It’s Tastier than Betty Crocker, it’s better behaved than Martha Stewart.. It’s Life Lessons with #teamgraham. Yesterday, Graham invited me to be a guest on her fitness blog, GrahamErvin.com. We chopped, diced, stirred and baked all my meals for the entire week. I never knew where to start with food prep since “Kat in the Kitchen” is more like “Katastrophe’s in the Kitchen: how much blood and fire can be made in one hour.” I learned how to make Egg Muffins, Parmesan Honey Sweet Potato Chips, her version of Skinny Chicken Salad, and Protein Chocolate Chip Cookies (I couldn’t resist one at breakfast today…) Since she is on a strict diet for her figure competition, I got to keep all the food! Thank you mama, for my Trader Joe’s gift card; it sure came in handy and thank you, Graham for teaching me all your mad cooking skills! I feel organized for the week ahead and inspired to continue doing it. All these Life Lesson’s are coming in handy… more to come!
This will be my post about eating at Fig.
Sometimes I don’t blog for the fear of not giving the reader a full taste of what I experience… but a blank page leaves absolutely nothing to the imagination. And this is a taste you will want to savor—
As I was discussing all the fine dining I wanted to explore in Charleston, someone said they really wanted to try Husk, the most well-known restaurants in Charleston, but they couldn’t get a reservation for a month because it was completely booked. “Well-known” is an understatement. It is hailed as one of the “most important restaurants in the history of Southern cooking.” I internally smiled because I not only had a reservation, but I had a reservation with one of the chefs- Ben, who is a neighbor I have become friends with. No big deal, I just moved here so I don’t know anyone, but I know a chef at one of the Top 10 Best Restaurants of 2011 according to Bon Appétit. Naturally.
Situated in a house on Queen Street, Husk is the newest offering from James Beard Award-winning Chef Sean Brock. According to a NY Times article, Josh Ozersky of Time christened Brock “The Grand Lama of Lardcore” and announced that Husk “might just be the Next Great American Restaurant” and Garden & Gun dubbed it “The Most Southern Restaurant Ever.” I wasn’t surprised to find every table filled, mostly with couples or young professionals and some I imagine were tourists. The atmosphere was inviting—I anticipated a swanky, dark restaurant with a professionally uniformed staff, but that wasn’t the case; Husk was inviting, the pastel paintings and lighting made the atmosphere more casual and the staff wore matching purple-checkered button down shirts. We were the youngest people in the restaurant since I clearly couldn’t afford it with my oh-so-slender pocketbook without an invitation from a date or an entourage of adults. However, my hunger to try new things has somehow intensified after moving to Charleston.
Glasses of champagne were handed to us as we looked over the menu—we were clearly getting the royal treatment since I was pretty much a celebrity chef. I nodded in satisfaction at the menu, which changes daily, and looked to Ben for his insight on what to order. I’ve learned after dining with a chef that it doesn’t really matter what I want because for once, I trust him to decide for me. The menu is but a decoration on the table as I am always pleasantly surprised at whatever he decides to order. Plus, it makes all my second guessing on what to order quite simple.
We got a taste every appetizer. Seriously. First, oysters drowned in something terribly delicious.. a tray of southern fried chicken skins— big pieces of chicken skin battered, deep fried, and served with a tiny cast iron skillet of honey, pimento cheese, and ribs glazed with apple-barbecue sauce. I explained my hesitance with trying the ribs since I have grown up with the unbeatable taste of Papa’s magic skill on the grill. I was literally speechless and asked for a moment of silence as I savored every bite. Unbelievable.
To no surprise, I was full before the entrée, which was duck atop lacinato kale, carolina sweet onions and red eye gravey. Don’t worry, I found room to lick my plate dry as the meat fell of the bone. To truly put the cherry on top, dessert was a pumpkin seed brittle cake with homemade pumpkin ice cream (it literally had pumpkin seeds) and a shot of bourbon.
During each course, Ben explained the science behind pairings, where the fresh ingredients came from and the transformation as things are cooking. Wine and good conversation inspired me to see a new form of art I had never considered—cooking. The empty plate is a canvas. Ingredients are the medium. Utensils are the tools. Even the experience is a similar concept as ones senses are transformed—by taste rather than site.
Oftentimes I find it hard when someone asks me a deep question on the spot. For example, “If you had one last meal what it be?” or even “What is the best meal you have ever had?” Well, I have certainly decided now.
Georgia/Florida weekend has always held a special place in my heart. For four years of college I spent the weekend with too many girls and not enough bathrooms crammed into whatever hotel or house was still available on St. Simons Island. But this year was different. Instead of frolicking on ‘Frat Beach’ Friday and then waking up at 5am Saturday to drive to Jacksonville and cheer on the Dawgs…. I put on my big girl panties, or should I say panty-hose to start my new life in Charleston. My parents helped move most of my stuff, I came home to grab my winter closet, and drove back to start the big adventure.
My first day of work was 11/12/13—like… 123 GO GET ‘EM!
I have my own desk and computer with a bulletin board AND name plaque. OH and a mailbox! I keep thinking it’s some kind of joke; am I really going to get paid to do this!? I love it!! My first day was a blur of paperwork and then going out to lunch at The Rarebit with my boss, a 30-year-old young woman who got her masters at UGA in public relations. She is such an inspiration, and already such a mentor to me, both in the professional sense and as a person. I am so excited to be working with her! The rest of the week I trained on all the website, passwords, and top secret important exclusive information only I can know because… I have a BIG GIRL JOB. I also met a million staff and faculty and learned where all our buildings are located on campus. Before I had a job I couldn’t sleep because I wanted one, now I can’t sleep because I’m so excited I have one!
Other than that I have been taking full advantage of all that Charleston has to offer. It’s kind of weird not to know people everywhere I go, but I always leave knowing someone since I make friends with everyone. Today I went to church and sat next to an energetic, motherly older woman that insisted on getting my number to check up on me. Then I got connected with the ‘20-somethings’ group and went to lunch with them. Next week I’m attending a tournament that CofC is hosting and the UGA Men’s Basketball team will be there! My biggest worry is what to make for the staff potluck… life is good :)
October 23 is a very special day. Not only is it my dad’s birthday, but also the day I got my first REAL job. I spent the night with Sarah Grace, a friend from high school and since everyone was at work I decided to check out the area and go for a run. I thought after all, this could very well be the place I call home. As I was running in what I thought was a random old neighborhood, I literally stopped in my tracks from surprise at the view I stumbled upon. It was a stretch of ocean and a beautiful house with the sign reading, O’Be Joyful. My middle name, Joy was given after my grandmother Joy. She always said I would end up in Charleston… and here stood “O’Be Joyful.” I was floored. God was telling me that everything was going to be okay, and I was at peace. I found my way back, showered, and saw that I had a missed call from the HR department.
This was it. This was the moment I would find out if I was living here or moving blindly to DC. I called back.
I remember the woman from HR asking “how are you?” I wanted to laugh since she dictated that, along with the rest of my life…. But when she offered me the job I screamed with excitement. I accepted, moved to Charleston… and here I am!
The quest continues; this time in Charleston, SC.
When I was 2-years-old and my dad was deployed, my mom became best friends with the family that lived in the house behind us. We always said that we shared the same back yard. I spent hours playing with Dana (6-years-old) and Emily (4-years-old). I still remember their huge treasure chest filled with Barbie’s, reenacting the Disney movie Aristocats and trying to fly as I jumped off the swing-set. This was baby KJ’s life in Burke, VA. We stayed in touch over the years as my dad’s job had us move around, but mom and Mrs. Andrea would laugh and say, “now wouldn’t it be funny if the girls went to college together…” And so it happened. Emily went to UGA and we reconnected as if time had not lapsed. I still think of her as my big sis. So now I am here, sitting on her couch in Charleston. Funny how things work out isn’t it?
Last night we had a wonderful time at Andrea’s house on the lake as we reminisced on our younger years. She said it was as if she were talking to my mother since I am picking up her mannerisms. (Brace yourselves).
I visited Emily this past spring break, so I am somewhat familiar with the area. Since everyone in the world is either in school or works, I drove to the Ravenel Bridge, which is a cable-stayed bridge that stretches over the Copper River. I ran (walked) 3 miles as it lightly sprinkled on this overcast, cloudy day. When I finished, I decided to drive around and check out the area. Stumbling upon Patriots Point and the Medal of Honor Museum for military personell, I took a few pictures to send dad and went on my way. After a wrong turn I pulled out Mr. Google Map and he told me to get off at bla bla exist for the Naval Base. Really? How do I always get lost and end up at some Navy destination? I did the same thing in D.C. when I visited. Since I lived on a Navy Base for part of my life, I may as well check it out.. After driving a few minutes I honestly couldn’t tell if I was looking at base housing or if I was in a seedy part of town.. It was the latter, so I took a few illegal U-Turns and went on my way. I made a mental note I need to keep my Georgia license plate so people understand I’m lost all the time and not a bad driver.
This afternoon is my second interview. I’m optimistic, but whatever happens is supposed to happen.