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Restaurant Reviews

Twenty Six Divine

September 26, 2014

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

Restaurant Reviews

Tupelo Honey Cafe, Greenville, SC

September 5, 2014

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

Restaurant Reviews

Edmund’s Oast

August 22, 2014

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

Restaurant Reviews

Taco Mamacita

July 25, 2014

*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

Restaurant Reviews

Leon’s Oyster Shop

June 20, 2014

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

Restaurant Reviews

Georgeans Caribbean Soul

May 23, 2014

A few weeks ago (before my life got insanely busy), Lily and I took to walking the bridge after work a couple of nights a week. After one of these walking-talking-gossip sessions, Lily and I decided to reward ourselves for our hard work with some Caribbean food.

I mean, basically.

I mean, basically.

 

Lily and Chrissy suggested we order from Georgeans Caribbean Soul because they were a little obsessed after they discovered it. Chrissy enticed me with the promise of yummy jerk chicken and “bangin’ mac and cheese.” Chrissy and I ordered the Jerk Box with mac & cheese, cauliflower mash, and rice & veggies ($10). Their mac and cheese is thick and creamy and cheesy and I loved how flavorful the cauliflower mash was. If I didn’t know it was cauliflower, I definitely would’ve thought it was mashed potatoes. So yummy. The jerk chicken was full of spice and only a little heat, and was so yummy. My only complaint was that they use skin-on chicken (but that’s more of a personal preference than a fault on their part).  

So. Much. Food.

So. Much. Food.

Lily ordered the curry chicken bowl with mixed veggies and rice and cauliflower mash ($7). The curry is mild and deliciously home-y. The chicken curry is served over the veggies and rice so the curry sauce flavors that, too. Lily was definitely a fan.

Look at that curry sauce. I can almost smell it.

Look at that curry sauce. I can almost smell it.

The owners were awesome and super friendly, even though we ordered 20 minutes before they closed, forcing them to stay open an extra 20 minutes to prepare all of our food. She said they keep the light on and the door open while they’re there, so even if it’s past closing time, “if somebody’s hungry, we’ll feed ’em.” They also said that they can make most Caribbean dishes, even if they’re not on the menu, as long as you give them a little heads up. 

And this is their whole menu.

This is their whole menu, and I still had trouble deciding.

You get a lot of high quality food for not a lot of money. If you haven’t stopped here yet, get your butt down to Line St. and order some jerk chicken!

And they just added these cute little tables! Via Facebook

And they just added these cute little tables! Via Facebook

Georgean's Caribbean Soul on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Reviews

CO

March 28, 2014

So I’m a recent Vietnamese food convert. I’m kind of surprised it took me this long, but nobody’s perfect. I’ve been eating banh mi for a couple of years now, and am obsessed, but I never really ventured any further into Vietnamese cuisine until one fateful day back in December when I stumbled on a tweet from Foodmancing The Girl talking about how much he loves Pho.

You had me at "free dumplings."

You had me at “free dumplings.”

That first lunch was awesome. I took Foodmancing’s advice and got the pork belly buns (pork belly, pickled cucumber and carrots, hoisin, cilantro, $6), and those suckers were on point.  The buttery bread, the perfectly cooked pork, the crisp pickled veggies…I’m drooling a little just thinking about them. If it wasn’t Friday during Lent, I’d probably head there for lunch right now.

Seriously. They're so good.

Seriously. They’re so good.

The main purpose of my visit, however, was to try Pho for the first time. I was a little intimidated because I didn’t really know what I was getting myself into. I opted for the beef pho (rare beef, rice vermicelli, bean sprouts, cilantro, thai basil, scallions, beef broth, $12) which was so good it’s sinful. Not really knowing what the protocol was, I just dumped in all of the accoutrements, including lots of hot sauce, which added a little more heat to the broth than I was prepared for, but it was still delicious. The beef was sliced really thin and cooked perfectly and the flavors of the soup came together perfectly. I was instantly a fan.

My strategy for most things is "throw everything in there and hope it tastes good."

My strategy for most things is “throw everything in there and hope it tastes good.”

When Naomi came to visit, we were excited that CO had a vegan menu for her to choose from. We started out with a couple of fancy cocktails, which were delicious. Naomi really enjoyed her asian pear cider (spiced rum, schnapps, asian pear, cinnamon, $9) and I thought the spiced mandarin caipirinha (cachaca, grand marnier, muddled mandarin & lime, star anise simple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, $9.5) was pretty unique and awesome as well.

Look at that smile!

Look at that smile!

and then ordered some Tofu buns (crispy tofu, pickled cucumber and carrots, cilantro, $6) which were really good (although not as good as the pork belly. But as a carnivore, I might be biased). My only complaint is that without the hoisin sauce, they were a little dry.

Tofu and I have an uneasy truce.

Tofu and I have an uneasy truce.

I was trying to branch out and try something other than my usual pho, so I deferred to the waitress who recommended the hanoi noodles (spicy yellow curry, onion, carrots, zucchini, rice noodles, shrimp, shanghai sausage, $14). I really liked it, although the flavors started getting a little overwhelming towards the end. The shanghai sausage wasn’t my favorite, but the shrimp was perfectly cooked and really delicious. Also it’s asian food, so there’s a lot of grease.

Still delicious, though!

Still delicious, though!

Naomi was really sad that the green curry was not vegan for some reason (and they never responded to my tweet asking them why), so she ended up ordering the vegan yakisoba (rice noodles, tofu,  cabbage, carrots, onion, zucchini, garlic, sweet mirin soy sauce, $14) instead. She absolutely loved it and was basically licking the bowl by the end. I really liked how well they cooked the tofu, which is high praise coming from me.

Gotta love a restaurant that gives you plenty of cilantro with every dish.

Gotta love a restaurant that gives you plenty of cilantro with every dish.

Next time I go, I really want to try the curry laksa (shrimp, shredded chicken, bun rice noodles, shredded cucumber, thai basil, baby bok choy, spicy coconut broth) and the mapo doufo (ground pork, tofu, edamame, carrots, black bean garlic sauce), which both sound delicious. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend you check it out, especially their new $4 happy hour special weekdays from 4-7.

Plus the space is just so sexy!

Plus the space is just so sexy!

CO
340 King St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 720-3631
Co on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Reviews

Dell’z Uptown

March 14, 2014

One of my favorite places to order from for lunch or stop by late night after the bars close, is Dell’z Deli. Dell’z specializes in delicious healthy fare and it is spot on every single time I visit. When Naomi came to visit, I was excited to take her to Dell’z Uptown to try some of their vegan specialties. I’m neither vegetarian nor vegan, so I was a little worried about a meatless menu, but I put my faith in Dell, and boy did I make the right decision.

I mean, people this beautiful couldn't possibly make a bad sandwich.

I mean, people this beautiful couldn’t possibly make a bad sandwich. Photo from Dell’z Website

So let me preface this by saying that Naomi, Lily, and I went to Dell’z 2 days in a row, and Naomi and I got Dell’z late night a 3rd night, and we probably would’ve gone a 4th time if Dell’z had been open on Sunday. It’s that good. On day 1, we started with an order of the black bean hummus (topped w/ fresh veggies. served with garlic pita chips, drizzled w/ lime & avocado, $7), which is definitely in my top 3 favorite foods of all time. I’m not even exaggerating here. I don’t think I can accurately describe what makes it taste so good, so you should probably just go order some for yourself. You can thank me later.

Seriously. Go order it right now.

Seriously. Go order it right now.

For my meal the first visit, I decided to try something new and ordered the Lucky Bowl (black eyed peas, red and green peppers, red onions, creole, turnip greens, brown rice, vegan bacon crumbles, $9) because it looked delicious. And boy, was it. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about the vegan bacon, but it added a good level of smokiness to the heat of the creole spices. I would order this again for sure.

Plus I love those marinated tomatoes they put on everything.

Plus I love those marinated tomatoes they put on everything.

For their lunch on day 1, Lily and Naomi both got the acorn bowl (sautéed mushrooms, asparagus, quinoa, and onions served inside half an acorn squash, $12 I think), which was on special. I don’t usually like mushrooms, but this dish was so delicious. Naomi and Lily were basically licking their plates by the end of the meal.

This picture is from the Dell'z Uptown Facebook page

This picture is from the Dell’z Uptown Facebook page

On day 2, Naomi, Lily, and I decided to try out the vegan nachos, despite the fact that Naomi kept saying that “vegan cheese is nasty” and that we probably weren’t going to like it. Boy was she wrong. In fact, if I didn’t know otherwise, I never would’ve guessed that it wasn’t real cheese. I think we polished these off in less than 5 minutes.

Next time, I want to try the vegan spinach & artichoke dip.

Next time, I want to try the vegan spinach & artichoke dip.

For our entrees on day 2, Lily and I both went with my usual Dell’z order, the Hummer wrap (black bean hummus, cilantro, salsa, tomatoes,
sprouts, cucumbers, carrots, avocado, fresh field greens, drizzled w/ fresh lime, $8). When I order from Dell’z Deli, I usually add chicken, but it’s just as good without the chicken, I promise.

Gosh it's so beautiful.

Gosh it’s so beautiful.

Naomi decided to try the My Thai Bowl (zucchini, squash, vegan sausage, brown rice, cabbage, spinach, pasta, topped with mango salsa, $10) for her entree the second day. It was a really interesting combination of flavors: smoky, sweet, spicy, and savory all at the same time. The “pasta” that they mention is Thai-style rice noodles, which I thought really added another level of dimension to the texture. I don’t know that I would order this again, but if I was with someone who did, I’d definitely steal a forkful (or two!).

And it comes served with pita wedges!

And it comes served with pita wedges!

After spending a few days eating at Dell’z with Naomi, I came to the conclusion that I could definitely become a vegan, and even enjoy it, if I could eat at Dell’z for every meal. So if you haven’t stopped by Dell’z Uptown or Dell’z Deli yet, you’re really missing out. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some black bean hummus to order.

 

I don't remember what used to be here, but I definitely don't miss it.

I don’t remember what used to be here, but I definitely don’t miss it.

Dell’z Uptown
511 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 641-0352
Dellz Uptown on Urbanspoon

Dell’z Deli
1A Cannon St
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 722-5376
Dell'z Deli on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Reviews

Desano Pizza Bakery

February 21, 2014

Recently, I met up with Laura and Lauren from Blue Ion for lunch. I picked Desano because I’d been wanting to try it, and boy, am I glad we did. The place was relatively empty when we first got there, but we were impressed with the size of the space and how immaculately clean and inviting it was. It had a very interesting feel about it; it felt at once brand new and years old, which was strangely calming.

Then again, we were 2 beers deep, so that could've had something to do with it...

Then again, we were 2 beers deep, so that could’ve had something to do with it…Photo from Urbanspoon

When you first arrive, you order at the counter and then wait for your food in the dining room. The lady who was working the counter (whose name I’m sad to say that I don’t remember) was really funny and helped us make the perpetually difficult decision of which pizza to order. She also let us know that all of the ingredients they use to make their pizza–from the flour they use to make the dough, the salt they use to season it, and the buffalo mozzarella and tomatoes that top their pizzas are all flown in fresh from Italy. And their pizza dough is made fresh daily in small batches. And their three pizza ovens (which were also imported from Italy) can cook your pizza in under 90 seconds. Like, whoa. What is this place?

It's blurry because this place really is like a dream. A delicious, pizza dream.

It’s blurry because eating at Desano is like a dream. A delicious, pizza dream.

Some of the ingredients, like Peppadew, we’d never heard of, and she patiently explained to us exactly what everything was (a peppadew is like if “a sweet pepper and a cherry tomato had a baby that was kind of sweet and spicy all at the same time”), and made some genius recommendations.

For reference. Sidenote: They sell these at Whole Foods stuffed with goat cheese, and they are positively sinful.

For reference. Sidenote: They sell these at Whole Foods stuffed with goat cheese, and they are positively sinful.

We started with the San Gennaro pizza (sausage, peppadew, garlic, buffalo mozzarella, caramelized onions, $15), which also shares a name with one of their 3 pizza ovens. The crust is Napoletana-style, which means thin crusts and a nice char, which is refreshin and different. The pizza was so good, I can’t even explain it accurately. It had a great mixture of spicy (from the sausage) and sweet (from the peppadew and onions) and cheesy (from the mozzarella and garlic). It was perfection.

I might actually go eat this for lunch today #noshame

I might actually go eat this for lunch today #noshame

The other pizza we ordered was the Bianca (Mozzarella, ricotta, buffalo mozzarella, garlic, pecorino romano, $13). I’m a little obsessed with white pizzas and have yet to find one in Charleston that lives up to the amazing white pizza I’ve had in Boston. This one definitely came the closest. It is freaking delicious. La, you might even convert from the Gourmet White at Mellow (although, you never really will, let’s be serious). I can’t wait til my mom is off of her HCG diet so I can take her here and have her try it. She’s also a white pizza snob. It was cheesy, garlicky, and delicious and I would even go so far as to say that it’s the best white pizza in Charleston.

I changed my mind. I might go eat this for lunch. #CantMakeDecisions

I changed my mind. I might go eat this for lunch. #CantMakeDecisions

After eating a bunch of pizza and drinking beer, you’d think our gluttony would be satisfied, but you’d be wrong. Did I mention that Desano hand fills cannoli? Because they do. And they let you choose from a variety of toppings and it is glorious. Since we were practically the only people in there, the counter girl made us a custom cannoli based on her favorite toppings. I don’t remember what it was, except that it was delicious and had I not been disgustingly full, I would’ve ordered another.

She's like a magical cannoli wizard.

She’s like a magical cannoli wizard.

The level of service at Desano was also exceptional. From the moment we walked in, we felt like they actually cared about us having a positive experience. While we were waiting for our pizzas to come out, one of the guys from the kitchen came out to apologize and say that they’d overcooked one of our pizzas and were making us a whole new pizza. They brought out the overcooked one anyway, so we essentially got a whole pizza for free (and we didn’t even ask or complain or anything!). Plus, even though they sell alcohol, they’re totally fine with you BYOB and don’t even charge you a corkage fee! That’s some excellent customer service right there.

These ovens are serious business. Photo from the Charleston City Paper

These ovens are serious business. Photo from the Charleston City Paper

DeSano Pizza Bakery
94 Stuart St.
Charleston, SC 29403
(843) 637-4225
DeSano Pizza Bakery on Urbanspoon

Restaurant Reviews

Rutledge Cab Company

November 22, 2013

I was really excited for Rutledge Cab Company. I really wanted to like it. I mean, how could you go wrong? Chef Bob Carter! Old gas station! Good reviews! Unfortunately, despite the fact that I was desperately hoping to love it, it just didn’t really turn out well.

Yeah, basically this.

Yeah, basically this.

First of all, I’ll go with something positive. The service was spot on. Our waitress was really awesome and very patient with us, and made lots of recommendations (which we ignored). We started with an order of the Chicken Fried Sweetbreads (Alabama white sauce, $11). We were trying to be adventurous since neither of us had had sweetbreads before. I think I would’ve liked them a lot more had they not totally covered it in this overpowering smoked paprika.

Chicken fried sweetbreads

Turns out sweetbreads are neither sweet nor bread.

Our second appetizer was the Fried Cheese Curd (Green goddess-horseradish dressing, $9). Again with the paprika. Seriously. I would’ve loved these if not for that. They weren’t very cheesy flavored as you’d expect because they’re just the curd (I was expecting it to taste like fried white cheddar bites. Definitely did not). The ones that I had that weren’t covered in paprika were delicious.

I mean, fried cheese is going to be good no matter what it's made of.

I mean, fried cheese is going to be good no matter what it’s made of.

For her entree, Tina got the BLT Benedict (Smoked bacon, English muffin, wilted spinach and tomato-bacon hollandaise, $13). She liked it ok, but wasn’t a fan of the hollandaise. I thought it tasted almost licorice-y, which was a really strange combo.

Oh look! The potatoes have some paprika on them in case you hadn't already gotten enough paprika with your paprika.

Oh look! The potatoes have some paprika on them in case you hadn’t already gotten enough paprika with your paprika.

I got the Roasted Lamb Sandwich (Havarti cheese, pickled cabbage and toasted hoagie, $13.50), which I actually really enjoyed. I thought it was really good. My only complaint was that I think they either over toasted the hoagie, or that it was stale before they toasted it. You know how when you over toast bread it gets that same consistency as styrofoam? Not my favorite. But other than that, the sandwich was delicious. The lamb was tender and flavorful, and I loved the pickled cabbage. I wasn’t a huge fan of the fries, which tasted like they’d been batter dipped before they were fried. Which seems kind of unnecessary.

It was almost like a lamb &

It was almost like a lamb & pickled cabbage philly cheesesteak. Delish

Overall we were pretty disappointed. Thinking maybe we just ordered the wrong things, we decided to try one of the things our waitress originally recommended, the Grilled Vegetable Flatbread (Smoked onion aioli, olive tapenade, parmesan and fresh herbs, $9). I thought it was just ok, but then again, I don’t really like olive tapenade. Tina wasn’t into it at all.

And it was just about as delicious as it looks.

And it was just about as delicious as it looks.

The space is super cool, so I wouldn’t mind going just to hang out & drink, but I’m definitely not in a hurry to eat there again.

From the Rutledge Cab Co. website

From the Rutledge Cab Co. website

Rutledge Cab Co.
1300 Rutledge Ave
Charleston, SC ‎
(843) 720-1440

Rutledge Cab Company on Urbanspoon

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