The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

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One of the perks of attending a conference in Charleston, SC is having the opportunity to indulge in the local food scene. You don’t have to look far to find a high quality restaurant. And, I’m loving how the Charleston scene is trending towards sourcing locally. Yes!

We were already in the downtown area, right near King Street, for the after party, so we didn’t have to walk far to find a delicious option. The WordCamp organizer, Karl, gave us a couple suggestions for the area, including the one where we ended visiting. King Street is to top notch restaurant as any French street is to pâtisserie – there’s seemingly one on every block. The main kink was not having a reservation. I was a little worried about not being able to get into any restaurants, even though we were having a pretty late dinner. We passed a few restaurants, noting how busy each seemed, until we ended up at The Grocery. It was just off of the main street and had large, warm, welcoming windows. We decided to head on in to check out the menu and then decided to stay for dinner.

The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

The Grocery is a farm-to-table dinner featuring local eats, house-made charcuterie, and in-house canned foods.

The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

Since we had just left the WordCamp after-party, I decided to order a mocktail. I got the pineapple mint fizz, which was really refreshing.

The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

Hubby ordered the grouper, which was served over a light minestrone. I’ve seen fish served over soup a couple times now, and I really like it. One of the most memorable examples is when we had the fish over that amazing butter broth at Chez Panisse. This version was really lovely in a different way because the mixture of beans and vegetables added great flavor and texture. The vegetables especially were slightly crisp, so they added a nice bite.

The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

I ordered the scallops, which came with asparagus, peas, ramps, and a creamy purée. The scallops were seared perfectly, and I thought the presentation was really pretty. I enjoyed gathering a couple pieces of the crisp-tender vegetables, trying to get a little of each with a dip of the purée, on each bite. The flavor was enjoyably delicate.

The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

Of course, my favorite course is always dessert, and I was really excited about the churros. As most of you know, I’m a big churro fan, but I usually only get to try the kind that are simply rolled in cinnamon sugar. This version came with not one, not two, but three dipping sauces: chocolate, vanilla, and salted caramel. This was one of those desserts you eat very slowly so you can really savor each bite. We enjoyed it so much, we strongly considered ordering a second round. Instead, I made sure to enjoy the last bits of the sauce left on the plate.

The Grocery {Charleston, SC}

The food definitely spoke for itself, but we also enjoyed really great service. Our waiter was very friendly and took wonderful care of us. At the after party earlier that night, Jen told me about the show Portlandia. She mentioned the episode about local chicken at a restaurant and how the waitress even had a photo of the chicken and shared its name. When I saw chicken on the menu earlier in the night, I really wanted to ask our waiter what its name was, but I held back. But, our waiter seemed pretty cool, so at the end of the meal, I asked if he’d seen the show Portlandia, and he had! He actually used to live in Portland. In case you’re curious, I did ask about the chicken at The Grocery, and our waiter said its name was “Keegan.”

Thank you to The Grocery and team for a wonderful dinner experience. We’ll be back!

Blog Reader Faith

And it is a small world after all. I ran into blog reader Faith at The Grocery. Hello, Faith! It was so nice meeting you!

Desserts in Durham and The Honeycutters

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We went to Durham this past weekend to visit my MIL for Mother’s Day. We had plans to eat in to celebrate. The boys were in charge of picking up food. Wanting to contribute something (other than a purse I picked out for my MIL at the Green Jeans Sale), I decided to do what I do best – find dessert.

Downtown Durham

My friend Ben suggested Scratch Bakery in downtown Durham. So, I headed to the downtown area, parked my car, and went on a bit of a dessert adventure.

Doughnut Muffins

Ben mentioned that Scratch had something special – doughnut muffins. I was surprised to see any left since I went 30 minutes before closing, around 2:30pm. I happily scooped up some to take back to the house. But, I wasn’t done there. I thought the doughnut muffins could be more of a snack. I also picked up some cake (see later photo). But, I wanted more. Scratch was sold out of many items, so I decided to get a variety of desserts from multiple places.

The Cupcake Bar Durham

I went on to get cupcakes from The Cupcake Bar. Many of the cupcakes were decorated with graduation flair since there were many college graduations that weekend. I was sad there were no Mother’s Day themed cupcakes but glad the shop stayed open pretty late. I ended up hitting up this spot after a pit stop at…

Cocoa Cinnamon Latte

Cocoa Cinnamon. It’s been over a year since I first visited this cool little coffee shop, so I was excited to make a return trip. This coffee shop was just outside of the downtown area, so it was an easy two minute car ride from where I was. I was a little nervous about finding somewhere to park and then somewhere to sit since the lot and building are on the small side. But, I lucked out and got a space since someone was leaving just as I pulled up. And though the inside of Cocoa Cinnamon is a bit small, they have quite a bit of outdoor seating. I was ready to share a table with a stranger, but I found an open table in the front.

I ordered the See-line Woman – a latte made with molasses. It was delicious! I love how Cocoa Cinnamon has several unique coffee offerings. I happily sipped on my latte whilst working on a blog post for an Easy Spiced Oven-Fried Chicken Recipe. I got to sit outside and enjoy the fresh air, though I wasn’t sure how long that would last. Most of the day, I toted around a Northface jacket (couldn’t find an umbrella!) since the sky (and weather report) threatened rain. Towards the end of my coffee break, I started hearing thunder. Though it didn’t start raining, it was enough to at least have me thinking it was time to head home.

Durham Dogs

The dogs had a pretty good time this weekend, too, and were playing when I got back. Bailey and Chessie played with a new tug-of-war toy, and that was funny to watch. Chessie is goofy and seems to just like the act of playing. Bailey, on the other hand, wants to WIN! He kept pulling the toy away from Chessie and keeping it from her. Silly boy!

The Honeycutters Concert

My BIL took us all to a small concert to see The Honeycutters on Saturday night. They are based in Asheville, NC, and they are an original country roots band. Country isn’t my favorite genre, but I really like some styles and select artists. I really liked The Honeycutters’ music and ended up getting a CD to take home. I guess some people may think I just like Pitbull and Britney since I’m a Zumba instructor, but I like a lot of different types of music. Sometimes, these smaller bands are harder to find, so you need a good reference with the inside scoop, like my BIL.

Here’s a video (see above) in case you’d like to hear one of the songs I really liked from the show – Mr. Cody.

Scratch Bakery Honey Almond Cake

And we may or may not have dug into that other Scratch Bakery treat – honey almond cake – after the show. Yum! I loved the slightly sticky almond topping. It had a bit of the savory-sweet thing going on with honey and salt, which added great balance.

We gave hubby’s mom her purse on Sunday, and she loved it. Woohoo! It was a navy blue Carolina Herrera bucket-style purse with a long strap and gold details. I hope she gets lots of great use out of it.

We had another great trip to Durham and a wonderful weekend!

Hope you’re all having a great week! Thanks for stopping by!

First Foam Art and Greenville Faves

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Hope you’re all having a great Easter weekend!

On Saturday, Dad and Sis wanted to watch the new Captain America 2 movie. With the weather being rainy with a high of 58, it was a good day for that. Hubby and I had already seen it, but he was up for seeing it again. Since my mom isn’t a big movie fan, she and I decided to have a mother-daughter afternoon.

Due South Coffee

I took her to Due South Coffee (which I visited during their opening week) for her first latte foam art experience.

Mom at Due South Coffee

She was a fan. She was cute and asked, “Am I supposed to drink the foam art?” Yup, go for it!

Thank you, Due South Coffee, for providing a great experience!

Henry's Smokehouse BBQ

While we were out, we decided to hit up some of our other favorite spots like Henry’s Smokehouse. Hello, BBQ sandwich plate!

The Chocolate Shoppe

And since I was one day away from being able to enjoy sweets again, we picked up two dozen of my favorite chocolate chip cookies from The Chocolate Shoppe. If you’re ever in town, definitely stop by. You’ll be greeted with a free chocolate chip cookie sample! It was everything I could do to not scarf down that free cookie. Can’t wait to dig into those on Sunday!

We also hit up The Pita House for dinner, checking off another Greenville fave visit. I must have been more hungry than I thought because I had already dug into everything by the time I thought to take a photo. Trust me, our Pita House meal was beautiful and delicious.

My parents currently don’t have a TV – just wi-fi and a ton of books and magazines. We’ve enjoyed a pretty quiet weekend so far. I spent some time working on converting a couple more recipes here on TCL for you guys and making some other blog enhancements. And I finally had a good chunk of time to spend some QT with a good book, which was a great way to wind down for the day.

On a not-so-quiet note, I showed my family this video of this amazing 80-year-old salsa dancer, and they loved it! I sure hope I can move like that when I’m Paddy’s age.

Happy Easter to those celebrating!

Jang Su Jang {Duluth, GA}

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Sis and I are taking a weekend road trip to Atlanta, GA, and we found a great stop on the way in Duluth, GA. We were up for a food adventure and decided to try Jang Su Jang, a Korean BBQ restaurant.

Jang Su Jang - Duluth, GA

Neither of us have had Korean food before, but we’ve heard such good things. We were both very excited to try it out. I wasn’t sure if it would be an Americanized or traditional type of restaurant. Happily, it turned out to be the latter.

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For drinks we were given the option of water or tea. Sis and I opted for the tea, which was delicious and served sans sugar. It reminded me a bit of how the tea is served straight up at dim sum restaurants, too.

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We lucked out and had a very friendly waiter named Calvin who helped us make our dinner selections. We decided to start with some steamed dumplings (Mul Mandoo) and to try a combo with the tofu soup and bulgogi.

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I let sis pick which soup to try, and she opted for the Beef Soon Tofu.

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Very shortly after ordering, our table was quickly filled with an assortment of Korean side dishes. We weren’t sure what to do with them. Did we start eating them or wait for the rest of the food came out? Do you eat the side dishes straight up or mixed with stuff. Anyone know?

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(Not sure what this one is – does anyone know?)

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We even got two kinds of kim chi. Calvin also mentioned there’s another kind of kim chi made with (I think it was) beets or radishes that comes with the bossam.

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The dumplings were a big hit with us. We’re big dumpling fans, in general, but these were really tasty, and we liked the dipping sauce, too.

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{bulgogi – shredded beef BBQ}

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The tofu soup was something the restaurant specializes in. It had pieces of soft tofu and beef. The funny part was the egg. I read online you’re supposed to crack the egg into the soup while it bubbles (it comes out boiling hot). So, once the soup came out, we cracked the egg into the soup, and I started stirring it around. This was before confirming this was correct with Calvin. He came out to check on us shortly after this, and I asked him, “So…I cracked the egg into the soup. Was that right?” He confirmed that was correct to our relief as Sis laughed at me.

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And here’s dessert – a small, chilled yogurt drink.

***

Overall, we had a great experience trying Korean food for the first time. I can see why everyone loves it so much. The soup and dumplings were our stand out favorites, but we enjoyed everything quite a bit.

If you’re ever in the Atlanta area or just passing through, Jang Su Jang would be a great stop. It’s even close to the highway if you’re just looking for delicious food on your next road trip.

Artisan Coffee at Due South Coffee in Taylors Mill {Greenville, SC}

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Since we have Not Just Coffee in town, I’m spoiled with delicious coffee. I now look for high quality coffees with latte foam art wherever I go. Imagine my surprise when just such a coffee popped up on the @visitgreenvillesc Instagram account. Could it be that I could find a coffee shop like NJC when I visit my family in Greenville, SC?

Yes, as it turns out, I can thanks to Due South Coffee opening up just one week before my last visit. I had to check it out before heading home, so I grabbed hubby and my sis for a quick stop.

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Due South Coffee is actually in Taylors, SC, which is not incorporated as a city, but you may need to know that if you’re looking it up on a map/GPS. (Use “Taylors” in the search instead of “Greenville”)

The coffee shop is in an up-and-coming new area of town – Taylors Mills. More on that at the end of this post, but they’re in the early restoration stages. As we pulled onto the mill property, sis and hubby were skeptical that we were in the right place, but you just go to the Dock 3 sign and take a right. The sign is small, but it’s just there on the left on the inside corner. It looks a little like you’ve entered an abandoned property, but the coffee shop is there, and there are more businesses coming soon!

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The scene is very mod-industrial. I loved the homage to the past visible throughout the space. For example, there was a glass-enclosed display on one wall asking if you “knew your parts.” Inside were little metal (what looked to be) machinery pieces that were labeled.

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Currently, there’s one main bar area where you can sit or order drinks. There’s a large couch section, and then a couple round tables throughout.

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{I had enough coffee that day, so I opted for the hot chocolate, especially after I found out they make their own chocolate!}

But, the main attraction is the drinks. They have a real artisan touch since Due South Coffee roasts their own coffee beans and makes their own chocolate. Each drink is artfully created. Due South Coffee serves up the usual suspects like lattes and pour-overs, but they also have unique offerings like a coffee flight (espresso served three ways) and a speciality drink called the Southern Hemisphere, which features chilled espresso with rosemary infused milk and grapefruit syrup.

Do I even need to tell you that our drinks were delicious? They were! Hubby tried the flight, and Sis and I got hot chocolates. I can’t wait to try an espresso drink next time!

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There’s a property company currently working to renovate the space, the old Taylors Southern Bleachery, as a new hot spot for luxury living, restaurants, and a huge art scene. There will be event space, artist studios, and more! You can check out the Taylors Mill Properties web site for more information and updates.

Welcome, Due South Coffee! And good luck to Taylors Mill Properties with the rest of the renovation. Love what you guys are doing!

Tupelo Honey Cafe Opens in Charlotte, NC

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Have you heard of the famous Tupelo Honey Cafe in Asheville, NC? If you’re from the south, or even further away, chances are good you have. I’ve never actually been to this restaurant before. We’ve only recently started visiting Asheville for vacations, and each time, Tupelo Honey has been too busy to visit. It’s been on my short list of places to have a meal, but things have just gotten easier for me. I don’t have to wait for another Asheville road trip since Tupelo Honey Cafe opens in Charlotte, NC today!

The restaurant is rolling out meal services as they go, starting with dinner tonight. You can find their full schedule (breakfast is coming soon!) by clicking here to visit the Tupelo Honey Cafe Charlotte page.

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I had the pleasure of attending the grand opening party this past Friday where we were treated to an early look at the restaurant’s interior (they’ve remodeled what used to be Pewter Rose Bistro), some delicious eats, and even an autographed copy of their signature cookbook to take home for later. The event also had a special twist as they were raising money for the YWCA.

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The first thing that struck me as I walked in was how bright, open, and cheery it was.

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I loved the golden woods and how the overall decorations gave a feeling of warmth.

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There were several serving areas around the restaurant, but I started with the appetizer one, filling a plate with fried okra (“Southern popcorn”), egg salad, a black bean fritter, and pimento cheese. They were all good, but the pimento cheese and okra were the standouts for me, especially the okra. I really could eat that like popcorn.

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I hit up the carving station for plate 2: tenderloin with a rich sauce (au jus?), pork tenderloin with jalapeño sauce, cheesy cauliflower, mashed sweet potatoes, and (yes) more okra.

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Hubby and I even got a polaroid to take home for later. This will be great at my work desk.

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For my third and last plate, I visited the seafood and vegetable tables: crab cake, scallop, brussels sprouts, asparagus, beets, and greens. This plate was my favorite. I’m a picky crab cake eater. Sometimes they taste too…fishy? This one was perfectly seasoned and had a nice, slightly spicy bite to it. I’m also a big vegetable lover, and I appreciated that the restaurant had so many to offer. All of the veggies were great – uniquely prepared by wonderful in their own way. I would have gotten another plate of vegetables, but I was too full!

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The Epic Eaters were representing at the grand opening party! Love those girls!

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I’ll leave you with these wise words from some of the restaurant’s art: “Bee your self”.

Thank you for having me and welcome to Charlotte, Tupelo Honey!

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