Thursday, July 28, 2011

Welcome to Food Truck Food Court

Yesterday afternoon, Cromer's hosted Columbia's very first Food Truck Food Court (FTFC).  What is this magical sounding event, you ask?  It was a glorious gathering of Columbia's four food trucks - Bone-In Artisan BBQ, Alfresco Mobilista Bistro, Pawley's Front Porch Mobile Eats, and 2 Fat 2 Fly Wings - in the Cromer's parking lot.  It was certainly a popular event - the crowds were huge, the lines were long, and a couple of trucks even started running out of some of their menu items.  I'd say it was pretty successful.  I believe that there is talk of making this a monthly event, an idea that I fully support.  According to Facebook, the next FTFC is planned for August 31, so make sure you come and see what you missed!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In which The Hungry Lady makes étouffée

I don't know about y'all, but my friends and I are pretty big True Blood fans.  L, M, and I get together just about every Sunday for dinner and Alexander Skarsgaard vampires.  This season, we've somehow managed to make food that relates to the show - for the premiere, we pretended we were at Merlotte's, and made a bunch of fried things.  We've also had jambalaya.  This past Sunday it was my turn to cook.  As my usual cooking repertoire includes pasta or anything that can go in the microwave, I figured I had to expand a little bit.  I decided to make étouffée.  And I also made sure to put the number of the nearest Chinese restaurant on speed dial.

So what is étouffée, you ask?  Think gumbo, only a little thicker.  Peppers, onions, spices, and some kind of protein mixed together and served over rice.  Usually the protein is some kind of seafood - shrimp and/or crawfish being the most common.  Clearly my étouffée wasn't going to involve either of those as I wouldn't have been able to eat it.  I decided to use chicken and sausage instead.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Food Trucks and TV and Hungry Ladies, OH MY!

Y' looks like Columbia is finally going to get itself on the national radar for something other than a delinquent quarterback, a national championship winning baseball team, or for it's "famously hot" weather.  This time around, the city will be talked about because of it's food scene.  As this blog can attest, Columbia certainly has some top-notch restaurants that focus on tasty food and local sustainability.  But this post isn't about all of those awesome places.  It's about slightly more unlikely candidates: Food Trucks.

Despite the raging debate over whether or not DER Tacos could open a food truck on Main Street (by the way, that has finally been approved, and the last I heard, the truck should be open for business in September), Columbia has a budding food truck scene.  First, we have the Pawley's Front Porch truck - basically an offshoot of the 5 Points restaurant - that has been seen mostly around Lake Murray Marina.  Second, we have 2 Fat 2 Fly Wings, a truck specializing in stuffed chicken wings.  Finally, we have Hungry Lady favorite Bone-In Artisan BBQ on Wheels, which has gained a pretty large following since taking to the streets in March.  The latter two trucks caught the attention of Eat Street, a show on the Cooking Channel in the US and on the Food Network in Canada.  The whole show focuses on the best street food available.  As I'm sure I've mentioned before, I adore street food, so I'm fully on board with this show (I don't have cable, so I've never actually seen it, but if someone could point me to an internet location where I can watch it, I'd appreciate it).   At any rate, the Eat Street crew was in town this past weekend to film both 2 Fat 2 Fly and Bone-In for an episode that should be airing sometime in September.  This Hungry Lady was contacted by the show and asked to participate in the Bone-In BBQ taping, so guess how I spent my weekend?

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friendly staff and friendly on the wallet. It appears that Mr. Friendly's is aptly named.

A few weeks ago, my very small, three-person office, hosted a farewell lunch for one of our staff.  R and I were trying to find a place to take M.  Our criteria?  Relatively close to the office, good food, reasonable prices, and relatively low-key.  We settled on Mr. Friendly's.  I love Mr. Friendly's.  I've been there several times over the years, though never for dinner...maybe I should remedy that.  At any rate.  The same geniuses behind Cellar on Greene and Solstice are the masterminds behind Mr. Friendly's.  That should tell you right away that you should expect an excellent dining experience.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

On Children and Restaurants

The locals of Monroeville, PA are in an uproar.  Why?  Because McDain's Restaurant has banned children under the age of 6 from dining.  This is not an unprecedented move - Olde Salty Restaurant in North Carolina banned screaming children from its premises late last year.

Disclaimer: I am not a parent, nor do I particularly like children.  I do, however, realize that children are people and, as such, I have to tolerate their presence.  At least in certain situations.

Personally, I don't understand why some people are so upset about it.  McDain's styles itself as upscale casual.  To me, the word "upscale," when referring to a restaurant means don't show up in jeans and know how to behave yourself.  You don't treat an upscale (no matter how casual) establishment like you would your local dive bar or McDonald's.  There's a difference.  Parents should realize that.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Breaking in the new grill

It's not a secret that I love food.  I'm happiest when I have a good meal and good company (and really that's only because I haven't yet found a way to buy an old van, live in it, travel the country, and still pay my bills).  If you add another component to a good meal and good company, say, for example, live music or a highly anticipated sporting event, the only thing that will possibly bring me down is if the beer isn't cold enough.

I'm a HUGE baseball fan in general, and I adore college baseball.  The month of post-season play leading up to the College World Series (CWS) is my equivalent of March Madness.  I make brackets, enter pools, watch every single game, and basically drive my friends crazy because I eat, sleep, and breathe baseball for a month.  I've had the good fortune for the past two CWS tournaments to watch my alma mater play in the championship round.  I say good fortune, but what I really mean is heart-stopping excitement and a sure need for blood pressure medication.  For Game 2 of the championship series, A decided to test out his brand new grill by having a couple friends over for dinner and the game.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The Hungry Lady's Travels: Hilton Head, part 2

A few weeks ago, I took a quick trip down to Hilton Head to catch up with some old friends.  Thankfully, I had the opportunity to enjoy two meals in their company.  I've already blogged about the first place we went to (you can read about it here).  This post is all about spot number 2, which is where we had dinner.

We went to the Smokehouse, which, as the name suggest, specializes in assorted smoked meats.  As such, there was not, at least in my book, a thing that could possibly go wrong with this meal.