By Ron Aiken
May 17, 2013
Best Bacon + Best Omelet = Do I Have Your Attention?
Saying a place has the crispiest bacon in town is a bold statement. B.O.L.D. Following that up with another claim for the best omelet? Insanity. And yet here I am, claiming it, writing it, stating it for the record.
Like any food review, to be sure, I went back twice. I mean, hey, maybe the chef got lucky. Maybe the chef was sick, and someone else came in one time and nailed it. Maybe they just had a batch of outstanding pork. Maybe the moon was in its ‘crispy bacon’ phase. Who knows; a number of bizarre factors can sometimes contribute to food being outstanding, though usually, thankfully, it’s because the ingredients are great and the chef is attentive, passionate and experienced.
All those things are true of the chef(s) at the Capital City Club, which coincidentally is celebrating its 25th year on the 25th floor of 1201 Main Street this month. I was invited to go to breakfast by two lovely ladies and overall Columbia do-gooders Claire Folio Morris and Lauren Fitzhugh as a birthday treat a couple of weeks ago, and I was floored by how mouth-wateringly good the bacon was as well as the omelet I had cooked to order by the superbly talented Stephen Seymore. Following Morris’ lead, I had a spinach and mushroom omelet with cheese (was it parmesan?). Seymore perfectly wilted the spinach and mushrooms first in a little butter, then placed them in the omelet, and it was so dang good I had two.
Photo at left: The ultra-talented egg maestro Stephen Seymore hard at work! Find out for yourself why his omelets and the club’s bacon are the best in town.
On my second visit, I did not get an omelet, but instead went right for the daily special, which happened to be eggs Benedict. Again, perfectly cooked poached eggs, crisp English muffin, juicy ham and a beautiful Hollandaise sauce sprinkled with a dash of paprika for color. With the bacon and beautiflly creamy grits (also amazing), it was so good you had to close your eyes to fully appreciate what you were experiencing, which I did, happily, and I don’t care who knows it.
Rotating daily specials during the week include frittatas, egg burritos, pancakes and Waffles, quiche and the aforementioned eggs Benedict. Also on offer daily are biscuits and gravy, potatoes, home frcereals, juices, bagels, toast and all the things you’d expect from a first-class breakfast bar. And of course, there’s also the view from the top floor of the tallest building in South Carolina.
Now, how do you experience such goodness? (I know you thought I’d never get around this.) The rub is you need to be the guest of a club member or – better yet – join the club yourself, in which case you can then get all that amazing breakfast, every weekday, for just $25 a month.
On my second trip, I wanted to know more about that club-joining business, if for no other reason than to be able to pass it along to you, and here’s the dillio – memberships start for as little as $35 a month and with a base initiation fee of as little as $150 and run up from there, depending on what you can afford and how fancy you are. As Chomp! is not fancy, much as it wishes to be, it has its eye on the bottom part of the membership rate page.
Without writing a column on the many benefits of club membership – you can see for yourself at http://www.clubcorp.com/Clubs/Capital-City-Club-Columbia – I will say as clubs go, it was founded on a principle of diversity, unlike some other places in town with more ragged histories that can at best be described as racially insensitive. That is not the case at the CCC, and by all means, I encourage you to explore it for yourself by calling Lisa Marie Field, membership director, at 803-256-2000 to learn more and figure out a way, by hook or by crook, to get yourself in front of Mr. Seymour for an omelet and Columbia’s best bacon pronto.
Eat, Drink & Give Locally!
The Central Carolina Community Foundation serves 11 Midlands counties by raising money to give to other local charities and has for a good long time now (learn more at yourfoundation.org). How do they do that? One way is by blowing your ever-loving mind with great food and wine, that’s how! (And isn’t that the best way, after all?)
The CCCF’s will host the final fundraising event of its 2013 food and wine series (which has been going on yearly since 1995) this coming Thursday, May 23. Called Eat, Drink and Give Local, it will be held in the versatile and welcoming First Citizens Courtyard at 1230 Main Street downtown from 6-8:30 p.m. So, what does your $30 ticket get you, you ask in that sneaky way of yours I find so adorable?
Only food and beverage tasting tables from such places as 2108 State Street Bar & Grill, Thirsty Fellow, Jimmy John’s, Let’s Cook Culinary Studio, Spotted Salamander Catering and more. Craft beers and a variety of wine will ease you into the proceedings, and music by DJ GLDFNGR will be provided (and who knows, maybe if you’re in a giving mood, you can buy him a vowel or two?).
But none of the above is the best part of the event. Sure, food and drink among beautiful people is a beautiful thing, made even more beautiful by the fact that you’re contributing to a worthy charity. But the best part is YOU get to help decide what organization will be the beneficiary of a $2,500 grant at the end of the evening. If you can’t go home feeling good about yourself after that, you can’t go home feeling good about yourself no matter what you do, and if I were you, I’d look into that.
Tickets are available through the website, right ‘chere: http://www.yourfoundation.org/foodwineseries/eatdrinkgivelocal.aspx
Above Photo: Wouldn’t you like to be in this picture? Of course you would, and don’t say you wouldn’t. These people are enjoying a CCCF food and wine night, so if you go to Thursday’s event, this could be you in the picture next time, tempting someone else to be more like you. And don’t say you don’t want that, because I know that you do.
History + Hors d’ouvres + Alcohol = Yes Please, More Please
If there is anyone more likeable and disarming than Carrie Phillips, director of marketing and communications for the Historic Columbia Foundation, they are few and far between and I hope to meet them all real soon. This is not an opinion, it is simply a point of fact I bring to your attention, because I’m presenting you with the opportunity to meet her (and a lot of other sincerely amazing people who do sensational local work at Historic Columbia) this coming Tuesday, May 21, for a tour series that you do not want to miss.
One of Columbia’s coolest arts-affiliated societies, Historic Columbia Foundation’s Palladium Society puts on terrific events for terrific causes no one else in town is willing to fight for or protect. They are the foot soldiers for our past, for historic preservation and for cultural understanding in a town that too often is too eager to abandon such things for the lure of development dollars.
So, want to help? Of course you do, because that’s just who you are. The good news is you get to start now! On Tuesday, the Palladium Society is holding the third of a new private tour series, called the Renovation Rodeo Tour, of old homes in Columbia that have been refurbished and renovated while remaining true to their history.
How do you sign up? Call 803-252-7742, extension 10, or email Brenna Cawthorn at [email protected]. If you’re already in the Palladium Society, it’s free to you because you’re awesome. If you’re not a member but want to rub shoulders with awesomeness, it’s only $5. If you decide you want to become awesome yourself, you can join the society by calling the above number or visiting the website http://historiccolumbia.org/site/getinvolved/membership/palladium-society.php.
Before I let you go, upcoming tour dates are July 23 and Sept. 17. They’re all on Tuesdays, BTW, and what else do you have going on Tuesdays? Nothing, that’s what! So go!
Ron Aiken is an award-winning journalist who has covered the Columbia food scene professionally for more than a decade, writing weekly columns, reviews and features as food&drink editor of Columbia’s Free Times from 2006-2010 and prior to that writing restaurant reviews for The State newspaper from 2001-2002 under the pseudonym Eaton Wright.
Follow him on Twitter! @RonAiken
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