Special Shares from Il Giorgione, Solstice Kitchen, Pearlz Oyster Bar and Old Mill Brewpub!

il giorgione logoTortelloni Alla Stefania

Affectionately known in the Shandon neighborhood as “Gio’s”, Il Giorgione is the answer to the question, “who serves good Italian food on Devine St. these days?”  Located next door to the old Dianne’s on Devine, Gio’s serves up authentic Italian fare (see menu here), developed by George and Monica Kessler (owners) and their love for Italy. Pizza, pasta, soup and salad. They keep it simple. They also have daily specials and a terrific wine list. We love the little lemon trees on the tables and the outdoor patio seating.  And their happy hour… let’s not forget that – including $15 pitchers of Bellini (Italian sparkling wine and peach nectar) on Thursdays and Fridays from 4pm – 7pm. Learn more at the Il Giorgione website. Staying in? Give this original recipe a try… you’re gonna love it!

Try Il Giorgione’s Cheese Filled Pasta with a San Marzano Tomato and Butter Sauce!

8-9 oz. Cheese filled tortelloni (fresh preferred)

2 cups canned, peeled tomatoes (San Marzano preferred)

1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)

1 quart water

1/2 cup freshly grated parmigiano

Sea Salt

Heat 1 quart water to boil (salted generously). In another pot combine canned tomatoes and butter. Heat tomatoes and butter until butter is melted, lower heat and cook on low for 10-15 minutes. Remove tomatoes and butter from heat and cream together with a hand mixer / emulsifier. Cook tortelloni in salted water as per instructions until tender. Drain tortelloni and place in serving bowl, then top with tomato and butter sauce and freshly grated parmigiano. Makes 2 servings. Buon appetito!

Chocolate Raspberry Martini

Solstice Kitchen‘s cuisine can be labeled many things, but it is most definitely seasonal. If you haven’t ventured out to Sparkleberry Lane at Clemson Road in Northeast Columbia, you just don’t know what you’re missing.  This place is the #1 dining destination in that part of town, and well worth the drive… even if you live in Lexington or beyond.  The menu changes daily to reflect whatever is fresh and available… these people love to cook, and it shows.  You won’t be disappointed.  Visit their website here. And like them on Facebook so you can keep up with what they are offering each day. Click here.

chocolate raspberry cocktails
Enjoy a Chocolate Raspberry Martini with your love this February at Solstice Kitchen!


1 oz. 360 Chocolate Vodka

1/2 oz. Chambord

1/2 oz. Bailey’s

2 oz. Half & Half

1/4 oz. Raspberry Syrup

Fill a shaker half way with ice, add all ingredients and shake vigorously, pour into a chilled martini glass. To create a fun design on the top of the martini you can use chocolate and/or raspberry syrup. Draw 8-10 lines of the syrup evenly spaced across the top of the martini, then take a toothpick and run it in the opposite direction of the lines of syrup.

Baked Oysters Rockefeller Pearlz logo

Check out our interview with Executive Chef Michael Orel in Foodie News!  Click here and learn about what makes Pearlz so popular… watch a video of how to open an oyster – stabber style!  Click here.

Pearlz' twist on the classic recipe! Crawfish, lump crab, bacon.
Pearlz’ twist on the classic recipe! Crawfish, lump crab, bacon.

12 oysters in shell (liquor reserved)

2 oz ( about 1 strip) of bacon diced

1 shallot fine dice

1 small clove garlic minced

2 tsp celery fine dice

1/2 cup heavy cream

1/2 cup half and half

1 tbsp white wine

1/3 cup packed basil (chiffonade)

2 oz spinach (rough chop)

2 oz crab meat

2 oz crawfish tails

2 tsp blackening seasoning

1/2 tsp old bay

1/2 tsp ground pepper

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)

1 3/4 oz Roux

First, shuck oysters and reserve any liquor that comes from them. Render bacon down. Cook until fragrant without  burning. Add all vegetables and sweat down with bacon until translucent. Next add all liquid ingredients, including oyster liquor, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.  Add the seasonings, crab, and crawfish meat. Add basil and spinach and wilt, but do not let them turn brown. Last add the roux and 1/2 the Parmesan and allow to thicken, then remove from heat. Once cooled, top shucked oysters with filling, and top with Parmesan and panko bread crumbs. Back at 450 degrees until golden brown. Serve on a platter with rock salt. Yields One Dozen Oysters.

Peanut Butter Cheesecake

The best celebrations in Lexington happen at Old Mill Brewpub! From sampling a flight of their microbrews to great pub food (definitely best burger west of the Saluda River) to amazing desserts… try this one at home (although I think I’ll leave this one up to them…I’d end up eating the whole cake if it was at my house). Visit the Old Mill Brewpub website here.

Old Mill Brewpub, Peanut Butter Cheesecake!
Old Mill Brewpub’s awesome Peanut Butter Cheesecake!

Brownie Layer
1 cup sugar

3 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 Tablespoons cocoa powder

2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder

Pinch salt

5 Tablespoons butter (melted)

½ cup semi-sweet chocolate

Taste vanilla extract

4 eggs

3 Tablespoons sour cream

(No bake) Cheesecake Batter

½ cup butter (softened)

½ cup sugar

2 ½ lb cream cheese

1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup peanut butter

Taste vanilla extract

Chocolate Ganache

1 ½ c Heavy Cream

1 ½ c semi-sweet chocolate


Bring the butter and vanilla to a boil and add the chocolate chips. Bring off the heat and slowly stir until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. On a mixer with a paddle, combine all of the dry ingredients  and mix on low speed until blended. Add the eggs and sour cream and mix until smooth using medium speed. Add the chocolate/butter mixture and mix on medium speed for 5 min. Scrape the bowl and mix again for another 2 min. Spray and paper line a 9 inch spring form cake pan Pour the brownie batter into pan to approx. ½ inch. Bake at 325F for about 25 min or test with a toothpick so it comes out clean. Allow to cool and set aside.


Bring the heavy cream to a boil. Turn off heat and add the semi-sweet chocolate Stir with whisk until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside.


Melt peanut butter in microwave for 1 min. Mix the soft butter and granulated sugar in mixer with a paddle and mix to a creamy texture. Add cream cheese and vanilla and mix well. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the melted peanut butter and mix well. Scrape the mixing bowl and mix again on medium speed until the mixture is smooth.


Unmold the brownie from the spring form pan to remove the paper lining on the bottom. Replace the spring form pan with the brownie layer on the bottom. Carefully spread all of the cheesecake batter and smooth with an offset spatula, making sure the top is flat. Carefully pour the chocolate ganache on top to make a thin layer. Cool the peanut butter cheesecake in refrigerator for at least 2 hours or until it is set. Enjoy!!  Yields 1 – 9 inch cake.

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