Sesame Burgers and Beer, Simply Delicious

Sesame Burgers and Beer, www.sesameburgersandbeer.com

4726 State Road S-10-32, N. Charleston, SC (843) 554-4903

2070 Sam Rittenburg Boulevard, Charleston, SC (843) 766-7770

    I love a good burger. I love a local beer. Together, with those powers combined comes powerhouse, Sesame Burgers and Beer. Sesame is no stranger to Charleston with it’s sister restaurant, the amazing Five Loaves, having resided here for over 10 years. Sesame’s two locations, one in Park Circle and the other in the Citadel Mall, both offer a quaint, unique and warm atmosphere constantly abuzz with chatter and life. Impressively, Sesame has managed to create such a great continuity between its two locations I can only reason that the atmosphere is the direct result of the people who work there and their tireless dedication to providing quality food and equally important, quality service.     Onto the eats: Not only does Sesame offer delicious burgers, they give you four, yes, four options for the “burgers” Think: Patty cake, Patty cake, bakers man, give me the beef/chicken/turkey/black bean patty just as fast as you can! (Yes, I did just incorporate a child’s rhyme into my blog). You can get your favorite toppings piled up on a chicken, turkey, ground beef or black bean burger.  They have mix and match toppings and if I were to guess, I’d only venture to say that the possibilities were endless. For those of you with a little less culinary creativity they offer a variety of pre-selected toppings. What is my personal favorite you ask?! I love the Gourmet Burger- a delicious ensemble of goat cheese spread and portabellas. Because I’m both calorie conscious (*I use this term loosely…unlike my pants after eating here) and a fan of spicy goodness, I usually swap the beef for a chicken breast, add jalapeños and if I’m feeling extra indulgent, add bacon!     Sesame also offers great apps- ranging from grill corn (which has been soaked in a milk mixture- making it so sweet and tender that it wouldn’t look one bit out of place on a Babyface album cover…); fried pickles (spears. hot-juicy-dill-pickely spears); pimento cheese (you can’t exist ‘round these parts without having a version of this on your menu); and onion rings that will surely infuriate your cardiologist while sending your tastebuds into overdrive!     If you’re a beer connoisseur, a clueless taster, or somewhere in the spectrum, Sesame is a great place to taste and/or indulge in their wares. I won’t go through the seemingly endless choices of bottles and the great taps they constantly change out- but I will expound and praise Sesame for keeping my steady burger beer on draft: Coast HopART. If you’re an IPA lover, a beer nerd or are just looking to be local, Coast is the way to go!     So, before the puddle of drool on my desk gets any larger check Sesame out. It doesn’t matter if you make a million bucks a year, or you’re on a more modest budget (Tuesday nights they have $3 burgers…and yes, you can get ANY of the patty choices for that price) you won’t be disappointed with this sweet little local joint. They do it right.

Happy Hump day…and I hope to see you at Sesame!

Rebecca R. Epstein, Esquire

Taco Spot, Your Neighborhood Taco Dealers

Everybody I know loves a great taco and I do too.  Luckily, Taco Spot in West Ashley makes a great taco at a solid price within walking distance from my home.  I love the place and you will too if you take the time to check it out. Taco Spot, 1301 B Ashley River Rd., Charleston, SC 29407, www.thetacospot.com

I'm no stranger to Taco Spot as I live right around the corner from it, but for those of you who are - here is a brief summation of the big things they offer in a small space. 

There is certainly more to a great dining experience than just the food itself.  Ambience, location, and service all play a role in determining the overall feeling you walk away with each time you visit an establishment.  Taco Spot is conveniently located on Hwy 61 in West Ashley just across the street from Home Team BBQ.  In Taco Spot's case, the building is small, but they do a lot with it.  When you walk in you are greeted by kind, cheerful, relaxed staff behind the counter.  The vibe is low-key.  If you want to eat there, they have a taco bar where you can sit just inches from your taco constructor and a couple of small tables along the wall.  They serve beer and wine and the rest of the beverages are self-serve.  You get your own ice from a clean cooler, you pour your own iced tea or water, and the price of the items offered reflect that fact (just $2.89 for a gourmet taco).

Aside from the low-key vibe, convenient location, and kind staff, the tacos, burritos, quesadillas, and salads are all delicious.  My favorites are the Blackened Grouper & Cayenne Ranch and Blackened Chicken & Cayenne Ranch tacos on corn tortillas.  You may have noticed that both of those items have the Cayenne Ranch in common - it really makes a taco that has blackened fish or chicken because it cools the blackening down a bit while adding another delicious layer of flavor.  I've also had the Blackened Steak Burrito, which was delicious as well.  They even have $2.50 tacos on Saturdays!  Man, I love a weekend deal.  So, next time you are in W. Ashley and in the mood for a taco, give Taco Spot a shot.  It's always good to have a friendly neighborhood taco dealer ready to serve you up!

Adam W. Howell, Esquire

Bella Vita

My mother had one of those milestone birthdays recently, though she claims that she is still 39 years young.  Ahh, the things people do to make themselves feel young.  To get to the point, however, her birthday celebration was held at Bella Vita in Easley, SC.  One great meal later, and I have my second post for this wonderful blog. Bella Vita, 119 Gulf St., Easley, SC 29640, http://bellavitaeasley.com

The Bella Vita website boasts that you can test the validity of the saying, "good things come in small packages" by dining in Chef/Owner John Dioguardi's "inconspicuously located tiny gem of a restaurant."  The only problem I have with that invitation is that it doesn't do the experience justice.  The meal my family (all 22 of us) shared was the best meal I've had this year hands down in terms of quality of the food and atmosphere.

I was the first to arrive for the party as it was a surprise to my mother and I needed to ease a couple of seating concerns for other members of the family.  When I arrived, I was greeted by an exceptionally nice hostess/server and the Chef's wife.  They provided several choices of Italian red and white wines and plates of hors d' oeuvres, all of which were delicious.  After giving our group some time to arrive and chat, the Chef came out and explained the menu he created especially for us.  Shortly thereafter, the food began arriving.

We started with a grilled caesar salad.  It consisted of a romaine stalk literally grilled with a fresh balsamic reduction, fresh grape tomatoes, mozzarella, and capers I believe.  The salad was served with fresh bread baked in the restaurant's bakery, Bella Dolce.  I was told it was delicious as well.  I've never had the pleasure of a grilled caesar salad, but I can ensure you that the pleasure was all mine!

For the antipasta course, the Chef went beyond what could have possibly been expected.  You see, my mother and I are both allergic to wheat, so we can't eat regular pasta.  So, the Chef made gluten-free spinach pasta from scratch for both of us.  It was by far the best gluten-free pasta I've ever had (no offense intended to the great people at Tinkyada foods whose products I also enjoy).  The pasta was in a white wine cream sauce with shrimp, bacon, onion, and garlic.  Man was it good!

For the main course, the Chef offered stuffed pork tenderloin cooked perfectly accompanied by garlic mashed potatoes and fresh asparagus.  It was magnificent just like the rest of the meal.  During the main course, the Chef came out of the kitchen, turned on his vinyl record player and serenaded the whole group with his version (backed by Dean Martin) of "That's Amore."  It was great fun for the whole crowd and he even went cheek to cheek with my pop, who is a gristly, retired Full Bird Colonel and former Chief of Staff of the South Carolina Army National Guard.  The shade of red he turned was worth the 3 1/2 hour drive from Charleston I made that day and the day after!

We finished with a homemade gluten-free cheesecake topped with fresh berries and coffee.  I don't want to diminish the quality of the cheesecake by writing less about it than the other courses, but it was simply delicious.  Enough said.

So, I had a big time experience in a tiny little restaurant in Easley, SC with my family.  I felt like we transported to Italy or a small, out-of-the-way Italian spot in New York, NY.  I'm sure you will feel the same way if you take the time to visit Bella Vita.  Now "That's Amore"!

Adam W. Howell, Esquire

Pizza, Pizza...

Hello. My name is Becca and I'm a pizza junky. My problem started several years ago and has only persisted in getting worse with the barrage of gourmet pizza shops showing up all over Charleston. Thanks to Evo, Monza, Mellow Mushroom, Park Pizza Company, Andolini's, D'Allesandros and Your Pie my wallet has gotten thinner and my battle against the bulge more intense. I love the cheesy, doughy goodness and I am shameless in my quest to find the perfect slice...errrrrr, slices. I have eaten all different types of pizza- from the unsophisticated (hello, frozen pizza topped with some type of unidentifiable meat) to the unbelievable (a pizza which had to be made by the pizza gods themselves...of course I was in Naples, Italy, the birthplace of pizza). In my odyssey to find that oh-so-perfect dough-to-cheese-to-topping ratio I have developed some fall back favorites. I will never forget that first bite of Evo's Pistacio Pesto (add arugala) Pizza. Or my first slice of Mellow Mushroom's Kosmic Karma...which brings me to today's post and my excitement for this long anticipated day...

Today is the grand opening of Mellow Mushroom Avondale (happily dubbed "The Mellow" from here on out). I love the casual atmosphere, unique pies and boundless beer choices that the downtown restuarant offers- so you can only imagine my delight when I saw that The Mellow was moving into one of my favorite local neighborhoods. I was even more excited when I read about the painstaking lengths the owners went to in order to restore the old theater to its former glory. Barrel vaulted ceilings, 36 different beers on tap, walls that are works of art...and all of course, PIZZA!

In honor of this auspicious occasion we are having a firm outting. Yes, pizza is THAT important. In just a few short hours I will be sitting in the new Mellow...don't worry, I'll take pictures so you can feel like you're there, too.

Becca

The Perfect Working Lunch.

We have all had those days where it just isn't convenient to get out of the office and enjoy a nice leisurely lunch.  Sadly, this often results in skipping lunch all together or eating food that you wish you would have skipped.  If you want to break free of the working lunch blues, and you are looking for a great alternative to fast food or homemade PB&J, look no further!  Staying in the office for lunch can be enjoyable and delicious if you call On The Fly. I love going out to eat.  I especially love going out to eat when it means getting out of the office.  However, since Becca introduced me to On The Fly, I am more than happy to stay at my desk and work through lunch.  The food is better than I have had at most dine-in restaurants, the portions are huge, and the price is better than reasonable.  I am always fond of a good burger, and their pimento cheeseburger is delicious.  Nevertheless, if you are going to try anything, I highly recommend the fried chicken.  It was simply amazing.

Next time you have a busy lunch, or if you just want some quality food, call On The Fly in West Ashley.  You’ll be happy you aren’t skipping lunch.

 

The experimental lawyer's food blog

Just as most great stories begin, this one begins with two people gathered around the most socially connective of items: food.  Thai food to be exact.  So, my law clerk and I were at lunch yesterday brainstorming ways to increase the visibility of our firm.  Over the past few weeks, we've tried several different things that are unique.  And, we've had mixed results. 

Then it hit us, maybe the answer is sitting on our plate right in front of us just waiting for us to take notice of it.  You see, my law clerk and I actually met while we were waiting tables at a local restaraunt.  He was about to begin law school and I was earning money to pay my way through law school at the time.  As we thought about our own experience, we came to the collective realization that food brought us together and it just might be able to bring us and potential clients together as well.  We love food.  Our daily activities revolve around food.  And, my business partner loves food so much that she paid for her bar review classes by making and selling homemade pasta (delicious homemade pasta I might add).

So our meal became the impetus for the epsteinandhowelllaw food blog.  Without further ado, here is the first entry:

Taste of Thai, West Ashley

874 Orleans Rd. # 6, Charleston, SC 29407

Taste of Thai looks much like any other simple Thai restaraunt as you approach it.  However, once inside you realize that it is much more.  I am the adventurous type and when in Rome, well...I like to do as the Romans do...or as the Thai do in this case.  So, I asked the server what her favorite meal was and she said the Panang Curry with Chicken.  She informed me that it is the meal that the cooks eat in the back, that she eats when she is hungry at work, and that if I couldn't handle the heat she would ask the cook to make it especially WEAK for me.  I felt challenged and I promptly accepted!  My clerk ordered the Pad Kee Mow, which he has enjoyed there before and our meal was set.

When the food arrived, it was pleasing to the eye.  The server even brought some extra curry powder and chili paste so I could 'warm it up a bit' if I felt like 'I could handle it.'  I declined to add any extra spice, but the dish was perfect.  It wasn't too hot, but it was warm enough to let me know that I was alive and enjoying the oxygen coarsing through my veins.  My clerk enjoyed his Pad Kee Mow, which he described as, "simple and delicious."  We ordered a couple of to go items for my business partner and her father, which were delivered on time at the end of our meal.  They both thoroughly enjoyed their Ginger Chicken.  The experience was great for us.  It was inspirational, satisfying, and communal, just the way we like it.

So, if you are in the mood for Thai in the West Ashley area, consider Taste of Thai.  We had a good experience there and we believe you will too.

Adam W. Howell, Esquire

Passing the Bar

For most of the United States this is a short work week but to thousands of law school graduates this week marks the dreaded Bar Exam. The bar exam represents a huge milestone in a lawyers career. It's called "Passing the Bar" because it literally means that a lawyer can physically pass the bar that separates the lawyers and clients from the rest of the gallery of onlookers in a Courtroom. It is also a test chalked full of mystery. No one (aside from the examiners) knows how it is graded! After graduating a law student has about 3 blissful days before panic sets in and they start studying for the bar. The two major components to the South Carolina Bar examine knowledge of state and federal law. State law is covered in 6 essay questions spanned across a 2 day period. Subjects tested: Civil Procedure, Domestic Relations, Business Law (Corporations, Partnerships, etc.), Insurance, Wills/Trusts/Estates/Probate and the Uniform Commercial Code (Sales, Notes and Secured Transactions). The third day of the bar exam is a multiple choice bear of a test which is dedicated to Federal Law (or, as I fondly like to think of it: the part where you pick the best worst answer and pray a lot).

I don't have any particular horror stories about my bar exam and aside from the last day I didn't shed one tear over the test. Of course studying was hard and at times very boring but overall it just felt like a job. Wake up at 6, study from 7a - 5p then spend the rest of the night trying to stop your brain from playing on repeat: "in order to create an agency relationship there need not be any formality..." or any other minutia that you had picked up earlier in the day. I had a fantastic study partner and on the weekends met with a great group to review essay questions. Even when stress levels ran high, my experience was not nearly as strenuous as some that I have heard before.

If anyone has any bar exam stories they'd like to share, please feel free! For all of the bar takers- GOOD LUCK! Remember to breathe, eat and before you know it the test will be over.