Here’s a simple holiday philosophy: Most middle-class Americans don’t need any more stuff, so give people food and experiences as gifts instead. Here are some ideas:
• Cooking classes. Even experienced cooks can learn something from a class. Some schools offer more of an immersion experience, where you bring a bottle of wine and help out with the cooking of an entire meal, which you then consume. Others offer specific skills — cooking fish, for example, or making holiday desserts. Local cooking class programs include Fleur de Lys Culinary Institute (3001 Millwood Ave., 765-9999), Let’s Cook Culinary Studio (1305 Assembly St., 348-5874), the Columbia location of Charleston Cooks (702 Cross Hill Road, 509-8111), and the University of South Carolina Cancer Control and Prevention Program’s healthy cooking classes (576-5666).
• Local food gifts. Buy a basket full of local foods, or make your own basket. Columbia produces plenty of grits, for starters. Some ideas for where to shop: 302 Artisans (302 Senate St., 351-1786) sells local foods and art; The Cotton Mill Exchange at the State Museum (301 Gervais St., 898-4967) sells gourmet food gifts, including local items; and Provisions (2843 Millwood Ave., 254-1001) sells bulk foods and grocery items, including may small local brands.
• Restaurant gift certificates. Lots of fancy and not-so-fancy restaurants offer gift certificates and gift cards in any amount you could desire. You know who else does? Drip Coffee. Mmm … Drip Coffee.
Rosewood Reshuffle: Dano’s Pizza is now open in its new, larger location, the site of the former Ole Timey Meat Market at 3008 Rosewood Drive.
The Ole Timey Meat Market, meanwhile, has moved even further down the road to 3718 Rosewood Drive, near Kilbourne and Wash World. (Which reminds us: You could also revise the list above to add the gift of steak.)
A new diner has opened in Irmo: Chickadees moved into the space left vacant by Mudbone’s Swamp Shack at 7949 Broad River Road — the first of eight planned locations for the restaurant, according to its website. It’ll be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m.
On the menu: omelets, pancakes and other breakfast standards; American-Southern classics like shrimp and grits; burgers; quesadillas; and assorted salads and sandwiches. There’s a beer and wine menu, which includes bottomless mimosas. Breakfast will be served all day, which means you can check out the Brown Sugar and Caramel Bananas Foster French Toast anytime.
As for the decor, it leans toward diner-classic: floor-mounted stools, red-and-white — and, if the website is any indication, buxom candy-striper servers. (A company press release describes the atmosphere as “an environment of carefree timelessness which delivers an overdose of visual and epicurean stimulation while drowning its guests in charm and affection.”)
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