WHO: Santa Claus, that once-a-year disperser of toys to little girls and boys.

FAVORITE LUNCH SPOT: Sermet’s, at 276 King St, on the corner of King and Wentworth streets. This sophisticated yet casual eatery, featuring the exquisite flavors of the Mediterranean Rim, has been in Charleston for over 10 years.

WHY A FAVORITE: After suffering the torments of year-round bone-chilling weather and the monotonous vanilla flavors of the North Pole, every December, Santa experiences a powerful craving for tasty, spicy foods conjuring up exotic lands. So when his sleigh alights in Charleston, he immediately heads for Sermet’s. Mr. Claus also enjoys the welcoming ambiance and the friendly, efficient service — after all, his time is limited, you know. Santa tells me that when tourists ask him for a restaurant recommendation he usually steers them to Sermet’s.

PREFERRED DISHES: With a hearty ho-ho-ho Santa brushes aside his flowing white beard and sinks his chops into a heaping order of grilled couscous, topped with sautéed shrimp (none of these at the North Pole), scallions, and ginger in a lobster white wine sauce. After getting his fill of the couscous, Santa next goes for the grilled portabella mushroom sandwich, slathered with basil pesto and mozzarella cheese on Italian country bread and accompanied by a mixed green salad. There is so much food, in fact, that Santa always manages to bring some leftovers home to Mrs. Claus. Santa wants all his kiddies to know that he is a very earnest and sober role model and washes down his meals with a cola and nothing more. Ho, ho, ho.


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