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.

Word to Mouth

“I’m too busy.” It’s a phrase we’ve become all too familiar with, especially when it comes to cooking and eating healthy. Greenville business owners have picked up on this trend and are starting companies that bridge the gap between our hectic lives and eating food that promotes a healthy lifestyle. Word to Mouth, a paleo meal-prep service, is just one of those companies…and also happens to be my favorite.

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Owner, Alissa Shealy, started Word to Mouth after mastering her own Sunday meal-prep and later being asked time and time again by friends and family to cook for them. Word to Mouth started in Alissa’s kitchen with only a few customers, and has now grown into a thriving business, not primarily from advertising, but by “word of mouth”. Nowadays, Word to Mouth operates out of Imagine Kitchen every Monday cooking a plethora of dishes for both longstanding and new customers.

Word to Mouth’s weekly menu of 4 recipes operates on a Fall/Winter and Spring/Summer rotation, ensuring that even if you ordered every single week, you would only eat the same thing twice! The recipes vary from gluttonous dishes made nutritious like Buffalo Chicken Casserole and Shepherd’s Pie, breakfast items like Pancakes with Egg Bake, original dishes like a Bahn-Mi Bowl and hearty salads.

From the 4 recipes, you can choose 6 meals, 9 meals or 12 meals, selecting which sound best to you. No matter what the menu item, you can rest easy knowing that your meal is gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and consists of organic ingredients whenever possible. Plus, did I mention that the meal is 100% cooked for you? All you need to do is heat it up! It doesn’t get much easier than that.

After spending one Monday with the lovely ladies from Word to Mouth, I took home all four of the menu items to taste-test and share with all of you. Here’s the verdict!

Chicken and Veggie Breakfast Bowl: This is one of those original dishes mentioned earlier. The bowl starts with a base of sautéed asparagus, shredded brussels sprouts, and kale tossed with a lemony dressing and topped with ground chicken, sliced avocado, a soft-boiled egg and sunflower seeds. I would’ve never thought to put all these ingredients together, but somehow it all makes perfect sense once you try it.

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Acorn Squash with Turkey Stuffing: Reminiscent of Thanksgiving flavors, this dish is not only stunning, but also hearty and satisfying. The tender acorn squash is filled with a generous serving of ground turkey, celery, cranberries and apples that’s been sautéed with maple syrup and thyme. Stuffing is my favorite Thanksgiving staple, and Word to Mouth’s rendition meets all the marks…plus it’s good for you!

Sweet Potato Enchiladas: Here, Word to Mouth takes a popular Mexican dish and transforms it into a nourishing meal, without skimping on ANY of the enchilada flavors we all love. Nutrient-rich sweet potatoes are cooked until fork-tender and filled with a mixture of ground beef, kale (Word to Mouth knows how to sneak in those greens), Mexican spices and a homemade enchilada sauce. A crowd-pleaser for sure, I can’t imagine anyone not devouring this irresistible dish.

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Pork Tenderloin with German Slaw: If you’ve never tasted German slaw, you’re missing out. It all starts with purple cabbage that is cooked down in apple cider vinegar, and then mixed with green apple and rosemary salt giving it a slightly tangy flavor. The pork tenderloin is grilled to perfection and tastes incredible with a forkful of the German slaw.

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Word to Mouth’s mission is simple: to make our lives a little easier with healthy, real food. To subscribe to Word to Mouth’s weekly email, or place an order for food, be sure to check out their website and follow them on Instagram!

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Trattoria Giorgio

Upon stepping into Trattoria Giorgio, you are transported to a charming, family-run restaurant in Italy where the food warms your heart and soul. Since opening in 1996, Trattoria Giorgio has become an institution for authentic Italian food in Greenville. Chef Giorgio Todisco’s dishes showcase his culinary journey around the world with its humble beginning in the kitchen alongside his mother and grandmother in Bergamo, Italy.

Trattoria Giorgio is a hidden gem. While there are many other Italian restaurants in the Greenville area, Trattoria Giorgio is now my #1 recommendation with authentic, quality Italian food similar to what you’ll find in New York, or even Italy. Chef Giorgio is committed to using the finest meats available, as well as hand-picked Italian ingredients.

Their menu is the ideal size. If you read my blog regularly, you’ll find that I always comment on the menu size because, let’s be honest, a HUGE menu means less quality dishes. Trattoria Giorgio offers a few antipasti such as mussels & clams, larger entrees like Veal Scallopine, and a few desserts. The first bite I took was a hunk of their fresh-baked bread dipped in olive oil and I was hooked. We all knew we were in for one incredible meal if even the free bread was this fantastic.

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We tried our best not to indulge too much in the bread though, because there was much more eating to be done. We started with the Mozarella Caprese, Ravioli Alla Argosta (Lobster Ravioli), and Insalatona (mixed greens salad). Offering a rich dish like lobster ravioli as an appetizer is a genius idea. There was just enough decadence to this dish to keep you wanting more, without ruining the rest of your dinner.

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Both of the salads are understated, yet delicious with subtle flavors that make all the difference. The slices of fresh mozzarella on the caprese salad were unlike any I’ve had before, with a level of creaminess that is impressive.

Bread, pasta, bread, pasta, carbs…that’s how this night seemed to be going, but I was totally okay with it. Next up we ordered the notorious Pappardelle Bolognese, Linguini Verde Mari and the perfectly cooked Filet special. Usually I am 100% a red sauce pasta girl, but the Linguini Verde Mari was the star of the show this evening and is a dish I’ve craved every day since. Consisting of linguine pasta tossed with large shrimp sautéed in extra virgin olive oil, garlic, white wine and a fresh basil sauce, I must’ve said 10 times “This is really my last bite.”

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My usual order at any Italian restaurant are classics like Bolognese and lasagna, so it’s no surprise that Trattoria Giorgio’s Pappardelle Bolognese made me very happy. Their homemade meat sauce clings to the thick, al dente pappardelle creating a perfect bite every time. If you’re craving comfort food, this is the dish for you.

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Being the avid dessert fan that I am, I’m ashamed to say I had never had a cannoli until dining at Trattoria Giorgio. Now, I’m already thinking about when I can get my hands on another one. This cannoli is super crunchy on the outside and filled with a thick and creamy vanilla frosting with chocolate chips all throughout. Because we couldn’t decide on just one, we also ordered the Mousse al Ciccolatto (Chocolate Mousse). Sinfully decadent, this dessert is for all you chocolate lovers out there.

With a location in the heart of downtown Greenville, Italian food that simply can’t be beat, and a “sit down and stay awhile” kind of atmosphere, Trattoria Giorgio is pretty special. They are located at 121 S. Main Street and are open Tuesday – Saturday from 6pm to 9:30pm.

The Upstate Foodie Travels North: Hendersonville Restaurant Week Preview

Hendersonville’s Inaugural Restaurant Week is coming, and I’m here to give you a behind the scenes look at how to effectively, and deliciously, eat your way through the participating restaurants. Similarly to other cities who host a restaurant week, Hendersonville and Flat Rock restaurants will offer special prix fixe menus from March 10-24. Many of the participating restaurants are offering not only a three course dinner menu for $20, $30 or $35, but also a two course lunch/brunch menu for $10 or $15. My feasting began in Flat Rock at an unassuming BBQ and pizza joint.

Flat Rock Wood Room:

With award-winning Memphis-style BBQ and wood-fired Neapolitan pizzas, Jamie Guay focuses on keeping the customers happy and coming back for more. When I think of a BBQ spot, I think pulled pork, collards, mac and cheese, etc. and while Flat Rock Wood Room has all of these staples, they elevate the stereotypical BBQ style food with creative dishes like Smoked Pork Satay, Smoked Salmon and Crème Brulee. Must Order: 3 piece jumbo Frankenmuth wing platter with competition style BBQ sauce, THE cornbread and anything consisting of brisket.

Old Orchard Tavern:

Conveniently located inside the Cascades Mountain Resort, Old Orchard Tavern is an ideal choice for families wishing to experience a memorable dining experience, while also keeping the little ones entertained. Old Orchard Tavern prides itself on using local farms to source the ingredients of their classic dishes with a “Hendersonville-twist”. Must Order: Braised Lamb Shank or Beer Brined Game Hen. The Spring Risotto served under the game hen is one of the best I’ve had.

Brooks Tavern:

If you want to fit in with the locals, Brooks Tavern is the place for you. With an impressive beer and wine list, as well as craft-cocktails, this is the kind of place you can stay and hang out awhile. As stated on their door, they specialize in “Good Food, Giggle Water & More”. Must Order: Candied Bacon Strips, Bacon Wrapped Jalapenos and Fried Cheesecake.

HenDough:

While HenDough isn’t participating in Restaurant Week, it’s certainly worth mentioning as it will be opening in Greenville later this year and has one of the best chicken biscuits I’ve come across. If you’re in the mood for something sweet, they’ve got doughnuts…something savory, they’ve got fried chicken and biscuits. Must Order: Hot Chicken Biscuit, and Egg in a Basket (2 eggs in a donut basket with fried chicken, bacon and jalapeno maple syrup).

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McFarlan Old Fashioned Bakery:

As I was walking to our next stop, I smelled the most wonderful scent that led me down the street and into McFarlan Bakery. An authentic “made from scratch” bakery, McFarlans has any baked good you can dream of. Even if you aren’t into desserts, it’s worth stopping in just to see the extravagant pastries and treats they make fresh daily. Must Order: The Morning Bun (Cinnamon Bun)

Postero:

I could write for hours about not only the food at Postero, but also the beautiful and simplistic atmosphere. Postero offers dishes that highlight the variety of flavors and techniques present in American cooking today, while also preserving their traditional recipes. Executive Chef Jason Reasoner and Chef de Cuisine Justin Balzer create stunning dishes inspired by a “melting pot of cultures”. Must Order from Lunch Menu: Gin Cured Salmon Tartare and Polenta Fries. Must order from Dinner Menu: Goat Cheese Crostini, Chicken Confit and Dark Chocolate Pot de Crème.

Season’s at Highland Lake:

Located at the lovely Highland Lake Inn & Resort, Season’s serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with seasonal ingredients straight from their organic garden. Their cuisine boasts approachable dishes like BBQ and ravioli, but with a level of finesse that elevates the flavors from ordinary to extraordinary. Must Order from Lunch Menu: House-Smoked BBQ Pork and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream & Berry Compote. Must Order from Dinner Menu: Date Night (Bacon-Wrapped Dates), Carolina Trout and Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake.

Unfortunately, I had to cut my trip short without visiting The Dugout Taproom & Grill, Never Blue, Hannah Flanagan’s, Mezzaluna, Black Rose Pub or Bold Rock Mills River. Since it’s only a 45-minute drive from Greenville, I hope to visit these restaurants soon! Check out the Hendersonville Restaurant Week website to see all the participating restaurants’ menus and to make your reservations.   It’s certainly going to be an event you won’t want to miss!