Food Lover Events: Mid-September 2017

Food Lover Events


SC Pedal Parlor: Sunday Funday!

Pedal Parlor logoSundays in Sept. | $20 per person | 2 hours long 

Party on a Sunday with SC Pedal Parlor! All passengers must be 21+ and are asked to bring along your photo ID. Their Sunday Funday! tours begin at 12pm noon or 2:30pm…visit their website here to book your public or private tour today! It’s the best bar crawl in town! Bike can fit up to 16 people, so gather your friends, co-workers, club members, neighbors and reserve your spot today!


Columbia’s Greek Festival

Thursday, Sept. 14 – Sunday, Sept. 17 | Thurs. – Sat: 10am to 10pm, Sun: 12 to 8pm | 
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral, 1931 Sumter Street

This annual four day event is hosted by the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Columbia. Experience Greek culture in food, dance and music! Enjoy specialty Greek cuisine like Greek chicken, pastitsio, peasant shrimp, keftedes (meatballs), and roast lamb, Greek salad, dolmades and spanakopita, gyros and souvlaki, mezedaki, calamari, and more! For something sweet, be sure to visit the pastry shop for a delicious variety of desserts. The festival will also have shopping, art, music, and different types of traditional dancing demos. More here.

Ride the Columbia Brew Bus

Columbia brew bus tourThe Columbia Brew Bus is the best way to tour and taste Columbia’s craft breweries and distilleries! Enjoy their Wine & Spirits Tour or their Columbia Brew Tour…or both! 🙂

Wine & Spirits Tour: Every other Saturday from 2:30pm – 6pm! Current tour stops include Copper Horse Distilling, Crouch Distilling and The Vino Garage. Tour begins at Bourbon, located at 1214 Main St. You’ll get at least 3 different craft spirit samples at distilleries and a curated tasting of at least four different wine samples at Vino Garage.

Columbia Brew Tour: This ride includes a brewery led tasting session and facility tour at Conquest Brewing, River Rat Brewery and Swamp Cabbage Brewing. Tours begin at Liberty Taproom located at 828 Gervais St. Enjoy at least 16 oz. of beer samples at each stop, a Q&A with brewery staff, a facility tour led by a brewery staff member, and a chance to buy brewery merchandise. This is a 21 and over tour.

All Aboard the BBQ Dinner Train!

Saturday, September 16 | 6:30pm | South Carolina Railroad Museum, 110 Industrial Park Road, Winnsboro

SCRMAll Aboard the BBQ Dinner Train! View the countryside and enjoy the breeze from an open air car as you travel to Rion for a delicious BBQ dinner with your family. The Rockton, Rion and Western Railroad is owned and operated by the South Carolina Railroad Museum. Tickets here.

Tombo Grille Mondays: Burger, Fries, Beer and Live Music for $9

Every Monday Night 5:30 – 10pm | 4517 Forest Dr | 803-782-9665tom

Life doesn’t get much better than this, folks. A fabulous Tombo Grille burger, fries, frothy beer and some of the best live music in the Midlands!  Music plays from 7pm – 10pm. Check out their musicians each Monday on their Facebook page here.

Gervais & Vine: Indian Summer Rose Dinner

Wednesday, September 20 | at Gervais & Vine (620-A Gervais St.)

Celebrate the passing of summer at G&V! This dinner will feature 4 different wines, and delicious food to pair with each. The evening will start with cocktails at 6:30pm and wine, food and cheer at 7pm. Cost is $32 per person. Call 803.799.8463 for reservations. More here.

Sweet Tea Festival

Thursday, September 21 | 4 – 9pm | Downtown Summerville

matt-hoffman-310311​​Enjoy this annual event that takes place throughout downtown Summerville! Featuring plenty of sweet tea and food, unique shops and boutiques, and live music throughout the historic downtown area. More here.

Gervais & Vine: Jameson Whiskey Dinner

Friday, September 22 | at Gervais & Vine (620-A Gervais St.)

jamesonWith Jacob Benchoff of Southern Wine & Spirits. These events are always a lot of fun, as the Gervais and Vine folks create a party atmosphere, and help guests learn and enjoy spirits they may or may not know a lot about.  More information here.

Midlands Farm Tour | Sustainable Midlands

Saturday, September 23 | 11am – 6pm

IMG_5731New date!  Get an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at the inner workings of sustainable farms in Richland and Lexington counties! Learn about modern farm practices and methods, like aquaponics, experimental heirloom cultivation, hyperlocal wine production, “360 method” composting, rainwater harvesting, and use of alternative energy sources.

IMG_5738Meet the local producers who are practicing farm stewardship and sustainability, and hang out with some farm animals! See a list of participating farms here. Cost is only $10, and kids under the age of 10, along with WIC, SNAP, and EBT beneficiaries are admitted to the entire tour free of charge with proof of eligibility. Get your tickets here.

Giant Wine Sale and Tasting | Cellar On Greene

Saturday, September 23 | 12 – 2pm | 2001-D Greene Street


Photo by Cellar On Greene

Cellar On Greene is THE place to go to get your wine fix in Columbia! Cellar’s Wine Shop has hundreds of wines from around the world to choose from, with dozens of them open and ready for you to taste before you buy. Their Giant Wine Sale & Tasting takes place every other Saturday, and features deep discounts on bottles, ranging in price from $8 to the low $20s, so you can custom build a case while you’re there! Plus, you’ll get an extra 10% off when you purchase a case or more! On Sept. 9, spend your Saturday sampling from over 30 of their newest wines from 12-2pm (bubbles, pinks, whites & reds), plus try a reserve bottle that is often either limited allocation or a special release, from 12:30-1:30pm. Cost is $8 per person (but it’s FREE with a 2 bottle purchase!). More here.

Brunch at the Brewery | Swamp Cabbage Brewing Co.

Sunday, September 24 | 11:30am – 1pm | 921 Brookwood Drive

Another scrumptious Sunday brunch at the brewery! Enjoy a 5-course gourmet meal prepared by Chef Jean-Louis and Yvette. Make your reservation by Friday, Sept. 22. Don’t wait, this will sell out quickly! Tickets here.

Kid’s Night! | East Bay Deli West Columbia

Wednesday, September 27 | 4 – 9pm | 108 Sunset Court

kidKid’s Night will occur every Wednesday, from 4 – 9pm! On Kids Night, kids eat for FREE (limitations apply), there will be an event guest, and plenty of kid-friendly fun! Tonight’s event guest is Emerald’s Artistry Entertainment. They will be on site doing Balloon Art and Face Painting. More here.


Great American Whiskey Fair

Thursday, September 28 | 5:30 – 9pm | 701 Whaley Street

The Great American Whiskey Fair is the largest celebration of American whiskey in the Southeast, with over 100 different distilleries and bottlers presenting over 500 whiskeys, bourbons and ryes! Taste from a variety of domestic whiskeys, as well as whiskeys from Scotland, Ireland, Canada and Japan. Chat with distillery owners, master distillers, blending masters and brand ambassadors, and enjoy delicious eats from Bourbon, Columbia’s premiere whiskey and cocktail bar, and LowCo BBQ. More here.

Swamp Cabbage Beer & Chocolate Pairing

Assorted Chocolate pralines on brown backgroundFriday, September 29 | 6 – 8pm | at Swamp Cabbage Brewery (921 Brookwood Drive)
Evolution through Chocolate will again host this pairing at Swamp Cabbage Brewery, where unique, delicious chocolates are complimented by Swamp Cabbage’s original brews. Check Facebook for upcoming chocolate pairing menu. Tickets are only $16, and seating is limited, so RSVP to 803.939.2589, or go here.

44th Annual Irmo Okra Strut Festival

Friday, September 29 – Saturday, September 30 | 7507 Eastview Drive

neha-deshmukh-107352017 marks the 44th year of family fun, live music and Okra, in all of its glory! The Okra Strut is packed full of fun events over the two day festival, including live music, Adult and Kids Okra Eating contests, Okra Strut Festival Parade, rides, food and plenty of vendors. Fun for all ages all day long. Close off the day with more live music. Come join in on the best summer festival this side of the Mason-Dixon line! More here.


Oktoberfest on Main | Sumter 

Saturday, September 30 | 5pm | Downtown Sumter

For the eighth year in a row, Downtown Sumter will transform into the feel of an old German town! Featuring delicious German fare, drinks and live entertainment. More information here.

Coming up in October:



Marchesi Antinori Wine Dinner | Ruth’s Chris

Sunday, October 15| 924-A Senate Street, At the Hilton Hotel

Part of Ruth’s Chris’ TasteMaker Dinner Series, the Marchesi Antinori Wine Dinner will feature an exceptional 5-course dinner. More details to come in the October edition of Foodie News!

5th Annual HATS OFF to Cancer Survivors | Tombo Grille & Oh! Salon

tomThursday, October 19 | 6 – 8pm | 4600 Forest Dr.

Join Oh! Salon and Tombo Grille for this event to benefit the SCOA CARES Foundation & SC Oncology Associates. Tickets are $25 at the door (food, wine & beer included), and there will be an “After Party” at Tombo Grille. Musical guests and silent auction items TBA. More here.  

New to the Menu: Ruth’s Chris

New to the Menu

Celebrate spring at Ruth’s Chris Steak House with a multi-course dining experience that boasts steakhouse favorites as well as exciting new dishes such as Butter Lettuce BLT Salad with a refreshing basil-cucumber ranch dressing, Almond Crusted King Salmon and Cream of Sweet Corn. Enjoy a complete meal that includes a starter, entree, personal side dish and dessert without breaking the bank. Prix Fixe menus starting at just $44.95 per person. Click here to see their new Spring Seasonal Classic menu, Foodies!


Meet Nick Piotrowski, Executive Chef at Ruth’s Chris!


Nick Chef at Ruth's Chris

Nicholas Piotrowski, Executive Chef Ruth’s Chris Columbia SC

Did you always want to be a chef, or did you want to follow a different career path at first?

Honestly, growing up I always wanted to be a garbage man. I was intrigued by the thought of being able to hang off the back of a truck all day.  But now I can’t think of anything I’d rather be than a chef!

How did you become interested in being a chef?

I would have to say the three main things that caught my attention about being a chef early on were my obsession with fire, my endless appetite and my attention to detail while working with my hands.

What is your earliest cooking memory?

My earliest cooking memories would have to be family dinner at my grandparents house. A huge table full of family and food, everyone always helping out to make the holiday meal come together.

If you could choose anything in the world to cook, what would it be and why?

Baked spaghetti or Sheppard’s Pie would be my choice mostly because they are the best comfort foods in my opinion.

You recently stepped up into the Executive Chef position at Ruth’s Chris, right? What’s it like taking on more responsibility in the kitchen? What new roles did you have to take on?

Being an Executive chef has so many aspects to it, I don’t think people realize that the cooking is just one part. It involves everything from accounting and bookkeeping, to HR duties, maintenance and repair.  Some days I will go from working the broiler to climbing on the roof to change hood vent belts, to dealing with personnel issues, and then right back into balancing invoices. I think that is what I love about it the most though, it is never a dull moment and always keeps you moving.

Ruth's Chris Filet

Signature Filet | Ruth’s Chris

What is the most popular dish at Ruth’s Chris?

Our signature Filet is far and away the most popular item on our menu.

Does the most popular dish change depending on the season, or is there always one tried and true dish that seems to be on everyone’s minds?

The filet is, hands down, most popular, regardless of season.  And frankly, I can understand why, it’s a great cut of meat and we cook it to sizzling perfection every time!

What is your favorite dish to prepare at Ruth’s Chris?

I am a huge fan of our Porterhouse; when it’s cooked just right, it’s a beautiful thing!  At 40 ounces,  it may sound a little intimidating, but in my experience, many guests are up to the challenge.

What is your favorite Ruth’s Chris dish to eat?

sweet potatoes Ruths Chris

Sweet Potato Casserole | Ruth’s Chris

I love our Sweet Potato Casserole, there is nothing else like it out there. It’s a one of a kind dish that cannot be matched.

Since Ruth’s Chris is such a popular restaurant, the food needs to be consistently cooked to perfection. How do you keep your kitchen running smoothly to ensure that every dish comes out perfectly cooked?

I push myself to stay very active throughout the entire operation.  I am continuously working with the staff to make sure we reach our goals and produce a perfect product. I set a standard and except nothing less and continue to challenge staff with seasonal specials and food quality.

Do you have a special cooking technique you use that you’d like to share?

There are lots of techniques out there.  Don’t be afraid to experiment, you never know what you might come up with. Some of my best creations are made off the top of my head.

What do you consider to be the most essential item in your kitchen?

My staff is my most important kitchen “item.” When we all work together as a team to get the job done, it’s amazing what we can accomplish.

What do you think is the hardest dish to prepare at Ruth’s Chris, and why?

Many of our dishes that incorporate lobster into them and require a lot of attention to detail. Lobster is delicate and easy to overcook. Everything from our whole fresh Maine Lobster to our creamy Lobster Mac & Cheese take a special set of skills to prepare.

How do you think you’ve grown as a chef since working at Ruth’s Chris?

I believe I grow as a chef every day. In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how long you have been cooking, you will never know everything. There are so many different cultures, ingredients and techniques in the world that no one person can ever claim to know it all. If I ever reached a point where I thought I had nothing else to learn, I think I would lose interest honestly. I am always hungry to learn.

Do you remember a night when you made a dish at Ruth’s Chris and were especially proud of how it turned out? Tell me about it.

Anytime a guest has a special request I always take the time to go out of my way to prepare it personally for them. Lobster Thermidor comes to mind in particular. Lobster Thermidor is a French dish consisting of a creamy mixture of cooked lobster meat, egg yolks, and brandy, stuffed into a lobster shell. It can also be served with an oven-browned cheese crust, typically Gruyère.  This is not typically a dish we offer, nor did I have it prepped at the time but I managed to prepare it exactly as requested and hopefully made a memorable experience.

Cooking the perfect steak... add butter!

Cooking the perfect steak… add butter!

All of our readers are dying to know how to prepare a tender, perfectly seasoned steak. Do you have any tips?

It is important to start with the best cut of beef you can get, that is where the flavor comes from.  After that keep it simple. Good quality sea salt and fresh cracked pepper to season. Nice hot clean grill, and finished off with a touch of butter.  Now that’s sizzling perfection.

Do you do a lot of cooking at home as well? What’s your favorite meal to cook at home?

I like to cook simple, fresh dishes at home. I shop for fresh, local ingredients and mostly rely on the flavor of the ingredient itself to highlight the dish. I love fresh seafood and vegetables!

You’re stranded on an island. What 5 ingredients do you wish you had with you? What would you make with those ingredients to sustain yourself while you wait to be rescued?

I would have to say butter for flavor, sweet potatoes, peanuts and rice because they are quick sources of energy, and Sriracha because it is the most delicious sauce ever and can make even the worst thing palatable. I would probably attempt to make some sort or sweet potato casserole, although I don’t know how successful it would turn out considering the scenario and ingredients of choice.

What personal goals have you set for yourself and for your cooking that you hope to achieve in the future?

Cooking with as many different people as I can and absorb as much as I possibly can from them .  I love meeting chefs with as much passion, dedication and respect  for cooking as I have. Additionally,  I love to teach people and helping them grow their love for cooking. I still remember  many of the people who have taught me unique skills and techniques throughout my career. I think that’s what being a chef is all about.