The 2016 “Eat It & Like It” Foodie Awards took place recently at the Brice Hotel in downtown Savannah. Host Jesse Blanco presented awards to restaurants and celebrated the fifth season of the Emmy Award-winning show about contemporary and traditional food served in both out of the way joints and fine dining establishments throughout the Lowcountry. 

Cook Out ChainThe popular late-night fast food chain Cook Out is coming to Hilton Head Island. Replacing the Kentucky Fried Chicken at 101 Central Ave., Cookout’s menu features many backyard cookout favorites such hamburgers and pulled pork barbecue sandwiches. Cook Out also has more than 50 flavors of milkshakes to choose from, including seasonal flavors like watermelon and eggnog. The restaurant is expected to open in August. 

James Beard HouseThe Farm restaurant hasn’t opened in Old Town Bluffton yet, but chef Brandon Carter was recently invited to participate in a unique cooking event at the James Beard House in New York City. Carter was one of five chefs selected for the annual “Lambs and Clams” event. Before collaborating on The Farm Bluffton concept, Carter was executive chef at the Inn at Palmetto Bluff. 

It’s summer, which means that it’s hot as all get out right now. Logically, it stands to reason that you’re on the hunt for something that will not only cool you down, but will also give you the rare opportunity to coat something in sprinkles.

But wait, sweet tooth-enabled readers. Don’t just jump right into the nearest ice cream parlor unprepared. There are options to weigh. And those options offer up such an array of completely unique experiences that (surprise, surprise) no less an authority than the federal government has stepped in to differentiate them.

Enjoying a sun-kissed strawberry ushers in summertime like no other fruit. Like the belle of the ball, strawberries can stand alone, but nothing beats strawberries dipped in fresh sour cream and then in dark brown sugar. April through June is the prime time for strawberry picking in South Carolina. Eating a strawberry brought in by boat, train, hovercraft, flying carpet or by other means of transportation during other times of the year from other countries, although strawberries may be in season in that hemisphere, rarely does this exquisite fruit justice.

Popular Hilton Head Island Japanese restaurant Kurama has reopened as Seafire Modern Hibachi Grill & Bar. The longtime hibachi favorite has expanded its traditional cuisine to more Southern-inspired fare, including Bulgogi sliders and tempura fried chicken and waffles. The restaurant also underwent a $100,000 renovation. 

guacamoleIsland resident and soon-to-be college graduate George Hirsch Jr. has completed three years of creating, testing and photographing original recipes for “The College Man’s Cookbook.” The cookbook is broken down into ten chapters and in addition to original recipes for snacks, appetizers, soups, stews, chowders, sandwiches, wraps, tacos, dinner, and sides, it also offers recipes for salads, late night snacks, and of course desserts for the college man’s sweet tooth. 

watermeloneMAKE WATERMELON JERKY!

Slice a quarter of the melon into 1/4 inchstrips or thinner. Cut off the crescent-shaped rind portion from those slices. Make watermelon chips about the size of regular tortilla chips. Put the chips into your dehydrator for 8 1/2 hours, then enjoy!

“A man taking basil from a woman will love her always” according to Sir Thomas Moore, both a Renaissance man and a saint — and he may actually have something here. And did he know that in ancient Rome, basil symbolized love? Here in the New World, basil has become a staple in our herb gardens and is featured on menus everywhere.