1002 Broad St. • fuse-augusta.com • (706) 305-1029 • Closed Tuesdays
A GLANCE at Fuse’s menu and its varied global culinary influences might make it difficult to pinpoint what kind of restaurant it is. Just don’t call it fusion. Instead, think of it as a chef-driven restaurant, one that reflects and fuses chef Eric Draper’s 20-plus years’ experience—from California cuisine and upscale Italian to vegan eateries and a stint in Mexico—with a penchant for local ingredients and craft beer.
The menu changes every few weeks, which allows chef Draper ample room for creative expression. One of the main attractions are pintxos (pronounced peen-cho), Northern Spain’s version of tapas, featuring planks of bread with various topping combinations. They’re perfect for showcasing Draper’s cooking style and in line with how pintxos are offered in Spain, where chefs take whatever they have on hand or what they’re experimenting with and put it on a piece of toasted baguette. Draper’s pintxos highlights include such delicious mouthfuls as mushroom almond pâté with local mushrooms and aged Spanish cheese, the classic Spanish combination ofboquerones (white anchovies), olive oil and dill, or Southern-inspired pulled pork and pimento cheese with pickled jalapeno. Additional menu highlights include a Moroccan-spiced lamb burger crowned with beer onions and cheddar, huarache (a crisp house-made corn tortilla topped with Mexican-style pulled chicken) and anything featuring local produce.
Pintxos are also a natural match for beer, which gets its own dedicated chalkboard menu. Draper handpicks each of the rotating 30-plus (mainly domestic) craft beers on tap, which usually include one from Founders Brewing Co. or Bell’s Brewery (a nod to his western Michigan roots), as a well as a few notable selections from Belgium and Germany. Save room for dessert and indulge in a beer (or root beer) float with one of the house made ice creams.
Füse also offers weekday lunch service (which typically features one pintxo along with an excellent sandwich selection) and weekend brunch (try any of the eggs benedict preparations).
Layla Khoury-Hanold is a food writer, avid home cook and life-long professional eater. She has contributed to Saveur, Food Network, Mashable, Drinks International, CheeseRank and Clean Eating. Follow her culinary adventures on her blog, glassofrose.blogspot.com and on Instagram @theglassofrose and Twitter @glassofrose.
Red Clay Market
4460 Washington Rd.
(706) 424-1543 • Open Daily
Equal parts specialty foods shop and indoor farmers market, Red Clay Market (located in Evans’ Liberty Square) is the latest addition to the local food scene. The store is owned by local foods advocate and chef Erica Chaney (who also serves as Helms College’s Augusta Culinary Arts department chair) and features artisanal products like hand-crafted home goods and chef supplies along with local produce, eggs, grass-fed meats and honey.
Chaney explains her shop’s mission, saying, “The goal of the market really falls in line with Georgia Organics’ Food Oasis campaign: Eat, Cook, Grow. We are making it easier to access and eat locally-grown products, educating our customers on how to prepare these foods in a healthy manner and regularly featuring farmers in our store to answer questions on their products. If you have a question about where your food comes from, who better to answer that question than the farmer who grew it?”
Chaney hopes that the market will help customers find that community connection and that when someone wants to “buy local,” Red Clay Market will be their first stop. Look for seasonal fruits and vegetables; bacon, sausage and grass-fed beef; grits, flour and eggs; and artisanal goat cheese, breads and granola. The shop is also stocked with items ripe for gift giving or upgrading your kitchen.
To make buying local even more convenient, they’re starting a home delivery service and plan to launch Red Clay Mobile Market, which will have pop-up locations at “community connection points” in Columbia County.
Red Clay Market also offers workshops to hone your culinary skills and put your finds to good use, like knife skills, herb and sauce demos and vegetable fermentation. For more information, like them on Facebook.
Carolina Moon Distillery
“WE’RE THE DEFINITION OF SMALL BATCH. We joke around that we’re the smallest of the small,” says Carolina Moon Distillery’s David Long. He and co-founder Cal Bowie began by building one still and experimenting with moonshine, but since launching their Edgefield, S.C. business two years ago, they’ve expanded into other spirit categories like rum, brown whiskey, bourbon and, later this year, vodka and gin.
It took eight years of trial and error and countless distillery visits to develop their signature spirit, Edgefield Moonshine. The white corn whiskey has such local notoriety that residents have taken to calling it “rabbit spit” after a 1940s judge who was quoted as saying, “In Prohibition days, Edgefield liquor was mean enough to make a rabbit spit in a bulldog’s face.” The name has stuck and there are plans to rename the moonshine and revamp packaging accordingly. Thankfully, the product tastes a lot better than its moniker might suggest. Long describes the moonshine’s flavor profile, saying, “It does have a very green harshness, meaning that it’s young, but it’s got an almost buttery, oily taste from the grain.” From that base moonshine, they created flavored varieties using real fruit including locally grown peaches, blackberries and blueberries.
For warm weather sipping, Long suggests whipping up a batch of mojitos with their Blockade Runner rum or crafting one of their signature cocktails like The Johnston (see below). If you’re looking for something smooth to sip year-round, reach for Ole Tom, a top-shelf whiskey that’s aged in stainless steel tanks with Edgefield County oak. In keeping with their small-batch approach, they cut, trim and char the oaks themselves.
Part of the fun of owning a distillery is getting to taste test and experiment with different cocktail recipes. One of the Carolina Moon Distillery team’s favorite summertime tipples is The Johnston, a refreshing, fruity cocktail made with peach cider from Johnston, S.C., the peach capital of the world.
1 ounce of Blockade Runner Rum
2 ounces of peach cider
Splash of triple sec
Combine rum, cider and triple sec in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a glass filled with ice and garnish with orange slice.
Carolina Moon Distillery spirits are sold in multiple Aiken outlets and Georgia distribution is on the horizon (pending state approvals).
This article appears in the May 2016 issue of Augusta Magazine.