From Casual to Fancy

Casual: Friday night dinner from the cafe at Whole Foods.

Just me, a slice of cheese pizza and some steamed vegetables.

Greg was going out with friends, while I felt like being the homebody that I am and spending the evening by myself. I decided I wanted pizza for dinner, but didn’t want to order a whole pizza just for myself. Even when I split a whole pizza with Greg, I’ll end up eating more than I should. So I needed a place where I could get a single slice. Whole Foods is really the only place in Mt. Pleasant that I know of where you can get pizza by the slice at dinnertime. 
Fellow Charlestonians- do you know of any others?? A lot of places will do it at lunch, but not dinner.

Anyway, this slice was huge! The picture doesn’t quite do it justice, but it was really more like two slices in one. Fine by me 🙂 The steamed veggies were perfect on the side to balance everything out.
Whole Foods Market on Urbanspoon
Even before I finished my dinner, I knew where I would be getting dessert. Menchie’s
I did part Dulce de Leche and part Cake Batter yogurt, then topped it off with marshmallow sauce, caramel sauce, cherries, sprinkles and a couple of the frosted animal crackers (<–LOVE those things). This was one of the best mixes I’ve made in awhile. 

Fancy: Saturday night dinner downtown at Leaf.  

We had plans to go out to dinner for a friend’s birthday. Greg felt like dressing up and told his friends he was going to wear a suit. They all agreed to do the same. 

We watched a beautiful sunset as we drove over the Cooper River Bridge. It’s awfully easy to live in a place like this.
I had never been to Leaf before, so naturally I had looked up reviews beforehand. The reviews weren’t outstanding, especially regarding the service. I was trying to keep an open mind anyway. 

Greg and I split a bottle of Malbec and munched on a few Frickles (fried pickles) that our friend ordered as an appetizer. Off to a good start!

The service was pretty dang slow though. We probably waited at least ten minutes to get our wine after it was ordered, and another twenty minutes until our server came back to take our food order.

Greg had the Leaf Burger and added pimento cheese and bacon. For his side, he chose the Parmesan Truffle Fries (a favorite ever since CPH entered our lives).

I ordered a large Greek Salad. 

The food was good and we had a great time with our friends. Although our server was very friendly, the speed of service could definitely use some work. 
Leaf on Urbanspoon
Today is back to the casual life with cereal for breakfast, homemade sandwiches for lunch, and probably some kind of pasta for dinner. 
What’s on your menu today?

Restaurant Week Dinner at Bricco Bracco

If you read yesterday’s post, you knew it was Greg’s birthday. Of course we always go out to eat for special occasions like this, but it’s always up in the air as to who decides. This year we decided that we would each pick the restaurant for our own birthday. As much as I looove Bricco Bracco, I really want to try somewhere new for my day. So I was happy Greg chose BB for himself!

It’s so dark in the restaurant that I can never get good pictures, but I have to at least try. And the food is so good that they deserve to be shared.

Like I said yesterday, it is the beginning of Charleston Restaurant Week, where restaurants all around the city offer special menus (mostly 3-course menus) for a set price. So we were able to each get an appetizer, main course and dessert for $20 per person. Plus, Bricco Bracco was throwing in $3 glasses of house wine if you order from the special menu.

What you see here is my most favorite restaurant bread. And it’s even made in-house!
I started with the Tuscan White Bean and Potato Soup. Not amazing, but not bad by any means. 

My main course was the Cavatelli and Broccoli, served in an olive oil and garlic sauce. I opted not to add chicken, but that would have been a nice addition. Again, I wasn’t completely impressed with this dish, but glad I tried something new and was still not disappointed.
For dessert, you could choose from tiramisu or a cannoli. We got one of each. I loved the cannoli, but didn’t care much for the tiramisu…just not rich enough for my liking. 

Luckily, Greg didn’t care for the cannoli so I got the whoooolllleee thing!
Bricco Bracco on Urbanspoon
After dinner we were going to meet some friends for a drink downtown. To kill some time until they were ready, we browsed around Barnes and Noble. 
I found this journal and I WANT this journal.
I have to say thank you again to all of my family (mom, grandparents, siblings, aunts, uncles, etc….literally EVERYONE) who found the most perfect cupcake-related gifts for me for Christmas this year. They were all so thoughtful and this journal just reminded me of that again. I know there’s a big cupcake fad right now so it’s not necessarily difficult to find these things, but even so, anything cupcake related makes me smile.
Then I saw this book.

I didn’t need to read any further than the title. I get the gist of it and that is my goal for this coming week: Throw out fifty things around my house. Whether that’s clothes (I will donate those, not just throw away), or old magazines (and don’t worry, I will recycle those), or food going bad in the fridge, I really do want to de-clutter my life. 
I already got my workout in for the day, followed by a protein shake (Mmmm), so my Saturday is off to a good start. I have a lot of errands to run and de-cluttering ahead of me so I better get to it!
What are you doing this weekend?
Ohmygosh and I completely forgot…I have the brownest of brown bananas that are ready to be turned into banana bread! That might just be the highlight of my weekend and it hasn’t even happened yet!

Charleston Restaurant Week

Fancy food.

Discounted prices.

Is that even a question? I am there!

This weekend kicked off Charleston Restaurant Week where local restaurants feature special menus for a fixed price. They do this twice a year, during the slower times of the season, to draw people in.

Their plan worked on me.

More and more restaurants are jumping on the band wagon and it made my decision a little more complicated. We all know how bad I am at decision making! Thankfully everyone and their brother wanted to go to Husk, which was recently named the “Best New Restaurant in America”by Bon Appetit magazine. Since I couldn’t get a reservation there for about a month, Husk was out and 17 North was in!

I hadn’t heard too much about this place and had never really considered it because it’s not the most convenient. No surprise here, but it’s located on Highway 17 North, heading out of town. So there is no other reason to head that way unless I am leaving the city.

I took a look at their Restaurant Week menu and was salivating over the thought of their food all day on Saturday. Greg made me change our reservation from 7:15 to 8pm because of football. I can appreciate a good football game just as much as any guy (maybe?), but that extra 45 minutes was killing me!

The atmosphere of the restaurant was great. From the outside, you wouldn’t necessarily think it was a nice restaurant, but inside, the lights are dim and candles are lit. At the same time, there’s a big screen at the bar that attracted the football-watching crowd and livened things up a bit too. There was a little of both– quiet/romantic and fun/lively.

Now to the food.

I ordered off of the “3 for 30″ Restaurant Week menu (3 courses for $30). For an appetizer, I ordered the Shrimp and Grits. Here is the menu description: McClellanville shrimp, fried pimento cheese grit cake, tasso gravy, sweet peppers.” (The picture I have of that is not blog-worthy, sorry) I think that description tells it all though.

For my main course, I got the Grilled 12-ounce Ribeye with mashed potatoes and asparagus. 
I don’t order steak too often, but I am soooo glad I did. This dish was delicious! And the steak was so big. I had plenty to add to my salad for dinner on Sunday. Leftovers are always a good thing 🙂
Greg had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken. It was good, but I don’t think either of us were too impressed. Greg said the chicken he gets from the hole-in-the-wall places out in the middle of nowhere is just as good, if not better (he spends a lot of time out “in the middle of nowhere” sellin’ land…I really have no idea where he is half of the time). 

My third course, dessert, was a slice of pear cheesecake. I was supposed to have a choice between a red velvet cupcake and the cheesecake. I was shocked when Greg said we had to get the cupcake. Really??? After all of the cupcakes I make at home and have to force you to try them, NOW you want a stupid cupcake?? Well, it didn’t matter, because our waitress informed us they ran out of cupcakes. Ugh!
I love cheesecake, but PEAR?? Eh. I wasn’t too sure about this one. It was actually very good though. It tasted pretty much like regular cheesecake, but was topped with some diced caramelized pear. 
Overall we really liked the restaurant and I would definitely go there again…I have to get ahold of one of those cupcakes!
Charlestonians–where are YOU going for Restaurant Week?
17 North Roadside Kitchen on Urbanspoon