Euphoria Traffic Jam

I was lucky enough this weekend to be given two free Euphoria event tickets by a client.  I’ve never been to Euphoria as a guest although I did volunteer to help host a pairings dinner last year at Rick Erwin’s.  It was an amazing meal with delicious bourbon drink pairings with each course.  I would have love to host another in the future.  This year I was able to attend the new Traffic Jam event Saturday evening.  It was at the Old Cigar Warehouse, a fairly new event venue downtown but they mostly used the empty lot next to it.  The theme of this event was food trucks!  Greenville has, over the last year, joined the food truck wagon and I love it.  I’ve been wanting to try some of the food trucks in town but have not had the chance yet so I really wanted to attend and try out some of the food.IMG_3596 IMG_3598IMG_3600

The set-up was really great for Traffic Jam and the weather cooperated fully.  It was a beautiful, early-autumn night.  Lights were string up between trees, picnic blankets, tree stumps, and hammocks provided cozy seating and, the best part, a corn-hole area was set up.  We spent most of our time there!  I brought a friend of mine and we ended up meeting up with some others and had a really fun time.  That fun was definitely supported by the all-you-can-drink liquor distributors there (I personally enjoyed the Tito’s stand with their version of a Russian Standard).  That had to be why the cost of the event was so high: $75!  I cannot eat or drink $75 worth, especially when it is small bites from a food truck window.  IMG_3604IMG_3611

My friend and I talked about it later – we were full at the event (probably from alcohol) but later in the evening we both had the munchies.  Thinking back we probably only had a few bites of food all evening!  A super mini taco, half a macaroni & cheese BBQ sandwich (yes, they exist), a few bites of banana pudding and some tater tots – not the most well-rounded or satisfying meal.  I guess our bellies got distracted by corn-hole!IMG_3606 IMG_3609IMG_3602

I cannot say that there was really a stand-out food item.  The mac-n-cheese BBQ sandwich was a hit but it lacked a little flavor for me (more cheese please!) and the banana pudding was good.  Other than that the food was a little unmemorable.  The booze was a hit, both the liquor and the beer.  I’m glad they offered more than  beer since I don’t drink it.  The best part of the evening was the setting and enjoying time with friends.IMG_3608

I wish that I could participate more with Euphoria.  I will probably volunteer again but this year could not because we had family in town (which is better anyway).  But, I do not see myself buying tickets to the events any time soon.  The Traffic Jam at $75/per person was one of the lowest priced events and I question whether it was really worth it – I probably would not pay even $50 to attend again.  They are high dollar and very well done and I’m sure the food is incredible like at Rick Erwin’s last year but as far as value goes for us, personally, it’s not really worth it.  P and I will spend $$ on a nice dinner but mostly just for special occasions.  This is the opinion of a lot of my peers and friends as well, that Euphoria is very exclusive and has out-priced itself from the average individual and family.  Maybe one day we will have the expendable income necessary but until then, I will take any free tickets and cool volunteer opportunities that come my way!

You can see a list of the food vendors that were there online – most food trucks post where they are going to be on their social media so it can be quickly updated as they move around the city but I think in Greenville most of them set up in a pretty regular spot for normal meal times.  Give them a try!

Weekend Round-Up

This weekend was great.  Full of friends and fun with very little relaxation but great.  Friday night P and I went to dinner with some of our good friends to…. I’m not sure what verb to use because celebrate isn’t really appropriate and mourn is too much… spend some time before they move to Louisiana.  You may remember E & M from our church supper club.  We’ve been fortunate enough to become close friends over the past year even as our supper club participation dwindled – we just kept hanging out and inviting other friends.  It’s sad to think those days are over but we are definitely excited for this new chapter of their lives as M moves into a new stage of his career and E moves in mommy-hood.  In a later post, I’ll have a rundown of the shower we threw for E on Sunday at our house.  It was fun.

So we ate at the Carolina Ale House where we sat on the lower level but right off the sidewalk.  The doors/windows were open and there was a great breeze.  It was just a nice evening.  I was surprised at how good the seasonal salmon salad was that I ordered – CAH isn’t exactly known for its food.  I was pleasantly surprised.  P had a turkey wrap that also looked good.  We got to see some of the Pulley’s friends that we’ve had dinner with before and I hope that we somehow manage to run into them again even without to aid of our mutual friends.  It was a bittersweet night.  M described it as the last game of high school sports – you are sad to leave but also know that you’re onto bigger things.  We just hope they come to Greenville and visit regularly.  E has become a regular in my life between book club, church, just being friends so I’m already on the lookout for a replacement.  (She’ll know what I mean.)  They’re also not moving too far from our family in New Orleans so I’m anticipating some road trips in the future.

We didn’t stay out late Friday because we got up fairly early Saturday to help my bff move in Asheville.  We woke up to pouring rain which did not have me excited to either be driving mountain roads or moving but fortunately the rain stopped by the time we reached MD’s old apartment.  MD has been moving small carloads over steadily the last 2 weeks so really it was just P and her bf’s muscles that were needed to move the big things.  I really felt kind of useless…told MD I was counting on getting some exercise.  Oh well.  I’m really happy for MD – she’s got a great career, has met a good guy, and now has moved into her first grown-up house, which is really cute.  We were there only a few hours and we got homemade lasagna as payment.  And when I say “homemade,” I mean even the noodles.  I had 2 helpings, it was that good.  I wish we had been able to stay and hang out some more but we had to get home so P could finish the front deck of the house which he had spent the last week tearing down and rebuilding.  I needed to get home to clean for the baby shower.  So, we just had stuff to do.

Saturday night we went to the brand new dueling piano bar downtown, Jack N’ Diane’s, which deserves its own post.  And Sunday’s baby shower does as well.  As you can see, it was a pretty jam-packed weekend.  I think P and I will take it easy this week because I’m pretty sure all of our weekends in August look like this too… should be fun.

 

Jack N’ Diane’s, Dueling Pianos

Saturday night P & I celebrated a friend’s birthday with a large group reservation at the official grand opening night for the new dueling piano bar downtown, Jack N’ Diane’s.  (I’ve never understood the apostrophe after the N; shouldn’t it replace the missing “i”?)  J&D’s has replaced the old Brown Street club on Brown Street downtown.  We loved Brown Street which had great jazz and blues performances and heavy wine pours.  I hear it also had great food.

View from my seat

View from my seat

We arrived shortly after 7pm for our 7pm reservation – we had two tables reserved for our large group right beside the stage.  In fact, our area was elevated to stage level.  We had no idea that it was the official opening night but some of our friends did.  I wish we had known this or had been able to see the menu online (it’s not currently available) before we got there because we would have just eaten before.  As you can expect, service was pretty bad.  And I don’t think it was just opening night; it was a server who should not be a server.  I felt bad for the girl except I also wanted to tell her to just suck it up (not in a mean way!) and at least try to fake a smile.  She looked pained and on the verge of tears the whole night.  You could tell she was just extremely overwhelmed even before it got crowded, which it did around 8:30.  But, the other servers looked much more at ease and even helped to check on us through the night so I think we just had a very new girl.  I hope she gets the hang of it.  Serving can be hard but I always enjoyed it and in a place like that it should be fun.  This is where P always clues in with his own personal experience of being an awful server haha, it’s not for everyone!photo 2

We waited for drinks, we definitely waited for food and by the time we got it, after 9, some people were in desperate need of it.  We probably waited a little too long to order.  We should have done it while the place was half empty.  I had originally had my eye on the fish and steak tacos but another couple at our table had them and weren’t impressed.  Even looking at them it looked like the flour tortilla had not even been warmed.  It put a damper on the menu for us which was small to begin with:  sliders, tacos, mini calzones, and salads.  No one really screamed over anything eaten there but we did get a taste of the quesadilla and if we had to eat there again, I would order it.  It’s hard to mess with cheesy goodness.  I ordered the Diane salad: spinach, dried cranberries, goat cheese with house dressing.  It was good but then again, they didn’t have to cook anything.  I could have made it at home.  P ended up eating a Greek salad and a mini Italian calzone.  I did not taste his meal and he ate all of it but he was pretty much starving by the time it came.

So it would seem from my description thus far that it was a lackluster evening but it wasn’t.  The show was great.  It started at 8.  The premise is that the audience requests songs on little sheets of paper provided.  When you request a song, you’re supposed to leave a little tip and the highest tipped request gets played first.  There was a $5 cover to get in, by the way, and then you have to tip to request songs, and you can pay to get sayings written on the board by outbidding the previous phrase (lots of back and forths of “Go Cocks!” and “Go Tigers!” – Univ. of South Carolina and Clemson for all you non-SC people out there) – the point being, the evening can get expensive.  But it was really fun.  We were there until 10:30ish, so over 3 hours.photo 5

my favorite performer

my favorite performer

There were 5 musicians that rotated on the piano and even occasionally jumped in on the guitar, drums, and bass.  It seems like all of them could play at least 3 instruments.  Some were better singers than others and some were definitely more fun and better at getting the audience to participate.  I was impressed by there respective talents, for sure.  There was one of the guys who tried a little too hard to be funny and perverted and it kind of fell flat but oh well.  He was the last guy to switch in so most people were probably too drunk to care.  I was driving so only had a couple of drinks early on.

One thing that really bothered me about the menu is that they had a list of about 10 specialty cocktails but there was no description on them.  So, we had to ask our nervous server who could not remember all of them (it was a lot of drinks) and we had to yell over the music.  I would definitely recommend the manager/owner put their descriptions on the menu.  I ended up with the Santagria (no, not sangria) because it seemed the safest bet.  It was a blend of Blue Moon, red wine, and I guess fruit.  Pretty tasty and at $7 not too bad for a mixed cocktail.

Santagria

Santagria

Back to the show.  People requested everything from Billy Joel to Imagine Dragons.  They even pulled out the Thong Song at one point as well as the 80′s classic, Pour Some Sugar On Me.  I really found the evening to be greatly entertaining.  I found myself clapping and singing along. I was surprised when we left there was actually a line out of the door for people to come in.  Surprising for a place with a cover.  I know $5 doesn’t seem like much but Greenville doesn’t do covers.  (And I was already annoyed we had to pay for parking – we almost never have to here.)  But, I would definitely recommend anyone who enjoys some good entertainment to check this place out.  Just eat before you go.

Green Lettuce

I think my dream job or the perfect second job would be food critic.  Basically, I want to get paid to eat and try new places.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?

We don’t often eat out but when we do, I am going to try to write about my experience here.  I was fortunate enough to eat out with an old friend of mine today – we were long overdue a catch up session – at a fairly new restaurant open in downtown Greenville (Augusta St.), Green Lettuce.

Source: Green Lettuce's Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pages/Green-Lettuce-USA/101002013422426

 

Green Lettuce was almost open months ago as Tender Greens but it never got to open its doors until recently.  I am not sure of the details but I do know there was an issue with the name already being used by another company.  I am glad they finally were able to open after months of peeking into their windows and seeing a fully put together and really cute seating area.  The restaurant itself is in a great place right off Main Street in the West End of downtown.  There are lots of shops nearby as well as the park and baseball stadium.  Inside it cute, simple, and kind of rustic with warm colors, live plants, and nice wood tables.  524734_125661597623134_431252709_n

A place called Green Lettuce obviously is going to have salads on their menu but I did not realize it is actually a Middle Eastern restaurant with hummus, tabouli, grape leaves, pita platters, etc. on the menu.  There were even a few items I had never heard of and asked about.  Our server was a very nice, subdued gentlemen who took great care of us.

The menu is two pages, front and back.  The front is pretty much all salads.  I was really intrigued by several of them, especially the fresh date salad.  Dates are not a typical ingredient around here!  But, I was really craving something warm and heartier with protein.  I needed protein.  My friend, who had eaten there before, recommended the roasted turkey sandwich and once I realized it came with soup and  salad, I was sold.

I thought we would get a mini taste of soup but we were started with a fairly large cup.  We both chose veggie soup out the three options; the others were chicken and tomato.  It was so good.  Most vegetable soups I have eaten are tomato based, have potatoes and carrots, etc.  This one was a delicious broth based with broccoli, onions, and other green veggies.  We squeezed the lime it was served with on top and it really sent the flavors overboard.  It was so good.1005323_750526811374_1275753777_n

They also surprised us with a serving of freshly made, warm pita bread.  I’m not sure what they put on this bread but I believe it was some sort of olive oil and garlic spread.  It was so good.  Having bread as an appetizer I originally planned to just eat soup and salad with pita and save the sandwich for another day since it was more bread but once it was brought out, I could not stop myself.1016443_750531372234_2030013252_n

The salad was fresh and crunchy with a great house dressing.  Again, I believe it was an olive oil base.  One of the reasons I had to eat half my sandwich was so that I could dip it into the left behind dressing.  The sandwich (roasted turkey, lettuce, tomato, avocado) did not need any help though.  The ingredients were fresh – did I mention that only use organiz ingredients and try to source as much as possible locally? – and the bread was incredible. I’m not a big sandwich fan, never have been but this was so good.  They put something on the bread, probably what was on the pita bread, that really pulled all of the flavors together.  I ordered it without any mayo or mustard and often without a wet condiment, sandwiches can be dry and boring but this was definitely not the case here.  I saved the last half of the sandwich for another lunch this week (or snack later!).