drinkin’ on the job…bonjour et bonsoir!

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New year, new TALK Greenville cocktailin’ adventure..

We are true fans of almost anything “française”, so Bonjour Crepe on Main Street has been on our “to-do” list for quite a while.  We had visited for lunch and brunch to partake in their authentic, to-die-for crepes, but we had not given cocktail hour a try…and you know that’s our thing!  We paid Mayra and her team a visit to get the scoop on what’s happenin’ behind the bar, and we were très content…even en extase!  Read on for our faves and more…

Bonsoir mes amis…

Mama always said, “don’t judge a book by its cover”.  Well, unless you are “in the know” (and consider yourself as such as of now), Bonjour Crepe might sound a bit like a daytime-only go-to, but don’t be fooled.  The dinner menu at this lovely little place is truly divine!!  Start with the charcuterie and then go for the scallops (in a saffron orange sauce – yum!), the peppercorn steak, or the très français Escargot Bourguignon…or any of the other outstanding dinner selections.  Trust us, bells will be ringin’!

As for the behind-the-bar action…

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK

The bubbly classics…Kir Royale & French 75 …

We started our tasting with two mainstays in the champagne cocktail arena. The Kir Royale is simple yet inspired in its elegance. Balance is key here, and these bartenders add just enough crème de cassis to achieve perfection. Created by the French as a festive cousin to the Kir cocktail with Nazi resistant wine, the Kir Royale will have you declaring “vive la resistance”! But the bubbles don’t stop there! The French 75 is another winner with the addition of gin, lemon juice and sugar. While the Italian aperol spritz has enjoyed more buzz in recent years, the French 75 is front and center here…and for good reason. Santé!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK

The French Martini…

We belles learned a little something on this adventure as we had never heard of a French martini – shocking we know – but we can all use some enlightenment now and then. This is where you see the alchemy behind the bar and a twist of creativity. Made with vodka, chambord and pineapple juice then filled to the brim with champagne this drink hits a new level of modernity. We loved the citric and floral aromatic elements of this magic potion. We are thinking you will too!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK

The New Fashioned…

Fondly known here as “Emilee’s finisher”, this boozy beverage might go down in history. As a twist on the basic old fashioned, this mouth-watering combination of Makers Mark, cherry liqueur and chocolate bitters will have both the experienced and novice bourbon drinker singing its praises. With its hint of chocolate added to the caramel notes of the bourbon, it makes the perfect last cocktail of the night -thus, the finisher

A mouth-watering masterpiece – photo from Bonjour Crepe

Never a dull moment…

Mayra and her team like to keep things interesting, so they are a threat to bring in a belly dancer or two!  Guests love their “Arabian Nights” (that’s where the dancers come in), and they do “Boozy Bingo” on Sundays along with bottomless mimosas for brunch and “ladies nights” on the regular.  Be sure to follow along on Facebook or Insta for details on what they have up their sleeves next!

Open every single day, this “crepery & more” is ready and waiting for you!

Bonjour Crepe . 20 South Main Street . Greenville . 864-509-1090 . @bonjourcrepegvl

Cheers! Alex & Angi

drinkin’ on the job – celebratin’ with bubbles

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Here’s what we have goin’ on in TALK Greenville this month…

From Foxcroftwine.com/greenville

Who’s ready for a new year, a fresh start, a hard reboot?? We are for sure! As we enter the final month of this terribly topsy-turvy year (finally, right??!), we are ready to pop some corks and let the bubbles flow! We sat down for a little tutorial a few weeks back at a Champagne masterclass at Foxcroft Wine Co., and came away with a fresh supply of the sparkly stuff – all chilled and waiting for the celebration to begin!

a delightful “accident”…

Believe it or not, ol’ Dom Pérignon spent much of his life trying to kill the fizz in his wines! Wines produced in the Champagne region of France (the only wines that get to be called Champagne with a capital “C”) have the natural tendency to bubble, but early French wine makers saw this as a major drawback…a sign of wine gone bad. The English actually took a liking to the sparkles, shipping barrels across the channel in the early 1600’s, well before the French realized they were onto something – and we are so glad they did!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

Pierre Moncuit “Delos” 2006…

It was a privilege to taste this 2006 Grand Cru which is comprised of grapes from only that year. The 37-acre Moncuit operation started producing champagne in 1860, and they pride themselves on their custom balancing (no stiff, stuffy formula here) for flavor and character. We belles love anything custom, so high points for making us feel special!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

Lilbert-Fils Blanc de Blancs

This delicious creation comes from a small vineyard (only 8 acres) that began producing champagne in the 1700’s – so they certainly have experience on their side! Using exclusively Chardonnay grapes, they produce only 2500 cases per year, so it was a special treat to sip this broad, well-rounded, yet fresh and ripe result. We especially enjoyed the smaller boules or bubbles that tickled our tastebuds. One word of advice…once the cork is popped and this lovely champagne is exposed to air, the aroma and taste change dramatically; so be patient, give it a swirl, and enjoy every sip!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

Jacquesson No. 743…(our FAVE!)

This is the champagne that Napoleon took along as an “essential provision” on his many campaigns, even taking it with him on his ill-fated invasion of Russia, thus introducing Moscow to the merits of the bubbly elixir.  In fact, on his visit to Jacquesson in 1810, Napoleon awarded them with a gold medal in recognition of “the beauty and richness of its cellars”. With a change in ownership in 1990, Jacquesson has continued that award-winning tradition. (Don’t we all love a winner?) With this kind of stellar reputation, consistency is key, and they’ve got it figured out -just sayin. And if it’s good enough for the Emperor, it’s good enough for us! 

some champers trivia…and a challenge

When the clock ticks down at the end of this month…putting the final nail in the coffin of 2020…we will most definitely be celebrating with a bottle (or a case)!  Conveniently, December 31st happens to be National Champagne Day, after all.  Here are a couple of interesting facts about the sparkling elixir…. First, there are approximately 49 million bubbles in the average 750ml bottle.  We will take their word for it!  Second, the longest flight of a cork on record is 177 feet.  Our challenge to you…see how far you can make one fly (responsibly, of course) at the stroke of midnight as you welcome what we hope and pray will be a healthy, prosperous, harmonious 2021!

Thanks to the folks at Foxcroft for the education and their extra-special hospitality.  Stop by and let them show you around their collection of wines (with and without bubbles) and stay for a bite – you will not be disappointed!  They sure know what they are doing.  And our special message to you…we wish you all the happiest of holidays and a very happy brand-spankin’ new year!

Foxcroft Wine Co . 631 S Main Street . Greenville . 864-906-4200 . foxcroftwine.com/greenville

Happy, Happy!! Alex & Angi

drinkin’ on the job…at an urban legend-in-the-making

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Check out our latest cocktailin’ contribution to TALK Greenville…on stands (and online) now!

Our fair city never ceases to amaze us! While these past few months have been challenging to say the least, we continue to witness greatness in the making in the cocktailin’ & culinary business. Our most recent discovery…recent newcomer Urban Wren Winery. We had been hearing lots of hoopla about the food, the drinks, the vibe – so we had to go check it out for ourselves. One recent afternoon, we sat down with Nick (owner) and Eric (GM and resident sommelier) for a chat and some sips & samples. It was quite the belle-ringin’ experience!!

bottle heavy…

Eric certainly knows a thing or two about the world of wines, and he has curated a list with a world focus.  He set out to create a “sense of place” for folks from near and far, accomplishing his goal with wines from six of the seven continents (impressive!). Stop by for a glass (or a bottle) from his collection – and stay tuned for news on some eventual wine-making action!

While we were tempted to have Eric choose his favorite bottle for us to savor, we just had to show the bartenders some attention. They did not disappoint! Here are three of our favorites…

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

The White Negroni…

The sophisticated yet cool atmosphere of Urban Wren lends itself to this upscale classic. A large, single cube tinkles in the glass, a soaked cherry enhances the look, while the blend of Lillet Blanc and Suze create the perfect balance of strength with a soft finish. “Simply divine, make it mine”, your tastebuds will cry! It’s the perfect starter drink before what is sure to be an incredible meal.

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

Papa Don’t Peach…

Woodford Reserve and grilled peach simple syrup combine to enhance the smokiness of this beverage as it is smoked “en place” to add a touch of drama. This delightful creation smells like a warm fire and a cozy conversation, yet the flavor is subtle. Papa can preach all he wants as long as we can have one of these in our paws!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

Mango #5…

This delicious concoction, garnished with pickled cactus and lime, is refreshing, well-rounded, balanced and sure to keep you and your palate intrigued. We are fans of a good, smoky Mezcal, but the smokiness in this case is perfectly tempered by citrus juices, a delicious mango puree, roasted poblano, and honey. Perfection!

Photo from urbanwrenwinery.com

gettin’ lofty…

As if the beautiful indoor bar & table seating and patio space weren’t enough, Urban Wren has even more room to “social distance” and celebrate in their special events loft! They host their own larger gatherings with wine tastings and culinary/mixology classes; but it’s also the perfect space for small-ish wedding receptions, rehearsal dinners, birthday gatherings, corporate events…you name it, they can do it!

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALK Greenville

get social & have a nibble…

The bar at Urban Wren is front & center, just waiting for guests to slip in and join the conversation.  And bring your appetite, because the bar bites are not to be missed!  We highly recommend the to-die-for lamb tacos and the mobile charcuterie (a Tuesday evening treat) with a heavy dose of their witching sticks, but you can’t go wrong. Gather your gang and book a table for dinner to get the full experience.  Bon appetit!

Urban Wren . 116 N Markley Street . Greenville . 864-626-6336

urbanwrenwinery.com

Cheers!! Alex & Angi

drinkin’ on the job…it’s five o’clock somewhere!

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Check out our latest cocktailin’ experience for TALK Greenville…currently in the September edition…

from reids.com

There’s a new kid coming to one particular Main Street block, and he’s creating quite a buzz! Reid’s for Fine Foods will soon be completing its overhaul of the former Caviar & Bananas space on Laurens Street (just off of Main) in downtown Greenville for its first South Carolina location! Our friends up the highway in Charlotte have long sung its praises…and now we can get in on the action!!

It’s Five O’Clock somewhere…and other goodies

Reid’s iconic Five O’Clock Crunch…from reids.com

Over the years, we have been the recipients of many a container of Reid’s now-iconic “Five O’Clock Crunch”…much to our delight (and obsession)! While they offer this delectable snack mix and many other private-label offerings, Reid’s is a fully-stocked specialty food market and restaurant with all the bells & whistles. With a full-selection meat counter, deli, cheeses and wines galore, you’re gonna need a bigger basket!

And they not only stock some of the hottest wines out there, they go to great lengths to create their own private-label wines that have become major crowd-pleasers!  We sipped a few…read on…

Reid’s Chardonnay…

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALKGreenville

Smooth, refreshing, and easy-going, this is a white wine that even the most staunch red drinker can embrace.  The grapes for Reid’s Chardonnay are selected when ripe and bursting with flavors to fashion a  rich, bold, luscious wine that then rests in used French oak barrels.  Marci’s Reserve has a unique creaminess that flourishes with stone fruits kissed by delicate lemony notes.  Its long, lovely, vanilla finish makes it irresistible.

Reid’s Pinot Noir…

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALKGreenville

This is a crowd-pleasin’ red!  While the Chardonnay is the white wine for red-drinkers, this is the red that the die-hard white-wine-drinker could fall for. Fruit flavors, structure and minerality are the key components in this Pinot Noir.  Layered in flavors driven by Bing to black cherry, rhubarb, and Reid’s signature spice component, it has incredible dimension and depth.  The subtle minerality enhances its structure providing its exceptional ability to pair with almost any food.

Leyla Rutherford Bench Cabernet Sauvignon…

Photo by Nathan Gray for TALKGreenville

This is a beautiful wine, folks…from start to finish!  Made from vines grown in the complex soils of the famous “Rutherford Bench” in Napa Valley, it bursts with the aromas and flavors of dark cherry and plum.  These generous flavors take center stage on the palate, while cinnamon, clove, and dark chocolate gracefully add a layer of complexity.  The integration of French oak and fine-grained tannins complete the taste of this incredibly elegant creation.  We want to keep this one flowing…beggin’ darling please, Leyla!

Burger Tuesday and more…

Photo from Reid’s

“Burger Tuesday” has become a cult-favorite in Charlotte, so we know where we will want to be on Tuesdays from now on!  And there will be something to draw fans throughout the day, every day.  From coffee and breakfast offerings to “hand-built” sandwiches & salads for lunch to the seventy-five seat wine bar (and the potential for live-music at times), we might just need to move in! 

If you drop by for dinner, you can grab a wine off of the shelf and enjoy it with no corkage. (Beer & liquor drinkers, take note…they have you covered in that area as well!) And as they have done in previous stores, they will be offering fully-prepared holiday meals for your home-dining pleasure. Just plan to order early!!

Photo from Reid’s

Opening is currently scheduled for mid-October, but check out the website (reids.com) for all the latest news (and sign up for their daily updates while you are at it). The Greenville location will be similar to the Myers Park store in Charlotte, so take a look at their menus and other offerings if you want a preview of things to come. Hours are currently slated for 7 am – 10 pm, so once they cut the ribbons and open the doors, you have no excuses!

Reids for Fine Foods . 1 North Laurens Street . Greenville . reids.com

drinkin’ on the job…getting patriotic

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Check out the latest installment of our cocktailin’ adventures for TALK Greenville – this time at a socially safe distance from others in our own backyards..

Time to get creative, folks! This year’s 4th of July celebrations will likely be a bit different from years past. That blasted covid bug has thrown quite the wrench in even the best laid plans. But that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little fun. We might just have to create it ourselves! Well, we are here to make a few suggestions – especially in the area of refreshing beverages, wink wink. We searched, tested, tasted, and scored some of the best patriotic creations and are excited to share the fruits of our labor!

Lake Toxaway – July 2019

Fun Fourth Facts…

– In 1776, there were just 2.5 million people living in our new nation…that’s less than half of South Carolina’s current population (and that’s before 2020 census numbers)

– Around 150 million hot dogs are consumed on July 4th each year (those dogs can stretch from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles more than five times).  Joey Chestnut continues to do his part!

– Each year Americans light about 200 million pounds of fireworks – most of which are imported from China to the tune of around $250,000,000 (that’s a lot of Benjamins up in smoke)

No matter how large or small your crowd might be – or what’s on the menu – these boozy red, white & blue creations will be a sure hit!

Strawberry Ginger Smash

Strawberry Ginger Smash

One of us is all about her brown liquor – and the other is quickly becoming a convert – so this creative cocktail is right up our alley!  Strawberries are soaked in bourbon, grated ginger, chopped mint and a dash of amaretto until ready to serve (they will keep for a couple of days in the fridge).  At drinkin’ time, drop some soaked berries in the bottom of your glass, muddle a bit, add ice, a shot of bourbon, and finish it off with ginger beer.  Fruity, savory, and slightly sweet…this is one well-rounded concoction!

Blueberry Mint Fizz

Blueberry Mint Fizz

Gin, Bai Brasilia Blueberry drink, lime and mint come together in this slightly tart, light, refreshing stunner.  We just love a gin fizz, and this one – because of the no-sugar Bai – masquerades as a slightly more diet-friendly version.  Again, some of the work can be done ahead – one of our favorite entertaining tricks!  Combine equal parts gin, the Bai, and a squeeze of lime in a pitcher or jar, store in the fridge until ready.  When ready to drink, shake with ice and strain into glasses, topping each off with a dash of sparkling water.  Toss in some frozen blueberries to pretty it up (and keep it cool).  Perfection!

Revolutionary Jello Shots

Revolutionary Jello Shots

This just might be the pièce de résistance, folks! Not only are these shots super cool to look at, they are just plain boozy fun! Made with vodka-spiked blueberry jello and congealed cream (again, vodka-spiked), these berries are unbelievably irresistible – and quite potent, we might add. Be sure to keep an eye on the little ones. While it might look like a kid-friendly treat, it’s most definitely for grown-ups only! (Get the recipe at tablespoon.com)

Challenge accepted, dear Covid. There just ain’t no stopping us! In this time of corona-fueled uncertainty, we have continued on our constant quest for thirst-quenching delights! We are always more than happy to create or taste new cocktails, after all. Now we challenge y’all to use your imagination and treat those tastebuds to something new. And come time venture out full-force, imbibe vigorously (yet responsibly) to support our local barkeeps.

Have a happy, safe holiday, belles!! 😘🇺🇸🇺🇸

drinkin’ on the job…sippin’ sangriahhhhh

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Our latest TALK Greenville contribution – currently in the June issue…

Well…it has certainly been an interesting couple of months to say the least! “Social distancing” and “sheltering in place” caused quite a few unforeseen challenges – especially in terms of our drinkin’ habits! On one hand, we have been far less social lately with no big weddings, galas, or other shindigs to attend. On the other hand (for some of us), staying home with nothing else to do for weeks on end has driven us to drink a bit more than usual. A belle needs something to look forward to…just sayin’.

We thought we would share what we have found to be an excellent way to drink up any wine you might have left in the cellar…with the potential to serve a crowd (if we ever get to serve a crowd again!).  And – it just happens to be perfect for those hot summer days to come.  Sangria!

First – a bit of history…

Sangria started out of necessity centuries ago as wine, fruits, and spices were mixed into bacteria-filled water.  That little touch of alcohol made the water safe to drink…and the fruits and spices made it tolerable.  The Spanish named it “sangria” (blood) because of the red wine they were using.  These days, under European law, all sangria must be made in Spain or Portugal – but the very best sangrias are made right in your kitchen!

Red, red, sangria…

This is perfect for those who might be trying to avoid too much sugar (can you say quarantine 15?). This particular version uses lemon, lime and orange juices along with agave nectar to add just the right amount of sweetness with a bit less guilt. It sits it the fridge overnight – or you can keep adding to it for weeks on end so that you never run out! Raspberries and sparkling water are added at party time for a surprisingly balanced sweet, savory & fruity elixir.

  • 1 bottle red wine
  • 1 lemon (cut into wedges)
  • 1 lime (cut into wedges)
  • 1 orange (cut into wedges)
  • 1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar
  • 2 cups sparkling water (club soda)
  • Pour the wine into a pitcher. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, lime and orange wedges into the wine. Toss the fruit wedges into the pitcher (leaving out the seeds if possible). Add the nectar and stir well. Chill overnight. Add sparkling water and raspberries before serving over ice.

Everything’s coming up rosé…

It’s actually hard to drink rosé ALL day – well, for some, but not all of us! This sangria might make it a bit easier! Simply pour a bottle of dry rosé into a pitcher and add lime juice, sliced strawberries, lemon-lime soda and a bit of sugar. Cut several mint leaves into thin strips and add to the pitcher for a savory, herby touch. The result is a crisp, slightly sweet refresher that is sure to be a crowd-pleaser (again…if crowds are a no-no, just pretend you have friends around and down the whole thing yourself – no one would blame you!)

  • 1 bottle dry Rosé
  • 1 cup strawberries (sliced)
  • 4 cups lemon-lime soda
  • 3 limes (squeeze juice of two limes, keep one lime thinly sliced)
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons mint (fresh)
  • Gather the ingredients. Place sliced strawberries, lime juice, sliced lime and rosé in a pitcher. Cut the mint into thin strips and add to the pitcher. Add the sugar and soda, stir, and serve.

Instant sangria…

In these crazy times, we sometimes need a cocktail that is immediately available to wet our whistles and calm our nerves. This delightful instant sangria only needs a few ingredients and a little freezer time to be ready at a moments notice. Simply freeze blended fruit and ginger ale in ice trays and keep them on hand. Drop them in your favorite red or white wine, stir for a quick bit, and you are well on your way to a refreshing respite from this other world we’ve been living in. And bonus points here…the kiddos can enjoy the little ice pops right from the freezer!

  • 1 lemon
  • 1 lime
  • 1 orange
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 1/3 c sugar
  • 2 cups ginger ale
  • 1 bottle wine (red or white)
  • Peel the lemon, lime, and orange, removing the seeds. Put the citrus fruits into a blender with the raspberries, strawberries, sugar, and ginger ale. Blend all of the ingredients (except the wine) together, until it is “slushy.” Pour the slush into ice cube trays and freeze. When the mixture is completely frozen, pop the cubes into a plastic freezer bag and keep frozen. At drinkin’ time, pour yourself a glass of wine and plop 3 to 5 Sangria cubes into the glass. Stir and enjoy!

Grab a pitcher and a bottle of wine (your choice) and get busy! We are here for you, belles!!

a&a

local lovin’…shopping edition

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Time to show some local love, belles!!

With all this “sheltering in place”, we are sure thinking of our local business owners and how they must be missing their shoppers!! We couldn’t help but wonder…what on earth can a belle do to help??

Well…we can keep shoppin’ – online, on instagram, by FaceTime, or just a quick call. There are all sorts of ways to break down those “social distancing” barriers!!

We checked with some of our favorite local merchants (and did a bit of shopping ourselves while we were at it) to give you the how-to on scoring some of their spring/summer goodies right from the comfort of your own, personal quarantine spot!

At Monkee’s of the West End one of us scored this cute little number…

The Cherry Dress from Celia B at Monkee’s

You can view Monkee’s inventory (shoes, accessories, clothing, vintage…) and purchase online for pickup at the store or have your goodies shipped. And…at the moment, shoppers get 20% off online purchases, so click away , belles!!

At Twill, we found an excellent assortment of jeans, accessories, and cute summer tops including several like this one by Xirena

The Eden shirt in white from Xirena at Twill

Twill has everything up and running on their website as well, so purchases are super easy! Just click, purchase, done. They offer pick-up, local delivery, and shipping – no excuses.

Muse Shoe Studio is also worthy of some lovin’!

We are all about these cuties…

From Pedro Anton at Muse

They are posting their wares on instagram @museshoestudio and have regular shop hours (Mon – Sat 10-3) to answer calls and fill orders! PLUS…they are also offering 20% OFF all shoes!!

Here’s the “how-to” for quarantine-shopping at Muse…

Next up…Savvy Greenville! Another one of our faves and certainly worthy of some love and attention, Savvy also has their online shopping experience down pat!

One of us nabbed this breezy number

Halsey Vintage Floral Dress in antique white by Pink Chicken at Savvy

We all need a little “retail therapy” as they say!! Savvy is offering free shipping over $100 – so get busy, belles!

Augusta Twenty is also ready and waiting with an excellent online shopping experience! We are all about some Ulla Johnson and they have quite the selection!!

But, why not elevate your lounging look with this kimono by Spell & the Gypsy Collective…

The Hendrix robe from Spell & the Gypsy Collective at August 20

Hop on Augusta Twenty’s website and have some virtual fun!

And downtown, Coleman Collection is full of all kinds of goodies! Jennifer’s website is fully functional and just waiting for your clicks!

And we are diggin’ some of her Coleman Collecton Private Label items like this fun, fancy baby…

One day, we will have the PERFECT event for donning something this fancy…we promise!! (as we sit in our pj’s at 5pm these days)

And for the fellas…

Rush Wilson is a must-do while you are clicking away!

They are offering “virtual shopping” by appointment and “RW Direct” with items curated with the discerning shopper in mind, posted online and ready for purchase (take all or just one or two of the items)…

Above…shirts from H Goose, and Duckhead chinos

Rush has someone always “manning” the store, so get in touch! They would love to hear from you and help in any way!

We know…we know…there are MANY more shops to cover! We will get to them and work to send some clicks their way as well!

For now, you have your shopping work cut out for ya!

a&a

stay fit, healthy & cute while remaining at home

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Hello, stay-at-home belles! While we haven’t been out hitting the stores as much lately – nothing can stop us from some valuable online shopping-

Our latest favorite is from Splits59. The Icon sweatpants are the bomb! They hug you in all the right places but give you the freedom of movement at the same time. A belle can look good and feel good at the same time – just sayin!

How cute -right?!

Available at Shopstyle

Love, love, love

a&a

drinkin’ on the job…wining and dining at Northampton

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from northamptonwineanddine.com

While we are always up for a good cocktail (duh), we took a step away from the hard stuff again this month for our drinkin’adventure, spending a leisurely afternoon with Richard DeBondtat Northampton Wine and Dine. Tucked away under the Church Street bridge near downtown, it’s one of our favorite haunts!

 

from northamptonwineanddine.com

History and experience…a winning combo

The original Northampton opened in 1975 (same year disco arrived on the scene for a bit of trivia) and has been going strong ever since – with a couple of location changes. Richard and Robert Warth were working at Sonny’s Steak House out on Wade Hampton way back then.  Sonny’s had an incredible wine list which sparked their interest.  They opened their own shop, and the rest is history. Richard and David E. Williams own and run the current version with a few more bells and whistles thanprevious iterations.  Still stocking that impressive array of wines, they have been serving up fine food and even selling liquor for nearly 20 years now. Obviously, they know a thing or two about this biz.

As for the drinkin’ part of this assignment, instead of highlighting three different wines – because personal preference is the name of the wine game  we thought we would give you three different reasons to visit this old-school gem…

 

photo by Nathan Gray

By the glass…

 Need to take a quick afternoon break – or occupy yourself for a couple of hours when “consumption” is an option?  There’s a seat at the bar with your name on it.  On any given day, Northampton will have 20+ bottles lined up for your by-the-glass choosing.  And these are not just any old wines  or their attempt at cost-cutting.  Their pour-on-demand bottles are chosen based on their merits and highlight some of the very best of each variety.  It’s like all your favorite candies in a row, just waiting to be savored!

photo by Nathan Gray

You do you

One thing that David and Richard like to focus on in the wine-purchasing area is finding and offering the best of what each distinct wine region has to offer.  They choose to purchase from vineyards who do what they do really well, producing the latest, greatest wines that represent and highlight the nuances of theirarea. Not everyone needs to attempt to produce a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, or any other variety, just because it might sellkind of the “you do you” of the wine world!

photo by Nathan Gray

20,000 and counting…

Walk in and take a gander.  Those cubbies are stocked to the gills with over 1600 different wines…that’s around 20,000 bottles on hand and ready to be enjoyed!  Stop in and give them an idea of what you might be cravin’ – they’ll have it.  Purchase by the bottle to enjoy with dinner on-site or take it home – or stock up on a couple of cases!  And if you need some coaching, they offer 50-80 wine tastings each year (almost every Friday). We can all stand to learn a thing or two!

The Hot Chili Seafood – from northamptonwineanddine.com

Dine with your wine…

Whether you’re just popping in for a quick bite on the more casual “bar side” or you’re looking for some fine dining on the more “formal” side, you will not be disappointed with their from-scratch, first class menu.  And if you want to bring a real crowd, their private room seats up to 40!  Regardless of the size of your party, the wine makes it more intimate.  The sharing of a bottle – and the chatter surrounding it – just brings folks together.

Open every day except Sunday, Northampton definitely has its “regulars”, but they are always happy to make new friends!  And one special note for this month in particular…it’s a great spot to consider when planning that romantic evening with yoursweetheart come the fourteenth – hint, hint.  

Northampton Wine and Dine . 211A E. Broad Street .  Greenville . (864)271-3919 www.northamptonwineanddine.com

drinkin’ on the job…somethin’s brewin’

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From thomascreekbeer.com

This month’s cocktailin’ adventure involves no fancy flourishes or complicated concoctions.  We headed out to visit Terri and Tom Davis at Thomas Creek Brewery for a super relaxed brew-tasting experience…and ended up with a surprise or two.  One of us has simply never developed a taste for beer…and has, therefore, never, ever drunk a whole beer in her life.  Well…never say never!  This chick got her brew-groove on in a big way and is now totally on the Thomas Creek band wagon!

When bacteria is your friend…

So what could cause a non-beer-drinkin’ gal to fall in love with what – for all intents and purposes – is a “beer”? Terri, in all her infinite brewing wisdom and experience, explains that dedicated wine drinkers are usually the biggest fans of a good sour.  A sour is made with wild bacteria and yeasts, while beers are made in sterile environments with specific yeast strains.  Thus, in this case, bacteria rocks!  Dedicated beer fans tend to enjoy the unusual flavors in a sour while those who typically don’t take tobeer at all are pleasantly surprised by its kinder, gentler side.

We did some sampling…here’s how it went…

 

Photo by Nathan Gray

Feelin’ Berry Peachy…

This beer is the lightest of all our samplings. It’s important to note if you are tastetesting, start with this one or you won’t be able to taste its subtle undertones. A touch of blueberry adds some tartness, peaches add a sweet nuance and there is a hint of saltiness on the back end which we thoroughly enjoyed.

 

Photo by Nathan Gray

Okusamathundaluka…

This nitro’s name means cherry in Zulu. True to one of these belles South African roots, it was an obvious choice both in name and flavor. Distinct but not overpowering, hints of cherry come to the forefront as you sip this creamy, delish, surprisingly dark creation.  The name came a long time before the actual brew. We can firmly say this one was worth the wait!

 

Photo by Nathan Gray

Sour IPA…

Third up on the agenda was the Sour IPA which is a pretty doggone perfect brew!  It melds a sour and an ipa in a very balanced fashion..no easy task in the brewing business. This beer (along with pretty much any beverage on the menu) would be perfect with what claims to be the worlds best Reuben (the key is a mix of pastrami and corned beefwhat else would we expect from these masters of blending?). 

Photo by Nathan Gray

Deep Water Stout…

The Deep Water Stout was the last, but in no way the least, masterpiece we tasted.  Folks often equate a dark beer with a very heavy finish and a strong bitter taste. Not here!  Roasted barley is what makes it a stout with a slight hint of coffee flavor. Malt creates the color and adds no bitterness. We found this to be our surprise favorite of the lot, but they are all winners in our book!  (And our book is getting pretty big…just sayin)

Photo by Nathan Gray

What’s cookin

After operating Thomas Creek for a full 20 years, Terri and Tom decided to take it a step further in January of 2019 with the opening of their kitchen.  Now they are serving up some pretty substantial nibbles to accompany the brews!  We are saving up on our calorie and carb counts so that we can treat ourselves to “Peggy’s Poutot’” (tater tots topped with cheese curds and brown gravy) and maybe a pizza or two. And if the smoker is goin’ the chopped pork is to-die-for!!

Whether you are heading out there for a quick sip or planning an event, don’t hesitate for even a sec!  Their indoor and outdoor spaces work beautifully for casual events, and they are almost always open.  No excuses…just go!

Open Sunday 1-8pm and Mon-Sat 10am-8pm

Thomas Creek Brewery . 2054 Piedmont Highway . Greenville . (864)605-1166 . thomascreekbeer.com