Imbibe Magazine Founder and Publisher, Karen Foley, was in Greenville last week to celebrate her upcoming book, The American Cocktail (great Christmas gift). What better beginning for a restaurant crawl? American Grocery Restaurant Sommelier Darlene Mann‐Clark and her husband and American Grocery Chef Joe Clarke hosted the signing party and poured up a few of their signature drinks, Pig on the Porch, one of 50 drinks featured in Foley’s book chronicling the best drinks from bartenders coast to coast. After me and my one person posse/photographer for the event chatted with Karen and our hosts and got our books signed, we headed to the bar to try one of the cocktail masterpieces. We noshed on hors d’oeuvres (see Dad, I do eat too!) and sipped on our bacon bourbon and spicy ginger ale drink garnished with a pork rind. No kidding. And it was good! (We had two.) And the rabbit with mustard sauce and the pork belly on waffle were just too good for words. (AGR had the best dish I tried at Euphoria, remember, so I would expect no less.)
Stop number two in our restaurant crawl for the evening was The Greenville Beer Exchange for one of their Thursday night tastings. The were serving a selection of four English beers with one surprise brew in a growler. My friend sipped her way through the offerings… I, being the non-beerdrinker, black sheep, shunned vocal outcast, tried and scowled but tried all the same. No winners for me this night, but I do LOVE the place. The guy who runs it is bound and determined to find a beer I will love. Thomas Creek River Falls is sippable, but I still don’t get how people drink beer after beer after beer. You wouldn’t eat a loaf of bread at one sitting, would ya?
Stop number three: Sassafras Southern Bistro. Beautiful giant pieces by my favorite Greenville artist, Dave Starzec line the walls inside, but we chose to enjoy the night air and sat outside. Nothing says southern bistro like a heaping pile of crab nachos. It sounded like a good idea when we ordered and it was so colorful, but the flavors were so off that there isn’t a chart for measuring. Too salty, too spicy. Huge slices of jalapeno and beautiful large green olive slices, but our taste buds were lit afire at first bite covering any taste of the crab. The fried green tomato homemade pimento cheese dish was spicy too… it had the possibility of something great, but just lacked something. The tomatoes themselves were too crunchy and no zazazoo. So we left some of both and headed across the street.
Stop four: The Upper Room. Three words: ladies night and popcorn. We checked out the menu and weren’t impressed, but this place is worth the trip for the popcorn alone. Covered in shaved Parmesan cheese and olive oil, and the ambiance is so beautiful! We were one of four people in the place. I don’t know how that is possible. The popcorn. Seriously. You have to try it. Sparkly blue lights, a hazy night sky painted on the ceiling… so pretty. A view of the street (or on this night, tent setup for Fall for Greenville). Remember: Thursday night is lady’s night so half off drinks.
Stop five: The Art Bar. Beautiful art. Sad cheese board that didn’t satisfy the need for something sweet or rich or tasty. Some drama was going on with the staff, so they were under-enthused about serving. We ordered a Saint Esprit Cotes Du Rhone and a Chateau de la Chaize Brouilly. They were okay, but not earth shattering. We couldn’t end with this experience. (We probably won’t go back there).
So we wrapped the night up at Nose Dive (which I’ve reviewed before) by sharing a smooth, deliciously rich slice of Lemon Goat Cheese Cheesecake. Pure heaven.
Leftover chicken awaits me in the fridge. (Sigh.) I’ll relish the memories of fresher fare.
Hendersonville has a (real) small plate crawl coming up in a couple of weeks. The grazing is to-be-continued.