Hominy Grill

For years I have read about Hominy Grill in Charleston, SC and finally had a chance to try it on our last visit in October.

Hominy Grill

Bloody Mary and Boiled Peanuts
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Hominy Grill

Hominy Grill
Photo Credit: Website

Located in a single house, Hominy Grill feels as though it has been open for generations, But actually this landmark has only been dishing up its simple and delicious fare since 1996. Combining the traditions of the past with the bounty of land and sea, James Beard Award winning chef/owner Robert Stehling lets the Low Country’s unique cultural history and flavors guide his cooking. A little off the beaten path in Harlston Village, Hominy Grill is in an old building with siding that has a mural painted on it to let you know you have come to the right place. As the mural suggests the restaurant is casual and homey. To enter the restaurant you walk past a small courtyard with outdoor seating but with a cool autumn chill in the air we ate inside where it was warm and cozy. Lace curtains and butcher paper on the tables gave the place a rustic charm. 

We were warmly greeted by our server who gave us a rundown on the menu and took our drink orders. Bloody Marys seemed to be the drink of choice at our table They were very well made with fresh ingredients and a perfect pairing with the complimentary Boiled Peanuts that we devoured in no time flat. Our appetizer of Fried Chicken with Pickled Vegetables and Pepper Relish was so good that we practically inhaled it. The chicken was juicy, succulent on the inside and the coating was oh so crispy. The richness of the chicken was balanced beautifully with the acetic hit of pickled veggies.

Hominy Grill

Fried Chicken with Pickled Vegetables
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Following that Eve, Steve and I all had the Shrimp and Grits and Brian the Rib and Chicken Combo with Hush Puppies, Black Eyed Peas and Deep Fried Cheese Grits. The food was all so amazing that not a sound could be heard at our table with the exception of constant lip smacking and finger licking! We were all quite full but somehow we managed to find a little room for dessert. And were we ever glad we did.

Hominy Grill

Fried Chicken and Ribs Combo
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Hominy Grill

Shrimp and Grits
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Brian, who is not a huge fan of chocolate (this from the son of two chocoholic parents) had the Sweet Potato Layer Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream with was light and packed with flavor from the addition of pecans and toasted coconut. And, of course, his chocoholic parents shared the Brownie with Vanilla Ice Cream and Hot Fudge that was everything you could want in a chocolate dessert. The rich, warm, fudgy brownie was the perfect raft for the creamy cold vanilla ice cream and both were anointed with thick bittersweet hot fudge. All in all our entire meal was fabulously delicious and we can’t wait to return for an encore!

Hominy Grill

Sweet Potato Layer Cake
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Hominy Grill

Our Brownie with Ice Cream and Hot Fudge at Hominy Grill
Photo Credit: Sandy Axelrod

Hominy Grill

207 Rutledge Avenue

Charleston, SC 29403

843-937-0930

S.N.O.B.

Since our very first trip to Charleston in 2004 we have been enjoying the food at Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B.) each time we visit.

S.N.O.B.

S.N.O.B.

Smoked Trout Rillettes
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

We just happened to stumble upon this great restaurant while strolling East Bay Street and exploring the galleries, shops and restaurants. The menu looked interesting to us and we liked that they were highlighting locally sourced ingredients. Our first meal there was extraordinary and all of the ones that followed were no less wonderful than the first. It is not only the food that makes this dining establishment stand out. There is something very warm and welcoming when you walk through the door. It feels like an old friend! There is a casual elegance that makes you feel right at home. Not at all stuffy or high brow as the nickname SNOB would have you believe. The food is fresh, absolutely delicious, still locally sourced and very Southern. At SNOB they take such great pride in using locally grown ingredients that they tell you who there sources are right on the menu. “We proudly serve products sourced from our local farmers: Ambrose Family Farms, Wadmalaw, SC; Clammer Dave’s, McClellanville, SC; Crosby’s Seafood, Charleston, SC; Geechie Boy Mill, Edisto Island, SC; GrowFood Carolina, Charleston, SC; Holy City Farms, Wadmalaw, SC; Joseph Fields Farm, Charleston, SC; Keegan-Filion Farm, Walterboro, SC; Kurios Farms, Moncks Corner, SC; Manchester Farms, Columbia, SC; Split Creek Farm, Anderson, SC; Heritage Farms, Seven Springs, NC.”

So it was no surprise to me that Steve wanted to have dinner at SNOB to celebrate his birthday. When we arrived we were delighted to be seated at our favorite banquette for two that offers a perfect view of the open kitchen. We love to be able to observe the rhythm of the kitchen! Our server was fabulous and not only let us know the specials but what his favorites were. He was enthusiastic and quite knowledgeable and offered wonderful suggestions for wine as well as food.

As an amuse bouche we were served a lovely Smoked Carolina Trout Rillettes on Rye Toast with Red Onion Jam. It was pretty and tasty and did its job perfectly. It tickled our tastebuds and left us hungry for more delicious food. For our first course we shared Clammer Dave’s Steamed Clams which is presented with the clams floating atop a pool of roasted garlic cream and a nice diagonal slice of baguette that was grill to perfection. We polished the clams off in no time flat along with the grilled bread. Steve and I eyed the remaining sauce and decided to just dive in with our spoons. The creamy garlic sauce was just that good that it would have been a sin to waste even the tiniest drop!

S.N.O.B.

Steamed Clams in Roasted Garlic Cream
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

S.N.O.B.

The Steamers Went Bye Bye
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

For our entrées Steve ordered the Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Compound Butter and Green Peppercorn Sauce and I opted for the Pork Chop with Farro Piccolo, Curly Kale, Caramelized Onions and Sorghum Apple Chutney. Fabulous choices. My pork chop was thick and juicy with a perfect sear. The accompaniments were a match made in heaven. Each ingredient complimented the others creating a mouthful of happiness with each bite. And Steve’s fillet was as tender as butter and full of flavor from the sauce and the rich blue cheese butter. And the acidity from the au gratin tomato cut through the richness and gave great balance to the flavors.

S.N.O.B.

Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Butter
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

S.N.O.B.

Pork Chop with Sorghum Apple Chutney
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

But the real star of the night was dessert. The Warm Sour Cream Apple Pie with Walnut Streusel Served with Vanilla Ice Cream was amazing. Actually quite like the Candied Apple Walnut Pie in my cook book and I didn’t have to peel a ton of apples. The pie crust was flaky and flavorful and the filling was cinnamonny, fruity and nutty with a fantastic variety of textures that played so well together when enjoyed with a spoonful of their locally made vanilla ice cream. It was the perfect way to finish off a fabulously perfect meal.

Warm Sour Cream Apple Pie Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Warm Sour Cream Apple Pie
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Slightly North of Broad

192 East Bay St.
Charleston, SC 29401

Phone: 843.723.3424 

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Believe it or not, Charleston, South Carolina, is home to the oldest continuously used synagogue in the WORLD!

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, SC Photo Credit: Website

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Sanctuary at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim in Charleston, SC
Photo Credit: Steven Hyatt

With Hanukkah almost upon us I wanted to tell you about Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim which has a history that all American Jews can take pride in. This is a story of faith, devotion, and perseverance in the American tradition of freedom of worship. The earliest known reference to a Jew in the English settlement of Charleston, which was founded in 1670, is a description dated 1695. Shortly after that other Jews followed. They were attracted by the civil and religious liberty of South Carolina and the ample economic opportunity of the colony. This group of early Jewish pioneers had grown enough that by 1749 they organized the present congregation, Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim (Holy Congregation House of G-d). Fifteen years later, they established the now historic Coming Street Cemetery, the oldest surviving Jewish burial ground in the South.

Charleston is also known as the birthplace of Reform Judaism in the United States. In 1824, 47 congregants petitioned the Adjunta (the trustees) of the synagogue to change the Sephardic Orthodox liturgy. When the petition, which asked for English translation of the prayers, and a sermon in English, was denied, a group of disappointed liberal members resigned from the congregation and organized “The Reformed Society of Israelites”. This independent society, led by Isaac Harby and Abraham Moise was influenced by the ideas of the Hamburg Reform congregation which was the leading modernist community in Europe. Lasting only nine years, many of its practices and principles have become part of today’s Reform Judaism The Progressives rejoined the old congregation, and while the present temple was being built in 1840 a very controversial organ was installed. KKBE was one of the founding synagogues of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations in 1873, now known as the Union for Reform Judaism.

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Bema at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Torahs at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

KKBE (as it is known) in Charleston, is the fourth oldest Jewish congregation in the continental United States. Before KKBE congregations were formed in New York, Newport and Savannah. At first, prayers were recited in private quarters and from 1775, in an improvised synagogue adjacent to the present-day grounds. In 1792 the construction of the largest and most impressive synagogue in the United States began and it was dedicated two years later. A member of the visiting Lafayette’s entourage is reported to have described the building as “spacious and elegant.” Tragically this gorgeous, cupolated Georgian synagogue was destroyed in the great Charleston fire of 1838 and replaced in 1840 on the same Hasell Street site by the building that is in use to this day. The colonnaded building, dedicated in early 1841 is often described as one of the country’s finest examples of Greek Revival architecture. At the dedication KKBE’s Reverend (Rabbi) Gustavus Poznanski was moved to say, “This synagogue is our Temple, this city our Jerusalem, and this happy land our Palestine.”

Today, KKBE has the second oldest synagogue building In the United States and the oldest in continuous use. It was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1980. 

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Stained Glass Windows in the Sanctuary
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Organ Loft in the Sanctuary
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Aged, yet ageless, dome of the sanctuary at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

For almost two and a half centuries members of KKBE have been prominent leaders. Among notable early congregants were Moses Lindo, who before the Revolution helped to develop the cultivation of Indigo (then South Carolina’s second crop) and Joseph Levy, veteran of the Cherokee War of 1760-61 and probably the first Jewish military officer in America. Almost two dozen men of Beth Elohim served in the War of Independence. Among them the brilliant young Francis Salvador who was a delegate to the South Carolina Provincial Congresses of 1775 and 1776 and the first Jew to serve in an American legislature. Killed shortly after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Salvador was also the first Jew known to die in the Revolutionary War.

This outstanding Greek Revival style building was constructed in 1840 by member David Lopez from a design by architects Tappan and Noble. It replaced the 1794 cupolated Georgian style structure that was destroyed by fire in 1838. You enter the temple grounds via a graceful iron fence dating from the 1794 synagogue. Also surviving are the bases of two menorahs (candelabras) on either side of the Bema. The large marble tablet above the huge entrance doors proclaims the Sh’ma in Hebrew and an unusual English translation: “Hear O Israel the Lord Our God is the sole Eternal Being.” In the foyer over the entrance to the sanctuary is the original dedication stone from the 1794 synagogue. Housing four Torah scrolls is a massive ark made of Santo Domingo mahogany. The stained glass windows date back to 1886 and are replacements of windows destroyed in an earthquake that year. The interior of the synagogue originally followed a traditional Sephardic Orthodox arrangement but was altered first, in 1879 with the installation of family pews and the removal of the pulpit to the front of the sanctuary, and then again in 1886 after the earthquake when the balconies on both sides of the building were removed and the Bema reconfigured.

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Civil War Battle Model at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

The Oldest Synagogue in the World

Mural at Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim
Photo Credit: Steve Axelrod

Kahal Kadosh Beth Elohim

90 Hasell Street

Charleston, SC 29401