Monday, March 9, 2015

Slightly North of Broad

It's birthday weekend in our lives! My dad's birthday is March 7th and mine is March 10th. Since our birthdays were falling around a weekend this year, we decided to take a little trip to Charleston, SC to celebrate jointly.  There are tons of great restaurants to choose from in Charlestong, but we had no doubt about where we wanted to go--  Slightly North of Broad (affectionately known as "SNOB"), of course!

My mom and I had a wonderful dining experience at SNOB a couple of years ago with some special friends who treated us to the chef's table. That occasion was incredible and we have been dying to take my dad there ever since.  So what better occasion than a birthday? I'm going to tell you now, they did not disappoint!  Every bite of food was amazing. So just keep that word in mind when you start reading below and your mouth starts watering--AH-MAZE-ING!!!

SNOB is run by renowned Chef Frank Lee .  He takes pride in using fresh, local ingredients. And boy, you can definitely taste the freshness.  Everything is beyond exceptional!  SNOB is definitely one of my top 5 favorite restaurants! If you go, call ahead and ask to sit at the chef's table.  If you are a foodie like me, you will love having a great view of the kitchen and seeing first hand the great care the staff takes in preparing your meal.  They literally have nothing to hide!  And sitting at the chef's table may just get you a few surprises from the chef, like I got!

Before we get into the the actual dishes, I want to give a massive shout-out to our server, Ashley. She was incredibly attentive and treated us so well! She made sure we had everthing we needed/wanted and just overall went above and beyond the call of duty to make our evening the best experience possible.

In front of the kitchen with Ashley.  :)

To start, Ashley offered me a specialty "mocktail," custom made just for moi.  It was a mojito with mint, lime and ginger. Very delicious and refreshing! <3

Next, our amuse bouche was a country ham fritter topped with a sweet and sour sauce. It's hard to explain the taste, but it was scrumptious! The sauce worked well with the fritter and was truly sweet and sour, which worked extemely well to balance out the saltiness of country ham.  One fritter was just the right amount to tease the palette.  Although, admittedly, I would not be opposed to consuming an entire basket of them. ;)

For one appetizer, we enjoyed the Mepkin Abbey oyster gratin with leeks and mushrooms.  It was served with grilled baguette slices. Oh yes! Warm, melty, cheesey goodness to spread on crusty bread. Le sigh! I die! 

Our other equally yummy appetizer was tuna tartare served with microgreens and heirloom tomatoes. I love tuna and I also adore sesame oil, so this app was the delightful blend of two favorites for me.  The salad also had just the right amount of acidity in the oil and vinegar dressing to balance out the richness of the tuna flavor.  Also, I give the chef an A+ for texture! Mmmm.

For entrees, we gave the kitchen creative license to surprise us and we were not disappointed! They presented us with three delicous main courses. The first was a pan seared flounder with Charleston Gold brown rice, butternut squash, fennel and a cider brown butter. The flounder was local and very fresh.  It was pan seared to a perfect crispness.  The fluffy rice and veggies made great companions for the flounder.  

We were also served one of SNOB's signature dishes, Maverick shrimp & grits with house sausage, country ham, fresh tomatoes, green onions, garlic and Geechie Boy grits. OMG! Those grits. Y'all! Of course, the fresh shrimp and sausage were incredible. But, grits.  This southern girl was in heaven.  Yummmmm!

Last, but not least...and my personal favorite, grilled Beeler Farm pork chop with a sorghum molasses and whole grain mustard glaze, crispy confit potatoes, cabbage and caramelized onions. This glaze made a crust on the juicy pork chop that was both sweet and savory.  Wow!  So, so delicioso!

Our side items were a savory bread pudding with thyme and bleu cheese.  I know that sounds like a strange combination, but the flavors paired beautifully, especially with the house made relish served on the side.  Love, love, love!

And talk about tasty, caramelized brussel sprouts and onions. If you think you don't like brussel sprouts, then you haven't tried these brussel sprouts!  They're awesome.  Trust me.  That is all.

And it wouldn't be a complete celebration dinner without coffee and dessert, right?  Naturally, I had to get a cappuccino, because that's just what I do. So yeah, it was bold and creamy and wonderful! :P 

Dessert, you ask?  I ordered the Chocolate Pot de Creme.  Oh yes I did! And to make it even more special, Ashely added a candle for my birthday! Aww, how sweet!

This dish was similar to a decadent choclate mousse topped with a creamy, rich ganache.  It was garnished with Bulls Bay sea salt and strawberries. I know, right!?

 And finally we were treated to a complementary dish of cookies and truffles. These beauties had to come back home with us in a box.  We were too stuffed at this point to enjoy these goodies, but don't worry, they will have their moment very soon!

In closing, I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to the staff at SNOB for making our birthday celebration so wonderful and memorable. It wasn't just a meal.  It was an EXPERIENCE!

If you're planning a visit to Charleston go there!  If you're not planning a trip, this is good enough reason to start.  Why?  Yes, because you need to eat SNOB, of course!  Both of my visits have been phenomonal and I'm sure you will be delighted too.  Check out the SNOB website here:

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

A Parisian Lunch

I figured it would only be appropriate to follow up London with Paris. We were only in Paris for about 12 hours. But that was plenty of time to eat, visit the Eiffel Tower and the Louis Vuitton store on the Champs-Elysees. ;) 

We arrived via EuroStar at 8am. It was gray, cold and raining. So when we got out of the train station we just ran to the nearest cafe for shelter and some food and so we could kind of get our bearings. 

I honestly have no idea what this cafe is called. But they had croissants and one of the things on my bucket list was to eat a croissant in Paris. So that's what I did.

Ermahgerd. Yes.

They brought the croissant and nice piece of baguette with butter on it. I literally have no words. 
All I can say is the hype over authentic French croissants and baguettes is very, very true. 

I also got a latte. With cute little sugar cubes. :)
My parents also got jambon et fromage omelettes. Also known as ham and cheese omelets. 

Fast forward a few hours later and we finally made it to the Champs-Elysees area. My cousin, Whitney, had told us about a restaurant called Ladurée. I had heard of it because of their macarons but I didn't know they had a restaurant too. As luck would have it, that was the first thing we saw when we turned onto the Champs. It was meant to be. Oh, and it had stopped raining by then too!

After we were seated, the first thing they brought was some bread with adorably wrapped butter.

My dad and I both ordered Steak Frites

And my mom got a sandwich with Pomme Frites and a side salad

Ladurée is famous for their desserts. Specifically their macarons. Ergo, I had to have some.

You got to pick which flavors you like so I chose:
Vanilla, Salted Caramel, Lemon and Raspberry
To die for.

 My dad got a chocolate eclair 

My mom got a strawberries and creme napoleon.

And of course, I got another latte.

Confession time: I saved the little chocolate (on the coffee saucer) and still haven't eaten it yet. :)

Voila! If you're ever in Paris I highly recommend visiting Ladurée and grabbing a croissant in a little cafe. The only thing I didn't get was a crepe. But I'll get one next time! ;)  


Monday, July 14, 2014

Afternoon Tea at The Savoy

Well hello there. I just recently went on my first international adventure to the UK and France. It was absolutely beyond amazing. I have so many pictures to share but I thought I would start out with one of my favorite experiences we had in London. As the title implies, Afternoon Tea at The Savoy!

So of course, since we were in London I had to have a proper English tea. It took us about a week to finally decide where we wanted to have tea but I think we made a pretty fantastic choice! The Savoy Hotel is a luxury hotel in London. Famous guests over the years include King Edward VII, Audrey Hepburn, Fred Astaire, Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Frank Sinatra and many, many more.
Yeah. It's incredible.

Sooo we arrived at the hotel and were seated in the Thames Foyer. It has a gorgeous glass dome in the center and flowers everywhere. Take a look.

Now for the actual tea part! The first thing they brought out was actually champagne. 

Is that not the most gorgeous glass? 
They let us sip on our champagne for a while before they brought the food and tea. 

The first thing they served was the tray of tea sandwiches and scones.

On top were blackcurrant and plain scones.

Then we had the finger sandwiches. 

Cucumber, Chicken Salad, and Ham and Cheese.

Then on the bottom we had spreads for the scones.

Orange scented cream, Cornish clotted cream and Strawberry preserves.

And here is a cup of Blackcurrant and Hibiscus tea.

After we had enjoyed our treats they brought out a tray of hand crafted pastries.

L to R: Chocolate basket with raspberries topped with a chocolate daisy,
Raspberry and white chocolate flower tart, Lavender eclair, Peach tart,
Chocolate basket with edible flowers, and Strawberry, rhubarb and white chocolate tart.

Here is what I chose. This is one of my favorite pictures ever.

My mom's choice.

And my dad's choice.

And just when you think there can't possibly be anything else, here comes more!
Here are the Lemon Poppyseed and Raspberry Rose cakes. 

Do you die a little? Because I do.

And to top it all off, when we were talking to the waiter earlier about what brought us to London, we mentioned in passing that it was my belated 16th birthday trip. Well, they came out with this after the cake.

I know, right!

Sponge cake with a dark chocolate espresso filling/frosting. Literally dead.

There you have it. If you're planning a trip to London and want to have a proper Afternoon Tea, I would definitely recommend The Savoy. Just remember to book a couple of months in advance. 
Also, my Paris and Scotland blogs will be happening soon too! So be sure to keep an eye out for those because they are going to be pretty great. ;)


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Shhhhe Said Yes!

Hello lovelies! Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a surprise engagement party. I was so thrilled when my fabulous friend, Catherine, contacted me a few weeks ago and told me about her sneaky plans to surprise her friends, Mary Kathryn and Chris.  I was even more excited when she asked me to lend a helping hand!

To say this girl knows how to throw a party would be the understatement of the year!  Catherine is from Atlanta, but she and her husband have lived in Savannah for a little over a year now.  Her event was a perfect blend of city meets low country.  She has a flair of her own that I'm going to call "Atlanta-Savannah Style!"   Everything was modern and sophistocated, yet relaxed and welcoming.  Rather than trying to describe it with words, let me show you! Feast your eyes upon the photos below.  Foodie heaven!

Appetizers to die for!  
She also created a scrumptious cheese tray adorned with raw honeycomb and grapes. It was beautiful...and delicious!  So delicious in fact, it escaped being photographed.

Caprese Skewers with Prosciutto

Chicken Salad Cups

Stuffed Mushroom Caps with a
Cream Cheese and Sausage Filling

Sliced beef
Rolls for the beef --to make sandwiches.
Super cute mini cupcakes from the 
famed NYC bakery,
'Baked by Melissa.' 
Personalized cocktail napkins.  Nice touch!

Waiting for the couple of honor!

And, yes, they really were surprised...
because Mary Kathryn
even brought flowers and wine. :)

Now, here are some shots of Catherine's gorgeous backyard setup!
It truly was a midsummer's night dream!

Tiki torches and paper lanterns 

High top tables and strings of light

Beautiful floral arrangements and candles for each table

The lights created a true "fantasy land" atmosphere!
And this fairytale party had a perfect happy ending--
a champagne toast to the couple, of course!

Congrats to Mary Kathryn and Chris! Also, my sincere thanks again to Catherine and her friends for allowing me be a be a part of this extraordinary event.  It was spectacular and one I will remember for years to come.