Friday, October 5, 2012

Lake Carolina's Wine and Food Festival

The lovely folks running Lake Carolina's Wine & Food Festival shot me an email and asked if I would put some information about their event on the blog.  Rarely do I refuse a request to promote something local (and if I do, it's usually because it's lost in my inbox).  Add to that the fact that all proceeds from the event go to Children's Charities of the Midlands, and I'm totally on board.  

The event is next Saturday, October 13 from 2 - 5 p.m.  Meaing that you will totally be home in time to watch the Carolina / LSU game.  For a mere $30, there will be live music, a tailgate tent (where you can watch football), food samples from local restaurants (including Solstice, which is one of my favorites), wine samples from area wineries, and a silent auction.  And, if you're the running type, there is a 10K in the morning that you can register for separately.

Let's recap: $30, three hours outside on what will surely be a beautiful October day in Columbia, food samples, wine samples, a big screen tv for football, and live music.  Plus it's for a good cause.  Totally a no-brainer.

The full press release including ticket information & 10K registration info below:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

State of the Hungry Lady

OK.  So.  Here is the earth...round and chilling.  But seriously, here's what's happening in Hungry Lady land.

You may have noticed a sever lack of posting going on recently.  It's not by choice, I promise.  It's more because of circumstance.  I thought it was only fair that I let you all in on what's going on in real life, so that you can hopefully forgive me the lack of posts.  Or at least understand where I'm coming from.

1. Grad school.  Y'all, sometimes I wonder why I decided that going back to school was a good plan.  Two classes that meet once a week, plus one Saturday a month, plus all of the reading and homework really takes it out of me.  I give up most of my weekends to get my homework done.  I do my reading when I get home from work in the evenings.  In short, school has consumed my life, and when I do get a free minute, I prefer to spend it with friends I rarely see because of said schoolwork.

2. Work.  My boss left for another position over the summer, and since it's a 2-person office, I was holding down the fort for a couple of months.  Which pretty much shot my stress level through the roof (mostly because being super busy at work coincided with a fast-paced, condensed, assignment heavy class over the summer).  I now have a new boss, but things aren't slowing down for me.  She's still learning things, so I'm taking on more than I normally would.  Which is fine by me.  I like to be busy.  But the moral of the story is that I used to use my work downtown to start posts or upload photos.  I don't have the time to do that any more.  

3. THE BOOK.  Like with grad school, I wonder why I thought trying to balance school, work, and writing a book was a good idea.  I am woefully behind on book researching, writing, and editing, so I need to shift my focus from blogging to booking.  

That said, I clearly need to work on my time management skills.  I'm just lucky I'm not trying to balance a family life too.  It's just me, which helps a little.  I have also developed a deep respect for those of you who do manage to balance work, family, school, extracurriculars, etc.  If you have any tips to share, I'd love to hear them.

Anyway.  The entire point of this post was to tell you that I'm still alive and well, I'm just stretched a little too thin at the moment.  I'll have a few posts here and there, but I really haven't been getting out much, so I don't have too much to write about.  I'll try to check in periodically, but The Hungry Lady is going to be operating on a limited posting schedule at least until February 1 when I send in the draft of the book.

That said, I really don't want to let things completely die out around here.  So, if you would like to submit a guest post, let me know.  I'm totally open to the idea, so we'll see what happens.  In the meantime, I'm going to practice my time management, keep up with work and school, and write a book.  Then, come February, this little blog will return to the upper part of my list of priorities.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Savory Brunch at Cafe Strudel

A few weeks ago, I finally got around to trying famed Columbia breakfast spot Cafe Strudel.  I had every intention of finally trying the oft recommended Hangover Hashbrowns, despite not being anywhere close to hungover.  And then I checked the brunch specials for the day, and I knew I had to change my planned order in favor of something a bit more unique.

R and I both decided to order from the list of specials on this particular Sunday morning.  He opted for a take on a classic eggs benedict: One with fresh tomatoes and avocados.  I had thought about ordering it, but of course, didn't want to get the same thing, so I had something different.  Which of course, didn't stop me from from trying a bite of R's.  The avocados were so creamy and just added a completely amazing bit of flavor to the dish.  I would strongly suggest ordering it if you get the chance.

Can't you tell how delicious this was?
Since I was determined to order something different, I got the other special on the list: Pulled pork and bleu cheese slaw french toast.  Yes, you read that correctly.  It was amazing.  Three giant pieces of french toast topped with a sweet and it spicy pulled pork and a tangy bleu cheese slaw.  Every single element was great on its own, but eaten together?  An otherworldly experience.  Unfortunately, it was way too much food for me.  I ended up leaving the third piece of french toast and just eating the pork and slaw.  Very seriously one of the best brunches I have ever had.

My mouth is watering just looking at this.
Bottom line?  Make sure you go out and try brunch (or lunch or dinner) at Cafe Strudel.  But, you'll have to wait a bit, as they are currently moving down the street to a new location.  Not sure when it will be up and running, but you can find out on Facebook or Twitter.

Final Rating

You can find Cafe Strudel on Facebook, Twitter, or the web.

Cafe Strudel on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Making time for lunch: Jason's Deli

I don't know about the rest of y'all, but years ago, before the reality of adulthood smacked me in the face, I had this idea in my head that once I grew up and got a job, I would become someone who lunched.  Maybe it was watching one too many episodes of Sex and the City that fostered this illusion.  But I was somehow convinced that I would be able to have multi-hour lunches in nice restaurants with friends in the middle of the week.  Then I graduated from college, and reality caught me in a choke hold.  Not only did I not have a "real" job (I moved back home for 2 months after graduation and worked in the same job I'd had during my college summers until I moved back to SC), I was faced with paying bills.  Once I moved back to SC, I was basically living off of my graduation money (thanks family!) for 2 months until I found a job.  Not the lavish one that was going to allow me to grab a table at the semi-swanky place where they serve luncheon instead of lunch, but rather one in the same field as my summer job had been.  I made next to nothing and was fully introduced to the world of the hour-long lunch.  Not only did I not have the funds for the nice lunches, but I also lacked the time.  That one hour time frame was strictly enforced.

And so, my dreams of fully becoming a Miranda (and let's be honest, except for our career choices, I really am Miranda Hobbes) were dead in the water.  Now, 7 years later, I make a little more money and can actually afford a nice lunch every now and then.  But I'm still a slave to the one hour time limit.  I don't know how many of you have ever tried to go out to lunch in downtown Columbia during the week, but if you have, you know that you either need at least 90 minutes or go super early or super late.  It's not because the service is slow, but because of the sheer volume of people.  Plus, you have to drive everywhere, and if you're like me, you manage to hit every single red light between work and your destination.  So 60 minutes to get to your car (if, like me, you can't park directly outside your office), drive to the restaurant, compete with 700 other people for a table, wait for your food to be prepared, eat, drive back, and walk back.  It can be done, but it's tough.  Which is why when I find myself lucky enough to have an afternoon off, I make sure I go out for lunch.

And that is exactly what I did when I found myself with the afternoon off on a beautiful Friday in June.  I got off work at 1 and had a few errands to run before I went home.  I also had some stuff to do at home, so I figured that I'd grab lunch to go and eat at the house.  I wrapped up my errands around town and decided to stop in at Jason's Deli.  Jason's is a great little chain of sandwich shops, primarily in the southeast, but with a few other scattered locations.  The one in Columbia opened about a year ago, and I've been there a couple times since.  Everything I've ever had at Jason's Deli has been great.  I have a friend who swears by the Muffalettas.  I like to try something new whenever I go, so on this particular occasion I opted for the Zucchini Grillini, a newish item on the menu.  It was a hot day in late June, so I figured something a little lighter would be a good choice.  And it was.

Oh hey, Instagram...
This awesome sandwich had a TON of grilled veggies: Zucchini, spinach, red onions, tomatoes, and kalamata olives, plus roasted red pepper hummus and muenster cheese.  Utterly amazing.  I devoured this thing, which may have been because it was around 2:30 before I got to eat it, or because it was so good.  The sandwich comes with a choice of chips, fruit, or steamed veggies.  I went with the chips.  I didn't end up finishing them because this sandwich was so filling.  Don't be fooled by how little it is more than enough food.  The next time I go in, I may have to break my "try something new" rule in favor of reliving this wonderful food moment.

So.  Not only does Jason's Deli have an awesome assortment of sandwiches, they also have a ginormous salad bar, a gluten free menu, and a vegetarian menu.  Definitely something for everyone.  And don't forget to grab some free soft serve on your way out.  Really?  How do you say no to that?

Final Rating

You can find Jason's Deli on Facebook, Twitter, or the web.

Jason's Deli #163 on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recipes and BIG NEWS!!!!

This is a "kill 2 birds with one stone" kind of post.  Or as my grandmother would say, "Kill one bird with two stones."    Part one features a killer dinner in with R.  He cooked.  I watched baseball.  Somewhere, Donna Reed is having a coronary.  Part two is the BIG NEWS that has taken over Hungry Lady land.  So let's get started, yes?

Dinner in.  Three cheers for Pinterest for providing endless hours of procrastination, nerdgasms, and new recipes that I will pin, but likely never make.  Also, for providing the two recipes we tried on this particular evening.  First, we made (and by we, I totally mean R) Roasted Red Pepper and Goat Cheese Alfredo.  Yes please.  Packed with flavor and super creamy.  Utterly delicious.  Second, we made Baked Asparagus Fries.  These were utterly divine.  We didn't bother with dipping sauces, because we didn't really need them. They were crunchy and not so bready that the asparagus disappeared.  And except for the fact that breading anything is a royal pain, these were pretty easy.  Of course, we also threw in a salad for good measure.  I would very strongly suggest trying both of these recipes.  There was enough pasta for a small army, and R said it was still really good after being reheated the next day.

Such an awesome dinner.
Moving on.  Part two.  The BIG NEWS.  The new project that The Hungry Lady is somehow going to fit in between two classes, homework, and a full time job. Are you ready?  Wait for it.... Wait for it....

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Brunching downtown: Motor Supply Co.

Good news y'all!  My crazy summer class has finally ended, and work is returning to normal, so that means you'll get to enjoy my ramblings a little more often!  At least until the middle of September when my fall classes start - Econ and Finance.  Seriously.  Who thought those two should be paired together?

Anyway.  I'm still working on catching up on a ton of posts.  With this one, I'll be finally finished with May, so I'm hoping to get caught up soon.  There are some pretty awesome things happening in Hungry Lady land, but I want to get caught up before I share the news.

And now, without further ado, let's talk about the most important meal of any weekend: Brunch.

Way back at the end of May, L's boyfriend came into town for a visit.  They had all kinds of fun things planned, but on the Sunday he was here, it was all about food and Game of Thrones.  I'm sure you've picked up by now exactly how nerdy my friends and I are, so you should not be surprised that a day long GoT marathon was in order.  But first, we needed sustenance.  And L's boy had to meet the parents. So the friends tagged along to ease the tension.  Where better to go than Motor Supply Co. Bistro.

L has been telling me for years that I needed to go to Motor Supply, but I somehow never made it there.  On this occasion, I was glad I did.  It was an utterly gorgeous day in May, and we were sitting on the patio.  There were 7 of us, so we took up a pretty big table.  We started with a basket of pastries, a round of coffee, and mimosas and bloody marys.  

First the bloody marys.  I ordered the O.C. Bloody, which comes with a variety of vodkas.  O.C., if I remember correctly, stands for owner's choice.  It was perfect.  It wasn't thick and it didn't get watered down by an overabundance of ice.  It had just enough spice to give the tongue a little ZING! but not enough to be overpowering.

Next, breakfast.  We were actually pretty unadventurous when it came to ordering.  There was a quiche, some french toast, a basic breakfast platter, and 4 orders of crab cakes benedict.  Mine was the only one I got a picture of - really taking pictures of 7 plates just wasn't going to happen.  I had the crab cakes.  It came with a bowl of fresh fruit, and grits. I pretty much despise grits, so I asked for hash brown casserole instead.

What a beautiful plate of food.
First the hashbrowns.  They were almost creamy from all of the cheese used.  It was almost like eating a hashbrown risotto.  They were awesome.  The crab cakes were perfectly cooked.  They definitely were spot on with the crab to breading ratio too.  Read: almost all crab, very little breading.  The eggs were just perfectly poached so that the yolk ran a bit when I cut into it, but net enough to make a huge mess.  The hollandaise sauce?  Divine.  Wonderful flavor that accentuated the flavor of the eggs and the crab cakes.  And, of course, the fruit was juicy and very very fresh.

One of the best things about Motor Supply? The menu changes daily. So it's really just a big surprise as to what you'll get.  Though, judging by how awesome brunch was, any meal will be delicious.  My new plan is to try to get there for lunch and / or dinner one day.  I've seen some of the lunch menus, and they've made my mouth water.  Some day...when I have the time to enjoy a leisurely lunch.

Final Rating:

You can find Motor Supply Co. Bistro on Facebook, Twitter, or the web.

Motor Supply Co Bistro on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Celebrate Julia Child at Terra this week

It's a pretty big week in food history.  The illustrious Julia Child was born on August 15, 1912, and died on August 13, 2004.  Which means, that had she lived, she would have been celebrating her centennial this year.  Amazing.  Known for bringing the French style cuisine to the U.S., Ms. Child is celebrated everywhere.  And this year, Hungry Lady favorite, Terra, is throwing a birthday bash.

Running from August 14 through August 18, Terra is offering a three-course meal (with or without wine pairings) to celebrate the life and death of Ms. Julia Child.  The flat cost of the meal is $30, $40 if you let Terra pick out your wine pairings, and $50 if you let them pick wine from their reserve wine list.  Not a bad deal, especially when you know the food is going to be good.

Terra is known for its use of fresh, local ingredients.  In building a menu to showcase the French style, I hope that Terra is able to stay true to that philosophy.  Of course, after looking at the menu, it looks like they will be.  Now.  Who wants to go to dinner tomorrow or Friday?

You can read the full press release, including the menu, after the jump.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

The Hungry Lady Travels: The Steamer in Gulf Shores, Alabama

About 2 or so weeks ago, I started to tell you all about my vacation to Gulf Shores, Alabama for The Hangout Music Festival.  Can't remember that far back?  You can read part one here.

So after 3 utterly amazing days of music, sun, and sand, we were ready to close out the festival in style.  Sunday night's headliner was the Dave Matthews Band.  Given that I haven't enjoyed DMB since they saved me from an ill-advised R&B and rap phase in the mid-90s, I wasn't excited about Sunday night at all.  Until the gang decided that we'd have our farewell dinner that night.

After watching the sun go down over the water to the dulcet sounds of The Flaming Lips performing Dark Side of the Moon, L & I headed back to the condo for a little pre-dinner beverage or two, while E, G, and J ran across the beach to catch DMB.  J, actually being a DMB fan, stayed for their whole set.  E & G stayed for a couple songs and then headed back to join L & me for a beer or two on the balcony.  We had decided that since DMB ended at 11 p.m., we were going to shoot to get to dinner right as the set ended and J was going to meet us there when she was done.

Later that evening, we meandered from our condo to our destination: The Steamer.  Let's talk about The Steamer.  It is, as you would imagine, a seafood restaurant.  But, for all of you who claim to only like seafood when it's fried, you're out of luck.  The Steamer only offers baked, steamed, grilled, or raw food.  Sold.

There were 5 of us, so we ordered quite a bit of food and shared most of it.  We had 18 baked oysters, smoked tuna dip, one pound of mussels, 6 snow crab clusters, and 1 1/2 pounds of royal reds.  Plus new potatoes, corn, sausage, and slaw.

Everything listed above, except 1 crab cluster and 1/2 pound of royal reds.
Let's talk about the oysters for a minute.  We got one order of Baked Rockefeller Oysters, and one order of the Baked Parmesan Oysters.  Not only were they gigantic, they were unbelievably delicious.  An excellent topping to oyster ratio.

These were the Rockefeller Oysters.
Needless to say, I wasn't eating any of the royal reds (those are a type of shrimp, for those of you not in the know), so L & I split 3 crab clusters.  We probably should have only gotten 2.  Again - gigantic and meaty.  And so juicy and flavorful that you didn't need any butter to dip them in.

Trust me, this looks like a lot less food than it actually is.
We probably could have also done without the mussels and the smoked tuna dip, but I don't regret a single bite of either dish.  Besides, after spending 3 days in the sun, running across the sand, and subsisting primarily on snack food, we were all ravenous.  We tore into our plates and it was dead silent at our table, except for the sound of the crab crackers.  If you know this group of people, you know that silence is an unusual occurrence.  We're a chatty group.  But apparently hunger and deliciousness trumps conversation.

By the time we finished, and we made a valiant effort and had very few leftovers, we were so stuffed we could barely walk home. Just to give you an idea, here's the "after" shot:

We filled two of those buckets in the center, and had leftover shells and such on our plates.
What an incredible time.  There's really no place like the Gulf Coast for seafood.  And don't let the prices on the menu scare you - everything is big enough to share.  Much like the Hangout has become tradition, I think The Steamer will fit in nicely with our plans for next time.

Final Rating:

You can find The Steamer on Facebook or the web.

The Steamer Baked Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Mess that is Mezza

The Hungry Lady has been known to be cranky.  Usually after a little time alone, she uncrankifies and proceeds to be her usual upbeat self.  There are two times when she is crankier than normal: 1. Pre-caffeine. A good word of advice?  If you ever see me before I've had at least one cup of coffee, don't talk to me.  It's really in your best interest.  2. Low blood sugar.  Like most people, I get really cranky when I haven't eaten. Three bites of food or so later, and I'm back to myself.

Today I went out to lunch with R.  We went around 1 p.m. so we could avoid the insane lunch rush in the Vista.  As you can imagine, by 1ish, I was rapidly approaching low blood sugar levels of crankiness. But I wasn't worried.  We were headed to Mezza, so I figured I'd be appeased in about 15 minutes.  I've had Mezza on my list of places to go since they opened about a year and a half ago.  I've heard great things about the food from some trusted sources, so I was pretty excited.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Hungry Lady Travels: Hangout Music Fest, Gulf Shores, Alabama

I may have mentioned this once or twice, but in case you missed it, way back in the middle of May, I road tripped down to the Gulf Coast for the Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Alabama.  You may remember that I did the same thing last year, which you can read about here and here.

This year was much the same. The festival lineup was a lot different from the previous year, but not in a bad way.  Actually, there were fewer bands on my absolute must see list, so I was able to enjoy the beach a little more, cool down (read: eat and consume a few adult beverages) back at the condo throughout the day, sample the food, and not have to run from one set to the other, thus missing bands I wanted to see.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Lunching Downtown - J Gumbo's

Way back at the beginning of May, I finally had the chance to catch up with my old friend A.  We work in the same area, and try to get together for lunch every now and then, but for awhile, our schedules just weren't lining up.  Finally, we got a date on the calendar, and A, her co-worker J, and I headed to J. Gumbo's to grab some lunch.

J. Gumbo's is a Cajun / Creole chain, primarily in the Midwest, but slowly expanding to the South.  I can't speak to the authenticity of the New Orleans flavors, since I've never been there, but I can tell you that the food was packed with flavor and delicious.

The three of us got there and managed to find a parking spot with relative ease (no small feat if you've ever tried to park anywhere in Downtown Columbia at lunchtime in the middle of the week). The restaurant isn't especially large (it used to be the Quizzno's on Sumter St.), but there were enough tables to seat everyone there.  J. Gumbo's is only open for lunch (except on Thursdays - then it's open until 7:30 p.m.), and it wasn't super busy, which worked well for us.  We took a quick look at the menu, ordered, grabbed our drinks, and claimed a table.

If I remember correctly, J had the White Chili.  I didn't try any (this was the first time I'd met J, so if I'd started reaching across the table and digging into her food, it may have been a bit on the awkward side), but it looked tasty.  J thought it was a bit on the spicy side, but she also admitted that she doesn't really have much of a spiciness tolerance.  The White Chili comes served over rice, which J decided not to have.  It was still a huge bowl of chili, and she had plenty of leftovers.

Seriously looked good to me.
A went a little more traditional and had the Shrimp Etoufee.  Clearly I wasn't going to any of it, but I can tell you that it looked a lot better than the time I tried to make etouffee last summer.  I think A would have liked it to be a bit on the spicier side.  That said, she enjoyed it, but thought she would try something new the next time she was there.  I believe A got her etoufee served over rice, but in Columbia, you can also order it served over grits.

Another huge portion.  Pretty sure A had leftovers too.
I decided to break out of the giant bowls of food mold and ordered a sandwich.  The Jean Lafitte Po' Boy to be exact.  It's a combination of the Bumblebee Stew (corn, stewed tomatoes, and black beans) and the VooDoo Chicken (chicken in Cajun tomato sauce with red onions and celery), topped with sour cream, green onions, jalapenos, and shredded cheese served on French bread.  It was awesome.  The VoodDoo Chicken had just the right amount of heat for me, while the Bumblebee Stew was just perfect enough to take the burn out of said heat.  My only problem?  Too much bread.  I ate half of the sandwich, and then picked out the insides on the other half.  The bread actually seemed to take away from the insides, and I actually enjoyed it more once I started ignoring the bread.  Thankfully, J Gumbo's has a Jean Lafitte Burrito Bowl option, which is basically the insides of the sandwich served over rice.  Guess what I'm getting next time?
Much better without the bread.
Overall, we had a nice and inexpensive lunch.  All of our meals were under $7 (before drinks).  And all were big enough for leftovers.  If you can find somewhere else in town that has that kind of a deal, I'd love to know where.  Plus, J Gumbo's runs assorted weekly specials that change on a monthly basis.  And the food is good.  It was also really quick, which is another must for anyone trying to lunch downtown.  I'd suggest you check it out.

Final Rating

You can find J. Gumbo's Columbia location on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web.  For locations in other areas, please see the corporate website

J. Gumbos on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 18, 2012

Obligatory Social Media Post

Are you following The Hungry Lady on Instagram yet? (@LauraEliz1021). As you may have noticed, I've been a bit M.I.A. the past few weeks - I have finals coming up, work's been crazy, and I haven't had a chance to transfer pictures from my phone to the computer to post.  Which is why you should follow me on Instagram (and Twitter and Facebook and Untappd).  Then you'll get to see what deliciousness I'm eating before I have the chance to write about it.  And really, with as far behind as I am right now, you'll probably forget about it before I get to blog about it, making it like a brand new experience.

So to recap:
I'm on Instagram (@LauraEliz1021)Untappd (@LauraEliz1021)Twitter (@TheHungryLady), and Facebook (@TheHungryLady). Find me, add me, drop me a line, whatever.

Lots of food goodness coming soon from The Steamer in Alabama, J. Gumbo's in Columbia, Motor Supply Co. in Columbia, and a few home cooked meals. Stay tuned! And seriously, bug me (via one of the fabulous ways to contact me listed above) if I take too much longer to get some of these done.

Friday, June 1, 2012

American Spirit Whiskey now available in South Carolina

And I'm back.  I'm working on what may be a massive post detailing my vacation to the Gulf Coast (lots of good food and amazing music), so you'll get that shortly.  In the meantime, I have some drinking news to share with y'all.

Photo by Evan Leavitt
Right before I left for vacation, the fine folks at American Spirit Whiskey (ASW) emailed me to let me know that their product was finally going to be available in SC, and wanted to know if I'd pass the information on to y'all.  Being the helpful (and humble) blogger that I am, I said I'd be happy to let the masses know about their product.  Please note, that I haven't yet tried it...this post is solely so y'all are aware of what's out there.  If anyone has tried it and wants to send in a review, just let me know.

ASW is a white whiskey, which basically means that it is unfinished whiskey, probably more akin to the jar of corn liquor in your freezer than that aged bottle of Jameson you only bring out for special occasions (or maybe that's just my family...). Just do a Google search for "white whiskey" and you'll find all kinds of reviews and details. As you can imagine, most of those reviews will talk about how much of a bit most white whiskeys have.  ASW, at least according to the press release, uses an ultra filtration system to remove most of that bite.  That process is what puts ASW in a position to bridge the gap between dark whiskeys and bourbons and clear liquors like gin and vodka, earning it the moniker "Most Versatile Whiskey in the World."  By all accounts, ASW seems to make an excellent mixer - they even feature a recipes section on their website for whiskey cocktails.  Very Don Draper.  Some of the recipes actually sound pretty fantastic, so there might be a bottle of ASW in my future.

Looks pretty refreshing to me....
At any rate, though ASW is based in Atlanta, the actual whiskey is refined and bottled in Charleston.  The product has just become available in Columbia (look for it at Green's) or other SC locations.  Be sure to check ASW out on Facebook and Twitter.   

You can read the full release after the jump.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Burgers and Day Drinking at Henry's Grill & Bar

I've been hearing good things about Henry's Grill & Bar for quite some time.  Like most places I hear about though, I never quite manage to get there.  Thankfully, about a month ago, L called on a random Saturday and said "Let's Go Eat" a la Hunter Pence (which may be a reference that only those of you who are Phillies fans will understand).  I said that we should try some place new, so we ended up at Henry's.

It was an utterly gorgeous day, so the original plan was to sit outside.  L got there first, made for a table on the patio, started to shift the table a bit to one side so that we wouldn't be sitting in the laps of the people next to us, and then got told off by the server for doing so.  I wasn't there, so I can't verify any of this, but I'm pretty positive that L wasn't moving the table more than a few inches so that everyone would be more comfortable.  But whatever.  L was irritated, so she walked away, and she, R, and I ended up eating inside.  No big deal.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Indie Grits Kickoff Party

My apologies for being the worst blogger on the face of the planet.  In my defense, a new round of classes just started for me and work has been utterly insane, so the motivation to do anything other than study, work, eat, and sleep has been in short supply.  But I'm back now and am even trying a new lunch spot today, so stay tuned.

I really wanted to do an in-depth post on the Indie Grits kickoff party that I was lucky enough to attend, but given that it was two weeks ago, it's not really very timely.  Instead, I'm going to link you over to a post on the subject by my plus one for the evening, The April Blake.  She has a great recap of the event, including some of the activities we participated in (make your own Lite Brite anyone?), and the food we ate.  The event was a blast, and it was packed.  The music was entertaining and the dance floor was at capacity.  A good time all around.  Many thanks for the tickets.

The one thing I really do want to comment on was Chef Scott Hall's catering.  He and his staff set up a grits bar - lots of grits plus some amazing toppings.  Here's the thing.  I don't like grits.  It's mostly a texture thing.  I don't really like oatmeal or cream of wheat or things of that nature either.  Usually, I can manage to choke down about a spoonful of grits, and that's only when they are more cheese than grit.  So, despite knowing how awesome Scott's cooking is, I was a little unsure of how much I would be able to eat.  I fully intended to take my customary small spoonful and then top it with super fresh ingredients like wasabi peas (amazing), cilantro & lime slaw, fried leeks (again, amazing), marinated mushrooms, strawberries, bleu cheese, collards, and assorted salsas.  And then I tried the grits.  And they were divine.  They were so creamy and so well flavored (and vegan!) that I could have used a lot less of the toppings.  If grits were always like this, I would eat them way more often.

Right.  So head over to April's blog and read her post.  And then, hopefully tomorrow, head over to my Facebook page for my own pictures of the event.

I hope some of you were able to make it to some of the Indie Grits events.  The schedule looked amazing, but unfortunately, I was only able to make it to the kickoff party.  If you made it to any of the other events, and want to recap them, let me know.  I'll be happy to post a guest blog or two.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Indie Grits Film Festival

Sometimes Columbia offers some really awesome events.  One such event begins this weekend, and runs for 10 days (April 19 - 29): The Indie Grits Film Festival.  Created and presented by the Nickelodeon Theatre, Indie Grits is about much more than just film.  While there are several films to see (obviously), there is also music, crafts, art, and, of course, food.  Make sure you check the website (or the full press release after the jump) for a full listing of events.  But for those of you just interested in the food aspect of Indie Grits, here's a quick rundown:

  • Slow Food Columbia at Indie Grits Dinner.  This is basically the kickoff party.  You can preview the festival, listen to a couple of DJs, and make your own Lite Brite (!), but most importantly, you can sample Chef Scott Hall's Artisan Grits bar.  Scott Hall is the mastermind behind Hungry Lady and Columbia favorite, Bone-In BBQ.  Hall also owns Scott Hall Catering & Event Design, and as such is serving up Adluh stone ground yellow grits with assorted toppings like wasabi peas, crispy fried local herbs, shallot cream, artisan cheeses, assorted chutneys and salsas, and more! Slow Food Columbia is sponsoring a few of the ingredients so that more sustainable, local ingredients can be included.
  • Slow Food at Indie Grits: Sustainable Chefs Showcase. This event is Sunday, April 22 at 4 p.m. at the All-Local Farmer's Market at 711 Whaley. This event was incredibly popular last year! At least 10 chefs from all of the best restaurants in town will be serving tastes of a dish made with at least one sustainable, local ingredient (most use plenty of local ingredients).
  • And finally, we have a few Make events including an event at Motor Supply where Chef Tim Peters will teach you how to make your own charcuterie, and an event with Kristian Niemi at Rosso is also going to teach attendees how to make something wonderful at another Make event. 
  • There are also a few foodie films being shown, including Eating Alabama, which just premiered at SXSW.
As it happens, this Hungry Lady has an extra pass to the kickoff party.  She is currently taking applications for someone to be her plus one.  If you have any interest in attending (and come's totally worth it because of the Lite Brite station), just let me know.  It's from 7-11 p.m. this Thursday at 701 Whaley.

Need more info?  Check out the full press release after the jump....

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sometimes you just need a good burger

A few quick things before we dive into the meat of this post: More ways to connect with The Hungry Lady!
  1. I'm on Instagram. You can follow me @LauraEliz1021.  Fair warning....this is my personal Instagram account, so you may also encounter non-food things.  Like pictures of Carolina Stadium.  
  2. I'm also on Untappd, also @LauraEliz1021.  So if you're interested in my beer habits, just follow along.
  3. And, as always, you can find me on Facebook and Twitter.  Or you can email me
Moving on.  About a month ago, A, L, and I were hanging out - probably watching some baseball - and we decided to head out and grab some dinner.  We weren't in the mood for any of our usual haunts, so we decided to try out the relatively new Burger Tavern 77, located where Yo Burrito used to be (earning it the nickname "Yo Burger" from A).

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Adventures in Cooking: Edamame & Veggie Fried Rice (courtesy of PGEW)

Y'all remember back in January when I announced my New Year's Resolutions?  Well, so far, I've failed miserably at them.  I'm not that surprised, because they were some pretty lofty goals, given that grad school and baseball have pretty much taken over my life, and any free time I have, I find myself doing something crazy like reading for fun.  Yes, the Hungry Lady leads quite the exciting life.

Anyway.  One of my resolutions, and the one I was most determined to keep, was to learn how to cook.  Or perhaps I should be specific: Learn how to cook without burning everything I touch.  Let's be honest.  I hate to cook.  Hate it.  Like would rather clean a toilet with a toothbrush hate it.  But, in the interest of budgeting and overall health and wellbeing, knowing how to prepare something other than a microwave meal or spaghetti would be beneficial.  So I started scouring the internet for recipes.  I found one over at Poor Girl Eats Well (PGEW) that looked easy enough for me to start with and looked delicious.

PGEW is one of my favorite food blogs.  Not only does it feature tasty and healthy recipes, but it is also dedicated to creating these masterpieces on a shoestring budget.  Kimberly Morales, the mastermind behind PGEW, breaks down cost per serving, offers shopping tips for getting good for you food at great deals, and breaks down her recipes so that even non-cooks like me can follow them.  Go check PGEW out....I know there are some of you out there who will love the site.

Right.  I decided to make PGEW's Edamame & Veggie Fried Brown Rice.  It was delicious.  And it made so much, that I ate it for 3 or 4 days.  It was tasty, filling, and packed full of veggies.  It was so good, in fact, that about a week after I had eaten it for 4 days, I had a killer craving for it, so I made it again.  The second time around I halved the recipe and added some garlic powder (though next time I will use fresh garlic).  Other than that, I kept the recipe exactly the same.  This was so easy and so inexpensive (except for the edamame...apparently finding shelled edamame in Columbia requires you to spend a fortune) that it is now on  my go to list of quick meals.  And when you're a grad student in class until 8:30 a couple night a week, having something quick to make for dinner when you get home is a must.  This meal is also very vegetarian friendly (so long as you're the vegetarian type who isn't opposed to eggs, though they could easily be omitted), or could be adjusted to add chicken for the meat lovers.  Anyway.  Head on over to PGEW and snag this recipe.  It's definitely one to add to your repertoire.

Look at all those veggies and edamame!  

Monday, March 19, 2012

There are only two kinds of people in the world: The Irish and those who wish they were.

I don't remember if I've mentioned this before, but my favorite holiday is St. Patrick's Day.  And not because I'm looking for an excuse to party or because I like gimmicky things like green beer (ew).  I'm actually half Irish, though I definitely take after the non-Irish side of the family.  As you can imagine, I'm also really into the musical aspect of March 17th....bagpipes are my favorite instrument behind only the banjo (and maybe the accordion).  I love the Celtic influences on bluegrass music, and I certainly will never say no to a good Irish drinking song.  Unfortunately, the Irish aren't exactly known for their cuisine.  And so, in my first attempt to make this blog about something more than just food, let's chat about Columbia's annual St. Pat's in 5 Points festival.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Senor O'Malley's - The Irish Pub Taco Shack

It's baseball season now, which means this Hungry Lady has one more thing she needs to attempt to fit into her absurdly busy schedule.  As a season ticket holder, I make it to just about every home game (except those that conflict with my the Florida / Carolina series.  Not happy about that).  Since Saturday games usually end right around dinner time, they're really the perfect lead in to trying a new place with the friends who share a group of tickets.

About a week ago, A, L, and I happily watched our Gamecocks beat Clemson in yet another sporting event.  Afterwards, we wanted to celebrate, so we headed to Five Points for some dinner and drinks.  Usually our go-to spot is Delaney's, but this time around we decided to try something new.  So we went to Senor O'Malley's, the Irish Pub Taco Shack.  

Wait.  What?  Yes, Columbia has it's first Irish / Mexican fusion restaurant.  At least that's what I was hoping for.  I had glorious visions of shepherd's pie served in a taco shell.  That wasn't so much what I got.  Instead, Senor O'Malley's offers traditional pub fare - burgers, sandwiches, fish & chips, shepherd's pie, etc. - and an assortment of tacos.  Still not a bad combination, seemingly designed for those people who can't decide what it is they want to eat.  Or really for those who may have partaken in a bit too much of an illegal substance.  Either way, it's an interesting concept, and in an area of town really devoted to college students (and those of us who, despite being out of college for several years, are still too broke to afford to go out in the Vista on a regular basis), it will likely do well.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Dianne's on Devine, Take Two.

You may remember that I took a trip to Dianne's on Devine during restaurant week.  You may also remember that although our food was beyond amazing, our service wasn't.  Obviously I wrote about it.  Well, the entry caught the attention of the lovely folks at Dianne's, and they encouraged me to get in touch with Dianne and talk through it.  So I did.  We had a nice little chat, with a lot of apologizing and some reassurances that the food was some of the best I've ever had.  It ended with Dianne offering to send me a gift card so that I could come in again and the staff could make it up to me.  Though I assured her that wasn't necessary, she insisted, and so a few weeks after my initial visit, I found myself in Dianne's dining room.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Meals in Photos

I'm playing catch-up today.  I have so many photos and meals to share with y'all.  I was going to give each one its own post, but for some I just don't have enough to say.  Surprising, right?  I think by now you are all aware that I'm a little wordy.  Way back in 2006, someone even nicknamed me "verbiage."  Annoying, but really rather accurate.  So.  Since I don't have much to say, y'all are going to get what essentially amounts to a pictures-only post.  Enjoy!  And if you have questions about any of the meals pictured, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I'll give you more details.

And now, without further ado, please take a look at this Hungry Lady's somewhat questionable photo abilities:

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Hungry Lady's Travels: Gullifty's Restaurant

Have you ever heard of Rosemont, Pa.?  If you're reading this anywhere other than the Philadelphia area, the answer is probably "no."  And that's just fine.  It's a tiny town, that tends to be lumped together with it's slightly more famous neighbors: Bryn Mawr (where Katharine Hepburn and Betty Draper from Mad Men went to college) and Villanova (which also probably doesn't mean anything to you unless you follow college basketball or you're Catholic).    At any rate, Rosemont is about 15 minutes from my mom's house, so a few months ago when my sister and I were home for Christmas (have I mentioned how far behind I am in blogging?) my mom took us out to dinner at a restaurant that is pretty well known in the area, but not necessarily outside of the Main Line. For those of you not up on your suburban Philadelphia geography, the Main Line is a part of the western suburbs that runs right along Rt. 30, straight into Center City.  They built a train route parallel to this route, and ever since, the towns along this route have been referred to as the Main Line.

But I digress.  On to the food!  We went to Gullifty's, a place that has decent beer, pretty good food, and is relatively casual.  Gullifty's has been around for awhile - I remember going there in second grade, and that was about 20 years ago.  Their menu has a ton of options from apps to salads to burgers to grinders (hot hoagies, again for those of you not from the Philadelphia area) to handspun pizzas to full sized entrees to sandwiches.  There really is something for everyone, at a fairly reasonable price.  Clearly it was the perfect spot for my mom to take her two fabulous daughters whom she rarely sees because they live too far away.  Of course, she does always have the option to visit...

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Open That Bottle Night at Terra

Even though I don't eat there very often (between grad school, work, and a limited budget, it's takes all I have to even remember to eat), Terra is one of my favorite spots in Columbia. Terra was the first restaurant in SC that I reviewed for this blog, and it really set the standard for restaurants in town.  Needless to say, when the lovely PR folks at Terra emailed me about an event, I happily agreed to convey the details to y'all.

Mark your calendars for this Saturday (February 25) night and call to make your reservations, because Terra is hosting Open That Bottle Night.  What does this mean?  It means that on Saturday, you can grab some friends or significant other and the bottle(s) of wine you've been saving for a special occasion and head to Terra.  You'll be able to enjoy some spectacular food and not have to pay the corkage fee for your wine.  Sounds good to me.  Terra won't be featuring a special OTBN menu, but you can bet that there will be some pretty spectacular food.  No really.  Check out the menu. Tell me that you don't want to order one of everything.  I would highly recommend the lamb mac & cheese, quack madame, quail, and cannelloni.  And anything off of the dessert menu.  Or really anything on the menu in general.

You can read the full press release for the event after the jump.  If you go, definitely make a reservation.  And, since wine doesn't last long enough in my house for me to have a "special occasion" bottle, if you go and want to review it for me, just shoot me an email.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Restaurant Week SC, part 3: Villa Tronco

Better late than never, right?  The last stop on my Restaurant Week journey was Villa Tronco.  Like so many other places around town, I had often been told that I should go to Villa Tronco, but I had never had the chance, until RW presented itself.  Villa Tronco, of course, had a special RW menu, featuring four courses. I happily ate my way through all four delicious courses, and then promptly fell into a food coma when I got home.  Definitely the sign of a good meal.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Blogger Lunch Date: Momo's Bistro

Last week, I had the chance to take care of two things that have been on my to-do list for much longer than they should have been: check out Momo's Bistro and have lunch with fellow blogger extraordinaire, Elizabeth.  Elizabeth is the mastermind behind Gastronomy (By a Wanna Be Chef), and the two of us have been talking about grabbing lunch since this summer.  Things finally worked out in our favor, and we met at Momo's last week to discuss food, families (on her end), grad school (on my end), and all kinds of other randomness.

Momo's lunch menu isn't terribly extensive, but it still manages to have a great selection of classic sandwiches, salads, and larger entrees.  It took us a little while to order because we were spending more time talking that looking at the menu.  Oops.  Anyway, when we finally did order, E went with the French Dip.  I know what you're thinking: How boring.  Let me tell you, this sandwich was anything but boring (at least that's what I heard).  See, Momo's makes their French dip with pot roast instead of roast beef.  I know, right?  Amazing.  And they top it with Gruyere cheese, instead of the more conventional provolone or Swiss. E was a huge fan, especially after she tried the au jus, which reportedly had a really rich flavor that just made the sandwich.

Please note that I have borrowed the pictures in this post from Elizabeth, as hers turned out infinitely better than mine did.
Look at all that cheese!  And you can just tell that the roll is crunchy.
Since I peeked at the menu before I left work for lunch, I was pretty positive that I was going to get the fish tacos.  These, like the French dip, were not your run-of-the-mill fish tacos.  These were made, not with mahi mahi or tilapia, but with grouper.  I love grouper, so you can just imagine how excited I was about these. The two tacos were served on corn tortillas and stuffed, and I do mean stuffed, with red cabbage, pineapple salsa, guacamole, and of course, grilled grouper.  Each taco was double wrapped - two tortillas per taco - probably since corn tortillas are a little more fragile than flour tortillas.  In this case, they were still delicate, but the extra two tortillas allowed me to split up some of the insides so that I could get the taco down to a more manageable size.  The fish was utterly divine.  It was tender and just perfectly done.  The cabbage added a nice crunch, and between the pineapple salsa and the lime served on the side, there was just the right amount of acidity.  Side note: I love that this was served with a lime instead of a lemon.  The entire plate was just gorgeous, but it tasted even better.  And, it was light and refreshing, which was perfect for the sunny, 75 degree weather that we were having in Columbia (in February.  I love this town).
Isn't that just beautiful?  It was crisp and light too.
I would go back to Momo's for lunch in a heartbeat.  I'd love to try them for dinner too.  Or maybe for brunch. Actually definitely for brunch.  I just looked at that menu, and now I'm starving.  I suppose that's an occupational hazard.  Anyway.  Y'all should head on out to Momo's when you get a chance.  It's definitely worth the trip, at least for lunch, but if dinner and brunch are anywhere near as good as our meal was, you'll be safe no matter what time of day you head out.

Final Rating

You can find Momo's on Facebook, Twitter, or on the web. Also, make sure to check out Elizabeth's post on our lunch date at her blog

Momo's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Restaurant Week SC part 2 - A trip to Rosso

For my first restaurant week adventure about two weeks ago, L and I headed to Rosso.  Both of us had been wanting to try it for quite some time, but somehow and never managed to fit it in to our schedules.  Thankfully, RW provided us with the perfect opportunity.

First, let's talk about the atmosphere.  I pretty much fell in love with Rosso the second we walked in the door.  It's intimate and dark, but not overly so.  The walls are painted a fabulous garnet color (always a plus in Gamecock country), and the decor, at least around our table, appeared to be artwork from local artists.  The restaurant is a very open space.  The way our booth was positioned, we were actually looking out over the rest of the restaurant.  If only we had been gnawing on a giant turkey leg, it would have been very Henry VIII.  There was also a guy playing some rather Rat Pack-esque songs, which is always a plus in my book.  And he was actually good, so that helped.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Afternoon Delight - World Beer Festival Returns to Columbia

This is the first in what I hope will be a long line of guest posts.  The lovely April Blake, who writes her own awesome blog, The April Blake, was fortunate enough to win a ticket to the World Beer Festival held in Columbia this past weekend.  My beer drinking self really wanted to go, but already had plans.   Take a look below at what April had to say, and then make sure you pop over to her blog to check things out.  And time, in order to keep track of your beers, may I suggest the use of the Untappd app?  It's kind of like 4Square for beers.

Imagine the guy that announces WWE wrestling matches saying this: "Are you ready for the Woooorld Beeeer Festivaaaal (recap)? "

According to the State paper, there were around 3,000 attendees at the early afternoon session of the WBF and I believe it. Despite cramming that many people into the two levels of the Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center with the goal of tasting as many two ounce samples of beer as possible, the crowd was a real delight. I wasn't stepped on, shoved, spilled on, or yelled at the entire time, which is more than I can say for a typical Saturday night out in the Vista. Upon entry, my friends and I received a miniature plastic souvenir beer cup, a perfect sampling size. We started on the main level and worked our way through the crowd to start at the Abita Brewery booth. Already a fan of their Purple Haze, I tried Turbodog, which was a bit thicker of a beer than I would normally try, but in a two ounce realm, I enjoyed it. A whole pint, on the other hand, might be a bit much.
Next up was the Sam Adams booth, where they had Alpine Springs brand new beer available for sampling, and an old favorite of mine, Cherry Wheat. I started with Alpine Springs and told a representative on hand my opinions on the beer, which was that "it tastes like fresh mountain air." It was a clean crisp beer that I would definitely enjoy an entire pint glass worth when it comes to bars in the area.

I pictured myself as a brewer, then went back for a hit of Cherry Wheat. After three beers in my glass, I realized that I needed to clean the suds out but didn't want to wade through the crowd to a beer rinsing station just yet. Pro tip:snag a handful of napkins to keep on your person to clean out your glass between samples, especially when the prior beer was very thick or flavorful.We made our way around the room, some beers were delicious, and some were not so much. Chocolate stout? Yuck. Absolutely not, not ever. My hits were on the lighter side- wheat beers, IPAs, a few brown ales. But since we were there, the beer was there, and they were just small samples, I did dive into a few beers I was pretty sure I wouldn't like, and confirmed my dislike of thick tasting and feeling stouts and lagers. Beers with coffee or espresso notes didn't sit too well with me either despite loving both of those things in their own elements.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Restaurant Week SC - Dianne's on Devine

We've been celebrating Restaurant Week here in Columbia since January 12.  So far, I've hit up two different places, with a third on tap for tonight.  I'll be recapping everywhere I've been (obviously), but I wanted to start with last night's meal at Dianne's on Devine.  No pictures, since the lighting was rather dim, and I wasn't going to use an overly bright flash to get good quality shots.