Saturday, January 30, 2010

Greens & Eggs

I started my chilly and wet morning at the All-Local Farmer's Market with two of my favorite people, my husband and our friend Jason who is in town from Afghanistan.

Keeping up with my 31 Things to do in my 31st year, I purchased some amazing fresh flowers from Floral & Hardy of Lexington, SC. (Love the clever name!) The owners mentioned to me that they are trying to get their flowers picked up for sale by Earthfare, (the store claims to be open to carrying local brands and products, but so far no luck). So, next time you're in Earthfare, do Floral & Hardy a favor and mention to an employee that you would love to see some of their beautiful flowers for sale there.

Beautiful stems from Floral & Hardy. Doesn't the bottom one's petals look like little slivers of pickled ginger? So gorgeous.

I then moved on to purchase Sunflower Sprouts from City Roots and Butter Bibb Lettuce (I think) from Freshly Grown Farms--these are the 2 local farms that are featured in this week's Free Times article Columbia's New Farmers:Urban Entrants Changing Face of Agriculture. Gorgeous, fresh-as-you-can-get lettuces!

I also bought a dozen free-range, antibiotic and hormone-free eggs from Wil-Moore Farms, and then a piece of vanilla pound cake from Tasty Treats Bakery out of Leesville, SC. (I am presently dieting in full-force for the Biggest Loser Challenge, so I can't eat the pound cake, but somehow, just purchasing a piece gives me some of the satisfaction I might get from actually eating it. Then, later I can also live vicariously through whoever ends up eating it).

After the market we headed to Gotham Bagel Cafe for brunch. None of us had ever eaten there, and it was a very nice experience. I love the open, urban, warehousey-feel of the building where Gotham is located, and it's also a plus that it's a part of the revitalized Columbia Main Street. The staff was very friendly and we had very quick service.

Cool architectural details inside Gotham.

Gratuitous shot of the sweets case--just 'cause I can't eat them right now.

Jason ordered a Philly Cheese steak with curly fries, James had a special sandwich called The Legend with potato salad, and I had a 3-egg Cheese Omelet with feta and mozzarella. The Cheese Steak was doused in an authentic-like cheese sauce, and James said the potato salad was very tasty. My omelet was perfect--the cheese to egg ratio was just right and it was nicely seasoned with salt and pepper.

Philly Cheese Steak

The Legend- roasted turkey, swiss, feta, sun-dried tomatoes, and red peppers.

Overall, it was a great easy-like-Saturday morning. How did you spend your Saturday?

Friday, January 29, 2010

The Weekend Low-Down

Here is my list of fun things to do this weekend:

1. Go to the All-Local Farmer's Market. I know I talk about this often, but just go--you won't be sorry when you're enjoying locally made cheese at your next Book Club gathering, (my Book Club LOVED the cheese), or eating Wil-Moore Farms eggs and Caw Caw Creek meats for breakfast next week. Or cheese bread, boiled peanuts, kettle corn, cookies...all locally made and many organic. The market is open 8-12 Saturday morning and is located at 711 Whaley St.

image via here

2. Cellar on Greene is having a FREE wine tasting and sale from 12-2 pm on Saturday. They have some new, inexpensive wines to buy-- "Bitch" Bubbly for only $13, and a Tait "Ball Buster" Shiraz for only $19...hmm. They'll have about 30 bottles open for tasting. (Become a Fan of COG on Facebook and get all their Wine Tasting updates).

3. The Odd Couple is playing at Town Theatre and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is at Workshop Theatre through the weekend.

4. CWWYX: 10th Anniversary of Winter Exhibition at Gallery 80808, featuring new artwork by Stephen Chesley, Mike Williams, Edward Wimberly, David Yaghjian. Gallery is open Monday-Saturday, 10-5 and Sunday 1-5. See a review of this show here.

5. New York, I Love You is playing at The Nickelodeon all weekend. I will be catching a showing, probably Sunday. Click here to see the trailer.

6. If you're a USC men's basketball fan, (and it's hard not to be after their major upset win over #1 Kentucky this week), then you may want to catch their game against Georgia at 7 pm Saturday at the Colonial Life Arena.

image via here
Lily Clouds

7. 701 Center for Contemporary Art has 2 events this weekend-- Saturday night at 8 pm is the Tiptons Sax Quartet and Drums, and Sunday is the opening of Charlestonian Jocelyn Chateauvert's exhibition Within and Out. She does wonderful things with paper. The Center is open Sundays 1-5 pm; opening reception 3-5 pm.

What are you up to in chilly Columbia this weekend?

Thursday, January 28, 2010

New Fare in Columbia

(Or at least new to me...)

So, I am reading the latest Free Times, which includes an extensive Menu Guide. There are a number of restaurants with their menus printed that I have never even heard of...and I am excited and hungry!

Here's a few restaurants that I definitely want to try:
image via here

@116 Espresso & Wine Bar: Yes, they serve coffee and wine, but in the evening they do a full dinner service including local produce, seafood and meats, prepared with a Spanish twist. Located at 116 State St, West Columbia.
What I want to eat: Cheese Plate- goat cheese truffles, marinated manchego, spiced almonds, roasted red onion cup stuffed with bleu cheese, and a toasted baguette. Yes, please.

Thirsty Fellow Pizzeria and Pub: Recently opened by the former owner of Durkin's along with the current owner of Publick House, this place is sure to have experience on it's side. I haven't seen a menu yet, but the Free Times ad boasts Live Trivia, Pint Night, and a Sunday Brunch. I love pizza, so I will definitely be trying this place out. Located at 621 Gadsden St. Click here to read an article The State did on Thirsty Fellow. MadPlatter has recently Twittered that One Eared Cow Glass is on display at the Thirsty Fellow--very cool.

image via here

Garden Bistro: (This one's been around a while, but I've never tried it...) Located at 923 Gervais St in Columbia, this restaurant is located next to/behind one my favorite late night spots, Art Bar. The menu is as the restaurant title alludes, pretty healthy and fresh-sounding; salads and a good many vegetarian options. They also have Daily Specials listed on their website--nice.
What I want to eat: Garden Bounty Wrap- shredded zucchini, squash and carrots with pecans and strawberry vinaigrette wrapped in a spinach tortilla OR Smashed Three Cheese- combo of cheddar, Swiss and provolone on Texas toast. Or both.

image via here

And, some more restaurant-related news: This coming Monday, February 1st, Village Idiot in 5 Points will donate 100% of its profits beginning at 4 pm to the American Red Cross' Haiti Relief Fund. A local band, Shallow Palace will play and there will be a raffle with prizes, (and VI pizza is some of my favorite in Columbia--try the Hurricane). Way to give back, Idiot!

Have you tried any of these restaurants?

Edie Sedgwick

Watched Factory Girl for the first time last night. Quite intriguing and depressing. I am fascinated by Edie Sedgwick now, and her tragic, and insanely intense life and death. Sienna Miller did an amazing job of playing Edie in this film.

For those who don't know, Edie was the long-time muse of Andy Warhol. She was beautiful, always had a cigarette in her hand, and had a unique and confounding confidence as well as fragility all at the same time. She died in 1971 of a drug overdose, at the age of 28.

Below are some gorgeous photogs of Edie:

image via here
image via here

image via here
{Sedgwick and Warhol}

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Books and a Movie Making Me Giddy

The first meeting of a brand new Book Club has me giddy! We met last night to introduce ourselves and propose books for the group to read over the next few months. It is amazing how inspired and excited I feel after a couple hours in a room talking about books with really intelligent, diverse, women. And part of my excitement was meeting people that I had never met before--you know how meeting new people who you have so much in common with makes you feel validated and alive and more in touch with your environment somehow?

Anyway, we've decided to read Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote as
our first book, and The Help by Kathryn Stockett as the second. I couldn't be
more excited to delve in!

Book images via here and here.

I think I am also feeling rejuvenated and giddy because I began my 12-week Biggest Loser journey at Hampton Hills Athletic Club last night. I have never even watched the show, but I have signed up to be trained and told what to eat for the next 12 weeks in the hopes of coming out on the other side with a bikini bod. (Well, that may not be possible in 12 weeks, but a girl can dream). Anyway- I'll keep you updated on my progress throughout the journey!

image via here

As for the movie mentioned in the title of this post, I am excited to see New York, I Love You, playing at The Nickelodeon tonight through next Tuesday. This movie tells 10 separate tales of love in New York City and I can't wait to get some sappy goodness.

What has you giddy this week?

A Word for Wednesday


a heavy barrier of artillery fire to protect one's own advancing or retreating troops; an overwhelming quantity or explosion as of words, blows, or criticisms.

As in: Andre Bauer has had to dodge a barrage of criticisms from across the nation since his pernicious statement comparing children on free/reduced lunch to stray animals. (Thanks for making SC look worse and worse and worse...)

John Stewart's funny commentary on this issue:
The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Thank You, South Carolina - Andre Bauer
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political HumorHealth Care Crisis

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Definition from here.

Monday, January 25, 2010

I Have Famous Pets

Not really, but they are featured in today's "Monday's Pets on Furniture" post by Desire to Inspire.

Abby, Peach and Fat Albert are in the last picture from the post, all sleeping on the rice couch that I inherited from my grandmother. All are rescue animals, and Peach and Fat Albert both came from the Animal Mission in Columbia.

image via here
(The Animal Mission's cute sign, which you've probably seen when driving down Shop Rd.)

The main fundraiser for The Animal Mission each year is called Party Animals. This year it will be held on Friday, March 19th at the Clarion Townhouse Hotel on Gervais St. and will feature Edwin McCain and Nashville Recording Artist Patrick Davis. Click here to purchase tickets to this awesome event--I have been to it once, and it is super-fun and for a great cause--heavy hors devours, open bar, good music and a silent auction.

image via here

Click here to become a Fan of The Animal Mission on Facebook.

Seriously consider adopting a shelter animal...there are a lot of good shelters in Columbia: Project Pet and Pets, Inc just to name a couple others. And in the words of Bob Barker, "help control the pet population: have your pets spayed or neutered."

Do you have a rescue animal? I would love to hear about it!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Wile Away the Weekend

Interesting and entertaining things going on in Columbia this weekend...something for everyone:

image via here

Wanna see some art? For FREE? Gallery 80808 has their Winter Exhibition opening, reception from 6-9 PM tonight.

Wanna experience some theater? For only $5? Trustus Theatre is hosting Toast, Columbia and USC's premiere improv troupe Friday night at 11:15 PM, doors open at 10:45. (This follows the evening performance of Rent, which unfortunately for those of you who haven't seen it, is sold out).

Wanna do some yoga? For FREE? This Saturday is Yoga Day USA, and although I couldn't find a local yoga studio participating in this event, at City Yoga your first class is always FREE!

Wanna hear some live music? The White Mule has some great live music Saturday night, New Brookland Tavern has Marry a Thief on Friday and Sequoyah Prep School on Saturday, and the Art Bar is featuring Columbia Alterncirque belly dancers and music on Saturday night.

image via here

Wanna see some roller derby girls knock the crap out of each other? The Columbia QuadSquad New Year's Knock Down starts Saturday at 4:30 PM, with a second match starting at 6:30 PM. Admission is $10 in advance, $12 at the door; kids 10 and under FREE. ($1 from every ticket sold will go to benefit Tamika & Friends who are dedicated to raising awareness about cervical cancer).

Wanna eat chicken & waffles? The Whig is cooking up chicken and waffles this Saturday night in honor of a friend's to the public. Starting around 10ish. Click here to read a previous post about The Whig.

image via here

Wanna be a voyeur and watch some 'found footage'? And finally, to round out your weekend, go see The Found Footage Festival at The Nickelodeon on Sunday night. It is just as it sounds--"a one-of-a-kind event that showcases footage from videos that were found at garage sales and thrift stores and in warehouses and dumpsters throughout the country." One showing only at 8:00 PM, hosted and curated by the creators themselves, Joe Pickett and Nick Prueher, whose credits include The Onion and Late Show with David Letterman.

How will you be wiling away your weekend?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Town Mountain at The White Mule

After my husband and I attend a wedding this Saturday, January 23rd, we will be heading to The White Mule for the late show featuring Town Mountain w/ Applesauce. This will be my aforementioned and promised first trip to The White Mule, and I am so excited!

The late show starts at 9:30 and is $6 in advance or $8 at the door; the early show, which features Dylan Sneed w/ Austin Crane, starts at 7:00 pm and is $5 at the door.

Town Mountain is amazing--bassist Barrett Smith is a native Columbian and went to high school with me--(he's very easy on the eyes as well as the ears)--and he is also a super-nice guy. The group is based out of Asheville, NC, but has gotten national acclaim while touring and playing numerous festivals and winning awards across the country.

image via here
(Barrett is the 2nd from the right)

Click here to listen to some songs from Town Mountain. And click here to see The White Mule's menu--if I haven't gotten my fill at the wedding reception, I'll be looking forward to a Margharita Pizza!

A Word for Wednesday


athos: an emotion of sympathy

As in: The citizens of the world have been filled with pathos as they watch the horrors of the tragedy in Haiti unfold.

Or as in: one of Aristotle's means of persuasion in writing: Ethos (credibility), Pathos (emotion), and Logos (logic).

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Eating Animals

Image via here

I finished the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer last night and I am a changed consumer. I know that sounds trite, but it's true.

I just began doing some research on local farms that raise animals for eggs and meat and will be posting about that soon...Foer is a big proponent of responsible, natural, humane raising and slaughtering of animals for consumption, even though he himself is a vegetarian now.

This book has educated me about the evils of factory farming--over 99% of the meat and animal products in America comes from factory farms--and now I wish to make informed decisions about where the animal products I ingest come from and how they were treated while alive and in death. Or if I personally want to consume animals at all.

A couple of my favorite quotes from the book:
"One of the greatest opportunities to live our values--or betray them--lies in the food we put on our plates. And we will live or betray our values not only as individuals, but as nations."
"We have grander legacies than the quest for cheap products. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote passionately about the time when 'one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular.' Sometimes we simply have to make a decision because 'one's conscience tells one that it is right.'"

I recommend this book to anyone who is a self-proclaimed animal-lover- or just not an animal-hater, and anyone who wants to be more informed about where the meat you and your family are eating comes from.

Here's a link to Farm Forward, an organization that" implements innovative strategies to promote conscientious food choices, reduce farm animal suffering, and advance sustainable agriculture."

*A post is coming soon about local farms that humanely raise and slaughter animals.

No Pants 2K10

Agent Todd instructing those with no pants
image via here

On Sunday, January 10th, 2010 over 5,000 people took off their pants on subways in 44 cities
around the world. In New York, the 9th Annual No Pants! Subway Ride had over 3,000 participants.

Did anyone witness this event in New York or elsewhere this year? Did you know that the improv genius behind this event was born and raised in Columbia, SC? His name is Charlie Todd, or 'Agent Todd' as he calls himself when doing Improv Everywhere missions. He is famous the world over for his funny and surprising improv stunts; (Justin Timberlake even tweeted about his excitement for this year's event!) And I went to Junior prom with him...(Charlie, not Justin).

Check out the video of the latest No Pants! Subway Ride in NYC:

Well done, Charlie--and all of you with no pants!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Chipotle- Slow Food. Fast.

So, I'm currently reading Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer, and as I was reading tonight I read "Chipotle is one of the only national restaurant chains claiming to obtain a significant portion of its pork from animals that don't come from factory farms."

It just so happens that a Chipotle Mexican Grill opened in Columbia just last week...I had no idea about their mission, "Food with Integrity." Very cool. When I looked up Chipotle, I learned that they represent a return to organic and sustainable farming; they use only antibiotic-free, naturally-raised chicken and pork and 50% of their beef is raised this way. Chipotle calls their menu items "Slow Food. Fast."

I have not yet visited Chipotle, but this certainly makes me more excited to do so. Here, Steve Ells, the founder and CEO of Chipotle speaks about his company's mission on Nightline:

And here's an article that discusses Chipotle's intention to install solar panels in 75 of its restaurants. If only other restaurants would take notice that you can be environmentally-friendly and serve meat that wasn't raised and slaughtered on factory farms...and still make a profit, too. If only the American public was more educated about factory farms and demanded better for animals, ourselves and our children.

image via here

Chipotle's website advertises Food, Inc. View the trailer here. I haven't seen this film yet, but I really want to.

image via here

And, Fresh is coming to The Nickelodeon on Tuesday, February 9th at 6 PM. See a trailer for Fresh here.

Staying true to my promise to be more aware of what goes into my body and where it comes from, I am really interested in the Slow Food movement and educating myself about our American food sources.

image via here

Columbia has a Slow Food chapter, whose mission is to support the movement of Good, Clean and Fair Food. Check out the Slow Food Columbia blog here.

DiPrato's Brunch

After going to the All Local Farmer's Market Saturday morning, my mother-in-law took me and my husband out for brunch. DiPrato's, (owned by Dianne, of Dianne's on Devine), is now open for brunch on Saturdays!

My mother-in-law ordered Eggs Benedict:

I had a 4-cheese Panini served with a pesto mayo and pasta salad as my unhealthy, but so good.

And the hubs had a ribeye sandwich...he would have preferred the steak be shaved, as it was difficult to eat as it was, but the fries were awesome...James said they must have been dipped in a cornstarch mixture before frying and that's what gave them a good crunch:

And as we left, I got a container of homemade pimento cheese and fresh pita chips to serve to my family that was coming over for dinner that night.

DiPrato's has an amazing deli counter full of homemade salads and items like stuffed grape leaves, fried green tomatoes, and much more! A great place to pick up a meal or appetizer to serve at home!

Friday, January 15, 2010

I Want to See Fish Tank

Just read about the movie Fish Tank from British writer/director Andrea Arnold in a review here and now I really want to see it. Apparently the lead actress, 15-year old Katie Jarvis, was discovered as she was arguing with her boyfriend on a train platform. She has never acted before.

Check out Kurt Loder's review of Fish Tank on his blog here. (That's right, Kurt Loder of MTV).

Going on the Netflix queue now.

Friday Night Lights

Or actually, it's called Playing After Dark. This event is being called The Free Form, and will include performances by ballet dancers, musicians, painters, poets, puppeteers, Broadway-style performers, and a short filmmaker. Sound odd, yes...sound insanely cool, yes! And it's only $5 admission!
image via here

The show starts tonight at 8 pm and goes until 10:30 pm and it will be at the CMFA ArtSpace at 914 Pulaski Street. Click here for a map.

Click here for a more detailed description of the artists from the Free Times' 8 Days a Week.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Helping Haiti

If you're like me, you've been feeling pretty darn helpless the past couple days listening to the horrors of the earthquake disaster in Haiti. As much as I would like to just pick up and go there to help with the relief effort, finances, job, and school just won't allow it--(I am always amazed by those that do find a way to do this).

Instead, here are some easy (and legit) ways you can help right now:

Text 'HAITI' to '90999' and a donation of $10 will be given automatically to the Red Cross to help with relief efforts, charged to your cell phone bill.

image via here

Musician Wyclef Jean, who's from Haiti, says if you text "Yele" to 501501, you'll automatically be donating $5 to the Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund. The charge will show up on your phone bill. You can find out more about Yele here.

Give on-line at Partners In Health.

And, click here for NPR's up-to-date information on the disaster and other places to give.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Solstice for Restaurant Week

This post will be picture heavy and short on words because honestly everything we ate and drank last night was amazing. If you go to Solstice to take advantage of their $25, 3-course or $30, 4-course Restaurant Week special, you will not regret it.

We started with a 1/2 price bottle of Red Door pinot noir. Solstice has a whole page of wines that they offer for 1/2 price every Monday and Tuesday night. It was yummy; I described it to the waiter thusly: "It's like candy!"

The picture doesn't do it justice--this was the amuse-bouche that the kitchen graced us with; a triangle of phyllo stuffed with marscapone and bleu cheeses, drizzled with a balsamic reduction. Heaven.

Cheese plate; 4 different cheeses, including manchego, port salut, great hill bleu, and bellavitano. Always a winner.

Fried calamari with roasted red pepper-artichoke "salad" and pesto coulis. Nice.

A really good soup--crab and artichoke something with a small crab cake on top. Warm and rich.
The next bottle of wine was also from the 1/2 price list, and on recommendation form our server, Carey--who was awesome and very knowledgeable, by the way--it was called Penny Farthing. We liked it even more than the first bottle.

My favorite dish of the evening, (and it was hard to pick just one)...a Solstice Caesar salad with artichokes, Parmesan shavings, shaved red onion, an anchovy-lemon dressing and a balsamic reduction. You had me at Parmesan and balsamic reduction...

A bottle of Sugar Hill Ale rounded out the meal.

Although I have no actual pictures of our entrees, they were tasty. I had the American Snob Burger with gorgonzola cheese, garlic-leek confit and horseradish-black pepper ailoi. Most of it came home with me and I ate it for dinner again tonight.

Has anyone taken advantage of any other Columbia Restaurant Week special menus this week?

A Word for Wednesday


iaspora: any group migration or flight from a country or region; dispersion. Originally, the scattering of the Jews to countries outside of Palestine after the Babylonian captivity.

I have come across this word in a few places recently, so decided to use it for this week's word...

As in Picture #2 on NPR's the picture show blog from last week.

And here, in a guest blog post on PostBourgie about gentrification.

Definition via here.
Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Go See Rent!

It was amazing. I cried and laughed and all the things you want to do at a theater performance... And I drank champagne--one of the major perks of Trustus is that they sell alcoholic beverages.

The characters Angel and Maureen were amazingly well-acted, and Mimi, played by college freshman Katie Lietner, was amazing.

Here is a review of the show by Garret Kellerhalls for the Columbia City Paper. And here is a review by James Harley for Onstage Columbia. (Both of these gentleman seemed to enjoy the musical as much as I did).

The show is at Trustus until January 23rd. You won't be sorry if you go see it.