Pomegranate on Main

Greenville is no longer a destination solely for Southern food. Yes, many come hungry for biscuits, fried chicken and collard greens, but the variety of cuisines offered is expanding. Pomegranate on Main is just one of those, but what sets it apart from the rest is that the dishes and flavors you’ll taste are identical to what you’d eat in Iran.

Owner, Ali Saifi, was born and raised in South Iran until immigrating to the United States and finally settling in Greenville. He grew up eating the exact dishes and flavors you’ll find on Pomegranate’s menu and in an effort to give back to the Greenville community, he opened Pomegranate on Main to share his culture and heritage through food.

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Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday, Pomegranate’s menu focuses on traditional Persian dishes made with fresh ingredients. You shouldn’t dine at Pomegranate without ordering some of their vegetarian dips. Ask your server for the trio to try the Mast Khiyar (mixture of cucumbers, yogurt, raisins, and walnuts), Mirza Ghasemi (roasted eggplant, tomato, and garlic), and my personal favorite: Kashk Bademjan (sautéed eggplant and onion topped with Persian cream of whey, crispy fried onion, fresh herbs, and mint). Along with your trio of dips you’ll receive a complimentary bread basket, but this isn’t your standard bread roll and butter situation. Instead, think flatbread with fresh mint, radish, unsalted butter, and feta cheese. While I’d never considered these components to complement one another, they do so perfectly in this scenario.

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Persian cuisine boasts pairing contrasting flavors such as sweet and sour pomegranate with earthy walnut to create an irresistible dish that is not only delicious, but also healthy. All entrees at Pomegranate are gluten-free, and while they come with a generous serving of basmati rice, the rice is intentionally prepared to be light and delicate, instead of your usual sticky rice that just makes you want to take a nap after eating it. Their entrees consist of beef, chicken, and vegetarian kabobs, roasted salmon, rich stews, and other vegetarian options.

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The Torsh Kabobs are a favorite at Pomegranate due to the mouth-watering marinade of sweet and sour pomegranate sauce mixed with walnuts. Traditionally, cuts of tenderloin are charbroiled to perfection to create this delectable dish, but you can also order it with chicken. The basmati cranberry rice served alongside is a delicate balance to this flavor packed dish.

I’ve heard all the buzz about the Roasted Salmon from Pomegranate and, I must say, it lived up to the hype. Marinated in a traditional Persian mixture of onion and saffron, this salmon dish is for sure one of the best I’ve had in Greenville. It’s rare to find salmon cooked to this level of flawlessness, but Pomegranate must have the magic touch. Instead of the sweeter variation of rice served with the kabob, this rice is mixed with dill and lima beans.

On a chilly winter day, I can’t think of anything that would be more comforting than one of Pomegranate’s stews. The Fresenjan comes with your choice of chicken or beef in a savory stew of ground walnuts and pomegranate, served with basmati rice. The beef in this stew is fork tender and feels like a warm blanket when you take a bite. The richness of this stew comes solely from the walnuts, but you’d think a great deal of butter or oil would need to be added to achieve this level of texture and flavor.

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Hospitality speaks for itself at Pomegranate on Main, and this is no different when it comes to the homemade desserts by Ali’s wife, Nancy. Save room for a piece of moist chocolate cake or coconut custard pie, or try something a little different like pistachio ice cream with saffron rosewater. Eating is meant to be a shared experience, so order one of each for a taste of something new and unexpected.

Having lunch with Ali and two of his associates was one of my most cherished meals. His apparent love for Greenville and gracious attitude was clear throughout our conversation. It’s people like Ali, who combine passion and respect within their restaurants, who make eating out more than just a meal, but an experience. Pomegranate on Main is proud to offer VIP curbside service where you can place an order over the phone and someone will bring your food out to you. They also have live music and half-off bottles of wines every Wednesday evening.

The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck

Greenville is really taking off. Pun intended. Did you know that The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck at Greenville-Spartanburg Airport was named one of the best airport restaurants in the country by USA Today readers? Having just opened in 2017, The Kitchen offers a more sophisticated dining experience for travelers. The other airports around the world with The Kitchen by Wolfgang Puck include Calgary, Cancun, Dubai, Singapore and Washington, D.C. Pretty impressive that Greenville is now among this list!

Located in GSP’s Grand Hall immediately after the security checkpoint, The Kitchen offers a beautiful view of the airport’s airside garden. Travelers can select from the restaurant’s grab-and-go options like sandwiches, salads or parfaits, or can leisurely enjoy a sit-down meal of red snapper, hand-cut steaks or brick oven pizza.

My meal started with the hummus platter, consisting of big hunks of feta cheese, Spanish olives, warm pita bread, and hummus topped with a tomato salad. Simply put, I’ve never seen as pretty a presentation as this one while dining at an airport. Not only is it appealing to the eye, but it’s tasty as well. The pairing of all the components in this dish makes for one flavorful bite.

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I’m a sucker for calamari and the calamari from The Kitchen comes with crispy preserved lemons for an added punch of flavor and a welcomed twist to a classic dish. Cooked to perfection, the calamari is tender with a crispy coating on the outside.   Served with a creamy, herb dipping sauce, this appetizer is a crowd-pleaser.

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For our entrees, we went with something healthy and something not-so healthy. It’s all about balance right? If you’re looking for a lighter dish, the Red Snapper is ideal. Pan seared and served atop a tomato, corn salad, this dish is a wonderful summertime meal. The savory flavors from the snapper complement the tangy tomato and corn relish. I certainly didn’t feel like I was eating at an airport with this dish.

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You can’t go wrong with a classic Pepperoni Pizza, especially when it comes straight from a brick oven. The Kitchen has a variety of pizzas to choose from, each with a thin, chewy crust and a balanced ratio of cheese to toppings to sauce. It’s not one of those pizzas that you eat and immediately need a nap after. Rather, I felt I couldn’t get enough of this simple, yet delicious pie.

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GSP International Airport continues to grow and change for the better. Offering world-class restaurants like The Kitchen, as well as an Escape Lounge where people can enjoy a more refined traveling experience along with small bites by Jason McCarthy of Rick Erwin’s. I look forward to seeing the ongoing progression of GSP and may just have to start flying more often!

Just Blend

Let’s face it. We live in a constant state of being “too busy”. Whether you’re a parent, entrepreneur, side-hustler or just living life, it seems that everyone these days is looking to simplify their busy schedules. That’s exactly what Just Blend will do for you. “We prep your smoothies. You save the world.” Owner, Lizzy Hester, took her own life hack and now preps and sells her pre-prepped smoothies and granola for the rest of us to enjoy.

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Picture this: You’re hurrying to get out the door and remember that a “blend” is waiting for you in the freezer. Get out your blender. Pour in some milk of choice (almond milk is my go-to). Add the contents of your blend in. Then blend away and you’ve got the creamiest, most satisfying smoothie that’ll keep you full until lunch. Not only are these smoothies delicious, but also they are packed full of nutritious veggies like cauliflower, zucchini, spinach as well as nut butters and seeds.

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Let’s talk flavors. Lizzy created a blend for everyone. My personal favorite, because it tastes like chocolate ice cream, is The CHOCOLATE one. Who knew you could have basically a Wendy’s Frosty for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner) and it could be healthy!? Take the basic blend recipe and add cacao powder and cashew butter for a more indulgent blend.

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Want some berries in your life? Just order The BERRY One with cauliflower, frozen berries, coconut milk cubes, a date, honey, chia seeds, peanut butter and banana. Tastes just like a peanut butter and jelly in milkshake form. Who wouldn’t like that?

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Then there’s The OG. The blend that started it all contains zucchini, cauliflower, spinach, coconut milk cubes, a date, honey, flax seeds, almond butter and banana. It’s perfectly sweet and gives you all the nutrition you need to take on the day ahead.

Last, but not least, The GREEN One for those of us extra-healthy people who don’t mess around with carbs. Swap the banana/berries for extra cauliflower/zucchini for a little less sweet, but still nourishing blend.

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A blend just isn’t a blend unless it’s topped with Lizzy’s grain-free OGG Granola. Filled with nutritious nuts and seeds, this chunky granola is the ideal mix of sweet and salty. Perfect for snacking, blend topping, or dessert time…the OGG Granola is a must.

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All blends cost $10, but head over to their website to check out Just Blend’s weekly subscription rates and place an order. Be sure to follow @justblend on Instagram to keep up with weekly specials and seasonal blends! You can also purchase blends and granola at Soul Yoga. Ready to take on the world? Just Blend is here to help you.

Photos By: Ally Martin –  https://www.allyannephoto.com

A Field Trip to Ji-Roz

Many of you may already know this, but along with running The Upstate Foodie, I’m also a full-time Montessori teacher. Never before have those two worlds collided, until we discussed a field trip for our 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade children to taste and experience Greek cuisine. My mind immediately thought of Ji-Roz, an authentic Greek restaurant located downtown Greenville.

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Owner, John Makkas, was beyond helpful and enthused to provide our students with an approachable, yet diverse menu that would expand their palate far beyond their everyday school lunches. Their selections were Spanakopita, Brown Butter Spaghetti with Feta, Chicken Skewers, Pork Skewers and Pastitsio. You can imagine the expressions as we read the selections to them, with no mention of pizza, chicken fingers or grilled cheese.

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When we arrived at Ji-Roz, John greeted us warmly and showed us to our already set tables in the center of the restaurant. I should mention that they hosted 3 different groups of children during the lunch-hour, weekday rush. The excitement was contagious as you looked around and saw huge smiles, heard children talking amongst one another saying “yummm” and “this is really good!” It seemed the crowd-pleaser was the buttery spaghetti noodles with big hunks of authentic Greek feta.

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Teachers ordered off the regular lunch menu, so I shared the Dolmades and Santorini Salad with a coworker and was happy as can be. Ji-Roz does a wonderful job of preparing dishes that are hearty and satisfying, while also incorporating lots of fresh vegetables. Dolmades are grape leaves stuffed with rice, ground beef and herbs. Ji-Roz serves theirs with a slightly creamy and lemony Avgolemono sauce.

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The Santorini Salad has a lot going on, but all the components somehow work together to give you a sampling of some authentic staples of Greek cuisine. To create this melting pot of tastes, they begin with their traditional Greek salad consisting of fresh Tyger Farm’s greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, imported Greek olives and an extremely generous serving of imported feta cheese. Then, the salad is topped with a huge scoop of Greek potato salad. Greek potato salad is vastly different than your traditional mayo based potato salad. Fork-tender potatoes are mixed with EVOO, red onion, fresh lemon and parsley to create a lighter version of a lunchtime favorite.

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Rest-assured this will be one of those field trips our students talk about all year long! The service and professionalism of all the staff at Ji-Roz was quite impressive, and it was wonderful to see such consideration towards creating a memorable experience for our students. Be sure to follow Ji-Roz on social media to keep up with their specials!

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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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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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?!

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.