This issue of Dish is quite the hodgepodge of topics. We write about sushi, pickles, and tequila. We take a trip to see how Angus cattle are being raised at Yon Family Farms near Columbia. We explore the rise of Southern food in New York City, and, in Chef Frank Lee’s back-page essay, we get a firsthand account of how the Southern food scene has evolved over the last 30 years.

If anything is clear from these stories, it’s that Charleston is a changed place. We aren’t just a town of shrimp and grits and she-crab soup anymore. When it comes to Southern traditions, we’re resurrecting old techniques, and big cities are following our lead.

Putting up vegetables used to be done by your grandmother; now it’s being done in high-end kitchens all across town. Not only is sushi available in a wide variety of places these days, but local chefs are putting their own Southern-fried spin on it. We may have a majority of the country’s bourbon drinkers in the South, but we like tequila just fine, too, and we have plenty of talented mixologists who appreciate pure agave.

For a town this size, we’ve certainly been served a heaping portion of culinary talent. So, in the end, that hodgepodge of topics might just be the perfect way to sum up the current state of food in Charleston. We’re being infused with enough flavors, techniques, and talent to keep pushing us along the evolutionary track. The real question is, where to next?

Dish dining guide – Winter 2011