Monday, May 30, 2011

Whoever first said "Fish are friends, not food" lied. Fish are totally (good) food.

I think I mentioned it before, but last week, I was on vacation with some friends.  What I don't think I mentioned was where I was vacationing.  We were in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  Aside from the obvious benefits of being right on the Gulf of Mexico - white sand, warm water, lots of sun - my favorite benefit was the plethora of restaurants serving fresh fish. And by fresh, I mean "caught that morning." Unfortunately, we were pretty busy for the four days we were there, and so didn't get to try any of these hole-in-the-wall type places.  It wasn't until we were headed back to Columbia, that we had time to stop and sample the local fare.  Indulging our slight Parrothead tendencies, we headed to LuLu's, a spot owned by Lucy Buffett, sister to one Jimmy Buffett.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Street Vendors make my Heart Happy.

If you're anything like me, you adore street food.  Anything you can get from a vendor on the street, whether it's a food truck, a fair, or a large outdoor event, just seems to taste better.  Maybe it's because I'm hungrier, or maybe it's the fresh air.  Whatever the cause, I'm always excited when I get the chance for street food.

Some friends and I were out of town last weekend for a music festival.  It was all music, all the time, from about 11 a.m. until 11 p.m.  Since there were about a zillion different bands I wanted to see, there wasn't much time for food.  I also tend not to eat much (or anything at all) when I'm out in the sun for awhile.  At that point, all I want is water.  By about 7 p.m. each day though, the sun had started to set, there was a little bit of time before the headlining acts took the stage, and I was getting hungry.  While I could have made the three block trek back to our condo and grabbed a sandwich, on Saturday and Sunday, I opted to hit the street vendors for food.  Sorry, y' pictures, as my camera was pretty well covered in sand (did I mention this festival was on the beach?), and I didn't want sand in my dinner.

After surveying our options, and trust me, there were a ton - everything from crawfish etouffee to Asian cuisine to funnel cakes - we decided to hit the stand serving Greek food.  I have a huge affinity for street gyros, and Saturday's was not a disappointment.  The marvelous combination of lamb, beef, tzatziki sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, and onions is one of my favorites.  It's hard to screw up, but these were particularly good.  L & E decided to get the Chicken pita, which looked to me like a chicken version of the traditional gyro.  They seemed to enjoy it.  We all loved what we ordered, although I'm not quite sure how much food tasting was actually going on, since we all pretty much inhaled our pitas.  Add in a couple cold beers and some fantastic music, and we were set.

Sunday found us in much the same situation.  After aimlessly wandering down food row, M & I decided to go with a good southern staple - pulled pork BBQ sandwiches.  Superb choice.  The bbq sauce was somehow sweet and spicy all at the same time, the pork was tender, and the french fries that accompanied it were crunchy and salty.  I'm super happy that I grabbed a fork though, because the bun was saturated with bbq sauce by the time I was halfway finished, and it started to fall apart.  Truly it didn't matter, because like on Saturday, I was wolfing down this sandwich.  It was absolutely delightful, and a firm confirmation of my love for street food.

Plus, the cold beers and dancing on the beach for three days definitely didn't hurt.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hooray for Happy Hour!

I've been sitting on some random eating experiences for awhile, just because I didn't feel like I had enough information to make a meaningful post.  So here you go.  Three places for the price of one.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Supporting sustainable, local foods = Deliciousness

I've been dying to go to Solstice Kitchen for quite some time.  Solstice is a product of the same masterminds behind Columbia favorite, Mr. Friendly's and Hungry Lady favorite, Cellar on Greene.  Because of this, I had high expectations going in.  I was most definitely not disappointed, and was even pleasantly surprised at some points.

As usual, I roped R into going to dinner with me.  He took care of making our reservation, which we almost weren't able to get.  I forgot that it was both graduation weekend and Mother's Day weekend, add that to the fact that it was Saturday, and there wasn't anything available that night.  We were able to get in after a someone cancelled on Thursday.  To whomever cancelled your reservation, allowing me and R to get into Solstice, you have my eternal thanks and gratitude.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Lunch Rush

Probably more frequently than I care to admit, I don't have food in my house.  Inevitably, I forget that I'm about to run out of bread or lunch meat or peanut butter, and I'm left with nothing to take for lunch.  It would be nice if I could remember these things and hit the store on my way home from work, but that rarely, if ever, happens.  Thankfully for my stomach, if not necessarily for my wallet, I know that I can always run across the street from my office and grab a pretty satisfying lunch for not a huge price at College Grounds Cafe.

For those of you in Columbia, College Grounds replaced Nice N Natural when Nice N Natural closed it's doors  in October 2010.  The upstairs of the building is home to Cool Beans (another of my favorite Columbia spots), and the owners decided to expand to the first floor when Nice N Natural closed.  Thus was College Grounds created.