Browsing Category

Restaurant Reviews

Restaurant Reviews

Carolima’s Gullah Cuisine

November 10, 2017

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of attending Carolima’s first Gullah/Geechee dinner in Goose Creek as a guest of Carolima’s chef, Sameka Jenkins. As I was stuck in traffic for over an hour traveling from Johns Island, I thought to myself this food better be worth it. After stuffing myself with all the Gullah food my stomach could fit (and then some), the verdict was clear: the food is definitely worth it!

I mean, seriously.

The setup was super casual, with a number of tables setup community style, meaning you sit down with a bunch of strangers (but leave with lots of new friends)! While they were putting some finishing touches on the meal, they had us play fun little word games, handing out plates with common Gullah/Geechee phrases on them and asking us what they mean.

Chef Sameka quizzing us on our knowledge of the Gullah/Geechee language.

They also brought out little appetizers to whet our palate while we waited for the main event. The first was some of the best fried okra I’ve ever had. The breading was nice and light and perfectly seasoned, and there wasn’t a lot of that token sliminess that okra is known for.

Hello okra my old friend.

Next, we had a “Lowcountry Egg Roll” stuffed with collard greens and pork. It was really yummy, and a fun twist on a classic. These were really fun to eat!

South meets east in the best possible way.

The food was set out on the bar buffet-style, and one table at a time lined up to be served. Everything was amazing. I loaded up on one of everything (because why not?!) and was thoroughly impressed with every bite I took.

Look how happy and excited everyone is!

My absolute, hands-down favorite thing was the fried chicken. Holy cow. I don’t know what she puts in her breading, but it is jam-packed full of flavor and super light and crispy. I definitely got up for seconds.

Chef Sameka, if you wanted to supply me with endless fried chicken, I would not complain one bit.

There were also a ton of sides, everything you could possibly want. Like cabbage

One of my favorite veggies

grits

With shrimp and all the fixin’s

and, of course, rice (in a few different iterations).

Each iteration just as delicious as the last.

There were 2 different dessert bars: the Charleston Chewy and the Red Velvet Brownie. My favorite were the Charleston Chewies. I’m not 100% sure on all of the ingredients in these bars, but I am sure of one thing: there is a lot of butter. And I am here for it.

Chewies, where have you been all my life?!

The creative director of Carolimas, Rethmiriam Barr, also gave us a fun mini-history lesson that talked about the differences between Gullah and Geechee, and its cultural impact on the Lowcountry.

Thank you, Rethmiriam!

All in all, this was an unforgettable event. The food was amazing, the people were friendly and boisterous, and I learned a lot! I’m not sure when the next Gullah/Geechee dinner will be held, but in the meantime, Carolima’s is offering an amazing menu for Thanksgiving: Garlic & Herb Roasted Turkey (12-14lbs), their “Famous” Macaroni & Cheese, Sweet Potato Souffle topped with Brown Sugar and Pecans, Sautéed Green Beans, Cornbread Dressing, Southern Style Brown Gravy for 10 people for just $175! Place your order ASAP and be ready to impress everyone at your table!

Now that’s what I call Thanksgiving!

Restaurant Reviews

Cinco Tex-Mex

October 27, 2017

Back in May, I attended a preview party for Cinco, a new tex-mex style restaurant in Mount Pleasant. We had margaritas and watched an awesome machine press out freshly made tortillas, which was pretty freakin’ cool.

The end result… ain’t she a beaut?!

We were excited to go back and try it on a normal day, since our preview experience was pretty positive. We started with a pineapple margarita, which was tasty. Nice and tangy, with just a hint of sweetness. My only complaint was that the pineapple chunks at the bottom kept getting stuck up in the straw, which made it a little tricky to drink.

Syd started with a regular margarita, which was a lot easier to drink (unless you’re like me and have to take an antacid after every margarita). It had the perfect balance of sweet and sour, and didn’t immediately have me reaching to my purse for a Tums.

Always a good sign!

Because Syd had been craving nachos lately, we decided to split and order of Cinco’s Nachos (individual corn tortilla chips topped with your choice of meat–chorizo, fajita beef, or fajita chicken–refried beans, cheese, jalapeño, with sour cream, pico, and guacamole, $8). Our waitress was enthusiastic about the chorizo, so we chose that as our topping, and we weren’t disappointed! The chorizo was packed full of flavor, and thankfully lacked a lot of the grease that you’ll find at many other Mexican restaurants.

Nacho problem.

For my entree, I decided to go with the Carnitas (braised pork shank with grilled onions and peppers, fresh flour tortillas pico de gallo, sour cream, and 2 sides, $21). For the price, I had very high expectations, but luckily, this dish delivered! The meat practically fell off the bone and was so much more flavorful than I ever expected carnitas could be. Plus, they give you enough food that you can definitely make 2 meals out of it.

This could be a pterodactyl shank for how huge it is.

The carnitas are served with the warm, fresh tortillas off the tortilla press, and that seriously makes all the difference. I filled up 2.5 of these babies, and it didn’t even look like I made a dent on my shank.

Rolled up all snug in a rug, headed to my tummy.

For our sides, we opted for the Frijoles Refrito and Arroz Roja (included with the cost of the carnitas, but $4 each if you got them on the side). The beans were absolutely fantastic. They were nice and creamy, wth just the right hints of smoke and spice. The rice was just ok. It was flavorful, but pretty dry… it didn’t blow me away.

Delicious beans, meh rice.

Syd ordered the Enchiladas (choice of meat: barbacoa beef, chicken tinga, or spinach & bean. Choice of sauces: roja, verde, or suizas. Served with 2 sides, $12). Our waitress recommended we try the barbacoa with the verde, which we did. We really enjoyed it, although I think with the verde sauce, I would’ve preferred chicken. The barbacoa meat itself was very tasty and tender, but I think it pairs better with a red sauce (but that’s just me). The sides we chose were the Arroz Verde and the Corn Salsa, which our waittress also recommended. The arroz verde was a lot more flavorful than the roja, and the corn salad was nice and refreshing, but otherwise not noteworthy.

The arroz rice is much better!

I’m not sure if Cinco offers dessert, but even if they did, we wouldn’t have been able to stomach it.

We’re nothing if not thorough.

All in all, I thought Cinco was a delicious meal, and for the most part was impressed with both the quality and portion sizes of the food we tried. I can’t wait to go back and try more things off the menu!

Cinco Tex-Mex
1035 Johnnie Dodds Blvd #B7
Mount Pleasant, SC 29464
(843) 606-6788

Cinco Tex-Mex Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Reviews

Famulari’s Pizzeria & Brewpub

October 20, 2017

Pizza is one of those foods that brings us all together. Pretty much everyone can agree that if you need to feed a lot of people for not a lot of money, the answer is pizza. But just because you get a lot out of each pie doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality! All my friends make fun of me because I’m pretty particular about my pizza, so if I’m reviewing a pizza joint, you better believe it’s worth it!

So true, Albert. So true.

Famulari’s is a local chain, with locations in West Ashley, Summerville, Goose Creek and a pretty new location on James Island. Each of the stores follow the same basic menu, with the exception of the James Island location, which brews their own beer and offers brunch. They’re most well known for being pretty much the only place in Charleston for serving Chicago-style deep dish pizza, and since Chicago is still on my domestic travel bucket list, I was really looking forward to trying deep dish pizza without having to hop on a plane.

Although flying to a new city specifically for the food is not exactly out of character for me.

Fams offers 4 different options for their 14-inch stuffed pizzas (although any of their specialty pizzas can be made into a Chicago Stuffed Pizza, or you can build your own). On my first visit, we kept it really simple with the Chi-Town Classic (mozzarella, double pepperoni, double sausage, chunky sauce, $25.99). The pie dense, it must’ve weighed like close to 10 pounds and I wasn’t sure how we’d be able to finish it. The chunky sauce was fantastic, with a nice bit of acidity and tang, with just a bit of sweetness to balance it out. There was a nice distribution of toppings, so I felt like I got an even spread in each bite. This was a definite winner.

That’s one fat pizza pie.

On my second visit, we went in a different direction with the Greek (mozzarella, spinach, black olive, artichoke, feta, chunky sauce, $25.99), which was a really awesome choice. It was like a greek salad under a blanket of chunky red sauce, all things I love.

Guess how many people were at the table to eat that much food?

We also tried an order of their Spinach Cheese Bread (pan-baked dough loaded with fresh spinach, mozzarella, cheddar, and topped with “shake,” $6.99), which was delicious. The bread was perfectly cheesy and had a lot of flavor, and I liked the addition of the spinach to trick my brain into thinking I was eating something healthy.

My brain is very easily tricked. Proof: all of my ex-boyfriends.

Because I’m also obsessed with white pizzas, I also decided to try their version. The White (ricotta sauce, mozzarella, garlic, basil, tomato, $15.99 for a 14-inch pie) was absolutely delicious! Lots of flavor in the sauce without being overbearing, and I loved the addition of the tomatoes and basil.

Again, it has green stuff on it, so I can feel less guilty about how much pizza I ate.

I visited the brewpub on James Island for brunch with friends who were visiting from out of town. Their regular menu was basically the same, (although they do have double the number of appetizers, with amazing sounding dishes like fried cheese curds, zeppoles, and chicken tenders). The space was much bigger than their West Ashley location, and I absolutely loved how spacious and inviting their outdoor patio/beergarden was.

My picture turned out to be blurry, so this one comes via Famularis’ Facebook

I’ve never been to brunch at a pizza place before, but the menu was so mouthwatering that I was really looking forward to it! There was a good mix of sweet (like french toast topped with Grand Marnier Syrup) and savory (deep dish frittata of the day, a smaller version of their Chicago-style deep dish, with a brunch spin), which is definitely required of a quality brunch. We started with an order of Beignets (deep fried dough, topped with powdered sugar, $4), which I absolutely love. Their version was made with some of their pizza dough, and was nice and pillowy and sweet. We probably could’ve eaten a 2nd order, but we restrained ourselves.

Like heavenly little clouds of sugar.

Since I tend to prefer savory foods at brunch, I opted for the Caprese Crostini (crispy toasted bread, topped with fried eggs, avocado, fresh mozzarella, tomato, basil, and extra virgin olive oil, served with your choice of side, $11). Eggs + avocado + bread = my favorite thing, so I absolutely loved this dish! Adding in the mozzarella and tomato made for a delicious and well-rounded open-faced breakfast sandwich that I will definitely be back for. I opted for the home fries as my side, and boy was I glad I did! They were super crispy outside, but nice and pillowy inside, exactly what everyone loves in a home fry. Plus, at only $11, I felt like this dish was a total steal.

Eggs, Potatoes, Avocado, oh my!

They also offer a brunch-twist on a classic calzone, in the form of a fruit Turnover (dough filled with sweet ricotta and your choice of fresh blueberries or Granny Smith cinnamon apple filling. Topped with your choice of raspberry or caramel sauce, and served with your choice of brunch side item, $10). We had 2 people at our table order this, and they both loved it. The apples topped with caramel definitely had more of the makings of a classic apple pie, which I was a huge fan of.

Hello, gorgeous.

The blueberry filling (topped with raspberry sauce) was really sweet and tasted like summertime. I was happy to have a bite of it, but it was a little too sweet for me. But my dining companion didn’t seem to mind, as she cleaned her entire plate.

Plus the color is much more Instagrammable.

All in all, I’ve had many fantastic meals at Famulari’s, and if you haven’t visited them yet (especially the brewpub), you should get on that post haste!

Here’s another shot of the crostini because I’m so obsessed with it.

Famulari’s Brewpub
1291 Folly Rd
Charleston, SC 29412
843-225-4646

Restaurant Reviews

HōM Charleston

September 1, 2017

So, HoM (pronounced like “home”) is one of those restaurants I’d always hesitated on reviewing because I’d had so many mixed reviews in the past. And while that was true like 5 years ago, the past few times I’ve been there, I’ve had a stellar experience. I think they’ve done a lot of improving over the past couple of years, in terms of both food, cocktails, and ambience.

via GIPHY

I’ve been in a couple of times lately and been able to try a number of different items on their menu. I’ll go through each one individually! First, one of my favorite appetizers is the Calamari (fried with mixed greens, tomatoes, honey herb vinaigrette, lemon aioli, fried basil; $8).  The breading is really thin and crispy, and the calamari is cooked perfectly so it’s not too chewy. It’s great.

Lightly fried rubber bands have never tasted better.

Next up, the Vegetarian Flatbread (tomato jam, roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, tomato, mozzarella, truffle vinaigrette, arugula;
$9.5)
I was a little skeptical at first, but this was actually really tasty. The bread is crispy on the bottom, but chewy throughout, and I absolutely loved the combo of the tomato jam, caramelized onions, and truffle vin.

I love flatbread because it’s basically pizza that I don’t have to feel guilty about eating.

I’ve also tried the Loaded Fries (chopped ground beef, creamy thai red curry, pepper jack, tomatoes, lettuce, roasted garlic sour cream; $10) which I really enjoyed. Last time I got these (like 2 years ago) they were super disappointing, but this new iteration is a sure winner. I am obsessed with the roasted garlic sour cream.

You had me at “loaded fries.”

On a healthier note, we also tried the Guacamole (grilled corn, chili-lime aioli, cotija cheese; $mrkt), which was tasty. It wasn’t the best guac I’ve ever had, but it was a solid option.

I’m so sorry for my use of flash, but it was hella dark in the back of the restaurant.

We split a few of the burgers amongst the group, my favorite of which was the Mr. Miyagi (two all beef patties, smoked avocado, fries, quick kimchee, sunny egg; $10). The combo of the smoked avocado, crispy french fries, and gooey sunny egg just makes for a delicious and perfect (albeit messy) burger.

Quite possibly the greatest food photo I’ve ever taken.

If you don’t like or aren’t feelin’ beef, the Green Gobblin’ Burger (house ground turkey burger, sautéed spinach & leeks, swiss, green goddess aioli, green apple; $10) is a great option. The crisp and brightness of the green apple balances out the oniony acidity of the leeks. I love a green goddess dressing, so the whole thing comes together in perfect harmony.

Why do most things get like 85% better when you add green apple to them??

Another great option if you’re not into meat is the Falafel Burger (fried with hummus, peanut relish, feta puree, cucumber, tomato, lettuce, tahini dressing; $9.5). I love the peanut relish because it complements the chickpea flavor of the falafel perfectly.

My falafel brings all the boys to the yard…

One of my favorite cocktails is the Warm Summer Day (gin, basil, cucumber, lemon; $7), which basically combines all of my favorite things. At $7 a cocktail, the pricepoint is hard to beat, especially on that end of King Street. Plus the flavor combination is perfect for late summer in Charleston!

I have a weird obsession with both lemonade and cucumber. It’s a problem.

All in all I think you get a lot of delicious food for a really reasonable price at HoM. I’m sorry I used to write it off, because it’s actually delicious. So if you haven’t been in a while, it’s time you gave HoM another try!

Burger + Pong is the new Dinner + a Movie via Facebook

Hōm Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Reviews

Eli’s Table

August 18, 2017

Last week, I was invited to dine at Eli’s Table, so I brought along my trusty sidekick, Cookin’ With Booze (well, technically Spurrier is my sidekick, but she had family in town and couldn’t join me, so Elise gladly volunteered).

Is there booze involved? Then Elise will be there.

I was, admittedly, underwhelmed at the thought of eating at Eli’s because I had a 2-star experience there at a RW meal a couple of years ago. I used to think of Eli’s as purely tourist fodder, but after the meal that I had last week, I have to say: I am a convertAs a food blogger, when I go to restaurants, they tend to up their game, but Eli’s knocked it totally out of the park.

We were greeted with champagne by the maître d’, Raymond, who had personality and charm oozing out of every pore (seriously, this guy rocks). He was super knowledgeable about every dish on the menu, which wines paired best with which dish, and details about every wine (in the whole world, I’m assuming). He’s also apparently one of the pastry chefs, and you can just tell that he loves the hell out of his job. (Plus he sounds almost exactly like Walton Goggins’s character in Vice Principals on HBO, so I was loving it).

Spoiler alert: This is not a photo of Elise and me, but it was the only photo I could find of Raymond.

We did a special tasting of many of the restaurant’s most popular dining options. To get us ready and excited, Raymond started us off with a little amuse bouche of smoked salmon on a house-made cracker with goat cheese and scallion. I’m not normally a fan of smoked salmon, but the creaminess of the goat cheese calmed the smokiness of the salmon, so it was quite enjoyable.

Stealing Elise’s photo because mine was pretty terrible. Which was a shame, because the dish itself was delicious!

To give us a taste of the best of Eli’s Table, Raymond brought us a plate of mini-versions of their most popular appetizers: the Prosciutto and Fig Crostini (local fresh figs, prosciutto, truffled goat cheese, pomegranate syrup; a normal-sized version of this app runs at $12). I’ve never had anything with prosciutto and goat cheese that I didn’t like, and this was no different. I really liked the salty/sweet/creamy combo. We also tried a mini version of the Grilled Asparagus Salad (frisée, blistered tomato peperonata, hearts of palm, mustard vinaigrette, crispy prosciutto; normally $12) in the form of a single piece of asparagus wrapped in prosciutto. The asparagus was cook so it was perfectly tender without being slimy (like what you get out of a can *yeck*).

3 more of these, please!

We also got to try a bit of the Shrimp and Grits (Smoked gouda grits, grilled shrimp, tasso gravy; normally $26). Our mini version was served beautifully in a martini glass, which I found charming and adorable. The grits were super rich and creamy and I loved the extra depth from the smoked gouda and tasso gravy. The shimp was perfectly cooked and had a little bit of spice to it… if you’re a fan of shrimp and grits, you’ll love Eli’s version!

Martini glasses are so versatile.

We also got to try their Southern Fried Crab Cake (Blistered tomato peperonata, remoulade sauce, frisée; normally $13 and only available on the lunch menu). Notice they don’t use any bread or crackers at all in their crab cake, which is refreshingly different. I loved that the outside was a little crispy and the remoulade had lots of flavor.

Sure to impress even people from Maryland!

My favorite course of the night was their Catch of the Day (Charleston “red rice risotto,” pickled green tomato-corn relish, crawfish butter; $29), which happened to be red snapper when we visited. The fish was cooked and seasoned beautifully, and was a perfect complement to the crawfish butter and red rice risotto. There was a nice bit of smokiness to the dish, which they add by using an applewood smoking gun on the sausage in the risotto, which really made the dish stand out. Even if you don’t like fish, I feel like you’d love this dish.

If all fish tasted like this, I’d eat fish everyday.

The final entree was one of their signature dishes (and one I see pop up on Instagram all the time): Duck and Waffles (Seared duck breast, sweet potato waffles, fried brussels sprouts, malted bacon glaze; $32). Because I’m a difficult person, this was probably my least favorite of everything we ate. There wasn’t anything inherently bad about it, I just found the gaminess of the duck to overpower the entire dish (and this is coming from someone who loves duck). The waffles on their own were really good, and the brussels sprouts were amazing, perfectly crispy and awesome with the malted bacon glaze.

Can I just get a bowl of brussels and malted bacon glaze kthx. 

We had a nice transition from savory into sweet with the duck & waffles, but my sweet tooth demanded more sugar. Raymond delivered with Crème Brûlée that was scorched at the table, which made me feel decadent and special (even though it’s something they do for everyone, but still). It was a stellar Crème Brûlée, and I highly recommend it!

Assuming you like some sugar with your sugar.

My favorite dessert (and probably my 2nd favorite thing I ate the entire meal) was a special chocolate dessert that Raymond made special for that day. Like me, Raymond is something of a chocoholic, and he really outdid himself with this dessert, chock full of Kahlua-soaked pound cake, house made vanilla bean ice cream, praline crumbles, fresh local blackberries, and, what I can only assume was all the chocolate syrup in a 5-mile radius. It was glorious.

I have seen heaven, and it is this chocolate trifle at Eli’s Table.

Everything, from the service to the food, was absolutely divine, and I would like to apologize to Eli’s Table for anything negative I’ve ever said about them in the past. I was wrong, and I’m sorry. I’ll be back for to try their mac and cheese in the near future, you can count on that!

Eli's Table Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Reviews

Workshop Review

July 28, 2017

In case you couldn’t tell from my original post announcing Workshop‘s concept and design, I’ve been VERY excited about Charleston’s first adult food court, featuring a rotating list of restaurants. It’s been open since about the beginning of May, and I’ve been more than a few times, so I feel pretty confident in being able to write this review, which is different than most of my reviews, because it’s not a review of a singular place, but rather a number of restaurants all at the same address. I will be reviewing all of the restaurants currently at the space and will update as old places leave and new ones take residence.

Exterior money shot

Bad Wolf Coffee – Ongoing

Bad Wolf is an “all-day café serving Four Barrell Coffee, house-made pastries, wine and small plates from chef Jonathan Ory.” It’s the only place in Charleston that serves Four Barrell coffee (which is worth the visit alone). When I first walked in, I was impressed with how clean and industrial the space was, with lots of glass, gleaming silver polished finishes, wood, and bright blue flourishes.

The succulent flourishes add a touch of whimsy!

The first dish they served us from Bad Wolf was this little tartine of fresh fruits and veggies and housemade cheese topped with some speck ham. It was very refreshing, and a great combination of refreshing, crunchy, creamy, and salty.

Is this considered healthy? If so, sign me up.

They also served a little dessert, called the Paris-Brest, a cream-filled choux pastry that was absolutely fantastic! The cream was super buttery and the outside was light and chewy in the best possible way. Think open-faced cream puff.

This one is definitely not healthy eating, but I’m still on board.

Finally, we got to try some of the famous Four Barrell coffee! I opted for mine in the form of iced coffee with half cream, half almond milk, which, before you start commenting about how basic I am, was done accidentally. The coffee was super smooth and I didn’t even feel the need to add sugar, which is saying a lot for me.

Also, check out that stellar manicure.

Beech Test Kitchen – Leaving September 3rd, 2017

Beech is the newest occupant of Workshop, marking its second location in Charleston (the first is on King Street near CofC). It replaced JD Loves Cheese toward the end of June, meaning if you want to find cheesy bread, you’re going to have to look elsewhere (I recommend Slice, but more on that if you scroll down). Beech’s whole schtick is “fruit, fish, rice, and vegetables,” and they lived up to that motto when they brought out their dishes to try, an acai bowl and a shrimp poke bowl. Both were fantastic and made me feel like I was feeding my body lots of quality nutrition. Then I cancelled that out with a cocktail, and no one was surprised.

I yam who I yam.

Juan Luis – Ongoing (thank the lawd)

I was first exposed to pitmaster John Lewis’s Tex-Mex side at his weekly Taco Tuesday events at his namesake BBQ joint on the Eastside. I wasn’t sure how a BBQ master would be able to also be skilled at Mexican food, but one puffy taco later, I was sold. At Juan Luis, I’ve tried a number of things. Although it sounds like a cop out, I’m a huge fan of the queso, which is thick and creamy, with just the right amount of spice.

It also pairs really well with a margarita.

For actual food, I love the tamales, which are stuffed with their signature red-chile pork. These are some of my favorite tamales that I’ve had in Charleston, hands down. They definitely pack some heat, so I recommend an ice cold margarita to cool your mouth down.

Then again, I’d recommend the margarita even if the tamales weren’t spicy.

I am also a huuuuge fan of the green chile enchiladas with chicken, with a side of rice and beans. Although both the refried and charro beans are delicious, I think the refried beans are much better. I’m not sure what he does differently, but they’re super flavorful and not as…slimy(? I guess is the best word?) as the refried beans you sometimes get at a typical Mexican restaurant. They have a lot more texture. And the chicken in the enchiladas is perfectly pulled and the whole thing is like a flavor explosion. I’m glad it’ll be sticking around for a long, long time.

Awww yisss.

Kite Noodle – Leaving Aug 14, 2017

I’m so sad that Kite Noodle is leaving, because their noodles truly are something special. Kite Noodle specializes in fast, fresh Korean food and is also helmed by Jonathan Ory. One of the first things I ever ate at Workshop, which remains one of my favorites to this day, was the Japchae (sweet potato noodles with vegetables and bulgogi), which is so unique and packed full of flavor.

Goodbye, old friend.

A new dish I recently tried was the Bibim Guksu, chilled Somyeon (Korean wheat noodles) with kimchi and bulgogi and an egg. Despite being served cold, these noodles have a bit of spice in them, so they heat you up from the inside.

Goodbye, new friend.

Be sure to visit Kite Noodle before they leave for good on 8/14!

So many noodles, so little time.

Pink Bellies – Ongoing

I’ve been a fan of the banh mi at Pink Bellies since they were just a tiny little food truck at the corner of St. Phillip’s and Calhoun Street. They’re known for their pulled pork & jam banh mi, which features pulled pork, mayo, blueberry jam, chilis, pickled carrots, and cilantro. It’s different, but also familiar (assuming you’re already familiar with banh mi), and is a great variation from the classic. I highly recommend it!

Banh for me, banh for you.

I’ve also heard amazing things about their Animal-style burger, so I hope to try it someday soon!

Slice – Leaving May 4, 2018

Ok, so this review is the least fair of all of the other reviews, because I’ve only had a sample of one menu item from Slice, and it wasn’t the pizza (I know, I know). But, what I had was absolutely delicious. Technically it was off menu, a take on their classic meatball sub. It was a mini slider on one of their garlic knots, and y’all. It was so good. I literally cannot wait to go back and enjoy the rest of their menu.

Give me alllll the sliderz.

 

Restaurant Reviews

Pawpaw

July 21, 2017

I had some family friends come into town recently and felt a lot of pressure to take them to a good restaurant. So rather than risk one of my favorites failing to live up to the hype, I decided to have us all try somewhere I’d never been before so that we could all experience it for the first time together! I decided on Pawpaw because we’d been out exploring the Market and they had a reservation available for a party of our size. I had messed up in counting when I made the reservation, so we were actually 1 chair short when we were seated (hey, I’m a writer, not a math-er), but the team was super great about adding an extra table so that we could all sit comfortably.

I ordered a cocktail, the Word of Mouth (Local Hat Trick Gin, Yellow Chartreuse, St. Germain, Grand Marnier, Rose Water, Vanilla, $14), which I loved. I’m really into cocktails that are refreshing and vegetal, and this very much fit the bill.

 

For appetizers, we started with the Truffle Fries (roasted pepper coulis, house aioli, $8.50), which were awesome. Sometimes restaurants go way too heavy on the truffle, but the balance on these were perfect. The sauces were also delicious, and I opted to keep the house aioli to dop my 2nd appetizer (Brussels sprouts) in.

I think aioli is my favorite condiment.

The 2nd appetizer was the Brussels Sprouts (fried with parmesan cheese and chives, $8.25), which were perfecto! Nice and crispy on the outside, and soft on the inside, and seasoned perfectly. (Note that these are not on the online menu, but I just called and confirmed that they are in fact still available).

And brussels are my favorite vegetable.

Our third appetizer was the Macaroni and Cheese (parmesan bechamel, english peas, smoked pork, cheddar, biscuit breadcrumbs, $10.95). I usually prefer simpler macs, but Pawpaw did a really good job of not going overboard with the toppings, so it was delicious. A couple of people even ordered it as their entree after trying it as an appetizer.

Mac and cheese with orecchiette is growing on me.

For my entrée, I opted for the house-made Orecchiette (farm egg, smoked pork, heirloom tomato, touch of chili, $15.95), which was amazing. The egg was cooked perfectly so that the yolk melded with the pesto and created this awesome creamy sauce that was to die for. The pasta was also cooked to perfection at al dente, and it was altogether a really pleasing dish.

A top-notch pasta dish!

My mom ordered the Chef Rogers’ Recipe #88 Free-Range Fried Chicken (collard greens, potato purée, herb gravy, Nashville hot butter, $22.95) and I have to say, this is probably the best fried chicken I’ve eaten in Charleston. I’m not sure what they put in their breading, but it is fantastic. The chicken was perfectly juicy, the breading was super flavorful, and it was pretty much perfection on a plate. In terms of the sides, the mashed potatoes were creamy and rich and cheesy. My only complaint is that when asking for pepper vinegar to accompany the greens, the waitress looked at me blankly and replied “we have balsamic vinegar, would that work?” No. No it will not.

Judge all other fried chicken by this one.

All in all, Pawpaw was super flavorful and delicious and a definite crowd-pleaser for a reasonable price point (especially for its location).

Pawpaw

209 E Bay St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 297-4443
Pawpaw Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Reviews

Indaco

July 14, 2017

I’ve been to Indaco a few times now and have finally gotten around to writing a review about this awesome spot for Italian food on King Street. I first tried Indaco a couple of years ago at a Yelp event, then I went back for my birthday with my friend Lily, where we tried the Chef’s Tasting Menu. My most recent experience was at the beginning of July with my friend Caty, where we had an amazing Italian feast. I started with the Paloma cocktail (El Jimador blanco, ginger, grapefruit, basil, $10), which I loved.

I lived with a girl named Paloma in college, whose a chef now. Life is funny like that sometimes.

Caty opted for the Namaste Here and Drink (Tito’s, cardamom, ginger beer, hibiscus, lime, $11), which was essentially a Moscow Mule by another name.

Luckily, we both love Moscow Mules.

For our appetizer course, we started with the burrata (tomato panzanella, fried croutons, cucumber, red onion, herbs, $17), which was awesome. I love that burrata is becoming a super trendy food, because I think it’s delicious. Indaco’s version had an awesome array of veggies that went great with the creaminess of the cheese and the crispiness of the croutons.

I’d eat burrata at every meal, if I could.

Next up was the polpette (ricotta, San Marzano tomato, Pecorino Romano, $13), which I was a little disappointed by. They had a dryness to them that made them super crumbly, and lacked a lot of flavor on their own. In a sauce or with something else to complement them, they would’ve been much better.

The tomato sauce was on point, though.

Our final appetizer was the sausage pizza (San Marzano tomato, summer sausage, pepperoncini, marinated red onions, arugula, San Simon di Costa, $17), which was fantastic. The pizza had just the right amount of char on the super-thin crust, the sauce was in perfect proportion to the rest of the toppings, the sausage was just a little spicy, and the arugula added a nice peppery note, which was a great complement to the tanginess of the red onion. I would absolutely order this again!

Pizza party anyone?

For our 2nd courses, we opted for the seared scallops (spring onion, grilled squash, okra, peas, cherry tomatoes, green garlic, $34). I don’t normally love scallops, but these were nice and buttery, and the summer veggies gave the dish a nice refreshing feel.

Plus, it looks like a work of art!

Our favorite dish of the night was the Roman-style gnocchi (jumbo lump crab, black truffle, parmesan cream, $28), which was, by far, the best gnocchi I’ve ever had in my life. Roman-style gnocchi is made with semolina flour rather than with potato or ricotta, and apparently it makes all the difference. Also, I’m not sure what they put in their parmesan cream sauce, but they need to bottle it so I can put it on everything.

Like little pillows of joy.

Because we are pasta addicts, we also tried the lamb agnolotti (Speck, Calabrian chilis, corn, basil, $25), which was also a winner. The lamb must’ve been braised for a while, because it practically melted in your mouth. The corn tasted like it had been grilled and removed from the cob about 2 minutes before it arrived on our table, offering a nice charred flavor to the pasta that was the shining star of the entire dish.

Bright and colorful for summertime!

To satisfy our sweet tooths (tooths? teeth?), we decided to try their almond budino (chocolate shortbread, caramel, $8), which was basically an Italian custard. It was super thick and creamy, so I loved the crunchiness of the shortbread, which offered a nice variation in texture.

And plus it comes in an adorable little mason jar!

We also couldn’t resist the vanilla bean panna cotta (pomegranate, sable crunch, $7), which, while also a custard, had a much more gelatinous texture to it than the budino. The pomegranate sauce was a great balance of tart and sweet, and I loved the sable crunch. The texture of the panna cotta itself was not my favorite, but Caty absolutely loved it.

It’s like a little dessert volcano!

TL;DR Indaco has awesome food, but I highly recommend the pastas (specifically the gnocchi), the pizza, and the cocktails!

Indaco Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Openings Restaurant Reviews

1Kept Charleston

July 7, 2017

I recently had the pleasure of trying out 1Kept, the new restaurant taking the place of Barony Tavern (RIP) at the Renaissance Hotel in Downtown Charleston. I’d been able to attend the grand opening party (where I met Andrew Zimmern, nbd), but hadn’t really gotten a chance to try any of the food, so I was excited to experience Charleston’s trendiest new restaurant with my friend and fellow food blogger Elise (aka Cookin’ With Booze).

And featuring art from local artists, too!

We started with some of their signature Black Truffle Popcorn with grated parmesan cheese ($6). The popcorn was nice and crispy and the black truffle element was subtle enough to not be overpowering, and also complemented the parmesan really nicely. Basically, put enough parmesan on anything and I’ll eat it.

Movies theaters really need to start serving this stuff.

Next up, we were really intrigued by the Duck Fat Cornbread, which was served with a red pepper jelly ($6). The flavor of the duck fat came through pretty strongly in the cornbread, but the pepper jelly was nice to cut the flavor and make it all come together really well. The cornbread itself had a nice moisture content; it wasn’t too dry or too wet, which was nice. We also saved the pepper jelly and used it to flavor some of the other things we ordered. It’s a wonder condiment!

Red pepper jelly over everything.

Because I’m addicted to Brussels sprouts, we ordered the Fried Brussels (roasted red peppers, apple gastrique, salt & vinegar, $9) and I was seriously impressed. I’m not sure if they boiled the sprouts before they fried them or what, but the stem of the sprouts (which tend to be the toughest, chewiest part of the veggie) was like butter. The outer leaves were nice and crispy, meaning I could eat them by the bushel.

Brussels sprouts for life!

The Pork Meatballs (roasted pickled fennel, carrot, balsamic reduction, $10) were really nice. They had more of a Swedish meatball consistency than an Italian meatball, with a nice springiness and a more compact mouthfeel. The addition of the pickled fennel, carrots, and cilantro gave them a nice Asian flair. Pro tip: they also taste amazing when dipped in the pepper jelly.

Also, grilled pickled fennel is one of my new favorite vegetables.

For a main course, we opted to split 2 entrees, which they graciously pre-cut and served to us so that we didn’t have to do all the dirty work ourselves, which was awesome. The first entrée we split was their signature Chicken Schnitzel (with herb späetzle, braised red cabbage, kale, caramelized onion cream sauce, $19). The panko breading on the outside was fried to a nice crisp, while the chicken inside was still super thin and juicy. The true star of the dish, however, was the caramelized onion gravy, which probably would be delicious on anything. It was creamy and thick without that weird congealyness (a word I totally didn’t just make up) that gravy can sometimes get, and had a nice depth of flavor that really went amazingly with the chicken. The spaetzle noodles had some kind of lemon zest on them which really helped to brighten up the dish and trick my brain into thinking I was eating something light and summery.

Germany meets Charleston in the best possible way!

The second entrée was the Shrimp & Grits (Pimento cheese, scallions, arrabbiata sauce, $22), which are served quite differently than the typical option you’ll find around town. The arrabbiata sauce was smoky and a little spicy and complemented the pimento cheesiness of the grits really excellently. I liked that it was a nice twist on a traditional Southern recipe so that you get something that is at once different and familiar.

Pimento cheese grits are the ticket!

Their breakfast menu looks fantastic, and I can’t wait to come back and try it once they’ve got their liquor license!

1Kept Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Queen on the Road Restaurant Reviews

Ritz Carlton Lake Oconee Part 3: Linger Longer Steakhouse

July 1, 2017

Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a 4-day stay at the Ritz Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee as a representative of The Daily Meal. This is part 3 of a 3-part series. For more about my experience, read my review of Gaby’s By The Lake and Georgia’s.

Keep in mind that this meal was complimentary and that for official review purposes, I was treated to a prix fixe menu. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Linger Longer Steakhouse

The most upscale of all of the dining options at The Ritz Carlton Reynolds Lake Oconee was the Linger Longer Steakhouse. Chef Casey Burchfield has put together a menu that appeals to both casual and sophisticated palates in a way that is very approachable. Because I’m adventurous, he put together a special prix fixe menu for the purposes of this review. Our waiter was also a certified sommelier and took a lot of pride in pairing each course with the perfect glass of wine or cocktail. And because I’m a big jerk, I apparently didn’t take a photo of a single one of those drinks.

Seven courses, NBD

As we sat down, we were treated to an amuse bouche, which consisted of a tartare duo. The beef tartare was served on a puffed piece of beef tendon (it had the consistency similar to that of a shrimp chip), and was a very unique presentation and use of ingredients. It was big enough for 2 bites, but much less messy to eat in 1, so that’s what I did. The tuna was served on a dehydrated rice cracker, and tasted very similar to what you’d find in a sushi restaurant.

A great way to start the meal!

The first official course was lobster bisque with butter poached lobster. I’m not sure what the deal is with the Ritz Carlton, but they’ve really figured out the secret to a great bowl of soup. The bisque was rich and decadent, but still light and airy enough so as not to weigh me down, which was good because I still had 6 courses to go. The lobster was perfectly poached, making this dish a definite winner.

Lobster bisque is the key to my heart, apparently.

The second course was a grilled leek and burrata cheese with truffle and garlic. Burrata (aka cheese-stuffed cheese) is one of my favorite cheeses because I love how creamy it is, and the combination of the tangy and smoky flavor of the grilled leeks was perfect with the cheese.

“Cheese-Stuffed Cheese” will be the name of my memoir.

Course 3 was seared scallop, ramps, strawberry, and white asparagus. I was really excited for this dish–despite the fact that I don’t usually like scallops–because I had been hearing a lot about ramps being kind of the “it” vegetable of 2017. For those who don’t know, a ramp is a wild onion that grows during the spring in Eastern Canada and the U.S. It has a sort of garlicky-onion flavor and is bite-sized. The combination of the buttery scallops (which were phenomenal, btw) with the tart strawberries and garlicky ramp was a harmonious orchestra of flavor.

I’ll never eat scallops the same way again!

Chef had recently spent some time in Thailand, so the fourth course was a Thai-inspired BBQ pork with sweet onion, green papaya, and a spicy tangy sauce. The pork itself had a nice crispiness on the outside and practically fell apart on the inside. Pork usually goes well with fruit, but the combination of the green papaya and the tangy sauce was exceptional.

Why don’t we put papaya in more things?!

The fifth course was Faroe Island salmon with sweet pea puree, ragout of spring vegetables, and a garlic emulsion. The dish was absolutely gorgeous in its plating, and the flavor did not disappoint. There was a lot going on, from the pea puree to the garlic emulsion, but it all came together beautifully.

I need to take a class on how to identify which flowers are edible and which will kill me. I’m assuming these were the former since I’m still alive.

The sixth course was a prime Manhattan steak with potato puree, sweet & sour ramps (yay, more ramps!), and a bacon-mushroom bordelaise. Holy moly was this good. If I hadn’t been so stuffed from the previous courses, I could’ve eaten like 3 more plates of this steak. Chef Casey is magical!

The thing on the bottom right that looks like a baby onion? That’s a ramp.

For dessert, we had a Valrhona Chocolate soufflé with white chocolate ice cream and fresh sliced strawberries. The souffle was basically a chocolate-flavored cloud, and the ice cream was a great palate cleanser.

Chocolate is always ok by me!

As an added bonus (an after-dessert dessert, if you will), Chef sliced up some Bentons Bacon country ham, which he served to us on a charred barrel plate with a rye whisky and amaro aperitif. The saltiness of the ham plus the sweetness of the amaro was a great combination, and I almost preferred it to the sweet dessert.

This photo comes courtesy of our awesome waiter who didn’t give me any details when he asked to borrow my camera. I’m just a very trusting person, and it resulted in this badass shot of Chef Casey.

Linger Longer Steakhouse Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

logo
Food Advertising by