Well hello there! You might be surprised to see a post here. I know this a bit of a bother, but I’m coming back to this URL. I got a lot of feedback (mostly from friends and family) that they miss TBT and can never remember to visit Tasting-Tour. I miss it too. I also know that down the road I’ll be thankful that everything is in one place. I’ll still be shifting the focus of my content a bit, but at takingbackmytwenties.com:) And on that note, I’m going to go enjoy my snow day and dream of spring!
I had the pleasure of traveling to Charleston this weekend for my winter break! Matt and I met our good friends from Boston for a short getaway. While we picked Charleston because we thought it’d be warmish (soo cold for the south), we really wanted to go there to eat! Our friends love food as much as we do, so we did a lot of sharing!
After lovely drinks on a heated roof deck called Stars, we headed to FIG for dinner. There are a gazillion great restaurants in Charleston – we picked FIG because it had a menu full of seafood and was a bit more modern than a lot of the traditional southern cookin’ places. We ended up ordering more pasta than seafood.
The appetizers were irresistible so we split three: the ricotta gnocchi with lamb bolognese,
the pork with crispy farm egg,
and chicken and pappardelle in red wine sauce. All of these plates were outstanding! I especially loved the pork, and the pasta was melt-in-your-mouth fresh. I would have been happy with the meal if we had stopped there!
For entrees, Matt and I shared the lamb (hidden under the lettuce and cooked in a wonderful broth),
and the slow baked snapper with cabbage, black trumpet mushroom, pecan, and sherry. Again, both dishes were fantastic. The fish was particularly memorable because it was so thick and the slow-cooking left it was a ton of complex flavors.
A little something sweet to end on – the vanilla malt cake with buttered rum and roasted banana ice cream. The buttered rum was heavenly, and when everyone else had turned in their spoons, I drank it down like Hogwart’s butterbeer.
I’d highly recommend FIG – the service was excellent, the atmosphere was classic and romantic, and the food exceeded expectations.
A couple of other places we enjoyed over the weekend: REV Ride for spinning, King Street cookies for an amazing selection of thick and creative cookies, The Impeccable Pig for adorable [and affordable] dresses, Magnolia for classic Southern specialties, and Husk for a decadent brunch.
I’ll be back with one more review of our Valentine’s day feast.
I’ve lived in Dallas long enough now that I’m starting to repeat some of my favorite restaurants from my first year. Yet there are soo many new ones to try! Last weekend, I did a little of both.
Matt and I stopped into the hip, new Remedy while we waited for a table across the street. The interior space was bright and clean, with the feel of upscale soda shop. We each ordered a cocktail, and then we couldn’t resist the jalapeño hush puppies. My drink, made with rye whiskey, pistachio and pumpkin seed orgeat (a sweet syrup), and cacao was to die for! Remedy makes their own sodas and syrups in a bunch of unique flavors, and my drink was perfectly balanced and really different from what I’m used to.
The hush puppies were pretty good, and the NC hot sauce butter even better.
Our dinner destination was The Blind Butcher, a meat-heavy eatery with fabulous drinks. We had been once before, but didn’t even make a dent in the menu. We were told it would be a 2 hour wait, but got the call that our table was ready not even 20 minutes later.
I splurged on another cocktail because it was made with pepper jelly, one of my very favorite things! I’m not normally a rum drinker, but I looooved this cocktail and savored it with our behemoth of a meat and cheese board. This one included cashew cheese, herb goat pub cheese, and honey ricotta, along with a few cured meats and pate. I enjoyed the variety of pairings – pickles, nuts, mustard, cauliflower, carrots, house-made chips, and chutney – because there were a million different combinations to create.
Matt somehow convinced me to skip a main course and get pork belly poutine to go with our meaty meal. While I was a little disappointed in the pork belly (it was more like think-cut ham as opposed to the melt-in-your mouth bacon-y belly you sometimes get), the gravy and fries were perfect! I was expecting a heavy Thanksgiving gravy, but it was a light apple flavored sauce that gave the dish some sweetness.
In an attempt to balance the first two items, we also got the hempster salad. It had a little too much dressing on it, which is hardly a complaint, but it was delicious overall.
Blind Butcher was just as good as I remember, although nothing beats the duck pastrami egg rolls we had on the first go-round. I have a feeling we’ll be back yet again!
In addition to wine tasting in Mendoza, we spent our evenings walking around the quant city, exploring restaurants, and ringing in the new year! Most things were closed on new years day, and since it was our last day of vacation, we were happy to go running in the city park and relax by the pool. By the way, we stayed in the Park Hyatt. Although the rooms were basic and dated, I would recommend it for the service and the location.
Overall, the food in Medoza was just a good as the food in BA, and it was even cheaper! Our first night, we had a reservation at Azafran. I’ve raved about the bread baskets in Argentina, and this one was the best. Flakey bread rolled with meat and cheese?!!
One thing I loved about Azafran is that they ask you to choose your bottle of wine from the sommelier in an adorable wine room. We loved walking around and looking at the different labels. We described the wines we had enjoyed so far on the trip, and gave the sommelier a price point, and he found us a perfect bottle for $20!
We started dinner with empanadas and olives. Olives + bread + red wine = pure perfection.
But, it gets better. For my entree, I ordered filet mignon with spinach and blue cheese…wait for it…wrapped in puff pastry! A match made in heaven!
New years eve was a highlight of the trip because we had such a unique dining experience. We made a reservation for a closed-door restaurant – this means that a chef opens his (her her) home and prepares dinner for a small group in his own kitchen! If you are ever in Argentina, I’d highly recommend a closed-door restaurant, especially Ituzaingo. It was the perfect experience for new years because I felt like we were at a friend’s house party! We’d also made a few friends at wineries, so it was fun to find out that they were dining at Ituzaingo as well.
The loft apartment was right out of Soho. When we arrived, we mingled with guests and drank fresh cocktails – I had a mojito and Matt had a pisco sour. There were a few passed appetizers as well, but I was chatting so much that I don’t remember what they were.
Just before dinner, we were asked to find a table – Matt and I choose the beautiful and cozy courtyard table for two.
At this point, the waiters came around with white wine to accompany the empanadas and the salad.
Of course, we had to have a giant steak for the entree. Matt and I shared this sirloin with chimichurri and smashed potatoes as well as the vegetable lasagna.
This was cheeeeeesy. We also had red wine that was paired with each entree. With plentiful refills!
Dessert was three tastes – a chocolate mousse, a berry pie bite, and a crepe filled with sweet spaghetti squash. Soon after dessert arrived, we toasted the new year with champagne and then ran out into the street to see fireworks. It was such a special evening, and I ended up meeting a girl who went to high school in the next town over in NC!
The grand finale of the trip was dinner at 1884. I had heard mixed reviews about this restaurant – mostly that it was over-rated – but it was one of the only places open on new years day. It ended up being one of my absolute favorites.
The weather was perfect for dining outside, and we were able to choose a table in the elegant courtyard. In lieu of a bread basket at the table, waiters came around with a huge tray, and we picked from a variety of bread. The focaccia was fantastic.
We ordered the fried goat cheese and eggplant to start, and tried to save room for the extensive list of hearty meat entrees. Enter the best steak of my life.
This was a filet mignon wrapped in bacon, served with potatoes in some kind of magical broth. The steak was moist, and bursting with the flavor of the broth, and then there was the bacon. I say I’m not a steak person, but this meat was phenomenal. I’d fly 10 straight hours just for this!
So yeah, Mendoza blew me away with it’s food. I feel like we only scraped the surface of the area, but I really loved it.