Ristorante LIDI opening soon on Daniel Island!

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The long-awaited and much-anticipated opening of Ristorante LIDI (Little Italy/Daniel Island) is scheduled for March 7th. Located at the former location of Sienna/Hammets Landing at 901 Island Park Drive, Ristorante LIDI has undergone a wonderful renovation and is just waiting for a final permit. The concept of the Italian restaurant is authentic, affordable family dining served in a rustic environment. They are also offering complimentary valet parking which will be a great amenity that the previous owners did not provide.

The menu is chock full of classic Italian dishes such as wedding soup, seafood fra diavolo, and veal Milanese. In addition, they also will be offering family sized portions for the entire table to share. The wine list is well thought out and represents an interesting selection of Italian whites and reds. Think checked table cloths, dark wood, and plenty of olive oil. I can’t wait to see this place buzzing which I’m sure it will be as soon as they open their doors. Personally I think the concept is perfect for Daniel Island and opening at the right time.

Scott Sankar is the general manager and is eagerly ready to open the doors. Jason Colon is the chef owner and for more information including menus and wine lists, check out their website at http://www.ristorantelidi.com. I wish them the best and will look forward to digging into a plate of pasta, sopping up some gravy with crusty garlic bread and chasing it all down with a glass of Chianti. Congratulations to the staff at Ristorante LIDI and say “Hi” to Scott and tell him “Meg sent ya!”

Oh yeah, one more thing: In the immortal words of Mrs. Peter Clemenza, “Don’t forget the cannolis!”

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Charleston is a top performer!

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Milken Institute ranks Charleston, SC as the 11th top performing city in the US!

The good press for Charleston continues and this time it is for the strength of its economy, not just for its beauty and great restaurants. While tourism will always be a constant economic engine in the area, the job growth in aerospace, logistics, and high-tech has really helped the Charleston metro area rank high in the top US performing cities.

In a December 2013 report, the Charleston metropolitan region was recognized by the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank, as the 11th Top Performing City in the United States. The report examined the economic vitality of 200 large metropolitan areas primarily based on job creation and retention. Boeing’s presence in Charleston and the city’s evolution as a viable new aerospace hub, along with increased traffic at the Port of Charleston, were cited as our city’s key assets. Additionally, Charleston’s high-tech output made it the fifth-fastest growing high-tech hub in the nation.
The Milken Institute index is widely known as an objective measure of which U.S. metropolitan areas are most successful in terms of quality job creation, job retention and overall economic performance. To access the complete report, click here: http://www.milkeninstitute.org/publications/publications.taf?function=detail&ID=38801446&cat=resrep

Elect Ginny Deerin for Secretary of State

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Here’s a not so fun fact: Did you know that since South Carolina became a state in 1788 that only four women have ever been elected to a statewide office? Yes, you read that right, only four. Granted we do have a female governor but that is still an astoundingly low number of women in statewide government positions. South Carolina also currently ranks last in presence of women in state government, with only 8.8 percent.

Well my friend Ginny Deerin is hoping to add one more as she is running for Secretary of State. I’ve known Ginny for a number of years and she is a terrific woman and will make a great Secretary of State. For those of you who don’t know what the position entails, the office of Secretary of State oversees charities, registers trademarks, controls business filings, and regulates cable television in the state. Ginny has dealt with this office via her non-profit endeavors and believes there has been a growing number of rules and regulations which need to be streamlined.

Ginny plans on dealing with the office’s inefficiencies and correcting them while also reducing the bloated multi-million dollar budget. While she has never run for office before, she has worked re-election campaigns for Charleston Mayor Joe Riley and I think will do a wonderful job as Secretary of State. Go Ginny Go! For a brief video of her announcement to run, click here: http://www.ginny4sos.com/video_announcement?utm_campaign=annc_friends&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ginny4sos

Bill Murray loves living in Charleston

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Count actor/comedian Bill Murray as a raving fan of living in Charleston. He recently sat down with Charlie Rose for an extended interview and talked about his life in Charleston. While initially hesitant about moving to South Carolina, he has come to love living in Charleston he told Rose.

Murray says that “life took me to South Carolina” as that is where his sons are. He says he didn’t originally choose to go to Charleston but has grown to love it here. “The people are kind, the place is beautiful” and it’s a good place to be a parent. “It’s easier than being a parent in New York.” He also talks about attending the “soulful black Catholic church” in Charleston “where the music is better” and how it provides some inspiration on daily living to him.

The interview is quite a fascinating look into the mind of Bill Murray. It’s introspective, funny, and provides an inside look into the roles he chooses to play. He says the secret to some of his success is that he always tries to be “alert and available,” both in his career and in life. It is fun to see him around town at the Riverdog games, at different restaurants, even in pick-up kickball games. For a look at the complete interview, click here: http://gothamist.com/2014/02/12/watch_bill_murray_talking_to_charli.php

My family link to the Winter Olympics – “Tuffy” Latour and skeleton

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OK, so I might be stretching my blood lines via marriage a bit here but I will be watching the Skeleton competition a bit closer than the other events at this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi. That is because the head coach of the USA Men’s Skeleton team is Tuffield “Tuffy” Latour, and is a second cousin of my husband or something like that. He’s a very nice guy and we actually met him some years ago during a visit to Lake Placid and talked Bobsledding and Skeleton.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the sport of Skeleton, it’s essentially sliding down an icy track on a sled head first at speeds around 80 mph. The G forces that they undergo are similar to jet pilots. It’s a crazy sport as their heads are just millimeters away from the surface of the ice. The trials are scheduled for Feb. 13 and 14 so make sure you tune in to watch these brave/insane athletes.

And Steve is also quick to remind me that Tuffy’s grandfather, also named Tuffield, was an Olympic Bobsledder and national champion in the sport. Tuffy is the head coach of the USA Skeleton team but has also coached the USA Women’s Bobsled team to a gold medal in 2002, and in 2010 coached the Canadian Men’s and Women’s Bobsled teams to Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. For a more complete profile of Tuffy, click here http://www.teamusa.org/Athletes/LA/Tuffy-Latour.aspx GO TUFFY AND GO USA!

Drink local wine, kind of . . .

mira winesmira under waterIf you are looking for a great bottle of wine with local connections, it would be tough to do better than wines from the Mira Winery. Not only are all of their wines delicious, they also have a unique story behind them and full disclosure, we used to live next door to the president of the winery when we lived in Washington, DC.

As far as the local connections go, Jim “Bear” Dyke is the president of Mira Winery in Napa, California although he and his wife, Dawn, live in Charleston. They lived in the townhome next door to us in the Glover Park neighborhood in DC. They also moved to Charleston right around the same time we did which was a fun coincidence.

Although the wine is produced in Napa, Jim and his team performed a unique aging technique by submerging cases of their wine in the Charleston Harbor last year. They are the first US winery to undertake this ocean aging process called “Aquaoir” and the results were quite astounding. For more info on their wine and the aging process, check out http://www.miranapa.com and http://www.aquaoir.com. I’m certainly no oenophile, but I have enjoyed a glass or two in my life and I love the wines from Mira. Granted I’m a bit biased because Jim and Dawn Dyke are so lovely but it’s also neat to have a local connection to some great wine. South Carolina may have great peaches but the grapes around here are not really conducive to making wine. And the ocean aging in the harbor gives it a Charleston link which also provides a good back story to the wine.

For an explanation of the “Aquaoir” process, here’s a video of Jim and the winemaker on “Fox and Friends”: http://miranapa.com/cheers-to-mira-mira-featured-on-fox-friends/

And congrats to Jim and his team! Their 2010 Pinot Noir recently received 94 points and the 2009 Syrah 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. You can find Mira wines at many local restaurants so drink it up and if they don’t carry their wine, please ask for it. Drink local, kind of . . .

GO CUSE!

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I have to give a shout out today to my family and my husband as the #2 ranked and undefeated Syracuse Orange take on the Duke Blue Devils in the Carrier Dome. Forget the Super Bowl, this is the big game in my family this weekend! They are expecting over 35,000 people at the Dome making it the largest attendance for a regular season NCAA on campus basketball game or something like that. And to continue with the beer theme of my last post, the Dome is also one of the few places you can still drink a beer and watch a NCAA game. Don’t ask me how but you can.

Anyway, the blood runs orange in my family from two sources. My oldest brother Dave has 6 kids with his wife Linda. The oldest 5 of them are all SU grads. The 6th? — Well she went the way of UCONN and is a sophomore on the lacrosse team there. Not unlike Robert Frost, she took the road less travelled and good for her I say!

And much closer to home is my husband Steve, also an SU grad and avid alum. In fact, he just went to Winston-Salem on Wednesday to watch the Wake Forest/SU game with his nephew, another SU attendee. He said the Orange Nation was well represented at the game and Coach Jim Boeheim even was surprised at how much Orange was there. Many “Beat Duke!” t-shirts were seen as they have been amped for this game since it was announced.

So enjoy your Super Bowl weekend and at 6:30 tonight catch what should be a heckuva game. GO ‘CUSE!

An interesting article about my SU family: http://sumagazine.syr.edu/2010summer/alumnijournal/orangelegacy.html
And a great quick read: Robert Frost’s famous poem, “The Road Not Taken” — http://www.bartleby.com/119/1.html