Our latest TALKGreenville contribution…
Give them a try asap!!
Once again…we have a “must-go” for ya in this month’s TALKGreenville magazine cocktailin’ spot. If you haven’t ventured over just yet, El Thrifty is the happenin’ watering hole du jour – er..del dia! This Mexican-inspired cantina, bar and all-around fun spot is located on the Swamp Rabbit Trail just a quick skip from downtown Greenville; but it feels like a world away…a place to unwind and escape the hustle and bustle.
Wanna come out and play?…
El Thrifty has a bit of entertainment for just about any crowd. It’s basically 10,000 square feet of indoor/outdoor “playground” with games like shuffleboard, cornhole, billiards and ping pong just to name a few. And you’ll want to check the schedule to keep track of live music and other entertainment options (like the throw-down they have planned for National Tequila Day – July 24). You don’t want to miss a single bit of the fun!
While the young and young-at-heart play their little games, the grown-ups can have some entertainment of their own…of the liquid variety!
Made up of tequila blanco, mezcal, lemon, agave, apple cider and ginger beer, Juanita is a light,refreshing number who will steal her way into your heart quickly and smoothly. The fizz makes her fun while the cider provides a tart balance to any unnecessary sweetness. We made fast friends with her and can hardly wait until we meet again!
A brilliant mix of reposado mezcal, passionfruit, fresh mint, agave, lime, a touch of habanero, El Matador is smoky, sweet, tart and spicy all at once. The tastebuds will be singing una otra máspor favor. One is just simply not enough. Word to the wise…this is highly addictive!
This beverage isn’t on the menu, but we are here to spill the big secret! El Thrifty’s twist on the classic margarita is good to the very last drop. A nice dose of jalapeño adds just the right bit of heat to remind you it’s summertime…but the remaining ingredients come together to provide pure, unadulterated refreshment. Knowledge is power…so be in the know when you go!
This is a beautiful, refreshing non-alcoholic concoction…but since we discuss cocktails, may we suggest adding tequila to kick it up a notch? Well, we just did…just sayin’. (They’ve actually gotten this request before, so it will come as no surprise and they will be happy to oblige.) Orange hibiscus adds a distinct, light flavor that still has some zip to it. You won’t be disappointed when you sip on this one…Pablo is muy fresco!
Although many of us will be perfectly happy working our way through el Thrifty’s cocktails, the purists will be blown away by the “neat” list. They have quite the collection of tequilas and mezcals, and they serve them with flair. A refreshingly delicious house-made sangrita (we could just sit and sip it alone!) accompanies the tequila while the mezcals are served with orange and “sal de gusano” (translation…salt of the worm) which is a rather surprising taste-thrill. Go figure!
Our significant others have never really thought of us as the “thrifty type”, but we might have a surprise in store for them. They are gonna have a hard time dragging us away from el T!
El Thrifty . 25 Delano Drive . Greenville . 864-232-2053 . elthrifty.com
There’s a whole new beehive in town, and it’s quite the colony – with two hotels and one buzz-worthy restaurant, Oak and Honey. Just a couple of blocks off Main Street at the corner of Spring and Washington, the restaurant is located at street level in the building housing the Residence Inn and Springhill Suites. What better way to give the visitors in our fair city a little taste of what Greenville has to offer?
Traditional with a twist…
The “new American cuisine” at Oak & Honey is decidedly fresh and local. Sourcing as much as possible from as close as possible is the name of their game. From the house-made honey bourbon beef jerky with roasted South Carolina peanuts to the charcuterie with local cheeses, the menu offerings give a hearty nod to area farms, hives and distilleries.
And the “bites” aren’t the only items on the menu to get the local treatment…the craft cocktails get their own unique twist! We invite you to feel the sting!
Honey I’ll Be Home Late…
The name alone deserves accolades in our not-so-humble opinion! It just makes you smile…just sayin. And when you order your second round, you’ll smile even brighter! Absolut Elyx vodka, Aperol and lemon bring a tart element while the ginger honey and peach bitters lend a tangy aspect to this drink. Together they create the ideal adult sippy cup of a concoction. Presented in a honey bear glass, this is the ultimate comfort cocktail, no matter how old you are!
Oak & Smoke…
In keeping with the establishment, this beverage is defined by its name. With its oakiness and smokiness, this one sips like a very sophisticated, grown-up drink. Wild Turkey Rare Breed, Angostura Amaro, and lemon maple bitters are the key characters, but a generous slice of orange peel hits the nose before the tongue, making it very clear that even a small part can make a big impact. Sipping and savoring is the mood for this one.
Party of 2…4…6…8… – or 20…
Super-convenient to the Main Street foot traffic, Oak & Honey is the perfect spot to duck in for a quick drink and a bite. But there’s more! Because they are in the building with hotels, they have quite a bit of event space and can cater to a crowd. Big birthday dinners…they can do that. Weddings or rehearsal dinners…check. Bar or bat mitzvahs…you bet! Perhaps we just made your planning a smidge easier!
What…you might ask…do the iconic red-bottom shoes have to do with this cocktailin’ experience? These folks are brilliantly in touch with a generous portion of the female persuasion and their (er…our) attraction to “the shoe”. At each visit, patrons are invited to put their name in the bowl for a monthly drawing for a pair of Christian Louboutins. The pair of the month is proudly on display so that we can keep our eyes on the prize. Again…brilliant!
Welcome to the land of Oak & Honey!
Oak & Honey . 200 East Washington Street . Greenville . 864-720-2900 www.oakandhoneygvl.com
Angi Einstein and Alex Ryan . http://www.therarebelle.com
Another TALKGreenville cocktailin’ adventure is on stands now in the April issue…
As luck would have it, a last-minute dining excursion with one significant other lead to this month’s cocktailin’ experience. Driving down Main Street and trying to come up with something “new”, Encore…a Gastrolounge caught our eye. We had seen it before, but had not had the chance to visit, so here was our chance…and we are so glad we took it!! They had the hubby at “Lollipop Lamb Chops”. Of course, they had this particular wifey (considering her cocktailin’ history and their mind-blowing craft cocktail menu) at “Hello”.
When it comes to beverage options, owners Heather and Elizabeth aim to please. From their extensive wine and beer options to the epic craft cocktail selection, they pretty much have your “beginning” covered. But the fun doesn’t end there! Flip the menu over to discover your “happy ending” options. So…you have some decisions to make. We did our best to sample as many as possible and to give you some guidance. Tough job, but someone had to do it!
The Ruby Bell…
Being belles ourselves, we couldn’t resist this decidedly southern moonshine cocktail. The Ruby Bell features Belle Isle Ruby Red moonshine, a dash of Cointreau, a smidge of Parma pomegranate liqueur, a dose of fresh lime juice and a splash of soda served with a custom-created garnish of sugared dried pineapple so beautiful that we thought it was a flower. These gals know how to entice the eye as much as the palate – which inevitably creates an irresistible beverage!
There’s a reason they say “frosé all day” – because it’s really that good…and this establishment has upgraded it to another level! Time to, as we like to say, practice some spring “adulting.” Tito’s, sparkling rose and strawberry simple syrup come together to create just the concoction you need to while away the days that are finally getting longer.
Drink your dessert…
And now for the “happy endings.” Cool your jets with some bubbly mixed with a scoop of housemade sorbet in the “Sorbogne”. This cocktail is a beautiful, boozy way to refresh your palate! And last but not least…the “Encore”! This is a drink worth sipping and savoring. Housemade Nutella vodka and hazelnut liqueur create the most perfect chocolate martini…and the perfect ending to the evening. We believe there are a few occasions when it’s well worth drinking your calories and this is one of those times. Believe us when we say you won’t regret having to put in a little extra exercise the next day!
Two smart chicks and their gastro-hit…
Because this is not their first rodeo, Heather and Elizabeth know a thing or two about the food & beverage biz. They call themselves “front-of-the-house bar people” (they also own on the Roxx – right next door), but they have honed their back-of-the-house skills as well. We tasted the proof! From the Duck Fat Fries and brussels sprouts to the Roasted Duck Breast and aforementioned lamb lollipops, this was an epic gastro experience.
Plan ahead so you don’t miss out…
Pop in for Happy Hour Tuesday-Friday for special drink pricing and half-off the Duck Fat Fries…and don’t miss Ladies Night on Wednesday (half-price wine) and the live music on Thursdays. And whether your party is 2 or 10, they will reserve your table (see Open Table for more).
Now that you have the 411, it’s time to plan your visit. We are ready for our encore!
Encore…a Gastrolounge . 732 South Main Street . Greenville . 864-520-1618 . encoregreenville.com
Our latest TALKGreenville contribution has hit stands…
We stumbled upon a new charmer…all handsome, warm and well-versed in our favorite fermentaitons…conveniently ensconced on Main Street. Foxcroft Wine Company pretty much had us at hello! We had been briefly introduced in Charlotte a couple of years back (owner Conrad Hunter has two locations there), but now that we can visit right here in Greenville on the regular, good luck luring us away!
A wine shop with some major bonuses…
Foxcroft offers a plethora of ways to enjoy the juice. Looking for a great bottle for your drinking pleasure at home? Take a stroll through the place and pick a bottle or two (or go all in with a case). Want to enjoy a bite and a bottle? Grab one off the shelf, have a seat, order a nibble or two, and enjoy…sans the typical restaurant mark-up. Can’t make up your mind? They have 40+ wines on tap, ready for some sippin’! You can choose to have just a taste, or a half-glass, or go for a full glass if one really tickles your fancy.
The Chappellet “Mountain Cuvée”…
This particular vin is a beautiful blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot which – if you ask us– is practically perfect in every way…the Mary Poppins of wine! It is smooth and well-rounded on the palate and has some weight without being too heavy. This one is a great choice to sip while enjoying some of the fabulous nibbles Foxcroft has to offer.
Crémant de Bourgogne…
We are always downright delighted to sip on some bubbles. This sparkling gem left us wanting more…so we did…just sayin. A flirty, frisky, fresh option that is not too sweet and just the right amount of dry, the Cremont was the perfect glass of fizz. We would pick this bubbly when it’s time to celebrate something special…but, frankly, we would pick it when celebratin’ nothing at all! It’s a winner any which way you look at it!
Frank Family Chardonnay…
We are sending a most appreciative thank you out to the Frank Family for creating this delightful white wine. While a Chardonnays can often be acidic and have too much of a “tooth”, this one has the exact opposite taste. It is creamy, mild and buttery, making it the perfect option for an easy afternoon beverage.
One of everything please…
Here’s the real bell-ringer…Foxcroft is far more than just a “wine company.” The menu is to-die-for! We were blown away by the choices coming out of the kitchen and had a heck of a time deciding what to try. We went for the ricotta and truffle fries (our guilty pleasure), but could have ordered one of everything. And the beautiful part of it all…the menu is especially designed to be enjoyed with just about any bottle in the place…no special pairings needed. Their philosophy – “eat what you like, drink what you like”.
Open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am – 11 pm, and on Sunday from 5-10 pm, Foxcroft is ready and waiting for you!
Foxcroft Wine Co . 631 S. Main Street . Greenville . 864-906-4200
Our TALKGreenville cocktailin’ excursion this month took us to the most perfect little neighborhood spot in the Hazelwood area of Haywood County, North Carolina…”the Gateway to the Smokies”. Ashley Owens, owner of Bourbon Barrel Beef & Ale, graciously welcomed us to her delightful establishment with cocktails ready for sippin’ and nibbles ready for nibblin’. “Blown away” would be a very mild way to describe our experience!
Bourbon, bourbon, and more bourbon…
No surprise here…with bourbon in the name, there’s pretty much a guarantee you’ll find some interesting brown liquor drinks on the menu! While the fine stuff is so often enjoyed neat, Ashley isn’t afraid to toss a shot of Basil Hayden or Bulleit into a killer cocktail. In fact, all three of our featured libations have a healthy dose of the brown stuff. That’s right up our alley!
The BB Bloody Mary
The first in this trifecta of bourbon concoctions is a real taste thrill…a Bloody Mary made withBasil Hayden! Spiced up a bit with a touch of Absolut pepper vodka and garnished with bacon, pickled okra and olives, this bloody is a belle’s sure cure for a crazy Saturday night…or a good start to any easy Sunday morning. #nobetterbloody
The Classic Old Fashioned…
A classic is never a bad idea, and this one is genius in its simplicity. Bulleit Bourbon is the anchor in this strong, consistent, reliable comfort-in-a-cup. Need something you can count on? The old-fashioned is your answer. Just sayin’ #bourbonistheanswer
The Blackberry Bourbon Smash…
If you have a hankerin’ for a beautiful beverage inside and out, the smash is the coveted elixir in this threesome. Knob Creek bourbon is the star of the show here; however, the fresh muddled blackberries, orange zest, sparkling water and a garnish of fresh mint and blackberry certainly earn their spots for best supporting ingredients. #smashitlikebourbon
Though we have gone heavy on the bourbon here, we can safely say that even a non-bourbon drinker will be delighted with the other options available on the cocktail menu. In fact, Ashley has gone to great lengths to call attention to her other specialties with “Margarita Monday”, “TiniTuesday”, “Wine Down Wednesday” and the ale-focused “Throwdown Thursday”. Cheers!
About those nibbles…
All this drinking can get your appetite up, and we were more than delighted to try some of the local fare. Amazing is an understatement- elegantly plated, delightfully portioned and only the freshest ingredients make the dishes worthy of any gourmet’s palate. The fried oysters were heaven and the French onion soup was magnifique. Not to be outdone, the firecracker shrimp and fried green tomatoes were positively scrumptious, and we are still dreaming about the roasted pepper, artichoke and feta dip as we headed back down the mountain!
We were quite charmed by this little neighborhood as well as the greater Waynesville/Haywood County area! Nestled in the mountains with the Blue Ridge Parkway weaving through, there is an abundance of mountain-inspired activities to keep the whole family busy. And at only an hour-and-a-half from downtown Greenville, it’s just a hop and a skip. Well worth the visit in our opinion! Take a peek at what the Haywood County Tourism Development Authority has in store for you! #haynow
Bourbon Barrel Beef &Ale . 454 Hazelwood Ave . Waynesville, NC .
828-452-9191 . bourbonbarrelbeefandale.com
We took a little Asian adventure for our TALKGreenville cocktailin’ outing this month – Otto Izakaya on Main Street in Greenville – and we learned a thing or two! First, we now know what an “izakaya” is. It’s an informal restaurant/bar-type establishment found all across Asia, so the term totally fits this fun little sushi/Asian-fare place! Second, we learned a new purpose for pickle juice (more on that later). And third, we discovered that Katelin, the bar manager, and her trusty sidekick, Aaron, really have this cocktailin’ thing figured out!
sake that knocks your socks off…
Katelin and Aaron love it when people scoot up to the bar and ask about the sake selection – especially when they have it stuck in their head that they don’t even like sake! Otto Izakaya boasts quite an extensive sake list, and as they say, there is something to suit all tastes. And stay tuned…sake tasting dinners are in the works, so follow @otto_izakaya2 on Instagram for the skinny on the plans!
We have been motivated by the margarita of late, and much like white jeans, it can now be a year-round indulgence! (so we indulge…and so should you. Just sayin). This lychee version hits very high marks with a Souza cucumber chili tequila, Cointreau, lychee syrup, fresh lime and a splash of sour, topped with a salted rim. Strong but not over-powering, this is a great cocktail for any time.
Nail in Hibiki’s Coffin…
A simple drink can be just the right the answer to a long day and this one made with Hibiki Japanese whiskey, Drambuie, and bitters blooms on the tastebuds and makes the drudgeries of the day disappear. The robust whiskey is softened by the bitters, and the citrus livens it up a bit…making this the ideal drink for the manly man, the girly man, the girly girl or manly girl…so go for it!
44° North Huckleberry vodka, Parma pomegranate liqueur, fresh lime juice, jalapeño simple syrup, a splash of cranberry and a floater of sparkling wine create a festive and fancy beverage. Who doesn’t get perked up with some bubbles? This is any easy way to while away the evening and is a guaranteed pleasure to sip.
The “Dickle & a Pickle” and its shotto friends…
Some clever names like the “Dickle & a Pickle” and the “Tickelback” really caught our attention in the “shotto” section of the menu. (this is when we learned that little lesson about pickle juice)Basically, these two clever creations are shots with a pickle juice chaser…and the result is mind-blowing! So much so that we took the combination home and have been introducing it to all our nearest and dearest! The Dickle & a Pickle features George Dickel whiskey while the Tickleback features Hornitos Plata tequila…and the sting of both is obliterated by the pickle juice. Why have we not known this little trick all along??
With a menu featuring the usual sushi-bar faves along with some surprises (hello, Banh Mi Sliders and Izakaya Fries), Otto Izakaya has the fix for just but any craving of the Asian persuasion. And no worries if the craving hits a little on the late side. They keep the kitchen hoppin’ until 12:30 am (with full menu) and the doors open until 2! Now that’s what we callaimin’ to please – day and night! Go now – and later – and later.
Otto Izakaya . 802 S Main Street . Greenville . 864-568-5880
otto-izakaya.com . @otto_izakaya2
There’s a new kid in town…and she brought some boom magic with her! Tacozzini is the new happenin’ spot in the heart of the Augusta Road area that by all accounts is both “awesome and unexpected”…owner Amy Rinkowski’s definition of “boom magic”. It’s the perfect spot to duck in after some holiday party-hoppin’ for a relaxing end to a hectic day (or maybe you need a mid-day pick-me-up…a respite from all the shoppin’…just sayin’). While Amy has had her hands in the restaurant biz for quite a while, this is the first “baby” of her very own…with a menu created in her very imaginative head where tacos and pizza sit side-by-side, and hand-crafted cocktails get their own unique spin. We like where she’s goin’ with this!
And speaking of those hand-crafted, inventive cocktails, these folks are adamant about a full 2 ounce pour with the spirits and carefully–measured ingredients to ensure a consistent product every time! We just love precision in cocktailin’!
Buchi Hibiscus Tea
All of the handcrafted cocktails here are simply divine. They use only the highest quality ingredients, insuring that you can get a simply-done, tasty beverage without all the fluff that masks any inferior product. With the holidays upon us, it’s vastly important to look out for ourhealth and the Buchi Hibiscus Tea will save you from all the excess of holiday partying. Made with Buchi peach and ginger kombucha (which all by itself is a taste thrill…just sayin’), Tito’s vodka and a hint of hibiscus, this is the perfect answer for all those into health and well-being. You just can’t go wrong with this one!
Amy and her husband married in Belize, and on the marriage license he is identified as a bachelor while Amy is documented as spinster (defined as an older woman well past the suitable age for marriage – which by the way is a hoot, as there is nothing old or unsuitable about this firecracker of a gal!) She decided to pay homage to this quite hysterical Belizian memory with this bit of R&R in a glass. Rum Haven coconut rum (which is made with coconut water) is blended with fresh pineapple juice, a hint of bitters and a dash of simple syrup creating the ideal cocktail to melt the stress away.
The Mango Habanero Margarita
We haven’t tasted a margarita this good in a long time…maybe ever! The flavors are subtle – muddled mango, just a hint of habanero, plenty of lime and Lunazul tequila (which is very good – 100% blue agave – but you can get “top shelf” if you prefer). Even those with tender tastebudswill appreciate the nuances of this well-balanced, muy deliciosa cocktail!
tacos-n-pizza…a marriage made in foodie heaven
These aren’t the pizzas you get in Italy or the tacos you get in Mexico…trust us! These are mind-blowin’, foodie versions that kick the old classics out of the water! With a focus on flavor and freshness, every bite is a feastin’ fiesta (or festa in italiano). And, just to one-up your basic pizza once again, Amy found the very best cauliflower crust as a nod to her gluten-free guests, but – to her surprise – it’s flying out the door faster than the regular crust. We are hard-core fans!
Open for lunch and dinner every single day…yes, even Sunday and Monday…Amy might get tired of seeing us! It’s just too easy to belly up to the bar to enjoy our favorite beverage alongside our current obsession, the Greek Street pizza, or perhaps something off the “not-so-secret secret-menu” (you MUST ask!) and call it a day.
A resident of the neighborhood herself, Amy wanted a casual, kick-back kind of place where locals could gather, visit, watch a game, and grab a bite & a beverage without an ounce of pretense. Mission accomplished! #boommagic
Tacozzini . 1818 Augusta Street, Suite 120 . Greenville .
864-568-9289 . tacozzini.com
We took a quick little trip up to Travelers Rest for this month’s TALK Greenville magazine cocktailin’ excursion…and hit the jackpot at Hare & Field! Not only did we come away with four new favorite cocktails created by Tara, the resident liquid master; we pretty much ate our way through the menu as well…thanks to sweet Melissa (“directory of culinary creations”)! Chris & Katie Williamson began their culinary adventures in TR with Farmhouse Tacos, but they quickly realized the need for something more…somewhere to “get a good, hot pretzel and a beer”. Well, they hit the nail on the head – and beyond – with this little gem of a gastro-pub!
What’s in a name…
You might wonder where such a name might have originated…we asked the question and got the answer! The “hare” is a nod to the Swamp Rabbit Trail which happens to run right past their front door. The “field” refers to the abundance of fields supplying the local and “gamey” fare found on the menu…from fresh produce to duck, rabbit, quail, and more! Clever!
“The Last Word”…
They’ve picked the perfect name for this cocktail as it really raises the bar – enough said. Served in a stemmed glass with a slice of dried lime, it’s a beautiful sight. A bit of egg white adds a touch of frothiness and an element of viscosity. A bit of salt to counteract the sweetness and some pepper to spice things up a bit create the perfect balance. The chartreuse adds a lovely complexity (it contains 130 herbs after all) really making this the umami of cocktails.
The “Barrel-Aged Sazerac”…
This full-bodied libation will have you feeling autumn in every way. It’s the perfect sipping drink, simple and straightforward with an orange peel garnish. The flavor of the absinthe shines through, and even the color reminds of a beautiful fall day. So make a game-time decision and order this drink…it’s a sure winner! BTW…did you know the Sazerac is alleged to be the oldest known cocktail? Classic!
“The Salty Pumpkin”…
Move over Starbucks with your pumpkin spice latte…it’s time to get a boozy version, and Hare and Field is just the spot to place your order. This beverage features Six and Twenty Carolina Cream, vodka, Paradox coffee, and salted caramel…and is topped off with a chocolate cigarette (no nicotine here!). It would even make the perfect dessert drink. So lighten up and liquor up!
all hot & twisted…
We couldn’t NOT talk about the pretzels!! Katie and Chris wanted a place to get a good pretzel, so they created it…and searched high and low until they found the perfect Bavarian pretzel to fit the bill. Beautifully browned on the outside and heavenly on the inside – with just the right amount of salt – these twisted little beauties come with a side of house-made beer cheese and the best mustard ever! Forget your carb restrictions just this once…they are worth it!
Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday – Saturday and for Sunday brunch, you have lots of opportunities to pay H&F a visit. Take a bike ride out to TR on the Swamp Rabbit Trail for a day visit…or drive out for a less “active” experience for an evening out.
Hare and Field . 327 South Main Street . Travelers Rest . hareandfieldkitchen.com