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  • Writer's pictureSteven Keith

Let’s go for a Dip … of delicious down-home food

Who’s ready to Dip into some phenomenally good home-cookin’ made with oodles of heart and soul?

Heart & Soul Dip Dinner on Charleston's East End
Heart & Soul Dip Dinner on Charleston's East End

The East End Resource Center will once again present the popular Heart & Soul Dip Dinner from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday at 502 Ruffner Ave. in Charleston’s East End. The longtime event’s name was inspired by the fact that it happens in February, a month that includes Valentine’s Day (Heart) and is dedicated to Black History (Soul).

Mac 'n' Cheese from the Dip Dinner
Mac 'n' Cheese from the Dip Dinner

But what exactly is a Dip Dinner, you say?

Think of it as a scaled-down Taste of Charleston, but featuring good ol’ down-home food prepared by local churches, businesses and individuals.

Guests purchase tickets for $1 each, which they use to walk through the food line to purchase a “dip,” or serving, of the items they’d like to sample.

Entrees and desserts range from 2-4 tickets, side dishes are 1-2 and drinks are 1 ticket each.

I had the pleasure of attending one of these dinners several years ago, and let me tell you I did lots of dipping. Creamy mac ‘n’ cheese, green beans and greens cooked with pork, crispy fried chicken, salty ham and so many delicious desserts.

Homemade cookies from the Dip Dinner
Homemade cookies from the Dip Dinner

The variety and quality of foods offered definitely soothed both heart and soul.

Proceeds from the dinner will help support the East End Resource Center’s senior programs, which include nutritional resources, exercise classes, computer training, arts and crafts, plus a library.

For more information, contact Coordinator Carrie Samuels at 681-385-3372 or

Favorite FeastivALL Dish From one food event to another, the FeastivALL beer and wine pairing dinner at Berry Hills Country Club returned with a bang this past Saturday after a three-year, COVID-induced hiatus.

Pistachio Baked Alaska from FeastivALL
Pistachio Baked Alaska from FeastivALL

Always a lively affair filled with entertainment, silent and live auctions, and plenty of libations, this year’s fundraiser was no exception. And the food, of course, was the star of the night.

I liked different aspects of each course throughout the evening – the candied bacon on Chef Ke’s shrimp and grit cake, the spicy togarashi crust on Chef Brian Magliochette’s seared ahi tuna salad, the swirl of chili-infused DiTrapano Olive Oil atop Chef Chase Collier’s butternut squash soup, the smoked cheese grits under Chef Paul Smith’s braised short rib.

But I have to say, it was Chef Anthony Bower’s ambitious dessert that stole the show for me.

It was a deliciously nutty pistachio cake topped with blood orange and olive oil ice cream covered in a dome of caramelized meringue “Baked Alaska-style.” Add drizzles of chocolate and strawberry sauces with an intricate edible leaf, and it was a crowning achievement indeed!

Hot Dogs, Mexican & Mardi Gras In other local restaurant news …

Hot Diggity Dogs food truck
Hot Diggity Dogs food truck

The owner of Hot Diggity Dogs in North Charleston has announced the addition of a new food truck that will sell the spot’s delicious dogs at events around town like the Charleston Sternwheel Regatta and Live on the Levee concerts. Hot Diggity also has one of the area’s best Philly Cheesesteaks – and awesome shoestring fries – that I hope make it on the mobile menu.

A new sign posted at the recently closed Mountain Pie Co. on the River along MacCorkle Avenue between South Charleston and St. Albans says that spot will soon become another Cozumel Mexican Restaurant. Margaritas on the deck this summer sounds good to me.

Back by popular demand, a seasonal Mardi Gras menu returned to The Olive Tree Café this week for a limited time featuring powdered sugary beignets, crawfish boils and giant muffulettas. In case you missed it last year, that muffuletta is pure perfection.

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Steven Keith is a food writer and restaurant critic known as “The Food Guy” who writes a weekly column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and has appeared in several state, regional and national culinary publications. Follow him online at or on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or at

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