Love A La Carte

Helping hurricane victims doesn’t get much easier than this. East Cooper Community Outreach (ECCO), a private, nonprofit organization helping the needy of the East Cooper area, urges everyone to go out to eat this Tuesday night. The organization has signed up at least 30 East Cooper restaurants to donate 10 percent of their Tuesday night total sales toward the cause. ECCO needs more help from the community than usual this year to provide what they consider basic needs (food, water, air conditioning, prescription drugs, and medical care) as they extend their care to local Hurricane Katrina evacuees. As part of their annual “Love A La Carte” fundraiser, ECCO Client Services Coordinator Jan England urges you to go out to eat on Oct. 25. “It’s all going to people who have lost everything,” she says. Last year’s event raised around $3,500, and even more restaurants have signed up to help this year. For a complete list of restaurants that are donating, call ECCO at 849-9220 or visit —Katherine DuPre

Charleston Place’s New Wine Guy

Sommelier Rick Rubel‘s first job in the wine industry was a dream job — he opened and tasted up to 200 wine bottles a night for an English opera house. Besides the fun of getting paid to drink loads of wine, Rubel says that the job gave him “speed tasting experience,” training his palate to distinguish between grape varietals with one taste. Now, Rubel is bringing that skill to Charleston as the new wine director and sommelier of the Charleston Place. Rubel is adding more global influence to the hotel’s current wine list, which already has a heavy French influence, and is making the list easier to read by sectioning it off into categories. He calls it a “map” to some of the hidden “treasures” in the hotel’s wine cellar. Hey, if you say so. Rubel is now taking over for previous wine director Desmond Garrity for Charleston Grill, Thoroughbred Club, hotel room service, and banquets. —KD

Be a Big Pig

Barbecue lovers, watch out. Bessinger’s is unveiling a dangerously tempting deal that definitely won’t help shrink that barbecue belly. Register online now at to automatically receive a free sandwich and a punch card to start racking up “piggie points” to redeem for more free food later. Each time you visit the restaurant, drive-through, order online (available soon), or use Bessinger’s “When Pigs Fly” catering, you earn more points. Frequent customers might even reach “Big Pig” status (this might be the only time that is a good thing). Call 556-1354 for details. —KD