Charleston Eats: Marco’s Pizza James Island

Newish location of Marco’s Pizza opened up next door to the Publix on James Island so we gave it a try.

We had a sausage and meatball pizza. Pretty decent, lots of meat.

MarcosPizza.jpgBig chunks of sausage and whole meatballs cut in half, not slices like you might expect from chains or takeout places.

Nice place. Not fancy, not a whole lot of seating (3 booths, a few seats by the window and a couple of 2-top tables) but reasonably comfy. Most of the customers we saw while eating were coming in for pick-up/take out orders.

Charleston Eats: Swig and Swine

We made a stop at Swig & Swine for lunch today. Between the two of us, the 2-meat platters let us sample almost all of their smoked meat offerings. If you can, sit toward the back at their “meat counter” where you can watch the guys pulling and slicing slabs of meat to fill orders. Fun place to sit and watch.

While we were waiting, the guy slicing meats was nice enough to give us a sample of the pork belly. So delicious.

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Soon after came our platters: Pulled pork/house made sausage with cheddar grits and pickled vegetables, and smoked turkey/brisket with brunswick stew and beans with brisket.

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For dessert, we split a chocolate pecan pie.

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Be hungry when you go. You’ll probably leave with leftovers.

Sampling Trader Joe’s Poutine

A little while ago, I learned that Trader Joe’s sells poutine in their freezer section. I was somewhat skeptical about the product, but it got a favourable reaction from the website I saw it on, and from one of my friends that tried it out. On a recent trip out to the Trader Joe’s around here, Connie picked up a package, and we tried it out this evening.

Disclaimer: I grew up in Western Canada, and as far as I knew at the time, poutine was never a thing in Edmonton. I’d heard of it, but never saw it anywhere. Fries and gravy was easy to find (and was a lunch time staple during high school), but not poutine. I have very little experience with poutine.

Trader Joe’s poutine is a bag of frozen french fries, a pouch of cheese curds, and a pouch of gravy (they call it beef sauce).

Trader Joe's poutine
Trader Joe’s poutine
Frozen french fries ready for baking
Frozen french fries ready for baking
Pouch of cheese curds, and a pouch of gravy
Pouch of cheese curds, and a pouch of gravy

The instructions are pretty simple. Bake the fries at 425°F (about 220°C) for 20-25 minutes, and put the pouches of curds and gravy into a pot of just barely simmering water to thaw them out. You’ll want to keep an eye on the pouches, especially the cheese curds. If you leave them in the water too long, or let the water get too hot, you end up with a mass of molten cheese rather than individual curds. My pouch of curds ended up a bit on the melty side, but the individual curds were still mostly separable.

When the fries are baked golden brown and delicious, put them all on a plate, cut open the pouch of curds, and sprinkle them over the fries.

Fries and curds
Fries and curds

Cut open the pouch of gravy (not sauce) and spread over the fries and curds (careful not to burn yourself).

Poutine!
Poutine!

Serve right away while everything is still hot.

I dug in and was pleasantly surprised. The gravy, although thinner than I prefer, was actually pretty tasty and sort of reminded me of the fries and gravy I used to eat for lunch at the mall. The curds were pretty good, squeaky as they should be. The package is easily enough to serve 3-4 people, although one hungry person wouldn’t have a problem finishing the whole thing off.

I don’t know if I really get the whole poutine thing, but that’s probably because I never grew up with it. I can’t say how good Trader Joe’s poutine is compared to any other poutine, but I’d totally buy another package just to do fries and gravy with.  As fries and gravy, Trader Joe’s has a pretty decent product here. I might reduce the gravy down a little bit, or do something else to thicken it up a little more, but otherwise it’s pretty good.

Charleston Eats: Sunae’s Korean and Japanese Hibachi Grill

Stopped in to check out the relatively new Korean/Japanese restaurant that opened up on Johns Island in what used to be a fried chicken joint. It’s a very unassuming place and doesn’t look like much. The food was very good though. The bibimbop bowl was hot and very tasty with a spicy red hot sauce you can have on the dish or on the side.

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The beef bulgogi was pretty good, flavourful but a little bit on the dry side and lacking a bit in colour. 

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The usual side dishes that accompany many Korean side dishes (banchan) were very good as well.

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Definitely worth checking out if you’re in the area, and nice to see a little more diversity coming to the Johns Island eating scene.

Dim sum food truck

I’ve often lamented about the lack of dim sum in Charleston, which considering the number of Chinese and Asian restaurants in the area, has always seemed to be a significant oversight.

Maybe that will change a little bit soon. During one of my quasi-regular visits to the Charleston Kickstarter page, I saw one for a dim sum food truck. Dim Sum Good Dumplings (DSGD) and a guy named Chad Moore is behind the effort. A little bit of a different take on dim sum, and one I would love to see succeed.

From the project status updates he’s been posting, it looks very promising. Hopefully he doesn’t get too creative trying to put a “Southern spin” on his creations.

Join me! Back this project and help make it happen!