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Papi’s World Famous Travellin’ Tacos

Papi’s World Famous Travellin’ Tacos

Looking for something different in the downtown Greenville, I found Papi’s. This restaurant is located below Lazy Goat and I think it has the same owners. Like Taco Boy in Charleston, this is expensive Mexican food.

Tacos are $3.

I am a traditionalist. I knew I had to pass on ordering tacos when I saw that the taco al pastor had pineapple in it. I do not know what part of Mexico that is from, but that is not what I had in Mexico City or Cancun. And that is not how the local taqueria makes theirs either.

I decided on a torta al pastor. Sandwich with the chopped cubes of marinated seasoned pork, tomato. lettuce, avocado, queso fresco, jalepeno, minus beans and onions. I cannot eat Mexican street food without drinking a Jarrito (the only soda I drink since I usually ask for water).

What I like about Papi’s -the atmosphere – it is a cute place with a lot ambiance and character. The walls paintings are bold and colorful. There is Spanish music (salsa, bachata, merengue) playing that makes you want to get up and dance.

The food was okay. I did think they were stingy with the jalapenos. If you never ate real Mexican food at the house of somebody’s abuela (translated grandmother) or at an authentic restaurant (the local Mexican restaurant that serves tortilla chips before your meal does not count) where someone’s abuela is the cook (she will not think she is a chef), you might think Papi’s is awesome. If you do not want to venture into the barrio (translated ‘hood) for $1.75 tacos, Papi’s is your place for tacos and tortas.

In any other case, you will probably think like me. I thought the flavors were muted. Toned down for a different palate. Do not misunderstand me. I think that Papi’s is a nice place to eat. However, for me, there are more traditional, bolder flavors at other Mexican restaurants.

You may go for the Mexican food, but (to borrow terminology from my hubby)….

Montagues- my favorite restaurant in Greenwood SC

I have come to realize that Montague’s is my favorite restaurant in Greenwood. As much as I would like to say, I like all my local restaurants equally, when it comes to fine dining, my go to place is Montague’s.

While all of the waitstaff and crew do a fantastic job, I think that TJ’s efforts over the past few years have done a lot to change my perception of the restaurant. I used to think that Montague’s was a stuffy place with an air of pretentiousness . cave_snooty.gif

In retrospect, I was rating the restaurant, not based on my own experience, but on what I knew of type of people that frequented the restaurant. I am glad that I saw the error in my judgment. My taste buds are delighted like this. tumblr_m1rkzpHj1n1r6aoq4o1_500.gif

There is a seasonal menu as well as some restaurant favorites. There is also a weekly menu feature that the chef creates based on what ingredients are available. He uses a lot of produce from local famers. I think that is one of the reasons why the flavors are so rich and complex. While I could probably do a post a week about the different dishes I have ordered, this post highlights some of my favorite dishes over the past 6 months.

You will be able to tell from my food selections that I like trying new things. If you have not been to Montague’s, I think you owe your tastes buds the experience. Prices are comparable to chain restaurants like O’Charleys and Outback but the food is way better.
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When I go to Montague’s, I try to get there by 5:30- 5:45pm so that I can get at least one or two drinks at Happy Hour prices. Happy Hour is from 2- 6pm. House liquor drinks and cocktails are half off and there are specials for beer and wine as well. I usually do a screwdriver, pineapple+vodka, cranberry+vodka, or skittle-tini. Nothing fancy, but something to begin the evening. If it is Wednesday (Ladies’ night), then I will split a bottle of wine with a friend. Select bottles are half off all night. Rufino Pinot Grigio (pictured below) is one of my favorites because it is light, fruity and goes well with fish and chicken.

While I am sipping on my drink, I mull over the weekly menu features. So many options. If only my stomach was bigger.  tumblr_m9obwoK6VF1rcfputo1_500.gif

Hands down my favorite dish EVER at Montague’s was the BBQ salmon (BBQ sauce was more like a tomato gravy) over mashed potatoes. This is comfort food at its best. The salmon was perfectly cooked so that the meat was tender and moist. The tomato gravy was a little sweet with a hint of onion flavor. The handmade mashed potatoes were firm enough to be the proper conveyance for all the gravy. Mmm mmmm mmm. Just looking at the picture makes me reminiscent for that tomato gravy.

If you ever see the Scallop mac and cheese on the menu, you should order it. Chunks of scallops and creamy cheesy goodness. What else to you need?

If you like fried green beans (yes that is an actual dish), then you will love fried broccoli. It is the same concept. The broccoli is tossed with flour seasoned with salt and pepper and then fried (I’m guessing that is how it is done). The broccoli still has some firmness and crunch. Best way to get my daily serving of veggies.

I ordered the potato fritters on night because I was curious to taste the sweet relish. This was not the standard relish you might get for your hot dog. This was classy. It tasted freshly made with sweet peppers. The light vinegar helped to balance the fried potatoes. If you like vinegar with your fries, you would have definitely liked this. If you never tried vinegar with your fries, you are missing out.

The stuffed pork chop with green beans and mashed potatoes was good. This is a tasty dish but I do not have that much to say because I am still dreaming about the salmon with tomato gravy.

Bacon wrapped monkfish with fingerling potatoes was also quite tasty. But then again, bacon wrapped anything is good. This was my first time having monkfish. I like the texture, as it is firm white meat. The flavor is mild and paired well with the bacon. Although, I was too stuffed to eat all my fingerling potatoes, they were delicious too.

Last but not least, spinach artichoke dip is my go-to appetizer when I do not want to try anything new. A bowl of hot, creamy spinach artichoke dip is full of chunks of artichoke hearts. I love to eat marinated artichoke hearts. Having them swimming in cheese and spinach only makes it better. The tortilla chips are fried to order and lightly salted. Can you tell I am a fan? Team spinach artichoke dip.

Taco Boy- Charleston SC

Taco Boy – Charleston, SC

Taco Boy is an upscale taqueria in Charleston South Carolina. I say upscale because the tacos are about $4 each. This is far, far from the $1.75 that we are used to paying for tacos.

Prices aside, the tacos were pretty good. My usual order is a taco al Pastor (pork taco) but if I am paying four dollars, I want something special. I ordered the Baja fish taco and the grilled fish taco. The fish was flakey but firm enough to hold up to being in a taco. The cabbage was crisp and added crunch. I also got a side of Mexican street corn and tres leches (three milks) cake for dessert. Mexican street corn is cooked corn on the cob with mayo and cotija cheese (hard, crumbly Mexican cheese). This side dish is one of the few ways that I will eat mayo.

Their tres leches cake was OUT OF THIS WORLD. I felt like I was in Mexico eating at someone’s abuela’s (grandma) house. Tres leches cake is a sponge cake with has been soaked with 3 types of milk: whole milk, heavy cream, and sweeten condensed milk. And it is topped with whipped cream and cinnamon. This was worth the trip alone.

Taco boy has a lot going for them. They are serving quality ingredients. This is not mass-produced, frozen food. The flavor combinations are true to their Latin roots but with the modern, bold twist. I thoroughly enjoyed the food and the laid-back atmosphere. As you can see from the pictures, we sat outside. We went in October and the weather was nice. Not too hot or too cold.

I thoroughly enjoyed myself. On the other hand, hubby was grumpy.

  • Was there a problem with the food? No.
  • Was there a problem with the table service? No.

His complaint was that there were “too many hipsters”. Plus, he balked at the $4 per taco price tag. In his defense, our local taqueria makes tacos that are just as delicious and half the price (although they do not offer a fish taco).

In defense of Taco Boy, I will also say that I have finally found a fish taco I like this side of the East Coast. Paying four dollars beats a plane trip to California in my opinion. I have been known to travel for food.

I once went to Vegas for cake…but that is a story for another time.

It is true that hipsters have been known to mess up a good restaurant. Hipsters find a “hidden gem”. Bring all their friends and then the quality of the food begins to decline.

As long as Taco boy keeps their high standards of food preparation, they should be okay.

 

Hard Apple Cider

I do not like beer ***GASP!!!***

Yea, I said it. I’m not a beer drinker and I have tried plenty trying to find one that would suit my fancy (but that’s another post for another time). That being said, when I go out with friends during Happy Hour, I was tired of sipping my high dollar wine when they had $1 beer specials. I needed to find something that was not as expensive for a social drinker as myself.

Enter hard apple cider. ~~applause, bells, and whistles~~

My first taste with hard cider was Woodchuck. Of this brand my favorite is the Pear. Woodchuck is the least expensive that I have found. I can get it on tap or in a bottle at many bars around $3. The flavor is crisp with a little bite to it. The flavor profile is simple. I can taste the fermented flavor, a hint of apple, and not much else.

The prize for my favorite hard cider is a tie between Windy Hill Rusty Gold and Somersby Hard Cider. Both have extremely different flavor profiles, but are really yummy in their own right.

Windy Hill Rusty Gold is very complex with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange peel. The aroma hits the nose and the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and orange peel dance on your taste buds. This is definitely a sipping cider because you need time to reflect and savor all the different flavors. Since I am all for local owned breweries, distilleries, and the like, I am always happy to support locally owned businesses like this. They are located in Rock Hill, SC (about 3 hours from where I live). I plan to head up there and take a tour of their farm when I get some free time.

As complex as Windy Hill Rusty Gold, Somersby Hard Cider is supremely simple apple flavor. Somersby Hard Cider is as smooth as they come. I often wonder if Somersby Hard Cider is sparkling apple juice. It has the fizz and the cider flavor is so light, that it is an easy to drink beverage. I have to restrain myself from drinking too fast because of the alcohol content. Have I mentioned how smooth it is? I love it! The negative about Somersby Hard Cider is that it is hard to find in the bars around town. I would prefer Somersby Hard Cider to Woodchuck. The positive about Somersby Hard Cider is that it is a great drink for garden parties. It is light, smooth, and refreshing.

Are there any hard ciders that you suggest I try? I am open to new ones and will let you know my opinion of those as I try them.

Flemings – Austin TX

I was in Austin, TX and a group of us wanted to go out for dinner. Since half of the people did not have cars, we decided to go somewhere close to the hotel so that we could walk.

As a side note to this restaurant post: Austin downtown is a great city for walking around.

We asked each other? What do we want? Chinese, Italian, Tex Mex, Steakhouse, Japanese, Thai, Indian? Of all the delicious sounding choices, we finally could agree on going to a steakhouse and the concierge suggested Fleming’s.

When we walked in, the hostess asked if we had a reservation. We did not. We wondered if this would be a problem. Thankfully it was a Wednesday night, so the place was not very crowded. We had to wait about 20 minutes and our group of 10 was seated. I thought that was quick considering the fact that we were a large group.

Once seated, the waiters brought warm bread for us to snack on while looked at the menu. I probably could have filled up on bread (as usual).

As always, when I am hungry I want everything on the menu. I ended up ordering the Caprese salad (Tomatoes, mozzarella, basil with balsamic reduction) and small plate lamb chops (cooked medium rare of course) with fried polenta. Someone ordered a bottle of Canyon Road chardonnay for the table. The caprese salad was so good, I used some bread to sop up all the balsamic vinegar and olive oil. The lamb chops looked small, but were filling. The seasoning was simple- salt and pepper – so the natural flavor of the meat were enhanced. I am not a big fan of polenta in general, but this was tasty.

The Canyon Road chardonnay was a fresh, light tasting wine that, for my taste buds, went well with the Caprese salad. I do not usually drink white wine with red meat, so I did not drink any of the Canyon Road chardonnay with the lamb chops. I think red meat’s stronger flavors overpower white wines.

I was a member of the “Clean plate” club this night. I could not stop until it was all gone. By the time I finished my food, I was too stuffed for dessert. The whole reason I ordered the small plate was to be able to get dessert!

Fleming’s is a great choice if you are looking for a steakhouse in downtown Austin. The food was delicious and perfectly prepared. I could tell that they used high quality ingredients. The chefs prepared everything to our expectations. Nothing was overcooked or under-seasoned. The service was stellar. They had personality and made sure we had everything we needed. Plus, they offered thoughtful recommendations based on our taste preferences. The prices were comparable with Ruth Chris or Sullivan’s.