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…
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!
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!
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
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
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.
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!!
The latest installment of our TALK Greenville cocktailin’ adventures…
Photo from Basil – Greenville
Now that we are through the holidays, we are reflecting on our eatin’ (and drinkin’) habits. While we might have thrown caution to the wind for the last few weeks with lots of celebrating with friends and family, we have decided that a bit of discernment might be in order. Fresh, healthy food is on the agenda…as are drinks with a little somethin’ extra…some redeeming qualities if you will. We found just the ticket, folks…at Basil in downtown Greenville.
Options galore on the menu…
Vegan? Vegetarian? Pescatarian? Full-on carnivore? Basil is happy to accommodate! All of their dishes can be tailored to suit your needs and tastes. Even the “heat” can be adjusted. While it was confirmed to us that “Thai spicy” here in the states doesn’t really hold a candle to the heat you might get in Bangkok, they can tone it down for even the wimpiest of wimps when it comes to spice tolerance. Have it your way!
The Basil Lime Martini
Sleek, sophisticated, simple and sexy defines this beauty of a martini. If you are a martini connoisseur, then you’ve just discovered your holy grail…and it will rest deliciously in the winner’s circle every time. A mix of fresh basil, vodka and hand-pressed lime juice, this concoction is shaken at least twenty times to achieve the perfect balance of flavor and, of course, just the right amount of chill. #shook
Mix your metals…The Gold Rush and The Angry Mule
We belles are not afraid to mix our metals…in fashion or in our fortified drinks. The Gold Rush (of course, one San Francisco native belle loves this one) is a wickedly delightful combination of Bulleit Rye, Domaine de Canton (a ginger liqueur), and fresh lemon juice that will warm you all the way to your tootsies. And not to be outdone, The Angry Mule in its copper mug is the perfect order for those of us who might not be winter weather lovers. Let your winter grumbling dissolve as you sip and savor the saucy and spirited nature of this power-packed cocktail. Careful though…this donkey with an attitude just might kick your ass!
Photo by Nathan Gray
Pineapple…for that much-needed dose of Vitamin C…
Pineapple-infused Bacardi Limon Rum, fresh mint and lemongrass syrup become one of the best mojitos that we belles have ever tasted. This house specialty has been a Mojito Challenge winner several times over. And what a perfect way to start off the new year! The pineapple is a great antioxidant and reduces inflammation, the generous pour of vodka will kill any lingering germs, and of course…the mint will keep you feelin’ fresh. This drink falls in perfect line with all your healthy resolutions!
While brothers Henry and Chai Eang have hit it big in several cities with their “refined Thai cuisine” (with locations in Charlotte, Charleston, Columbia, Mt. Pleasant, and Ballantyne), each place has its own identity. You can’t miss the hundreds of elephants adorning the Greenville locale. And the “floating” lotus garden above the bar sets the tone for a truly impressive Thai experience. They are open for lunch Monday through Friday and for dinner every evening…and the happy hour specials are not to be missed! But they don’t take reservations, so just head on in…and tell ‘em the belles sent ya!
Basil . 9 North Laurens Street . (864)609-4120 . eatatbasil.com
Angi Einstein and Alex Ryan – www.therarebelle.com
Our latest TALKGreenville magazine contribution…
We decided to honor the 200+-year tradition of Oktoberfest for this month’s cocktailin’ adventure, paying a visit to our dear German friends at Schwaben House on Laurens Road in Greenville. This annual beer-party-and-more typically begins in mid-September and runs until the first weekend in October…meaning that you still have time to celebrate, folks! Schwaben House has you covered. Prost!
Don’t be shocked by the impressive “head” on your German-poured beer. Although Americans tend to frown upon this frothy foam, a true German would disagree. We all know that taste is dependent on smell…and the smell is in that bubbly top! Without that proper head, you lose half of the beer-tasting enjoyment. And, any German will tell you…if your beer doesn’t have that foamy collar, your glass must be dirty or the beer is flat. Nicht gut.
We certainly don’t promote inappropriate touching, but if you’re offered a kiss on the lips here…say yes! Served in a sugar-rimmed champagne glass and a healthy dose of sweet confetti, this concoction will have you begging for another. Comprised of vodka, raspberry sorbet and Sangue de Guida (an Italian wine with a touch of fizz) it’s sure to tickle your fancy.
It’s down right delectable, delightful and addicting….just like a good kiss on the lips! In fact, it will have you falling for more…just ask Angi!
The Washington Apple…
This fresh, crisp, fall-worthy drink tastes like you’ve been apple-picking without the labor but with all the reward! Bird Dog Whiskey is the main ingredient here and for good reason…it is one of the most intriguing whiskeys we’ve tried. We thoroughly enjoyed taste testing it neat! Add a touch of cranberry juice and some prosecco and you have yourself amazing taste thrill. Served in an artsy martini glass with a slice of fresh apple…well now you have autumnal perfection!!
It’s all in the glass…
Yes…the glass used for your beer does matter! Different beers require different classes. While a Weizenbock reqires a Weizen glass, others might require a pilsner, chalice, snifter, tulip, stein, flute, stange, pint, or even an oversized-wine glass. Do your homework, folks. Or maybe just go let Schwaben House do it for you!
With the weather finally on the brink of being decent, you might want to book a table on Schwaben House’s “biergarten” patio. This space is a German oasis just waiting for folks to enjoy a cold beer and das fressen (that’s chow, baby). And if you want our two-cents, we recommend you try the potato salad (made fresh every morning), the soups, and the salmon…and just about anything else that tickles your fancy. It’s all good, freunde!
We’ve been hittin’ the bottle again for TALKGreenville…check it out in September’s issue!!
If you’ve been around Greenville for a while, you might remember Campbell’s Pharmacy…where prescriptions could be filled but the soda fountain treats did a far better job of perking you up than any ole pharmaceutical could! If you never had their orange-ade, well bless your heart. But, that old location has a new occupant, The Common Cure Bar + Brill, with lots of “over the counter remedies” to cure what ails ya.
Our kind of cleanse…
The “Cleanser” is not to be missed! We tasted the Rum Haven coconut rum as one of us has claimed she’s not the biggest fan of coconut-flavored liquors. Well, a girl can change her mind. It was so clean, crisp, and refreshing we’d drink it on its own! But why do that when you can actually “cleanse” with it? Layered with flavor, this concoction combines the Rum Haven with cucumber juice, strawberry, soda and a float of Myers Rum. A cleanser a day keeps the doctor away…just sayin.
The Pusser’s Painkiller…
Back-to-school doldrums be gone. This cocktail is the perfect remedy. This is a true painkiller…just like in the islands…as it’s made using Pusser’s Rum (a must for it to even tout the name). Add a bit of pineapple juice, orange juice and cream of coconut…almost there! The sprinkle of nutmeg floating on the top assures all your summertime vacations and island-hopping memories stay fresh while you adjust to back-to-school reality. This liquid concoction wants you to feel no pain…so sip slowly. You don’t want to be overprescribed!
The Common Cold…
A spoonful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but ice cream and bourbon make it a whole lot easier to swallow! September can be rife with those pesky summer colds and can also still be sizzling hot…but this grown-up treat sooths and cools you in just the right way. A classic vanilla milkshake so thick it hurts your cheeks trying to get it through the straw along with a healthy dose of Bulleit Bourbon and crumbled bacon make this the perfect answer when you need to keep your cool.
While perusing the menu at The Common Cure, one might be curious as to how the DCD Burger got it’s name. No…it’s not an acronym for certain ingredients (like a BLT). There’s only one “D” ingredient…and that’s the Dragon sauce. We got the scoop for ya. It’s a special burger concocted by a group of dads who have been dubbed the “Dark Corner Dads”. They are regulars who tend to gravitate to the corner booth when they are in residence. So try their burger (it’s awesome), but don’t try to take their seat!
The “Cure” truly is a “come as you are and bring the kids” kind of place…no high brows to be found. And there is something to please everyone on the menu. Choose from a long list of starters (try the “Hog Wings”…smoked pork shanks), a wide variety of sandwiches and salads, and a “fry” to satisfy almost any craving (waffle fries, shoestring fries, sweet potato fries, and onion rings). Trying to lay off the carbs? Any sandwich can be served as a lettuce wrap. Low-carb heaven! We are glad to say that this place is in our very own ‘hood. But even if it weren’t, it would be worth the trek.
drinkin’ on the job…somethin’s brewin’
We headed into Greenville’s hip West End Water Tower District for this month’s “drinkin’ experience”…landing with the cool birds at Birds Fly South Ale Project. We could not believe how cutting-edge we felt as we pulled into this up-and-coming area that was all aflutter, much to our surprise and delight. Owners Lindsay and Shawn Johnson welcomed us to their uber-chill nest of ale activity…and we nest-led right in. You will want to do the same!
First, about the name. Lindsey and Shawn, both with Southern roots, spent years on the fly with the Coast Guard but were always lookin’ to head back South. When the opportunity presented itself, they flew right in and settled in Greenville…thank goodness! Shawn’s passion for beer took root and the rest is history. They make craft beer with a “throwback approach” saying, “we don’t make beer, we wait for the beer to tell us what it wants to be”. We were quite impressed with how smart beer is these days!
Sip and Savor…
Our first foray into this ale-tasting was a surprisingly colorful array of brews. After perusing the vast menu and making some picks, we were presented with a group of 4-ounce pours to sip and savor…giving us the chance to pick a fave or two. Rustic Sunday was one favorite with its hint of rye and golden color, while Anchorage was perfect for a neutral, classic palate. Other offerings ranged from a dark and earthy brew called Parachute to Joos Raspberry with a strong element of fruit (the wine spritzer of beers if you will). Across the board, Shawn’s creations did not disappoint!
Brand New Eyes and Petite Blanc…
We had a tie for our “blue ribbon” award! While this place had us looking at everything with new eyes, Brand New Eyes was a delight for our feminine tastes. Citrusy, mild, smooth and mellow, it’s the perfect sipping ale for a warm day. And Petit Blanc locked us in and kept us wanting more. Because we are foodie-centric, we were particularly pleased with this wine-infused ale. Talk about elevating your average beer!
Keep on truckin’…
The Johnsons keep a steady schedule of local food trucks pulling in for their patrons’ nibbling pleasure, and they bring in live music to keep the crowds entertained (beyond beer, music is another of Shawn’s passions). If it happens to be a quiet afternoon/evening, pick up a game (Cards Against Humanity, anyone?) and have some fun. Their “urban farmhouse” is designed to inspire conversation, exploration and sharing.
If you have not discovered the West End Water Tower District, let us fill you in. The area is home to an old cotton warehouse now known as Hampton Station. Birds Fly South, and their neighbors (which will soon include White Duck Taco) have taken the area up a notch or two. Seems we had been missin’ out on where the cool kids hang out. Now that we have found it, good luck keepin’ us in the city!