Monday, April 27, 2015

Monday Motivation 04/27/2015

"If you don't build your dream, someone else will hire you to help them build theirs."

~ Dhirubhai Ambani

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Monday Motivation 04/20/2015

"A leader has the vision and conviction that a dream can be achieved. He inspires the power and energy to get it done."

~ Fashion Designer Ralph Lauren

Monday, April 13, 2015

Monday Motivation 04/13/2015

"Whenever the heat's on, my whole life, I've just kind of learned to focus a little more."

~ Jordan Spieth, 2015 Masters Golf Champion

Monday, April 6, 2015

Monday Motivation 04/06/2015

"The great leaders are like the best conductors - they reach beyond the notes to reach the magic in the player."

~ Blaine Lee

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

My Top 3 Restaurant Challenge in Charleston, SC

The results are in for my Top 3 Restaurant Challenge in Charleston, SC! Charleston has so many great restaurants, but three stand above the rest in terms of service, food choices, and most importantly for us with food allergies, attention to food allergies. Each of these three restaurants are extremely difficult to get reservations on any given night, so I highly recommend using the Open Table App to reserve your table.

I narrowed my Top 3 down to:

- Husk Restaurant, 76 Queen St.
- Edmund's Oast, 1081 Morrison Dr.
- Halls Chophouse, 434 King St.


Ok, ok, so I could not pick one clear winner. I have had great experiences at all three and depending on the evening, any of the three could slide into that number one spot. However, for my Top 3 Challenge, I will break down each restaurant and rank them according to the Challenge Dining Experience.
Husk Restaurant's Pork Dish
HUSK RESTAURANT is consistently named one of the top restaurants in the country. I know why... fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a menu that keeps you guessing what great dishes will be available that evening.

- Love the Farm to Table Aspect (check the chalk board near the hostess stand for a list of ingredient sources)
- Constantly changing the menu to give diners a chance to always try something new
- Very good with food allergies (Dined during Restaurant Week last year and even with a prix fixe menu, there were gluten free options)

- With the changing menu, it is very possible that your favorite Husk dish may not be on the menu that evening. That was the case during my Top 3 Challenge. I love the Pork Belly Dish, and it was not available that night. My meal was very good, but was not the dish I was craving when I arrived.

Because I was hoping for the Pork Belly, Husk landed at #3 in my Top 3 Challenge. Numbers 1 and 2 were more difficult to determine. Both Edmund's Oast and Halls Chophouse go above and beyond to serve those of us with food allergies, and that is why they are my top 2! I love being able to dine in a restaurant that has amazing service and know I am going to get a safe, delicious meal without making me feel like I have a million requests or accommodations.
Edmund's Oast's Charcuterie Board with Gluten Free Bread

EDMUND'S OAST is a newcomer to Charleston, opening last year, but comes in strong with great small plate items and tasty options.

- Julia Ingram, Pastry Chef at Edmund's Oast, is gluten free and makes all the desserts gluten free as well as the most amazing gluten free bread
- Julia's fiancee is head chef, Andy Henderson. Andy really gets gluten free and while most dishes are naturally gluten free, all dishes can be modified to be gluten free
- The Charcuterie Fresh Board is the most amazing thing ever... get the gluten free bread to go with it!
- Order the Pickled Shrimp, on gluten free bread, of course!
- Owner Scott Shor takes great care in making sure all diners are having a great experience at Edmund's Oast and has a well trained staff who is happy to make sure your meal is food allergy free.
- Did I mention the gluten free desserts??
- Did I mention the gluten free bread??

- Edmund's Oast has over 40 beers on tap (and is nationally known for its own beer brewing), but does not have any gluten free beers. They do have two cider options, but they are not on tap.
Halls Chophouse's Fried Green Tomatoes

HALLS CHOPHOUSE is THE place to go for a steak in Charleston. It is also the place to go for outstanding service and a fabulous gluten free meal.

- Halls is family owned and co-owner Billy Hall wants to make sure you have a fantastic meal with fantastic service every time you dine with them. He will greet you when you walk through the door and be the first person to ask you how your dining experience was as you leave. His servers are well trained and very attentive (During one of my dining experiences, a near-by diner started choking. Before anyone realized, our server rushed over and gave the man the Heimlich Maneuver, saving his life!).
- Without even making it a big deal, Halls uses gluten free rice flour to fry with so all fried items are gluten free. You must order the Fried Green Tomatoes. They are out of this world! I keep saying I am going to just order four plates of them on my next trip!
- The steaks are top notch! I really love Halls Prime Rib, since I find it very difficult to find gluten free Prime Rib, due to the aus jus. Halls takes great care to prepare it safely. It is a top seller and tends to run out, as evidenced by my Top 3 Challenge visit, but I was able to enjoy a fabulous Filet instead.

- No gluten free bread. With all the gluten free options at Halls (did I mention the Fried Green Tomatoes?!?), gluten free bread would be awesome!

As you can see, it is too difficult to choose just one. Each restaurant is so different, but one thing is the same, they accommodate for food allergies. I love how each, especially Edmund's Oast and Halls, don't make a big deal out of their accommodations, allowing us with food allergies to feel normal among other diners. For a food item to be automatically gluten free or have a gluten free substitution, gives those without food allergies a chance to realize that our "special" food can be delicious.

With Edmund's Oast and Halls Chophouse, depending on the night and what I am craving, either one could be my number one restaurant in Charleston. With all the great choices in this "foodie" city, these two go above and beyond, not only with food allergy accommodation, but with world class food. Check them out and let me know your Top 3 Restaurants in Charleston, SC!