Twenty Six Divine

One of the best parts of Restaurant week in Charleston is that it always falls on my birthday week, so I end up going out like 4 or 5 times with different friends to celebrate. This year, I had 4 great meals, but my favorite of all the places I tried was Twenty Six Divine! I hadn’t ever even heard of it prior to RW, but I’m officially a fan. Walking up, Sheena and I were delighted by the courtyard, and the interior was small and cozy and felt like we were eating dinner at a friend’s house.

It's like eating dinner in somebody's living room!

Photo Bomb!

When we first sat down, we were greeted by Jennifer Parezo, co-owner & pastry chef (with her husband Enan, who’s the chef). She sat down 2 different kinds of rolls for us to enjoy, and enjoy we did. I loved the hawaiian bread, it tasted similar to the kind you buy in the store, but amplified by about a thousand. So fresh and warm. Mmm… The multigrain roll was also super flavorful and I loved the sunflower seeds on top.

I'll just cancel my entree and eat more bread, please!

I’ll just cancel my entree and eat more bread, please!

For my first course, I went with the Bacon & Avocado Salad (mixed greens, baby tomatoes, goat cheese, avocado, radish, smokey tomato vinaigrette). It was awesome. I love pretty much any salad with bacon or goat cheese in it, and this one had BOTH. The veggies in this salad tasted so fresh, I wonder if they picked them from the garden that morning!

So yummy

I could totally eat this every day.

Sheena got the White Bean Zucchini Cakes, which came with red pepper coulis and more fresh baby tomatoes. They came out looking like mini crab cakes and had similar consistency, but the flavor was totally unique. I wish I could figure out how to make them because they were so simple, but also so full of taste.

And that sauce!

And that sauce! I’m in heaven.

After they cleared out our appetizers, we were each given an amuse bouche of a little cheesy pastry, and it was soooo good. I could’ve eaten a whole basket of those. And they served it on one of those individual soup spoons and it was just too cute.

But 20 in a basket would be even better! #Addicted

But 20 in a basket would be even better! #Addicted

For my entree, I debated furiously between the pork dish and the lamb dish. In the end, my southern side won out and no one was surprised when I ordered the Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork (pork shoulder, collards, petite jalapeno-cheddar corn muffins, smoked gouda mac ‘n cheese). The pulled pork was served wrapped in the collard greens like a paleo burrito, and it was unique and totally delicious. I loved the tanginess of the BBQ sauce paired with the collard greens. And that macaroni…. So good.

And who doesn't love a tower of jalapeno-cheddar corn muffins??

And who doesn’t love a tower of jalapeno-cheddar corn muffins??

Sheena opted to be a little healthier than I, and chose the Cilantro-Lime Seared Mahi Mahi (roasted chayote squash, Carolina gold rice cake, mango buerre blanc). I’m not crazy about fish, but I loved this mahi. It was so full of flavor and was cooked perfectly and cilantro-lime of the fish struck the perfect balance with the mango buerre blanc.

Meals like these make me wish I'd continued on with culinary school.

Meals like these make me wish I’d continued on with culinary school.

For dessert, I was lured into ordering the Chocolate Mousse Cake by the promise of Salted caramel that accompanied the buttermilk chocolate cake and the dark chocolate mousse filling. It was super rich, but super delicious. Everything you want from chocolate cake.

With the added bonus of salted caramel!

With the added bonus of salted caramel!

Sheena, being a pastry chef herself, was ready to judge the crap out of the Mixed Berry Ricotta Tart she ordered for dessert, but ended up singing its praises. The light fluffy vanilla tart was the perfect counterpoint to my rich chocolate cake.

And how cute is that plate?!

And how cute is that plate?!

Once we were stuffed to the point of being uncomfortable, we were given a tiny 2nd dessert of mini apple tartlets which Sheena and I couldn’t stop raving about. She loved that they used nutmeg, rather than cinnamon which gave it a really unique taste and differentiated it from a standard apple pie. I hope these are on the regular menu, because they were so yummy!

And so cute and mini!

And so cute and mini!

I can’t wait to come back and try them out for brunch when I can sit out on this little terrace they have out back. Thanks for the great meal Jenn & Enan!

I can already see myself sitting right there, drinking a cup of coffee, lamenting my hangover.

I can already see myself sitting right there, drinking a cup of coffee, lamenting my hangover.

Twenty Six Divine
682 King St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 297-8118
Twenty Six Divine on Urbanspoon

Quote of the Week 9/24/14

Yesterday was the first day of fall and today is the birthday of one of my very bestest friends, Christina-lina! Hope you have a wonderful day everybody, if you need me, I’ll be at Starbucks drinking a Pumpkin Spice Latte.

“Autumn seemed to arrive suddenly that year. The morning of the first September was crisp and golden as an apple.”
–J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

http://harrypotter.wikia.com/wiki/File:Pumpkin_hp3.jpeg

Photo Credit: Harry Potter Wiki

Tupelo Honey Cafe, Greenville, SC

Once upon a time, Lauren and I were looking for a good brunch place in Greenville. My mom did a quick Google search and suggested Tupelo Honey. From the moment we walked in, I could tell I was going to like this place. The atmosphere was fun, colorful, and inviting, and it smelled absolutely amazing. I now make it a point to go to Tupelo every time I’m in Greenville, and sometimes Lauren even drives up from Augusta because it’s that good, and Shay always makes time to meet us there, no matter how busy she is.

And we always have this amount of joy, even if we've had to wait an hour for a table.

And we always have this amount of joy, even if we’ve had to wait an hour for a table.

Once you order, they bring you a plate of these huge, warm housemade biscuits that are served with housemade blueberry preserves, which are out of this world, and some honey (which I assume is the tupelo variety). Also the biscuits are huge. And flaky. And warm.

Are you drooling yet?

Are you drooling yet?

My favorite appetizer is the “Southern Popcorn,” or as you might know it better, fried okra ($7.95). It’s well worth the price, as they give you approximately 4,000 pieces of okra. It’s perfectly fried and only has a little bit of the “slimy-ness” that people associate with okra, which I personally think is delicious. They serve it with “Carolina white sauce” which pairs perfectly.

Give me ALL THE OKRA

Give me ALL THE OKRA

On the past couple of trips, we’ve also gotten the fried green tomatoes ($7.95), because Shay has suddenly found a deep affinity for them. They’re breaded in cornmeal and served over their delicious goat cheese grits and sprinkled with fresh basil. They’re also so freaking tasty.

Seriously. Why is there not a Tupelo in Charleston?!

Seriously. Why is there not a Tupelo in Charleston?!

Lauren always gets the Venerated Veggie Bowl (Our Goat Cheese Grits, topped with salsa verde black-eyed peas, savory sautéed greens and crispy fried okra. Served with Sunshot Salsa, $12.95). I’m pretty sure she dreams about those goat cheese grits sometimes. All the flavors mesh really well together and there’s a great harmony of texture in the bowl. Plus it has “veggie” in the title, so it tricks you into thinking it’s healthy.

It's not. But it is delicious.

It’s not. But it is delicious.

I try to get something different every time, although it’s hard because I definitely have a favorite. The Southern Fried Chicken BLT (Crispy-fried, natural, hormone-free chicken
breast, maple peppered bacon, dijonnaise, fresh lettuce & tomato on an artisanal bun, $10.95) is out of this world. It’s HUGE and bursting with flavor. So yummy.

Served here with the salsa verde black eyed peas

Served here with the salsa verde black eyed peas

Shay recently got the In Praise Of BBQ plate (8 ounces of slow-cooked, hand-pulled pork ‘cue tossed with smoked jalapeno barbecue sauce. Served with fried okra and New South sautéed greens, $13.95). I’m usually hesitant to order BBQ from a non-BBQ restaurant, but Tupelo’s version is delicious. It’s tangy and has a little kick to it which sets it apart from most southern BBQ offerings.

You definitely won't leave hungry.

You definitely won’t leave hungry.

Their sides are all delicious and reasonably priced at $3.75 each. They also have a veggie plate option, where you can choose 3 for $10.95 or 4 for $12.95 and build your own meal. All 13 sides that they feature are awesome–I’ve never been disappointed by any of them so far. I’m especially fond of the mac and cheese (obviously), the salsa verde black eyed peas, and the cheesy smashed cauliflower.

Harry opted for the smashed cauliflower, brussels, and mac & cheese. Pretty good choice, if you ask me!

Harry opted for the smashed cauliflower, brussels, and mac & cheese. Pretty good choice, if you ask me!

There are currently 8 locations throughout SC, NC, and TN. I think it’s about time they build one in Charleston. I’m pretty sure I could singlehandedly keep them in business. Plus, they just debuted their new brunch menu!

Waaah, I want to go to there.

Waaah, I want to go to there.

Tupelo Honey Cafe
1 North Main Street
Suite – T
Greenville, SC 29601
864-451-6200

Tupelo Honey Cafe on Urbanspoon

Edmund’s Oast

I’ve been to Edmund’s Oast a couple of times. First for brunch, and then for dinner. For brunch, I went with Lily, on a lazy Sunday morning after a night of drinking and debauchery. When we walked in, I was struck by how massive the beer list is. It’s not even a list, it’s a whole wall.

I'll have one of everything!

I’ll have one of everything!

I also really liked the design of the menu. Simple yet sophisticated.

So many words!

So many words!

We started with an order of the cornbread (served with honey butter, $4) which is absolutely mindblowing. I think it might be the best cornbread I’ve ever had. And that honey butter. OMG. I can’t even explain it, you’ll just have to try it for yourself. Somehow, we hit the jackpot, and they accidentally sent out a second cornbread, which Lily and I devoured before they’d realized their mistake.

Seriously. Is this made out of angels?

Seriously. Is this made out of angels?

They change their menus weekly, so I don’t know exactly what I ordered, but it was delicious. I ordered a dish that was a play on biscuits and gravy. It was potatoes confit with jerky gravy, cornbread (more cornbread!) and sunnyside eggs. Now, I don’t love eggs, and I can really only eat them scrambled (it’s a texture thing). It was so freaking good.

You had me at "

You had me at “Potatoes.”

Lily had braised pancetta with polenta, slow poached far eggs & smokey greens. That braised pancetta was unreal. Lily fought my fork away when I tried to steal a taste off of her plate, but I managed to sneak some away when she succumbed to the bliss of her breakfast and closed her eyes for a second.

With a side of sunburn.

With a side of sunburn.

We also split a side of bacon, because we’re lardos. It turned out to be a good decision, because it was awesome. Plus they smoke all of the meat in house, so it would’ve been wrong to not try the bacon. Right?

Right?!

Right?!

Here’s where they age / smoke all of the meat. It’s cool how much it adds to the ambiance while still being functional. I love this place!

Can I come back here every weekend??

Can I come back here every weekend??

The second time I visited was with my mom for dinner, and we went all out (as one usually does when Tina’s involved). Since it was after 5, and they had such a nice selection of specialty cocktails, Tina decided to try a Red Wedding cocktail (Elijah Craig 12 year, amaro averna, orange peel, hibiscus thyme sweet tea ice cubes, $12), which seemed appropriate because we were going to be watching Game of Thrones later that night. She loved this cocktail, and despite it being kind of pricey, ordered a second one. She loved that the flavor of the drink changed as the ice cubes melted, and she said it tasted unlike anything she’d had before.

I mean, how could you not??

I mean, how could you not??

When you first walk into EO, one of the first things you notice is the massive beer wall, 48 taps chock full of local and not-so-local ales that you can try. One of the beers they brew in house, the PB&J beer had always intrigued me, so I decided to give it a try. OMG. It is so good. It sounds like it might taste overly sweet or overpowering, but it’s anything but. You get a slight sweetness when you first sip, and a hint of peanut butter after you swallow. I’m a fan.

Even though they apparently don't have it anymore. Sadness.

Even though they apparently don’t have it anymore. Sadness.

To start, we got the “Gin Joint” style Jerky (1.50), which was cut thin, appropriately tough, and super flavorful. It had a very “real” taste. Nothing artificial here. Slightly firm, but also crisp that made is seem homemade and like a lot of work was put into it.

Even if it was a little more on the "well done" side.

Even if it was a little more on the “well done” side.

At the waitress’s recommendation, we also ordered the braised lamb meatballs(apricots, argus cider, mint, $12) as an appetizer. Although this was probably my least favorite dish of the meal, it was still very flavorful and yummy. I really liked the salty-sweet aspect that the apricot added, and I liked that they were kind of spongy, but not frozen tasting.

I do love me some lamb!

Like if Swedish meatballs were made of lamb and tasted nothing like Swedish meatballs.

I ordered the chicken gizzard and duck heart tagliatelle because I was feeling adventurous after the amazing bone marrow pasta I had in NYC, and was not disappointed. Tina was really grossed out by the idea of the dish, but was absolutely astounded by how good it tasted. I would probably order this every time I go back. The noodles tasted homemade and were the perfect vehicle for the sauce. So yummy.

I think the only part of a duck I haven't eaten now is the feet.

I think the only part of a duck I haven’t eaten now is the feet.

Tina got the Chicken and rice porridge which was so delicious. She’s always really nervous about getting chicken soups because she considers hers to be the end-all-be-all. She just kept saying “Oh my god, this is so yummmeh,” every time she ate a spoonful. So I’d say that’s a hit.

And this one was juuuuust right!

And this one was juuuuust right!

For dessert, we couldn’t resist the call of the fudgy brownie with graham crackers and meringue. This dessert is possibly heaven on earth. If heaven had a flavor this is what it would be. I don’t even think I can accurately describe it here, so just go order it and be astounded. Like. It’s SO GOOD. I can’t get over it.

I don't think I'll ever have a brownie this good ever again.

I don’t think I’ll ever have a brownie this good ever again.

The waitress recommended the dessert cocktail, which we were a little skeptical of since it had egg in it, but we decided to go for it to try something new. Not my favorite.

Can't win 'em all!

Can’t win ‘em all!

Tina also ordered the cookie sandwich (because, why not?) and it was delicious and simple. I want to start making this at home.

I love cookies and sandwiches, so this is the best of both worlds.

I love cookies and sandwiches, so this is the best of both worlds.

We ordered the strawberry cake as well, and it came to the table after the chocolate thing. I think we would’ve loved it a lot more if we’d eaten it before the chocolate orgasm dish, but after that brownie, all other desserts pale in comparison. I think if you’re less of a chocolate person, you’d much prefer this strawberry cake, which was tangy and fruity and not so sweet, but somehow that was ok.

And plus, look at how pretty it is!

And plus, look at how pretty it is!

I’d have to say that this was an outstanding meal, and I can’t wait to go back again. Plus, the atmosphere is something else. I absolutely love it here.

Plus, those lights!

It’s like modern medieval. 

Edmund’s Oast
1081 Morrison Dr
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 727-1145

Edmund's Oast on Urbanspoon

Quote of the Week 8/4/14

I’ve been (unsuccessfully) trying to eat fewer carbs lately, which has ended up making me crave bread and pasta even more. It’s a vicious cycle.

“Plain fresh bread, its crust shatteringly crisp. Sweet cold butter. There is magic in the way they come together in your mouth to make a single perfect bite.”
–Ruth Reichl

ruth-reichl-bread-quote

Great. Now I’m craving a milkshake, too.

Charleston Culinary Tours

*Note: I was given free tickets to a Charleston Culinary Tour in exchange for my review. This does not impact my review of them at all*

A few weeks back, I was invited to join a Charleston Culinary Tour of my choice. Since I knew Lauren was coming to visit me at the end of July, I thought that would be the perfect opportunity to do something new and different. The tours offered on Saturday are the Chef’s Showcase At The Farmers Market, Mixology, and Upper King Street. For whatever reason, the Upper King Street tour wasn’t available for the date we wanted to go (as is my life), so we decided on the Farmers Market tour.

We met our tour leader, Glenn (who is also one of the owners of the company), bright and early Saturday morning (9:30am) over by the Visitor’s Center, and he introduced us to Chef Garrett Priester of Southend Brewery, who would be our chef on the tour. Unlike the other tours they do, this one is much more interactive, as we get to pick out all of the ingredients ourselves and the chef essentially has to come up with a meal based on the ingredients we chose.  Chef Garrett was very friendly and genuine and seemed really excited about basically being our Iron Chef for the day.

Chef Garrett in his natural habitat.

Chef Garrett in his natural habitat. Photo via Charleston Culinary Tours

Our first stop at the Farmers Market was to visit the shrimp man, who picked out some fresh-caught shrimp that the chef was going to cook with. Lauren doesn’t really eat shrimp and mentioned it to Chef Garrett who said he’d be happy to leave the shrimp out of her dish, which was very accommodating.

He was very informative about shrimp!

He was very informative about shrimp!

We were then led over to the tent of a local farm in the area whose name escapes me (whoops!). Our group had only 7 people in it, but somehow we still managed to pick out pretty much every single vegetable they had available, including heirloom tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, boiled peanuts, okra, collard greens, corn, watermelon, cantaloupe and so much more!

So many veggies!

So many veggies!

After veggies, it was time to visit Mike the Cheese Man, who had these cute little snacks ready for us to sample. Some fresh mozzarella bruschetta, and some spiced brie on strawberries. We also sampled a couple of his cheeses plain (chocolate washed cheese anyone??) before we decided as a group on the Chardonnay washed brie, which was super tasty.

I can never say "no" to cheese.

I can never say “no” to cheese.

After we picked out the cheese, Chef Garrett went off to round up another protein and we were given 25 minutes to wander the market and do whatever we want. Lauren and I grabbed a delicious iced latte from a local coffee stand and stopped to watch a group of talented street performers do acrobatics that would likely kill me if I attempted any of them.

We met back up with Glenn who led us on a leisurely stroll from the Farmers Market to Southend Brewery, stopping at numerous points to tell us about restaurants we should try (Burwell’s, Amen St.) and those we should avoid (Hymans.. but, I mean, duh).

Our fearless leader!

Our fearless leader!

We finally arrived at Southend Brewery and were seated family-style at a private table on the second floor for the beginnings of our 5-course feast. The first thing Chef brought out was a pitcher of watermelon mojitos, which were absolutely delish. I loved how fresh it tasted and I never would’ve thought to make something like that.

But you can bet I will now!

But you can bet I will now!

Our first course was an heirloom tomato caprese salad with fresh mozzarella and sweet balsamic reduction. Chef also made an olive oil, herb, and truffle dressing to go on it which was the perfect complement.

I'm obsessed with heirloom tomatoes, though.

I’m obsessed with heirloom tomatoes. I don’t even care if that makes me sound pretentious, HARRY.

Perhaps the most unique and inventive dish we sampled was the second course, prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe with peaches, crispy prosciutto, and sweet balsamic reduction. I don’t even have words to describe how good this was-sweet, salty, savory, and fruity all at the same time. Bravo!

SO yummy!

I’m going to start wrapping all of my fruit in prosciutto!

Our 3rd course was a shrimp and veggie succotash served over Carolina Gold rice, and topped with some of those freshly caught shrimp, cooked perfectly. True to his word, Chef made Lauren her own little pot of veggie succotash sans shrimp. It was so delicious; hearty like a stew, but not so filling that we wouldn’t still be hungry for the courses that follow. This is definitely a recipe I’d like to have at home.

Sufferin' Succotash!

Sufferin’ Succotash!

By the time course 4 came around, I was starting to hit a wall. Lauren looked at me with eyes that said “please don’t make me eat anymore,” BUT I HAVE NO MERCY. For our penultimate course, Chef prepared a Farmers Market hash using some breakfast sausage he picked up at the market and the remainder of the vegetables we picked out, including boiled peanuts, sweet potatoes, brussels sprouts, okra, and onions. He topped the hash with a mustard aioli, some of the chardonnay-washed cheese we picked out, and paired the whole thing with a fried egg for a perfectly balanced brunch meal. The hash was absolutely delicious. The mustard aioli paired perfectly with the sausage and everything was so flavorful and fresh that it’s a wonder people don’t cook like this all the time.

Like, so good.

Like, so good.

Before the dessert came out, Chef brought us around another piece of the fresh cheese we’d picked out (I forget which one this was), served on a cracker with an okra chip and a raspberry jam that was pretty delicious. I’d like to make these for a cocktail party.

You know, when I start hosting cocktail parties.

You know, when I start hosting cocktail parties.

The dessert course was a peach and fresh berry cobbler topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream. It was served in these adorable little individual ramekins and were still warm out of the oven. It was absolutely heavenly. Even though I felt like I couldn’t possibly eat anymore, I still couldn’t put my spoon down to stop eating until it was gone.

I mean, how delicious does that look?!

I mean, how delicious does that look?!

Sitting family-style afforded us a great opportunity to talk with the other people on the tour during and between courses. The couple who sat next to us from the Atlanta area were super friendly and asked a number of questions about restaurant recommendations, and I’m curious to know where they ended up going the rest of the trip. The other three people on the tour were friends from Miami and were full of fun information and we all got along really well. After the meal, we gave Chef a hearty round of applause for a meal well done!

I don't even know what I'm doing with my arm there.

I don’t even know what I’m doing with my arm there.

It was a great experience and I highly recommend it, whether you’re a Charleston local or visiting from out of town!

Charleston-Culinary-Tour
Charleston Culinary Tours
843-259-2966

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

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