Monday, February 24, 2014

The New Nose Dive

T and I recently tried out Nose Dive's new menu.  Nose Dive has always had a special place in my heart.  I actually worked there for a bit when T's job first moved us to Greenville.  I immediately fell in love with their food, and it has always been one of my favorite places.

Recently Nose Dive hired a new Executive Chef, Chef Spencer Thompson, who came over from Devereaux's when it closed this past fall.  Both restaurants are owned by Table 301.  I noticed a lot of Devereaux's influences both inside the restaurant and on the menu.  They're now using some of the stemware and plates from the old restaurant. I also saw that they've added the tater tots and biscuits that Dev's used to have and have removed a lot, like a lot, from the menu.  I'm sure they claim it's "streamlined" but it looks a little sparse to me.

I had originally planned on us ordering several appetizers and sharing everything, kind of tapas style.  But with the exception of one of their appetizers, they are all either seafood or meatless.  We were quite disappointed with the selection for that reason- there just wasn't enough variety to choose from.  And imagine if you don't eat seafood- your choices jump from seven to four.  Slim pickins.

We decided to go the more traditional route and ordered two entrees.  I had the Pikin Duck, which was very tasty.  Very crispy on the outside yet still tender inside.  It was served over Laurel Aged Charleston Gold Rice with cherries that had been soaked in bourbon (I believe) for several days.  The cherries were amazing, I think they rounded out the dish perfectly.

T ordered a short rib special, and he really liked the flavors.  A little too pot-roasty for me.  Everything kind of tasted like beef broth, but I think that was a plus in the hubby's book.

We never ever order dessert, but neither one of us were stuffed after our meals.  The portions were much smaller than we anticipated.  We chose the creme brulee, usually a safe choice, and it was perfectly executed.

While all of the food was quite tasty, we were disappointed that the Nose Dive we used to love doesn't seem to be there anymore.  I don't think they've stayed true to their brand with these new changes- nothing screams "gastropub" anymore.  It's more fine dining food, with fine dining prices, and a gastropub environment.  If I'm going to drop $90+ on a dinner, I'd like a white table cloth, a waiter/waitress who knows the drink and food menus impeccably, and no TV's please. So I think Nose Dive has a big decision to make, do they stay true to their old branding and go back to their casual environment with bigger portions and better prices, or dress the place up a bit to match with its new more sophisticated and "streamlined" fare?

Nose Dive on Urbanspoon


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Sacha's Cafe

In between our trips to Lowe's and Home Depot this Saturday, T and I decided to try something different for lunch.  Not naming names here, but one of us wanted to go to Zaxby's for lunch, and the other put her foot down and said that we must go to somewhere locally owned-preferably a place that we've never been. We all love Zaxby's, but sometimes you've just got to try something new.  I remembered a conversation that I had with a coworker about Sacha's Cafe, a Colombian restaurant on Pleasantburg.  (Note that the impromptu-ness of this trip explains the crappy iPhone pictures, I didn't have my nice camera with me)

As soon as we walked in, T laid eyes on the large bar with big TVs and the Clemson basketball game playing on several of them.  That's all it took to sell him on this place.  We each had a Negra Modelo, which is actually a Mexican beer.  I'm sure it's much easier to get Mexican beers rather than Colombian beers. At only $3.00 a pop I was tempted to get two...and then I did.

I ordered their Montanera Cazuelita.  Rice, Pinto Beans, Ground Beef, Sausage, Fresh Bacon, Sweet Plantain, Fried Egg, Cabbage Salad, and Avocado.  Everything but the Cabbage Salad and Rice were served together in a piping hot bowl.  It was fabulous.  The Colombian sausage was quite possibly the best sausage I've ever had, dry and packed with flavor.  Plantains were cooked to perfection and had the right amount of sweetness.  The ground beef was more shredded than ground (even better) and the pintos on the bottom were seasoned perfectly.  The egg could have been cooked a little less, I do love a runny yolk and this one was verging on over hard.  And then the bacon, oh the bacon.  Each piece of bacon was about two inches thick by one inch wide.  I've never seen bacon like this, and it was so good.  I'm not quite sure what the proper way to eat this dish was, but I ended up getting a fork full of a little bit of everything in the bowl and then added scoop of rice.

T went more of the gringo route and ordered a hot dog and fries.  The foot long hotdog (as you can see below)  was covered in a mound of lettuce, cheese, and crushed potato chips. I must admit, it was a darn good hotdog.  The potato chips added a great crunch to the soft bun and dog.

To top it all off, the staff was super friendly, and service was great. Oh, and the food was cheap, too.  We got out of there for about $25.00, which included our meals plus three beers.  That's a great price for lunch, but an even better deal for dinner time. They use the same menu at dinner that they do at lunch, so we cannot wait to return one evening.

Sacha's Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, February 17, 2014

My Valentine's Day Present

Ever since T and I got married and joined our checking accounts, we haven't been big on giving gifts to one another. But this year for Valentine's Day I asked for something that I really wanted.   A new kitchen faucet.  We didn't necessarily need a new one, the one we had was a little drippy but pretty much worked fine. But I really wanted a new one.  The current faucet that we had was just a little dated looking and had mildew and grime stains that I couldn't get off no matter how hard I scrubbed.  And looking at stains and grime that were put there from one of the previous owners just really grossed me out. Yuck.

I researched different faucets for a few weeks, and loved the look of one after coming across it on Pawley's Island Posh.  We only plan to be in this house for around five years, so I didn't want to go spending hundreds of dollars on something that I won't have for a decade.  The price was just right, and the reviews I read were great. 

So, Saturday afternoon I ordered the faucet to be picked up at our Lowe's, and paid for it using Ebates so that I get my 4% back.  I'm a big fan of this method, you get your cash back through Ebates plus you just go to the customer service counter at Lowe's and your product is there waiting for you.

My real gift this Valentine's day was the installation.  I just got to sit there an observe while sweet T laid under the sink with water dripping all over his face and installed this thing.  Love that man.

Doesn't it look great?  It's amazing how updating one seemingly small thing can really transform a room.  I'm in love with it's form and function.

Next up on my list of kitchen projects: switch out these drawer pulls.  Our kitchen is filled with drawers so we've got about 15 of these to replace.  Maybe my birthday gift?

Sunday Night Meal Planning #10

I'm a day late on this one because of a last minute request for Shepherd's pie last night.  I've never made it before, but it turned out really well!  A perfect comfort meal for a Sunday night.  We used Alton Brown's recipe (link below) and substituted the ground lamb for lean ground beef.  Here's what else we've got on the menu for this week.  Happy Monday!

Zucchini Fritters via

Sunday: Shepherd's Pie and tossed salad

Monday: Shepherd's Pie and tossed salad

Tuesday: Blackened Tilapia with Tartar-Like Sauce, and Zucchini Fritters

Wednesday: Coconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, and Asian-Style Kale

ThursdayCoconut Chicken with Sweet Chili Sauce, Wasabi Mashed Potatoes, and Asian-Style Kale

Friday, February 14, 2014

Snow Day Fun

If you haven't heard {which I know you already have}, the Carolinas experienced quite a bit of winter weather this week.  Over Wednesday and Thursday, Greenville got between six and eight inches of snow.  While I still did have to work from home, we were able to sneak out of the house on Wednesday evening to do a little bit of sledding before it got too dark.  Luckily we live just a few miles away from Greenville Country Club, so we all piled into the one 4-Wheel Drive Truck we had and made our way to GCC.  You should have seen the nine of us. Four in the cab of the truck, five in the bed, like a bunch of red neck snow bunnies.

When I was younger my neighborhood had two Country Clubs, and I was exposed to how great the hills of a golf course can be on a snow day.  It's like they're made for sledding. Greenville Country Club's driving range was no exception, although we did have to dodge the many white golf balls that were so easily camouflaged under the snow.

After about an hour of sledding, we were all completely exhausted and freezing cold. We made our way back to our neighborhood and spent the rest of the night together eating dinner, playing games, drinking, and watching the Olympics.  And then we did it all over again the next day, too.  Oh how I love living around our friends, it made getting snowed in so much fun! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Snowed In!

Sorry for no blog posts lately, but we are snowed in! I'm hunkered down in our den working from home, praying that we don't lose power.  Hope y'all stay warm and safe!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Fried Catfish Over Grits

Last night I tried out a new recipe.  For the last few months I have tried to reserve Tuesday nights as our seafood nights.  I felt like we didn't eat enough fish, so I did this in an effort to provide more variety in our meals.

My mom told me about this recipe a few weeks ago, and I knew I had to try it.  I have recently developed a weird aversion to shrimp, so I haven't been able to make shrimp and grits very often.  I absolutely love grits, so when I saw this recipe I figured I'd give it a shot.

It turned out really well. The cornmeal breading gave the fish a great crispy outside, and it tasted so good with the creamy grits. I added some chopped scallions on top for a little more color and flavor, and it was perfect.

Fried Catfish Over Grits
(adapted from Never Enough Thyme)

1 pound catfish fillets
2 cups milk
2 cups fine ground white cornmeal
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp. salt
Canola oil
1 scallion

  1. Rinse catfish fillets under cold water and place in a shallow baking dish or pan. Add milk to cover fillets. Cover the dish and refrigerate for approximately one hour.
  2. Remove the fillets from the refrigerator about 10 minutes before ready to cook.
  3. Place a large cast iron frying pan over high heat and pour in oil to a depth of approximately 1 inch. Allow oil to come to frying temperature while preparing the fish. (When you splash a few drops of water in the oil and it pops, it's ready)
  4. Combine the cornmeal, salt, and cayenne in a shallow pan. Remove fillets from milk letting most of the excess drip off. Place one fillet at a time into the cornmeal and turn it several times to coat well. Prepare all the fillets before you begin frying.
  5. Carefully lower the fillets, one at a time, into the hot oil. Don’t crowd the pan- fry in several batches if necessary. Turn the fillets when golden brown on one side. Cook on the second side until nicely browned as well. Return the fillets to the first side to cook for an additional minute or two if needed to fully develop a golden brown color.
  6. Serve over grits (recipe below), garnish with chopped scallions and serve with a side of coleslaw. 

For the grits, don't just make them how the back of the package tells you to.  The longer you cook them and the more liquid that you add to them, the creamier they get.  This is my favorite recipe for grits.  I promise, it's worth the extra calories.

3 cups water
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 lb butter
S+P to taste
1 cup grits

Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Add the heavy cream, butter, salt, and pepper.  Just as the water starts to come back to a boil, add the grits.  Stir, and then reduce heat to simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, stirring often.  (serves 2-4)

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Super Bowl Appetizers

T and I had several friends over to watch the Superbowl this Sunday.  Last week was a little crazy for me, I traveled to New York for work and didn't get home until 10:30 on Friday night.  Saturday morning I got up early and headed to Columbia for a baby shower, and wound up spending the night there.  So when I got back to Greenville Sunday at noon the thought of coming up with a menu to feed 12 people was a little bit daunting.  I opted for options that had a really quick prep time.  I put these three dishes together in less than an hour.

First on the menu: Chicken + Waffle Minis from A. Liz Adventures. This was my first time making these, and they were so simple to prepare. I used the entire package of Eggo minis, which yielded 40 mini bites.  One pound of chicken tenders cut up into bite-sized portions was the perfect amount to cover each waffle.  I toasted the waffles in the oven at 450 to get them brown on each side, topped with the chicken, and then drizzled the sauce over top.

Second: Trisha Yearwood's Charleston Cheese Dip, y'all this dip was so good. It's kind of like a warm pimento cheese, minus the pimentos and add bacon on top.  We used Ritz crackers and celery sticks for dipping.  I doubled the recipe and used precooked bacon crumbles instead of frying up my own.  Time was of the essence, and I really hate to cook bacon.  I will be making this again, especially during football season.

Third: Cream Cheese Vegetable Squares, because you always need something green on the appetizer table.  I've been making these since I was in college, and they are so simple.  Just spread a crescent roll out and bake it, top with a seasoned cream cheese mixture, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese and broccoli slaw.

I also bought two frozen pizzas and had them as back-ups just in case we were running low on food.  Every time I make them as an appetizer they are always a hit.  I just call them a "flatbread" and cut them up into squares.  Fools people every time. 

I hope y'all had lots of good food on Sunday, too! That's what the night is all about, right?

Monday, February 3, 2014

Baby Riggs

This weekend I went to Columbia for my friend Caroline's baby shower.  Caroline is the first of our friends to have a baby, so this is so new and exciting for all of us.  She is having a baby boy, Walker Riggs.   We had so much fun opening baby gifts, nibbling on blue cupcakes, and touching her belly in hopes to feel a little kick from baby Riggs.

I love any time that all of my college girlfriends are together, but I especially love it when we have something so special to celebrate.  I cannot wait to meet that sweet baby in three months!

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