mac and cheese

Now that the weather is turning a tad cooler, it’s nice to start thinking about cooking some fall foods…. squash, sweet potato or pumpkin anything, tailgate chili, harvest vegetable soup, holiday casseroles… and possibly the king of all comfort foods, mac ‘n’ cheese.

Mac ‘n’ cheese is one of those versatile dishes that appeals to all ages and is particularly kid-friendly.  Chances are, if you’re spending a week in a Charleston beach house, you’ll probably make it at least once, especially if you have young folks in your entourage.

While making it from the ol’ blue box works well in a pinch, more and more people/chefs like to get downright gourmet with it.  If you happen to be headed to one of our SC vacation rentals this weekend, either a luxury house on Isle of Palms or a Folly Beach house Charleston, you can see (and taste) how the pros do it.

It’s the sixth annual Charleston Mac-Off, and prepare to come hungry.  About 20 restaurants will be duking it out for the title, and you’ll get to sample their best shot.

It’s one of the biggest mac & cheese festivals in the country.

FYI  –  CRAVE Kitchen & Cocktails in Mount Pleasant is the stuff of legend.  After they won the festival’s title for best overall (which they’ve done several times now), they went on to win Esquire Magazine’s poll for best mac & cheese in America.  They won with an unbelievable and unprecedented 85% of the vote.

The magazine officially dubbed their dish the “Most Life-Changing Mac ‘n’ Cheese in America.” 

Here’s the scoop:

CRAVE is located just over the Connector from all our Isle of Palms luxury rentals.  So if you are staying in our Isle of Palms vacation rentals, you are just a handful of minutes from what very well may be the best macaroni and cheese in the nation.

They’ll face stiff competition this year from the likes of:

  • Charleston Artisan Cheese House
  • Bohemian Bull
  • Burtons Grill
  • Cherrywood BBQ & Ale House
  • The Loophole
  • Coleman Public House
  • The Shelter
  • Charleston Sports Pub
  • Smoky Oak
  • The Fish House
  • King Street Public House
  • Tavern & Table
  • Southerly Restaurant & Patio
  • Top Shelf Catering
  • Healthy Home Foods
  • Just Stuff It Catering
  • Palace Hotel
  • Ellis Creek Fish Camp

You can vote for your favorite, who should win the People’s Choice Award.  There will also be a panel of local celebrity judges who will determine the Critic’s Choice Award.  Then there’s the Home Grown Cooks competition among serious home cooks, which just might be the most cutthroat of all.

It’s quite a wing ding  –  6,000 people came to the event last year, a jump of 2,000 from the previous year.  There’ll be live music by bands Banana Pancakes and Bootless, not to mention a mac ‘n’ cheese eating contest sponsored by Charleston Artisan Cheese House, and a bunch of other stuff like arts/crafts/food/spice vendors, and Annie’s Nannies (arts, crafts & activities for kids so their parents can enjoy the other stuff).

It takes place Saturday, October 24th from 2:00 p.m. till 7:00 p.m. at The Grove at Patriot’s Point.  For your GPS, it’s located at 40 Patriot’s Point Road in Mount Pleasant.  It’s convenient to all of our beach house rentals Charleston SC, especially our Isle of Palms vacation rentals.   From our Isle of Palms luxury rentals, just head over to Sullivan’s Island and then into Mount Pleasant; stay on Coleman Boulevard and turn left just before the Ravenel Bridge.  From Folly Beach rentals Charleston, take Folly Road, follow the signs to Highway 17 North; cross over the peninsula, take the Ravenel Bridge and exit to the right off the bridge.  Turn right at the gas station/first traffic light.

Admission is $10 in advance, and they will be selling tasting tickets for $1 each.  Part of the proceeds go to Lowcountry Local First, which helps area farmers and food producers.

Here’s a link to the official website with all the details, including how to enter the amateur competition:


And don’t forget, a couple other great events are going on this weekend, convenient to all our luxury beach house rentals SC.  Tomorrow — Saturday, October 24th at 8:30 a.m. —  is the 17th annual James Island Connector Run.

This represents a date change from years past.  Since 2003, the race has always been run on the first Saturday in November.  This year, though, the typical date  –  November 7th  –  conflicted with a couple of major events (a Veteran’s Day parade and the Citadel’s homecoming), so the city of Charleston asked organizers to move it a bit earlier.  Halloween Saturday was out, so they opted for two weeks earlier than usual… or in other words, this Saturday.

Read more about it in THIS BLOG.


Also be sure to check out what’s going on a little later the same day… it’s Follypalooza  –  music and fun on Folly all for a good cause, as I covered in THIS BLOG.  It starts at 10:00 a.m. till 5:00 p.m. on Center Street.

As I mentioned, there will be lots of booth and vendors.  Well, the arts and crafts part of it has grown and officially spilled over from Center Street into Folly River Park, and onto Sunday as well.  It’s being billed as the 2015 Festival of the Arts, sponsored by the Folly Beach Arts & Crafts Guild.  It’ll happen on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. AND on Sunday from 1:00 till 5:00 p.m.  Admission is free, and there at Folly River Park you’ll find:

Fine art




Wood works


Beach art

Upcycled art

Kids’ art corner

Hoops on the lawn

Face painting

Here’s a link to their Facebook page:


So have a great weekend in the Lowcountry, enjoying the lovely weather…and remember to contact Exclusive Properties when you are searching for the best in rental homes South Carolina.


All best,
Lowcountry Lisa
your Isle of Palms vacation blogger