Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Our 2nd Anniversary Trip

Vacation is now over, and it's back to work I go.  Wha wha wha.  T and I spent the last several days in Wilmington, NC celebrating our 2nd wedding anniversary.  When we got married, we made a goal to visit a different state for each wedding anniversary.  Both of us have traveled a decent amount outside of the US, but neither one of us have traveled that much within our own country.   Last year we started the tradition with our Nashville trip, and this year we knocked out North Carolina with a trip to Wilmington.

We had an absolute blast.  I found this waterfront condo on airbnb for $89/night.  The location was great; it was walking distance from all of the restaurants we wanted to try.  Earlier this summer I reached out to Heather of Port City Prescription and Elise of Cheers Y'all to get the scoop on the best places to try, and they seriously hooked me up.  T and I ate (and drank) like kings. 

Our condo had 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom, an an open area with a small kitchen and den. It was just what we needed for the two of us.  There was also a large balcony that overlooked the USS North Carolina, so the views were incredible.  It was absolutely perfect for what we needed, and the price was unbeatable. 

the bedroom

the den

view from our porch
before dinner on our first night

Oysters from the Shuckin' Shack

my first donut from Britt's the iconic donut shop in Carolina Beach

hotdogs from the Trolly Stop in Wrightsville beach

getting our culture in with a tour of the USS North Carolina

ferry ride over to Southport

we had a wonderful lunch at the Provision Company

the best conch fritters I ever did have

My favorite day of our vacation was Saturday, when we took the ferry over to Southport. Southport is such a cool, laid back town. It's gotten a lot of attention recently because that's where the movie Safe Haven was filmed. A lot of other movies have been filmed there too, like I Know What You Did Last Summer, Summer Catch, Nights in Rodanthe, and A Walk To Remember.  My Uncle has lived in Southport for a while, and was the City Manager for almost 15 years.  He gave us a list of some cool places to go, and we spent the day exploring.  We also visited a park bench that was dedicated to my grandparents.  I've never been to my grandparents' grave site because it's about a 7 hour drive away from Greenville.  Getting to visit this bench was really special, because it's the closest I've felt to them since they passed.  We had such a great time celebrating two years in North Carolina, and we're already planning on what state we'll hit next year.  Suggestions are appreciated!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tasty Korean BBQ

I've been on a mission to try as many holes-in-the wall in Greenville as I can.  Well, maybe more diamonds in the rough rather than holes-in-the wall.  Those places that you'd pass by without a thought, but the moment you try their food you wonder why you hadn't been there before. 

One thing that Greenville offers that you don't see as often in other towns is the variety of international cuisine.   Upstate South Carolina actually has the highest international investment per capita in the United States.  And with all of that international investment, Greenville now offers cuisines from all over the world.

A few of my favorites are Me Kong (Vietnamese), Sacha's (Colombian), Pita House (Mediterranean) and now Tasty Korean BBQ has been added to the list.   This is a place we've driven by numerous times, and if you live in Greenville, you probably have too.  The restaurant is connected to a gas station, which I know sounds kind of unsanitary, but I was actually shocked at how nice and clean it was inside. 

I heard that their lunch specials were great, so T and I decided to try it out on a Saturday afternoon.  I'm a sucker for a bento box.  There's just something about it that makes me order one at every opportunity.  The way each part of your meal is separated in its own tiny compartment, I just love it. Their boxes are very reasonably priced at lunch, ranging from $8.00 to $11.00 and they come with plenty of food to fill you up.

T ordered the BBQ chicken which was pretty good, but my Dweji-Bulgogi (grilled pork in spicy Korean sauce) stole the show.  The boxes also came with a salad, sticky rice, a noodle dish called japchae, and two half moon shaped fried dumplings- think Korean empanadas. The food tasted so fresh and flavorful.  The pork was absolutely amazing, and I could eat an entire bowl of those noodles. After doing some research, we found out that japchae is made from sweet potato noodles stir fried with sesame oil and veggies.  Never had a sweet potato noodle before, but I don't think those will be my last!

Rather than sticking with waters, we decided to order a few Korean beers to wash everything down.  Wise choice on our parts, the beer went along perfectly with our meals.  

Tasty Korean BBQ is located at 1170 Woodruff Road, right behind the Red Robin gas station.  Their dinner menu prices are okay, but their lunch special is the best deal.  

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tailgate Practice

After a month of feeling just plain uninspired, I've decided to pick up blogging again.  When I'm in the habit of blogging, it seems so simple to write a few posts per week, but as soon as I get out of my groove it takes a lot to bring be back to it. 

I captured some great pictures this weekend after we hosted a party at our house, and thought it would be the perfect opportunity to return- once again- to my blog.  College football will be starting back next week, and in honor of all of the excitement, T and I held a "Tailgate Practice" party at our house.  We had every intention of making it a welcome environment for fans of all teams, but it pretty much just ended up being a Clemson themed party. 

I went pretty simple (a.k.a. inexpensive) with the decor.  I was able to use a lot of stuff we already had laying around the house, and did some simple things like filling apothecary jars with orange snacks.   I also made chocolate dipped pretzels that resembled footballs, and then George promptly ate half of them as soon as I set them out.

I also used this Pinterest tutorial to make some paper fringe, which turned out better than I thought it would.

T and I love a surprise at a party.  We surprised our wedding guests with cheeseburgers after our wedding reception, and people still mention that to me.  We figured we had to have another surprise for this party, so I booked the Tiger Cub to come and make an appearance. 

Everyone loved snapping pictures with the Cub, especially George, who was infatuated with the Cub.  I'm pretty sure he thought it was just a giant stuffed animal.

Our friend Tripp brought his giant smoker and cooked ribs for the whole crowd.   As a host, this was awesome.  Having the main course taken care of by someone else made it easier for me to enjoy myself that day.  Rather than hovering over the stove top for the duration of the party, I was able to actually walk around and have fun.  Plus, Tripp makes better ribs than I could ever dream of cooking. 

 Let the countdown to College Football begin!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Universal Joint

A new restaurant recently opened in Greenville.  Crazy right?  I feel like I start every other blog post with that sentence.  It still is amazing to me just how many new places are popping up around the upstate.  But the one unique thing about this new place is that it isn't located in the heart of downtown, it's nestled on Stone Avenue right in the middle of the North Main community. 

The North Main neighborhood is a beautiful area with sweet little bungalows just oozing with charm.  The neighborhood also boasts having one of the only two houses designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the state, see the house here.  While the neighborhood itself has been booming, the areas surrounding it have been a little slower with their revitalization.

Enter Universal Joint.  A trendy open-air restaurant just off of North Main Street.  T and I decided to visit about three weeks after their opening night.  Even after three weeks, the place was still packed with people.

The menu to me seemed a little all over the place, I'd like to see the chefs hone the menu down over time once they decide what they're really good at, and what people seem to like.  They had anything from edamame to fish tacos to burgers and a whole lot of randomness in between.

We started with the edamame, which was very tasty.  They give you some kind of soy sesame sauce to drizzle over top which was good, but a bit oily. 

This has been the summer of gin for me, so I ordered a gimlet to go along with my meal.  A gimlet only has three ingredients, so you'd think that it would be a pretty easy drink to make, but it amazes me how many bartenders don't know how to make one.  Since its a pre-prohibition style cocktail, I'm sure people don't order them that much.  Regardless, the bartender did a great job, and my drink was very tasty.

For my entree I ordered the brisket taco.  It's supposed to come with chips, but there must have been a mix-up in the kitchen because they came with french fries instead. No sweat to me, this girl will never turn down a french fry.  I'm glad that it did come with fries, because they were actually the best part of the meal.  The tacos just didn't do it for me.  The brisket lacked flavor and tenderness and the salsa that it came with was very pedestrian. It tasted like it was ordered in bulk, there was nothing original about it.

So while the food wasn't my favorite, the location is great, the atmosphere is fun, and the drinks are cold.  (The parking was a bit sparse, but since its a neighborhood bar, most of the patrons are walking anyway.)  I think the restaurant has great potential, and once the newness wears off I hope that they will be able to streamline their menu and really focus on perfecting a few key menu items.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Life Lately

Life lately has been a little crazy, but I've managed to snap just a few pictures to capture what we've been up to. 

Our garden has finally started to produce some veggies.  I harvested a few tomatoes and a jalapeno the other day and was so excited to use them.   I'm not a big raw tomato fan, so I have to get crafty with incorporating them into other recipes.  I've been scouring Pinterest for some good recipes that called for tomatoes, and these Baked Parmesan Tomatoes really intrigued me.  They'll be added to our menu for next week.

We celebrated the 4th of July weekend in Murell's Inlet with T's family.  T's sister made this gorgeous trifle that tasted just as good as it looked. 

We had a great time at the beach,  but as always our time there was just too short.  I'm already looking forward to our anniversary trip to Wilmington at the end of next month.  I just can't get enough time at the beach.

And as for George, he got his first big boy haircut.  No more puppy cuts for this little dude.   I can't believe how big he's gotten, and refuse to acknowledge that he's still growing.

 And that's what we've been up to.  Hope y'all are having a great week!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Babaziki Mediterranean Grill

T and I rarely get to eat lunch together on the weekdays. We work on opposite sides of town, so our one hour lunch break usually doesn't allot enough time for us to eat together and travel back to work within an hour. There are however a handful of restaurants that are just close enough for us to get there, eat, and get back in time. Babaziki, a new Mediterranean Grill, (think Greek version of Moe's) is the newest addition to our list.

Magnolia Park, that new development right off of Woodruff Road, has really made leaps and bounds in the last year.  The area used to house the old Greenville Mall, and since its demise in the early 2000's it's been quite an eyesore.  But as of recent, several new businesses have moved to this area and it's looking great.  This is the same space where the new Cabela's just opened, and we'll be getting a Nordstrom Rack soon, too.  Can. Not. Wait.

So back to Babaziki.  I really liked this place.  The menu is very streamlined and easy to follow, which makes the process quick, and avoids a bottleneck caused by someone who can't make up their mind. This is a great thing for those of us who have an hour for lunch and not a minute to spare.

They've broken the ordering process down into 4 easy steps.  Step 1: Choose Salad, Sandwich, or Plate.  T and I both chose the plate.  Step 2: Choose your protein.  I had the falafel and T had the grilled chicken.  Step 3: Choose three toppings/sides.  We both had the tomato, cucumber and feta salad, the tabbouleh, and the carrot salad.  The plate also came with warm pita, hummus, and your choice of rice or couscous.  That's a lot of food for the price!

And finally Step 4 is to choose your sauces.  They have six different Mediterranean sauces, some spicy some creamy.  We tried the Tunisian Harissa, the Lebanese Green S'hug, and the Greek Tzatziki and all three were great.

Overall we were very pleased with Babaziki.  The food seemed to be high quality, and the prices were fair.  I really like the changes that I've seen to Magnolia Park, and this place is the icing on the cake, or shall I say the hummus on the pita?

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