Archive for the category “Burgers”

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

HôM, Charleston, SC – Distraction led to a delightful dinner

In just as many weeks, I’ve had the honor of publishing three wonderful, and very different guest posts to my blog (this one included)!  I’m so grateful for the support that my friends and family have given me.  This post is from a woman I call “Superwoman”.  She does it all!  Wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend – and all to the max!  I won’t go into great detail describing Rachel, because she does a great job of describing herself in her post. Just know that I adore her!  This is the story of how she ended up with a delicious and unique burger at a local burger boutique in Charleston, SC (another city I LOVE!)…

Rachel’s story: [and sorry, Rachel, I interjected a couple of times – couldn’t resist!]

I am one of the few people I know that never makes substitutions on my food, omits ingredients, nor do I have allergies or any type of aversion to trying new foods. Yet, I still like to make my own choices off the menu. I get nervous when other people order. I fidget in my seat when someone suggests, “Let’s split some appetizers!”   Simple answer for this: When I go out to eat, I like to choose items that I won’t make at home (I am an adventurous cook, too), and I anticipate others to not be liberal enough with the menu. There are times I will let my husband give the waiter(ess), my order – as a gentlemanly gesture, although I have told him beforehand what I wanted. I am a petite girl and I get judged very quickly by what foods others *think* I eat.

But here’s the thing: I LOVE meat and I can put away killer amounts of food [Ker here: folks, it’s true, tiny Rachel can pack it away!]! Accordingly, if my husband puts in an order of, let’s say, a meal salad and a giant, medium rare steak with all the sides, guess who they stick the salad in front of – without fail? Yeah, me!  It’s why I figured I’d never trust a wait staff to decide my food fate.

But then, that brings us to Friday night, where it all changed. The husband, Jason, and I decided to try HôM (a boutique burger and ping-pong bar in Charleston, SC). There seems to never be a shortage of new restaurants or new menu items to try in the Charleston dining scene – and I have no complaints! There has been a recent crop of these boutique burger bars to pop up recently in the area, and all have had their own twist a special bun, local ingredients, sliders, etc. I’d heard a lot about this restaurant and loved the idea of a ping-pong table in the back room! [Ker here…me too, Rachel!]

Y’all, it’s a ping pong joint too!

Right when we walked in, I got a text from a friend that needed some emergency consultation.  Although my husband is a computer and gadget nerd, and checks his phone repeatedly throughout a meal, I keep my phone stashed away. I like good old-fashioned conversation during my meal and focusing on the food in front of me [Ker again: Amen, sista!]. Well, here was my first exception of the night – my friend needed me and, although it pains me to say this, friends come before food!

I was absorbed in the conversation, when our waiter appeared. I shrugged and said, “You know what, just bring me whatever. It’s fine with me.” {BTW- huge side eye from Jason right here, who couldn’t believe I was actually doing this….. he knows me well, which means he knows how much I like to order my own food. He might have even interjected with an “Are you really going to do this now???”}

Our waiter went along with the idea pretty quickly and questioned, “Well, let me ask you this, first – Do you like all American Beef burgers, and how do you usually have them prepared?” Me: “Yes, I like beef and I tend to order medium to medium-well but whatever you bring me is fine.” Waiter, a little bolder, “So, if it was rare, you’d be ok?” Me: “If that’s what the chef feels is best for that burger, okay. To be perfectly honest, whatever you bring out and set in front of me, I’m gonna eat. Just take a look at me and whatever you feel is right, bring it!” He started to ask if I wanted to start with a salad and I kinda gave him a *look.* He pulled himself together and said, “I’m going to suggest you start with the Golden Beet Salad (honey-herb vinaigrette, arugula,goat cheese, golden raisin puree).” I gave my go-ahead.

Golden Beet Salad
(honey-herb vinaigrette, arugula, goat cheese, golden raisin puree)

Not a lot of people were there at the time, so our food came rather quickly. The salad was delicious – very light and I am a huge fan of beets. It was large too. About halfway through the salad, our burgers came out. He just kinda slid it in front of me and started to walk away (yes, I was still rudely absorbed all in my phone) so I called out: “Oh! What is this?” He smiled and replied, “THE HURRICANE!” {From the menu: stuffed with duck confit & goat cheese, hōm steak sauce, vanilla onion relish, crispy rings}

Y’all- it was amazing! Very juicy and not too overpowered by the duck confit. It did have that distinctive “duck taste” but it was also very sweet. A decent sized burger and typical for this area – filling but not gut settlingly full. Sadly, I did not take any pictures of the burger, because I dove into it before there was even a chance!

Overall, I appreciate that the waiter went with a specialty meat burger even though he originally questioned me about an all-beef burger. I think he understood that he needed to impress, yet still wasn’t sure if I was legit. He might have even thought I was drunk- I am rather high energy and bounce and squirm and use lots of hand gestures, all which can be misconstrued as being under the influence very easily. Furthermore, this particular burger was one of the most expensive ones on the menu ($9.50). A very reasonable price for the type of burger, and I have no issue with the cost. I do, however, wonder if the waiter chose that burger because of the high price, or did he really assess me and feel that was the best choice for me? And, yes, I was happy with the choice.

It really was a good balance between light and heavy. The interesting part is that after looking at the menu afterwards, I probably would have gotten THE RITZ {oven tomatoes, parmesan, truffle braised mushrooms, red onion marmalade}, which was also a $9.50 burger. I will definitely return to HôM and if the waiter happens to remember me, I’ll take a moment to ask him why he decided to bring me that selection. What are your thoughts?

Thank you, Kerri for sparking this movement! I might even give it another shot. Someone else will have to call me with an emergency emotional situation, which I can’t ignore, right when I have stepped into a restaurant, so that I am thoroughly distracted! [Ker again: I’m on it! I’ll manufacture a great emotional story for you!]

[Ker again]  Thanks so much for documenting your experience at HôM, Rachel.  When I come to visit, game on!!  (and who can’t love this place just for the picture on their latest blog post alone?!?).  HôM is also on Facebook and Twitter.

I have to say, he had several options between $9.00 – $9.50, so I think he really personalized his order to you!  But, then again, I can’t read his mind!  😉  Look forward to seeing what other readers’ takes on the question are…

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