The Savannah-based food website "Eat It And Like It" recently released its "Oscar Awards" for the best restaurants in the Savannah/Bluffton/Hilton Head Island area. The "Best Italian Restaurant" award was given to Hilton Head's OMBRA Cucina Rustica, operated by Lauren and Michael Cirafesi.

With the summer heat setting in, many visitors and locals are scooping up frozen treats of all sorts after a hot day at the beach or pool. With anything from ice cream, gelato, Italian ice, frozen yogurt, smoothies and more awaiting your taste test all across the island, you’ll want to dig in right away to be sure you hit them all. Whether you are in search of all the delicious fruits in season this time of year or looking for that chocolate overload to energize you for a night of fun, the variety is out there. Don’t stand there melting in the heat of the sun; jump on that bike and ride to test out the island’s assortment of tasty frozen treats. Although you may want to read more about your options before you get too far down the road.

Is it a coincidence that “salsa” is both a dance and a fiery sauce? From pico de gallo to habanero, salsas can range from mild to "blow the roof off" levels. South Carolina has the hottest pepper on record. Measuring over 1.5 million on the Scoville heat scale, Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper set a Guinness World Record in 2013 for its spicy kick. Proceed with extreme, extreme, extreme caution!

This salsa recipe is great served with tortilla chips but also can be used in omelets or served over grilled seafood, chicken, steak and veggies — any recipe that needs a little zing and a burst of color. The secret is the activity in which the maker is engaging at the time of preparation; dancing the salsa, with its Latin American origins derived from the mambo, cha-cha-cha, Cumbia, and merengue will undoubtedly add some heat!

Be carful the next time you fire up your grill. A Hilton Head Island man recently ingested one wire piece from a wire grill brush and it created a hole in his intestine. To avoid this life-threatening situation, switch up the way you clean your grill. A brush-free alternative is to simply soak cooled grates in coffee.

There is nothing sublime about a lime. Until it is matched with other things, that is. It often has to share the “limelight”, shall we say. Throwing away a lime without zesting it is a culinary crime — the zest can add flavor wherever the lime is being used. Lime’s acidity somehow brightens up whatever it touches – in this cheesecake recipe, the lime and the banana are paired then heated up with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, which are simply smoked jalapenos in vinegar, herbs and spices.

orangeleaf01As stone's throw from the new Shelter Cove Community Park is a land frozen yogurt lovers dream of — a land of salted caramel, wedding cake, Key lime and dozens more mouthwatering flavors. The ambiance is colorful and bright and the staff is cheerful. The chairs are the color of orange zest; their retro-futuristic design would suggest “The Jetsons” meets Charles and Ray Eames meets “Star Trek.”

"Orange Leaf is a dessert destination. Every person walking through the door is family, and we want it to be a very pleasant experience. Customer service is our number one priority,” says Orange Leaf proprietor and franchisee David Pierre. Yes, the self-serve frozen yogurt craze is sweeping the Lowcountry, and once you try the more than 30 toppings that rotate seasonally, you'll join the froyo party, too.


It's that sound again, the sound we foodies are always craving: voices engaged in conversation and laughter along with the subtle clink of wine glasses toasting special occasions as waiters serve up the chef’s artfully prepared plates, all in a room filled with ambiance, just the right lighting and guests who know they’ve made the right choice as they gaze at the sun setting over Broad Creek. These are all scenes that can be found at ELA’s Blu Water Grille, located at Shelter Cove Harbour.

The story behind the restaurant’s name? Restaurateur Earl Nightingale explains: “The name ‘ELA’ is an acronym for the names of my children: Erin, Lauren and Alex, who are all actively involved in many aspects of our operation, and ‘Blu’ was the name of a restaurant where I worked as teenager in Chicago.” After more than 40 years in the hospitality and restaurant industries, Nightingale is paying homage to his first place of employment, which launched his career.

salads03Hot Lowcountry summers are made for salads. We’re not talking about a side of lettuce with a couple cherry tomatoes on top. We’re talking REAL summer salads — big bowls overflowing with fresh green leaves and local produce. With more than 250 restaurants on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton, finding a good salad isn’t difficult. Finding a remarkable one, however, can be a challenge.

We’ve taken out the guesswork by identifying a dozen salads guaranteed to satisfy. Dig into one for the perfect summer meal.

HILTON-HEAD-BREWING-CO22Hilton Head Brewing Company has opened a new brewing and canning facility on the north end of the island. The building is located at 1 Cardinal Court, near Beach City Road. Five double-sized tanks will pump out 12,000 cases of Session IPA and Tropical Lager a year. That’s right — you’ll soon be able to pick up a six-pack of Hilton Head Brewing Company beer at the grocery store. And so will countless tourists.

A new restaurant is opening at Oyster Reef Golf Club in early July. LagerHead Tavern will bring a lively, stylish dining experience to the iconic island destination with its inviting and alluring atmosphere. Chef Michael Toscano, a James Beard “Rising Star Chef of the Year” semifi nalist, will oversee the kitchen. The menu showcases Southern comfort food with a twist, using fresh, regional ingredients and features signature menu items such as Shrimp Gazpacho, Smoked Chicken Wings and the Low Country Reuben.