Friday, November 17, 2017

2017 Colleton Business at the Backwater

Chamber leaders on the Swing
The 15th Annual Business at the Backwater was held November 16 at Turkey Run Farm, with host Jamey Copeland welcoming the Chamber of Commerce to his home place in order to network and enjoy fellowship in a relaxed setting. Chicken wings from Paul Pye, Barbecue from Jimmy Fitts and oysters satisfied the crowd's appetite, while Bruce Stanford played familiar tunes with his acoustic guitar. Comfortable temperatures meant that two fire pits were in use, and no bugs were detected.

To view past blog entries from Business at the Backwater click on 2016 - 2015 - 2014

Awesome fall colors at the Backwater

Oyster cookers Blaine Colson and Thomas Frank

Glad to listen to singer Bruce Standiford ... again!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

2017 New Orleans - Photo Journal

Christmas decorations were in place early
at St. Louis Cathedral
These are just a few of the photos that I decided to share after spending a fall weekend in the Big Easy.

To view past blog entries for dining in New Orleans click on 2017 - 2013

To view past blog entries on Audubon in New Orleans click on Insectarium - Aquarium

Shipping traffic on the Mississippi River

From Kress to Ritz-Carlton - Who Knew?!

Decisions.... decisions

First time visit to the Po-Boy Festival

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

2017 New Orleans - Audubon Insectarium Visit

Butterfly perched and posing for Insectarium enthusiasts!
Lowcountry residents that visit the city of New Orleans can sense a connection to the culture and history found there. Architecture in the French Quarter can resemble historical homes found in Charleston, and the expansive waterfront views are reminiscent of Beaufort. Cajun food and spirited ghost tours are always on tap after dark, but what about daytime options for the whole family to experience. The Audubon Butterfly Garden located downtown on Canal Street is easy to access and offers a comprehensive look at all insect life, complete with a living butterfly exhibit with a cadre of constant colorful wingbeats.
View leaf-cutter ants, termites and many more

Entomologist Brad Hyatt welcomes me
After entering the Audubon Insectarium, tickets can be purchased at $30 for an adult and $22 for children. Next up is a group photo opportunity, so that those wishing to purchase a keepsake image may do so. Photography of the insects and the exhibits is allowed throughout the Insectarium. Oversized replicas of insects line the walls of the hallway that leads to different areas that convey education about differing species like centipedes, termites and moths. The section that draws a lot of inquires is their Bug Appetit cafeteria where bold visitors can actually consume some edible insects. Lucky for me I was not visiting during my lunch hour, and I salute those that choose to dine here.

Brad Hyatt is an entomologist at the Audubon Insectarium and he shared more than a few insightful thoughts about the butterfly gallery. “Our staff is unique because we do husbandry work part of the time in the pupae room and education work here in the butterfly garden,” said Hyatt. “Adult butterflies have a life span of just two to four-weeks before they die, so we bring in almost 4000 of them a month, and butterfly farming is fast becoming a business that supports conservation of their species."

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries about Audubon in New Orleans click on Aquarium

To view past blog entries about dining in New Orleans click on 2017 - 2013
Millipede mirror image / egami rorrim edepilliM

Lots of information for visitors can be found at the New Orleans CVB.

This grouping stopped me in my tracks!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

2017 New Orleans - Rue Royal Dining

Very nice cover artwork at Trenasse
Visiting the city of New Orleans during the Veteran's Day holiday weekend revealed that Bourbon Street is very much under construction, complete with heavy soil disturbance to rebuild infrastructure underneath this major artery of the French Quarter. But when one door is closed, sometimes another is opened, and I took the Laissez les bons temps rouler attitude over to explore nearby Royal Street. Besides discovering several savory places to dine for local cuisine. I found impromptu jazz bands playing in Royal Street, with other artists giving performances at each street corner. In short, Rue Royal is shining during this time when Rue Bourbon is mostly a construction site.

Balcony dining is available at Curio
Highest recommendations go to these Two Sisters!!
With so many did options it is wise to receive input about what kind of experience you are looking for during dinner. The first visit was to Trenasse Restaurant which is located at the Hotel Intercontinental at 444 St. Charles Avenue (which is an extension of Royal Street.) Tranasse is defined as 'a trail in the marsh that will lead to the best fishing' and the artwork on their menu depicts this scene and even adds a few waterfowl flying overhead. The meal got off to a great start with an order of their Oysters Intercontinental on the half shell, which ended up being the best I tasted. The sportsman in me dove into the Rabbit and shrimp fricassee next and enjoyed sopping up every bit of it with my appetizer of loaf bread.

Criollo is the Spanish word for Creole 
Next up is a new eatery called Curio, located at 301 Royal Street. Curio offers a bar downstairs with some lunch and dinner tables downing said. The second story holds a more refined dinner area, and is much quieter for polite dinner conversations. Choosing to embrace the second story patio dining proved to be a master stroke, since the outside temperature was cool without any significant breeze. I started with the Roast duck and Black-eyed pea gumbo with Poche's andouille and popcorn rice, which warmed me right up. A pan-roasted red grouper was served over kale, garlic rice and pecan butter sauce. The Dessert offering called Coffee and Doughnuts proved to be quite a tasty surprise when Cafe au last creme brûlée was served along with beignets, and it was delicious.

No visit to the Big Easy is complete with a Jazz brunch at The Court of Two Sisters, located at 613 Royal Street. The structure here was built in 1832, but the spacious courtyard (which resembles the Garden Distric) is complete with ancient grape arbor and a wishing well with running water. Once seated, the server takes your drink order and then you are free to visit the salad bar, custom omelette bar, hot food bar and dessert bar until you reach a comfortable stopping point. For anyone that likes to mix up tastes of food on your plate this is a great place to dabble in dishes such as Duck L'orange, Catfish roulade, Cajun jambalaya, Shrimp etoufee, Crawfish Louise, Veal grilled, Andouille gumbo, plus Shrimp and corn macaque Choux. All the while, the three-piece jazz band played the classics softly enough to entertain without intrusion, and nature watchers might even spy a few birds flitting about in the courtyard.
Bourbon Street on Nov. 12, 2017

Lastly, Criollo Restaurant at 214 Royal Street is located inside the Hotel Monteleone. Many will know this same location since it is famous for the Carousel Bar that hosts jazz music nightly. I found the menu to be somewhat limited and chose to eat their Colorado land shank, cooked to medium well. The entire dish including the carrots and au jus was too bland for me, and I requested a salt shaker to bring some life to the dish. Our seating area was in a 'live' room with a larger party next to us with more than a few wine bottles on it, and they were simply too loud and raucous for the dinner hour. Skipping dessert and moving on seemed prudent, but I hope to get another chance to visit their restaurant.

To view past blog entries from dining in New Orleans click on 2013 or 2013 Photo Journal.

Lots of information for visitors can be found at the New Orleans CVB.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 Edisto Island Open Land Trust - Oyster Roast / Sand Creek Farm

Amber and Lindsey Young
The first Sunday in November brought warm and sunny weather conditions to the annual Edisto Island Open Land Trust oyster roast. The recently revealed Hutchinson House Heritage Project was in focus with a special fundraising appeal, and with descendants of the Hutchinson family in attendance. The sold out event kicked off at 2 p.m. at Sand Creek Farm, and the capacity crowd of conservationists enjoyed food and live music alongside the salt marsh.

Jeff Dennis with Alicia and Jenks Mikell 
The membership roster at the Edisto Island Open Land Trust (EIOLT) is growing, and the record turnout on Sunday showed it. “The demand for tickets for the annual oyster roast is robust,” said Executive Director John Girault. “We sold out of tickets ahead of the event, and the office phones never stopped ringing with people interested in attending. All of which comes at a good time since we are trying to raise $50,000 dollars by December 10, a date which would enable EIOLT to receive a matching gift towards the Hutchinson House.”

2017 Oyster Roast Benefits Hutchinson House
The Hutchinson House sits on 9-acres of land on Edisto Island, and it has been sitting idle for years. The Phase One plan of the project includes stabilization of the house and protection of the existing structure via a covered shelter. The house restoration plans will be on a long-term timeframe, but the purchase of the acreage and the initial push for funds is being met with generous support from the Edisto community and beyond. The band called Edisto Gumbo provided musical entertainment and caterer Jamie Westendorff of Charleston served up oysters along with barbecue, chicken, and sausage. Shade trees on the property provided respite from the unseasonal heat.

To view the entire feature article in the newspaper click on Colletonian.

To view past blog entries from EIOLT click on 2017 Tomato Open - 2017 I Love Edisto Auction-
Ladies Love Conservation!

Get the oysters when they're HOT!