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I’m on a mission to prove you can rock it (or at least feel like you’re rockin it) over 40!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Madra Rua

If you are looking for an authentic Irish pub experience without forking out the big bucks for a plane ticket to Ireland, which most of us can't afford in the current economy, I highly suggest visiting Madra Rua. I know there is one in North Charleston, but there is also a newer locale in Summerville, which is where I went today.

Hands down the BEST fish n chips I have ever had yet. It helps that I paired it with one of their many Guiness blends, which my choice was the Skidmark (fat tire and guiness). You can choose to also have the fish as a sandwich, which comes with a horseradish mayo mixture that is surely laced because you want to eat it by the spoonful. However, I think the bread gets in the way of the perfectly fried, not soever greasy, cod goodness. You can always ask for the horseradish mayo stuff on the side as it is awesome with their fries. The kids loved their cup of Sheppards Pie and a basket of fries to share. They have a kids menu, but this is not on it, but ordering a cup with fries was enough for my 13 year old.

I also have to mention that the staff was awesome. Erick definitely was on top of things and made great suggestions. I am always worried when the servers take your order and don't write anything down. We had a fairly decent sized group and everything was perfect. I love the atmosphere in this place! There is soccer on the television and even if you don't normally watch, you can't help but get into it when you're here.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Nigel's Good Food

I’m ba-a-ck! Finally done with that pesky thing they call college and I can now get back to my real passion….food. What better way to celebrate graduation than with a meal out. Since I had family in town from the West Coast, I thought it only appropriate that we eat a southern meal. I had heard from friends that Nigel’s Good Food had exactly that, good food.

Located on Ashley Phosphate between Rivers and Dorchester, Nigel’s Good Food is in the Food Lion Shopping Plaza outside of Windsor Hill. First impression when walking in was that it was clean and probably formerly a failed Mexican restaurant. However, there were attractive photos of what I assumed to be New Orleans. We were told we could choose wherever we would like to sit as it was a late lunch hour and not full. We were greeted immediately by our waitress Delexiss and brought drinks promptly. Way to go Delexiss!

We started out with the Fried Green Tomatoes ($6.50), the lunch special of fried chicken with two sides ($6.50) and the Super Sam BBQ Sandwich ($8.50).
The Fried Green Tomatoes were out fairly quickly. They were piping hot, perfectly breaded and fried. I L-O-V-E fried green tomatoes and this was pretty decent stuff. What made this fantastic was the creamy, cheesy grit goodness that they sat upon. I’m seriously picky about grits since I didn’t grow up eating it. Grits are practically unheard of in California and my first taste of it was not a pleasant experience on the palate. However, this stuff was yummy. I could have eaten the appetizer plate by myself and walked out happy.

The fried chicken lunch special came with two sides of choice. I chose to go with the hush puppies and the macaroni and cheese. The fried chicken was definitely just made as it was seriously too hot to eat right away. I started with the mac and cheese, which was very good. The hush puppies were good, but still somewhat doughy in the middle. This is probably just the batch and not the typical way of cooking them. However, the flavor was delicious. I would recommend asking if they have some cocktail sauce to dip them in as I believe this is the best way to enjoy hush puppies. The fried chicken was moist on the inside and lightly flour coated on the outside. My only thought on the chicken was that the coating could have used more seasoning to really bring out the flavor of the chicken. It was good, but I think it could be fantastic.

Now, my husband makes some really good pulled pork, which makes my taste for BBQ somewhat picky. I have yet to find a pulled pork sandwich that could come close to being up there with his. However, the Super Sam BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich was pretty darn good. What really made this my new favorite at Nigel’s Good Food was the homemade coleslaw. There was a hint of mustard that made the coleslaw stand out in so many good ways. The menu states that the coleslaw comes atop the sandwich, but you can ask for it on the side. I will never again go here without ordering the coleslaw.

If you’re in the mood for some southern cooking, you aren’t limited to downtown Charleston; Nigel’s offers up some good home-style cooking in North Charleston. I’ve heard that the shrimp and grits is very good, so if you do happen to try it when you go tell me what you think.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Coming Soon

I have had to take a small break...sorry friends. However, I will be returning very soon with more restaurant reviews. I'd like to start sharing with you some creations that you might want to try at home after painstakingly trying to recreate memorable foodie experiences. Hopefully this will go over well and you will enjoy. Carpe Victus!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Red Drum

Oh, Chef Barryhill, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways…One red drum, two red drum…three. It’s Restaurant Week in Charleston! It’s every foodies dream. There is so much to offer this year and so little time and money to do it all. Therefore, I had no choice but to pick Red Drum as one of the restaurants I would use to pleasure my palette. Sounds like a line from a bad romance novel, right? Well…you’ll be making some interesting noises as you sink your teeth into the dishes made on the Red Drum wood-burning grill.

Located in Mt. Pleasant at 803 Coleman Boulevard, Red Drum looks like a setting in San Diego or San Antonio. I instantly miss home when I pull into the parking lot. When you arrive, the valet will be ready to assist you in parking your car. While the valet parking is complimentary, be sure to bring some extra cash for tipping. Check in with the hostess and if you have a few minutes to burn check out their incredible bar. They have some amazing beers available and if you tell them the taste you’re in the mood for, they have recommendations. You won’t be disappointed. The staff is quite knowledgeable of their wine, beer, and spirits.

We arrived about thirty minutes early and decided to take advantage of their Happy Hour. Happy Hour wine is $5 a glass and select beers range from $3 for PBR to $5 for a Fat Tire. We decided to have the Chips and Marta’s Guacamole ($4). It was fabulous. The guac was perfect. If you choose to, take your drink out on the patio and enjoy the live band while you sit on an outdoor sofa. There’s even an outdoor fireplace for cool evenings.

Since its Restaurant Week, we ordered off that menu, however you can order off their regular menu also. My husband and I both chose the Seared Sea Scallop with Pan Roasted Wild Mushrooms served over grits with an amazing cascabel chile sauce and truffle oil. The scallop was cooked to perfection. The sweetness of the scallop with the chile sauce was an amazing combination. Take your time and savor the flavors.

For my main course I chose Wild Boar Ragu with Papardelle with roasted carrot, cippolini mushrooms and heirloom tomatoes. The ribbons of papardelle noodles were buttery and delicious. The wild boar was marinated in ancho chiles and reisling. I absolutely loved the flavor and texture of the shredded boar. The light sauce with the mushrooms and carrot was very good. Make sure to take a bite of everything together. The flavors are perfect. This dish reminded me of a rich stroganoff dish. It was so yummy. My husband chose the Wood Grilled Natural Chicken Breast & Crisp Tortilla served with melted Mexican cheese, avocado relish, and a garlic cream sauce with a couple of spears of asparagus. Typically, I would not order chicken when I go out to eat, but this is THE BEST chicken dish I have ever had. You can taste the flavors from the wood-fire grill and it goes perfect with the spices and avocado relish.

For my dessert choice, I chose to go with the Rustic Peach Tart with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Definitely a good choice as they were all out before we left. The crust was buttery and flaky, the fresh peaches were perfect, and the vanilla bean ice cream was creamy. My husband chose the Wisconsin Cheese Tasting Plate. The Wisconsin cheddar cheese was creamy and rich. It was served with house made crackers and a caramel dipping sauce. The sweetness of the caramel with the saltiness of the cheese was a really pleasant combination. My husband was quite impressed with his dessert and I think I may have to order it next time.

If you decide to make reservations at Red Drum for Restaurant Week, I don’t think you will be disappointed. This is not my first visit to Red Drum and it definitely won’t be my last, however it is a special night out because it is not easy on the pocketbook. Although, you won’t forget your meal…you’ll be telling everyone about it and thinking about it until the next time you go. Seriously, you'll be belting out stupid sonnets like the one I started this blog post with :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Charleston Restaurant Week

Charleston Restaurant Week is coming soon. September 7th - 18th, you have the opportunity to try some fabulous grub at excellent prices. Restaurants in the area will be offering a pre-fixed menu. You will have a choice of three items and depending on where you go it may cost you $20, $30, or $40. Some area restaurants are even offering two individuals for $20. For example, Wild Wing Cafe you can get an appetizer and two entrees for $20.

However, I say take advantage of this opportunity and go somewhere you haven't been. Treat this as a special night out and make reservations at Grill 225. The menu looks fantastic. I personally want to start out with the Chopped Caesar Salad, followed by a 12 oz Ribeye and end it with the Classique Napoleon...all for $40.

Check out the website and the pre-fixed menus availabe at:


Do me a favor and if you go, come back here and let me know where you ate, what was good, what was not, and whether I should make a visit.

Carpe Victus my foodie friends.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

North Towne Grill and Seafood

Opa! My daughter suggested Greek food today so we went to North Towne Grille and Seafood in North Charleston. North Towne is located across the street from the Northwoods Mall and adjacent from Toys R Us. This place is somewhat hidden. Usually when I’m in this immediate area, I am cringing due to the thought of having to be in Toys R Us with 100 screaming children that I’m not allowed to emotionally or physically punish…not looking for hidden Greek restaurants.

One of the cool things when you walk up is that the kitchen is exposed to the parking lot. A huge glass window allows you to see what and who is cooking. Pretty cool indeed. However, the lunch time crowd was REALLY dead. This can make you nervous and wonder if you should just put your money in your mouth and start chewing.

For lunch there are several specials written on a white board up front. For an appetizer, we ordered spanakopita ($7.95) My daughter and I decided to go with the classic and ordered the lunch “Lite Gyro” ($7.45). I begged my husband to order the Super Special ($18.95) from the Chef’s Specialties side of the menu. The Lite Gyro meal comes with a Greek salad, side (I chose Greek potatoes), and ½ a gyro sandwich. The Super Special is a platter of slow roasted chicken, sliced gyro, grilled pork tenderloin shis-ka-bob, shrimp, leg of lamb, pita bread, Greek potatoes, soup, and Greek salad. As if that is not enough, the waitress brought out some herb bread and olive oil. The bread was warm and tasty, but the olive oil with seasoning left a little to be desired. It needed something; maybe a little bit of garlic and chopped roasted red pepper…something.

Salad: My Greek salad was a very decent portion. I poured my little tub of salad dressing on top and dug right in…mmmm. There is something about their Feta cheese that makes me very happy. Feta can be very over-powering, in a feet-cheese sort of way. However, this stuff was like butter. I could eat handfuls of this stuff. I have to find out where they get this stuff because it sure doesn’t taste like the junk I get at the store. Watch out for the olives…not pitted, but I needed to get that tooth fixed anyway.

Appetizer: My friend Sam said that this was the best spanakopita he has ever had. He wasn’t wrong. The spinach and that feta (mmm..that feta blessed by Zeus himself) was so gooey and nice between the layers of phyllo dough.

Main Course: Not sure who thought up “Lite” for this meal because the Greek potatoes were piled high alongside a decent portion of gyro topped with tzatziki sauce and chopped tomatoes. However, the thick juicy meat topped with the creamy tzatziki was phenomenal. Throw in the Greek potatoes that are spiced with what we can only figure was crack, was downright scrumptious. I’m now looking around wondering where all the people are. This place should be packed! The Super Special was…well…super. A carnivorous heap of food alongside another mountain of Greek potatoes. It was all very good. Definitely something you share with someone unless you are training for Man Vs. Food. Make sure you ask for extra tzatziki sauce.

There are quite a few items listed on their menu…Chicken livers, shrimp & grits, and even manicotti. However, like I told my daughter who tried to order spaghetti & meatballs…this is a Greek restaurant!

I will definitely come back here. The food we had was great. The service was great. They are celebrating 20 years, so I can’t be the only one that thinks so. When you are looking for a night of Greek, bring your bottle of Windex and try this place out! Okay…I know stupid, but those of you who saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding will get it.

North Towne Grill & Seafood on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BBQ Tournament

Believe it or not, I did not eat out anywhere last week. I apologize my foodie friends if you feel let down. However, I was preparing all week for a barbecue tournament with trophy and all. Five of us met in the driveway with our grills and started a Boston butt at 10 in the morning. The object was to have the most delicious pulled pork plated and presented to a panel of judges who would then pick apart our hard work and give it a score.

If you haven't done this yet, you must do it! Even if you can't grill, volunteer to be a judge. Just DO NOT EVER under any circumstances be a judge when your spouse is cooking. This never ends well. Your damned if you do and damned if you don't pick your spouses food over the other contestants. Can you tell I've been in this situation before?

The way we do it is fairly simple. For every 5 pounds of meat cooked you can invite approximately 7-8 people to come eat it. We usually have anywhere from 4 to 5 cooks and about 20 or more people to eat it. Anyone who doesn't grill brings a side dish.

Find individuals that are not related to you and not picky eaters to judge. You should have an odd number of judges to lessen the risk of a tie. Pick a meat, an average amount such as 5 pounds of meat per person, and a time you can start and when to plate. If you want to set up specific ground rules make sure everyone gets a copy before the big day (I know Justin...no Walmart BBQ sauce ever again). Then stand around and make fun of each other's cooking throughout the day while playing some baggo or cornhole. Have a couple of beers or glasses of wine, but be careful you don't let it affect your grilling skills.

When it is time to plate, send your judges somewhere to another room or to the garage to score the meat while everyone else eats and awaits the results. This is a fun all day event for the chefs and everyone seems to enjoy the competition. Great idea for a long weekend.

By the way...I didn't win, but I still had fun.