Archive for the tag “football”

Tailgating Together: Welcome, Louisville. The ACC, and Clemson in particular, welcomes you!

While not a true “She Ordered What?” experience, I did have some terrific tailgate food on my trip to Clemson last weekend! But, let’s face it, I just want to take a little time to boast on my weekend in Clemson and show my pride for my Alma Mater!

For my first Clemson game of the season, my friends and I decided to join up for “family weekend” when the Louisville Cardinals visited Death Valley for the first time as ACC foes.

I want to commend the Cards fans for showing up in spades for the game.  There were a lot of red jerseys, shirts, etc, and a lot of Cardinals pride on campus last weekend.  We had some Cards fans in the lot in which we tailgated, and they were as lovely as Clemson fans are notoriously known to be!  Gracious and polite folks.

Speaking of gracious and polite, here is a photo of my friend and game weekend hostess, Cindy.

Pink Twins!

Pink Twins!

 

I took this shot on Friday night at my friends’ Cindy and Alan’s house.  We were preparing some of the fixin’s for the next day.

 

BBQ and bourbon!  It's how tailgating is done in the south.

BBQ and bourbon! It’s how tailgating is done in the south.

 

I had offered up over Twitter to cook while Cindy led her “Gypsy Life” (commuting between Hilton Head (the job) and Spartanburg (the house and hubby)) and Alan recovered from preparing a home to sell.  Our friend Dennis offered to pick up steaks to grill – and, a plan was hatched!  Until, I bailed on my end.  (sort of)

After Alan graciously picked me up at the airport, he and I stopped at the market on the way back to the house. I bought some pre-made salad (weak!), green beans (which we forgot to make!), Golden Delicious apples for my “favorite snack recipe“, baked potatoes, and a couple of other treats for the weekend (hello – jalapeno artichoke dip!!!).

Dennis had already arrived at the house by the time Alan and I were heading back.  When we got back, it was quickly decided that more booze just might be required – namely bourbon. Dennis is a bourbon aficionado (aka: polite snob), so I was happy to send the men to the liquor store while I took a nap!  And, they did well!  Woodford Reserve found its way back to the counter.

Our steak dinner on Friday night was fantastic!  I was so wrapped up in enjoying time with my friends that I didn’t take any pictures – but, trust me, it was delicious!

And, on Saturday, we had a great time, beginning at ~8AM (may or may not have been a bit later than planned (read: was later than planned, but I will not publicly disclose why)).  Our tailgate spot consisted of a tent, some chairs, a couple of tables, loads of food, and one really relaxed “Southern Gent”…

Alan is looking quite relaxed!

Alan is looking quite relaxed!

As evidenced above, Cindy had ensured we had Southern style pulled pork, brisket and Calabash chicken, which we shared with our tailgate neighbors.  SO GOOD!!  We also had a plethora of side dishes and snacks (again, I was remiss in taking photographs).

Then, came game time… My favorite college roommate, Bill, came by our tailgate area and offered up tickets to the West End Zone Club (catered suites with a private bar (which, after that game, I OWE HIM!!)).

 

This gives a perspective as to our vantage point during the game.

This gives a perspective as to our vantage point during the game.

West Zone Club

West Zone Club

 

In response to comments from Louisville head coach Bobby Petrino, Clemson fans were “#ClemsonLOUD” from start to finish.  The atmosphere was incredible, as Clemson always is!

Pregame festivities.

Pregame festivities.

Though there were certainly some negatives to the day (losing our QB1 for several weeks, botched plays, etc), the positives far outweighed those negatives, and ultimately, the Tigers pulled off the win!  And, I would find myself without a voice for two days following that game!

Fans headed for the Gathering at the Paw - a Clemson post-game ritual.

Fans headed for the Gathering at the Paw – a Clemson post-game ritual.

Win or lose, Clemson fans have a tradition of “Gathering at the Paw” to sing the Alma Mater and show our Clemson pride!

Another wonderful weekend of fun, friends, and football in the books!  And, to those friends with whom I wasn’t able to meet up, hopefully in November!

Cheers!

Ker

“Powered by Bacon” – Bacon Bros. Public House, Greenville, SC

It’s taken me a week to write this post, and it’s a shame, because this meal was one of the most wonderful surprises I’ve had in a long time! I was back in South Carolina to visit with friends and to see my Clemson Tigers win their sixth game of the season, and we decided to grab lunch in Greenville after I landed at GSP! It was my choice – uh oh! So, I turned directly to the Yelp! app on my iPhone.

I scrolled through the list a bit, and one name stuck out to me – Bacon Bros. Public House. I’m not going to lie…it stuck out because so many of my friends, and in particular the guys I was to be meeting up with the next day, are bacon fanatics! (hashtag #BACON)

I knew that the restaurant’s name alone would inflict a little pang of jealousy! Aside from that, this fairly new establishment averaged 4.5 stars and had some very positive reviews. My friend Cindy, who was my hostess, taxi driver, and friend extraordinaire, was all in for Bacon Bros., so we headed in that direction. We were meeting up with our friend Greg for lunch on Friday since we weren’t sure if we’d be able to meet up at our tailgate the next day (Greg is a reporter for Clemson and has a pesky job that gets in the way of tailgate fun). 😉

We found Bacon Bros. Public House in a small strip mall. We would soon discover that this is a hidden gem on Pelham Road!

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We waited for a few minutes for an outside table, and for Greg to arrive. As we waited, I was able to check out a bit of the restaurant’s atmosphere. The meat locker immediately caught my eye.

Bacon Bros Meat Locker

Bacon Bros Meat Locker

It was nice to be able to see the (locally sourced!) pork, beef, etc that would be served up. Not that I’m generally suspicious of restaurants, but transparency like that really inspires confidence in my mind.

I’d also like to give shout-out to the beautiful sink in the ladies’ room. I didn’t take a picture, but it was a very nice sink/faucet.

When we sat down, we were warmly greeted by a gentleman who poured us water. His voice was so calm and sweet that I found myself (somewhat jokingly) asking him to sit down and join us! He politely declined, since he was at work, but he clearly had a good sense of humor about it.

We were then greeted by yet another gentleman (hey, this is the south, y’all!) who “threatened” to sit down and join Cindy and me if Greg didn’t show up soon. Greg did show up just moments later.

In the meantime, at my request, a third gentleman, in the form of our server, Tanner, chose a red beer for me. From start to finish, Tanner proved to be a really engaging and attentive server. He added to the overall experience in a very positive way.

Boont Amber Ale (Anderson Valley Brewing Co)

Boont Amber Ale (Anderson Valley Brewing Co)

He then chose my lunch. Tanner was very cool about the whole process – not a single flinch. It was clear that he and the other gentlemen that work at Bacon Bros. not only know the menu well, but are confident in the food that’s being served.

Tanner chose what he called the sandwich that “is becoming our signature sandwich” – the B.E.T., with a side of Farro Verde.

The B.E.T. and Farro Verde

The B.E.T. and Farro Verde

Y’all, this sandwich…maybe it should be called the O.M.G. instead of the B.E.T.! The sandwich consisted of pork belly pastrami, Swiss cheese, fried duck egg, green peppercorn mayo, arugula, and yellow tomato. A fantastic combination – and expertly prepared! Note: the sandwich can get a little messy due to the runny egg yolk, but it’s worth a little finger licking to clean up!

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A close up of the B.E.T. and Farro Verde

The side is definitely not one I would have picked out on my own since it’s centered around boiled peanuts – a snack I never really developed a taste for when I lived in SC. I’m here to tell you that when boiled peanuts are mixed with field peas, tomatoes, and hominy, they are DELICIOUS!

Cindy and Greg were more than happy with their respective choices as well. Cindy chose a burger and onion rings (perfectly battered), and Greg chose the Pulled Pork Shoulder (served with waffles that have country ham in the batter!).

And, I couldn’t resist taking a piece (or two – Bacon Bros. recently increased their dessert portions – the one thing about this restaurant that I would change – revert back to smaller servings of sweets) of Orange Dreamsicle pound cake home.

Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake (top), burger (left), Pulled Pork Shoulder (right)

Orange Dreamsicle Pound Cake (top), burger (left), Pulled Pork Shoulder (right)

I didn’t end up eating the pound cake until Sunday, and by then it was more dry than I would have liked. However, the flavor was very good – not too overwhelming with the citrus, but light and tasty.

So, in addition to being amongst great company, Bacon Bros. Public House offered fantastic service, a unique and comfortable atmosphere, and spectacular Southern style food. We all agreed that it’s a place to go back and visit.

Note to self: next time, I’m going to get one of those “Powered By Bacon” t-shirts! I should have picked one up last weekend.

And, through Twitter, I learned that my colleagues in the Greenville area had also recently discovered Bacon Bros. and frequently visit for lunch. They had been holding out on me!!!

Because this trip was planned around meeting up with good friends to see my Clemson Tigers play, here are a couple of pictures from campus.

L-R, CC: The guns!, beer and egg rolls, Shorter Porter (Frankly Good Beer Co), and my college roommate, Bill and me.

L-R, CC: The guns!, beer and egg rolls, Shorter Porter (Frankly Good Beer Co), and my college roommate, Bill and me.

It was a wonderful weekend – as time in South Carolina always is! If you’re in the Greenville area, I highly suggest finding time to make it to Bacon Bros. Public House. Have you been? What was your favorite Southern style dish?

Cheers!

Ker

A Girls’ Weekend that Always Centers Around the Guys…

This past weekend, I was fortunate enough to travel to Greenville/Spartanburg to meet up with some of my favorite ladies (and men) for our annual trek to Dabo Swinney’s Ladies’ Football Clinic. Y’all, this is not a “tell me what 3rd down means” football clinic. This is a gathering of 1000+ women with pretty high football IQs (well, most of them know the sport!). The coaching staff is generally quite impressed with the passion for: coaches, players, hometown heroes, and the sport, as well as the knowledge demonstrated through the intelligent questions being asked.

They are equally (okay, probably more so) entertained by the giddy “teenage girliness” that is evident in every session of the “locker room visit”. Some of the women are downright inappropriate (I’m nodding your way – woman who shoved dollar bills in Adam Humphries waistband – with a phone number on one! Incidentally, the money was PROMPTLY returned so as not to violate any NCAA regulations!)

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CW from upper left: Kathleen Swinney and Ali Rogers, Kesley and me, 2013 “All In” token, and Mama Watkins (left), me, and Mama Boyd – all very lovely ladies!

CW from Upper Left: Adam Humphries, Daniel Rodriguez, Zac Brooks, Daniel Stone, a whole mess of gigantic football players - and me!

CW from Upper Left: Adam Humphries, Daniel Rodriguez, Zac Brooks, Daniel Stone, a whole mess of gigantic football players – and me!

The Ladies’ Clinic is a fundraiser (in its fifth year with Dabo, and twelfth year overall (I believe)) to raise money toward breast cancer research. That’s a cause near and dear to my heart, as well as to the Swinney family. 25% of the registration fee goes toward research (and is matched by Dabo’s All-In Team Foundation) and tens of thousands of dollars are raised through silent and live auction items such as a ride-along with the team from the hotel to the game, participation in Tiger Walk, and tickets to the game ($21,000 total for 3 pairs – one donated by Coach Swinney to match the other two fan purchases), signed jerseys (Nuk Hopkins, anyone?), personally signed helmets (2 x $1,400), and many more. It was a fantastic day – as always!

But, alas…this blog is about adventures in dining – and friends – I had some!

After spending some time in my company’s Greenville manufacturing facility on Thursday, my “second family” and I went to R.J. Rockers for the Thursday night tasting tradition. I’m actually not a big beer drinker, but we always feel the need to get a “double-fisted Ker” shot – for posterity’s sake, I guess. (note: it was HOT and MUGGY that night…not a pretty sight for the chick w/ blown out naturally curly hair!)

My American Red Glare on my right, and Cindy's Strawberry Wheat on my left.

My American Red Glare on my right, and Cindy’s Strawberry Wheat on my left.

We then headed down the street to Wild Ace in downtown Spartanburg – with a small group of friends who gathered at Rockers. I quickly made friends with the bartender while we were waiting on the rest of the group to arrive. It’s what I do. 🙂

As a result, he was kind enough to come upstairs and take care of everyone’s drink orders while we were acquainting ourselves with the menu. Wild Ace offers a lot, so I quickly gave up. I turned my fate over to our server, Devin. He started to ask a few questions, but I simply gave him the “talk to the hand” gesture – along with an encouraging smile.

When I was served my meal, I was informed that I was receiving the “Sopwith Camel” (aka: Wild Ace version of the French Dip). The sandwich was fine. I wouldn’t say it was any better or any worse than any other French Dip I have had, but it was good. It was served with chips, which were actually quite tasty (maybe because I had already had the equivalent of three beers at that point, and salty food just tasted good! But, I do think the chips were good stuff).

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On Friday, Cindy, Kesley and I were determined to meet two of our favorite Clemson men in Charlotte for lunch. A mere 90 minutes away, give or take! We met the guys at Duckworths in Ballantyne. We arrived shortly before the guys did (after we amended the meeting time because we were running late!), so we started with some Buffalo bleu cheese chips (OMG!)

Chips

We were meeting my friends Anthony and Daniel, who both work in the Charlotte area. I first met Ant several years ago. I’ve lost count now how many years ago that was. He’s the sweetest, most charming guy – but he bucks that description every chance he gets! He has hash-tagged himself the #LargeAngryBlackMan on Twitter (it’s a joke, y’all…look at that smile!).

Ant

Ant

And, Daniel…well, he and I met through the Clemson Twitter fam as well, but we had a real-life connection as well! One of my most dear friends, Chanda, grew up with Daniel in Orange County, CA! It is indeed a small world, folks! I dug this man since the minute I met him. And…he’s a proud member of the #FKC (Fat Kid Club). See how excited he is about food? (sadly, I went the other way…from skinny kid to not-so much…but we’re both still happy!)

Dnaiel

Former FKC, Daniel

Both Daniel and Ant were very excited to see my indecisiveness play out in real life. When our server, Sandy, came by to take orders, I simply let her know that everything on the menu was fair game, and that she should choose her favorite lunch item for me. She was a little panicked, but ultimately agreed to order for me.

When she came back, she informed me that she had chosen the Fajita Chicken Philly (marinated fajita chicken served on a Philly roll with cheese, peppers and onions).

Fajita

It had great flavor, but it was HUGE! I knew that I could count on Ant to finish the leftovers, and he did. With a smile! After a nice, long lunch, we headed out in different directions. It was so nice to see the guys though!

Daniel, Cindy, Kesley, Ker, and Ant at lunch at Duckworth's.

Daniel, Cindy, Kesley, Ker, and Ant at lunch at Duckworth’s.

Later that evening, we were meeting another favorite Clemson friend, beat writer Greg, for dinner in downtown Greenville (one of my favorite cities in America!). Greg chose Nose Dive (a Table 301 restaurant – of Soby’s fame (the place I had my graduation dinner so many years ago)). Nose Dive is a newer Gastropub, with an inspired menu! Again, everything looked fantastic, so I just turned my order over to Brian, our server. I let him know early on that I’d have him choose my meal, and that I would like a glass of white wine to pair with it.

Brian was totally game. I could tell he was really considering what to bring me, but he wasn’t worried when I gave him carte blanche. He first came back with a glass of Pinot Grigio – which was nice and refreshing since I had asked my friends to sit on the hot and muggy patio!

NoseDive1

Then, he brought the Roast Chicken which was really half of a chicken served over a bed of croutons and tomatoes (yummy!) and topped with herbs and Dijon sauce. The portion was ridiculous, so half of it went home for Cindy’s daughter (who is a gymnast with a never-ending appetite!). The half that I did eat was delicious! The chicken was so moist and tender, and the herbs and Dijon were perfect accents. Although there wasn’t much in the way of “healthy” sides (I love veggies!), the crouton salad was very tasty!

I’d definitely go back to Nose Dive (although Greenville has so many good restaurants to choose from!). It was great spending time with Greg too (whom we’d also briefly meet up with after the clinic on Saturday – and whom I neglected to take a picture of! Shame on me.)

Saturday, we hit the road nice and early to make it to the clinic, and then just took it easy that evening. We hit up Thai Taste, with Daniel, his wife Kate, and their baby girl, Ella. She is, incidentally, the only child I’ve held in a long time who did not cry! She must be the perfect baby! 🙂 And, she’s stinking cute too!

It was so nice to get down south again, spend quality time with several friends, and have a bit of southern cookin’! What’s your favorite taste of the south?

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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