The Black Thai

“Live free or Thai hard.” That’s the motto behind The Black Thai and owners, Dean Johnson, Brayden Wynn and Charlie Phillip, who set out on a mission to serve American-Thai food straight from an unassuming food truck. Inspired by their time living in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, these three friends share a love of food, cooking and relating to others, which pushed them to make their dream a reality.

You can find The Black Thai (sometimes known as “Bolo”) all around Greenville with an ever-changing menu that’ll keep even regulars surprised. What exactly is American-Thai food you may be asking. Think traditional Thai dishes, with a funky American twist.

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Take their Pad Thai Fried Rice, for example. This dish has all the elements of Pad Thai you’d expect: scallions, red peppers, cilantro, peanuts and some spice, but instead of traditional Thai noodles, you get perfectly cooked fried rice. The rice is a perfect base for this dish because you get a little bite of every component with each delicious forkful. Add chicken and you’ve got one filling dish!

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You simply can’t have a Thai inspired menu without a curry dish. And let me tell you, Black Thai’s is out of this world. My friend, who considers herself a curry connoisseur of sorts, ordered this dish and said it was the best curry she’s had in Greenville. Their Yellow Curry consists of potatoes, broccoli, peppers, baby corn, onions, carrots and the most complex and satisfying curry sauce. There’s a delicate balance of sweet and spicy that just keeps you coming back for more.

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When I used to think of broccoli salad, my mind immediately pictured a Southern-style picnic or cookout. So, imagining Thai Broccoli Salad is a little perplexing. That’s exactly why you MUST try this dish for yourself. Tossed with sunflower seeds, cilantro, red onion, craisins and a peanut vinaigrette sauce, this dish offers a bright and refreshing side to any of their dishes.

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Although I don’t have a picture of this dish, I feel I must pay my respects to the Black Thai Burger. This was the first dish I ever had at Black Thai, and as corny as this may sound, it was love at first bite. Served on an English Muffin, this burger consists of ground chuck, duck and bacon and is topped with Muenster cheese, famous “Bolo Sauce” (similar to a thousand island, but with a kick) and shishito peppers. One juicy, flavorful bite into this burger and I guarantee you’ll fall head over heels too.

While these are some of their signature items, The Black Thai is always changing things up with specials such as Buffalo Shrimp, wontons, Brussel Box and more. Be sure to follow @TheBlackThaiGVL on Instagram so you’ll never have to ask, “Where’s Bolo?”

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Rocket Surgery: Relaunched

Travelers Rest has transformed itself into a dining destination almost overnight. It has anything you’d want from tacos to pizza to BBQ and everything in between. Well…almost everything. Restaurateur Andy O’Mara set out to revamp his already thriving restaurant, Rocket Surgery, and redesigned the menu and concept to focus on Italian-driven dishes, a great wine list, and craft cocktails all in an intimate setting.

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The menu is simple and boasts many classic Italian dishes with a modern twist. You could almost make a meal of their small plates alone, but they also offer handmade pasta dishes, large plates, vegetables and an impressive dessert menu. You know I tried a little bit of everything, so let’s dig in.

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Starting with the small plates, we selected the House Made Ricotta, Meatballs and Arancini. The ricotta surprises you with a variety of flavors, with winter squash agrodulce (a sweet and sour sauce), chili powder and the most incredible house made focaccia I’ve ever had. It’s an ideal balance of sweet, tangy and buttery that you’ll definitely request extra bread for.

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These aren’t your average marinara sauce drenched meatballs. Rocket Surgery prepares their meatballs atop bitter greens and pistachios in a savory broth and a sprinkle of Grana Padano cheese. The meat is the star of the show in this dish and is made even more delicious by the flavorful broth and texture from the greens.

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Don’t know what Arancini is? It’s simply a deep fried ball of risotto usually served with some sort of dipping sauce. In place of a dipping sauce, Rocket Surgery serves their Arancini with marinated tomatoes, roasted garlic and preserved lemon. All the creamy goodness inside that piping hot ball of deliciousness is complemented by the burst of flavors from the tomatoes.

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Rocket Surgery knows good pasta. When you’re making the noodles by hand, and selecting only the best quality ingredients, you can almost guarantee some pretty phenomenal dishes. We tried the Rigatoni, Papardelle and Capellini. The Rigatoni is served with wild mushrooms, tomato cream sauce and Grana Padano cheese. This dish is comfort on a plate and would be a sure-winner for anyone looking for something simple and satisfying.

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All the seafood lovers will swoon over the Capellini, chock full of scallops, lump crab and mussels, tossed in a tomato pomodoro sauce and topped with fresh basil. This dish makes you feel like you’re sitting in a classic Italian restaurant in New York and pairs supremely well with a glass of white wine.

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The Pappardelle was my favorite pasta dish this evening, served with a short rib sugo (tomato meat sauce), house ricotta, caramelized onions and tarragon. It sounds simple, but the flavor of this dish is truly exceptional. With every bite, you taste each component separately, while also recognizing the marrying of ingredients. The faintly sweet onions and tarragon contrast the richness of this dish and I simply couldn’t get enough.

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I don’t care how full you feel after your meal at Rocket Surgery. You MUST save room for dessert. The pastry chef is a genius and both desserts we tried this evening were to die for. I was immediately drawn to the Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Cake with layers of hazelnut icing and a scoop of ice cream on top. Being a huge fan of the chocolate/hazelnut combo, this cake was perfect in every way. We also had the Salted Butterscotch Budino, which has a texture similar to a pudding, but is much lighter and creamier. Take a little bit of the cookie and crumble it up in the Budino, and you’ve got the ideal bite.

If you haven’t tried the new and improved Rocket Surgery, there’s no better time than the present. They are open Wednesday & Thursday 5pm-9pm and Friday & Saturday 5pm-10pm.

VIBE: Very Independent Beer Event

“Wanna meet at The Tap?” I’ve had many Sunday Fundays start with this question and end at The Community Tap with select beer and wine, food trucks and great company. Each year, The Community Tap puts on a Beer Event that showcases 50+ breweries. This event became so popular that they sold 1200 tickets last year at Fluor Field. While this is an impressive number, the owners of Community Tap wanted to offer a more intimate, unique and rare beer tasting experience.

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Allow me to introduce Community Tap’s new and improved gathering, VIBE (Very Independent Beer Event). Think extremely rare beers, celebrated local chefs and all of Community Tap’s loyal patrons together for a pretty awesome Saturday.

Ticket cost includes:

-Over 40 beers to taste

-Chef inspired bites courtesy of:

  • John Makkas – JiRoz
  • Alex George – GB&D
  • Tobin Simpson – Project Host
  • Anthony Gray – Bacon Brothers
  • Jason Calloway – Bacon Brothers
  • Christian Hansen – Blue Ridge Creamery

VIBE will take place on Saturday, May 11th from 2-5pm at The Community Tap. Beers will be tasted and food will be eaten inside and outside of the space, and the store will be closed to the public, making it that much more intimate. With only a limited number of tickets, be sure to secure yours today! https://www.eventbrite.com/e/vibe-very-independent-beer-event-tickets-54101058723

Mobile Meltdown

I haven’t been writing on my blog as often as I’d like to be. Not for any particular reason; just been busy, uninspired…who knows. This is all before I bit into an ooey-gooey grilled cheese from Mobile Meltdown for the first time and was immediately motivated to get home and inform all of my followers of the amazingness that they may be missing out on.

Here’s the deal: Mobile Meltdown is a food truck serving a variety of grilled cheeses, soups and tots that scream comfort food. I just happened to be craving a Sunday afternoon beer at Community Tap on the same day that Mobile Meltdown was serving. Let me tell you, after a hard workout, a cold beer and grilled cheese is pretty phenomenal.

My friend and I shared the Brie & Bacon and Spicy Pig grilled cheeses and an order of the soft tots. After every single bite, the phrase “omg this is incredible” followed. The Brie & Bacon grilled cheese is served on a freshly baked butter croissant and consists of double cream Brie, crispy bacon and a drizzle of raspberry reduction glaze. It’s that quintessential sweet and savory combo that can’t be beat. Plus it’s served on a croissant, so obviously it’s gonna be tasty.

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The bite I will crave again and again is the Spicy Pig served on freshly baked (and very buttery, and perfect) bread with hot coppocola ham, a blend of manchego and jarlsberg cheeses, diced jalapenos and a drizzle of balsamic reduction glaze. So, you still get that balance of sweet and savory, but the addition of the jalapenos sold me.

And then there’s the Soft Tots. What sets these tots apart from the rest? They are essentially deep fried mashed potatoes, which creates an extra crispy exterior and super creamy, soft center. Then, Mobile Meltdown takes decadence to a whole other level and serves a side of rosemary aioli for your dipping pleasure.

It’s rare that I find a place that excites me as much as this unassuming food truck did. I urge all of you to follow them on social media to find out where they will be next, and don’t waste any time checking them out!

Foxcroft Wine Co.

Foxcroft Wine Co. is just what Greenville’s been missing.  Essentially, it’s a wine bar with refined gastropub style food in a laid-back, yet trendy setting.  Foxcroft Wine Co. is the kind of place you’ll find yourself at time and time again. Because really…who doesn’t love good food paired with an excellent glass of wine?

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Whether you want to pick up a bottle, enjoy a glass of wine with one of their small plates or sit, sip and stay awhile for a full meal, Foxcroft Wine is an ideal spot.  This quote from general manager Eric Heidal sums up what Foxcroft Wine Co. is all about: “Being a retail wine shop as well as a wine bar and restaurant uniquely positions us to provide exceptional value to our customers. The great benefit for our dine in customers is the ability to purchase wine at a minimal retail markup as opposed to a much higher restaurant markup of 200-300%. The only rule we do have is a corkage fee of $10 for wine bottles under $29.99 purchased for consumption on-site.” As you know, my expertise isn’t in the realm of wine, but I am beyond excited to share my adoration of the food at Foxcroft Wine. I’ll leave the wine pairings to the experts….

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Foxcroft Wine Co.’s menu features starters, flatbreads, signature dishes and sweets that focus on using local farmers to provide fresh, seasonal food.  Their House-Made Ricotta with lemon, herbs, pepper, olive oil and crostini is a light, pleasant start to your meal, but my favorite starters have to be the Truffle Fries and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts.

I first had these brussels sprouts at the Foxcroft Wine in Charlotte where my sister immediately declared them her favorite thing on the entire menu.  You really can’t go wrong with caramelized brussels sprouts tossed with butternut squash and cashews, then drizzled with a chili-soy glaze. The irresistible sweet/tangy/salty flavors of this dish make it a huge crowd-pleaser, so I’d encourage you to order more than one.

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There’s something so undeniably delectable about Truffle Fries.  Even if you go into a meal with the intentions of eating somewhat healthy, it’s really difficult to say no to crispy fries drizzled in truffle oil and topped with a mountain of shaved parmesan.  Serve them with a side of aioli and you’re really done for. Foxcroft’s truffle fries have the perfect ratio of fry to cheese to truffle, making them truly irresistible.

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Foxcroft Wine’s signature dishes are the best of the best.  Be sure to look back at my Bite of the Week where I featured their burger (which just may be my favorite burger in the Upstate at this time).  It’s truly a superior burger. In the mood for something a bit more refined? Their Pan-Seared Scallops served over Anson Mills farro, confit lemon, garlic and cherry tomatoes may be on the lighter side, but the flavor is anything but.

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If you enjoy lamb, I highly suggest ordering the Lamb Sliders.  Foxcroft creates these flavor-packed sliders with ground lamb that’s so perfectly tender it melts in your mouth, and tops it with harissa, cucumber and chevre.  The cool crunch of the cucumber rounds out the savory components of this scrumptious bite.

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When it comes to dessert, there’s only one way to go.  And that’s with Foxcroft’s house-made “Famous Doughnuts” severed with chocolate and salted caramel dipping sauces.  First decision…cinnamon sugar or powdered sugar? After that, choose the dipping sauce of your pleasure and prepare for utter decadence.  I could eat the caramel dipping sauce with a spoon.

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While Foxcroft Wine Co. started as primarily a wine bar and retail shop, it has developed over time into a gathering spot for families, business professionals, wine-os and foodies alike.  So, as if you needed another reason to treat yourself to great wine and delicious food, now you have a pretty convincing one. Foxcroft Wine Co. is located at 631 S. Main Street. Their retail shop is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10am-11pm and Sunday from 5pm-11pm and their kitchen is open Tuesday-Sunday from 5pm-10:30pm.

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Moe’s Original BBQ

Who doesn’t love BBQ? I challenge any so-called “foodie” to step into a BBQ establishment and not find a single item to their liking. When it comes to smoked meat, side items ranging from indulgent to somewhat healthy and sauces to finish it all off…what’s not to like? Moe’s Original BBQ takes the South’s inherent affection of all things tender, juicy and finger-lickin good to a whole other level.

Owners Sam Ragland and John Wood are dedicated to quality food and service. Whether it’s the meat they smoke to perfection daily, the ever-changing homemade sides or the friendly, neighborhood feel. I was generously treated to a “tasting” menu of sorts and able to sample a wide variety of phenomenal dishes…so sit back and enjoy!

Redneck Nachos: Seriously, these nachos are one-of-a-kind. Redneck Nachos transform your usual nachos with a switch of tortilla chips for kettle chips and toppings that include red and white BBQ sauce, jalapenos, red onions, fresh tomatoes and queso (duh.) then your choice of pork or chicken. Call me a redneck, but I would eat these nachos any day.

Smoked Chicken Wings: I have always adored wings. What I don’t adore about wings is the inevitable mess they leave all over your hands and mouth. Moe’s BBQ took care of that issue for me with a perfectly crispy, smoked wing ever so slightly coated in wing sauce. Then, of course, things got a little messy as I dipped every bite in the irresistible creamy Alabama white BBQ sauce. Next time I eat at Moe’s, I’m very likely to just order wings and sides…

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THE sides: Speaking of sides…these are some of the best I’ve ever had, and they always have daily specials. Naturally they offer your classics like Mac N’ Cheese, Baked Beans and Marinated Slaw, but be on the lookout for features like Fried Green Tomatoes, Red Beans & Rice and more. Between the ooey-gooey, creamy Mac N’ Cheese, perfectly sweet and moist cornbread, or their play on coleslaw…I couldn’t choose a favorite. So, why not just order them all?!

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Allll the Meats: It’s always refreshing when you can tell immediately the work and time it took to make something as tasty as it is. That’s how I felt trying every single bite of their smoked meat. From tender ribs to juicy pulled pork and flavorful smoked chicken and turkey…Moe’s knows some meat. If you’re more of a seafood person, Moe’s has outstanding fried catfish and shrimp!

Don’t feel like going out to eat? Moe’s makes that easy with their “Haul It Home” menu ideal for takeout and no-effort meal prep. Add some homemade Banana Pudding or Mud Pie and make it a full meal. And, you might as well order one of their signature frozen Bushwackers while you wait (it’s like an adult Frosty…who wouldn’t want that?). Moe’s BBQ is located at 109 West Stone Avenue. They are open every day from 11am – 9pm.

Best Bites of euphoria 2018

And another year of euphoria has come to an end. This four-day food and wine festival highlights the talent of local, regional and nationally acclaimed chefs.  As I reflect back on all the many bites from the weekend, there are a few that deserve a little extra recognition. So, here they are…my favorite bites from each event.

Taste of the South: My first and last bite of this event consisted of a Nashville Hot Chicken Eggroll with a Dill Pickle Aioli from Terra restaurant in Columbia, SC. When I think eggroll, my mind immediately thinks Chinese. As delicious as your standard eggroll may be, Chef Mike Davis stepped up to the plate and delivered an exceptional version with a spicy kick, super crispy exterior and cool, tangy dipping sauce to finish it off.

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Power Picnic: After a killer workout by Burn Bootcamp Greenville, we were served a beautiful picnic style meal of healthy eats from around the Upstate. Much to my surprise, the Gazpacho from White Duck Taco Shop was my favorite bite of the meal. My usual assumption of Gazpacho is a cold soup lacking texture and tasting of nothing but tomato. That wasn’t the case here. This Gazpacho has a flavorful broth mixed with bites of sweet apple, crunchy cucumber and more.

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Feast by the Field: This bite was a clear winner for me. After finishing this sinfully delicious taste, I immediately wanted more. I’m talking about the Smoked Gouda and Brisket Grilled Cheese from Orchid Paulmeier with SERG Group in Hilton Head, SC. Obviously you can’t go wrong with smoked gouda and brisket grilled between two buttery pieces of bread, but top that with a pickled grape and prepare to be mind-blown. The sweet, tangy grape with savory, salty, cheesy goodness was almost too good to be true.

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Sunday Brunch: BBQ, cocktails, and all your brunch favorites…this event featured SO many amazing chefs that the decision of “best-bite” was a tough one. It was a close call between the outstanding Pulled Pork and Green Beans from Buxton Hall BBQ (seriously…. go to Asheville just to try those Green Beans), or the Pulled Pork Stuffed French Toast from Bone-In Barbeque in Columbia, SC. At the end of the day, I just couldn’t stop thinking about the perfectly crispy on the outside, gooey on the inside French toast stuffed with tender pulled pork and topped with a drizzle of maple syrup. This is one of those bites you just don’t forget!

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Thank YOU, euphoria, for the title of “euphoria Insider” and for another amazing weekend of food, wine and fun! Can I just say…is it September 2019 yet?!

A Vegan Story: Farm Fresh Fast & Sun Belly Cafe

Let’s talk about this vegan movement that’s taking over not only our Instagrams, but also the Upstate. Nutritionists, fitness gurus and restaurateurs are adapting this trend and making it look pretty easy…and appetizing. No longer are we drooling over double cheeseburgers oozing with cheese (well, we may still do that) but rather veggie burgers, colorful bowls and vegan treats are claiming the title as drool-worthy pics.

Two restaurants in Greenville recently made me consider my meat-eating ways with their creative and satisfying vegetarian options. Farm Fresh Fast welcomes the vegan community with the addition of a completely vegan menu that offers dishes such as applewood-smoked jackfruit with house-made peach bbq sauce and “meatlessballs” with blistered peppers, grits and an agave sriracha drizzle.

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What I Ate: Ancient Grain Bowl and Vegan Donuts

The Ancient Grain Bowl starts with a base of farro, and then adds onions, peppers, mushrooms, eggplant, chickpeas, green beans and an irresistible “farm fusion” sauce. Add your choice of No-Evil chicken, tofu or apple-smoked jackfruit and dig in. Nothing about this dish screams “vegan”, but instead delivers a satisfying dish that simply makes you feel good.

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Yes, these are 100% vegan donuts that are packed with protein and no artificial sweetener. Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, lucky for us Farm Fresh Fast keeps upping their donut game (complete with their own Instagram account) with flavors like peach cobbler, Salty Kong (banana bread with salted caramel drizzle) and chocolate with vanilla drizzle. Oh and an added bonus…they are also gluten-free.

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Then there’s Sun Belly Café where owner, Deborah White, took her love of cooking and philosophy of “wellness” and created something truly special. At Sun Belly Café the menu is ever changing, but always offers vegan/vegetarian friendly dishes such as Zucchini Pasta with homemade vegan pesto, Mock Chicken Salad with chickpeas, vegan mayo, carrot, celery, peppers and seasonings, and desserts that you truly can’t believe are healthy.

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What I Ate: Summer Rolls, Vegan Burger of the Day (Chickpea/Hummus) over a Kale Salad and alllllll the desserts

These Summer Rolls packed with seasonal vegetables, tofu and basil and served with a Thai peanut sauce are the absolute perfect way to start a meal. I asked for extra peanut sauce because every bite deserves plenty of this irresistible sauce.

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I’m always a fan of a veggie burger, but too often I find myself missing the heartiness of a true beef patty. You don’t have to worry about that here. It’s going to be difficult for me to ever order anything different from Sun Belly Café. The burger itself is so flavorful and doesn’t fall apart when you bite into it. Add the fresh veggies and amazing kale salad and you simply can’t go wrong. What’s even better? It kept me full and satisfied for hours!

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But seriously, these desserts stole the show. From front to back we’ve got the Belly Bar (packed with dried fruits and nuts), Freckles (chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, almond butter and oats with chocolate chips), Spiced Chocolate (cacao, carob, tahini, seeds and fruits with chili pepper flakes and sea salt), Truffles (walnuts, dates and cacao rolled in sesame seeds) and quite possibly my favorite bite of the meal, the dessert special that day, which I unfortunately can’t remember the name, but tastes like the more decadent relative of a Reeses Cup.

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Needless to say, I’ve only just scraped the tip of the iceberg when it comes to vegan/vegetarian-friendly restaurants in and around the Upstate, but if all the others even come close to Farm Fresh Fast or Sun Belly Café, I’d say we’re doing pretty good. Let me know your favorites in Greenville and I’ll check them out!

The Lazy Goat Welcomes Chef Wilberto Sauceda

It was almost a year ago today that I first tasted Chef Wilberto Sauceda’s food. Since then, he has created a name for himself as an imaginative, passionate and talented chef who esteems high quality ingredients and ingenuity. Wilberto has recently taken over as Executive Chef of the beloved Lazy Goat restaurant by Table 301 and I couldn’t be more excited.

When Chef Wilberto walks through the doors, you know he’s going to shake things up, in the best way. While Lazy Goat will hold firm to their staples such as fried goat cheese balls, crispy brussels sprouts and paella, Wilberto is working diligently to create some innovative dishes that will undoubtedly elevate the menu. So, when we were asked to come try some of these dishes, we happily obliged.

This sashimi trio is about as close to one of Chef Wilberto’s signature dishes as you can get: almost too gorgeous to eat, delicately constructed and extremely refreshing. The dish consists of Hamachi from Japan with Peruvian citrus, blue fin tuna with harissa and lemon juice, and snapper with orange juice, citrus and fresno peppers. As I worked my way around this dish, the flavors kept building and changing, making me want more and more.

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Next up, a buttery scallop served over Freekeh grains, tomato, okra, and asparagus topped with basil pesto. Sounds simple, and it is, but that little bit of basil pesto goes a long way in providing that oomph of flavor needed to balance this dish. And when the scallop is one of the best you’ve ever had…it’s hard not to swoon.

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Another standout dish from Chef Wilberto is his infamous Loup de Mer (Mediterranean Seabass). This dish starts with a chipotle cream sauce, topped with braised greens and pan seared loup de mer, then finished with a lemon beurre blanc sauce and toasted pistachios. Usually you see braised greens with something southern such as fried chicken for instance, but somehow all these contrasting elements work together in perfect harmony.

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From sea to land, we welcome the pan seared marinated wagyu steak topped with a salad of frisee dressed in a cardamom vinaigrette, pepper relish, fried ginger and pickled cauliflower. Leave it to Chef Wilberto to take something typically extremely hearty like steak and transform it into a sophisticated dish that is unlike any you’ve tried before.

Saving the most comforting dish for last, we ended on a lamb chop served with couscous tossed in shallot, kale and white wine butter and finished with a pickled oyster and anglaise. As if that wouldn’t be enough, these components were served atop a fresno aioli with a smoky, spiciness that made this dish stand as more than just your average, well-executed lamb chop.

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It wouldn’t be a tasting menu by Wilberto without a whimsical dessert. Allow me to introduce the Lazy Trio: Foie Gras Lollipop with blueberry pop rock, Orange Pannacotta and a homemade Chocolate Iced Donut with Sprinkles.

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Be on the lookout over the next couple of weeks for some additions to The Lazy Goat’s menu such as Wagyu Steak, U10 Scallops, Burrata Salad, Agnolotti, and of course…Loup De Mer. With The Lazy Goat’s loyal following, and Chef Wilberto’s background in Mediterranean cuisine, it’s sure to be a match made in heaven.

Monkey Wrench Smokehouse

No, it’s not a hardware store. Just the latest fun adventure from Sidewall Pizza and Rocket Surgery owners Andy O’Mara and Loren Frant. Monkey Wrench Smokehouse offers BBQ smoked right on the back porch, delicious sides with a creative spin as well as homemade desserts. Set right along the Swamp Rabbit Trail, I can imagine Monkey Wrench as a dining destination for families, tourists and pretty much anyone who loves simple, great food in a casual atmosphere.

Feel free to start your meal with one of their barrel aged cocktails or a beer from their impressive craft beer list. Then, venture on to their starters and order some signature Smoked Belly Corn Dogs or Bacon Fried Hoe Cakes. Being the seafood lover that I am, we ordered the Smoked Salmon Dip served with grilled baguette. Monkey Wrench grills their bread on a wood-fired grill, giving it a smoky, charred flavor that complements the creamy salmon dip with fresh dill perfectly.

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When I saw that Monkey Wrench serves their House Hot Link Sausage Dog in a toasted King’s Hawaiian roll, I was sold. Rarely would you say “I’m making gourmet hot dogs for dinner tonight.” Which is exactly why you MUST order this one and let Monkey Wrench do the work for you. Topped with mustard and hot cherry peppers, this “fancy” dog is delicious. But really…can anything taste bad inside a King’s Hawaiian roll??

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If you want to try a little of everything, The Smokehouse is calling your name. A sampling of pulled pork, brisket, half rack of ribs, wings, sausage with three sides, cornbread and house pickled veggies, it’s not for the faint of heart. As you taste the array of meats, don’t forget one of their homemade sauces ranging from a sweet and spicy Cheerwine flavor to a mustard-based Carolina sauce. The ribs though don’t need a single bit of sauce added to them and are the definition of finger lickin’ goodness. The smoked chicken wings impressed me the most with their extra crispy skin and tender, smoky meat.

What goes hand in hand with BBQ? Equally tasty sides of course. Their cornbread is more like a corn cake with a melt-in-your-mouth texture and hint of sweetness. It’s not your average dry, lackluster cornbread. A nuance to BBQ sides, Cauliflower Casserole, stands out among the rest. While of course the Mac & Cheese is a crowd-pleaser (and Monkey Wrench’s comes with an irresistible crunchy topping) something about the creamy, caramelized cauliflower casserole stole the show.

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As with Rocket Surgery and Sidewall Pizza, you can’t leave without ordering dessert. The Caramel Apple Cobbler is decadent to say the least. It comes to the table in a blazing hot skillet with a browned, slightly crispy edge and gooey center with cooked apples and caramel. The scoop of Sidewall vanilla ice cream is truly the cherry on top. When I think BBQ my mind goes directly to banana pudding. Monkey Wrench serves theirs in a wine glass layered with pudding, bananas, whipped cream and vanilla wafers. Even though you maybe shouldn’t eat toooo much of it, it’s easy to devour their rendition of a timeless dessert.

Monkey Wrench is located at 21 South Main Street in Travelers Rest, SC. They are open Tuesday – Saturday from 5:00 – 9:00pm.