Gheph's Profile

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where can I buy good stone ground grits?

You can also get Anson Mills grits in the freezer case at Rosewood Market on Rosewood Drive in Columbia. Make them in your slow cooker; it takes 2 hours, and they're perfect. Instructions are on the Anson Mills website, I think.

Jul 24, 2013
Gheph in Southeast

Best place to try for the FIRST time a pimento burger

I heartily recommend Mr. Friendly's in Columbia, on Greene Street in Five Points. Their pimento cheese is delightful, and their burgers are large and expertly prepared. As an added bonus, you can opt for tater tots that have actually been fried, so they're the perfect combination of crunchy and tender.

Jul 24, 2013
Gheph in Southeast

Athens, GA and Columbia, SC

Terra (just over the bridge in W. Columbia) is also terrific. If you're out on the northeast side of town (or willing to be), Solstice is fantastic. I love Hunter-Gatherer, too, but I learned in my last visit a few weeks ago that the inspired menu was created by the chef who left there for Kraken Gastropub; the execution on that menu, now that he's gone, was a bit of a letdown. Beer's still great, though!

Mar 06, 2013
Gheph in Southeast

Myrtle Beach dining options deserve a little more credit!

My wife and I are wrapping up a four-night stay in Myrtle Beach to attend a conference. Over that time, we've found several places that served delicious, thoughtfully prepared meals, and in categories well outside the range of fried seafood. I rely on Chowhound for ideas about places to try when I travel, so I just logged on to see if I could keep the yummy streak going for one more meal before we head home. This time, I didn't get much help; so many posts were some iteration of "there's nothing good to be had in MB," or "just leave and go to Charleston, Murrels Inlet, etc." I disagreed with these enough to sit down to tell you about the good experiences I just had here.

Wednesday night was a late bite at Bimini's, about which much has been said on this board already. It's good for a plate of fried seafood and a cold beer, and it's a bit cozier than the giant seafood barns sprinkled up and down 17.

Thursday lunch was at Indo Thai (there's another one in Pawley's Island, according to their website), a pan-asian-looking place in a mall in the Grande Dunes area. I'm genetically incapable of ordering anything other than red curry with chicken the first time I try a new Thai place, and I give Indo an "A" for theirs. The sauce was the right consistency and heat, the chicken wasn't overcooked, and the ratio of all the constituent parts was just so. My wife had a basil, tofu, and noodle dish that she loved, too.

Thursday night we went to Benny Rappa's, an old-school Italian place that reminded me of a few places I've visited in the Little Italy section of Baltimore. The wine selection was good, and had several solid choices south of $30. I started with a calamari steak appetizer -- not ringlets 'n' tentacles, but a flat steak (unrolled cone, I guess) that'd been lightly coated with breadcrumbs, cheese, and herbs, and fried just right; I could've ordered two more helpings and called it a night, I enjoyed it so much. My entree was the veal special of the night (basically peppers, mushrooms, and a wine/butter/pan dripping sauce), and it was everything I'd hoped for. I wish we had a place like this in Columbia.

Friday night was at the Aspen Grille, where we dined with 12 friends in a private room off the bar (and I'm sure the other patrons were happy that the room had a door which was usually closed. I had French onion soup and a goat cheese salad that were both solid versions of these dishes, followed by duck grilled to a nice medium rare and lightly sauced that was as good as any duck I've had anywhere ever (including the Mustard Seed in Napa!). The server did a great job taking care of 14 somewhat boisterous patrons needing more than half as many separate checks.

Saturday lunch was at Collectors Cafe and Gallery. Service was a little slow (between the ordering and the getting; we were promptly seated and given the right amount of time to order), but so worth it; I had a filet and Gorgonzola flatbread sandwich, and the filet was requested and delivered perfectly medium rare. The sandwich was a bit messy, but I wasn't all that interested in putting it down anyway. My wife had a spinach and mushroom quiche that she loved, and we both started with tomato basil soup which was quite good, if a little predictable. The desserts we shouldn't have ordered were delicious, too.

Saturday night we headed downtown (such as it is) to Redi-Et, the state's only Ethiopian restaurant. Everything was perfectly prepared, and they had a good selection of Ethiopian beer (which is actually worth a try). If you like Ethiopian food, you won't be disappointed, and if you've never tried it, you'll love it so long as you like rich savory and/or spicy stews, and you'll really love it if you'd like the chance to consume said stews by pinching mouthfuls of them in a folds of spongy bread and eating with your fingers.

So, don't despair if your travels bring you to Myrtle Beach; it's not the foodie mecca that Charleston is, but neither is it the culinary wasteland some would have you believe. I'd daresay it may have more to offer than Hilton Head, which, aside from the Sunset Grill, hasn't impressed me much.

Jan 27, 2013
Gheph in Southeast

Portland after 9pm, before a 90 mile drive

We land in Portland about 8:30 Wednesday night, and were hoping to grab a decent bite before heading north. After searching the board, I can tell that Duck Fat is what I would've wanted were they going to be open at that time on that day, but alas. Is Fore St. likely to have a wait at that hour? Any other suggestions?

Thanks,
Jeff

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Duck Fat
43 Middle St, Portland, ME 04101

Aug 30, 2010
Gheph in Northern New England

Savannah business dinner for 10 in August

Thanks, y'all. Actually, those are the two places I've been most curious about. I sent a note to the GM of Local 1110, but haven't heard back yet. Does the Vault hold 10 comfortably?

Jun 24, 2010
Gheph in Southeast

Savannah business dinner for 10 in August

I must choose a restaurant for a group with relatively expensive tastes, and which thinks it's been everywhere good there is to go in Savannah for dinner. Could be we already have, but I thought it couldn't hurt to ask.

The place must accomodate 10-12, and should either have a private room or a really private corner.

We've been to, and mostly liked:
Il Pasticcio
Elizabeth on 37th
Sapphire Grill
Rocks on the River
700 Drayton
and maybe one or two I'm forgetting.

A sub-group ventured to the Pink House last time, and I think they were pleasantly surprised. I've enjoyed Bistro Savannah several times, but I don't think it's big enough. I know Garibaldi's is popular, but half of us are from Columbia, SC and we have one here, so I don't think I'll get much oohing and aahing over that.

Of the list above, I thought Elizabeth on 37th had the best food and, at least for groups of 4-6, the best service, but I recall we were a little cramped and things were a little slow with 10+.

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Jeff

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Elizabeth On Thirty Seventh
105 E. 37th St., Savannah, GA 31401

Sapphire Grill
110 W. St. Julian St., Savannah, GA 31401

700 Drayton
700 Drayton St., Savannah, GA 31401

Il Pasticcio
2 E. Broughton, Savannah, GA 31401

Pink House Restaurant the Olde
23 Abercorn St, Savannah, GA 31401

Rocks on the River
102 W Bay St, Savannah, GA 31401

Jun 22, 2010
Gheph in Southeast

Downtown Richmond, VA on a Monday night

Thanks, all. Edo's has been on my radar, but for some reason I thought I couldn't do it on a Monday. I just tried, and failed, to find support for that memory online.

What about Lemaire? I see where it made Esquire's top 10 last year, and I've been happy with their choices before...

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Edo
22299 Exploration Dr Ste 402, Lexington Park, MD 20653

Jun 22, 2010
Gheph in Mid-Atlantic

Downtown Richmond, VA on a Monday night

Last time I visited Richmond, I went to Millie's Diner, and really liked it; I planned to take my wife there when we pass through in a couple of weeks. I suspect we'll stay downtown somewhere (haven't booked the room yet), so I'd prefer not to drive out to the 'burbs, but don't let that dissuade you from making a compelling case that someplace is worth the commute.

I reviewed several Richmond postings already, and whenever I found something that looked appealing, I'd go to the restaurant's website, only to learn that Monday's not an option.

We eat pretty much everything. Cost isn't really a concern, but we'll be coming off a daylong drive and not looking to feel obliged to dress up much. I loved Millie's, and I also enjoyed a visit to Kuba Kuba once. I also recall a place called (I think) Havana 59, which I enjoyed some time ago, but that may have been the drinks and the company as much as anything.

Thoughts?

Cheers,
Jeff

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Kuba Kuba
1601 Park Ave, Richmond, VA 23220

Havana 59
16 N 17th St, Richmond, VA 23219

Jun 17, 2010
Gheph in Mid-Atlantic

Columbia, SC

I'm guessing John must've stayed at one of the hotels on Main St., and only ventured a few blocks in any direction; that would discourage me, too. However, if you're willing to expand your hunting grounds to cover Downtown, the Vista, and Five Points, Columbia has a lot of options, actually.

I'll second the aforementioned Terra, and Motor Supply Co., and add Mr. Friendly's. All three of these have pleasantly eclectic menus and great service. For a tapas-and-wine approach, you have Cellar on Greene and Gervais & Vine. There's excellent upscale (but not pretentious) Thai at Baan Sawaan (also, their beer menu reads like one of the old J. Petermann catalogs; it's quite clever).

If you're into oysters, the not-so-cleverly named Oyster Bar has good ones, and they shuck for you as you're eating. The Flying Saucer is part of a chain, but the food's quite good and the beer selection is outstanding. Likewise, the Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Alehouse a few blocks away makes excellent beer and terrific entrees to pair with it (I'm especially fond of the Caw Caw Creek Bratwurst there; the pigs are raised and the sausage made locally).

Then there are the downtown Miyo's restaurants: Miyo's, M Vista, and M Cafe. All serve fresh, healthy, delicious pan-Asian fare. I live northeast of town, and was thrilled when she opened one near me.

The more I write, the more I keep thinking of. If you mention what part of town you're staying in, and what kind of food you really go for, I'll try to be more focused.

Cheers,
Jeff

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Flying Saucer
931 Senate St, Columbia, SC 29201

Terra Restaurant
100 State St, West Columbia, SC 29169

M Vista
701 Lady St, Columbia, SC 29201

Gervais & Vine
620 Gervais St, Columbia, SC 29201

Jun 08, 2010
Gheph in Southeast

good (sorta) new sushi place in Columbia NE

There's a new sushi restaurant in northeast Columbia that's quickly become our favorite. It's called "Wasabi," and it's in a little mini-stripmall on Hardscrabble Rd. about a mile north of the Hardscrabble/Clemson intersection. The guy that runs it is apparently the former owner of Saki (later Saky, but never "Sake," for some reason) out near Fort Jackson; he goes by "Papa-san," and he definitely learned a lot about sushi over the years.

The interior decor bears no indicia of the Ben and Jerry's franchise that used to occupy the space; it's dimly lit, with the obligatory aquarium or two, and soothing string music in the background.

We've been three times thus far, and have been thrilled with the quality of the fish and its preparation. I'm a junkie for spicy tuna rolls, and the ones here are the best I've ever eaten. He adds a little cilantro to the tuna and chili, and the tuna itself doesn't appear to be the scraps of a more sophisticated order. The chef did a great job of highlighting the freshest and most flavorful choices for our nigiri, and the staff brought enough other complementary stuff (edamame, salad, soup, a couple of gyozas) that we had trouble finishing it all. In short, we're definitely fans, and hope that enough other folks will start going to as to ensure Papa-san will be slicing and dicing there for a good long while.

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Wasabi Sushi Japanese Cuisine
4561 Hard Scrabble Rd, Columbia, SC 29229

Nov 12, 2007
Gheph in General South Archive

Terra, West Columbia, SC

Me and the missus just had a terrific meal at Terra on State Street in West Columbia, SC last night. The reviews I'd read claimed that the emphasis is on the ingredients, and that sounded like empty language to me until I ate there. I had a pork chop -- without a doubt, the best pork chop I've ever eaten in my 40+ years. I wasn't aware pork could be this tender, this flavorful. It was served with a tasso cream sauce that didn't get in the way. The missus had wahoo over some sort of risotto, and reported that it was outstanding. We'd started with a plate of assorted cheeses ranging from mild to feet-y, all great. We'll be back.

May 05, 2007
Gheph in General South Archive