Hilton Head Island Foodie Vibe

Taste the Fall Season in Hilton Head

With the fall equinox, comes a changing of the vegetable guard for Lowcountry gardeners and foodies. As we say goodbye to our cucumbers, eggplants, peppers and—as my grandmother lovingly called them—‘’maters,” we can now say, “hello, y’all!” to a whole new delicious crop of food just waiting to ripen and grace our plates.

Islanders shop at the local farmers market.

“September-October is transition time in the field here,” began Hilton Head native and chef/owner of The Lucky Rooster, Clayton Rollison. “We will see corn, some summer squashes, and lettuce start to pop up.” You can also expect to enjoy onions, sweet potatoes and other leafy staples like kale, especially from local green thumbs like Bear Island Farm, Brant Family Farm, and Three Sisters Farm.

To give a warm, southern welcome to these ingredients and enlist the gastronomic aid of local vendors, Rollison said, “We use Sea Eagle out of Beaufort for most of our fish and Len Cyrlin picks up eggs and other veggies from SILO for us. We also use large board liners and Inland Seafood, which is a big fish and meat purveyor. “

Chef Clayton Rollison

As for his hot spot restaurant, Rollison’s got a few seasonal culinary tricks up his chef sleeve. “We will have a few more dishes with starches and we will start incorporating a bunch of game—like duck, venison and quail—into our menu,” began Rollison. “Also, we’ll offer more rye whiskey in our cocktails and, once we get a chill in the air, variations of hot toddies will start to appear. Be prepared to also see an increase in big structured wines being sold all fall and winter, instead of lighter reds.”

(Photo Credit: The Huffington Post)

Rollison encourages farm-to-table fans to experiment with dishes featuring more root vegetables and leafy greens. “When cooking for the family in the fall and winter, this season is great for hearty meals (like his fried brussel sprout recipe below) and adding whatever fresh veggies you want to the crock pot along with a good hunk of a quality protein.”

Chef Rollison’s Fried Brussel Sprouts Recipe
You will need:
1 small table top deep fat fryer

30ish brussel sprouts
1/2 lemon
1.5 teaspoons chili flakes
1/2 lemon no seeds
a big pinch of thinly sliced mint

Method:
Clean brussel sprouts and cut in half. Fry at 350 until golden brown and tender only a couple of minutes. Toss in bowl with chili flakes, lemon juice, and mint finish with a little salt and pepper. Enjoy.

It’s an Italian Renaissance of Great Dining in Hilton Head Island!

The patio at La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria fronts Shelter Cove Harbour. Photo: La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria.

The patio at La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria fronts Shelter Cove Harbour. Photo: La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria.

It’s no secret that in past 10 years there has been a dramatic interest in the theater of food and the culinary arts in America. An article in the Christian Science Monitor referred to it as a sort of “Italian Renaissance in food … an intellectual elevation that is turned into something durable through media.” But is it really a Renaissance or is it that most Americans finally understand and appreciate what Europeans (and Southerners, like me) have known for years?

The understanding that food is not just for eating to satisfy hunger; that food is art, food is life, food is a conduit for social and family gatherings and memories. Think of how many memories you have that are tied to a recipe or food, or how your mood changes when you eat a specific food or dish. Vacations and getaways can (should!) present a practically perfect set of circumstances for indulging in the ‘lifestyle of food’, i.e. foodie heaven.

Hilton Head Island is seeing its own share of this foodie phenomenon and recently it has taken a literal turn toward a true Italian Renaissance. Red sauce is the new black, with several new restaurants and eateries opening specializing in Italian cuisine – from the Parmigiano Reggiano and prosciutto di Parma found in Emilia-Romagna and rich olive oil and wines of Tuscany to the Napolese pizza and fresh seafood preparations of the Mediterranean coast – there is a genuine abbondanza of Italian deliciousness to be enjoyed in the Island.

Open 7 days a week, for lunch and dinner, a fie Italian meal awaits at La Fontana. Photo: La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria

Open 7 days a week, for lunch and dinner, a fie Italian meal awaits at La Fontana. Photo: La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria

First up is the newest on the scene, La Fontana Waterfront Grille & Pizzeria, located in Shelter Cove Marina taking the exact spot of long-time Island restaurant, Little Venice. With an Italian-born chef (Gary Langevin) who originally hails from Naples, a talented culinary crew also from Naples and the business acumen of owner Robert Murray, La Fontana promises to satisfy any yearnings for a true Napoli dining experience during your vacation.

Specialties of the chef and house include several entrees where the gifts of the sea shine – try the Lobster Ravioli allo Scorlio with clams, mussels, shrimp and scallops bathed in a creamy lobster sauce. The extensive menu is brimming with favorites of the region like spaghetti alla Cozze and authentic pizza, from the orginal Margherita to Prosciutto & Arugul and Pizza Salamino bursting with spicy salami, fresh San Marzano tomato sauce and buffalo mozzarella.

Hankering for an in-between meal snack? La Fontana is open every day continuously starting at 11 am so there’s no reason not to stop in for that post-beach pizza fix!

Grab a seat at Michael Anthony's elegant bar  and soak up the relaxed, intimate atmosphere and some of the best upscale Italian cuisine on the Island! Photo: Michael Anthony's Cucina Italiana.

Grab a seat at Michael Anthony’s elegant bar and soak up the relaxed, intimate atmosphere and some of the best upscale Italian cuisine on the Island! Photo: Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana.

Competition for cool runs pretty hot in Hilton Head Island, but a personal favorite of mine, Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana, garners high marks for both it’s sophisticated atmosphere and perennially excellent menu. The lively bar area is a great spot to meet friends for an appetizer or indulge in a superb dessert and coffee drink. TIP: The formata di Cioccolata con Gelato Vanilla (warm, molten chocolate cake) is to die for!

Having dinner here is an ‘experience’ for the Italian food lover and if you are just so-so about Italian food, after a meal here you will be forever changed to both this cuisine AND forever spoiled by Chef Christopher Johnson’s creations. The Carpaccio di Manzo (thinly sliced raw Black Angus beef dressed with lemon, extra virgin olive oil, capers and shaved Parmigiano) is my favorite start to a meal here, followed by one of the homemade pastas like Gnocchi di Patate al Pomodoro e Basilico or “Calamaretti” con Gamberi (with fresh shrimp, spinach, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil). The filet mignon of beef (served with a gorgonzola and Chianti reduction and wild mushroom garnish) is also a tempting favorite.

Michael Anthony's boasts a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list and innovative daily specials that might include Ossobuco Milanese. Photo: Michael Anthony's Cucina Italina.

Michael Anthony’s boasts a Wine Spectator award-winning wine list and innovative daily specials that might include Ossobuco Milanese. Photo: Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italina.

For trip planning purposes, it’s never too early to make a reservation here, especially if you are in need of a table on a weekend, or your group is large in number. This restaurant also serves some fantastic wines by flight and offers many fine selections in its Captain’s list – the knowledgeable sommelier here can direct you toward the perfect selection to compliment your meal. For those wishing to learn the techniques, recipes and nay I say ‘secrets’ of the beguiling food served here, check out the Michael Anthony’s Cooking School – offering both hands-on participation and demonstration classes.

No romance is not dead. It’s as lively as the colorful, hand painted murals (courtesy of talented students from the Savannah College of Art & Design) and charming patio found at Trattoria Divina. For foodies, just say the name ‘Thomas Keller’ and watch ears perk up, gleeful chatter begin and possibly a line to form. Relevant because you see the Trattoria Divina chef is Hugo Lee, formally trained at the Culinary Institute of Napa at Greystone and later under the renowned Thomas Keller at his celebrated Northern California restaurant, French Laundry.

The lovely main dining space at Trattoria Divina is indeed divine with hand-painted murals by students from the Savannah College of Art & Design and a billowy ceiling floating above. Photo: W Photography

The lovely main dining space at Trattoria Divina is indeed divine with hand-painted murals by students from the Savannah College of Art & Design and a billowy ceiling floating above. Photo: W Photography

Chef Lee brings full-on creativity and an artist’s passion to Trattoria Divina, experienced first in your amuse-bouche and complimentary glass of Prosecco. Then discovered in every mouthful of Chef Lee’s enticing fare – from antipasta, insalada and entrée dishes of the sea (pesca) and the land (pasta and carne).

Utilizing seasonal and locally grown ingredients, Chef Lee pairs traditional Northern Italian cuisine with innovative technique to offer delights like his Cappasante alla Divina made with fresh, homemade tomato pasta, organic corn, local shrimp, huge scallops and a spicy lobster cream sauce.

Trattoria Divina co-owner Harry Morales, continues to be amazed by Chef Lee’s unending creativity even with the most stereotypical dishes. “Take Chef Lee’s scampi for instance,” he says. “Most everyone has tried scampi – and I grew up on it. But have you ever tasted a crunchy scampi? Chef’s version is a magnificent combination of crunchy lightness –

Chef Lee’s Cozze Pernod: PEI Mussels sautéed in garlic and finished with a Pernod creme fraiche. Photo: W Photography

Chef Lee’s Cozze Pernod: PEI Mussels sautéed in garlic and finished with a Pernod creme fraiche. Photo: W Photography

Parmesan and breadcrumb encrusted shrimp served over a lobster risotto with fresh vegetables,” Morales states. Chef Lee is also one of the few chefs in the area trained in the sous-vide technique put to great use in dishes like his espresso rubbed beef tenderloin with Keoki coffee sauce and savory bread pudding.

Trattoria Divina also boasts a deep wine list with selections from around the world. The first Friday of every month the restaurant hosts an interactive wine dinner served family style and accompanied by wine tastings. Plus guests have the opportunity to purchase the wines served at cost. Call the restaurant for details; wine dinners are very popular so reservations are a must!

And, if none of these fine establishments fit your style or you’d just like more, more, more food Italian-style, check out these gems:

Thanks to Tony & Becky Fazzini, owners of Michael Anthony’s, and Chef Chris Johnson for sharing the restaurant’s awesome recipe for Spaghetti with Crab with the Foodie Vibe blog. Grazie!

Michael Anthony's logo

 

 

 

Michael Anthony’s Spaghetti with Crab 

  • 1 lb spaghetti
  • 1 lb jumbo lump crab
  • 1⁄2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups diced fresh tomatoes (cherry, grape or plum)
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1⁄2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups arugula
  • 1⁄4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • Salt
  • Dash of crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1⁄4 cup chopped Italian parsley

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta according to package directions. In a large sauté pan, lightly heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add fresh tomatoes and garlic. Sauté a minute or two to slightly soften tomatoes and lightly brown the garlic.

Deglaze the pan with white wine and lemon juice. Add the arugula, butter, the cooked pasta and crab meat, season with salt and pepper and parsley, and toss to incorporate. Place in serving bowls and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil. Serves 4-6.

 

Food Finds and Good Times in Hilton Head Island

CharBar interior retouch

Charbar Co., Hilton Head Island, SC

 

If you are in any way familiar with Hilton Head Island, you already realize that restaurants here are so good; they provide reason alone to visit our fair Lowcountry isle. The Island is now squarely in the middle of a renaissance of sorts, with many fun, fresh eateries shooting to the front of the class in both style and substance.

Burger Bonanza

Charbar Co., located on the Island’s south end (33 Office Park Road) near the entrance of Sea Pines, has upped the burger ante with its fresh approach to “better burgers”. The casual atmosphere is perfect for foodies and families and the menu here centers on what else? Burgers. While the chef-driven menu also include salads, a couple of appetizers (like Charbar cheese fries seasoned hand-cut fries topped with sharp cheddar, pimento, chives, bacon & spicy ranch) and several tempting après meal sweets (ice cream sandwich sliders with specialty cookie crust and three ice creams a plus shakes – served either ‘virgin’…or spiked to your liking) it’s the build your own burger that’s the golden ticket here.

A Charbar Co. "Champ" burger served to your exact specifications - fries and a homemade shake round out this fantastic meal!

A Charbar Co. “Champ” burger served to your exact specifications – fries and a homemade shake round out this fantastic meal! Photo: Charbar Co.

Chef Charles Prejeau tells that it all starts with the beef. “We take a lot of care in selecting our beef and we grind it all here at the restaurant, adding in just the right amount of our own secret seasoning blend, he says. “We also bake two of the four breads we serve here daily, the sour dough and the focaccia.” The flavored mayo, sauces, and pickles are also made in-house at Charbar Co.

The high standards of quality are apparent, as attested by the growing number of regulars whose own perfect burgers are becoming second hand to Chef Charles. “And while there are hundreds of combinations one can concoct using the ingredients from our burger

Good (Really Good!) and Simple

Simplicity in living, and eating, seems to have become underappreciated and fairly rare of late, especially within the clique of modern gastronomy. Odd food combinations (ramen noodle burgers, anyone?) and strange cooking methods (see molecular gastronomy) raise an eyebrow of interest, but like the pet rock, jelly shoes and mullet hairstyle, they will (hopefully) fade away as the superfluous gimmicks they most certainly are. And though I have never been the one among my family and friends to shy away from the unusual on any given menu, I do prefer the simplicity of good taste.

A Lowcountry backyard Restaurant ambiance is like being in a friend's backyard, while being served delicious Lowcountry-style food! They often have live music too. Photo: A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant

A Lowcountry backyard Restaurant ambiance is like being in a friend’s backyard, while being served delicious Lowcountry-style food! They often have live music too. Photo: A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant

And good, simple taste can be found at A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant. Owner/Chef David Peck draws upon the familiar ingredients of the South Carolina coastal region in his menu. The restaurant is tucked within a small set of commercial buildings off of Palmetto Bay Road with a several outside tables nestled under a canopy of wisteria. David spent most of his youth on the island and environs and consciously credits many locals, including native Gullah friends, for introducing him to authentic Lowcountry foods and ways.

David says, “The best way for us to support local economy, including farmers and fishermen, is to utilize them as resources for our ingredients. We buy SC tomatoes and other SC vegetables in season, serve iced made from tea grown by the Charleston Tea Plantation Company and we serve and sell Colonial Plantation Raw Honey from just up the road in Hardeeville, SC. Daily specials here are heavily dependent on seasonal and local ingredients, but regular favorites like the Charleston Special (cheddar grits cake over tomato basil cream toped with local flounder and homemade lemon dill sauce) and the Tomato Stack (locally sourced tomatoes fried and served with ranch dressing and homemade pickles) are menu cornerstones.

Hot Spot Ahead

Another spot that channels some Lowcountry soul is Lucky Rooster Kitchen & Bar, located mid-island at South Island Square (841 William Hilton Parkway) so it’s very convenient to

Rustic yet refined, Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, has the understated ambiance of yesteryear, and a fabulous menu that is 2014. Photo: Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar

Rustic yet refined, Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar, has the understated ambiance of yesteryear, and a fabulous menu that is 2014. Photo: Lucky Rooster Kitchen + Bar

pretty much every lodging choice on the island. The menu here is small but mighty, playing homage to both comfort food and “adventurist dishes”. The atmosphere here is rustic-casual with an upscale tone that is certainly friendly, but in my opinion caters to a foodie clientele – not the ideal eatery for a visiting family with young kids.

That aside, if you and your foodie pals take your dining seriously and best served with a handsome measure of joviality, this is a great place to try. Pork pot roast (with sweet corn succotash, bourbon roasted peach and bourbon pork sauce) and local crab and corn chowder will cure any traveling blues. If food is a serious cultural pursuit for you, then dishes like the tempura fried squash blossom with crab mousse, “Mexican street corn” and guacamole will not disappoint. Chef/Owner Clayton Rollison also offers a raw bar featuring local oysters and shrimp when in season, as well as oysters from the Northeast and Canada all year long.

Slow Burn… Take it Easy

Known for generous portions of delicious pulled pork, pork ribs and beef brisket, served with your choice of five sauces (including Carolina mustard, Texas sweet, Carolina vinegar and the Slow Burn) Bullies BBQ has become a local and visitors favorite. If you consider yourself a barbeque pitmaster (barbeque lingo for aficionado) of the traditionalist sort, then if you’re in Hilton Head Island this place is THE place. And if you agree with the old adage that holds the best barbeque joints are found at the most (ahem) interesting places, then this may be your nirvana…

While the location is convenient (mid-island near Palmetto Dunes on Hwy. 278), Bullies setting certainly fits the bill as described above – it’s attached to a gas station and inside, the walls are covered by thousands of signatures and messages written in black magic marker penned by folks from all over the world. It’s casual and comfortable – actually a pretty awesome to kick back with a beer (or homemade iced tea) and some slow wood smoked barbeque!

If you care to eat in, there is ample seating but you can also place your order to go as ribs, pulled pork and chicken, brisket, ribs and mouth-watering sides are sold by the pound. They also offer two types of coleslaw, both “Carolina” (vinegar based with no mayo) and traditional (creamy with mayo) by the pound and their popular jalapeño cornbread by the dozen.

Sandwiches in all combinations and “family packs” that come complete with sides of mac and cheese, coleslaw and that cornbread will make everyone happy!

Chef Charles Pejeau has kindly shared his shrimp burger recipe – toppings and accoutrement are up to you, although you can try the their spicy shrimp burger at the restaurant any time!

Charbar Co. Shrimp Burger, Chef Charles Pejeau

The Spicy Shrimp Burger at Charbar Co. Mouthwatering! Photo: Charbar Co.

The Spicy Shrimp Burger at Charbar Co. Mouthwatering! Photo: Charbar Co.

  • 1 pound shrimp
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1tsp onion powder
  • 1tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 zest of a lemon
  • 1/2 juice of a lemon
  • 5 cloves garlic, roasted
  • 1tbl egg white
  • Pinch of salt and pepper

Pulse shrimp in food processor into a chunky purée, take mixture out of food processor and add all the seasonings and egg white. Mix well. Let rest in refrigerator for one hour. Portion into four patties and grill or pan sear.

 

Fork Free Fun: Wingfest 2014

Fork free eating is a just a few days away in Hilton Head Island! It's Wingfest, ya'll!

Fork free eating is a just a few days away in Hilton Head Island! It’s Wingfest, ya’ll!

So when I was asked to write this post about “fork free” eating and weave it into the upcoming Wingfest event, I thought, ‘Well, this will be a breeze.’ And then I thought, “No, this might be a snooze.” By this, I refer to the fact that I have written about this mid-March celebration of all things ‘wing’ many times. And while food fads and restaurants come and go, there’s only so much cleverness and originality to be said about the wings of a chicken. Or is there?

Technically, the topic of fork free eating includes a lot more than wings. I mean there are the obvious choices like ice cream cones, hamburgers, hot dogs and anything edible skewered and otherwise affixed to a stick. I have a deep love of the corndog myself, but that’s just between me and you – don’t tell my internist!

During the last decade, high-end dining establishments have also transitioned various foods into smaller portions than can be easily eaten out of hand. The big, small plate menu at Daniel’s includes finger friendly blue crab stuffed Atlantic salmon sliders and tuna tartare lettuce wraps. Farm to table gastrob pub, Neo, in Bluffton offers both its popular lamb lollipops and down south wontons (with tasso ham, collard greens and house made Vidalia onion chutney) in it’s fabulous appetizer menu. That ice cream mentioned above gets turned on its ear at Pinot Gelato; their hand-held pizza cone (made with pizza dough) comes in margarita, pepperoni & sausage, and the daily special. Now, that’s one tasty cone!

A fine platter of sizzling wings from Giuseppi's Pizza! Photo: Giuseppi's Pizza.

A fine platter of sizzling wings from Giuseppi’s Pizza! Photo: Giuseppi’s Pizza.

Outside of that corndog, chicken wings are a favorite treat of mine; tailgating at college football games would not be the same without them! With a bit of background checking I find that there are several different claims about how Buffalo wings were created. One of the more prevalent is that Buffalo wings were first prepared at the Anchor Bar in Buffalo, New York, by Teressa Bellissimo, who owned the bar along with her husband Frank. There are even several accounts of how Ms. Bellissimo came about concocting the dish, but needless to say they because a big hit. There is also the account that a man named John Young served chicken wings in a special “mambo sauce” at his Buffalo restaurant in the mid-1960s.

Regardless of the origin, the popularity of Buffalo chicken wings took off in the 1980’s and the rest is food history. Hilton Head Island’s Wingfest began back in 1995 as a part of the Island’s month-long ‘Springfest’ and has continued as a fundraiser for The Island Recreation Association with Hargray Communications as presenting sponsor.

The One Hot mama's booth is busy as Chef Orchid Paulmeier and team bring on the flavor year and year! Photo: Island Recreation Association.

The One Hot Mama’s booth is busy as Chef Orchid Paulmeier and team bring on the flavor year and year! Photo: Island Recreation Association.

Over the years, the competition to garner the top spot from the judges and as the ‘people’s choice’ winner has been fierce. One Hot Mama’s came away with the top judge’s prize last year and owner/chef Orchid Paulmeier says, “We’ve done very well at Wingfest over the years having won one of the top two prizes in every one of last four years.”

All of the sauces Orchid uses to flavor her wings are sold at the restaurant, with ‘Hot Asian’ being the most popular (it has won twice at Wingfest). She has also won with ‘Maui Wowii’ and ‘Southern Soul’. This year’s Wingfest will bring forth a new flavor called “Hashtag Honey Mustard” (or maybe it’s ‘#HoneyMustard”!) named by Orchid’s daughter, Maile, who’s in the seventh grade. It sounds to me like Maile has a gift for marketing, Orchid!

Cheap Seats Tavern will also be back this year (they earned last year’s People’s Choice first place spot). Other past winners include are CharBar Company, Giuseppi’s Pizza, A Lowcountry Backyard Restaurant and Casey’s Sports Bar & Grille.

In addition to the Wingfest event on Saturday, March 22 (11 am-6 pm at Shelter Cove Community Park) there will be “The Tailgate” on Friday, March 21st from 5-8 pm at Shelter Cove Community Park. At this pre-Wingfest fun there will a March Madness Food Bracket Cookoff with local restaurants, happy hour prices, and restaurant rivalry.

Team Trophy Quest’s cook B-Bob will also be presenting three cooking demonstrations, one on Friday night and two on Saturday. He will be demonstrating how to cook turkey wings with his own twist! Team Trophy Quest is a hunting television show – yes, they will be filming and featuring the 2014 Wingfest!

Kids will find plenty of fun at the Wingfest Kids Zonetoo - plus music and cooing demonstrations for everyone to enjoy. Photo: Island Recreation Association

Kids will find plenty of fun at the Wingfest Kids Zonetoo – plus music and cooing demonstrations for everyone to enjoy. Photo: Island Recreation Association

Both days’ events will also have live music featuring various local bands including The OCD Band, Lyn Avenue, Deas Guyz, and Jacob & The Good People. There will also be many activities for all ages such as a kid’s zone, rock climbing wall and bungee jump. Catch March Madness college hoops on the big screen provided by Custom Audio Video and stop and view some of Hilton Head Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram’s new model vehicles.

And, since all event proceeds benefit The Island Recreation Association (a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for area residents of all ages), all those wings are being eaten for a great cause – fork free!

2014 Hilton Head Wingfest Presented by Hargray

  • The Tailgate: Friday, March 21 from 5-8 pm at Shelter Cove Community Park
  • Wingfest: Saturday, March 22 from 11am – 6 pm at Shelter Cove Community Park
  • Admission to each event is $6 with children 10 & under free. Concessions and activities sold separately.

Orchid Paulmeier has shared her favorite accompaniment to wings (mine too!) – Blue Cheese Dressing – with all of us! Simple yet decadent – enjoy!

Bleu Cheese Dressing, Orchid Paulmeier, One Hot Mama’s

  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp. buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp garlic salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Mix all together and chill for one hour.

Fall in Love with Hilton Head Island’s Romantic Restaurants

Nothing quickens the heart quite like an intimate setting, the warm glow of candlelight and sumptuous cuisine. For those pining for the perfect fusion of flavor and ambiance on Hilton Head Island, I’ve taken it to the streets – or at least social media – to get the down low from Island visitors and locals on their fan favorites, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

No matter if your foodie flight of fancy runs toward a cozy spot tucked away from everyone but you and your date, or you prefer bold surroundings with a see and be seen “scene”, look no further than Hilton Head Island eateries to stir your passion and your palate!

Charlie’s L’etoile Verte, 8 New Orleans Road

With a cozy fireplace, French country decor and sumptuous wine list, Charlie's e'toile Verte score high in romantic!

With a cozy fireplace, French country decor and sumptuous wine list, Charlie’s e’toile Verte scores high for romance. Photo: Charlie’s e’toile Verte.

C’est oui to a locals favorite, “Charlie’s”. If your love is a Francophile, or simply swoons for great food in a French country atmosphere then this may be the place to satisfy your queen (or king) of hearts. Over the years, Charlie Golson has created a bastion of French country cuisine here on Hilton Head Island, with quality ingredients, superb service, and a terrific wine list (Charlie’s daughter, Margaret is a Certified Sommelier under the Court of Master Sommeliers). The atmosphere here can be quite “bubbly” so for a more intimate experience ask for a corner table, perhaps by the wood-burning fireplace when making your reservation. Although menus are written new everyday according to “what’s fresh” there are some ‘Charlie’s classics’ like the pate maison, blackened redfish prepared ala K-Paul’s Louisianne and filet mignon served with Boursin fines herbes that will have you shouting “Que c’est délicieux ” in no time.

CQ’s, Harbour Town, Sea Pines Resort

Seared Ahi Tuna with a sesame crust served with edamame hummus, vegetable slaw, pickled ginger and ponzu from CQ’s.

Seared Ahi Tuna with a sesame crust served with edamame hummus, vegetable slaw, pickled ginger and ponzu from CQ’s.

This place is an Island institution for many reasons with none being antiquated in the least! Yes, the restaurant was the very first building erected in Harbour Town in 1970 and the 18th century heart pine floor contribute to the relaxed, Lowcountry atmosphere but the inventive cuisine of Executive Chef Keith Josefiak certainly shines with a contemporary glow. In my totally unscientific social media poll of the Island’s most romantic restaurants, CQ’s was mentioned most often. Classics with a twist like Maple Leaf Farms duck breast with barley confit and sundried cranberries and a blackberry demi glace as well as seasonal delicacies like crispy scored flounder served with lemon jasmine rice, quinoa, spinach and an apricot shallot glaze are highlights here. Try to secure a sunset reservation.

Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana, 37 New Orleans Road

Grab a seat at Michael Anthony's elegant bar  and soak up the relaxed, intimate atmosphere and some of the best upscale Italian cuisine on the Island! Photo: Michael Anthony's Cucina Italiana.

Grab a seat at Michael Anthony’s elegant bar and soak up the relaxed, intimate atmosphere and some of the best upscale Italian cuisine on the Island! Photo: Michael Anthony’s Cucina Italiana.

Like Charlie’s above, most Islanders can state, “We’re going to Michael Anthony’s” and everyone knows where you mean and they are probably jealous! The fine Italian cuisine and modern upscale atmosphere found here is a real treat. From the comfortably modern decor to the warm bar and private dining room, you can kick a romantic night into high gear. My meal usually starts with the Carpaccio di Manzo, a simple yet utterly decadent delight as is the gnocchi – probably the best I have ever had anywhere. The pastas are created fresh on the premises, with a selection that includes Agnolotti di Zucca (homemade butternut squash ravioli with butter sage sauce garnished with wild mushrooms and crispy pancetta) and Spaghetti con Granchio, Arugula e Pomodoro Fresca (Spaghetti with fresh lump crab, arugula and sweet baby tomatoes sautéed with white wine, garlic and extra virgin olive oil). Carni e Pesci (meat & seafood entrees) include Bistecca alla Fiorentina, a Tuscan style herb encrusted bone-in rib eye and Pollo al Mattone (chicken under a brick with lemon parsley gremolata). Desserts are an imperative here, so save room for the chocolate hazelnut panna cotta, classic Tiramisu or profiterole with gelato. I’ll share a couple of insiders secrets with you too – you can order half servings of the pasta dishes and they are happy to just serve you dessert and coffee (or cordial or dessert wine) in the bar area.

Old Fort Pub, Hilton Head Plantation

Located waterside with views of Skull Creek from it’s outside deck, the cuisine at Old Fort Pub is also directed by Chef Keith Josefiak. The water view framed by swaying, Spanish moss laden live oaks in itself offers up plenty of romantic distraction and the Lowcountry-inspired menu satisfies. Try the May River oyster gratinee with apple wood bacon, collards and Gruyere cheese. The excellent wine selection is perfect for a celebration!

Skull Creek Boathouse, 397 Squire Pope Road or by boat located on Skull Creek on the Intracoastal Waterway at Marker 13

There's something for everyone at Skull Creek Boathouse - plus a lovely waterfront view! Photo: Skull Creek Boathouse

There’s something for everyone at Skull Creek Boathouse – plus a lovely waterfront view! Photo: Skull Creek Boathouse

There’s a lot to love about this restaurant as is attested by its numerous mention in my “poll”. The sunset views are outstanding and while the ambiance is both family-friendly and laid back, if a more romantic evening is required just ask for a table on the terrace away from any larger parties. Here you’ll enjoy a huge and varied menu selection with lots of fresh seafood prepared many ways including sushi, ceviche, nigiri sushi and at least 7 different fresh tuna preparations – and that’s just for starters. Dinner entrées run the gamut from coco seared sea scallops to butcher cut steaks, Island BBQ chicken and more. Live music is a regular attraction at Skull Creek Boathouse and just because its Valentine’s Day, that’s no reason not to throw on your dancing shoes, and this year there are two bands lined up for their Full Moon Valentine’s Party starting at 4 pm on the 14th.

The Jazz Corner, Village at Wexford

Great music puts most everyone in a romantic mood and there's no better place on the Island for  music and fine dining than The Jazz Corner. Photo: The Jazz Corner

Great music puts most everyone in a romantic mood and there’s no better place on the Island for music and fine dining than The Jazz Corner. Photo: The Jazz Corner

What can I say about this fabulous place? It holds a special place in my heart as the location of my first date with my now-husband. As a nationally recognized and admired jazz club, Bob Masteller and Charlie Swift’s ‘place’ has garnered attention as one of the absolute best jazz music venues on the East Coast. Great attention to detail is evident here both in the quality of the musical entertainment and in the superbly creative menus and excellent service. The she crab soup is a favorite as is the spinach, walnut & pear stuffed chicken, plus nightly specials will tempt you to go off-menu. Dinner reservations sell out very quickly so if all reservations are sold out, stop by late for a jazz-inspired after dinner drink and shared dessert with your sweetie – butterscotch creme brulee with mocha & Butterfinger creme chantilly, anyone?

While I could go on and on with this post – there are so many awesome restaurants and eateries on the Island that lend themselves to romance. But don’t just take my word, here are some additional choices gleaned from my poll, with both visitors and locals chiming in their favorites. Happy Valentines Day!

One Island. Eight Days. Over Three Dozen Delicious Deals During Restaurant Week.

Tuscan perfection from Ombra Cucina Rustica!

Tuscan perfection from Ombra Cucina Rustica!

January 25 through February 1, Hilton Head Island and Bluffton restaurants partner with the Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce for the 6th annual Chamber Restaurant Week. Even though the holidays are just a memory, for Foodies like me, our Restaurant Week is akin to the excited anticipation felt by any wide-eyed youngster during the 8-day Festival of Lights or on the morning of December 25th. I’m like a kid in a candy store – a candy store full of delicious food, that is!

The Chamber has posted the list of participating restaurants, with many already advertising their special prix fixe menus for the occasion. If you have ever wanted to indulge in a certain Island restaurant or try a new place, this certainly would be the week to make a reservation. Yes, are some excellent ‘deals’ to be had, but also many opportunities to support local restaurateurs.

The River House is located at Palmetto Bluff Resort in Bluffton, just a short drive from the Island.

The River House is located at Palmetto Bluff Resort in Bluffton, just a short drive from the Island.

Ombra Cucina Rustica, which opened on the Island last year offers a prix fixe with a gorgeous selection of antipasti including Carpaccio di Manzo and Prosciutto di Parma con Burrata in their prix fixe menu. The Schiacciata di Pollo al Mattone (herb crusted half chicken roasted under a brick with potatoes, broccoli rabe, olive oil and lemon) makes my mouth water. Bomboras Grille and Chill Bar is not only offering a superb prix fixe but a tasty selection of wines with friendly pricing by the bottle too, with choices including Kings Ridge Pinot Noir and The Seeker Cabernet.

Venerable Harbour Town Grill offers golf course views and a Tuscan steakhouse menu that includes a ricotta gnocchi & butternut squash appetizer, 4-oz filet mignon with demi glace, Prosciutto-wrapped salmon served with limoncello-honey glaze, sautéed spinach, and rosemary-truffled potatoes and a dessert choice of pecan pie, key lime pie or bittersweet chocolate terrine.

Bombora's pulled pork slider. Their barbeque has garnered many people's choice awards  and their Restaurant Week pre fixe menu sounds outstanding!

Bombora’s pulled pork slider. Their barbeque has garnered many people’s choice awards and their Restaurant Week pre fixe menu sounds outstanding!

While most prix fixe menus offered during restaurant week are three courses, Vine restaurant located at Coligny Plaza, has stepped it up with six courses, including a tasting pour of wine with each course. Each meal starts with Chef Oliver’s soup of the day an may include a second course of Johns Island shitake and duck confit tart or Roasted Local Beet Cobbler with marscapone chiffon, cherry-Basalmic strawberries and crispy goat cheese tart. The main course selections include a Misoyaki Salmon (marinated 2 days) or the incredible Osso Buco with Vietti Barolo demi-glace, creamy orzo, and shattered leeks.

If you’re hankering for a taste of the Lowcountry with a casual ambiance and live music, check out Ruby Lee’s. Their prix fixe offers shrimp & okra gumbo, she crab soup, oxtail stew, shrimp and grits, sweet potato pecan pie and more! If you love the hearty Gaelic fare, The British Open Pub will satisfy. Their menu includes soup of the day or salad and specialty entrees like Royal Birkdale’s steak & mushroom pie, Pub’s lobster salad, half rack of BBQ ribs and St. Andrews fish & chips.

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with a dried blueberry demi-glace, spiced peach butter,  sweet potato puree & edamame succotash from The Jazz Corner.

Bacon wrapped pork tenderloin with a dried blueberry demi-glace, spiced peach butter,
sweet potato puree & edamame succotash from The Jazz Corner.

Over in Bluffton, just across the bridge on the mainland, several wonderful and unique restaurants are joining the restaurant week fun as well. The lovely River House at Palmetto Bluff prix fixe menu include Gumbo z’Herbes, red wine braised short ribs and a delightful creamsicle creme brulee (with milk chocolate Chantilly and orange shortbread). May River Grill in Old Town Bluffton offers a stand out 4-course meal that includes choice of first course, chef’s soup of the day or salad, entrée selection (like crispy flounder with a Texas Pete brown butter sauce, grilled filet of beef Béarnaise or Daufuskie crab cake), and a dessert.

So if you are wary of lackluster prix fix menus don’t be, just check out the various preview menus online where you will most certainly find creativity flowing freely in every delectable course. I am also told that there could also be a few late restaurant additions so be sure to check back and… make a reservation, restaurant week fills up fast!

Let’s Get Festive at Taste of the Season!

Taste of the Season

It’s a festive atmosphere at Taste of the Season!

‘Tis the Season for Taste of the Season….a festive sampling of local food, wine and seasonal beverages plus wonderful music and a silent auction chocked with an eye-popping selection of getaways, golf packages, work of art and more. This annual event, hosted by the Hilton Head Island Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, will be held in the ballroom of the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa on Friday, Nov. 22 starting at 6 pm.

Over 35 local Lowcountry restaurants and eateries will provide creative culinary delights, many created specifically for this event. Local chefs anticipate this event for months, honing their recipes and gastronomic offerings to the delight of hundreds of hungry party-goers.

If a pre-holiday a visit to our Island is in the works for you, your family or perhaps a “girl’s weekend” adventure then kick it off right at Taste of the Season! Or if you’re planning a Hilton Head Island or Bluffton event in the future (wedding, family reunion or corporate retreat), Taste of the Season is the savvy way to sample first-hand the creative cuisine of many chefs all in one spot – talk about value!

The variety and quality of food offered at TOS is hard to beat. My advice, "Don't eat lunch!" because unless you have a hollow leg there will be no place to fit all this and believe me you'll want to try everything!

The variety and quality of food offered at TOS is hard to beat. My advice, “Don’t eat lunch!” because unless you have a hollow leg there will be no place to fit all this and believe me you’ll want to try everything!

Take it from me, foodies of all ages and backgrounds will be amazed and wow-ed by the varied selection, top-shelf quality and inventive vision of the spread placed before them. Newcomers Ombra Cucina Rustica and the Healthy Kitchen at Hilton Head Health promise to set the bar high in the flavor category.

Chef Brad Blake of Skull Creek Boathouse, looks forward to this annual event, “ Taste of the Season kicks off the season and really gets every one – chefs and patrons alike – in the holiday spirit. All the chefs bring their “A-Game” to this event, they realize it’s a great chance to shine the spotlight on their talent and their restaurants. It’s a lot of fun too.

The Beach House, will turn your taste buds on their ears with Country Ham Biscuits with Red-Eye Aioli, Miniature Chicken and Waffles with apple cider gastrique and a unique Liquid Nitrogen Desert Station:with Eggnog Ice Cream and Caramel Corn Dragons Breath. Last year’s top honor went to Hugo’s Seafood & Steakhouse and their “Surf n’Turf Lollipops” – Lobster Wontons & Hawaiian-seared Filet Mignon with Celeriac Puree, Parsnip Chips & Soy Vinaigrette – a lot to say but easy to swallow, like magic in your mouth!

From buttery Italian Carpaccio to Herb Crusted Petite Filet Mignon with Lemon Mushroom Sauce and  Crab Loaded Mashed Potatoes to homestyle favorites like Hickory Smoked Turkey with cornbread sausage stuffing and pan roasted gravy, your "taste of the season" will be satisfying!

From buttery Italian Carpaccio to Herb Crusted Petite Filet Mignon with Lemon Mushroom Sauce and Crab Loaded Mashed Potatoes and homestyle favorites like Hickory Smoked Turkey with cornbread sausage stuffing and pan roasted gravy, your “taste of the season” will be satisfying!

Other event favorites include Michael Anthony’s, Old Oyster Factory, Chart House, One Hot Mama’s and of course, Conroy’s located on premises at the Hilton Head Marriott Resort & Spa. Lest you think all bases are not covered by this event there is also dessert – with exquisite treats from Elaine’s Cake Creations & Sugar Garden, and marvelous down home goodness baked especially for this event by Bessie of Hudson’s Seafood House.

By all accounts it is looking to be a night of scrumptious wonder for foodies and party lovers alike! So what are you waiting for? Click here to get more details and order your tickets.

Is it Palate or Palette at the 9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival?

Welcome to the 9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival! Lots to see and lots to eat!

Welcome to the 9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival! Lots to see and lots to eat!

Aristotle said that we have five senses: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. In this blog we are primarily preoccupied with taste, of course; but the other four senses also come into play here in Hilton Head Island and Bluffton, and often in rather unexpected ways. With the 9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival right around the corner, I present my case for ‘palate or palette’, what’s your pleasure?

Touch is not just the province of bread bakers and pastrymakers, or even the fisherman who swiftly fillets a just-caught May River sea trout or flounder. Think of how the downy soft skin on a fresh peach feels, or the coolness of your favorite, foamy artisan brew in your throat whilst strolling through historic Old Town Bluffton.

Hearing is certainly part and parcel to the pleasure of cooking, dining and ‘festing as well. The clinking of glasses to be filled with bubbly and the sizzle of bacon as local chefs prepare their signature seafood dishes – our ears are constantly tuned to the snap, crackle and pop of a fine gastronomic experience at this festival. Check out The “Art of Cuisine” Iron Chef Challenge (Sat., Oct. 19th at 11 am) for a perfect example.

Yum! There's sure to be Lowcountry boil at this festival along with all manner of local seafood and southern favorites like barbeque!

Yum! There’s sure to be Lowcountry boil at this festival along with all manner of local seafood and southern favorites like barbeque!

Without our sense of smell, the pleasures of food would be greatly diminished. Our olfactory senses are said to be 10,000 times more sensitive than our taste buds and this festival’s Street Fest” is the perfect place to put that theory to the test. If the Iron Chef Challenge leaves you hungry don’t be surprised, but be swift and head over straight away to the “midway of food” along Calhoun Street during the Street Fest held on both Saturday, Oct. 19th and Sunday, Oct. 20th. There will a veritable bounty of ocean-caught delicacies transformed into every imaginable seafood treat from spicy seafood gumbo to heavenly crab cakes to fried oysters served with a horseradish mustard sauce. Not a seafood fanatic, don’t worry there will plenty of other goodies for your smelling and tasting pleasure.

Restaurant and eateries include Bluffton Family Seafood House, Alexander’s, Melly Mel’s, Palm Key Catering, Old Oyster Factory, Sigler’s, Skull Creek Boathouse, The Crazy Crab, Mulberry Street Trattoria, Reeves Outdoor Catering and more.

Catch a beautiful May River sunset during Oyster Fest on Oct. 13th and at Rockin’ on the Dock on Oct. 19th.

Catch a beautiful May River sunset during Oyster Fest on Oct. 13th and at Rockin’ on the Dock on Oct. 19th.

With food, as with anything else, seeing is believing, and sight plays an integral part in our culinary lives. Simply put, if food looks good, it tastes better. Food doesn’t have to be perfectly coiffed like a wedding updo, but it should look natural and the colors should reflect the identity of the dish. Bluffton’s local seafood and its farmland bounty are certainly fresh, upfront and center at this festival. On Sunday, October 13th Oyster Fest kicks off the week food-tastically with the first oyster roast of the season, plus a Lowcountry shrimp boil and barbeque at the Bluffton Oyster Factory Park. The park sits adjacent to Bluffton’s May River, the quintessential setting for partaking of fine local oysters with friends and like-minded foodies.

During the Arts & Seafood Festival, Bluffton always gets it just right in showcasing the many kinds of art embraced here. From the juried art show, author night, environmentally infused events and tours to, of course, the myriad of food-centered events – celebrating the “Bluffton State of Mind” with all five senses is as simple as spending a week, or even just the day, in our friendly town.

The Iron Chef Challenge brings out friendly and delicious competition on Saturday, Oct. 19th in Old Town.

The Iron Chef Challenge brings out friendly and delicious competition on Saturday, Oct. 19th in Old Town.

9th Annual Historic Bluffton Arts & Seafood Festival

Oct. 13-20, 2013

Events listed below are food and dining related but there are many more – like tours, music and art related events – please check the Festival website for details!

Kick-Off Events: Sunday, Oct. 13; 11 am – 4pm, Calhoun Street

Oyster Fest: Sunday, Oct. 13; 5-8 pm, Bluffton Oyster Factory Park

Dinner & Learn Tour at Waddell Mariculture Center: Monday, Oct. 14; 5:30 pm

Author Night – “Celebrate the Lowcountry”: Wednesday, Oct. 16; 5:30 pm, Rotary Community Center at Oscar Frazier Park

Wine Tasting: Thursday, Oct. 17; 4 -6 pm; Corks Wine Company, 14 Promenade Street, Old Town

Family Night at the Promenade: Friday, Oct. 18; 6-9 pm; The Promenade, Old Town Arts & Seafood Street Fest: Saturday, Oct. 19; 10 am – 5 pm and Sunday, Oct. 20, 10 am – 4 pm, Old Town

Rockin’ on the Dock: Saturday, Oct. 19, 6 pm- Dusk, Bluffton Oyster Company, Wharf Street

Get Shuckin’ at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival!

Enjoy your oysters with friends at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival, Nov. 8-10!

Enjoy your oysters with friends at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival, Nov. 8-10!

One of the best times of year for being on Hilton Head is practically upon us. Brisk mornings warmed by sunshiny blue skies and low humidity make it great weather for driving with the windows rolled down, taking a leisurely bike ride and devising fabulous ways to prepare our fabulously briny South Carolina oysters!

There is just so much going on at this time of year – time for football, festivals, southern barbeque and of course, the opening of the Hilton Head Island oyster season along the coast. I’m talking bi-valve utopia here, people! So let’s crack on, shall we?

Oyster season in South Carolina actually begins in September as it is an “R” month and runs through April. Well, give or take a few weeks, as the SC Department of Natural Resources keeps a keen eye on the water conditions like temperature and salinity, just the particulars that make our Lowcountry oysters some of the most tasty and sought-after in the world. The water must be pristine and cool – nothing but the best for our oysters!

Local Hilton Head Island oysters are known and appreciated the world over for their briny sweetness

Local Hilton Head Island oysters are known and appreciated the world over for their briny sweetness

For those of us who are initiated into the art of the oyster roast, it doesn’t take much to get us to the shucking table, but add in a cause close to the community’s heart and you’ve got yourself a celebration!

The Island Recreation Center is right on time again this year with three days of shell-fish splendor at the Hilton Head Island Oyster Festival, Nov. 8, 9 and 10 at the Shelter Cove Community Park. Island Rec and presenting sponsor South Carolina Bank & Trust, have organized the perfect set up for a true oyster-fest with buckets of local cluster-style oysters and regionally harvested “oyster singles” ready for your shuckin’ and slurpin’ enjoyment – provided by local seafood authority, Captain Woody’s Bar and Grill.

The fun and foodie fare includes steamed, grilled and fried oysters plus hot dogs, chili, marshmallow roasting and more! There will be a Kid Zone (Bouncy houses and carnival games help to wear off that marshmallow infused sugar rush!) plus arts, crafts and live

How do you like your oysters? Steamed, roasted, fried or raw - there will be variety! Here's a fresh batch hot out of the steamer!

How do you like your oysters? Steamed, roasted, fried or raw – there will be variety at the Festival. Here’s a fresh batch hot out of the steamer!

music! All event proceeds go directly to the Island Recreation Association’s Children’s scholarship fund which insures that “no child is denied” recreational opportunities in our community.

There is a nominal admission charge of $5 per person (with children 12 and under being free) for the Festival. And if the thought of salty succulent oysters freshly plucked from the sea isn’t enough to get you in the festival mood, then add two dozen 25 arts and crafts vendors AND a silent auction chocked full of fabulous finds like rounds of golf, restaurant gift certificates and local art. I also heard there’ll be gumbo and local shrimp a plenty to be found at the Festival. All food and beverages are sold separately, but I do know that buckets of those tasty oysters are just $12!

In addition to the Oyster Festival, Hilton Head hosts several other foodie-centric festivals and events during the fall. If you are gracing our ‘isle and the surrounding area check these out!

29th Annual Rib Chili Cookoff hosted by The Kiwanis Club of Hilton Head Island

October 12, 2013

12 Noon – 4 pm rain or shine

At the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn

Restaurant and amateur cooks duke it out to receive the nod as “Island’s Best Chili” plus entertainment by local favorite, The Chilly Willy Band.

Polo for Charity hosted by the Rotary Club of Okatie

October 13, 2013

Gates open at 12 noon and matches start at 2 pm

At the historic Rose Hill Plantation, Bluffton

Billed as Bluffton’s largest picnic so pack a fabulous basket, don a proper chapeau and tailgate like royalty!

Bluffton Arts & Seafood Street Fest

October 19 & 20, 2013

Historic Old Town Bluffton

10 am – 5 pm

Local seafood and lowcountry cuisine served by area restaurants plus a juried art show (over 100 participants), educational exhibits and more!

A beautiful evening under the stars at the Oyster Festival. Shelter Cove Community Park is adjacent to Broad Creek.

A beautiful evening under the stars at the Oyster Festival. Shelter Cove Community Park is adjacent to Broad Creek.

The Details: Hilton Head Oyster Festival

Shelter Cove Community Park

Friday, Nov. 8: 5:00 pm – 8 pm “Friday Night Concert”

Saturday, Nov. 9: 11 am – 5 pm

Sunday, Nov. 10: 11 am – 5 pm

Good Stuff at the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market

There is always a good time to be had at the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market!

It’s a perfect time for farmers market shopping with sunny Hilton Head Island mornings and a nice selection of produce, prepared foods and hand made gifts at the Hilton Head Island Farmers Market at Shelter Cove Community Park. Arrive at 9 am and start your day with a sweet or savory crepe from Claudine’s Creperie or a bite of Kim Tavino’s healthy sprouted wheat berry bread from Sprout Mama.

If the sun has risen toward the noon hour, Melly Mel’s can satisfy your seafood cravings with hand-made crab cakes, shrimp gumbo and more! Native Islanders Melvin and Thomasina Fields are a husband and wife team who really know how to prepare Lowcountry favorites! Here at the market there is no lack of variety either – try exotic curries from Bhajee On The Beach, empanadas from Isa’s Gourmet Cooking, and Cori Fulton’s Pierogi Hut menu is always fresh and new.

If you would rather make your own lunch (or dinner), drop by the Frali Gourmet tent for fresh made pasta, ravioli, sauces… even pizza dough! No Farmer’s Market trip is complete without something to satisfy that sweet tooth and Hilton Head Cookie Company

Fresh wheat berry sprouted bread with cranberries from Sprout Mama.

fills the bill with their famous cookies, ice cream pies, and cheesecake. Heck, you can even pick up a treat for Fido – with their popular hand-made dog treats! If the enticing smell of caramel lights up your olfactory senses, Island Kettle Corn is to blame – go see Mike and choose your favorite flavor.

Of course, every Farmers Market requires a farmer… or two or three! Go see the friendly folks at Yahveh Farms for pesticide and herbicide-free produce. Local tomatoes, zucchini, corn and even some lovely Crimini mushrooms graced their bins. Local favorite Spanish Wells Seafood & Produce offers locally and regionally grown vegetables and fruits, and the family-owned Shuler Peach Company based out of Eutawville, SC, brings in those famously wonderful SC peaches – so delightfully fragrant and juicy that rest assured you’ll be “sampling” your purchase before you can get to the parking lot!

Check out Melly Mel’s menu…everything is cooked to order onsite!

Preserves are buzz worthy in 2013 and yes, delicious delights can be found at the Hilton Head Farmers Market. Visit Great Food Co-op for jams, jellies, salsas and try my personal favorite, black eyed pea dip. Frommer’s Natural Foods offers munchies like granola, protein bars, trail mix, and dried fruit… awesome alternatives to unhealthy snacks and perfect ‘traveling food’ for a day at the beach!

Of course, this foodie blogger is all about the eatin’ but there are other pleasures to be found at the market …Beauty products by Bee Factory, Bayfront Treasures and Fusion Bath & Body Products. Unique, artisan crafted jewelry, art and textiles by Island Woman Quilts, Etc., Copper Tree Potter, Ardeley Art Glass and many more. Lots of ‘good stuff’!

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Details: Hilton Head Island Farmers Market

  • Shelter Cove Community Park
  • 39 Shelter Cove Lane
  • Open every Wednesday from May 1 to October 30
  • 9 am to 1 pm

Beautiful produce at the Farmer’s Market!

Just a sampling of the preserved goodies to be found at the Great Food Co-Op tent.