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Emilybh's Profile

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The Owl, Greenville, SC

They did in fact lose it before they sold the property to someone who turned it into a private residence. I remember checking on it a year after I'd been there to eat and they no longer were a Relais then. That was as early as 2009. After applying and being accepted "deciding not to participate" is generally not the logical next step UNLESS you knew you were going out of business. It is an HONOR to be approved as few establishments are. SC now only has ONE in the entire state!

Dec 02, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

The types of grocery stores that exist in an area is very telling about what the over all market wants and expects. In South Carolina it seems 98% of people are more than satisfied with Publix which doesn't indicate a big demand for fancy gourmet food.

I recently met a neighbor who's been living here in the Upstate for 6 years and still hadn't been into Whole Foods until I dragged her there a few weeks ago. She's a realtor. She's happy with the chain restaurants here. The same thing happened when I moved to Charleston. A neighbor who'd lived here all her life had only been into Whole Foods in Mount Pleasant once before. She did all her shopping at Piggly Wiggly or Publix.

I think in other states you have more people who are at least curious about food and are willing to at least check out Whole Foods when it opens in their area.... and therefore there is more demand for the upscale food stores there.... and more year round people going to restaurants. I bet without the tourists, Charleston's restaurant scene wouldn't be nearly as busy. In Raleigh-Durham, Providence, Boston you have year round residents keeping it going.

Also if the reason that Earth Fare shut down was due to location in Mt. Pleasant, why didn 't they re-open in a better location there? I think it's because the market wouldn't support it.

In SC , every town with 20,000 or more residents should be able to support a good local natural food/ grocery/health food store if not an Earth Fare or both but it doesn't seem to work out that way.

Dec 01, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Charleston without breaking the bank.

I suggested Hominy Grill a while ago. Too bad they didn't go there instead of the Glass Onion.

Nov 26, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Is Relais & Chateaux designation an indicator of quality restaurants?

Oh. Lucky you!

I think the designation helps those traveling to Europe that don't know the restaurants rest assured their palates will be more than pleased at the R&C restaurants.

Yes it is a great guide for some really extraordinary inns.

Nov 22, 2012
Emilybh in General Topics

Is Relais & Chateaux designation an indicator of quality restaurants?

Unless you are willing to drive hours and hours and cross state lines, the chances are there won't be any R&C restaurants to choose between in your area. Some entire states only have one or none at all. California and the NE seem to have the highest concentration of them.

Nov 22, 2012
Emilybh in General Topics

The Owl, Greenville, SC

With all due respect, don't they both have a lot to do with FOOD and the food scene? I just merely suggested that the more natural/gourmet stores an area has the more vibrant the food scene and the better the restaurants are apt to be.

But I'm sure you don't agree with that so let's just say YOU WIN. Ok? No need to respond. You are right and I am wrong.

.

Nov 21, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

Gotta give you that one. Charleston is a lot nicer than Detroit -- especially these days.

I think it comes down to demographics and the market. I think the number of Whole Foods stores in a given area or state is a good indicator of the food scene.
In the whole state of SC you only have 3. Just in the Raleigh/Durham/ Chapel Hill there are 5 . THAT shows the type of food and quality people in the area (the locals) want and expect. Around here (SC) you have too many people thinking that Publix is the be-all-end-all of upscale grocery stores. In fact when Whole Foods opened in Charleston, the market couldn't even support having both Earth Fare and Whole Foods in Mt. Pleasant and Earth Fare shut down.

Nov 21, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Whole Foods to Open New Store in Asheville

I hope what happened when the Charleston Whole Foods Market opened in Mount Pleasant to the Earth Fare that used to be there won't happen in Asheville. The Earth Fare store couldn't handle the competition I guess and shut down. Now there is only one Earth Fare store in Charleston in West Ashley on the mainland.

I think the more competition the better.

Where I used to live in RI there were three Whole Foods Stores. One was 5 minutes away from another. Each was located sort of on the opposite borders of the part of Providence where RI School of Design and Brown University campuses were. Later they built a third 20 minutes away. They seemed to compete with each other which was nice.

When I moved to SC I noticed that in the Charleston Whole Foods it seemed a little more casually run than these RI stores were... as if they knew there was no competition and the only other Whole Foods Store in the state of SC was 5 hours away in Greenviile... and with Earth Fare shutting down... Oh well. That left zero competition as there are no independent natural foods stores in Charleston. In RI almost every town had a natural foods store in addition to # Whole Foods and Trader Joes.

Raleigh Durham area is similar. With the prestigious schools there and the thriving triangle area they must be up to 6 or 7 Whole Foods stores by now.

Nov 21, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Is Relais & Chateaux designation an indicator of quality restaurants?

It isn't enough to have a great chef. The chef has to have a history of being great. . You also have to have a top quality extremely classy place. You can't be part of a chain because this is just for SPECIAL UNIQUE boutique type inns and restaurants.

You need to read their terms and conditions.

Also the place has to APPLY to Relais for the designation.

Nov 20, 2012
Emilybh in General Topics

Is Relais & Chateaux designation an indicator of quality restaurants?

No. It is like Michelin but with higher standards. If you go and experience a few, you'll understand.

This is how they started out in 1941... http://www.relaischateaux.com/spip.ph...

Here are the "terms and conditions" that have to be met before an establishment can qualify to even be considered. There is some sort of fee but if they are chosen, Relais sends them business and takes reservations for them.

Then they have to go through periodic audits and review customer reviews of the establishment to prove that they continue to maintain their top quality.
http://www.relaischateaux.com/IMG/pdf...

Maybe you can get an idea by searching their website and seeing which places in the United States are actually listed and then go and check out the menus at those places. They are all extremely classy and uniquely special and all have food that tastes out of this world.

There are only 27 of them in the eastern half of the United States. SC has one; NC has two; GA has none; TN has one. The majority are in the northeast and D.C.
http://www.relaischateaux.com/en/?loa...

Nov 20, 2012
Emilybh in General Topics

The Owl, Greenville, SC

Yes. I know it is a private residence. They obviously couldn't make a go of it there as the food scene wouldn't support a 5 star Relais restaurant/ inn a half hour away from Charleston in Summerville.

The Peninsula Grill is a Relais and is going strong downtown.

I had brunch at The Woodlands in 2008 and the food was exquisite. When I arrived though, there were no guests anywhere. The place seemed completely empty of customers. A friend I was meeting there hadn't arrived yet either. I guess I had gotten there a little early. It still seemed odd not to see any guests staying there in any of the living areas or on the grounds.They were probably having a tough time keeping it going even back then. The lady at the desk said more people would be arriving -- which they did eventually. The dining room eventually became about half full. Maybe the later seatings were more popular after people had gotten out of church. Before leaving I checked out.
the accommodations and the grounds and the pool which were all really lovely.

Nov 20, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

I know I guess your may be right FOR NOW but with chefs and culinary schools LEAVING Charleston and with a Relais losing its designation near Charleston and BETTER chefs CHOOSING Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area ADDED to that you have two top notch universities there (Duke and UNC Chapel Hill), not to mention it has 3 or more times the population Charleston does, it won't be long before this area surpasses Charleston as a food destination.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

Well Chapel Hill has Chef Colin Bedford an Internationally reknown chef and Charleston doesn't.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

Thanks. I wished I had joined and posted here before heading up to Asheville too. The view was nice but not worth paying $50 to see and leaving the place starving. The lady that came with me ate every morsel of her turkey and brie sandwich (which in my days of eating rich food daily I probably would have ordered instead) and some of my greasy undersalted chips . So she was happy. What I really should have done was just ordered the mixed green salad appetizer for $9 instead of paying $19 for a lousy crab cake sandwich . At least it would have filled me up more if they gave you more than three bites worth) and would have been more nutritious.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Thanksgiving Plans Have Imploded... Opportunity To Experience a Nice Meal/Stay Somewhere in NC..? Where Would You Go?

I try to eat mostly plants and whole grains. I do eat a little poultry and fish and dairy. I just don't like it when 75% of a menu consists of red meat . It would be nice if more chefs tried to do things with vegetables. For example, Whole Foods has a great Rosemary chestnut stuffing. Sweet Potatoes and squash have loads of A vitamins. There are all the dark green leafy veggies an imaginative chef could do something with.Then there are legumes nuts and seeds. It is too bad everything in so many restaurants is focused on flesh. If a Chef like Colin Bedford was preparing seafood or duck, you can bet I'd be first in line to try it and choose it over a vegetable dish prepared by a less talented chef.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

In my opinion only a few if any of Charleston Restaurants are 'world class"I lived there for three years and I know the restaurant scene. The vast majority of "world class" restaurants of the South are in New Orleans where I've also lived.(If Charleston was such a world class food destination it would have been able to at least retain a Johnson & Wales culinary school campus.) I'd say a few of Charleston restaurants probably make it on the national restaurant scene. However people don't travel to Charleston (except for those of us in SC) just for the food. They go for the history and enjoy the food while there. Whereas they do travel to New Orleans, San Francisco and New York and Chicago for the food.

Asheville, Richmond, Athens and anywhere in TN are regional destinations -- not even close to national destinations in my book. Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and Raleigh/Durham, would rank as national food destinations before any of those would for sure, not to mention Portland, Oregon, Tacoma, Washington and other West Coast cities.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

I would go to taste the creations of their world class chef. You can order the cheese on-line if you can't get it at Whole Foods (which is probably where they get it since there are many Whole Foods Markets in the Raleigh Durham area).

The fact that you have to go so far out of your way just to taste an imaginitive cheese plate just goes to show how far Greenville needs to advance before they'll ever be put on the "food" map. You probably could find a comparable cheese selection at The Woodlands in Summerville. Then again, maybe not since they lost their Relais designation.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

If you cook at all you know a chef shouldn't have to try something over and over. If you make the recipe right the first time, and if it comes out bland or off tasting it isn't worth doing again without making modifications. Better yet move on to something more promising would be my approach as a chef.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Thanksgiving Plans Have Imploded... Opportunity To Experience a Nice Meal/Stay Somewhere in NC..? Where Would You Go?

Wow. After listening to the interview and studying their website it sounds like this place is one of the best places to go in the world , let alone the South! I wish it was closer to me. I'd be there often enough to try most things on the menu. I don't mind spending the money when you know it is going to be special!

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

I certainly didn't pay for parking and wouldn't pay now that I know what it is like.

Nov 18, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

I don't know but I wont be going back soon. It probably had something to do with the fact that if you were staying there they probably wanted your room number to add the bill to your room tab. I think what would have been more appropriate, would have been to stop asking questions once she learned we weren't staying there.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

That is a good idea.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

I'm glad you liked it. It just doesn't sound like my cup of tea. I'm a little gun shy after having had repeated bad experiences at restaurants reviewed in other forums that were supposed to be good. I also very much, enjoyed your review. I wish others could give honest reviews like that describing the food that was served at the place they think is so wonderful.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

When I go out I do NOT expect safe or easy. That is what you get at chain restaurants or Italian restaurants. I do expect someone who has a discriminating palate and knows herbs and seasonings and quality ingredients and which of them taste good together and has experience cooking with them and eating them. I don't want to be a guinea pig in a restaurant run by chefs who aren't confident what they served will be a hit with their paying guests.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

YIKES! You should NEVER experiment on PAYING customers. Instead they should just serve whatever they are experimenting with for FREE to the customers before the meal they ordered is served. Thanks for all the info on the Owl. I won't be going there anytime in the near future. That is for DARN sure.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

Oh. I guess I was referring to another forum that is for the Greenville /Spartanburg area and they have a restaurant thread. Sorry. Yes I know most of the reviewers on Chowhound at least several months ago didn't think Greenville was anything to write home about.

I think I remember one reviewer saying that for every one good restaurant in Greenville, there are 12 good ones in Asheville. I'd like to know what they all are and why they are considered good before I head up there again. I don't want to have another Grove Park Inn experience there. Also I'd like to know about anything worthwhile in Hendersonville and again why it is good. I'd like to hear details of how items on the menus are prepared and taste. I hope some of you are up for the challenge.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Grove Park Inn, Asheville, NC

They wanted your name zip code and address. I'm glad the lady I was with gave hers. They entered it into the computer and this was all BEFORE you were seated. I thought it was a BIT MUCH. It wasn't like we had reservations and they needed to match up names or something. We just walked in and the place was more than half empty and yet we STILL needed to provide info for them to store in their computer. Needless to say for a mediocre over-priced restaurant to do this, to brand new prospective customers. They need to realize, it is a TURN OFF!

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

The Owl, Greenville, SC

I'd prefer this kind of adventurism--- of Chef Colin Bedford . He is chef at the Fearrington Inn outside of Raleigh Durham and is ranked internationally as one of the top chefs in the world. In fact I think it sounds like the chefs at so called "best" Greenville restaurants could stand to go taste Chef Bedford's food so they can experience what really special food is. They could also benefit from cooking lessons he provides there. Check it out. http://wunc.org/tsot/archive/The_Gran...

I think all the restaurants here could stand tons of improvement. I'm sick of reading good or great reviews about restaurants in Greenville expecting an exquisite meal only to go there and be served bland gelatinous over cooked food.

http://www.fearrington.com/house/rest...

What I'm learning is that people have a wide range of expectations for food in Greenville. Many it seems are happy with chain restaurant food and if an independent place opens up and is commensurate with a chain place, that constitutes "great" food. However as compared to great food in Boston or New York or Raleigh Durham or Atlanta or even Charleston, it is miserable! It is just that the reviewers haven't eaten at the best restaurants in those other cities so they have nothing to compare it with.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Charleston without breaking the bank.

I never said I'd eaten there. I said the menu didn't make the food sound very interesting. Sorry. It is just my observation. I've read lots of menus and been to lots of excellent gourmet restaurants here and abroad and experienced many different cuisines.

I know what is considered plain food by someone like myself might be considered excellent by someone who grew up in the South. My palate is oriented towards more complicated flavors than a palate used to Southern BBQ, Shrimp and Grits and Fried Oysters.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast

Charleston without breaking the bank.

Perhaps I'm mistaken. I ate at High Cotton 4 years ago. I knew they owned two or three others and as you'd imagine, after not being awestruck by the food, studying up on their background and affiliations with other restaurants wasn't on the top of my priority list.

Nov 17, 2012
Emilybh in Southeast