By Pastry Chef Cynthia Wong
About Cynthia Wong
Pastry chef Cynthia Wong is the co-owner of Life Raft Treats, a chef-driven artisan ice cream truck in Charleston. Originally from Mobile, AL, Cynthia Wong began her career as a baker at Reed Heron's Restaurant Lulu in San Francisco. She trained at École Lenôtre in Plaisir, France, and earned the Grande Diplôme de la Cuisine Française. In 2008, she moved to Atlanta, GA where she helped chef Billy Allin open Cakes & Ale, and later worked with chefs Hugh Acheson and Ryan Smith at Empire State South. From there she joined chef John Fleer's Rhubarb and The Rhu, both in Asheville, NC. In 2016, she became the executive pastry chef and bakery manager at Butcher & Bee and The Daily in Charleston, SC. Wong is a four-time James Beard Foundation Award semifinalist for Outstanding Pastry Chef.
Life Raft Treats
Chef Cynthia Wong's Charleston Eating Guide
Jayme Scott and Ross Jett pour the best cortados and espressos in town from their own sourced and roasted beans. The shop is no-nonsense, but inviting, and there's zero pretension.
70.5 Beaufain Street, Charleston, SC 29401
James Island Sunday Brunch Farmers Market
I love this market. It is not a zoo where you're being rammed with baby strollers and people are selling all kinds of random stuff. There's a real feeling of hospitality to this market and it's a great place to swing by on your way to the beach.
Sundays: 11am - 3pm (March - December)
1977 Maybank Highway., Charleston, SC 29412
The Obstinate Daughter
It always feels so relaxed and beachy. The pastas and pizzas are perfect -- I particularly love the pappardelle with mushrooms and greens.
2063 Middle Street, Sullivan's Island, SC 29482
If you are looking for fried chicken, because really, who isn't, Martha Lou's cannot be beat.
1068 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403
Butcher & Bee
They have really fantastic ice cream sandwiches and ice cream treats, too. One of my favorites is a strawberry shortcake ice cream sandwich inspired by the Good Humor bar of childhood, but made with a soft sugar cookie, strawberry sorbet, creme fraiche ice cream, and strawberry crumbs.
The croissants are outstanding. We call them "bib croissants" because you need to wear a bib to catch all the flaky crumbs when you eat one. The nitrate-free Black Forest ham and cave-aged Gruyere cheese is my favorite because I've got a very savory palate, but the pistachio-rose croissant is a cult favorite. It’s a traditional almond frangipane-filled croissant, and when I was there we switched the nuts to pistachios and added honey liqueur, lime zest, and rose water to fit with Butcher & Bee's Middle Eastern flavors.
BUTCHER & BEE
1085 Morrison Drive, Charleston, SC 29403
Little Jack's Tavern
I love sweets, of course, but I'd rather grab a nice salty bite in the afternoon. I really enjoy sneaking into Little Jack's for their perfect Tavern Burger and a beer. The burger is just the right snacky size to tide you over until dinner. They even have it posted in the dessert section on their board in the bar.
710 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
Champagne and caviar service at The Ordinary is an absolute must! It's an experience that feels very grown up and special, but does not break the bank.
544 King Street, Charleston, SC 29403
I will gladly and happily eat anything that Michael Toscano cooks. My friends tease me that when I say, "Let's go out for dinner," what I really mean is, "Meet you at Le Farfalle at 7:30." I've eaten there more times than I've ever eaten anywhere in my adult life. My two current favorites are the octopus carpaccio and the duck agnolotti. Last November, Michael prepared pasta tableside with white truffles. I think the plate was probably meant for two, but I snarfed the entire plate down myself while my husband watched on in horror.
5 Beaufain Street, Charleston, SC 29401
The Glass Onion
Chris Stewart's southern cooking is without peer in Charleston. I adore the buttermilk fried quail and the fried pork chops with succotash. His food is rich and deeply satisfying, but he also has a deft touch with seasonal vegetables.
1219 Savannah Highway, Charleston, SC 29407
Geechie Boy Grits Market & Mill
It's a real, fresh-milled product. Real grits are next to impossible to get outside of the southeast other than by ordering online. There's real texture and flavor to Greg Johnsman's grits.