Barnwell Beef Makes Big City Debut

Barnwell, S.C., may in the middle of nowhere, but it turns out they grow darn good cows down there. Michael and Becky Whorl’s MiBek beef is pasture-raised and grass-fed and has been showing up around town lately, including on Chef Craig Diehl’s Dine Around menu at Cypress during the Food + Wine Festival. The beef was also showcased at the Chef’s Potluck at Middleton Place last Sunday. The Whorls raise their cattle naturally, without the need for regular doses of antibiotics, hormones, or other nasty bits. It also never sees a feedlot, meaning the grass-fed meat comes out lean and uniquely flavorful. If you missed the event, you can sample this S.C.-grown meat at Cypress, where they regularly feature it on the menu. If, like us, your carnivorous urge is hard to satiate, you can order your own half or whole cow at —Jeff Allen

Fresh Fish

Joy Luck China, our favorite little Chinese take-out in West Ashley, finally bit the dust, but new ownership may have replaced it with something even better. Sakura, a new sushi joint, has not only imported some talent from New York City, but they revamped the interior of the Highway 61 space and promise to expand to include rare Japanese delicacies once things get rolling along. You could scour the Charleston metro area and not find sushi to match the stuff they’re rolling up over there. True fans, willing to pay a premium for properly formed nigiri and perfectly balanced maki, should check this place out as soon as possible. For more information, call (843) 573-8899. — Jeff Allen

John Zucker’s Shrimp BLT Pizza

Mellow Mushroom’s second guest chef creation has debuted. Chef John Zucker of the much beloved Cru Café on Pinckney Street stopped by recently to collaborate on a new limited edition pizza pie — the shrimp BLT. We haven’t tried this one out yet, but last month’s Guerrilla Cuisine pizza was delish. This one should be too. In the coming months, they’ll invite Matthew Niessner of Blend and CP’s Jeff Allen into the kitchen to create their own specialties. We’ve been privy to some of Allen’s brainstorming and hope he decides not to put oysters on pizza, ’cause that just sounds gross. You can bet that whatever he does, it will be far-out, like the deviled egg he created for the Southern Foodways Alliance competition, which featured smoked mullet and shad roe. —Stephanie Barna

From Mia’s to 61 Bistro

After a dramatic departure from Mia’s Cafe a couple months back, Chef Thierry Goulard has resurfaced at the new 61 Bistro Grill at 2004 Ashley River Road. The space is Nathan’s Deli during the day. At night, instead of Bella Napoli’s Italian, they’ll have 61 Bistro’s French fare. They’re open for dinner Tues.-Sat., 5-9 p.m. —Stephanie Barna


The 2008 BB&T Charleston Food + Wine Festival recently announced the economic impact of this year’s festival. They increased their charitable donations by 60 percent, giving a total of $22,281 to local charities and scholarship funds. They also saw 13,000 people attend more than 50 events. Nearly half of the attendees were out-of-towners, who spent $610 per person locally. Total ticket sales were $562,335 up from $471,829 in 2007. The total economic impact is estimated at $2.21 million. The labor income was $817K with a generated tax of $290K. And the best rating was overall satisfaction with the event: 93.8 percent of attendees enjoyed the festival, up from 84.6 percent in 2007. Seems like organizers were happy to use the constructive criticism provided in years past to make their event run more smoothly this year. —Stephanie Barna