Sunday, 31 March 2013

Best Use of Ritz Crackers: Fuel’s chicken and waffles

Charleston City Paper Best Of Issue 2013
Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013
Staff Pick

You get a lot of bang with your bite at Fuel, especially since chef/owner Justin Broome’s sorta secret ingredient for the gas station-turned-restaurant’s popular chicken and waffles dish is none other than good ol’ fashioned Ritz crackers.“Most of the menu items are unique and all made from scratch,” Broom says. “Using Ritz crackers with that dish makes [the chicken fingers] extra crisp, and that’s what differentiates our chicken from others.” Sure does. If you like to go big on the crunch factor, this recipe is the one to take you there.

211 Rutledge Ave.

Best Oatmeal Cream Pies: Carla Bakes

Charleston City Paper Best of Issue 2013
Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013

We don’t know about y’all, but nothing says nostalgia quite like a Little Debbie Oatmeal Cream Pie. We thought the good life meant clutching onto that clear plastic wrapper while sitting in grandmama’s backyard swing. That is, until we came across Carla Bakes, a mobile eatery owned by Carla Walker. She makes homemade jams and jellies and bakes up a storm for weddings, dinner events, local artist markets, and restaurants. Places like Hello My Name is BBQ can vouch for how much people love her bacon chocolate chip cookies, but she’s super famous for creating big ol’ oatmeal cream pies like you’ve never tasted before. We’re talkin’ melt-in-your-mouth, slap-your-grandmama-good. Sorry, Little Debbie.

Best Insanely Creative Ice Cream Flavors: Early Bird Diner

by Kelly Rae Smith
Staff Pick, Charleston City Paper Best of Issue March 2013

The greatness of Early Bird Diner doesn’t stop with its famous fried chicken and waffles. No, this West Ashley favorite continues to blow minds with its insanely creative ice cream flavors that are so delicious, any guilt about ordering dessert melts away with each sugary spoonful. Owner Nicole Morris is the genius behind the crazy homemade goodness. Think lavender honey, brown sugar Pop Tart, s’mores, oatmeal cream pie, ginger lemon cookie, Cheerwine (you heard me), Nutter Butter chocolate, candied bacon pecan, Nutella white chocolate chip, Oreo Speedwagon (coffee, Oreos), Circus Circus (frosted animal cookies, sprinkles), and coconut Samoas.
Best Of Staff Pick Menu Early Bird Diner
1644 Savannah Hwy.

Best Place to Get Crafty: SpaceCraft Studios

Charleston City Paper Best of Issue 2013
Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013

Spending a night in and crafting by yourself has its rewards. But when you can take a bottle of wine to a cozy place that stocks every crafting tool you could fathom and comes complete with professional guidance and creativity bouncing off the brains of a dozen or so of your awesome new friends, now that’s special. SpaceCraft Studios, a craft haven, workroom, and gift shop, joined the Avondale scene last summer and has been uniting local lovers of homemade art ever since. You can make a street stencil, build a paper lantern, sew a pet lounger, and so much more. Workshops fill the calendar and sell out quicker than you can say DIY.

Best Way To Spoil Your Furry Best Friend: Lucky Puppy Truck

Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013
Charleston City Paper Best of 2013 Issue

We humans have plenty of options in the food truck department, but what about our fuzzy buddies? Lesley Carroll loves them all too much to let them go unnoticed, so last year she started up the Lucky Puppy Truck. This food truck catering to dogs visits local fairs and events with homemade goodies like peanut butter and bacon pupcakes (cute), turkey apple ice cream, alfalfa parsley bars, blueberry scones, peanut butter banana balls, and yogurt-based frozen treats like vanilla mint and sweet potato pie. I bet even you are drooling.

Best Animation: Sire for Hire

Charleston City Paper
Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013

Local musician and creator of the viral Self Pop Tart blog, Kevin Hanley, recently put his tech-savvy skills to work again to create the silly and sweet cartoon, Sire for Hire. It’s about a king, Sire, who loses his crown and winds up in all kinds of adventures with his companion, Wizard. Life lessons are learned and songs are sung, including the lovely “Tide” by Royal Tinfoil’s Brad Edwardson. Mechanical River’s Joel Hamilton and Punks & Snakes’ Jack Burg joined the collaborative project by providing the voices. There are more adorable sing-alongs and comical travels to come this spring.

Best Back Alley Art

Avondale and Park Circle’s chArt Initiative and Outdoor Gallery
Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013

If you came face-to-face with a life-sized elephant or a two-story-tall peacock late last Friday night, you weren’t blitzed beyond repair. Well, maybe you were, but you were also lucky enough to stumble upon Avondale’s chArt Initiative and Outdoor Gallery, a public art space organized by Lava Salon’s Geoff Richardson that was built to bring beauty to the community and recognition to local visual artists. The initiative is also ongoing in Park Circle, and together the neighborhood businesses have welcomed nearly 50 artists to decorate more than 50 walls. You can’t beat incredible art on display for free, day or night, cross-eyed or sober.

Best Thing You Can Do For Your Liver

Dellz Vibez
Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013

Dell Grayson, owner and operator of organic eatery Dellz Deli, has hit King Street with a new local favorite: Dellz Vibez, an all-natural smoothie and juice bar with concoctions that aren’t just tasty, but they’re also crazy good for your sexy bod. With fresh produce like ginger, beets, celery, carrots, pumpkin, spinach, blueberries, bananas, and cucumbers, your liver will be begging for more. Dell has even introduced community three-day juice cleanses so that you’re not the only one on the wagon.

Charleston City Paper Best Of 2013 issue

Best Place to Show Off Your Spelling Skillz

Charleston City Paper Best Of 2013 issue
Tin Roof’s Drunken Spelling Bee

Kelly Rae Smith | Mar 6, 2013

The Tin Roof’s popular Drunken Spelling Bee is exactly as cool as it sounds: You pay 10 bucks to nerd it up on stage in front of a thoroughly entertained audience. You get one shot with every correctly spelled word plus a consolation PBR if, or when, you screw it up. Ten rounds in and you may need to use that lifeline (get a friend to spell for you), but sometimes there’s just no savin’ you from tricky suckers like l-a-c-k-a-d-a-i-s-i-c-a-l (no, people, there’s no “S” after the “K”), unless you’re reigning champion and resident smarty pants Lindsay Anne Bower. She won a $50 bar tab and super-juvenile bragging rights ’til next time.