If you haven't had a chance, I encourage you to go check out part one of my recent Charleston food adventures. But don't worry, this isn't like the Hunger Games (maybe more like the Hungry Games) where you have to read part one to understand part two.
Anyways, this month I've made an effort to break out of the routine and check out places that typically fall off our radar. One of these places is Locals in Mount Pleasant. We used to go to Locals every now and then. Their sushi is truly the best in the city. However, their service was just plain awful. After a not so pleasant experience where we waited an hour and a half for food, we decided not to go back. However, a couple Friday's ago, we were really craving sushi and wanted something different. We love Zen here in West Ashley, but really wanted Local's sushi. Since it has been several years since we last went, we decided to give it a shot. First, we were impressed with how much nicer it was inside. Next, we were impressed with the expansion of their menu. Lastly, the service was 1000 times better. We had a couple apps and each ordered two rolls. It was as a good as we remembered! I eyed a piece of cake as it was coming out the kitchen and we decided to indulge in a piece of cake to top off the experience.
A few days later, as a new Yelp Elite member, I had the opportunity to join the Yelp squad at Tijuana Flats in Summerville. I couldn't pass up the opportunity because I love Tijuana Flats. T. Flats (as we call it) is one of my favorite places to eat when visiting my in-laws in Fort Lauderdale. I got to experience the Hidden Menu with the Yelp squad. I started out with a Sangria and beefy chips and queso. Both were equally delicious. Next, we had the "Atomic Bombs" which was a jalapeno popper-esque dish. I typically shy away from jalapenos, but decided to give it a try. It wasn't spicy at all and was super delicious. The next course was a Mexican pizza. It was thin and loaded with all the toppings. As my first Yelp experience, I made the rookie mistake of eating a little too much too soon. I was starting to get full, but still wanted to experience every dish. I decided to slow down and just take a few bites of the pizza and the next course, which was a taco. We finished the experience with some yummy churros. I am definitely looking forward to my next Yelp experience.
For Valentine's Day, my husband and I made reservations at R. Kitchen in West Ashley. For our anniversary last year, we experienced R. Kitchen downtown. The West Ashley location is literally right down the street from our house. It blends in with the surroundings and has no real signage, so it is literally a secret spot. The West Ashley location has all bar seats. We sat at the bar and noticed the variety of bottles of wine in front of us. The wine was complimentary with the meal, which was a nice addition. The Chef focused on quintessential "Valentine's Dishes". We started with a Crab Bisque with corn and a coconut milk base. It was so light and delicious .The next dish we had was an "egg roll". The chef used his Mexican heritage to make this more into a "Mexican Egg Roll". I only sampled this dish, as I didn't want to fill up like I did at Tijuana Flats. The next course was "salmon roll". I was anticipating some type of sushi, but was pleasantly surprised when he started plating with molé. The dish was salmon, inside phyllo and brie, atop a chocolatey molé, This was one of my favorite dishes. The next course was a steak and mushroom dish, with a warm cheese sauce a top. We finished the night with a chocolate lava cake with sea salt. I loved the sea salt addition!
We also recently checked out Harold's Cabin downtown for a Saturday happy hour drink and snack. I loved the vibe of this place. It was like a local neighborhood restaurant/coffee shop, but with a funky flare. I ordered the daily coffee cocktail. The bartender really sold me on it. It was delicious and sweet. We also ordered some hush puppies. They were huge and delicious. My favorite part about this experience was the neighborhood kids popping in, grabbing a bottle (yes, old school bottle) of Coke. The bartender told us the kids frequent the spot and that he knows most of their parents. Some parents don't allow the kids to have Cokes, so he has to keep an eye out to make sure they aren't sneaking them. I was reminded of how we need more spots like this in Charleston. I look forward to going back to Harold's Cabin for dinner sometime or even to grab coffee in the morning.
So if you checked out my last post, my word of the year was moderation. Part of this was learning how to eat in moderation. Charleston is full of amazing restaurants. If I stuck to a very restrictive diet, I would miss out on all that Charleston has to offer.
In January, I decided that instead of doing a "typical" diet, I would do something that I felt would be helpful for me. I cut out meat for the month. While there wasn't a "diet" undertone about it. It was something I did to simplify life. I would be less to tempted to stop at McDonald's if I couldn't get chicken nuggets. I would be more likely to order a salad or fish option at dinner instead of a burger. I came to learn what works for me, is simply that, something that works for me. I didn't need nor want the advice of a nutritionist or someone who "claims" to know nutrition. I did something that meant something to me.
Outside of eating junk food from time to time, I feel I live a relatively healthy lifestyle. I exercise about 5-6 days a week. I don't smoke, vape, or do anything harmful to my body. I've cut down on alcohol and soda consumption. Along the way I had those telling me that what I was doing made no sense. That "soy" nuggets were worse then regular nuggets, etc. I took their opinion with a grain of salt. It wasn't about how healthy the nugget was, it was about setting my mind to something and achieving it.
So that brings me to this point. I made it the whole month of January without eating meat or fast food. I rewarded myself by trying out the famous "Tavern Burger" at Little Jack's. Throughout the month of January I kept reading post after post about this burger. I had to try it. It lived up to it's rave reviews. It was velvety, which is a word I wouldn't use to describe a burger. It was greasy, but not dripping with grease. Just enough grease so it wasn't dry. The special sauce was used sparingly so it didn't take over the burger. It was worth every bite and the wait. Pretty sure the bartender at Little Jack's thought I hadn't eaten a bite in a month.
During that weekend, I also stopped into Edmund's Oast Brewing Company at Pacific Box & Crate (also known as the Workshop). My husband was rounding out his Whole30 (I may have caused him to do a Whole27 instead...oops, but he did do a few days before the snow storm and then started after), but anyways I was dying to try their food after popping in there for a drink a few days prior. We ended up getting a pizza and their spicy fries. It was worth every bite. The spicy fries were amazing, and super spicy. I typically shy away from spicy food, but could not stop eating these.
On Sunday, we went to church at Seacoast, and then stopped into our new favorite neighborhood breakfast spot, the Gathering Cafe. The Gathering Cafe is located literally across the street from our house. We passed by it all the time, but never stopped in until a guy at a bar literally wouldn't stop talking about it. I tried the Avocado Toast for the first time and it was probably the best Avocado Toast I've ever had. I also had a Mimosa, which was like $4, and large as well. If you haven't had a chance, stop into Gathering Cafe. If you blink you may miss it because it's small and slightly hidden.
Anyways, I've actually gotten a lot better about taking photos before indulging. Here are some mouthwatering photos of my food adventures. Stay tuned for part two of my Charleston food adventures including my first Yelp event and our Valentine's Date Night.
Haley Parler Moore
Charleston resident. Digital Marketer. Crazy Crossfitter. Bulldog Mom. Gamecock fan. Constantly clad in Lululemon.