As you may know, the Shop Tart loves her some soft shell crab. Actually, she loves almost all crab, but this is a particularly exciting time of year. Saturday night, she and Mr. Shop Tart went to Terra before attending the AIDS Benefit Foundation’s Dining with Friends Dessert Finale. Terra was not the Shop Tart’s first soft shell of the season. That honor belongs to Mr. Friendly’s and she’ll write about that later. (Spoiler Alert: It was amazing, and you should probably go there for lunch today to get one. Mr. Friendly’s was the place where she fell in love with the thin skinned delicacy and it will always be special.) Anyhow, do you remember Saturday night? It was raining, pouring actually. There was hail, even. Miraculously, the rain slowed to a drizzle just as they pulled up to Terra, so the Shop Tart’s hair was not too damaged.
She wasn’t sure what she wanted to drink first. She considered a glass of grüner veltliner, but decided on a glass of St. Hilaire bubbly when she realized she could not go to Terra without ordering at least one plate of oysters. They were perfect.
Not to be outdone — and because he and his wife wanted to try it — Mr. Shop Tart ordered risotto verde, with asparagus, quail egg and Grana Padano. What is Grana Padano? Cheese! It’s a hard, aged cheese, similar to Parmesan, and is known as one of the first hard cheeses in the world. The risotto was delightful.
The Shop Tart was forced to set aside her light and friendly glass of St. Hilaire when barman Andy brought over a new cocktail. Do you like rye whiskey? But you don’t know how to drink it when it gets warm? Here’s a thought. Vincent’s Ruin: Bulleit rye, Mata Hari absinthe, St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur), Peychaud’s bitters, simple syrup and fresh lemon juice. Y’all. This is a refreshing, liquorful highball of awesome. It could mos def be the Shop Tart’s Ruin, if no one was there to stop her.
When it came time to order dinner, neither the Shop Tart nor her husband could resist a plate of soft shell crab, and they didn’t want to share. It was served with arugula and some kind of awesome brown rice. (Yes, the Shop Tart feels terrible about not being able to give you more detail, but she had enjoyed both the glass of St. Hilaire and that divine cocktail by then, so…) Outstanding. The light cornmeal crust was perfect.
Was there room for dessert? No. But they weren’t quite ready to leave. Not at all.
And they were in no rush, because wine genius Howard had dropped off a glass of something new on the menu: Villa Antinori’s Toscana Bianco. Yo, Toscana Bianco? We love you. A sip or three and we were already on the porch at the beach, picking fresh crab and enjoying the heck out of an afternoon glass of wine. Join us? There were lovely cinnamon meringues to go with the wine.
When the rain subsided enough for the happy couple to dash to their car, it was time to head to ABF’s Dessert Finale in the Zone at Williams Brice. Which was a total blast. Bone-In Barbecue’s Scott Hall was there with some excellent dessert. It involved bananas. And chocolate. And some other things that combined to create something delicious, the perfect fuel for a turn or three on the dance floor.
Then things got crazy. The lovely Mary Kent of Heart Bead texted,
“R y’all still at zoooooone??”
This was the text she got in response:
That would be a “yes.” Like the Shop Tart’s fab gold knot necklace? Mary Kent made it! Would you like to see more of her work? Catch her at Rosewood Market on 20 percent off days (and some weekends) or this Thursday at Columbia’s newest consignment shop, Moda Threads. She’ll be there all day and guests can enjoy Bellinis in the morning and wine starting at 4 pm. See you there!
You may be wondering how the soft shell count got to three. There was one at Mr. Friendly’s, one at Terra and one left over from Terra for breakfast the next morning. Soft shell quesadilla!
In today’s post…
- Terra, 100 State Street, West Columbia, 791-3443
- Mr. Friendly’s, 2001 Greene Street, 254-7828
- AIDS Benefit Foundation of South Carolina.
- Moda Threads, 5205 Forest Drive behind Carolina Alterations, 790-2009
Happy Shopping and don’t forget to tell them you read it on the Shop Tart!