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I recently shared news that the YWCA’s popular pre-Thanksgiving brunch “Foodie Feast” was moving to Beni Kedem Temple next to the Charleston Coliseum & Convention Center this Sunday, but a new venue isn’t the only big change in store for guests. The annual event benefiting the Sojourner’s shelter for homeless women and families is also expanding to include more side dishes from more local restaurants, creating the mother of all potlucks.

And not just any potluck, but one of the highest caliber, with heavy-hitters like Noah’s Restaurant & Lounge, Ichiban, Bluegrass Kitchen, Sam’s Uptown and more filling up the buffet with delicious contributions. In addition to longtime partner Wellington’s providing all the basic holiday fixings — turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, stuffing and bread pudding — there will be a fall salad from Noah’s, Asian green beans from Ichiban, braised kale from Bluegrass Kitchen, mashed potatoes with corn puree from Sam’s, a big batch of award-winning buffalo mac ‘n’ cheese from Big Joe’s and rolls from Spring Hill Bakery.

Local purveyor Buzz Food Service will add a tasty beef dish, Italian sausage with peppers and onions, and — get this — a special turkey-day inspired “Gobblerito” burrito. Foodie Feast organizers offered to provide me a sneak taste of that brilliant creation, which sounds like the flavors of an entire Thanksgiving meal all rolled up into a single tortilla. But I’m just going to wait and be surprised along with everyone else that day.

“As you can see, there’s lots to love about the event this year,” YWCA Chief Program Officer Jennifer Goddard told me. I couldn’t agree more!

This year’s brunch runs from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Beni Kedem Temple at 100 Quarrier St. in downtown Charleston. Tickets are $50 for adults, $25 for youth ages 11-20 and children 10 and under eat free. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit


In local restaurant news, the new downtown location of Melange Café is not only offering an expanded menu, but also delivery to nearby businesses and special “memberships” providing exclusive benefits for a set monthly charge. Customers who pay $40 per month will receive one free hot or cold coffee percent every day the restaurant is open, plus the first 100 who sign up will earn 10% off all Melange Café items, with additional perks to be announced.

The restaurant’s new delivery service will be offered from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays until demand increases, at which time more days and times may be added. New memberships can be purchased at the restaurant on the corner of Virginia and Summers streets, or by sending a message through their Facebook and Instagram pages.

For more information, visit Melange Café at 700 Virginia St. E. or call 681-265-5155.


Speaking of local restaurants, reader Jack Dent Jr. recently posed a seemingly simple question that admittedly has me a little stumped.

“In your opinion, where is the best place I could get Chinese takeout?” he asked. “I have tried the majority of them, excluding Main Kwong, and have been disappointed.”

You know, Jack, I’m afraid I’m not much help here. I don’t really order Chinese food these days for the same reason you mention – it’s all just, well, average. I used to adore Main Kwong, but it’s nowhere near as good since longtime owner Carina Kwok moved on. Main Tin and, especially, Taste of Asia at The Mound in South Charleston used to be go-tos, but I haven’t had quality experiences at either place of late.

I did enjoy great meals at Bamboo Garden in Sissonville and The Rice Bowl in Cross Lanes years ago, but haven’t been back to either recently. So tell me, readers, what are your favorite restaurants in town for the best Chinese food? Jack and I both need a fix.

Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by e-mail at You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy”.