Total Pageviews

Sunday, January 29, 2012


About 6 years ago, I was introduced to Scotch. Since then, I've enjoyed my share from each of the Whisky Regions of Scotland!  My favorite Region is Islay, well known for their peaty malts. Probably the most famous Islay whisky is Laphroaig, which I do enjoy.

My favorite Islay whisky is Ardbeg, which can  been described as "monstrously peaty". Ardbeg, according to Ian Buxton in 101 WHISKIES TO TRY BEFORE YOU DIE, " is arguably the benchmark Islay Whisky, against which all others must be judged". I would have to agree. I was first introduced to Ardbeg in 2008, while staying at the Forss House outside Thurso, Scotland in the Highlands. The Forss House bar has about 270 different Scotch Whiskies on the shelf. With so many whiskies to choose from, I asked the bartender what their favorite whisky was, and they said Ardbeg.

A couple of things I want to share regarding Scotch whisky. First of all, when you see the word, "whisky", this is the correct spelling for whiskies that are out of Scotland. Most of us are used to seeing it spelled as "whiskey", which represents the whiskies for the rest of the world.

If you are new to drinking Scotch or have an interest in trying it, I wouldn't recommend Ardbeg as being your first time. I would suggest something like, Glenlivet, an easy drinking whisky that can be found anywhere. I would also suggest for your first time drinking Scotch, to have it with water and on the rocks. If you build a taste for whisky and you want to continue to drink it, then you will get to the point where you will take less water and ice over time.

I prefer my Scotch neat with a few teardrops of water and sometimes with 2 cubes of ice.

Friday, January 27, 2012

CABO FISH TACO - NoDA (Charlotte)

 I'm in Charlotte every week, sometimes for a day or several days. I need to do a better job in promoting Charlotte. I promise to do a better job  in 2012 exploring and promoting Charlotte. One area within Charlotte that's getting much attention is called, NoDa (North Davidson). This is Charlotte's Historic Arts District. According to the official NoDa website:

"NoDa is now the home to the City's best collection of galleries and performance venues; some of the funkiest full service restaurants including authentic Cajun cooking, Southwest cuisine, a Creative pizza eatery and more."

 Recently , I ended up here to meet a friend at Cabo Fish Taco, his suggestion. I'm a  fan of fish tacos,  therefore  I was looking forward to trying Cabo Fish Taco. For a Wednesday night, this place was packed with hipsters, bohemians and business people a like, all enjoying fish tacos, burritos and a good selection of beers. Thats usually a good sign.

Inside Cabo Fish Taco in NoDa
Of course I ordered the fish tacos. An order of Fish Tacos, comes with two, which you can mix and match different types of tacos.  I got the obligatory Beer Battered White Fish Taco and had our server choose the other one. She chose the ever popular Blackened Mahi Mahi taco as my other choice. Each taco comes with a flour tortilla stuffed with cabbage, tomato, avocado, mixed cheeses, & finished with a white cilantro sauce. Pretty good.

Beer Battered White Fish Tace and Blackened Mahi Mahi Fish Taco

When it comes to fish tacos, California is where they originated. I must admit that it is hard to find a good fish taco in the Southeast. Cabo Fish Taco does a good job, but it's no Rubio's of San Diego, where I consider my favorite fish taco. Since I can't have Rubio's, at leasat I have good east coast choice!

Since I got into NoDa about an hour before dinner, I did explore the area and saw some other places that have caught my attention. I look forward to checking them out and giving a report in the future.

I'm always looking for any suggestions for the Charlotte area that I need to try. Feel free to send them my way.

Thursday, January 26, 2012


I've previously talked about the 50 plus Bourbons listed at HUSK Restaurant in Charleston, SC. Well, here is the list!  I must admit, I am keeping tabs on the ones that I've tried. I do have a goal to try each one of these.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Bartenders, Bourbon and Billy Reid, But No Bud Lite, The Bar at HUSK

It’s no secret that I love HUSK and everything it represents. I consider myself fortunate to frequent there when I am  in Charleston.  I still owe a post on my dining adventures there, but I must admit, my creative writing abilities won’t do it justice.
The Great Wall of Bourbon
Late Monday evening, I walked into HUSK for dinner.  I was told that since I was alone, I could get a seat in 30 minutes.  With 30 minutes to spare, I went over to the bar for bourbon on a cube of ice.  HUSK’s bourbon list is vast and unique. Over 50 plus bourbons are listed, and broken down by the city of the distillery. Most restaurants have 3-5 bourbons listed, never mind broken down by city.  A good number of the bourbons are small batch and ones I’ve never heard of.  On this evening, I enjoyed a Ridgemont Reserve 1792, a very smooth, slightly smokey bourbon and one I’d never enjoyed before.  

Not only is the food and drink at HUSK local, but so are the glasses for which they serve their bourbon in. The glasses are based out of Atlanta’s Uncorked Glass, which according to their website:

In addition to bourbon, the Bar at Husk offers a selection of beers from around the Southeast, which brings me to the story from the night. As I was sitting there enjoying my Ridgemont Reserve,  I overheard the bartender state, “Bud Lite, you can go over to the bar next door at 82 Queen, they've got Bud Lite there."  Apparently, a couple who doesn’t appreciate a place that takes pride in using regional ingredients, drinks included, stopped into the wrong bar. After being told "no Bud Lite", they immediately left. We all got a chuckle at that.
Even if you can't snag a reservation at HUSK, I highly recommend stopping in at the bar next door. The bar staff,  stylishly decked out in South's own Billy Reid, is very knowledgeable and have  created some amazing locally inspired cocktails.  

Bartenders in Billy Reid attire, pouring Bourbon, but no Bud Lite!

Speakeasy Social Club - Business After Hours, The Cocktail Club, January 26, 5-7PM.

If you enjoy Scotch, Networking and a classy atmosphere then join Charleston's Speakeasy Social Club's Business After Hours on Thursday, January 26 at The Cocktail Club on King Street. The Speakeasy Social Club was recently launched by a very ambitious forward thinking young couple. They launched this social group, based on an idea from a group in Atlanta, where they previously resided. Speakeasy Social Club not only promotes social gatherings for young professionals, but they also are promoting local businesses as well, which makes every one involved a winner.

Having known the founders for years, I highly recommend getting involved with the Speakeasy Social Club and look forward to seeing what other events that they have in store.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Greatest Steak Grilled at Home, According to Mrs. SNarolina Foodie!

According to my wonderful wife, I grill one excellent steak. Together, we've enjoyed some of the Carolina's best, so when I hear her praises on my grilling, it makes me happy. My steak grilling technique comes from the Morton's Steak Bible.

First, I select high quality beef,  from places like the New York Butcher Shoppe and Whole Foods. I've noticed that when I've gotten beef from other groceries, quality has been an issue. Please note, not all beef are created equal! For our most recent home grilled steaks, I purchased two 8 oz filets from the New York Butcher Shoppe out of Charlotte, NC.

The following are my directions for the greatest steak grilled at home:

1. Bring your steaks out of the refrigerator and let stand for 30-60 minutes. What I've learned, getting the meat to room temperature, aids in the grilling process and the meat cooks evenly.

2. Once the steaks have come to room temperature, I cover them in Extra Virgin Olive oil (EVO).

3. After coating the steaks with EVO, I coat the steaks, liberally with Sea Salt. Actually, most meat that I grill, I coat in Sea Salt.

4. While I am waiting for the steaks to get to room temperature, I get the grill fired up to around 500 - 550 degrees F.

5. With the combination high temperature on the grill and the Steaks at room temperature, it doesn't take long for the steaks to cook, especially the way I like them, RARE! At the high temperatures, most steaks will be ready within 10 minutes or less.

6. Enjoy! No steak sauce is needed, especially when you have a high quality piece of beef!

Grilled Filet Mignon, RARE!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

European Beer Night Fellowship - aka Guys night out!

Every few months, several of us guys get together for beers, games and of course food. We tend to choose 3 or 4 different beers to enjoy. The gathering is always a time we look forward to, since most of us are married with kids and getting out can be tough.

Last night, the theme was European beers, many of which we'd never had. To keep the beer from going to our heads, we enjoyed some spicy chorizo, asiago fresco and crackers.

Spicy Chorizo, Asiago Fresco and Crackers
 The first beer, Estrella Damm,  from Barcelona, Spain, was excellent. This was my first time tasting a beer from Spain. When it comes to Spain, it's all about their Rojo Wines. This beer went well with the chorizo.

The Bavarian beer, Konig Ludwid Weissbier, was our second beer of the evening. It is a typical Bavarian wheat beer, for which I'm a fan of.  Having been to Bavaria, Germany, I've enjoyed some excellent German wheat beers.This doesn't rank as the best, it was nonetheless good.

The final beer of the evening, one that I've enjoyed several times and brought to introduce to the guys, Italy's Birra Moretti's La Rosa, an amber beer. For me, this beer is standard at fine Italian Restaurants around the country.  Most Italian restaurants offer the other Italian beer, Peroni, which I am not a fan of. What I've noticed,  the highest of quality Italian restaurants offer this beer.

The evening was excellent, and I made it passed Midnight! The common joke has always been  that I can't stay up past 10:00 PM, because I start knodding off. My excuse is, I get up many mornings at 5AM and don't stop until about 9:00 PM, so for me to stay up late can be tough.

I want to thank Artist and Entrepreneur, Bruce Plourde of City Story Greenville for hosting last night's group and providing the excellent French Press Coffee with real whipped cream, to ensure that I stayed awake well into the evening!

French Press Coffee, Real Whipped Cream and Sugar Cubes

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


The Charleston City Paper is a free publication that comes out weekly discussing food, music and social trends within Charleston, SC. In August, a cover story was titled, “101 Things, to Savor, Slurp and Suck Down in Chucktown”.  I’ve used that as my guide in finding and trying new places in Charleston.  I do plan to try almost all 101 items listed!
The infamous  Dell!
One of the foods listed was the “Rice and Bean Bowl” at Dell’z Deli. The article stated:
Dell'z rice and bean bowl is one of the best lunch values in town. It's packed with rice, black beans, salsa, fresh avocado, and, for an extra buck, gooey melted cheese. It's healthy, filling, and affordable, like everything else on Dell'z menu.”
I ordered the Rice and Bean Bowl and became speechless. 6 months later and Dell’z is now my go to spot for lunch when I’m in Charleston for lunch. Dell’z isn’t your typical deli, where you pick a sandwich, a bag of chips and a drink. Dell’z offers wraps, salads and pizza to name a few. Everything  on the menu can be made vegetarian and vegan.  Since my first visit, I’ve been venturing further into the menu, and I haven’t been disappointed.
Dell'z Jazzy Pizza
Lately, I’ve been ordering two item, the “Beach Bum” which is a wrap with spicy shrimp and the other, Dell’z Jazzy Pizza, which consist of rice, black beans, salsa, avocado, cheese, some type of amazing sauce called “da sauce” and fresh field greens on a large tortilla. This pizza was meant to be shared, but twice I’ve been able to down a whole one myself, much to the amazement of Dell herself. Fortunately, training for a marathon has allowed me to do so and not gain weight.
Dell’z is located at 1-A Cannon Street, just off King Street.  Seating is very limited, only 4 seats at the counter. I suggest either get it in early for lunch or get it to go.

<a href=" alt="Dell'z Deli on Urbanspoon" src="" style="border:none;width:200px;height:146px" /></a>

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Cook Out comes to Greenville!

I like a good cheeseburger as anyone. If you make a good cheeseburger, people will come. North Carolina has been lucky. For years, North Carolinians have had an excellent chain called Cook Out. This place offers burgers, bbq, hot dogs, chicken and milk shakes all of which are excellent. Within the past two years, Cook Out has been aggressivley expanding south of the border into South Carolina.

The latest addition in SC is their Greenville location, right next to the Cherrydale Shopping Center. We've enjoyed Cook Out before, but are excited that they are located down the street from our house, which is dangerous in itself. What's good about Cook Out is not just their food, but their prices as well. You can get a lot for a little, especially with their Cook Out Tray combo's.  (See Below)

Cook Out Tray = Lots of  Quality Food and Little Price
Cook Out offers many different options for their burgers. My personal favorite is the Steakhouse Style, which consist of a hamburger, cheese, grilled onions, lettuce, A-1 sauce and mayo. I love this burger because it's what my Dad called a three napkin burger because of how messy it can get.
While I am a big fan or Cook Out's burgers and shakes, I must say, their fries aren't as good as say, FIVE GUYS, but that is another story in itself. If you are looking for a tasty burger with some interesting choices for sides, head to cookout.

Charlotte Restaurant Week - January 20-29, 2012

This week is Restaurant Week all across South Carolina! In two weeks, it will beCharlotte Restaurant Week.  There has some outstanding restaurants that I am starting to discover.

If you live in the Charlotte Metrolina area, this is an excellent time to take advantage of great restaurants with excellent Restaurant Week deals.

As I continue to discover Charlotte, where should I be eating?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Restaurant Week - South Carolina

Its Restaurant Week all over South Carolina! I urge all of you to take advantage of this and try some place new. This is definitely an excellent opportunity to taste some of the state's best menus for a low price!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Table 301 Offering 3 Wine Dinners in Greenville, January 12, 2012

Winemaker Dinners - Thursday, January 12, 2012
Three talented winemakers, three great restaurants, one amazing night of wine & foodWe’re excited to host three dinners with winemakers in town for the American Red Cross Affair with Flair Wine Auction (with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting the event).
NOSE DIVE with Tom Rinaldi of Provenance Winery.
Provenance Wine Dinner - Thursday, January 12, 2012The event is $65 per person and seating is limited. A portion of the proceeds benefit the American Red Cross Western Carolinas Region. For reservations, please call 864-241-3030.Provenance Wine Dinner Menu:StartFamily Style CharcuterieChefs Selection of House Made Hams, Pates, Rillettes & PicklesProvenance Vineyards Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc 2010FishMarinated Tuna CrudoHerb Smoked Blackberries, Grilled PortabellaProvenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2006MeatPork ShankRoasted Root Vegetables, Apple, Smoked BrothProvenance Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
SweetCandy BarFirm Milk Chocolate, Coffee Crust, Raisins, Bourbon, Peanut Anglaise

Devereaux’s with Joe Davis of Arcadian Winery. For reservations, call 864-241-3030. 

The event is $85 per person and seating is limited. A portion of the proceeds benefit the American Red Cross Western Carolinas Region. For reservations, please call 864-232-7007.Perception Wine Dinner Menu:First Course:

Arugula Salad
Cider Vinaigrette, Feta Cheese, Toasted Pumpkin Seeds
Perception Russian River ChardonnaySecond Course:

Creamy Blue Crab Soup
Perception Sangiacomo Vineyard ChardonnayThird Course:

Pan Seared Scallops
Asparagus Risotto, Butter Sauce
Perception Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay and Russian River Pinot NoirFourth Course:

Braised Beef Short Ribs
Creamy Anson Mills Polenta, Broccolini, Truffle Demi
Perception Bacigalupi ZinfandelFifth Course:

Brown Butter Cake
Local Pecans, Caramel Ice Cream
The event is $75 per person and seating is limited. A portion of the proceeds benefit the American Red Cross Western Carolinas Region. For reservations, please call 864-241-3030.Arcadian Wine Dinner Menu:First CourseCrab CannolliPiña, Radish, Apple, Chive, LemonChardonnay, “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard”, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, 2006Second CourseRoasted GrouperWhite Corn Polenta, Maitake, Lemon, Herbed JusPinot Noir, “Sleepy Hollow Vineyards”, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, 2005Third CourseBeef ShortribConfit Potatoes, Caramelized Onion, Haricot Vert, BraisageSyrah, “Garys’ Vineyard”, Monterey, California, 2001Fourth CourseHot Chocolate & BiscuitFlourless Chocolate Cake, Stuffed Brioche, Malt ParfaitThe Loft at Soby’s with Mark Ray of Perception Wines. For reservations, call 864-232-7007. Perception Wine Dinner - Thursday, January 12, 2012

CreamThe event is $75 per person and seating is limited. A portion of the proceeds benefit the American Red Cross Western Carolinas Region. For reservations, please call 864-241-3030.

Arcadian Wine Dinner Menu:
First Course  Crab CannolliPiña, Radish, Apple, Chive, LemonChardonnay, “Sleepy Hollow Vineyard”, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, 2006

Second Course  Roasted GrouperWhite Corn Polenta, Maitake, Lemon, Herbed JusPinot Noir, “Sleepy Hollow Vineyards”, Santa Lucia Highlands, California, 2005

Third Course Beef ShortribConfit Potatoes, Caramelized Onion, Haricot Vert, BraisageSyrah, “Garys’ Vineyard”, Monterey, California, 2001

Fourth Course Hot Chocolate & BiscuitFlourless Chocolate Cake, Stuffed Brioche, Malt Parfait

Monday, January 2, 2012

Moules on the Grill!

I'm a huge fan of mussels and more specifically moules frites, which are very popular in Belgium and France. Grilling is a hobby of mine and so I had this notion that I wanted to try some mussels on the grill. I've never cooked them before, but wanted to play around and see what I could come up with.

Ingredients: 1/2 Purple Onion chopped, Garlic, Butter and Lemon
 I sauteed the onion with garlic and butter on the grill for about 2 minutes, when the onion soften.

Finally, the mussels were added along with the juice squeezed from the lemon and cooked until the mussels opened. The guy at the seafood department said to cook the mussels for about a minute  more once they open up.

The final verdict, the mussels were good, but I totally overcooked them. The garlic, onion and lemon flavors were a great compliment. When mussels are overcook, they shrink and don't provide much meat. Next time I venture in making mussels, I will steam them and maybe follow a recipe, versus trying it on my own.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year, SNarolina Foodie Style!

2012 has begun and today we enjoyed our annual New Years day meal. My wife totally surprised me with some of the best collard greens that I've ever tasted. She used a combination of Canadian bacon, purple onions caramelized in a brown sugar glaze and chicken bullion. I would've paid for them in a restaurant!

Also, our meal included the traditional Black Eyed Peas,

a simple, cherry tomato salad with balsamic vinegar and grated romano cheese.

I was in charge of grilling the pork chops, which I rubbed with sea salt.  I am a huge fan of sea salt and tend to use on all of my grilled meats. It's amazing what such a simple ingredient can do to grilled meat.

Here is the finished product.

Lastly, the Mrs. surprised me by baking a Blackberry Cobbler, using fresh blackberries that we purchased yesterday. We need to have this more often!

One of my goals with SNarolina Foodie this year is to share some meals that we have not only in restaurants, but also at home, especially anyting that I am trying to tackle for the first time.