Two Top opens tonight at The Miller Gallery and I am so grateful for this opportunity. Best of all, I am really proud of each piece I created for this collaborative show. It’s always easier to create when truly inspired, and I am deeply inspired by Charleston’s food and bev community. I decided to share the reason's I approached each piece, I hope you’ll come see them in person!
“A Favorite Routine” is inspired by the Harbinger Cafe. Whether I am working in my studio at Redux, or a shift at Artist & Craftsman Uptown, I am very lucky to only be a few blocks away from this perfect shop. Everything from their amazing baked goods to delicious salads are thoughtful and fun, and their decor/design is so very charming. It’s a cozy and welcoming place, I make the quick trip up King to grab a coffee (and probably a sriracha mama) at least once or twice every week.
“Waiting for Saturday” is inspired by the Scram food tuck. Every Thursday through Sunday, Scram posts up on 1291 Folly Road and serves the BEST breakfast sandwiches you’ll ever have. Melanie Durant is the chef inside the truck, and she was previously the pastry chef at FIG, so the treats and buns are no joke either. I live in Riverland Terrance on James Island, so the drive up Folly is an easy one to make, thank goodness she’s not open every day…
“Vodka Grapefruit, Please” is inspired by my favorite Charleston bar, The Belmont. I started frequenting this fine establishment when I moved back to Charleston in 2012, and it quickly became my favorite haunt. They play old black and white movies on their back wall, have special ice cubes for their delicious drinks, serve up amazing charcuterie and adult pop-tarts (get the nutella banana), and they squeeze my grapefruits fresh. Even on busy weekend nights, they don’t allow the space to be overcrowded, which means you can always be sure of a lovely experience.
“Two for the Bar” is inspired by the one and only FIG. I was a freshman at CofC when FIG first opened, and I was a junior when I first dined there. I remember feeling incredibly impressed then, just as I do every time I get a chance to eat there. My favorite place to sit is at the bar, making conversation and friends with the staff and other customers alike. FIG deserves all the accolades and press it receives; the staff is passionate, knowledgeable and kind and the food is creative and incredibly delicious. It’s a memorable treat every visit.
“Special Memories” is inspired by Chez Nous. Going to this restaurant feels like stepping into a European home (with an exceptional kitchen). The menu changes daily (and is handwritten) and the ingredients are as seasonal and fresh as it gets. Chef Jill is an incredible talent. She and her husband both create masterpieces in the kitchen and its so fun to experience them. Last year around this time, Dylan and I stopped here to share some champagne after we got hitched at the courthouse, and it was the perfect way to celebrate.
“Front door goals” and “Add Sticky Rice” are both inspired by Xiao Bao Biscuit. This is hands down one of my favorite places to eat. The food is so damn good, and really fun share with a group of friends. Most importantly, its accessible and consistently a great experience. I recommend it to anyone who asks where they should eat.
“Tu Cool” is inspired by Xiao Bao’s sister restaurant, Restaurant Tu. They recently switched up their concept to an Indian fusion (which I am pumped about), but their original plan was pretty spectacular as well. The menu was beyond creative and the interior design is so much fun (they even have a “selfie bathroom)”. We celebrated our marriage with our closest friends in their disco room, it was a delicious blast.
Last but not least, “Family Matters” is inspired by 167 Raw. So many of my loved ones work in this small, but amazing place. Dylan has been there for several years and is now their beverage director, while our best friends are the talented chefs creating amazing dishes that keep the place packed year round. There is usually at least an hour wait, but once inside you realize why: they only have about 24 seats to accommodate the hundreds who flock there daily. I am so proud of my boys and love visiting them in their element when I can.
A big thanks to miss Lizzy Ervin who captured all these beautiful pictures, working with her is always wonderful :)