Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thursday's Thinking of Food

Hope everyone's having a great week--I am so excited for the impending long weekend, aren't you? James and I are headed to Charleston to visit a dear friend of mine from high school, Austin, and her awesome husband, Collin. We're going to traverse the city, eat really good food, and sun ourselves silly--posts next week!

Exciting foodie information today--here goes:

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*Panera, the national soup, salad, and bread chain, has opened a "pay-what-you-can" store in a suburb of St. Louis. How freakin' cool is that!? The menu is exactly the same at this nonprofit location, but there are no prices. Customers are encouraged to pay what they can, and a price is suggested, but nothing is required. The motto that hangs over the counter of the store reads: "Take what you need, leave your fair share." The store just opened this month, but similar models have worked in the past. Click here to read a Washington Post article on the venture. I first read about the nonprofit Panera store here.

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*A newly-released study published in the journal Pediatrics, indicates that "Children exposed to higher levels of a type of pesticide found in trace amounts on commercially grown fruit and vegetables are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder than children with less exposure." Wow. This is the largest study of its kind to date, and it seems pretty well-conducted. The lead author of the study, Maryse Bouchard, Ph.D., states: "Organic fruits and vegetables contain much less pesticides, so I would certainly advise getting those for children. National surveys have also shown that fruits and vegetables from farmers' markets contain less pesticides even if they're not organic. If you can buy local and from farmers' markets, that's a good way to go." And buying organic or from a farmer's market is so easy these days, why not?

*The Big Shebang at City Roots, Columbia's urban farm, last weekend was really fun! There were local artisans selling their wares, a potluck lunch sponsored by Slow Food Columbia-all dishes included at least one local ingredient, and City Roots was giving farm tours. There was also plenty of locally grown produce, herbs, and plants for sale. I got some basil:

which I later turned into a homemade pesto to go on toast with mozzarella for my sister's baby shower last Sunday:

City Roots also has a tilapia tank and free range chickens, along with their 30 varieties of vegetables and fruit.

Go visit City Roots--the Farm Store is open Monday-Friday 9- 5:30 and Saturday 10-2.

*And, if you're planning a cookout for Memorial Day-here's a deal for you: get a FREE bottle of Earth Fare Organic Ketchup with any $5 purchase and this coupon.

Have a great weekend! I would love to hear what you're doing for the holiday.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

A Word for Wednesday


olutioning: the process of creating a solution.

As in: "After some solutioning, we will present some technical approaches to your business needs."

Now, if you look this word up in a regular dictionary, it does not exist. However, my friend Jaime introduced me to the word and I quite like it. Urban Dictionary actually defines it, and gives the same definition as Jaime.

What are some made-up words that you fancy? I have always been a fan of "funner."

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Eating Our Way Through Pawley's Island, SC

I returned home from the SC coast last week, and this is a review of the amazing local fare we dined upon while there.

The first night of our trip to Litchfield beach, just north of Pawley's Island, SC, James and I sat down with my parents to plan our eating for the rest of the week. This is how our family operates--entertainment and planning often revolves around eating. So, thus began our gluttonous and glorious trip to the beach.

First up- Bistro 217.

This restaurant has become a staple beach restaurant for the Smith family; we often eat there twice in one trip, (which we did last week). The staff is consistent, the food is consistent and very high-quality, and the atmosphere is beach-chic, and casual enough for my 2 1/2 year old nephew to dine with us for dinner.

Here's what we ate on our first trip to 217:

Everyone starts with this fun basket of carrots, celery and various breads.

I get this salad every time I eat here-- the Warm Pistachio Encrusted Goat Cheese Salad with spinach and balsamic.

Red Snapper special, served atop a seafood risotto with local sliced carrots, micro-greens and Parmesan cheese. My brother-in-law and I both got this and it was yummy.

Dad's filet served over creamed spinach--(sorry, can't remember anything else about this special dish, but he loved it).

The hubs' Eggplant Treasure Chest, a fried eggplant stuffed with shrimp, scallops, and grouper in a basil Parmesan sauce.

OK, on to beach restaurant number 2- Quigley's Pint & Plate:

Quigley's is located literally right across Highway 17 from Litchfield by the Sea, so it is a perfect spot for a quick bite and a pint of house-made beer, like their Swamp Fox IPA or Nut Brown Ale. Plus, out back there is a pond filled with turtles, fish and an alligator that are just waiting for tourists to feed them from the turtle food machines--great entertainment for kids!

The fare is pretty typical pub fare, but with a low country twist.

Mahi Mahi Tacos

All-you can eat Fried Shrimp & Fries.

Dad and Ben spying turtles.

Saturday night-Chive Blossom Cafe.

This was the first time we dined at Chive Blossom, but we will be back--the food was awesome. The atmosphere is pretty loud, as the "line," where the food is pushed out and prepped for table-delivery is actually in the dining room, but it's a cool experience. I really liked it.

Chive Blossom Chopped Salad with candied pecans, dried cranberries, boiled egg, red onion, bacon and a citrus vinaigrette.

The "line"--right in the dining room. Loud, and probably off-putting to some, but really kinda cool in my opinion.

Grilled Vegetable Goat Cheese Ravioli special with a pesto broth--very tasty.

James' HUGE bone-in ribeye with a shallot butter and shoestring potatoes.

And finally- Sunday night- High Hammock Maverick Seaside Kitchen.

This place is a little pricier than the others, but they were also really accommodating with Benjamin, and the service was excellent. The desserts, (of which I have no pictures), were insane.

Wedge Salad (sans bacon, for me) with watermelon radish--beautiful, no?

Delicious local vegetable plate.

OK, enough, enough...I'm tired and feel full after this post, so I'm calling it done.
Bottom line- Pawley's has some awesome local fare and I'm very grateful to be able to go down there with my parents so that I can taste everything it has to offer.

Anyone have other Pawley's favorites?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Big Shebang at City Roots This Weekend

image via here

If you are in Columbia this weekend, you should definitely check out City Roots' "The Big Shebang!" The folks at City Roots, (Columbia's new urban farm), describe the event as "a celebration of the nationwide resurgence of local and handmade goods."

There will be local craft vendors, a potluck of local food, (anyone can bring something--just make sure at least one ingredient in your dish is local!), and local music by way of a drum circle. The potluck is sponsored by Slow Food Columbia. There will also be a farm tour of City Roots at 1 pm.

Click here to see the event Facebook invitation, which lists some of the craft vendors who will be there.

The event will be from 11 am- 2pm at City Roots, located at 1005 Airport Blvd.

Have a great weekend! I will be attending USC baseball games tonight and tomorrow night--we're playing #1 Florida for the SEC Championship--we lost last night in a heartbreaker, 3-2. Then, I will be cooking and decorating for my sister's baby shower that is going to be at my house Sunday afternoon. (I hope to make it to the City Roots event too!)

How are you spending your weekend?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A (late) Word for Wednesday


hive blossom:
an edible purple flower that grows from a chive plant; most members of the allium family, (including chives, leeks, onions, garlic), grow edible flowers

Last week I heard or read the word chive blossom 3 times. I had never before heard the word, or knew that chive blossoms existed. Funny how that happens with words or ideas sometimes, isn't it? One day you had never heard of something, then all of a sudden you're inundated with the information from a variety of sources...

Anyway--here are the 3 different contexts within which I became intimately familiar with the word chive blossom last week:

1) We have a chive plant growing in a pot on our back deck. I planted it last year and it struggled through the hot, dry summer, but somehow made it through to this year and all of a sudden it exploded. Amazingly green and long stalks of chive, then last week it started growing pale lavender flowers...I thought, "maybe that isn't a chive plant after all," not knowing that chive plants grow blossoms. Looked it up, and sure enough, chives grow blossoms that look like this:

image via here

2) Then, the very next day I was perusing my Google Reader and came across this post from the blog You Grow Girl. The post featured a picture (below) of her lunch, courtesy of her garden- which included chive blossoms. They're edible; sweet.

image via here

3) And finally, last Thursday I went to Pawley's Island (Litchfield beach), for a mini-vacay with my family. Upon asking a bartender at a local restaurant some suggestions of other local restaurants to try, he suggested Chive Blossom Cafe. (OK, so apparently I have been inextricably tied to chive blossoms somehow...I get it, universe. But what does it mean!?) Weird, right? Anyhow, we tried the restaurant and it was amazing--more on that in my post later tonight about all the wonderful food we ate while at the beach.

image via here

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Happy Thursday!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thursday's Thinking of Food

This week I have seen and read about two very odd and disgusting foods that I had to share:

1) Has anyone seen the new IHOP commercial for the cheesecake pancake stackers? In their own words, "Cinnamon Apple, Blueberry, Strawberry...Pancake Stackers are sweet & silky cheesecake layered between two buttermilk pancakes. Crowned with a choice of cool strawberries, blueberry or cinnamon apple compote & creamy whipped topping."

See the ridiculous commercial below:

2) I read this article from NPR's Morning Edition: Kit Kat Kaleidoscope: Far-Out Flavors from Japan. Yes, the flavors are as weird as the title tells: Soy Sauce, Cantaloupe, Raspberry Passion Fruit, and name a few. NPR staffers actually taste-tested all of the flavors and their comments are priceless--click on the article link to read for yourself. One of my favorite comments is from Steve Inskeep himself, after trying the corn-flavored Kit Kat: "Creepy."

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And in other news...
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My CSA is making it's first delivery next Monday! Round River Farms promises a delivery of lettuce, spinach, collards, some swiss chard, green onions and some herbs. Woohoo! And, the e-mail from them added: "The snap peas have blooms on them, the broccoli plants are getting pretty big, radishes have been planted, so things are coming along and there will be more to add to the shares in time." Can't wait to show you pictures and solicit some new recipes for all these wonderful veggies!

Yesterday, from 2-7 pm, the Farmers Market at the Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Garden re-opened. The market will be held every Wednesday through October. Each week from 2:30- 3:30 PM, Earth Fare will be at the market to perform a cooking demonstration. Next week, May 19th's, demonstration is "Strawberry Fields Salad."

And, don't forget the Farmers in the Forest, Forest Acres Farmer's Market, is also every Wednesday through October from 3-7 pm. It is located on the roof of Richland Mall.

What do you think of these weird/gross foods? Any local food news to share?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A Word for Wednesday


to fill with love, fascinate

image via here

As in: I have been enamored of the book Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for years. It is by far my favorite book ever, and I look forward to reading it for probably the 50th time this weekend while I'm at the beach. There's just something about the lifelong devotion of Florentino Ariza that makes me swoon. And the banalities of their love in the end of the novel are so real, yet amazing and endearing. Love it.

What is your favorite book or beach-read?

Daily Drop Cap by Jessica Hische.

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Weekly Round Up

Wondering how you're going to spend this beautiful spring week in Columbia? Well, here are some ideas:

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*Dine with your dog at Solstice tomorrow, Tuesday, May 11th--they only have a few more spots, so hurry! Your dog gets a 3-course meal provided by Pupcakes and you get to eat off of Solstice's amazing menu. Call 461-0236 to make a reservation. Can't make it tomorrow? Make a reservation to dine with your dog at Mr. Friendly's next Wednesday, May 19th.

*Tuesday, May 11th is also Family Night at Edventure--admission is only $1! (Every 2nd Tuesday of the month).

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*Rebecca Howser Interiors, located at 2126 Devine Street, is hosting a local artists sale on Wednesday, May 12th from 4-8 PM. Snacks and spirits will be served and artists include Lauren Maurer, Tiffany Anderson, Beverly Stidham, John Mood, Bill Davis, Roger Hutchison, Alicia Leeke, Shayna Katzman Simoneaux, Blanche Quinn, Amanda Ladymon, Barbie Mathis, Stacy Morgan, Rachel Parker and Keith Tolen. See Facebook invitation here.

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*And, if you don't find that perfect piece to hang above the sofa Wednesday night, then head to the Contemporaries' Artist of the Year Soiree and Auction on Thursday from 7-10 pm. Spruce up your walls - or add to your collection - with affordable artwork from some of South Carolina's most talented emerging artists. Food, entertainment, drinks and over 125 pieces of art up for auction. $30 for general public or FREE for Contemporaries' members. Click here for more info.

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*May15th is the 23rd Annual Carolina Children's Home BBQ Cook-Off. Admission is $10 at Gate 11 of the State Fairgrounds, and all proceeds go to a very worthy cause. Sample up to 50 kinds of BBQ, listen to music and entertain the kiddos.

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*Monday, May 17th the 12th annual Vista Queen Pageant, the most outrageous benefit ever, will be held at Trustus Theatre. Tickets are $30 in advance and $35 at the door; cocktail hour is from 6-7 pm, and the pageant begins at 7. Contestants will be judged in talent, evening gowns and a question and answer session. The audience will help the judges decide the winner by purchasing tickets and "voting" for the contestant of their choice. I'm sure this will prove to be quite an entertaining evening, while helping raise funds for the fabulous Trustus Theatre. See the Facebook invitation here.

I will be heading to the beach on Thursday morning, so you'll have to fill me in on the fun!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Hill Garden in May and a New Farmer's Market!

Year 2 of the Hill garden is going well so far. No bug infestations, no total failures, yet. You may remember my post from about a month ago where I listed what we planted, so I won't re-list.

The very first strawberry--so pretty and tasty! The sweetest strawberry I have ever tasted.

The first lettuce harvest-- a mix of arugula, spinach, romaine, and some others.

The garlic will be ready to harvest in the next week or so--I'll keep you updated! Let me know if you'd like any of the harvest, we have plenty to share.

Last Wednesday I attended the Forest Acres Farmer's Market
, located on the roof of Richland Mall. There were awesome vendors and gorgeous vegetables and fruit.

Heather's Artisan Bakery bread- always delicious

Love to see that Certified SC Grown logo!

I also ran into a friend from the All-Local Farmer's Market, Adriano Rota, of the ancient gourmet Roman cheese stand, Castra Rota. If you like cheese, this is something to try. I have also tried their homemade pasta, and it is amazing. The owner is a true Roman and is happy to share a new recipe every time I see him. A month or so ago he shared a recipe to try with the spinach pasta I bought from him--it was really great.

The side of the box of pasta, where Adriano hand-wrote the recipe for me.

The dish I made with the homemade pasta.

And he and his son dress in traditional Roman garb when manning their stand at market; the kitsch is kind of irresistible, no?