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Restaurant Reviews

Little Jack’s Tavern

February 9, 2018

So I read the same article that you probably read, calling Little Jack’s burger one of the best in the US and I’m here to tell you: The hype is real! They love the burger so much, in fact, that you can order it as an appetizer, an entree, or dessert, because it’s on all 3 menus!

I opted for the appetizer size of the Single Tavern Burger (American cheese, tavern sauce, sesame bun, $8) because I was told that the bun-to-meat ratio was better with a single than a double. I’ve eaten a lot of burgers in my life, so it would be hard to definitively say whether or not this was the best, but it was damn good.

The bun-to-meat ratio is very important.

We also split an order of Garlic & Herb Fries (sauce gribiche, $7), because you can’t order a burger without fries! The herbs were very strong on these fries, and it took me a few bites before I got used to the strong flavors. It was a lot of flavor on their own.

Although it takes a lot for me to *not* eat potatoes.

We also tried an order of the Baked Egg (celery root cream, peas, prosciutto, crusty bread, $12), and let me tell you: what a revelation! The sauce was fantastic (I think it would be amaaaazing over some pasta), and the soft cooked egg was so rich and decadent, it felt almost sinful. My one complaint is that they really need to give you more bread (or the option to have it over pasta, because dayum).

Seriously, give me this sauce on everything.

On a previous visit at lunch, I tried the Jack’s Chopped Salad with shrimp (kale, romaine, lots of vegetables, pickled onion, avocado ranch, $13. Add chicken $5, add shrimp $6 and crab $9). The salad was super fresh and really was packed full of veggies. The dressing was delicious and I loved it with the shrimp. What I didn’t love is that this salad cost me over $22 with tax and tip.

Then again, any salad that costs more than “free” is too expensive, IMO.

All in all, I’ve really enjoyed the food at Little Jack’s. The burger and the baked egg are the 2 “must-try” items on the menu. Have you tried it? Let me know what you think!

 

Restaurant Reviews

The Gin Joint

January 26, 2018

After the announcement that The Gin Joint had been bought by longtime bartender James Bolt, I was worried that the old Gin Joint I knew and loved would become unrecognizable (kind of like what’s happening to Blue Rose Cafe right now). But my fears have been proven completely unfounded. The Gin Joint has maintained its commitment to handmade cocktails and delicious food in a way that’s still familiar (but even better than it used to be).

gin-joint-boomerang from Sydney Gallimore on Vimeo.

My first visit to the new version of The Gin Joint was in December when they transformed into the Christmas bar “Miracle.” Lala and her husband Matt were in town, and whilst giving Matt a tour of downtown Charleston (his first visit!) we decided to rest our feet and give some cocktails a try.

Christmas bars, like theme parties, are my favorite.

There were Christmas lights ev. ery. where. and it was super festive, with all the staff in cute costumes and a special Christmas-themed cocktail menu.

Mo lights, mo betta’

Being a lover of gin, I of course opted to try the aptly named Fa La La La La La La La La (Gin, aquavit, hazelnut liqueur, cardamom, vanilla, lemon, egg white, club soda, $14), which was as much fun to order as it was to drink. It was a perfect balance of tart and sweet, and I found myself with a happy little buzz after just 1 cocktail.

Christmas + cocktails… what could be better?!

Lala ordered the Run Run Rudolph (blanco tequila, coffee liqueur, iced hot chocolate, Mexican spices, $14). It was very sweet, and perfect for those of you who like liquor with their coffee / hot cocoa. I’m not usually a fan, but I enjoyed this.

Lala makes such a good hand model.

We also paired our drinks with their Pimento Cheese (House Made Lavash, Quick Pickles, $6), as Matt hadn’t tried pimento cheese before (something which I find incredibly hard to believe). Their version was very cheese-heavy, but lacked some of the depth and sharpness I come to expect from pimento cheese. The quick pickles were crispy and sweet.

But all cheese is good cheese.

Most recently, I attended for a #TastemakersCHS dinner, where we were able to try a number of cocktails and some of the new bar snacks on the menu. I started with the Fortune Cat (Tom Cat Gin, ginger, sesame, caramel, lemon, $12), which will come as no surprise to anyone who knows how much I love cats. The drink was gorgeous to look at (in fact, my drink was stolen for multiple people to photograph at the table before I was able to even taste it). It was nice and refreshing with a nice level of tartness from the ginger + lemon.

It’s extra appropriate because last time I went to a fortune teller, all she saw for me was cats, too.

To pair with the cocktails, we also tried some of their charcuterie, which comes as part of the Chef’s Snack Board (You Pick Three Cheeses, Chef’s Selection of Meats, Grilled Bread, House Made Jam, House, Spiced Nuts, $32). I saw salami on the board and was immediately happy, as it’s my favorite cured meat. If you have a few friends, this is a great deal and perfect for an after work snack!

Charcuterie is bae.

Also part of the chef’s snack board, we were able to try a sampling of their cheeses (although they brought us all 4 instead of the 3 you’re limited to in the snack board). The options were black & bleu, Flory’s truckle, Mountaineer, and Rockets Robiola (which all sounded like names of Harry Potter dragons IMO). My favorite was the black and bleu, because as a blue cheese, it was super creamy and not as pungent as you usually find.

Actually, cheese boards are bae.

Additionally, they also brought out the House Made Soft Pretzels (Sriracha Cheese Sauce, Maldon’s Sea Salt, $8). I love soft pretzels, and these were no exception. They were nice and fluffy and glutinous, and I really enjoyed the sriracha cheese sauce.

Ok, wait… maybe soft pretzels are bae?! WHY ARE ALL MY BAES FOOD

For my second cocktail, I opted to do the Bartender’s Choice ($12), where you pick 2 adjectives from a predetermined list and the bartender makes you a custom drink based on your choices. I went for “refreshing” and “vegetal” and ended up with this cucumber and gin cocktail that is my new favorite drink. It’s just a shame I don’t actually know what’s in it.

“S” for Sydney… right?!

Our final bar snack was the Cola-Braised Ham Slider (Mornay, Brown’s Court Benne Seed Bun, $9) which were probably my favorite snack of the night. I don’t usually like ham, but the ham in these sliders was super thick (more like a slab of pork) and had just a touch of sweetness from the cola. The mornay sauce was nice and creamy, and altogether, this slider was perfection.

Miguel also makes a good hand model.

Before we left, they also gave us one of their signature desserts, a housemade Old Fashioned Lollipop (Whiskey, Angostura Bitters, Orange Zest, $1.50). It didn’t really taste like an old fashioned to me, but it was still really yummy!

It also made me feel 12 years old.

If you haven’t been to The Gin Joint lately, you need to give them a try! The improvements they’ve made have been fantastic, and they’re really in a league above when it comes to handmade cocktails (did I mention that they make their own ice? They use the same 300lb blocks of ice that ice sculptors use and cut it down for each cocktail). They have a lot more than just gin (except there’s no vodka, so don’t bother asking), and if you come in with an open mind, you’re likely to leave with a new favorite drink!

Also, they’ve started serving brunch, too!

The Gin Joint
182 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 577-6111

The Gin Joint Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Charleston, SC Restaurant Reviews

Minero

January 19, 2018

Update: 1/18/2018

So I recently returned to Minero to take advantage of their happy hour, which is fantabulous, btw. It’s available every Monday – Friday from 3:30 – 6:30 pm. I love that it starts earlier than most happy hours, because that means you truly get to take advantage of their great specials, like $2 tequila shots, $3 PBR pints or bourbon shots, or (my personal fave), $2 off their house margarita.

Thanks for letting me feature this photo, Cookin’ With Booze!

But the specials also extend to food, which (let’s face it) is the main reason I go to Minero (or any Sean Brock restaurant). My personal favorite dish is the guacamole, which is only $5 during happy hour! I am obsessed with Minero’s guac. It’s so fresh and light and simple (scroll down to my original review and you’lI see that my feelings haven’t changed over the years).

Just inject it directly into my veins.

Another option I can’t get enough of is the Queso Ranchero, which closely resembles the queso dip you get at your typically Mexican restaurant (as opposed to the queso fundido, which is also delicious, but not on their happy hour menu… scroll down for more info on that). It’s ooey, gooey, and perfect for dipping your chips into. This is also just $5 at happy hour, and if you like cheese dip, you absolutely have to order it.

In queso you’re in doubt… order the queso.

Another favorite on the happy hour menu is the carnitas sliders (also just $5 at happy hour). They’re a perfect snack that you can demolish in just 2 or 3 bites. The pork is nice and smoky and practically melts in your mouth. The addition of pickled red onion adds a hint of tang which is balanced out by the creamy molé aioli. The benne seeds sprinkled on top tie them into Charleston perfectly

Molé all day!

If you haven’t been to Minero for happy hour recently, be sure to give it a try!

Original Article Published On 10/10/2014

I’ve been waiting for Minero to open for what feels like my whole life. From the minute I heard that my culinary obsession, Chef Sean Brock, was opening a Mexican restaurant, I knew that was a place I was going to enjoy.

Be still my corazon!

Be still my corazon!

So when I got word that last Friday would be Minero’s official first day, I grabbed Lily and Sheena and forced them to wait 45 minutes for a table in order to try and be one of the first people to try it out. Considering all the hype around the opening, I was surprised the wait was only 45 minutes. While we were sitting outside patiently (and by that I mean “the opposite of patiently”), an older gentleman (who looked not unlike a retired sea captain) who’d just finished his meal stopped to tell us that “it’s defintiely worth the wait. And order el Satánico! Blended!” So when it was finally our turn to be invited in, that was the first thing we did.

As well as the Titán and Dragón Rojo

As well as the Titán and Dragón Rojo

The space is super cool and very inviting. I’m obsessed with the exposed brick, soft lighting, and general earthy feel of the whole place. It’s a little narrow, but the ambiance was spot on for a Friday night dinner. While I was trying to figure out what to order, I noticed Chef Brock walk past our table and let out an audible, involuntary gasp. My hero! In the flesh! Right there! I’m embarrassed that I acted like a 12-year old fan girl, but honestly no one was surprised.

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Full house for the night.

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The menu is relatively short, which I think is a good thing because I was already having a hard enough time deciding on an entree. To start, we ordered the guacamole ($8), which was topped with radish, mexican chili powder, and plenty of cilantro. It was super flavorful and fresh, but a bit on the small side. The tortilla chips were perfect and served in a warm mitten (I don’t know what to call it) and were seasoned well enough to be delicious all on their own. And they better be since he sampled over 40 kinds of corn to perfect them.

guaca-guaca-guaca, mole mole mole. A dip! A dip, dip!

guaca-guaca-guaca, mole mole mole. A dip! A dip, dip!

We also ordered the queso fundido ($9), which is the opposite of the kind of queso that immediately springs to mind (thanks, Moe’s. You’ve ruined me forever). It’s thick and melty and made with smokey roasted poblano, spicy chorizo and meant to be eaten with soft corn tortillas, rather than crispy chips. It was delicious and I think we polished it off mere minutes after it was brought to our table.

You can't go wrong with melted cheese, though, really.

You can’t go wrong with melted cheese, though, really.

Because we had trouble deciding which tacos to order (despite there only being 6 varieties on their menu), we decided to each order 2 and share them so we could get an idea of how each one tasted. Lily picked the fried whiting (pickled green tomato tartar, cabbage, red onion, $4) and the pork carnitas taco (confit, jowl, chicharron, salsa verde ,chilmole, $3.5). They were both delicious, fresh, and flavorful, although if I had to pick a favorite of the two, the carnitas would win hands down.

I don't know if I've ever met a taco I didn't like...

I don’t know if I’ve ever met a taco I didn’t like…

Sheena opted for the grilled steak taco (charred onions and peppers, queso fresco, garlic-amarillo, $4), and the tacos al pastor (marinated and grilled pork, pineapple, avocado, $3.5). The tacos al pastor were awesome with the pineapple, giving a tart and savory flavor to the spiced meat. The steak tacos, though, were out of this world. They were so full of flavor and the meat was tender and juicy…

Dat steak though...

Dat steak though…

I got the final two options, the chargrilled chicken taco (mango, cotija, lime pickled red onion, pasilla de Oaxaca, $3) and the green chorizo taco with potatoes and grilled onions ($4). The chicken tacos had a nice smokey taste from the chargrilling and were very good. However, the chorizo tacos made me stop and close my eyes, chewing slowly so as to really savor the flavor. Each of us had the same reaction. If you’re debating, I definitely recommend the green chorizo taco over all the others.

I'm glad I tried the chicken taco first, or else I would've been super disappointed.

I’m glad I tried the chicken taco first, or else I would’ve been super disappointed.

After our taco feast, we were still a little peckish, so we decided to try the Hotdog confit and deli ham torta (avocado, tomato and chipotle mayo, $9.5), because we were way too intrigued to not try a confit hot dog. I’m so glad we did. The sandwich was huge, but it was unlike anything I’ve ever had. It was topped with some kind of shredded greens (cabbage, I think?), which gave an extra hint of freshness to the salty pork.

Do you see how big this sandwich is??

Do you see how big this sandwich is??

Basically, I want to live in this restaurant. The prices were really reasonable for everything and the quality was top-notch. The service was absolutely awesome, some of the best I’ve ever had. I left feeling like I was best friends with our server by the time we left. In fact, let’s just put a little plaque under table 13 that says “Reserved For The Queen.”

Or just add my name to the sign, that works, too.

Or just add my name to the sign, that works, too.

Minero
155 East Bay Street
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 789-2241

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

 

Restaurant Reviews

Le Farfalle

January 12, 2018

Being half Italian (I know I don’t look it, but trust me, it’s there), I am pretty particular when it comes to Italian food, so despite having heard great things about Le Farfalle when it first opened, I was still skeptical. However, after having eaten there more times than I care to admit now, I can happily say that Le Farfalle is definitely one of the best Italian restaurants in Charleston.

Let’s start with the appetizers. All the apps I’ve had have been delicious. My favorite is probably the Ceci in Umido (Umbrian-style stewed chickpeas, preserved lemon, Aleppo Pepper, baguette, $9), which is essentially like an Italian hummus. The olive oil (which is amazing on its own, btw) mixed with the chickpea spread is light and bright and savory with just a little bit of bite from the Aleppo pepper. I order it pretty much every time I go.

I have been known to lick the bowl.

I also love the Whipped Ricotta (Honey, Black pepper, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Baguette, $10)… even typing that sentence makes my mouth water. It’s super creamy with just a little sweetness from the honey to balance out the creamy saltiness of the ricotta. It’s so light and refreshing, you forget you’re basically just eating straight cheese.

I have also been known to lick this bowl.

Also, if you love bread, you absolutely cannot miss the Warm Rosemary Focaccia ($6). If I baked bread, this is the only bread I’d ever bake. Plus it comes with their red sauce, their awesome olive oil, and the whipped ricotta I was bragging about earlier (sans honey).

If this bread came in a bowl, you bet I’d lick that, too.

Also if you’re there during happy hour (or apertivo hour, as they call it), I really enjoyed the Fried Mozzarella Sticks ($5), which are simple and just like you remembered them as a kid, but better. I think it’s because their marinara sauce is so much better than what you find elsewhere. Either way, it’s delicious.

Then again, I am just an adult toddler, so it makes sense.

For entrees, I’m absolutely in love with all of their pastas. I tend to opt for the Fusilli Lunghi (black pepper, pecorino romano, $15), which is their version of cacio e pepe. It’s really buttery and cheesy, and a definite crowd pleaser.

The butter at bottom of this bowl, I did not lick. 

I was also a big fan of the Fried Chicken Piccata (mustard greens, potato puree, lemon-caper sauce, $24), which is battered instead of breaded, so it comes out looking like fish & chips. It threw me a bit when we ordered it, and I usually don’t care for battered foods, but this dish was actually delicious! The batter was still light enough that it didn’t overpower the chicken, and the lemon-caper sauce is the perfect balance of tart and creamy. The potato puree and mustard greens really weren’t anything special, but the chicken was good enough that I was able to overlook that.

Piccata dish you like and we’ll split it.

For dessert, I really love their Olive Oil Cake (Olive Oil-Basil Gelato, Candied Almonds, Macerated Blackberries, $8), which sounds weird but isn’t. It’s kind of like a less sweet pound cake with creamy gelato and delicious berries. I like that it isn’t too sweet (most of the sweetness comes from the berries, actually), which was a nice way to end the meal.

(provided by the restaurant… I’m still working on my photography skills).

If you’re thirsty, like I usually am when I go out, I recommend the Swizzle Negroni (Plantation 3 Star Rum, Carpano Bianco, Coconut-Washed Galliano L’Aperitivo, Pineapple, Lime, $11), which tastes like summertime in a glass. It’s very tropical and ice cold (literally overflowing with ice), and if you close your eyes when you drink it, you can pretend you’re in the Caribbean.

Then again, I usually close my eyes and pretend I’m somewhere else.

All in all, if you like Italian food, you should definitely consider giving Le Farfalle a try!

But come hungry!

Le Farfalle
15 Beaufain Street
Charleston, SC 29401
843-212-0920

Le Farfelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Reviews

Poké Tea House

January 5, 2018

If you follow me on Instagram or have spoken to me in real life in the past few months, you’ll know that I’m obsessed (seriously obsessed) with Poké Tea House. In fact, I even have a photo of me at PTH on my Bumble profile.

Although, to be fair, it is a really cute pic.

The way it works when you get there is you grab an order sheet and pick your favorite things. For a poké bowl, you first pick your base (sushi rice, brown rice, mixed greens, or zucchini noodles). Then you choose 1 or 2 proteins (1 for $11.99 or 2 for $14.50). Then you pick 3 mix-in ingredients, a sauce, and 2 toppings. My go to bowl order is sushi rice, ahi tuna, with cucumber, cilantro and pineapple mixed in, ponzu citrus sauce, and topped with spicy tuna and avocado, plus the sesame seeds and fried onions that come free.

Is it food or is it art? Answer: Both.

They’re also one of the only places in the Holy City that offer a sushi burrito. The steps for that are pretty much the same as above, but you choose “burrito” instead of “bowl” when you fill out the sheet. I recently had a sample of one of their sushi burritos with salmon, and I can say that I’m a huge fan.

Then again, I don’t think I’ve ever met a sushi roll I didn’t love.

One thing that I didn’t think I was going to be a fan of was the SPAM misubi, which is apparently a popular snack in Hawaii. Since I’ve never been to Hawaii, I thought this was a practical joke of which I was the victim. Once I found out they were, in fact, serious, I resigned myself to giving it a try (I have a 1 bite rule: I have to take at least 1 bite of something, no matter how much it scares me). I’m so glad that I did, because I’m proud to say that it was delicious! It had so much flavor and I loved the different textures from the rice, seaweed, and SPAM. I highly recommend you give it a try!

 

But only at Poke Tea House or in Hawaii.

As implied by their name, they also have a great selection of bubble tea available as well. My favorite is the honeydew milk tea with strawberry jellies. Their tapioca bubbles are better than a lot of places that I’ve tried them, but I still get kind of freaked out by the texture, so the jellies are my fave.

Always opt for the large.

During the summer they also had this really cool color-changing tea made with butterfly pea flower that was super neat. Basically the butterfly pea flower powder changes color when it interacts with an acid, so y when you pour in some lemon juice, it turns a completely different color. It tastes like a yummy lemonade, which my brain didn’t understand since it was purple.

Science is cool… and delicious!

So basically, if you haven’t been already, you need to go ASAP because it’s my favorite place in Charleston, hands down.

Poké Tea House
441 Meeting St UNIT E
Charleston, SC 29403
854-444-3591

Read Sydney G.‘s review of Poké Tea House on Yelp

Poke Tea House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant Openings Restaurant Reviews

1Kept Charleston

December 15, 2017

[Updated 12/15/17]

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!

Update so it’s been a while since I wrote about 1Kept, but I actually tend to visit the restaurant about once a month because it’s so delicious. I’ve been for lunch, dinner, and happy hour and had a great time at each. Let’s talk about the pimento cheese board (Grilled sourdough, tomato jam, grain mustard, bacon jam, pickled veg, $13), which is one of my favorite starters. The cheese is lightly smoked so it has a little bit more smokiness than your typical pimento cheese. Also, the pickled veggies, especially chef’s secret pickle recipe, are fantastic. Idk what he does to those pickles, but I would eat them by themselves. They’re so good.

Now that’s a cheese board

Another favorite appetizer is the fried okra (house hot sauce, remoulade, $9). They slice the okra lengthwise before breading and frying, which gets rid of a lot of that token sliminess that a lot of people find so offputting about okra. The breading is super light and crispy, and it’s lightly fried so the whole thing practically melts in your mouth. Also, the homemade hot sauce is fantastic. I’m not usually a fan of hot sauce, but I’m totally on board for this. 

As southern as it gets.

As someone who’s kind of obsessed with heirloom tomatoes, I’m pretty critical when it comes to HT dishes. But the Heirloom Tomato Salad (Local tomatoes, pomegranate, crusted mozzarella, assorted lettuces, balsamic, $12) exceeded my very high expectations. The tomatoes were perfectly ripe and tasted like summer sunshine. The crusted mozzarella was a perfect complement to the tomatoes, and I loved the little crunch from the sprinkled pomegranate seeds. I didn’t want this dish to end!

And I am not usually one to gush about a salad, but … gush.

For lunch, I tried their house burger (Smoked pimento, Benton’s bacon, peach BBQ, Cement Pickle Relish®) with Togarashi Spicy fries, and was not disappointed. The burger was perfectly cooked, and the smoked pimento added a great extra layer of flavor that complemented the bacon perfectly. The addition of the cement pickle relish (which I want to put on everything, BTW) gave the burger a level of freshness and crunch. The fries were thin and crispy, and the Togarashi spice added a real subtle layer of heat.

Dat burger, tho.

Other entrees that I’ve loved have been the Kurobuta Pork Porterhouse (Sea Island red peas, sweet corn chow-chow, garlic mojo, cracklin, $25), which is so unique and delicious. First, the pork is cooked like a steak, and is so flavorful, I had to double check that they hadn’t switched out the meat by accident. The cracklin on top was kind of like a shrimp chip from a chinese restaurant and I really enjoyed listening to it crackle as I ate the pork. The chow-chow with the red peas was perfectly balanced in flavors. The whole dish is a winner!

It’s like dinner and a show.

I’m not usually a huge fan of fish (except on sushi), but the Prosciutto-Wrapped Scamp Grouper (Truffled Charleston Gold rice cake, local shrimp beurre monté, shishito peppers, asparagus, $27) is on a whole different level. The combination of the beurre monte and the truffle from the rice cake make this dish so rich and decadent. The fish was perfectly cooked and fork tender, and the rice cake gave a nice variety of textures in the dish. Every bite was like an explosion of flavor.

And plus, it looks like art on the plate!

The Cacio e Pepe (House-made pasta, black pepper, Grana Padano, Pecorino Romano, soft egg, basil, $20) is another solid entree, especially if you’re a fan of cheesy pasta like me. The noodles are cooked al dente and I like that they definitely didn’t skimp out on the cheese. A lot of times when I get this dish, the sauce is too buttery and doesn’t really hold up, but 1Kept’s definitely doesn’t have this problem. My only complaint is that I would’ve preferred a poached egg so that I could’ve mixed it into the sauce instead of having to cut up the egg.

I don’t gotta type, pasta is the only thing that I like.

Let’s talk cocktails! So 1Kept does this awesome thing where the cold brew their drinks to give them extra flavor without having to add anything artificial. Cold brew here doesn’t refer to coffee, it’s about a slow-drip-infusion process (that looks like a science experiment happening behind the bar) that takes 36 hours to complete. My favorite of the cold-brew cocktails is the Summer White Negroni (Distillery no. 209 sauvignon blanc barrel aged gin, aperol, raspberry, vanilla, coriander, Dolin Blanc vermouth), which is so smooth, it’s dangerous.

Bartender, keep ’em coming.

I am also a fan of the Charleston Tea Old Fashioned (Hillbilly bourbon, Charleston Tea Plantation earl grey tea, black cherry, clementine peels), which is a great play on the classic cocktail. If you’re a fan of dark liquors, you’ll love this!

Plus, it makes me feel all Don Draper when I order one.

If you haven’t been to 1Kept yet, please go! You will not be disappointed!

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

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

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