Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Universal Joint

A new restaurant recently opened in Greenville.  Crazy right?  I feel like I start every other blog post with that sentence.  It still is amazing to me just how many new places are popping up around the upstate.  But the one unique thing about this new place is that it isn't located in the heart of downtown, it's nestled on Stone Avenue right in the middle of the North Main community. 

The North Main neighborhood is a beautiful area with sweet little bungalows just oozing with charm.  The neighborhood also boasts having one of the only two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state, see the house here.  While the neighborhood itself has been booming, the areas surrounding it have been a little slower with their revitalization.

Enter Universal Joint.  A trendy open-air restaurant just off of North Main Street.  T and I decided to visit about three weeks after their opening night.  Even after three weeks, the place was still packed with people.

The menu to me seemed a little all over the place, I'd like to see the chefs hone the menu down over time once they decide what they're really good at, and what people seem to like.  They had anything from edamame to fish tacos to burgers and a whole lot of randomness in between.

We started with the edamame, which was very tasty.  They give you some kind of soy sesame sauce to drizzle over top which was good, but a bit oily. 

This has been the summer of gin for me, so I ordered a gimlet to go along with my meal.  A gimlet only has three ingredients, so you'd think that it would be a pretty easy drink to make, but it amazes me how many bartenders don't know how to make one.  Since its a pre-prohibition style cocktail, I'm sure people don't order them that much.  Regardless, the bartender did a great job, and my drink was very tasty.

For my entree I ordered the brisket taco.  It's supposed to come with chips, but there must have been a mix-up in the kitchen because they came with french fries instead. No sweat to me, this girl will never turn down a french fry.  I'm glad that it did come with fries, because they were actually the best part of the meal.  The tacos just didn't do it for me.  The brisket lacked flavor and tenderness and the salsa that it came with was very pedestrian. It tasted like it was ordered in bulk, there was nothing original about it.

So while the food wasn't my favorite, the location is great, the atmosphere is fun, and the drinks are cold.  (The parking was a bit sparse, but since its a neighborhood bar, most of the patrons are walking anyway.)  I think the restaurant has great potential, and once the newness wears off I hope that they will be able to streamline their menu and really focus on perfecting a few key menu items.

Universal Joint on Urbanspoon


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Life Lately

Life lately has been a little crazy, but I've managed to snap just a few pictures to capture what we've been up to. 

Our garden has finally started to produce some veggies.  I harvested a few tomatoes and a jalapeno the other day and was so excited to use them.   I'm not a big raw tomato fan, so I have to get crafty with incorporating them into other recipes.  I've been scouring Pinterest for some good recipes that called for tomatoes, and these Baked Parmesan Tomatoes really intrigued me.  They'll be added to our menu for next week.

We celebrated the 4th of July weekend in Murell's Inlet with T's family.  T's sister made this gorgeous trifle that tasted just as good as it looked. 

We had a great time at the beach,  but as always our time there was just too short.  I'm already looking forward to our anniversary trip to Wilmington at the end of next month.  I just can't get enough time at the beach.

And as for George, he got his first big boy haircut.  No more puppy cuts for this little dude.   I can't believe how big he's gotten, and refuse to acknowledge that he's still growing.

 And that's what we've been up to.  Hope y'all are having a great week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Babaziki Mediterranean Grill

T and I rarely get to eat lunch together on the weekdays. We work on opposite sides of town, so our one hour lunch break usually doesn't allot enough time for us to eat together and travel back to work within an hour. There are however a handful of restaurants that are just close enough for us to get there, eat, and get back in time. Babaziki, a new Mediterranean Grill, (think Greek version of Moe's) is the newest addition to our list.

Magnolia Park, that new development right off of Woodruff Road, has really made leaps and bounds in the last year.  The area used to house the old Greenville Mall, and since its demise in the early 2000's it's been quite an eyesore.  But as of recent, several new businesses have moved to this area and it's looking great.  This is the same space where the new Cabela's just opened, and we'll be getting a Nordstrom Rack soon, too.  Can. Not. Wait.

So back to Babaziki.  I really liked this place.  The menu is very streamlined and easy to follow, which makes the process quick, and avoids a bottleneck caused by someone who can't make up their mind. This is a great thing for those of us who have an hour for lunch and not a minute to spare.

They've broken the ordering process down into 4 easy steps.  Step 1: Choose Salad, Sandwich, or Plate.  T and I both chose the plate.  Step 2: Choose your protein.  I had the falafel and T had the grilled chicken.  Step 3: Choose three toppings/sides.  We both had the tomato, cucumber and feta salad, the tabbouleh, and the carrot salad.  The plate also came with warm pita, hummus, and your choice of rice or couscous.  That's a lot of food for the price!

And finally Step 4 is to choose your sauces.  They have six different Mediterranean sauces, some spicy some creamy.  We tried the Tunisian Harissa, the Lebanese Green S'hug, and the Greek Tzatziki and all three were great.

Overall we were very pleased with Babaziki.  The food seemed to be high quality, and the prices were fair.  I really like the changes that I've seen to Magnolia Park, and this place is the icing on the cake, or shall I say the hummus on the pita?

Babaziki on Urbanspoon

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