Beer, coauthored with husband Bob Jolley, will be out in late 2009. For more information visit her website at www.cynthiaboiter.com
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nine time winner of the Wine Spectator’s “Best of Award of Excellence”, the Vineyard offers an urban cool ambience awash with 30 wines by the glass and over 800 different selections in Columbia’s most extensive and affordable collection. The menu at Hampton Street features Angus beef, lamb, duck, veal, morning delivered seafood, in house desserts and seasonal menus. Dine inside the historic Sylvan building or beneath an umbrella in the sidewalk garden. Relax, and enjoy time well spent at the Hampton Street Vineyard. .
For business or pleasure there is only one choice Lunch M-Fri 11:30-2:00 • Dinner M-Sat 6:00-10:00 • Reservations available hamptonstreetvineyard.com • 1207 Hampton Street • ph. 252-0850
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Written by Leigh Talmedge
levels. infandel was first planted in California in the 1850’s, and All te classic wine grapes have their roots somewhere in Europe many people in California laid claim that it was their own. and western Asia. However, the exact origin of Zinfandel has been Zinfandel came to the United States in 1820, when a debated ever since its arrival in the Unites States. nurseyman from Long Island, New York brought back some cutIn 1967 Austin Goheen, a professor at U.C. Davis visited Italy, tings from the imperial Austrian plan species from Vienna. Agoston where he tasted different wines and noticed that the varietal called Harazthy, father of California viticulture, first planted it in Napa and Primitovo reminded him of Zinfandel. He took Sonoma. cuttings back to California, but could never In the cabernet craze of the early conclusively determine the two to be identical. 1980’s, Zinfandel might have disapGoheen’s research led him in 1997 to a peared, had it not been resurrected by Croatian vine called Plavac Mali, again with the Robert Trinchero, the first to introduce same results. white Zinfandel from Sutter Home, and In 1994 Professor Carole Meredith from U.C. Paul Draper of Ridge Vineyards, who Davis, established through DNA testing, that made the first serious “red” Zinfancdels. Zinfandel and Primitivo are genetically the In California, Zinfandel is the number same, but clones of the same variety are not two most planted red grape, accountidentical, and that neither is indigenous to Italy. ing for roughly 12 percent of the wine Professor Meredith embarked with Croatian sold in the United States each year. scientist Ivan Pejic and Edi Maletic and toured Wildly popular in the United States, Dalmatia where they collected over 150 sammany consider Zinfandel as the original ples of Palavac Mali. DNA testing, however, “California Red.” showed that Zinfandel and Palvac Mali are two In fact, California is the largest growdifferent varieties- in fact, Zinfandel is actually a er of Zinfandel in the world. This variety parent of Palvac Mali. Eventually the Croatian is currently planted just about everyscientists Maletic and Pejic found the other where across California, in a wide range of climactic zones. It reaches its height You can visit with Leigh and share your parent of Palvac Mali, an ancient variety called thoughts about wines from all over the Dobricic from the island of Solta. in the ancient plantings of Amador world at Hampton Street Vineyard, Meredith and the Croatian scientists County’s Sierra Foothills, and in northern 1207 Hampton Street. embarked on a long, detailed search throughout Sonoma venues like Dry Creek, the Dalmatian coastal islands and took numerGeyserville and Lytton Springs. Outside ous samples of Crljenak Kastelanski from the vineyards of Ivica of California, Zinfandel plantings exist in southern Oregon, Mexico Radunic in Kastel Novi. DNA testing that Crljenak Kastelanski and and South America and as a curiosity in the odd Australian and Ainfandel have the same genetic profile. South African Vineyards. The origin of Zinfandel had been found. The existence of Zinfandel can be made to be light and fruity, like Beajolais Crljenak Kastelanski could only be found in only one vineyard conNouveau, or lively, complex and age worthy like cabernet. It can taining thousands of vines and dozens of varieties, of which only also be made into big, ripe, high alcohol style wines like port. Since nine vines were Zinfandel. Vineyards get replanted periodically, and it is one of the most highly planted red grapes, it is also blended to nobody recognized anything special about this particular vineyard, make jug wines. so its likely that in a few years Crljenak Kastelanski might have Because of its resistance to vine disease, many Zinfandel vineceased to exist. yards exist that are 75 to 100-years-old. Many people believe these “old vines” produce the best wines, because the older vineyards set smaller crops and they tend to ripen more evenly. Zinfandel is one red varietal that is probably best enjoyed in its youth, within three to five years of the vintage. With more bottle age than this, the luscious fruit that distinguishes Zinfandel is lost and the wine can show a “hot” taste caused by the higher alcoholic
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Written by Jenny Maxwell
Keep an open mind,” Gerald Jowers said as 35 guests settled into their seats at The McCutchen House one Friday evening. Jowers, a beer expert with The University of South Carolina’s Wine and Beverage Institute, was trying something new. The Institute hosts wine dinners, open to the public, on a regular basis. Tonight, they were hosting their first ever beer dinner. That’s right, a beer dinner on a college campus. Revolutionary, right? Well, yes, when you pair with the same care you’d take to match food and wine, which is what Jowers and Chef Bill Knapp were doing. For most diners, the evening provided a new way of thinking about beer, starting with the opening beer and cheese reception. To go with three cheeses—Saint Andre, Camembert, and Mahon— Jowers was pouring a Reisdorf Kolsch, a honey-colored beer from Cologne, Germany. The surprise was that the beer went as well, or even better, with cheese than wine does. Jowers explained how his first pairing illustrates the balance you want to achieve. Beer works best when it compliments by mirroring flavors in the food (a caramel malt paired with caramelized meat), when it contrasts (a strong beer with a light dessert, for example) or when it cuts (a spicy hop to balance the fat in cheese). Other than those guidelines, Jowers says there are no rules. He and Chef Knapp had carefully selected and tested the pairings before presenting them. While Knapp was demonstrating how to make a raspberry panna cotta, Jowers elaborated on their process for creating the menu. Originally, he had planned to match the panna cotta with a raspberry lambic. But he decided that the dessert and the beer, because they were too similar, would actually compete with one another. So, he settled on a Sierra Nevada Porter, dark and coffee-like, to achieve that balance he’s looking for. Their selection process further reinforces Jowers’s central theme: the best way to learn is to consume. It’s a challenge that should appeal to wine drinkers too, especially those who love the intellectual aspects of wine and food pairing. Beers are made in 22 styles and 70 substyles, with their own take on terroir. The Reisdorf Kolsch served with the cheese course is a good example of beer’s quirky “sense of place”. Only breweries
in Cologne that have a view of Cologne’s cathedral, the Kolner Dom, can call their beer Kolsch. If you’re overwhelmed by the prospect of drinking from 70 substyles with abandon, you can take your lead from The Wine & Beverage Institute’s inaugural beer dinner. Here are five ideas for beer and food pairing we took away from that meal:
1. Choose beer to go with spicy foods. “Beer has a way of lifting the heat,” Jowers explains. 2. Pair beer with challenging foods. For foods that are hard to pair with wine, beer often makes a more refreshing match. 3. Try beer and cheese pairings. Many beer experts assert that beer actually compliments cheese better than wine.
4. Order beer with dessert. Dark beers with coffee and cocoa notes pair well with sweets. Try a raspberry lambic with a chocolate dessert. 5. Use a glass. Beer can be as filling as food, so rather than down a bottle with each course, share—and leave room to taste a wider variety. Pouring beer into glasses also lets you appreciate the color and aroma.
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The 22 styles and 70 substyles of beer have four main ingredients in common: Barley or wheat malt, Hops, a group of herbs that give beer aroma and add bitter flavor, Yeast, Water Variations in these four elements, other added flavors, and fermentation practices give beers their unique tastes.
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Are you the guy who owns Gervais and Vine?” It is the first question a young, trendy couple excitedly asks Kristian Neimi as they wander into his restaurant during our interview. I wonder if Kristian gets that a lot. Gervais and Vine is one of the few restaurants in town that makes me feel like I’ve escaped Columbia and stumbled into a true Spanish tapas bar. Our city needs more restaurants like it and thanks to Kristian we are about to have another. My mouth is watering in anticipation of his latest venture, Rosso. “I decided to open Rosso for purely selfish reasons,” Kristian said. “I wanted a place to eat rustic Italian food and drink good wine.” Using few, high quality but simple ingredients, Kristian will fire up his wood-burning grill and stove to cook chickens, roast lamb and fish. He also plans to offer a variety of antipasti and
fresh pastas. Rosso will take your taste buds back to the roots of country Italian cooking. Kristian is our own local food hero with a slew of successful restaurants to prove it. He started Mr. Friendly’s in the mid 90’s. Soon after, he opened Gervais and Vine, and most recently he brought Solstice to the Northeast. In just a few days he will open the doors of Rosso to offer an authentic taste of Italy. “I never knew I wanted to be a chef and own restaurants,” Kristian admits. “I always wanted to race cars. I was even preregistered for a racing class in California. In the end, things kept moving with my restaurants and I never did it.” Kristian’s postponed racing dreams are Columbia’s gain. In Italy, all Formula One racecars must be painted rosso, or red. Think red Maseratis and red Ferraris, sleek, classic cars with eye catching color. Combining his love of racing with the tastes of
Italy, Kristian is now living a piece of his dream right in Forest Acres. Formula One and Nascar may have missed out on Kristian’s talent, but food and wine connoisseurs are in luck. Kristian is carrying on his tradition of serving only the very best wines in his newest restaurant. Rosso’s extensive wine list will include pure Italian wines and wines originally made by families of Italian decent. The differences in flavor will be easily explained by his knowledge serving staff of wine experts. A key part of their job is to help customers appreciate Italian wine and encourage them expand their liquid palates. The leather chairs and dark wood tables give all of Columbia an affordable way to experience a true Italian trattoria. Kristian has over delivered in atmosphere, while maintaining reasonable prices. Entrees range from the mid teens to low twenties.
Patrons will also enjoy the oversized bar area, complete with two large communal tables, if you care to dine with new friends, as they often do in Italy. It is the prefect spot to meet new people or unwind with a group of friends after work. Rosso will not be open for lunch, but will start serving at 4:30pm for happy hour. If the Trenholm Plaza parking lot is full, swing around the back where you will find plenty of extra parking. Kristian has recently sold Mr. Friendly’s and Solstice. Rosso and Gervais and Vine are his top priorities for now, but keep on eye on Kristian Nemil. He’s already exploring new opportunities to mend the glaring food gaps in the Columbia dining experience. In a town overcrowded with chains like Applebee’s and Chilli’s, I for one am eternally grateful to Kristian and hope to see you next week to share a mezzo plate and glass of fine Italian wine at Rosso.
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Fulvio Valsecchi “Chef-Owner” and his culinary staff offer outstanding Northern Italian and seasonal contemporary cuisine. Our location in the Vista makes us the ideal setting for dinner out with friends and business associates. Wine Spectator Award of excellence 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Select from over 400 wines found throughout the world Open for Dinner Monday through Saturday at 6 p.m. 803 Gervais Street • ph.803.799.4550 www.ristorantedivino.com stir
[get out] We’ve put together a little list of the places that we like to go eat, hang out, and maybe try to impress our friends from out of town. We are going to add to our list each month, so check our site at stircolumbia.com for reviews, experiences and suggestions. Have a favorite of your own? Shoot us an email with the why’s and wherefore’s and we’ll get on it. 252.8992 779.4626 251.4447 799.3838 343.2855 254.5400 252.0356 254.3535 779.0606 933.9997 799.VINE 799.3705 256.3325 252.0850 799.8280 748.0540 765.0404 461.4677 779.5788 743.9996 779.6496 781.7788 255.8877 252.2700 256.6687 254.7828 779.9599 799.4484 799.4550 787.3949 212.6666 931.0700 787.5307 799.9500 256.4611 788.6966 791.3443 782.9665 733.2222 256.7677 931.8852 771.7334
2135 Devine St 1616 Gervais St 721 A Lady St 1200 Lincoln St 721 A Lady St 1332 Assembly St 2702 Devine St 2400 Devine St 342 Pickens St 931 Senate St 620 A Gervais St 724 Saluda Ave 217 Devine St 1201 Hampton St 1649 Main St 900 Main St 1004 Gervais St 828 Gervais St 1417 Sumter St 3250 Forest Dr B 922 Main St 1220 Bower Pky 701 Lady St 2930 Devine St 920 Gervais St 2001 Greene St 930 Gervais St 1123 Park St 803 Gervais St 4840 Forest Dr #7 924 A Senate St 807 Gervais St 4963 Jackson Blvd. 751 Saluda Ave 2000 Greene St 841-1 Sparkleberry Ln 100 State St 4517 Forest Dr 406 Howard St 1213 Blanding St 1200 Main St 2930 Devine St
Asian Southern Cuisine Tapas Seafood Greek, American Japanese, Sushi Greek American, Pasta American, Italian Gourmet Deli American, Pub Tapas, Extensive Wine Café, Deli American Continental Fine Dining Eclectic, American Tapas, Lounge American, Seafood Asian Asian Asian Asian Asian , Sushi American, Italian, Eclectic Eclectic Bistro New Southern Desserts, Eclectic Oysters, Crab, Shrimp Italian, Fine Dining Italian Steak House Sushi, Fusion Sushi Continental, American Burgers, Sandwiches Seasonal Contemp. American Seasonal, Contential Eclectic American Creative Comfort Italian Eclectic, Taco NIght! Brick Oven Pizza, American
Where we were the most last month, always changing....
Sawaan * Baan Porch * Back Blue * Blue Marlin * Bull Market * Camon * Devine Foods * Dianne’s * DiPrato’s * Flying Saucer * Gervais and Vine * Gourmet Shop * Goatfeathers * Hampton St. Vnyrd * Hennessy’s * Hunter-Gatherer * Hush * Liberty Tap Room * M Café * Miyo’s(Forest Dr) * Miyo’s(S. Main St) * Miyo’s(Harbison) * M Vista * Mo Mo’s * Motor Supply Co. * Mr. Friendly’s * Nonnah's * Oyster Bar * Ristorante Divino * Rosso Tratoria Italia * Ruth’s Chris * Saki Tumi * Saky * Saluda’s * Salty Nut * Solstice * Terra * TOMBO Grille * Utopia * Villa Tronco * Whig * Za’s *
56 * stir
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Locally owned and operated
[last scene] William “Mootray” Mclaren Professional Poker Player
ootray began playing poker as an undergrad at Furman University in 2002 for spending money. When he wasn’t able to scrounge up enough change from under the couch, Mootray and his buddies would “buy in” at a five-dollar table. He met with some succeess. He read a few books on the game and began playing online, more success. Soon he found himself playing as many as five to six nights per week. Upon graduating in May of 2006, he accepted a nine-to-five, but it left him unsatisfied and bored. In true rock-star spirit he quit and hit the road.
What was your biggest win at one time? loss? “The most I have ever won in one day was 21k, and the most I have ever lost in the same time frame was 5k”. What’s the most excellent/least desirable aspect of your “job”? “That would have to be the fact that I am able to afford a certain lifestyle through my earnings, while traveling the world and having a great time. You are only young once why not give it a go now, right? There is however a social stigma that comes with being a professional gambler, and I find it frustrating to overcome. Usually if I mention it in a social situation, I find that I’m able to prove them wrong. You know, because I’m not the sleazy casino looking type”. Where all have you been for Tournaments? “So far, internationally I have been to Rio de Janeiro, Aruba, and, Costa Rica. This April I will travel to Dublin, Monte Carlo, and San Remo”.
What are the most important elements in poker? “There are 3 facets to poker; first it is inexcusable not to grasp the element of math, the numbers involved. Second is probability, and the third is the range of hands. I have found success in the ability to resist impulse. I never hop into a big table just because I have the cash on hand. It is important to keep winnings separate, to treat this as a job”.
Interview by Veronica Staub, Photography by Ashlittle.com
GOLD AWARD WINNER
2008 WORLD BEER CUP
4 CONSECUTIVE GOLDS ‘02, ‘04, ‘06, ‘08 CATEGORY: BELGIAN-STYLE WHITE (OR WIT)/BELGIAN-STYLE WHEAT
Always Enjoy Responsibly. ®
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