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Archive for May, 2009



Guerrilla Bite

Back on the covert dining beat, I wrote this Quick Bite feature for the May 2009 Charleston Magazine, the arts issue with the Shepard Fairey cover. I’m a fan of street art and underground supper clubs, so it was a great fit.

Shepard Fairey cover, Guerrilla Cuisine

A year ago this month, the e-mail arrived on a Saturday night with details about where to be the next evening, at 6:00 sharp. Directions were a bit cryptic, mentioning a street address “a few doors down from a favorite local meeting spot… the Wild Wild Joker. Bring yourself, a sense of adventure, and don’t forget to BYOB.“

The message was sent only to the 40 or so people going to another sold-out Guerilla Cuisine dinner, part food exploration, part art show. Begun in the fall of 2007, the underground dining group’s founder is a local 30-something known as “jimihatt” who’s worked in kitchens from Med Deli (the 1990s version) to McCrady’s. He and fellow chefs, mostly from Charleston restaurants, do the cooking for the clandestine, monthly dinner. And like a party or a rave, each meal is different, some better than others.

Walking up on the steamy May night to the Heriot Street address, guests could see crawfish being skewered onto sticks, prep cooks firing up grills on a line of tables outside. That dinner was held in a warehouse of glowing light and long tables, with art lining the walls… most of it by local artists, and for sale. There was a deejay playing house mixes, wait-staff in black-and-white costumes and face paint, and a drummer from Ghana. Guests chose their places at the snaking tables, and course-by-course the meal was served… mako shark and venison chops, roasted quail with a quail egg cooked inside, buffalo carpaccio with onion, and the fire-grilled crawfish. The 20-something to early 40-something crowd tasted, talked, and shared their wine.

A few months later, at another Guerrilla Cuisine dinner, guests sat on the floor of an otherwise empty, mid-century house off of Highway 17 South in West Ashley. Boxy, foot-high “tables” held the place settings that night, when every meal course featured hot peppers. It was all part of Guerrilla Cuisine’s nod to cooking what’s local and in-season.

The mystery and momentum of changing chefs, locations and art continues. Potential guests can sign up anytime for e-mail updates,

Guerrilla logo

– Sandy Lang, May 2009

Mr. Biggerstaff

His business cards read, “Honey is my hobby,” and 72-year-old Robert Biggerstaff isn’t kidding. Since 1967 he’s been building bee boxes, tending hives and collecting honey – all under the oak trees in his sideyard that backs up to a tidal creek off the Stono River on Johns Island.

“The Bee Man,” just published with images by Josh Zoodsma, is one of several pieces I wrote for the 2009 issue of 5757 Palm, now in print. Click here for an earlier post about Mr. Biggerstaff and his bees.

– Sandy Lang, May 2009



Rainforest flights

St. Kitts, Mount Liamuiga

“Take your hands off the grips, lean back and fly,” the Kittitian guide, Kenny, told me. I was working in St. Kitts earlier this week, and tried out the zipline course that’s just opened in the jungle above the ruins of a centuries-old sugar cane factory. A Land Rover took us up to the top of the mountain, and the cables zig and zag to bring you back down to the base. From the second line, the view was all wide Atlantic, with the treetops and the Wingfield River’s bed below. St. Kitts is an island of green vervet monkeys and mango trees, of batik making, cricket tournaments, and of plates of whole pan-fried hine fish served with plantains, rice and peas. Oh, and the 18 mile-long island makes sugar cane rum and three of its own beers, Carib, Skol and Stag (advertised as “a man’s beer”).

In the clouds is Mount Liamuiga, which at 3,792 feet is the tallest peak – otherwise known as Mt. Misery.  (Images by PFE.)

– Sandy Lang, May 2009

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Travel, Wild animals and places

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