Goose Island T-Shirt & “ManBQue” Cookbook Giveaway Winner!

Wow, what a giveaway! That was fun, wasn’t it? 37 people entered to win the giveaway, but there can be only one winner. And that winner is Rosanne M!

giveaway-winner

Expect to be receiving your Shirt & Cookbook in the mail shortly. I hope you enjoy this truly awesome cookbook!

Thanks to everyone who entered this giveaway! I’m going to be doing another giveaway in September to coincide with my birthday, so be sure to check back then!

 

Weekend Roundup: We Eat All Our Meals In Courses

This has been quite an exciting week! On Tuesday I went to Myrtle Beach to visit Christine and her mom on their vacation and ate at a delightful little cafe called Croissants Bistro & Bakery, which was absolutely delicious. We had a watermelon salad, some banging meatloaf, a delicious veggie platter (with homemade falafel israeli couscous), and a triple chocolate torte for dessert. I’d definitely go back again!

Lovely ladies at the beach, looking only slightly rachet!

We’re so cute, we’ll probably break the Internet.

Thursday, Harry and I made a delicious dinner using some bleu cheese burger patties from Publix, fresh veggies from my parents’ garden, and buns from Brown’s Court Bakery. It was like having a gourmet meal cook right in my own kitchen! If you haven’t tried the baked goods from Brown’s Court yet, I really don’t know what you’re doing with your life. The double chocolate chip cookie Harry got us for dessert was lifechanging.

I'm basically a professional chef.

I’m basically a professional chef.

Friday, Lala came to town and we had a quick dinner of Persimmon Cafe before driving over to Mount Pleasant to jump off our meal at Sky Zone. We played 3D Dodgeball (which I was terrible at), jumped into the foam pit (which I was also terrible at getting out of), jump dunked some basketballs, and just generally jumped around. Lauren and I went home and watched some quality ABC family movies on Netflix before passing out around midnight.

Because who can resist the call of Joey Lawrence and Melissa Joan Hart??

Because who can resist the call of Joey Lawrence and Melissa Joan Hart??

Saturday morning, we got up early for the Farmer’s Market Culinary Tour by Culinary Tours of Charleston. We started at the Farmer’s Market and picked out a bunch of veggies and cheeses for Chef Garrett from Southend Brewery to use in preparing a 5-course meal for us. It was a really awesome experience and I’ll be reviewing it in full detail later!

With Chef Garrett of Southend Brewery!

With Chef Garrett of Southend Brewery!

I also took her by the matchstick social office to see where the magic is made. She really enjoyed the lip couch.

After hoooours.

After hoooours.

We also lounged at the pool and tried our hand at a mixology competition in my kitchen between the 2 of us.

Because straws with hipster glasses are all the rage in mixology today.

Because straws with hipster glasses are all the rage in mixology today.

For dinner, La and I went to White Duck Taco on James Island to try some new tacos and continue our drink exploration with some watermelon sangria and white peach sangria. Totally delish!

Tacos on tacos on tacos.

Tacos on tacos on tacos.

Sunday, we had a 3-course brunch at Halls Chophouse, which was spectacular as always. Lauren left shortly afterward and I spent the rest of the afternoon in a food coma watching Arrested Development.

So fancy.

So fancy.

It was a pretty awesome weekend. How was yours?

Taco Mamacita

*Note: I received a free gift certificate from Taco Mamacita to come by and try their food. That does not impact my review of them at all*

I was invited not long ago to try Taco Mamacita by one of their marketing managers after they started serving brunch. She sent me a gift certificate for 2 for brunch, and so Harry and I gladly made the trek out to Sully’s for a tex-mexican brunch.

Not quite what I was expecting...

Olè!

Since I was starving ( and had a gift certificate), I of course wanted to order one of everything on the menu. I started with a mimosa (what is brunch without one, after all), which tasted like a mimosa. Nothing necessarily special (but then again, that’s not why I order mimosas. There’s only so many ways to mix OJ and champagne). It was only when we left that I noticed that they do a strawberry coconut mojito, which is like MY JAM. Next time.

I have a mimosa addiction.

I have a mimosa addiction.

We started with an order of the dip trio (queso, mango salsa, and guacamole). Harry was obsessed with the mango salsa and I think would’ve preferred just getting a full order of that. I loved that the guac tasted like fresh avocado, and didn’t have a whole lot going on. I think the queso was my least favorite of the trio, not to say that it wasn’t good, it just wasn’t anything special.

What would Mexican brunch be without chips and dip??

What would Mexican brunch be without chips and dip??

Harry ordered the Peruvian chicken, which I’d never tried before, and was super excited about it. He thought it was flavorful and spicy, and that it was good, but it didn’t live up to the expectations of the Peruvian chicken that he had peru and in Peruvian restaurants. I thought it was good and tasted not unlike a rotisserie chicken, which you can’t go wrong with. He got 2 sides with it, chipotle turnip greens, and Mexican street corn. The Mexican street corn was on point, I’d venture to say even better than Taco Boy. Harry hated the turnip greens, expecting them to be more like collard greens, which they were not. I really liked them, although they were spicier than I was expecting.

Apparently "Peruvian Chicken" means "Half of a chicken"

Apparently “Peruvian Chicken” means “Half of a chicken.”

We also tried the breakfast torta with chorizo and a side of the homefries. The chorizo torta was good, a little greasy (but hey, it’s chorizo), but taste-wise it was yummy. We ended up taking it home because we were so stuffed, but Harry ate it for lunch the next day and said it was just as good.

A sandwich that's still good on day 2 is impressive.

A sandwich that’s still good on day 2 is impressive.

 

The homefries were really disappointing. They were dry and overcooked and I was really disappointed. The waitress recommended them highly, so I think maybe we just got the leftovers from an earlier cooked batch, but still, I was hoping for more.

Maybe I'm just weird?

Maybe I’m just weird?

I also ordered the fish taco, because I love fish tacos, and was underwhelmed. I thought it was flavorless and disappointing. I was really hoping for more, especially since it was more expensive than places downtown like Taco Boy or Taco Spot.

If you've got "Taco" in the name, you should make sure that your tacos are the best thing on the menu.

If you’ve got “Taco” in the name, you should make sure that your tacos are the best thing on the menu.

All in all, I’d say this was a perfectly acceptable place to go to brunch, lunch, or dinner. Although I probably wouldn’t make a special trip specifically out to Sullivan’s to eat here like I would with Poe’s or Obstinate Daughter, I definitely wouldn’t be opposed to grabbing some lunch if we were already in the area, especially since they have a really nice patio.

Just look at how pretty it is!

Just look at how pretty it is! via Facebook

Taco Mamacita on Urbanspoon

Goose Island Girls’ Night Out & Giveaway!

If there’s one thing I love more than drinking beer, it’s cooking with beer. So you can imagine how excited I was to be invited to the Goose Island Girls’ Night Out event for their Migration Week in Charleston! The event was held at Charleston Cooks! in Charleston and featured an “interactive cooking demonstration complete with Goose Island beer pairings.” Uh, yes please!

You had me at "Cheers!"

You had me at “Cheers!”

Lily and I arrived at Charleston Cooks! and were super pumped to meet all of the reps from Goose Island, as well as Jesse Valenciana, one of the cofounders & authors of the cookbook “ManBQue.” I wish he would’ve had his cookbook there so I could’ve bought an autographed copy or two. I know some “mans” who would definitely like this book. Although not as cool as a cookbook, we did get these beautiful branded beer glasses, which we sampled their vintage ales out of.

I'm a fancy beer drinker now!

I’m a fancy beer drinker now!

After everyone settled in, we learned that we’d be preparing a number of different recipes, each featuring one of the awesome Goose Island beers we were also going to be tasting that night. Lily and I volunteered to be in charge of the “Breakfast Beer Cheese,” which featured honey, manchego cheese, mustard, and Goose Island’s Matilda ale.

Beer + cheese = Happiness

Beer + cheese = Happiness

We served it with fresh sliced baguette, and it was absolutely delicious.

Also bread.

Also bread.

The main course of the evening was a “Aged Cheddar and Apple Stuffed chicken Breasts Braise in 312 Lager.”

Apple and cheddar is one of those flavors that shouldn't taste good together, but is actually quite yummy.

Apple and cheddar is one of those flavors that shouldn’t taste good together, but is actually quite yummy.

The chicken was pounded out super thin, stuffed with caramelized, chopped apple and shredded cheddar cheese, and then rolled up and braised in Goose Island’s 312 lager. Charleston Cooks! provided these cool rubber things that we used to roll up the chicken, and I was really tempted to buy some after the class.

But I make enough of a mess as it is just using toothpicks.

But I make enough of a mess as it is just using toothpicks.

The chicken was absolutely delicious, and this is definitely a recipe I’d make again.

Mmmm, so good.

Mmmm, so good.

The two boys in the class were in charge of the “Beer Batter Onion Rings with Sriracha Ketchup,” which were done tempura-style and were totally delish. I’m obsessed with sriracha ketchup. It might just be my next go-to condiment. I would have been super intimidated to use the fryer (even though I’ve used one before), so I’m glad the guys volunteered to handle it. And what a great job they did!

Those bubbles do not look warm and inviting, but scary and full of regret.

Those bubbles do not look warm and inviting, but scary and full of regret.

The other side dish for the evening was the “Lemon Ale Risotto with Thyme and Asparagus,” which was made with the Goose Island Sofie ale, and featured arborio rice, fresh lemon zest, and parmesan cheese.

I'll eat pretty much anything with lemon zest on it.

I’ll eat pretty much anything with lemon zest on it.

It was absolutely divine. I kind of wish we’d helped with this one because I’ve never made a risotto before, but Lily didn’t really want to try and sharpen our knife skills (get it?) in front of all of these strangers.

Although in retrospect, it doesn't actually seem that intense.

Although in retrospect, it doesn’t actually seem that intense.

Everything came together wonderfully, and even though each of the dishes had its own distinct flavor profile, they all complemented each other really well. I left feeling very satisfied indeed.

If not craving slightly more vegetables.

If not craving slightly more vegetables.

For dessert, we tried the decadent “Bourbon County Stout Tart with Oreo Cookie Crust.” I’ll let that sink in with you for a second. Yep.

Few ingredients, but full of flavor.

Few ingredients, but full of flavor.

It was damn good. I’m glad they only had enough for each of us to only eat 1, because I definitely could’ve devoured an entire tray.

The stout alone was sweet enough to be considered dessert.

The stout alone was sweet enough to be considered dessert.

We also got to taste all of the beers separately. Although I’m no beer connoisseur, I really liked all 4 of the beers (Sofie, Matilda, 312, and Honker’s Ale) that we sampled at the cooking event. After the event was over, Lily and I went around town to some of the other bars the Goose Island reps were visiting that night and got to try some of their limited edition and rare beers that they were sampling. Some of these I liked, and some of them were not my favorite, but I really enjoyed experiencing them and hanging out with all the reps. It was a very fun evening.

You could say that we "migrated" from bar to bar!

You could say that we “migrated” from bar to bar!

This is one of the more unique events I’ve had the pleasure of attending, and I want to thank Goose Island for letting me be a part of it. Go out and try at least the Honker’s Ale if you’ve never had it before! As a big thanks to all of you, I scored an extra t-shirt and a copy of the “ManBQue” cookbook to give away to you fine folks! To enter, simply leave a comment below with the name of your favorite Goose Island Beer. Earn extra points by following me on Facebook & Twitter. Giveaway ends 7/27 at 11:59 pm. Good luck!

Best of luck!

Best of luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Food Quote of the Week 7/16/14

I’m working on making updates to the blog, so you guys should see a bunch of new comments coming soon. In the meantime, enjoy this week’s food quote!

“Think what a better world it would be if we all–the whole world–had cookies and milk about three o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankies for a nap.”
–Robert Fulghum

 

I wholeheartedly agree. I could really use a nap right now.

I wholeheartedly agree. I could really use a nap right now.

Food Quote of the Week 7/7/14

Sorry guys, I’m a little behind, but I’m going to get caught up, soon! I promise! For now, enjoy this little food quote to keep your appetites whetted until I get to all of the backlog I have.

“If anybody even tries to whisper the word ‘diet,’ I’m like, ‘You can go f- yourself.”
–Jennifer Lawrence

 

She's pretty much my spirit animal.

She’s pretty much my spirit animal.

Weekend Roundup: A DC Whirlwind

This past week, Harry and I drove to Virginia to visit with his family before he left for South Africa. Our first stop of the trip on Thursday was at King’s Dominion, where we got really sweaty and rode a bunch of awesome rollercoasters.

The Intimidator definitely lived up to its name.

The Intimidator definitely lived up to its name.

We then drove to Harry’s childhood home in Bethesda, where I got to meet his brother for the first time, as well as the famous Scruffy dog I’ve been hearing so much about. I also got to meet his 90-year old grandfather, Poppy, who took us to dinner at a delicious Greek restaurant. We ate saganaki, dolmades, hummus, moussaka, and a bunch of other delicious Greek food. Poppy then invited us back to his apartment for an after dinner drink. And by “drink” I mean straight whiskey. Poppy don’t play.

Saganaki: Cheese that they LIGHT ON FIRE and then you eat it. Is this heaven??

Saganaki: Cheese that they LIGHT ON FIRE and then you eat it. Is this heaven??

On Friday, Harry and I went to lunch at a cajun restaurant downtown Bethesda called Louisiana Kitchen. We split fried alligator beignets, some jambalaya and a catfish po’boy, and it was very delicious.

All I can see when I'm eating cajun food is the "Maine Justice" sketch from SNL.

All I can think of when I’m eating cajun food is the “Maine Justice” sketch from SNL.

Afterwards, we went on a nice long hike with the Scruffy dog along the Potomac River, which was absolutely beautiful. For dinner, his parents cooked burgers on the grill, along with some baked kale and corn on the cob. Harry’s mom made these amazing blueberry muffins for dessert, and even though I wanted to eat like 4, I limited myself to 1 (because I’m classy like that).

I think we're all a little scruffy looking in this picture.

Although we’re all a little scruffy looking in this picture.

Saturday morning, Harry’s mom and I went and got our nails done together. We then met Harry at the Metro station and rode into DC for a tour of the National Portrait Gallery, where she’s a docent. After the 2.5 hour tour, we grabbed lunch at a little asian place called Teaism, which was really yummy. His mom went home after lunch, so Harry and I explored the city taking an obnoxious amount of selfies with anything that sparked my interest, including (but not limited to) the sculpture garden, the Hirshhorn, a random zen garden, a carousel, and a bunch of random other things.

So. Many. Selfies.

So. Many. Selfies.

Saturday night we joined his parents to see Jersey Boys (which I really enjoyed), and grabbed a bite to eat at a tapas restaurant near the theater, which was really yummy. On Sunday, we grabbed lunch with Harry’s dad and his friend Lindsay at Moby Dick House Of Kabob, and had some delicious mediterranean food (especially the hummus!). We spent the rest of the day being lazy and hanging out with some of his friends before Harry had to drive me to the airport (right at the beginning of the US-Portugal game). Everyone at the airport was watching the game, and I was caught off guard a couple of times by the random screaming, which every single time made me think we were under attack. But alas, it was just soccer.

His power comes from his beard.

His power comes from his beard.

Leon’s Oyster Shop

Last week when Cullen and Taylor were visiting, we all decided to try out a new lunch spot downtown. Cullen & Harry were craving oysters, so we thought we might give Leon’s a shot, since it had gotten pretty good reviews so far. When we got there, I ordered a diet coke, and knew right away it was going to be a great lunch when they served it to me in an old-timey glass bottle.

Mmm... My lifeblood.

Mmm… My lifeblood.

We started with raw oysters (cocktail sauce, mignonette, saltines, Market price), which we split between the 4 of us. I’m a little iffy about oysters (ew, slimy!) but these were outstanding. They tasted great and were surprisingly un-slimy. We topped them with a spritz of fresh lemon juice, cocktail sauce, and mignonette sauce, which was delicious. I’d absolutely order these again.

Even non-oyster lovers can love these oysters.

I know they look slimy here, but I promise you they really weren’t.

We also decided to try the char-grilled oysters (half dozen, lemon, parsley, butter, parmesan, $10). To be honest, I thought these were going to taste like grilled oysters, but instead they tasted exactly like oysters Rockefeller (which is also on the menu), and although they weren’t exactly what I was expecting, they were still out of this world, so none of us were disappointed. I loved the cheesiness of the parmesan and how the butter and parsley perfect complemented it. I also loved the bread they served it with. Extra buttery and toasted perfectly. Mmmm.

I never thought I'd crave oysters, but that's exactly what I'm doing right now.

I never thought I’d crave oysters, but that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.

For an entrée, Cullen and I both decided to get the fish sandwich (fried or grilled, lettuce, tomato, duke’s mayo, $13). The catch of the day was Mahi, so we both decided to try it fried. They serve it on these big fresh buns from Browns Court Bakery, which are delicious all on their own, and the sandwich came together like something from a symphony.

"Hey girl, can I buy you a fish sandwich?"

“Hey girl, can I buy you a fish sandwich?”

Harry apparently had not yet eaten enough oysters, so he decided to try the fried oyster sandwich (lettuce, tomato, avocado, comeback sauce, $13). I’m not sure what comeback sauce is, but this sandwich was on point. Harry ate it in like 2.5 seconds, but I snuck a bite in when he wasn’t looking. Like I said, I’m not crazy about oysters, but this sandwich was awesome. The oysters were fried perfectly, the breading was nice and crisp, and you can tell they served it as soon as they cooked it because it was still nice and hot, and the breading hadn’t yet had an opportunity to get soggy.

Oysters, oysters, everywhere.

Oysters, oysters, everywhere.

Taylor opted for the shrimp sandwich (fried or grilled; lettuce, tomato, avocado, comeback sauce, $13). Because we had all decided to clog our arteries together, she also opted to get it fried, and though I tend to prefer grilled shrimp, this sandwich was delicious. Idk if I would’ve though to put avocado on a shrimp sandwich, but it really, really worked.

That bun, though.

That bun, though.

There’s so much more on the menu that I want to try—from the fried chicken, to the fried clam wraps, to the shrimp toast—so you can bet that I’ll be back…and soon!

Chabby chic, it's the new thing. Via Southern Living

Chabby chic, it’s the new thing. Photo: Lacy Morris / Southern Living

Leon’s Oyster Shop
(843) 531-6500
698 King St
Charleston, SC 29403

Leon's Oyster Shop on Urbanspoon

Weekend Roundup: Charleston Like A Tourist

I kicked off this weekend with the Florida Georgia Line and Nelly concert at the Joe in Charleston with Harry. Cullen and Taylor came down for it as well, and we had a great time jamming out under the stars.

I'm not even ashamed to say I enjoyed myself.

I’m not even ashamed to say I enjoyed myself.

Friday kicked off Girls Weekend, hosted by my roommate Regina, in which a bunch of her friends and family came down to tour Charleston and experience some of her favorite restaurants and attractions in honor of her 1 year anniversary of moving down here! We started the weekend off with dinner at FIG, which was kind of a disaster, as the manager was very rude to our group and the whole situation was just awkward and uncomfortable. Lily and I finished the evening at Rarebit, where we were joined by Harry and some of his friends. I’m obsessed with the macaroni and cheese at Rarebit, and the patty melt is really good as well! You should check it out if you haven’t been.

If mac & cheese was a diet food, I'd be so skinny!

If mac & cheese was a diet food, I’d be so skinny!

Saturday was a jam packed day. We got our nails done at Tips-2-Toes on George St. downtown, Regina’s favorite nail salon (mine is Luxia in West Ashley, in case you were wondering). I picked a white-pink color, which was really pretty.

I'm as surprised as you are that I didn't pink something neon and glittery.

I’m as surprised as you are that I didn’t pick something neon and glittery.

We then drove to North Charleston for lunch at Nigel’s Good Food, a delicious soul food restaurant on Ashley Phosphate. Regina had been a couple of times, but this was my first time. We split an order of the whiskey shrimp, geechie wings, and fried green tomatoes with the table, and everything was delicious. For my entree, I ordered the Lowcountry Ravioli (Grilled Chicken, Bacon, Collards Greens, Black-eye Pea & Corn
Relish & Cheese stuffed Ravioli tossed in a Whiskey Cream Sauce, $11.95) and it was super yummy. I’ll definitely be back!

I want to eat all of that food right now.

I want to eat all of that food right now.

After lunch, I joined the girls at Frothy Beard, for a quick brewery tour before we headed back downtown for my first ever Carriage Tour. I was originally dreading it because I hate being the car stuck behind the horse tours downtown, but it ended up being a lot of fun and very educational!

And only about 80% as smelly as I thought it was going to be!

And only about 80% as smelly as I thought it was going to be!

After the tour, we headed to Wadmalaw Island to see the Angel Oak Tree, which was spectacular as always. We also went out to the Firefly Distillery, but arrived too late to do any of the tastings. The man working there was really rude to us when we arrived, telling us “We’re closed. Y’all need to plan better,” even though we got there 10 minutes before they closed, and just wanted to look around for a few minutes. Having worked in customer service for a long time, being rude (even at closing time) isn’t a way to treat your loyal customers.

But the Angel Oak is always polite.

But the Angel Oak is always polite.

Sunday, we had a 4-hour long brunch at Halls Chophouse. It was my first time visiting for brunch, and it was outstanding (as usual). The service we received was top notch and everyone agreed that this was the highlight of their trip. I ordered the chicken-fried bison and waffle sandwich and split some grits with Lily. She ordered the “Lowcountry Biscuits and Gravy” which was less biscuits and gravy, and more biscuits and succotash with fried oysters, but it was delicious either way. It was an amazing meal, but I immediately went into a food coma for the rest of the afternoon.

Halls is so good it shouldn't be legal.

Halls is so good it shouldn’t be legal.

What did you guys think of that Game of Thrones finale?! I can’t believe it’s already over!

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