Monthly Archives: December 2014

The Belmont – Charleston- SC

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My first bar experience in Charleston and I was already being introduced to cultural norms and local lingo. While I’m all up for a crash course, I couldn’t seem to wrap my mind around the name “The Belmont”. For some reason I wanted to call it Belford and a bunch of other Bel-things. It’s a great name, but my mind wouldn’t accept the fact that it was the same name as the horse track in New York. I saw the Belmont stakes once…It was all downhill once a horse fell injured and the big white screen rolled out. Thankfully no gunshots were heard and the poor lil bugger was pulled away on a flat bed for mending. PeanutPimpMama was all tears…

 

The Experience:

266I saw a complete transformation on King st. from Thursday night to Saturday night. I really liked the calmness of when I first arrived compared to the weekend buzz of the younger folk. (That’s how PeanutPimpMama knows she’s getting old.) The Belmont has a really cool art deco-ey entrance which makes the dimly lit interior look pretty intriguing through the geometric cut glass. It’s like walking into a 1920’s inspired kaleidoscope world of cocktails.

265The bar has a visibly extensive selection of liquors and liqueurs of which to imbibe. The bartenders were super welcoming and attentive…You can’t drink them “tho”.

256Their menu offers an extensive cocktail list of enticing mixology using various spirits to accompany impressive charcuterie you can order in sets of two, four or six servings. Had we not eaten dinner I would have loved to take advantage of their offerings. Even the homemade pop-tart sounded tempting! Now that’s a comfort food that hasn’t been revisited yet. I do believe a pop-tart would bring me right back to the fifth grade. Mmm I can still taste the blueberry one with a nice tall glass of cold milk while watching an afterschool episode of “Bobby’s World” (Babby’s World).

257My cocktail (a spicy one of course) arrived accompanied by a pickled green bean. I knew I was in the south because I hadn’t seen the likes of that kinda green bean since N’awlins in 2011. I was tempted to keep ordering but I had to save some moneys and room for the coming days.

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Then it happened… We ordered a shot of Fernet, “one shot two ways.” I was so confused and quickly needed my friend to translate. She explained that you can share shots in South Carolina and it’s socially acceptable. No no really the bartender doesn’t hate you for it! The local fascination with Fernet seems to be somewhat of a phenomenon to me. As it turns out San Franciscans are also in love with this beefy lil liqueur that was even featured on Thrillist.com (a PeanutPimpMama Fave.) After sipping it (a first for PeanutPimpMama) I understood why this one shot might be had “two ways,” although really just one way, split in two. It has quite the earthy taste to it, with a minty herbal finish that leaves your nose in a bit of a twist. It’s an acquired taste (at best) and so rich that you only need a couple of sips for the rest of your life as this digestif is heart, mind, body, and soul-warming. You’ll never need to turn on your heat again… I promise.

 PeanutPimpMama Sips and Sips and Sips…

~PPM

For More Information: www.thebelmontcharleston.com

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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Chez Nous – Charleston- SC

PeanutPimpMama1-300x300When you go through my phone gallery there are no pictures of faces, just food and the occasional dog-baby. Recently some people saw this and laughed about how their galleries were the same as mine and that “basically my life rocked for it”. I knew I was in good company. (wink*) Whether I’m obsessing over eating or obsessing over abstaining, I think about food non-stop. I have a lot of friends on the same page and feel like food has been the biggest common ground in any of the relationships I’ve had. Chances are if I have a friend that is not into food, we are not that close since food seems to be the drug that brings people together in my world.

 

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I recently visited my friend Robin, author of Good For the Palate (food blog) pictured above. I met her back in 2007 when we were both studying in Paris. Now a dear friend and huge fellow foodie enthusiast, she inspired me to start blogging and has hosted me in two different cities. After college we were lucky enough to galavant through NYC once or twice. Then in the summer of 2010 she introduced me Annapolis, MD (known for their drinking city with a sailing problem- har har). It was there I enjoyed my very first crab in over fifteen years of semi-vegetarianism.

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PeanutPimpMama took the lives of many crabs after that experience.

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Here we are (nearly five years later) reminiscing over more seafood in the beautiful historic city of Charleston, SC. What started off as a rough night waiting at JFK airport for a two hour delayed flight (eating dried kale) had a quick turnaround once I landed in S.C.. Robin and I had been plotting this trip for some time and I had put all my foodie-faith and trust in her to coordinate the ultimate Charleston experience. We kicked off this eating tournament at Chez Nous which is located at 6 Payne Court in downtown Charleston.

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This restaurant is nestled on a cozy little street and known for serving up food and wine from various parts of Euroland including Southern France, Northern Italy and Spain. I imagine that it would have a very different vibe in the daytime as they are open for lunch. Our late night dining experience amplified the historical feel of the ambiance and served as a great introduction to Charlestonian hospitality and the old-American vibe the city is famous for. (I absolutely loved the kitchen window you can peer into as you walk up to the restaurant. One must “run a tight ship” with a view like that.)

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Mmm Dem Foodies Tho:

After we were greeted with a warm welcome, our coats were taken away and we were seated in a candle lit corner of the main dining area.

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The daily menu at Chez Nous consists of 2-3 apps, 2-3 entrees and 2 desserts.

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Pictured Above: Crispy Eggplant with Honey and Mint

After taking a look at the daily offerings we decided to start with the crispy eggplant with honey and mint. For a moment I was a bit skeptical about “fried” aspect. However it was a very nice layer of light breading which soaked up the honey. The mint (while not overpowering) cut right through any oily goodness giving it some dimension and a comforting wintery flare.

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Pictured Above: Octopus Salad with Potatoes

Our second course was the octopus salad with potatoes. There is something about tentacles that my foodie-wannabe self can not get over. When you eat squid rings, it is so much easier to forget that you are eating the giant mollusks of the sea. It was another flavorful course which came with a delightful Pinot Noir recommendation. Those suction cups “tho”…

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Pictured Above: Flounder with Braised Endive and Grapes

The main was by far my favorite course! We shared the Flounder which was served with braised endives and grapes. The sweetness of the grapes and softness of the flesh contrasting with the braised endive layer stood up well to this flaky white fish. The whole presentation and ambiance of this dining experience felt as though I was sitting down to a holiday meal in someone’s home, making the name “Chez Nous” most appropriate.

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Pictured Above: Caramel Custard

Last but not least, they tempted us with their daily selection of sweets including their Caramel Custard and Raspberry Puff Pastry du Jour.

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Pictured Above: Raspberry Puff Pastry du Jour

It was light and flakey, leaving us comfortably satisfied and totally ready for a fancy cocktail.

252First PeanutPimpMama needed to go for a gander upstairs. The top floor of the restaurant is another dining area which runs the length of the house. The old fireplace, wooden plank floors and ceilings give it a rather warm and earthy feeling.

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Seriously, this place could not get any more romantic unless they served chivalrous men sur la carte.

C’est la vie!

~PPM

For More Information: www.cheznouschs.com or see their daily offerings on their Facebook Page

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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PeanutPimpMama does Yoga with Brad – Santa Monica- Los Angeles, CA

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People do not realize that having a food blog is really hard work. Collecting the data is the fun part but battling the bulge can be less exciting. If I had to break down my time management, I would say 30% of the time I’m not at work (which is a fair 60% of the time) I’m at the gym working the foodies off. That gives me 10% of time where I can actually apply my data to a post for your enjoyment. When my audience connects with me through social media questions generally start to arise like, “Where exactly do you put all that food you’re eating?” Well, I put it right in my pie hole and then I have to suffer the consequences just like everyone else. Mystery solved…The life is not easy for PeanutPimpMama when she wants to eat all the things!

 

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Since I was traveling through L.A. to collect maximum foodie-data, fitness was a priority along with eating and of course visiting friends and family. Thankfully they were just as supportive about getting some sports in as much as my yum yumz. Through my research on the Googlay I came across “Beach Yoga with Brad”. I would like to introduce you all to Brad (pictured above) who teaches yoga on the Santa Monica beach every Saturday and Sunday morning from 10:30am-12:00pm.

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For only $10.00 you can experience the joy of a zen yoga class on one of the most beautiful beaches of the “Best Coast”. Really you can’t beat this great deal! You get 90 minutes of exercise with a beautiful view, free suntan lotion (in case you forgot your own) and a thorough photo shoot taken (in the moment) by Brad himself. Trust me, he doesn’t miss a pose or angle! Care to know what you look like first thing in the morning (hungover) doing Parivrtta Pārśvakonasana in the sand? Now you can since Brad likes to feature his photos conveniently on his facebook page!

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My friend and I agreed that downward facing dog was the most interesting experience we may have had in a yoga class…ever. He made us all line up facing away from the sea. Then he asked us to bend over in unison and take in the view. It was a new perspective for all I would imagine. What a true L.A. experience! I walked away feeling 100% rejuvenated and ready to face the world. By golly gee, I think I left with the same smile Brad had on that day.

Oooooohmmmmmm* ~PPM

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(PPM does L.A. Right 2014)

For More Information: www.bradkeimach.com

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

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MUSHA Izakaya – Santa Monica- Los Angeles, CA

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After having a couple of bevvies at various bars in Santa Monica, I had worked up quite the appetite. My friend had sushi on the brain and I am always down for some quality Japanese food. First we checked out Sushi Roku (a delicious spot) then decided to wander inland to discover this magical little place. One of three locations including Pasadena and Torrance, CA, MUSHA Izakaya is a curious little joint that clearly has a local following. Their website seems to express a huge emphasis on relaxation and enjoyment through dining. They have a small and neat interior with authentic decor but the space is a far cry from zen as they pack their customers in quite intimately on tables of two (combined for larger groups).

The Experience:

Their motto: ” Fun to eat, and fun to make. Fanciness not requires when eating good food. Just eat, and drink. We call this the “The Greatest Fun of the World”.

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Pictured Above: A customer partakes in “The Greatest Fun of the World”.

We were seated promptly for not having a reservation and given menus straight away. (All business here at Musha.)The Izakaya-dining style can be quite the learning experience. No stress while perusing their extensive menu as they have plenty of plum wine to calm the nerves. The menu can be a bit overwhelming with an unsightly collision of hot and cold, mutiple rice dishes to confuse your mind, along with some sashimi to throw you over the edge. There is no explanation available for first time diners which would probably be helpful to understand the general concept of small-plate-dining.

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Pictured Above: Cheese Tofu

It’s most important to remember that this stuff comes out Tapas-Dim-Sum-howeveryouwanttothinkofitstyle (basically in no particular order). When you order the Cheese Tofu- a  mix of cottage cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella cheese (mixed with their genuine soy milk vs. anyone else’s disingenuous soy milk) their “new creation of tofu” served with honey and baguette, you are ordering dish of spreadable cheese served with sweet honey and teething biscuits. This may start your meal off on a sweet note. Are you prepared?

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Pictured Above: The Spicy Tuna Dip

Oh these savory rice krispies treats “tho”! They are strategically placed on top of freshly chopped tuna sashimi with “secret spicy sauce” as a dip, or rather as a Dip?! They seem to question the physical state of this “Spicy Tuna Dip” on their very own menu. PeanutPimpMama did not care what they wanted to call it… It was fresh and delicious!

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Pictured Above: Takana Meshi

Let’s talk about this rice page “tho”. It is really something special and might be my favorite page on the entire menu offering six steamy rice dishes including an “Italian dish with Japanese creation” called “Musha’s Risotto”. This dish is literally served in a bowl made of cheese. Not sure what can be more decadent than that! We opted for some lighter rice with the Takani Meshi- Stir fried and chopped mustard leaf pickles, steamed rice, shiso and mitsuba leaf, grilled in a hot stone bowl and topped with shredded Nori seaweed. It warmed my heart and I appreciated the tableside scooping service provided.

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The last addition to our small plate selection was the “Sakekasu Salmon”- a filet of salmon marinated in sake and miso overnight for flavor and moisture then served grilled. I was very pleased with most of the dishes and felt the price points were extremely fair given the quality. Next time I would totally go for their signature risotto and skip out on the biscuits.

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At least you get the consolation oolong tea for free. PeanutPimpMama Warning: Don’t bite the bean!

(PPM does L.A. Right 2014)

For More Information: www.musha.us.com 

Questions, Comments, Concerns please email to: PeanutPimpMama@aol.com

Click Like* and Share* with your Friends! Also follow my foodie adventures on Twitter Instagram and Tumblr!