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Archive for the ‘Capitol Cuisine’ Category

No Knead Chocolate Nut Brioche

For more than 140 years, Fleischmann’s Yeast has focused on teaching people how to raise bread. Now the company hopes to raise breast cancer awareness through their “Bake for the Cure” special contest which was judged on October 10, at the 2011 South Carolina State Fair.

Creative bakers entered a variety of breads featuring Fleischmann’s yeast. Baked goods in the main category, Best Yeast Breads, could be made in any flavor or shape. A second category, Best Whole Grain Breads, included whole grain recipes that had to contain at least 50 percent whole grains (like whole wheat flour or rye flour) and/or other whole grain ingredients (like oatmeal, flax seed, bran cereals and bulgur). All-purpose or bread flour had to be limited to 50 percent or less in the recipe. All recipes were required to be original.

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Chef Mike Davis at work

Good food depends almost entirely on good ingredients.”
  Alice Waters

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With Chef Mike Davis at the helm, the acclaimed West Columbia restaurant TERRA qualified for membership in The Distinguished Restaurants of North America (DiRoNA) in the Creative Contemporary category. Terra is one of six restaurants in South Carolina, and the only restaurant outside of Charleston, to have earned this distinction.

DiRoNA is a non-profit organization that seeks to promote excellence in the fine dining industry.  One of three categories, the Creative Contemporary category represents the best in modern casual cuisine, often with a creative theme or presentation. Restaurants in this category should “rise above passing trends to offer a distinct dining experience………….” 

“We’re proud of the DiRoNA distinction because we qualified based on the complete dining experience at Terra. Our thoughtfully prepared menu, wine list, and the fact that we have a Certified Specialist of Wine in General Manager Howard Jarrett were also factors in the qualification,” says Davis.

Chef Davis knows that the tastiest ingredients often come from the farmers in his own backyard so his seasonal preparation of Southern dishes features local ingredients and products whenever possible.  An ever-increasing number of chefs and restaurateurs support the farm-to-table concept, which is promoted by many food-focused organizations. Besides showcasing ingredients and products of exceptional quality and flavor, this approach benefits our local economy and the environment.  

In addition to the DiRoNA membership, in the past year Terra has also earned the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence (as it has every year since the restaurant’s inception) and Chef Mike Davis was invited to prepare his Southern Roots dinner at the James Beard House in New York City. 

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About The Distinguished Restaurants of North America  

Established in 1990, DiRoNA conducts independent and anonymous restaurant inspections and evaluations  “to ensure independence, objectivity, consistency and credibility.” To be eligible, restaurants must be in operation under the same ownership, a minimum of three years. The rigorous 75-point inspection process scrutinizes every aspect of the dining experience — distinctive fare, wine, knowledgeable service, physical property and well-coordinated décor. Cuisine quality is considered the most important criterion, followed by menu accuracy, cooking techniques, creativity and originality. Even the service staff come under scrutiny, from the reservation process to departure. Re-inspections are required for continued membership in the organization. To date, nearly 800 restaurants have received the DiRoNA award. 

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TERRA

100 State Street

West Columbia, SC 29169

803-791-3443  

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Photo of Mike Davis by Gerry Melendez

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Here are more photos from VIVA LA VISTA. At the end of this post, you will find a Blue Marlin recipe for Shrimp and Grits, which was shared by Executive Chef Brian Dukes for a Columbia Metropolitan Magazine article I compiled with creative recipes for grits. Enjoy!

BLUE MARLIN’S SHRIMP AND GRITS AT VIVA LA VISTA        

         

 

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PANTASIA

 

Last Saturday (September 25), Columbia’s largest block party rocked the Congaree Vista from 2:00 P.M. until 7:00 P.M.  Columbia families flocked to the third annual VIVA LA VISTA on that sunny hot afternoon, in search of the tasty cuisine promised by a group of popular restaurants in this downtown area. 

Motor Supply Co.'s Classic SC Pig Pickin' :collards:vinegar BBQ sauce

 

Armadillo- Motor Supply's mascot loves BB@ too!

 

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Come to the Congaree Vista this Saturday (September 25) in downtown Columbia to enjoy the third annual VIVA LA VISTA   – Columbia’s largest block party – from  2:00 – 7:00 p.m.

The epicurean event will feature an afternoon of tastings from Columbia’s best restaurants. There will be live music –  in fact, there will be two stages set up with several bands playing. In addition to all this, the Free Times Music Crawl will gear up at 7:00 P.M. with bands playing around the vista.  KEEP READING FOR MORE INFORMATION AND FOR A LINEUP OF THE FOOD……..

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Carolina Butter Peas and Okra

 

Farmers’ Markets have never been more popular throughout South Carolina. They are everywhere – even in churches, hospitals, malls and private community town centers. Certified farmers’ markets may occasionally be small, but they make up for size by offering a rainbow cornucopia of the finest seasonal farm-to-table foods available.  Two of my favorite local Columbia markets are the Sandhill Farmers’ Market ( open  Tuesdays from 2:30 P.M.-7:00 P.M.) and the Farmers’ Market at Richland Mall (open Wednesdays from 3:00 P.M. until 7:00 PM). They have fresh butter beans and butter peas in plentiful supply right now. Read on for recipes and tips for cooking these Southern treats! 

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Solstice Kitchen & Wine Bar, located in Northeast Columbia, was nominated “Best Overall Restaurant” and “Best Service” by The Free Times readers.  The Free Times is a local weekly paper that holds the “Best Of Columbia” competition once a year.  Read on to learn more about Solstice’s awards and to try one of Executive Chef and owner Ricky Mollohan’s amazing recipes……….

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