The best things I ate in July
We food bloggers sure do eat a lot of food! We eat a lot of mind blowing, over the top, absolutely magnificent food. I was flipping through pictures from my adventures during July and couldn’t believe the places I’ve been, the things I’ve eaten. Some I’ve blogged about, some I’ve thrown out there on Instagram or Twitter or shared on Facebook. Most of them deserve a revisit, but here’s a list of, from the best I can tell, the top ten things I ate during July.
1. Sometimes I crave a big piece of grilled meat. New York Strips were on sale, blueberries were ripe… that’s about all the inspiration I needed for a loaded steak. I cooked it medium rare and topped it with toasted pecans, Gorgonzola cheese, blueberries and maple balsamic reduction. Damn.
2. I announced that Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams opened on King Street in Charleston earlier this summer on social media. I am a huge fan and drool over their selections when I’m in specialty grocery stores. It was so freaking cool to walk into their storefront and be able to sample to my heart’s (and tastebuds’!) content. I walked out with one scoop each of Sweet Cream Biscuits and Peach Jam and Goat Cheese with Red Cherries in a waffle cone. The decision was harder than you’d think. Pure deliciousness.
3. I happen to walk into Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit the very day they opened for business (also on King Street). Owner Carrie Morey was behind the counter and happily sent me home with two jelly biscuits. These things are small, but so divine, they could honestly be the size of a dime and you’d feel like you got a good deal. The outside is a little crispy and sweet, the inside, flaky and filled with summer fruit jam. So very good. I licked the to-go box. Just saying.
4. I made reservations for McCrady’s on a whim during our last trip to Charleston. We’d wanted to go for a while and on a rainy afternoon, we finally committed (a hard decision when there’s so many places to go and more opening every month). When this Pork Duo landed in front of me, it looked simple enough, but this was no ordinary dish. The flavors were absolutely mind blowing. This was a rare restaurant visit where I did not write anything down, did not ask questions. I simply ate.
It’s becoming obvious I spent way too much time in Charleston in July.
5. Charleston Culinary legend, Jimihatt, invited me to a Guerrilla Cuisine dinner. He throws these underground supper club dinners with guest chefs and secret locations to raise money for charity. They are a definite must for adventurous foodies. Dang this dish was incredible. It was my first taste of figs this summer, my first experience with fried beef tendon (think pork skins), and my first bite of beef heart. One fork full of the puree, corn, beef and fig was enough to send me to the moon. Curse words flew out of my mouth… when there are no other words, there is moaning and cursing.
6. Who puts Cookies and Milk on the dessert menu?! Two Boroughs Larder, that’s who. And these are no ordinary cookies. Captain Crunch is in these there cookies. (Arrr… my pirate impression). The chocolate chip was dark and rich. God bless! After sharing a meaty charcuterie platter for lunch, I was ready for some sweet bliss. If you served these puppies to Santa, you’ll wake up to him sitting on your couch with a gun pointed at you politely requesting the recipe. No lie.
(*Two Boroughs Larder‘s mascot/logo is a corgi. I’m smitten. Corgi t-shirts, magnets, corgi growlers… )
7. When you think of Hickory, NC, you think furniture, right? I now I do, but it’s becoming quite the culinary stop. During a recent visit, I met Chef Kyle McKnight of Highland Avenue Restaurant and got a taste of what this amazing chef is capable of. This swordfish dish with Swordfish BACON was one of those rare times when something new surprises me. If the incredible selection of pickles, canned veggies and vinegar lining the shelves in the restaurant were any indication, this was absolute proof that McKnight is one talented dude.
8. When there are big juicy summer tomatoes lying around, I can’t help but think BLTs. I whipped this pile of perfection up with some things I had accumulated in the fridge. Popeye Bread from Great Harvest Bread Co, Happy Cow Cream Cheese, thick market bacon, INNA not too spicy Hungarian pepper jam I’d just bought from Swamp Rabbit Cafe and Grocery and Gorgonzola cheese. I put the sliced tomatoes on top before I cut it up and dug in. Tasty!
9. The Nightbell opened this year in Asheville. It’s the new restaurant concept from Heirloom Hospitality Group, the team behind Curate which includes award winning chef Katie Button. We couldn’t wait to pay them a visit to see what Button had done with the menu and were so over-the-top impressed. From a creative take on steak tartare to the one bite desserts served in a cigar box, we couldn’t get enough. Katie came to the table and I told her the food was so good it made you want to have sex. No beds yet, but there are couches here, though I really think public sex would be frowned upon. But the food was really that good.
10. I met Chef Mike Moore of Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder at Bovinoche this year. He told me to head on up to Asheville sometime to check out his place. Shrimp and Grits don’t normally knock my socks off, but their take on the dish was incredible. This was my daughter’s first full on Gap Creek Gourmet restaurant visit, too. I think she digs it…though she was more enamored with their fried chicken and mac and cheese!
Well folks, I’m off to eat my way through August. We bought a treadmill. Looks like I’m gonna need it!