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Guest @hopeclark reviews her fave #restaurant in @edisto_beach @McConkeysJS #foodiefriday

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

hope clarkMcConkey’s Jungle Shack

~~Every Visit to Edisto~~

My current mystery series takes place on Edisto Beach, South Carolina, a secluded, noncommercial piece of sand that reduces down to around 600 people off season, exploding to several thousand when weather turns warm. Having just released the series’ third book, Echoes of Edisto, I currently work on book four, which means yet another trip to the beach. Research, you know.

And a girl has to eat after sweating over all those words. At the beach, that means a dose of seafood here and there. The residents refuse to allow franchises, so that means each eating venue reigns unique. My restaurant preference depends on what I want to eat that day, but when I’m not sure, my go-to place is McConkey’s Jungle Shack on Jungle Road.

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Trust me, the term shack is not used loosely. The handful of tables are set on a porch, cooled with fans and an over-worked air-conditioner in the summer (sorry, humidity stays), and warmed with porch heaters inside rolled down plastic sides in the winter. The months in between just means you eat outside under a roof. The kitchen is bigger than the dining area.

The wait staff all wear colorful t-shirts, often tie-dyed, with the Tarzan-looking character on a vine. I own six of those shirts, by the way, for the times I miss Edisto. The staff has worked there for ages, and the service has never failed me, usually with the food arriving way quicker than expected. The place may be small, but they can work a crowd like nobody’s business.

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The menu has its regular favorites like fish tacos, fish and chips, shrimp, and hand-formed burgers (I prefer pimento cheese and jalapenos on mine, as does Callie Morgan in my books), and if you eat there, you’ll see them all come out of the kitchen, usually by your table on their way to another. The place isn’t big as a minute. A huge selection of beers and ale, and yes, wine.

Burger

But the main draw, in my opinion, is the homemade touch. All the desserts are from scratch, from bread pudding (yum) to peanut butter pie. And some days you see something entirely new on the dry erase board beside the kitchen entrance, simply because the cook had a different sweet tooth. In the winter I experienced the best black-bean soup I’ve ever tasted, again not on the regular menu. In the summer maybe a different sort of wrap. You never know until you show up what the specials might be.

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I guess I deem McConkey’s symbolic of Edisto Beach, touting a name that has represented the area for almost 140 years. While the family’s history is quite colorful, and uniquely tragic, the restaurant is successful and sound, a beacon to all who arrive from the mainland. Take a seat at one of the hand painted, beach scene tables, enjoy the local paraphernalia hanging around the place, and don’t look for a dress code. Wear whatever you happen to have on because it’s more about relaxing and having a good meal. After all, you’re at the beach.

Oh, and by the way . . . the best sweet tea on the island.

BIO: Hope Clark’s newest mystery, Echoes of Edisto, is available August 5 wherever books are sold. Echoes is book three in this highly popular Edisto Island Mystery Series, and if you head south to the coast, chances are you’ll find a copy in most rentals on Edisto Beach, South Carolina as well as on the shelves of the Edisto Bookstore with all the other Hope Clark books. www.chopeclark.com

BLURB from Echos of Edisto:

Edisto Island is a paradise where people escape from the mainstream world. Yet for newly sworn-in Edisto Police Chief Callie Jean Morgan, the trouble has just begun . . .
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Guest Hope Clark reviews her fave bookstore in the Lowcountry

This guest post is by C. Hope Clark from www.chopeclark.com

The Edisto Bookstore – Edisto Island, SC

             If I owned a bookstore, this is what I’d want. A store just big enough to carry all the appropriate reading material anyone might need on a trip to the beach, and small enough to not overwhelm them with selection. And do I have to say it? It’s at the beach.

Edisto bookstore

Owner Karen Carter established The Edisto Bookstore (http://www.edistobookstore.com/) on Edisto Island, South Carolina about 25 years ago, and she understands the needs of both area residents and the transients that filter through. Not only does she have all the good Lowcountry fiction authors: Mary Alice Monroe, Dorothea Benton Frank, Karen White, Pat Conroy, Cassandra King, Anne Rivers Siddons, and, okay, me, but she also carries nonfiction that addresses topics like Edisto’s history, Lowcountry ghosts, local wildlife, and anything sea island in nature.

In the back you’ll find the used book section for children and young adults to swap books. Off in another section, you’ll find nautical charts and topographic maps of Edisto and the surrounding coastal area as well as road maps and fishing charts. And don’t think Karen can’t talk the charts, either. After making the mistake of underestimating the small, salt-and-pepper hair bobbed lady, people realize she knows the area.

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The signature of Edisto Bookstore, however, is Emily Grace. A stray, silky gray and white cat, Emily Grace lives in the store, open or closed. She welcomes pleasant guests and conveniently dodges the rowdy, staying just out of reach of those who don’t understand the dignity of how to treat a lady. She’s a mainstay and a mascot everyone knows.

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What I love about this store most, however, is the atmosphere. The white walls and beach mural painted behind the tiny two-computer Internet Café ooze coastal, and you’ll find enough non-book items to tempt you dearly. From hand-fired ceramics to stationery, from seashell puzzles to crab decorated aprons, you’ll fall in love with everything Lowcountry. Just like you wish you could stay at the beach forever, the Edisto Bookstore makes the book lover crave to not only visit, but also to work in this store, absorbing the literary beach feel.

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I’ve signed three times at Edisto Bookstore and presented at a book club meeting, each event amazingly successful for such a compact place. This store understands how to handle a signing, from the advertising to supplying the books, with Emily Grace adorning the signing table for as long as you let her. And Karen knows how to attract the authors, too. Mary Alice Monroe is a regular.

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On one hand, I wish the store were a little larger, but then I’m not so sure. The quaint tightness of the place might be a pro instead of a con, since visitors learn to talk to each other as they pass almost elbow to elbow, asking where each other where they’re from and if they own or rent their house. Plus, Karen Carter has marvelous taste in presentation and unique book-stands to capitalize on every square foot. It’s tiny but I’ve yet to find a Lowcountry or Edisto book it does not carry. To me, that tells me Ms. Carter knows what she’s doing. And it’s one of the first places I stop whenever I feel the ocean calling me back to Edisto Beach.

Highly recommended, and highly respected by myself, by island readers, and by the other indie bookstores throughout South Carolina.

 

BIO: C. Hope Clark’s latest mystery release is Murder on Edisto, a book you’re sure to find at The Edisto Bookstore as well as anywhere books are sold. Hope is also known for her award-winning Carolina Slade Mysteries and her resource website FundsforWriters.com, chosen by Writer’s Digest for its 101 Best Websites for Writers for the past 14 years. www.chopeclark.com / www.fundsforwriters.com

BLURB from Murder on Edisto:

When her husband is murdered by the Russian mob, Boston detective Callie Jean Morgan suffers a mental break and relinquishes her badge to return home to South Carolina. She has no idea how to proceed with her life, but her son deserves to move on with his, so she relocates them to the family vacation home.

But the day they arrive on Edisto Beach, Callie finds her childhood mentor and elderly neighbor murdered. Her fragile sanity is threatened when the murderer taunts her, and the home that was to be her sanctuary is repeatedly violated. Callie loses her fight to walk away from law enforcement as she becomes the only person able to pursue the culprit who’s turned the coastal paradise into a paranoid patch of sand where nobody’s safe. But what will it cost her?

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Let’s go to SNOBs

When I was in Charleston, my friend said “We are going to SNOBs for lunch”. I was like, “Where?”

SNOB – Slightly North of Broad (as in Broad Street). Lovely acronym.

She made reservations for 12:30 in the afternoon. I thought she was being overly cautious to ensure we had a table. How crowded could a restaurant be in the middle of week in February? When we arrived, I realized that was so necessary. The place was packed on a Wednesday afternoon in such a way that most restaurants would dream for a Friday night.

Since we had a reservation, we were seated in about 10 minutes of our arrival. Once at our table, I began to review the menu. I did not know what I wanted to eat. The lunch menu had so many different choices, that I was hard pressed to choose just one. I decided I wanted something light but more heartier than a salad. In the end, I ordered the ahi tuna. It was accompanied with rice and cabbage and drizzled with some Asian style-flavored soy sauce reduction. I thought the portion size was small, but I was surprised that after eating all of it, I was so full afterwards. I think my eyes are bigger than my stomach, especially when I see so much good food.

For dessert, I had the special of the day: key lime pie with a shortbread crust topped with a passion fruit sauce. I really liked the pie because it was tart enough in the way that I like it, but still sweet. The shortbread crust was buttery and went well with the creaminess of the pie. If I ordered this again, I would opt to leave off the passion fruit sauce. It was too sweet and I could not fully enjoy the tartness of the pie for the sweet sauce. It seems harder and harder to find restaurants that make key lime pie. So if I come to SNOBs again, I hope they have the key lime pie that day so that I can order it.

 

SNOBs has won awards for their food and their efforts to buy local ingredients. This restaurant is worth all the hype that has been created around it. Everything was delicious. I could tell that the ingredients were high quality. The food was fresh tasting and the flavors were bold. Price wise, this restaurant is not too hard on a budget for lunch. You could probably spend $10-15 per entree. I think that is about the same as some chain restaurants, but the food at the chain restaurants does not have the same complexity of flavors. And dessert prices were comparable to chain restaurants but 1000 times better.

Next time you are in Charleston, go to SNOBs…but make sure you make a reservation if you do not want an extremely long wait. When you ask for directions, ask “How do I get to SNOBs?” I doubt many people know the restaurant by its full name.

Sweet 16th a bakery – Nashville TN

Sweet 16th a bakery – Nashville TN
I found out about this bakery from a foodie friend. He posted pictures to his profile and I knew that the next time I was in Nashville, TN I had to go.
When I entered Sweet 16th bakery, I was ecstatic. I wanted to sing. I wanted to order one of everything. Realistically, I knew I could not do that because I would weigh 500 pounds if I ate everything I saw.
In the end I settled for some macaroons, an apple crisp bar, and something called heavenly scones. These scones were definitely heavenly. A touch of sweetness and not overly crumbly. I ate them with strawberry jam and it was delicious. The apple crisp bar had a thick cookie-like crust with apples and granola and brown sugar on top. The macaroons were as you would expect. These were coconut version, not the fancy colorful French macaroons that you see everywhere now. Full of coconut flavor. They were tasty as well.

Best of all was the price. Everything was super cheap in my estimation. I think that when I see food of this caliber, I immediately expect to pay Panera/Atlanta Bread Company prices (If you don’t understand the reference, you can spend close to $10 easy for pastries/bread/sandwiches for one at those aforementioned places).

Sweet 16th has become one of my go-to bakeries when in Nashville.
My advice to you: Order your goodies. Order a cup of tea or coffee. And you are set for the morning.

Peek Intimate Dressing

As I mentioned in a post on my other blog, after I tried the useless genie bra, I got my money back to head over to Peek Intimate. From the first time that I visited this establishment, I knew I was going to love this place. Bras, bras, and more bras. Now, before you think that I am not used to going to stores and seeing pretty bras, get that notion out of your head. In my less endowed days, knew all of Vicky’s secrets. As I grew a more womanly shaped body, their bras were not offered in my size (insert my sad face here).

But here, Megan let me know that she carries lingerie lines that were for bigger bust, full figured women. I LOVE IT!!!  I bought 2 comfortable, cute, sexy that fit me perfectly. No ill fitting genie bra or playtex offered here.

Greenwood SC finally has a lingerie boutique. This place is classy and offers styles that you would be hard pressed to find elsewhere.