Sunday, October 9, 2011

What A Weekend

Mr. T and I had a great weekend.  Yesterday we went to the Clemson game and tailgated all day.  I made sausage biscuits for our tailgate this week.  They were a big hit, too.  In years past, I've always outdone myself with what I brought to the tailgates but this year I've kept it simple.  I've realized that people are more likely to grab a biscuit or chip to dip rather than a slice of muffaleta or homemade truffle (two things I've made in the past). So, I guess I'll be going more simple from now on. 
The biscuits were so simple.  Mr. T got a box of 30 frozen sausage patties for 5 bucks.  All I had to do was fry them up and bake 30 flaky biscuits.  Then just assemble and serve with a squirt bottle of mustard.  Not one was left by game time. 
Some of our tailgating group

Mr. T and I in our gameday attire

We had such a great time with our friends, and loved to celebrate yet another Tiger victory.  We're 6-0 now! Not only did we get to celebrate the Tiger's victory, we also got to celebrate an engagement!  My friend Jenny is getting married, and I loved getting to spend time with her.  It's so fun to have yet another friend to discuss wedding details with.  So happy for you and Andrew, Jenny!

Me, Jenny, and Kate
Hope you had a great weekend, too!  Have a great week, y'all!

Monday, October 3, 2011

So, coincidentally Living Social came out with a deal for The Velo Fellow today!  The deal is $10 for $20 to spend on food and drink.  I love deals that let you use the money off on alcohol.  I've provided the link for you below. Hurry, the deal ends at 5:00 am tomorrow morning so you don't have long!

Edison-style light bulbs hanging from their ceiling

Yum Yum Yum

And they even have shuffleboard tables!

Photos Courtesy

Friday, September 30, 2011

Hello, Velo

Well, it's official.  I have a new favorite restaurant in Greenville.  It takes a lot to win me over when I'm trying a restaurant for the first time.  I'm quite critical, I do admit.  The ambiance, menu selections, service, drink menu, and prices all have to be right to really get me excited about a new place.  The Velo Fellow in the West End District exceeded my expectations in all of these categories.
The Ambiance
This cozy yet quirky space is adorned with bare Edison-style light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, mis-matched chairs, worn church pews, and a giant "grand-bi" hanging on the exposed brick wall.  (A grand-bi is one of those funny looking old bikes with the giant front wheel and the little bitty back one)
The Menu
From the classic publick house creations like chicken pot pie, shepherd's pie, and fish and chips to the  more innovative culinary creations like the Falafel Po' Boy and and Tofu Marsala, everything the Velo Fellow offers is the epitome of comfort food.  They even offer a classic peanut butter and jelly sandwich for 3 bucks.  Nothing says comfort food like a good 'ole PB and J. 
My Falafel Po' Boy
The Service
Our waiter was awesome.  Super friendly and his persona and attire matched and even added to the vibe of the restaurant.   His worn Levi's, plaid shirt, trucker hat, vintage square-rimmed glasses and mustache just oozed hipster.  
The Drink Menu 
They've got a great selection of wines by the glass and bottle and microbrews on draught.  The beer selections switch up every week.
This week on draught:
Highland's St. Terese's, Murphy's Irish Stout, Warsteiner Konig Ludwig Weiss, Coney Island Mermaid Pilsner,  Ommegang Rare Vos, and Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu
The Prices
$2 Session's all day, every day.  Need I say more?

If you're interested in giving the Velo Fellow a try, they're located at 1 Augusta St. Suite 126, below the Mellow Mushroom.  Open Monday-Wednesday 11am-10pm, Thursday 11am-12pm, Friday-Saturday 11am-2am, and Sunday 11am-9pm.

The Velo Fellow on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Greenville Welcomes Groucho's Deli

Born and raised in Columbia, SC, nothing tickles my taste buds like one of Groucho's signature sandwiches. Founded in 1941 by Harold "Groucho" Miller, Groucho's Deli offers great deli-style sandwiches adorned with high quality meats and cheeses and their famous Formula 45 Sauce. Groucho's Deli originated in Five Points just minutes away from the University of South Carolina's campus in Columbia, SC.  Seventy years later Groucho's now has 25 locations in three states.  Their newest venture is the location in Greenville, SC.  Located at 20 E. Coffee St. (the previous location of Hoops and Hops). Greenville's new deli is just paces away from the well-known Main Street area.
On Sunday Mr. T and I decided to give it a shot, and boy was it tasty!  I had the classic STP (I opted for the all turkey version) and Mr. T had his favorite, the Pink Moose.  Most sandwiches come with their Formula 45 sauce, a spiced and tangy variation of Russian dressing.  The sandwiches come with a bag of chips and kosher dill spear, which are all great dipped in the 45 sauce. 

And, as if it wasn't good enough, I washed it all down with one of their Dr. Brown's diet cream sodas.
Mmmm Mmmm Mmmm.
Groucho's Deli on Urbanspoon

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Recipe: Creamy Tomato Soup

I'm not a big fan of cold weather, and I'm dreading it as the summer is coming to an end.  Although I don't like those few chilly months that we have in South Carolina, there is one thing that I do like about them: soup.  I love making it and I love eating it.  I made my first soup of the season this week and it's one of my absolute favorites, Creamy Tomato Soup.  Once you try it you'll never go back to Campbell's. Its simple to make, pretty inexpensive, and it tastes phenomenal.

Creamy Tomato Soup
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (28-oz.) cans chopped tomatoes
1 (14-oz.) can chicken broth
1 (5-oz.) package Brie without rind, cut into pieces
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. fresly ground pepper
Chopped fresh basil (optional)

Saute diced onion in 2 Tbsp. hot oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over medium low heat 8 minutes or until tender; add minced garlic, and saute 1 minute.  Increase heat to medium high; stir in chopped tomatoes and chicken broth, and bring mixture to a boil.  Simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes.  Remove pan from heat.  Allow tomato mixture to cool 10 minutes; stir in Brie pieces until melted.

Process soup with immersion blender until smooth.

Cook soup over medium low heat until thoroughly heated.  Stir in salt, pepper, and if desired, garnish with a fresh basil chiffonade. I made grilled cheeses with bacon to go along with our soup.  Perfect for dipping.

Do you have any soup recipes you'd like to share?  I'd love to add more recipes to my collection!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Recipe: Sparkling Lemon Elderflower and Cranberry Cocktail

I just made the best end of summer drink and wanted to share the recipe with you.  It's so simple:

1 part St. Germain
1 part lemoncello
1 part Ocean Spray Diet Sparkling Cranberry Juice

Mix all three ingredients with ice in a martini shaker and enjoy!  It would also be great with a sugared rim or sprig of mint to garnish.  Hope y'all have a great holiday weekend!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Soby's New South Cuisine

The other night Mr. T and I went to Soby's.  We haven't been there in two years, and decided it was high time we went back.  Not quite sure why it took us two years to return, their service is great and food is phenomenal.  Soby's opened in 1997, and was a major part of the City of Greenville's downtown revitalization.  It is considered the flagship restaurant of its corporate company Table 301, and quite arguably the flagship restaurant of all downtown Greenville. 
When I think of a restaurant that opened 14 years ago, I automatically assume its menu is out of date, interior past its prime, and the drink list has really boring cocktail and beer selections. Soby's has combated these stereotypes with its trendy environment, timeless fare, and iPad drink lists.  How cool is that!  All of their beers, wines, cocktails, and spirits are listed on these neat iPads that your server brings to your table. 

Not only does it look cool, it actually makes the drink selection process pretty easy too.  

As for our dinner, the food was great (no surprise here) and we will definitely be back much sooner than two years from now.  I would highly recommend starting with the fried green tomatoes.  YUM!

Soby's on Urbanspoon

Friday, August 26, 2011

Folly Beach Vacation + An Exciting Announcement!

Last week our family took our annual summer vacation. For the past several years we've gone out of the country, but since our family is expanding, we decided to stay more local this year.  We decided on Folly Beach because of its proximity to Charleston and Columbia, and my sister April and her husband Ian love the area.  Folly Beach is such a relaxing vacation spot.  Its completely non-commercialized and has such a quaint downtown area.  You really feel like you're going back in time when you vacation there. All of the downtown bars and restaurants have great food and awesome atmospheres.
Mr. T and I at one of our favorite spots, Rita's
Our house was located right on the marsh which gave us an amazing view from our back porch.  We spent several nights out there with margaritas just enjoying the sunsets.  Our house came with crabbing equipment that we put to use one night.  We caught about 25 blue crabs which ended up yielding just enough meat for a tasty crab dip that we threw together.

The feisty crabs right after we took them out of the traps
We got some great beach time in, too.  Last week started Folly's off season, so we were one of the only groups on the beach.  The weather was great too, never got above 90 degrees. 

 One night we took advantage of being so close to Charleston, and went into their downtown area.  We started the evening with drinks at Market Pavilion's rooftop bar.  I had never been here before, but it's one of my new favorite spots.  The drinks are a little pricey, but the spectacular view made it so worth it. 

From there we took rickshaws to Rue De Jean for dinner.  The rickshaws were such a perfect tourist experience, taking us through the beautiful residential areas of downtown Charleston.

Mom and April in their rickshaw

Dinner at Rue De Jean was amazing as usual.   After dinner we took our stuffed bellies back to Folly Beach and got a good night's rest for another exhausting day of relaxing on the beach. 

And now for the announcement... Mr. T and I are getting married!  The first day we got there, Mr. T popped the question out on our back porch overlooking the marsh.  It was perfect; simple and just the two of us.  The rest of my family arrived shortly afterward, and we got to celebrate our engagement for the rest of the week!

We had to be cheesy and take a picture with the Tiger Rag

And if you're curious, here's the ring!  Isn't it beautiful? I primarily wear yellow gold, but also wanted today's traditional white gold ring.  The combination of white gold/white diamonds and yellow gold/yellow diamonds was a perfect solution.

 We had such an amazing time at Folly Beach.  It truly was one of the best and most memorable weeks of my life.  I am so excited for the next year of planning a wedding.  I'll be updating you with plans and all of the DIY projects I've got going on for it. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Our Grown Up Friday Night

Hello all!  My apologies for my not-so-brief hiatus from the blogging world.  I've started a new job and it seems to be taking up all of my time.  This past Friday night, after an exhausting week, Mr. T and I decided to have a low-key Friday night; something not very common for us.  We started our night at Nose Dive Gastropub.  In appreciation for National IPA day, they had Dogfish Head 90 Minute IPA on draft, something restaurants are currently struggling to keep on hand.  When we heard they got a hold of this rare beer, we rushed over there to make it in time for happy hour.  After a couple of beers at the bar, we decided to grab a table and eat dinner there, too.  Mr. T had the Fish and Chips which was great, and I had the Gastropub Burger.  I rarely order a burger and fries at a restaurant, I just find so pedestrian, but I'm glad I got it.  It was one of the tastiest burgers I've had in a while; flavorful beef and cooked to perfection. It was accompanied by sweet potato fries cooked in duck fat, need I say more?
After dinner we headed to the Roper Mountain Science Center for the viewing of their film "Starry Nights".  Roper Mountain Science Center shows a film every Friday night at 7:00 and 8:15 pm. Tickets for adults are only $5, almost half of what it costs to go to the movie theater nowadays.  We had a great time at the show, and it was quite entertaining and informative.  This month's film, "Starry Nights" focuses on the life cycles of stars, black holes, nubulae, star clusters, and some other cool sciencey stuff.  Mr. T and I had a great time, and were home and asleep by 10:00.  What a great grown-up Friday night. 

If you're interested in going to the Roper Mountain Science Center, you can find them at 402 Roper Mountian Rd.  Greenville, SC and at 
Nose Dive on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"Baby, I Hope You Brought Your Big Purse"

This week, Mr. T and I tried out Ford's Oyster House and Cajun Kitchen for the first time.  Recently opened, Ford's Oyster House is owned and operated by the creators of The Green Room; another one of my favorite restaurants in downtown Greenville.  Ford's opened at the end of May and specializes in Cajun fare and other dishes inspired by The Big Easy.
Ford's is located in Greenville's West End District, and their back porch area is adorned with family-style picnic tables that overlook Main Street and Falls Park.  Mr. T and I decided to sit in the bar area because the weather was looking a little questionable.  After we had only been there a few minutes, Mr. T turned to me and said "Baby, I hope you brought your big purse".  Initially I was confused, but when I turned my eyes to what he was gazing upon I saw this...
Yes, that's right.  A container of Tony Chachere's BIGGER than my pint glass.  Mr. T loves to use this spice when we're grilling out so he already liked this place from the get-go. I didn't come away with it in my purse, but we did use a generous amount on our french fries. We started out with the shrimp and jalapeno beignets, quite a savory twist on the sweet little doughnuts I'm used to.  They were pretty good, but tasted more like hushpuppies with a spicy kick.  As for our entrees, Mr. T ordered one of his faves, oysters on the half-shell, and I ordered the soft shell crab po boy.  I've had po boy's before but NEVER one this big. 
Larger than my head, this tasty sandwich had an entire soft shell crab battered and deep fried, and was topped with pickles, lettuce, tomatoes, remoulade, and slaw.  And if that wasn't enough food, they even had the audacity to serve it with a heaping amount of french fries.
Mr. T's Oysters
Ford's food is quite a bang for the buck, and next time Mr. T and I will be sharing an entree.  If you're interested in trying it out for yourself, Ford's is located at 631 South Main Street and open seven days a week 11am-2am.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Staycation: All I Ever Wanted!

Over the last week, my mom and I have been on the most fabulous staycation. For those of you who aren't familiar with the term, a staycation is a vacation that you take while staying at home and taking advantage of nearby attractions.  Its a great way to save money, have a great time, and learn more about your local environment. We’ve had an amazing week shopping, eating, drinking, and attempting to get a little exercise in there too.
We started out our week at Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar in Northeast Columbia. Mom had a $40 Groupon, so we let ourselves indulge a little bit.  Mom started with an incredible cucumber and lavender martini.  The colors were beautiful, and it tasted amazing.
  As for our entrees, I had the Steak Frites and Mom had the Short Ribs.  Both were phenomenal, but of course I was too hungry and eager to eat, and it slipped my mind to take pictures. We finished off our meal with a Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.  It was so tasty!
  The next day we went to my favorite Japanese restaurant in Columbia; Sakura in Forest Acres.  Sakura has the best bento boxes for lunch, and they're very reasonably priced, ranging from $6 to $9.  Mom and I both got the gyoza box with hosomaki. Gyoza is a pork dumpling that can either be fried or steamed.  And hosomaki is a mixture of cucumber rolls and California rolls, we had 6 of each.  The box also includes tender carrots, Japanese cole-slaw, and a ginger salad.

Mom's Fried Gyoza

My Hosomaki
 The next day Mom and I went back up to Greenville and I introduced her to one of my favorite Upstate restaurants, The Lazy Goat.  The Lazy Goat is located in Greenville's West End district and specializes in Mediterranean food and small plates.  The weather was great, so we sat on their patio overlooking the Peace Center Amphitheater. That night Larkin's was putting on their Rhythm on the River summer concert series at the amphitheater, so we were able to listen to the music while we ate our fabulous food.
The Duck, Duck, Goat Pizza

We had cocktails and shared three small plates.  My favorite of the three was their Duck, Duck, Goat Pizza.  The wood-fired pizza is topped with duck confit, drunken goat cheese, a duck egg, arugula, and a sour cherry vinaigrette.  Its a great size for sharing with one or two others and at $12 it's a great deal too. 

Solstice Kitchen and Wine Bar is located at 841-4 Sparkleberry Lane Columbia, SC (803) 788-6966
Sakura Japanese Restaurant is located at 4827 Forest Dr Ste. 20 Columbia, SC (803) 738-9330
The Lazy Goat is located at 170 River Place Greenville, SC 29601 (864) 679-5299

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Making Your Own Beef Jerky

Since the weather is getting warmer, and clothes are getting smaller, Mr. T and I have started to kick it into gear a bit with what we eat.  We've started scaling down our portions and eating less of those oh-so-tasty empty carbs.  I've been struggling to find carb-free substitutions for snacks, but I recently remembered two recipes I saw in Food and Wine Magazine last year for making your own beef jerky.  Today I'm making black pepper jerky and Mexican lime jerky.  Both recipes are pretty simple, and call for ingredients that most of us have already in our cabinets.

Black Pepper Jerky
3 cups amber ale or lager
2 cups soy sauce
1/2 cup Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons cracked black peppercorns, plus 2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper, for sprinkling before drying the meat
2 pounds trimmed beef top round or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick

1. In a large bowl, combine the ale or lager with the soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and the cracked black peppercorns.
What we used for the black pepper marinade

2. Cut the beef into 1/4-inch-thick slices, either with or against the grain.

Mr. T slicing up the beef
 3. Add the beef to the marinade, a few slices at a time, stirring well to coat each slice with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.
4. Preheat the oven to 200°. Set a large wire rack on each of 3 large rimmed baking sheets. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the beef on the racks, leaving 1/4 inch between slices. Sprinkle with coarsely ground black pepper. Bake for about 4 hours, until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy. Let cool completely on the racks before serving.
black pepper jerky before it went into the oven
Mexican Lime Jerky
2 large jalapeños, halved, 1 seeded
1 cup fresh lime juice
1 quart light Mexican beer, such as Corona or Pacifico
1/2 cup soy sauce 
2 pounds trimmed beef top round or bottom round, about 1 1/2 inches thick 
Coarse salt, for sprinkling before drying the meat

1. In a mini food processor, puree the seeded jalapeño along with 1/4 cup of the lime juice. Transfer the puree to a large bowl. Stir in the beer, soy sauce, the unseeded jalapeño and the remaining 3/4 cup of lime juice.

2. Take the beef and cut it into 1/4-inch-thick slices, either with or against the grain.

3. Add the beef to the marinade, a few slices at a time, stirring well to coat each slice with the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours.

4. Preheat the oven to 200°. Set a large wire rack on each of 3 large rimmed baking sheets. Remove the beef from the marinade and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange the beef on the racks, leaving 1/4 inch between slices. Sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for about 4 hours, until the jerky is firm and almost completely dry, but still chewy. Let cool completely on the racks before serving.

Beef jerky can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 6 weeks.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Cheap Kitchen Finds

One of my favorite places in Columbia to shop for kitchen supplies was a restaurant supply store, so I was thrilled to find one in Greenville.  While riding down Wade Hampton this afternoon, I spotted Joyce Equipment Company.  You can immediately tell that it’s a restaurant supply store by the stacked pots and pans in their front window. 
  When you're in there, you have to remember the quality of everything.  It may not have a modern design, or come in hot pink or lime green, but its going to last forever.  Everything is made to withstand repeat use, hot temperatures, and the rough dishwashers of restaurants, so its all extremely durable.  Here are the goodies that I picked up today.
2 qt Stainless Steel Mixing Bowl- $2.95

Mini Whisk- $.75

Stainless Steel Bottle Opener- $2.00

Glass Carafe- $7.95

I bought two of these glass carafes and I'll be using them for sangria this summer.  (Keep an eye out for that recipe) The carafes have a little fleur-de-lis on the front of them which I really like. I didn't get these carafes for dirt cheap, but the glass is thicker than any other ones that I've seen.  Since these will be much more durable, its worth the extra couple of dollars. 
They also have a used restaurant supply section, something I've never seen before in one of these stores.  I didn't find anything I needed today, but they did have some good stuff.  Lots of basic wine, champagne, and beer glasses, a lot of white china, and some other random gadgets as well.

Joyce Eqipment Companay is located at 1839 Wade Hampton Blvd.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Yeah, I'm an Artist

So this is what I've been up to this week. If you recall from a previous post, I recently painted a canvas in a colorful geometric print.  It was super easy, and once I hung it on my wall I knew it was just begging for a mate.  The canvases that I used were 2'x4', so having two side by side on the wall will light up any room.  I had a little spare time this week, so I decided to start on the second one.  Here's what I've done so far.
I've still got a good bit of painting to do, and I'll have to give everything I have done a second coat, but I'm well on my way.  I wanted to show y'all what the same print looked like with more vibrant colors.  I used a deep purple, chartreuse, metallic bronzy-gold, and a watermelon color.
I've had so much fun with this project.  It feels great to have something hanging on my wall that I've done, not to mention how cool I feel when people compliment it and I can tell them I painted it.  I've never been an artist, so any time I can claim something with out being embarrassed of it, its a serous accomplishment.  Hope you like it!
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