Feature: Dark Matter Coffee – Chicago, IL

“I decided pretty early on that if I was going to make it, I’d need to travel to the source to see and understand all the work that goes into making one cup of espresso.” – Jesse Diaz, founder @DarkMatterCoffee

TIA-article-DarkMatter

(Published for Camel.com, Taste It All Project, August 2013)

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The Moscow Mule and other craft cocktail phenomenon

The Moscow Mule and other craft cocktail phenomenon

Bluffton, SC – Spring has sprung in the south, where chef’s and restaurateurs are rolling out new beverage menu’s in anticipation of a busy summer season.

Here in the Lowcountry I’m fortunate to have upwards of 1,000 restaurants within a half hour drive of my house, where competition is fierce for attracting a regular customer base.

Is your business looking for a boost?  The growing trend in craft cocktails and culinary inspired beverage lists has guests at some of the area’s most popular restaurants coming back for more.

If you haven’t noticed, Homemade Bitters, Fresh-made Everything, Moscow Mule Parties, Ladies Night’s with complimentary Champagne and Prohibition Era Cocktail Lists are all the rage.

If you’re up for a road trip – or simply craving a good drink, check out:

  • Bluffton: Bluffton Room (ask for Bob), NEO and Pour Richard’s.
  • Hilton Head Island: Lucky Rooster, Wise Guys and Ocean Lounge
  • Savannah: Chive, Local 1110 and Circa 1875
  • Beaufort: Breakwater, Luther’s and Lowcountry Produce

Cheers! … and don’t forget to tell them Chris sent you!

I learned to Salsa Dance on Hilton Head Island

Learning to Salsa Dance with fitness dance instructor Alyssa Petro (Photo by Chris Katon)

Learning to Salsa Dance with fitness dance instructor Alyssa Petro (Photo by Chris Katon)

Hilton Head Island, SC – You’re oceanfront at Daniel’s nightclub with professional dance instructor Alyssa Petro learning how to salsa dance.

The energy in the room has a sexy, silky feeling that makes your shoulders rock back and forth and head sway side-to-side. Your view from the dance floor is of flashing lights synchronized to the rhythm of the Latin beat.

Without thinking, you’re body falls into step with the music – sliding forward, then back and side-to-side. Alyssa shows us how to count to the beat, then step together.

“We just do basic steps because there tends to be a new group of people every week,” Alyssa said. “There’s just something that comes alive when I hear that music. To me it’s just lively and happy and it makes me feel amazing.”

Making memories is what vacation is all about. When’s the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?

For more information, visit http://spicefitnessdance.tumblr.com

Local restaurant hosts benefit for Napa earthquake relief

Bluffton, SC – They’ll be popping corks on some good juice in Bluffton tomorrow night when Hogshead Kitchen and Wine Bar hosts a farm and sea-to-table wine and food pairing dinner with Cakebread Vineyards.

The famed winery is one of the many Bay Area vintners affected when a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck just six miles southwest of Napa California’s famed wine country on August 24, 2014.

It was the strongest earthquake to strike the Bay Area in 25 years and has caused an estimated $x in damages to the Napa community.

Executive Chef/ Owner John Pashek is locally known for creating twists on contemporary Southern cuisine. Here’s a sneak peek at his casual, yet upscale pairings menu written special for tomorrow nights event:

Reception: 2013 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa) paired with Crispy May River Oyster with Lavendar Honey, “Sugar Beet” Tuna Tartare with Bruleed Pineapple

2012 Chardonnay (Napa) paired with Grilled Lobster Tail with Orange & Chili Marmalade and Gorgonzola Beignets;

2012 Pinot Noir (Two Creeks Vineyards, Anderson Valley) paired with Crispy Pork Belly with Buttered Turnips, Greens, Roasted Pistachios and Blueberry Gastrique;

2010 Dancing Bear Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain) paired with coffee-crusted New York Strip Loin with Buttered Leeks, Truffled Mushroom Risotto and Bing Cherry Demi Glace;

2012 Zinfandel (Red Hills) Warm Fudge Brownie with Double Chocolate Ice Cream and White Chocolate-pecan Caramel.

In studio with Philadelphia area Indie rock band The Levee Drivers

Levee_Drivers

Philadelphia, PA – The moment self-taught musician August Lutz learned to bend notes on a harmonica his life took a new direction.

Today Lutz is lead singer of the Indie band The Levee Drivers. He describes their unique sound as, “Old Country and Early Punk reborn as tomorrows Rock.”

For more visit LeveeDrivers.com

Cape Cod Outdoors – Skydiving

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“Skydive Cape Cod has been voted one of the top three skydiving locations in the United States and is the only drop zone in New England that jumps over the beach.

On a clear day clients experience views from one end of Cape Cod to the other; from Falmouth to Provincetown, and Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket to the Boston skyline.”

Read my story here

Published: CAPE COD OUTDOORS The Enterprise • July 2013

“There is Magic in Old Town” – at 10th Annual Historic Bluffton Art and Seafood Festival

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10th Annual Historic Bluffton Art & Seafood Festival (Photo by Chris Katon)

Bluffton, SC – I spent the better part of Sunday immersing myself in the sites and sounds of the 10th Annual Bluffton Art and Seafood Festival and one things for certain, this once sleepy artist community is exploding with energy.

“There is magic in Old Town,” said Bluffton resident Ed McCullough. “Great things are happening here.”

We were talking about two renovation projects that he’s involved in, along with the exploding growth of the Bluffton Promenade.

McCullough, who is founder of the Bluffton Farmers Market, couldn’t be happier about the positive vibe of the day.

Both sides of Calhoun Street were lined with 100 vendor booths of artists from across the South East showcasing beautiful paintings, photography and other original art.

Two dozen local restaurants including Red Fish, Mulberry Street Trattoria and Joe Loves Lobster Rolls were on-hand to cater the event.

Bluffton Middle School Junior Naturalists manned touch tanks with Taco the Turtle, horseshoe crabs and fiddler crabs to share information about Low Country marine life.

Collage Illusion is an award-winning technique of collage art on glass by artist Carl Crawford of Columbia, SC. Crawford uses a mixed media style to create an illusion of an oil painting. The technique has earned him numerous national awards, including Most Creative for the 2011 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

On the Water with Jason DuBose, Director of the Outfitters Center at Oldfield Plantation

On the Water with Jason DuBose, Director of the Outfitters Center at Oldfield Plantation

Okatie, SC – Visitors from land arrive here through a canopy of moss covered oaks, past fields of grazing horses to a period era filling station and general store. On the back side of the property is the waterfront office of Jason DuBose, certified River Pro and Charter Boat Captain who is Director of the Outfitters Center at Oldfield Plantation.

“I’m lucky in that I get to spend most of my day on the water as a guide for our owners and their friends,” DuBose said. “Oldfield has a real active charter fishing program, so on any given day I could be anywhere from casting for Red Fish in the flats to trolling for Wahoo or Tuna in the Gulf Stream.”

On property, ponds are stocked with Bass, Brim and Catfish to keep the anglers happy.

“Oldfield is host site for the only Orvis Fly Fishing School in the state,” he said. The program is coordinated at Bay Street Outfitters in Beaufort, where staff members have trained to become Orvis certified instructors.

According to DuBose, a special arrangement with Turkey Hill Plantation in Ridgeland offers owners and guest’s access to 18,000 acres of outdoor adventures including “a sporting clays course, private shooting instruction and some of the best quail hunting in the state.”

“Being a private community most of our amenities are geared towards our residents and their guests, but we do offer monthly nature seminars with guest speakers that are open to the public,” Mr. DuBose said.

Other outdoor activities at Oldfield include the popular golf course, tennis instruction and equestrian center, where trail rides, instruction and summer camps are managed by Equestrian Director Jude Dontje.

For more, read “The Great Outdoors” in the November issue of Hilton Head Monthly Magazine.