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Mobil Travel Guide star ratings, tapas at Social, Arlaana and Ciao Culinary Art Co. closings

A La Carte


Seeing stars

The Mobil Travel Guide has released its prestigious star-studded judgments for 2008, and some select local digs have been recognized — we can't say we're surprised. The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island and the Woodlands in Summerville received the coveted five-star lodging award. (Only 41 resorts in North America and Mexico received this honor for 2008.) While the Sanctuary is getting props for its luxurious hotel and spa, the Woodlands is being recognized for its hotel as well as its fine dining. The Woodlands Resort has been awarded five stars for five consecutive years, and the Sanctuary is making its debut on the list. Also making its debut is downtown restaurant Circa 1886, which got four stars, along with Charleston Grill, Peninsula Grill, and the Ocean Room at the Sanctuary. —Madelyne Adams

Social goes tapas

Chef Mark Kaufman took the helm at Social Wine Bar's kitchen earlier this winter, and after a successful holiday season, the New Orleans native is working on a revised menu. The tapas-heavy menu, set to be revealed within the next few weeks, promises to be more refined and fresher, in line with the coming of spring, as well as more reflective of the chef's style. Some examples of the new offerings include sliders with coconut onion rings, cheddar, and fried quail leg with truffled parmesan french fries. Or why not try the Thai mussels with coconut lemongrass broth? Half the menu will stay the same for the more loyal sorts out there, and of course, the fabulous wine selection hasn't changed. Tapas prices range from $7-$9. —Erica Jackson

Au revoir Arlaana

A few days after enjoying their most successful week since opening 18 months ago, Daniel Island eatery Arlaana closed its doors for good. Co-owner Arlaana Black described the scene as almost funereal on Thursday, as loyal patrons stopped by to pay their respects, sometimes tearfully. "We were like a plane on the runway," she says. "We just couldn't take off. We ran out of fuel." Despite great reviews from local media and foodies, Black cites financial issues and the still-slow Daniel Island scene as the nail in the coffin. Black and co-owner (and husband) Chuck plan to return to their previous careers as teachers. —Erica Jackson

Ciao Culinary Art Co.

Just as Social turns their focus toward tapas, a favorite tapas spot in Mt. P closes its doors. After calling the restaurant and hearing that the phone had been disconnected, we investigated further and found the former restaurant with a big "for rent" sign on the front window, the inside scattered with just a few vestiges of its former brightness. We couldn't get in touch with owner/chef Tim McCusker or his wife, but we're assuming the restaurant fell prey to the same problem as Arlaana — critical acclaim is only worth so much. —Erica Jackson

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