Football, food, and fun! Greenville-Spartanburg, and Clemson, SC

I’m a bit late writing this post.  Work has been really busy, and  I haven’t had time to sit down, reflect, and enjoy my latest weekend in Clemson – until now – just moments before Clemson football takes on Duke in an attempt to advance to 8-1 and remain a top-15 BCS team.

As has become an annual tradition, I meet friends in Greenville / Clemson, SC for the best tailgate in the South! People who know me well, know that Greenville is the city I would most like to live in – it’s my dream location!  I love where it sits geographically, the way it’s been growing over the past several years, the climate, the people, and of course, its proximity to Clemson!

My friends Cindy, Alan, and Kesley are kind enough to host me each year.  They are the best hosts a gal could want!  And, they live in Spartanburg, providing another set of opportunities for local fun.  So, after they picked me up from the airport, rather than hitting RJ Rockers for the weekly Thursday tasting (it was closing w/in minutes), we went and had Thai for dinner.  Kesley thought I’d be crazy to turn my order over to our server, and I really wasn’t sure I wanted to either, but when I perused the menu, I decided that there was far too much to choose from and I surrendered.

Not my best choice.  The food was fine, but definitely “safe” and not terribly flavorful.  I had been served “Pud Puck” (aka: veggie stir fry). The better option of the evening was to steal a few spoonfuls of Alan’s yellow curry and spice up the meal!  The curry had great flavor – I’d have potentially gotten myself in a rut with it – it was so yummy! Thanks, Alan!

Alan and I also each tried the Thai wine – mostly because were curious to learn what Thai wine would taste like.  He had the red, and I had the white.  Both were fine, but rather nondescript.  We decided that it must be that the wine is a bit bland so as not to compete with the generally full-flavored entrees on Thai menus. A theory that made sense to each of us!

And, as per tradition, Cindy caught me double-fisted again.  🙂 It’s just a joke that started a few years ago, and we have made a point to catch a shot like this every time we get together.

A snapshot of dinner.  Perhaps this meal was good practice for my vacation in a couple of weeks.  I’m told that Thailand may be on our agenda, though I’m not sure how Steve thinks we’ll fit that in!

Doesn’t it always seem that vacations center around food?  Mine always do!  After a certain hostess (not the one who was in school already!) woke up  Friday morning – somewhere around 11:30AM, we ventured out to grab lunch and run some necessary pre-tailgate errands.  We decided that a local “dive” sounded like the best choice.  We also knew we’d be fighting lunchtime crowds.

We ended up at NuWay Lounge and Restaurant, aka: Home of the Best Burger in SC, per The Food Network. (Note that they also proudly display that they sell “PBR” here).  Our “neighbors” at the table next to were a priest and a nun.  This local joint is “that” kind of place – folks from all walks of life dine here.

We started with an appetizer that Cindy and Alan had shared with our good friend DT the weekend prior.  I believe it had a different name, but we enjoyed “Redneck Poppers”.  Deep-fried Pimento cheese with a really tasty breading…’nuff said!

Now, please note “The Redneck Cheeseburger” is the name of the aforementioned infamous burger.  I couldn’t NOT give it a try.

Our waitress, a no-nonsense chick, asked me if I wanted it “all the way” and then rattled off a list of toppings including: ketchup, mustard, mayo (light, per my request), chili, and tomato/lettuce (as healthy options, lol!).  If I’m going to do this, I’m going to do this right.  “ALL THE WAY”. So, in addition to those toppings, this burger had Pimento cheese and was served with delightfully seasoned onion rings (seriously, very good!).

Now, I couldn’t finish all of the onion rings, though they were really tasty, but I polished off that burger! That meant that I wasn’t very hungry when our friends met us out for dinner. (that’s Jason with Cindy and me, below)

In fact, I think I had two Buffalo Chicken wings and then surrendered the rest to my dear friend Anthony.  He’s happy when he’s well-fed!  He’s the handsome bald man below (he’ll tell  you just how handsome he is!).

The night was great fun, as always! We missed a few friends who were not able to make it due to other important obligations, yet we had fun with those who were able to make it.  That includes the lone Virginia Tech Hokie alum, Brian, who was a great sport and a really fun guy.

Rachel (above): I LOVE this woman! She was (rightfully?) suspect of me at first, because her husband and I were friends before she and I met.  She now knows that I love them both (innocently, and) dearly, and especially as a fantastically-matched couple! And, she set up a MEAN Bloody Mary Bar (her first BM had a Pimento Cheese stick included, along with olives, peppers, celery, etc.)

Can you spot the Pimento cheese?

Every year, we get to catch up with our favorite “beat writer” Greg, and his coworker, Brandon.  They are sweet enough to take time to stop by our tailgate (and, will meet us out the evening prior to a game, schedule permitting).  This year, Cindy had the pleasure of giving Greg a football with his profile pic, and “announcing” him as the Anderson Independent Mail’s Clemson dude (better known now through OrangeAndWhite.com).

And, of course, I have to give a shout-out to my personal contribution to the tailgate fare, since this a blog centered around food.

Buffalo chicken pasta salad. Thanks to Pinterest for the recipe.  Unanimous verdict (at least as I heard it) was two big thumbs up! I personally think it was a nice complement to Jason’s famous BBQ pork butt, and Anthony’s infamous BBQ sauce. Two staples of our annual tailgates!

Fast-forward a bit, and Clemson was able to beat Virginia Tech at home (one of the most intimidating places for a team to play)  – score: 38-17.  We were all happy – with the exception of the aforementioned newbie, Brian.

He took the teasing in stride (that’s him on the far right).  Brian, you rock (but not at Corn hole, FTR!).   😉

And, a few final pics…

A flavor for what “Solid Orange” really looks like.

The ladies who made this day happen!  I need not mention that we’re a fantastic bunch, but I will!  🙂

Equally awesome is this group of men who cooked, served as can-openers, and most importantly, served as “tailgate engineers”.

On Sunday, prior to heading back to the chilly Michigan fall, we met up with Anthony and his kids (aka: hardheadz) for lunch.  Always fun to see those knuckleheads!

All in all, a great weekend – as always!

Cheers!  And, now…on to the mission to lose the pounds I packed on that wknd!

Ker

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