Leaf Café

8 Nov

So this is going to be a shorter review. I’m just getting over bronchitis, so I’ve been pretty housebound and not inspired to write much. But I feel indebted to you guys since I didn’t do a quote this week or a review last week. So, enjoy! I went to Leaf last week with Laura because I hadn’t seen her in a million bajillion years and we’ve both undergone some changes recently, so it was a good time to dish and commiserate.

snarksnarksnark

snarksnarksnark

We decided on Leaf because it was close, and cheap, and I really wanted a sandwich. The space at Leaf is really cool, and I like it more than when it was Vickery’s (plus it’s lacking that weird smell that the bar area always seemed to have). It was a nice day, so we decided to sit on the patio.

Look how pretty! Thanks for the picture, Susan Lucas!

Look how pretty! Thanks for the picture, Susan Lucas!

Laura got the Southern Fried Chicken sandwich (potato fried chicken, tomato, greens, creole aioli on whole wheat roll, $9) with a side of parmesan truffle fries and a sweet tea. The I tried a piece of her chicken, and it was really yummy; nice and crispy on the outside, and juicy on the inside. The sandwich was a monster, and she had a hard time eating it, but she liked it a lot.

I mean, look at how tall it is. Like a chicken wearing a hat.

I mean, look at how tall it is. Like a chicken wearing a hat.

I got the Braised Short Rib Grilled Cheese ( burgundy braised beef, manchego and gruyere cheeses served on tuscan sourdough, with a delicious jus of mushroom tea and beef demi glacé for dipping, $11). I also got it with a side of parmesan truffle fries. I loved this sandwich. It was everything I wanted it to be. The jus was the perfect accompaniment to the sandwich and I enjoyed every bite. The parmesan truffle fries were good as well, although not out of the norm for Charleston.

I promise there's a sandwich buried under all those fries.

I promise there’s a sandwich buried under all those fries.

All in all, I enjoyed my lunch at Leaf. The service left a little something to be desired, but the food made up for that. I’d definitely eat here again!

From the Leaf website

From the Leaf website

Leaf Cafe
15 Beaufain St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 793-2230
Leaf on Urbanspoon

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Quote of the Week 10/28/13

30 Oct

So basically, this was the #BestWeekendEver. Cornmaze, pumpkin jump, japanese food, Scarowinds, Selena Gomez… so much fun!

Here’s hoping that this week will be just as much fun! In honor of Halloween on Thursday, here’s a quote with rocker Dee Snider. Enjoy!

“Halloween is huge in my house and we really get into the “spirits” of things.”
–Dee Snider

But when you're a rockstar, I feel like everyday is Halloween.

But when you’re a rockstar, I feel like everyday is Halloween.

Taste of Charleston

25 Oct

This year, I was fortunate enough to be asked to be a blogger correspondent for the Southern Living Taste of Charleston on behalf of Delta Faucet. In exchange for them paying for my ticket, the cost of transportation, and giving me 2 Delta Touch2o faucets, all I had to do was show up, eat a bunch of delicious food, and then tell you guys all about it. So, here goes.

Pre-Event: Welcome Dinner at Circa 1886

Saturday night before the event, I was invited to a welcome dinner at Circa 1886. This was great because I got to meet the other blogger correspondents, people from Delta and Southern Living (including Southern Living Test Kitchen Editor Norman King), and I got a free dinner at an amazing restaurant. Here are some pictures:

Candied Bacon Slider

Candied Bacon Slider

Crab spring roll

Crab spring roll

Prix fixe menu at Circa 1886.

Prix fixe menu at Circa 1886.

Rice flour plantation roll with orange-infused butter

Rice flour plantation roll with orange-infused butter

Shot of Shrimp and Grits soup with organic white truffle oil.

Shot of Shrimp and Grits soup with organic white truffle oil.

Rice paper-wrapped romaine heart salad with spicy pecan dressing & mini cornbread muffin

Rice paper-wrapped romaine heart salad with spicy pecan dressing & mini cornbread muffin…have I mentioned how much I hate rice paper? It freaks me out.

Pan-seared organic chicken with hoppin' John risotto, grilled asparagus, and a truffle and chive demi glace.

Pan-seared organic chicken with hoppin’ John risotto, grilled asparagus, and a truffle and chive demi glace.

Pineapple upside down cake with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

Pineapple upside down cake with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream

The Main Event: The Southern Living Taste of Charleston 2013

Lily and I arrived hungry and only a little hungover bright and early Saturday afternoon. We were prepared to feast, and feast we did. Enjoy!

Such a beautiful drive into Boone Hall Plantation.

Such a beautiful drive into Boone Hall Plantation.

Taste of Charleston!

Taste of Charleston!

So Many People

So Many People

Gouda macaroni and cheese with Cheerwine glazed short ribs from Mosaic.

Gouda macaroni and cheese with Cheerwine glazed short ribs from Mosaic.

Cornmeal and maple bacon waffle and crispy fried chicken slider from Mosaic.

Cornmeal and maple bacon waffle and crispy fried chicken slider from Mosaic.

Ground filet and pork belly sliders with herb whipped goat cheese and pickled red onions on sweet yeast roll from Graze

Ground filet and pork belly sliders with herb whipped goat cheese and pickled red onions on sweet yeast roll from Graze

Pulled pork and collared green mac and cheese from Graze, aka my favorite thing ever.

Pulled pork and collared green mac and cheese from Graze, aka my favorite thing ever.

Chicken pot pie fritter from The Sanctuary at Kiawah.

Chicken pot pie fritter from The Sanctuary at Kiawah.

Tomato Pie from Carpentier's Wine & Dine. Probably my least favorite thing.

Tomato Pie from Carpentier’s Wine & Dine. Probably my least favorite thing we got.

BBQ Pork Sundae with cole slaw, baked beans, and BBQ pork. from the Culinary Institute. Not the best, but also not the worst.

BBQ Pork Sundae with cole slaw, baked beans, and BBQ pork. from the Culinary Institute. Not the best, but also not the worst.

Norman King "The Way To Fry" Fried Green Tomato Demo

Norman King “The Way To Fry” Fried Green Tomato Demo

Norman frying up some green tomatoes

Norman frying up some green tomatoes

The finished product: Fried Green Tomato Po'boys with pepper jelly sauce and citrus-ginger aioli.

The finished product: Fried Green Tomato Po’boys with pepper jelly sauce and citrus-ginger aioli.

Selfies, because we're narcissists.

Selfies, because we’re narcissists.

The waiter's race

The waiter’s race

Ice carving

Ice carving

Lobster, applewood smoked cheddar cheese, and creamed corn chowder with a buttermilk biscuit from Halls Chophouse (actually the best thing we had at Taste of Charleston).

Lobster, applewood smoked cheddar cheese, and creamed corn chowder with a buttermilk biscuit from Halls Chophouse (actually the best thing we had at Taste of Charleston).

Basically, it was so much fun, I ate way too much (Seriously, Halls, you should definitely put that chowder on the menu if it isn’t already), and I’m so fortunate to have had Delta Faucet as a sponsor for this event. I can’t wait to go back next year! Thanks so much!

Once Upon A Time I Made A Wedding Cake

23 Oct

My schedule is all off-kilter recently due to being sick and out of the country for the past couple of days, so in lieu of a quote this week, I’m going to give you some cake eye-candy to salivate over.

As you guys may have gathered, I baked the wedding cake for my best friends’ wedding 2 weeks ago. It was one of the scariest undertakings I’ve ever foolishly volunteered for, but despite the constant montage playing in my head of things that could go wrong, it actually turned out pretty perfectly. I just wish I’d taken more pictures of the baking / decorating process.

Cake: Southern pecan spice cake
Frosting: Butter pecan cream cheese frosting

I’m not going to give away my secret recipe, but I will say that it had lots of butter in it (so you know it was delicious).

Wedding cake

Just finished, basking in the morning sun

Fall Wedding Cake

Eat your heart out, Pinterest.

Pecan Wedding Cake

A cell phone close-up

Night shot with flash

Night shot with flash

About to cut the cake!

About to cut the cake!

When the photographer posts her professional shots, I’ll be sure to share those with you as well. I hope she got a picture of the inside of the cake, because I definitely forgot.

Quote of the Week 10/14/13

15 Oct

The wedding was amazing, you guys. Seriously, it was the best wedding ever, and I kind of wish it would’ve gone on for like 3 more days. Most importantly, my cake turned out amazing.  I’ll post some pictures tomorrow (and hopefully I’ll get to Taste of Charleston by the end of the week. Sheesh, I’ve been busy!)

Today’s quote comes from The Naked Chef,  Jamie Oliver, and I think perfectly summarizes the way I felt about this weekend.

“If you can eat with mates or friends or family, I mean, it’s such a brilliant thing isn’t it? If you feel really rubbish and you have a nice bit of food, it makes you feel good, you know?”
— Jamie Oliver

Although, to be fair, you should probably add "alcohol"

Although, to be fair, you should probably adjust the ending to read “a nice bit of food AND ALCOHOL…”

Sean & Christine Are Getting Married

11 Oct

Sorry guys, no review this week. I’m taking some time off to prepare for the wedding of some of my very best friends in the whole wide universe! I can’t believe that it’s finally here! The moment we’ve been waiting for since 2011. How did that happen so fast?!

You guys are awesome and I’m so glad I have you in my life. Despite life’s obstacles and the distance between us, we’ve still managed to stay close and always be there for each other. You guys are my favoritest goobers in the whole world!

This is our first picture together! Halloween 2009!

This is our first picture together! Halloween 2009. That feels like a lifetime ago.

And this is from July. My how times have changed. We're getting old you guys.

And this is from July 2013 (which somehow still seems like a lifetime ago). Oh, how times have changed. We’re getting old you guys. Also, alcohol.

I’ll be back next week with more food-related goodness! Ta-ta for now!

 

Oak Steakhouse

4 Oct

My final restaurant week visit was with my roommate, Regina, to Oak Steakhouse. I’ve been wanting to try Oak for a while now, curious to see if it could beat out my beloved Halls Chophouse (spoiler alert: it doesn’t).  I know that most people say that you shouldn’t judge a restaurant based on Restaurant Week, but I think that’s just BS. If they can’t produce quality food during RW, then they just shouldn’t participate.

Ok, I'll get off my soapbox now.

Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox now.

We started off with the spicy strawberry margarita, which definitely lived up to its name. So. Spicy. It was good, but we had to have them tone it down a little bit because we’re wimps. My mother would’ve loved it though.

More like StrawBURNy margarita.

More like StrawBURNy margarita.

After we placed our orders, we were brought some bread and butter. It was good bread, I have to say. Nice and warm, and salty, very similar to the benne seed rolls at Husk. And the butter tasted like butter..so there’s that.

Bread and butter are my bread and butter.

Bread and butter are my bread and butter.

For my starter, I got the wedge of Kurios Farms Bibb Lettuce Salad (local grape tomatoes, bacon lardons, creamy danish bleu dressing, regularly $10). Bibb wedge salads are not actually anything like your typical wedge salad (it’s just the nature of the beast), so I’ve learned not to be disappointed when I order a Bibb “wedge” salad and it comes out as basically just a bunch of lettuce leaves stacked on top of each other. But it tastes delicious!

Kind of like Lincoln Logs, but with lettuce and bacon.

Kind of like Lincoln Logs, but with lettuce and bacon and significantly less fiber.

Regina got the Vidalia onion bisque (lump crab, bacon crumble), which apparently was a special restaurant week thing. It was weird. Neither of us particularly cared for it. I get that vidalia onions are sweet, but this was ridiculous. It was overly sweet for a savory dish and I didn’t think that the flavors melded well together. Glad it’s not on the regular menu, because I would not order that again.

It seems like a lot of soup until you realize that the bowl is only like half an inch in depth.

It seems like a lot of soup until you realize that the bowl is only like half an inch in depth.

For entrees, I got the Certified Angus Beef Filet Mignon with whipped potatoes, spinach, petite carrots, and Oak’s housemade steak sauce. Being a renowned steakhouse, I was really looking forward to it. I even ordered it medium because everyone gets mad when I order it medium well (because apparently there’s some rule leftover from caveman days where your meat still has to be bleeding when you eat it, or you’re an uncultured swine). When it came out, I was upset to see that they’d precut my filet. Part of the satisfaction of ordering a steak is cutting it at the table and watching the juices ooze out onto your plate. Because they’d precut it, when I went to eat it, my steak was already cold, like it had been sitting out for a while, and not under a heat lamp. This was only emphasized by the fact that Regina’s food came out steaming for a good 5 minutes. I was also bothered by the “smear” of potatoes I got on my plate. I’m all about good plating, but this was ridiculous.

I think they really took that "Lincoln log" comment to heart with those carrots.

I think they really took that “Lincoln log” comment to heart with those carrots.

Regina got the pork shank served with sweet potato puree, braised greens, sweet apple and peach chutney. She replaced the sweet potato puree with roasted corn maque choux, by telling them she had an allergy, because they didn’t allow substitutions, which again, just bothers me. (I hate chefs that get so hoity toity about their food that they don’t let you substitute stuff. Yes, I get that some people like to make like 15 substitutions, and those people suck, but if you’re like me and you abhor mushrooms, AND you’re paying upwards of $40 dollars a plate, you shouldn’t be forced to eat them. I think this might have been another RW thing, where they already had everything premade and didn’t want to have to make real food for people who were only paying the RW price. Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox for real now, I promise.) The pork shank was awesome and fell right off the bone. The maque choux was super tasty and I’d definitely order this dish again. Basically, I was really jealous of Regina’s meal.

Plus, she got like 100% more food than I did.

Plus, she got like 100% more food than I did.

I also couldn’t resist ordering a side of the smokey bacon macaroni and cheese, $8.50. I mean, smoked bacon macaroni and cheese sounds delicious. I thought it was pretty good, but was a little disappointed in the cheese sauce. It was a little too creamy and not quite cheesy enough, but that didn’t stop me from devouring it. I’d probably still order that again. I like it better than Halls Chophouse’s mac & cheese and that’s about the only leg up that Oak got over Halls during this meal.

I'm really bad at Mac & Cheese photography. What's up with that.

I’m really bad at Mac & Cheese photography. What’s up with that.

The dessert that came with the RW menu was “S’mores” with dark chocolate mousse, graham crackers, taosted marshmallow, and salted caramel. It was weird, but I liked it. The graham cracker wasn’t like normal graham cracker, I’d say it was more like a nilla wafer (but like a rock hard version). I thought the combination was really interesting. Regina wasn’t a huge fan of the dessert, and although I can’t say it’s my new favorite thing, I thought it was pretty good.

Now this is pretty plating.

Now this is pretty plating.

Oak definitely didn’t live up to my expectations, but it had enough potential that I might be willing to give them another chance (on someone else’s dime, of course, that place is expensive).

Does anyone else think that tree looks more like a mushroom than an oak?

Does anyone else think that tree looks more like a mushroom than an oak? (photo: from Oak Steakhouse)

Oak Steakhouse
17 Broad St
Charleston, SC 29401
(843) 722-4220
Oak Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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