Guest Post: Tips For Saving Money When Dining Out

By: Jessica Morales

Dining out is an infrequent luxury for most of us since the economy slowed down. The budget just won’t allow for the frequent visits to our favorites eateries that we once enjoyed. However, there are many ways to stretch our monthly restaurant budget so we can dine out more often. Use these tips for saving money when dining out so you can relax and let someone else do the cooking for you.

Coupons

Most chain restaurants, as well as local eateries, place money-saving coupons in the local newspaper or other print publications to attract new customers. Those coupons can garner you two meals for the price of one, or a free dessert, beverage or other free food item and stretch your dining-out budget.

Specials

If your favorite restaurant doesn’t offer coupons, the establishment probably does offer in-house specials. The daily special, chef’s special, two-4-one special or early bird special can typically be enjoyed for about half the price of a regularly priced menu offering. Ask the server what the special of the day is before ordering, or call ahead and ask. It just might tempt your taste buds while leaving money in your wallet.

Restaurant Website

Many local and chain restaurants have their own websites that may be hiding an unadvertised money-saving special. Check online to see if your eating destination has a website and you just might score a printable coupon or code that will save you some money. Do a little restaurant website research and you just may discover certain nights when kids can eat free or a person having a birthday can eat free on their respective birthday.

Discount Websites

Don’t be discouraged if your favorite bistro or deli does not have a website with money saving offers, there are other online websites that may be able to offer you discounts. People often receive gift cards to places they can’t go or don’t want to go and offer them for sale at discounted prices on certain online venues. Check online for websites that buy, sell and trade unwanted gift cards to help you save money when dining out.

Split an Entrée

In this era of ‘super-sized’ everything, many entrées consist of enough food for two people or two meals, especially if an appetizer has been enjoyed before the entrée arrived. Order one entrée and two plates so two can eat for the price of one. Most restaurants are willing to accept this practice if two drinks are ordered for the one meal. Ask in advance if you’re unsure. One entrée can also be split into two meals so you can eat twice and pay once. When you place your order, ask your server to bring a to-go box, then when your entrée arrives immediately divide it into two portions and place one in the to-go box to take home. The out-of-sight food will help you be kind to your waistline by enabling you to eat less today and be kind to your wallet and watch tomorrow by allowing you to have an already prepared and paid-for meal waiting on you.

Jessica Morales writes about all things related to finance. Her recent work is about the Top 10 Most Affordable Online Colleges

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Guest Post: The Five Must Visit Restaurants in Columbia

By: Discount Attractions

Columbia SC, the capitol city, features some amazing southern cuisine. If you’re looking for haute cuisine, you may have to keep looking, but if you love that Paula Deen style of southern cooking, look no further: You’re home! Here are 5 of the best restaurant experiences Columbia has to offer.

Yesterdays Restaurant and Tavern

Yesterdays Restaurant and Tavern

Yesterdays Restaurant and Tavern is located on Devine Street in the Five Points area. Yesterdays is well known to the college student looking for a meal to remind them of home as well as every other person living within a twenty mile radius of Five Points. Easy to spot due to the life size cowboy mannequin perched in a bathtub over the entrance, the distinctive flat-iron shaped building is home to some great southern specialties.Once inside, the atmosphere is homey yet upbeat. Serving fresh homemade southern dishes like meatloaf and chicken fried steak, the menu is varied enough to offer something for everyone. There are a couple of nightly specials as well (like catfish Tuesdays), so check the board when you come in. Prices are reasonable while the amount of food is plentiful: Yesterdays offers the right blend of sassy Southern attitude coupled with darn good food. You can’t go wrong with this place.

No Name Deli

The No Name Deli is located on the corner of Marion and Elmwood. Even if you are looking for it, you may drive right by No Name without noticing it the first time around. Once you’ve spotted it, don’t get worried about the lack of parking: There are plenty of metered spaces around the block, and a space will come open within moments during lunch time. No Name’s main clientele consists of area business execs, lawyers, and everyone who works anywhere nearby. Don’t be discouraged by the line when you step in the door: This lunch line moves FAST, and you will be asked within moments what you want for lunch. Read the menu quickly, because the pressure is on once you reach the counter, where the staff will prepare your sandwich or salad while you watch. Don’t expect to pay with a credit card, because they only accept cash or check. The Reuben is a favorite choice, although your mouth will start watering the moment you hit the doorway and smell the burgers! The taco salad is an experience in itself, featuring homemade chili ladled over a mixed green salad, topped with shredded cheese and sour cream. No matter what you choose, be sure to try the special raspberry tea.

Copper River Grill

Copper River Grill

Copper River Grill is located on Bower Parkway, near the popular Columbiana Grande movie theater complex. Copper River Grill is designed to give the impression of hanging out in an Alaskan lodge: There’s a big stone fireplace, lots of copper accents, especially over the bar area, and a big open view show kitchen. Copper River Grill has a huge wood fired grill, so the pizza here is amazing. The house salad with the house dressing is not to be missed: Imagine combining a bowl of hot bacon drippings and honey mustard dressing and then pouring it over a huge bed of mixed greens, bacon, almonds, cucumbers and tomatoes…wow! And every salad is served with a warm croissant drizzled with light white icing that is so good you’ll want to order a plateful. The wait staff here is really top notch and the chefs are on top of things too. Well worth the price, you won’t leave here hungry. DO NOT LEAVE without eating the house salad! This restaurant caters to young professionals, families, college co-eds and couples looking for a nice casual dining experience. Copper River Grill is suitable for any occasion and all diners.

Motor Supply Company Bistro

Motor Supply Company Bistro, illuminated by a bright neon sign declaring its origins, is located in the heart of the Vista district. If you are looking for a restaurant that features a progressive menu with a distinct southern flair, you definitely want to check out Motor Supply. The chef changes the menu twice daily, providing a unique dining experience for each service. The menu is available online half an hour before service begins, giving you the opportunity to choose a lunch or dinner visit to sample a meal that piques your culinary curiosity. With such mouth-watering specials as Charleston Dayboat Wreckfish served with fennel and vermouth cream or pan seared veal chop topped with shiitake demi-glace, you are assured of experiencing a culinary adventure you won’t soon forget. Motor Supply maintains an extensive wine list, and their servers are adept at suggesting great wine pairings for your dinner selection. The chef at Motor Supply makes a conscious effort to choose self-sustainable foods, sourced locally when possible, in order to benefit local farmers and provide the freshest product available to diners. Consider getting a seat at their beautiful outdoor terrace on a cool summer night and prepare yourself for a refreshing dining experience you will want to encounter again and again. And with the ever-changing menu at Motor Supply, you will never have the same experience twice.

Blue Marlin Steaks and Seafood

Blue Marlin

Blue Marlin/Steaks and Seafood is found in the popular Vista district in Columbia, where they serve delicious low country seafood dishes. Repeat customers are the mainstay of this successful restaurant, and although it is located near USC Columbia, Blue Marlin tends to draw families and business travelers. Don’t miss their fried green tomato appetizer unless you opt to try the crab cakes! The restaurant’s signature dish, low country shrimp & grits, are legendary. This is a great place to find seafood, and lots of it. They also serve killer hand cut steaks. Blue Marlin is a great place for diners seeking authentic Southern seafood.

 

From a hole-in-the-wall deli with no name to an eclectic electric bistro, Columbia has some great restaurant options for your consideration. Don’t miss out on all the fabulous southern specialties Columbia has to offer!

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Very First Midlands Farm Tour

Midlands Farm Tour

Tour Sustainable Family Farms on Very First Midlands Farm Tour
Meet Columbia-area farmers and tour their scenic and sustainable farms

What?: The first-ever Midlands Farm Tour, sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Whole Foods Market

When?: Saturday and Sunday, April 6-7, 2013 from 1:00-5:00 PM both days

Where?: 10 scenic and sustainable working farms in Richland, Lexington, and Kershaw counties

Who?: Great fun for families, foodies and folks looking to spend a day out in the country learning where their food comes from

Cost?: Tour tickets, good for both days, are $25 per vehicle in advance. Tickets are available for purchase during the tour for $30 or you can also choose to pay $10 per farm (available for purchase at all of the farms during the tour). Groups of cycles count as one vehicle.

Tickets can be purchased online at www.carolinafarmstewards.org/mft/ or at Whole Foods Market or City Roots Farm in Columbia.

More information?: Complete information about the tour and the farms, with interactive maps and driving directions to each farm, plus tour tickets are available at www.carolinafarmstewards.org/mft/. 

The tour, sponsored by the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and Whole Foods Market, features 10 farms.See lots of cute baby farm animals, including baby chicks, pigs and goats.  Learn how they grow vegetables, fruits, flowers, mushrooms and more without harmful pesticides.  And, teach your children where their food comes from, play fun farm games, and more!

The tour is self-guided. Choose the farms you want to visit on the interactive map or downloadable brochure athttp://www.carolinafarmstewards.org/mft/ to plan your tour. Visit any farm in any order. No pets allowed. The tour is rain or shine.

And, don’t forget to take a cooler so that you can bring home some of the farm fresh products for sale at many farms!

Proceeds from the tour support the work of the Carolina Farm Stewardship Association.

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The Carolina Farm Stewardship Association helps people grow and eat local, organic food by advocating for fair farm and food policies, building the systems family farms need to thrive, and educating communities about local, organic farming.  www.carolinafarmstewards.org

Thank you to Whole Foods Market for sponsoring this tour.

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Special Event: Lake Carolina Wine & Food Festival

EXPERIENCE THE CULINARY CULTURE OF THE SOUTH!

Lake Carolina Food and Wine Festival

Tickets are now on sale for Lake Carolina’s 10th Annual Wine & Food Festival on Saturday, October 13 from 2pm – 5pm. The festival kicks off at 8:00am with the Wine Glass 10K sponsored by Velocity Distance Project and continues with wine & food tastings in the afternoon.

Lake Carolina’s 10th Annual Wine & Food Festival pairs Columbia’s best culinary chefs with the area’s finest wineries for a mouthwatering afternoon on the Village Green. Festivities include live entertainment, chef demonstrations a Silent Auction and more. Savor the flavors on Saturday, October 13, 2012 from 2-5pm.

Proceeds from the 2012 Wine & Food Festival benefit Children’s Charities of the Midlands, a non-profit corporation formed specifically to raise funds and contributions primarily for the betterment and improvement of the health, welfare and education of children and youth in the South Carolina community.

W&F Poster

Visit the website for tickets and information.

BUY TICKETS NOW

THE DETAILS: $30 per ticket, must be 21yrs. of age or older. Includes parking, event entrance, wine tastings and food samplings. $15 per child 12 years and under.
THE WHERE: Lake Carolina Village Green, 100 Lake Carolina Boulevard, Columbia, SC 29229
THE WHEN: Saturday, October 13, 2012 2pm – 5pm
THE HOW: Buy Tickets at www.LakeCarolinaWineandFood.com or at the Lake Carolina Sales Center. To register for the Wine Glass 10K, click here.

Find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for Event Promotions, Giveaways and Festival Highlights.

 

This is a sponsored post.

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Guest Post: Motor Supply Co.

By: The Hungry Lady

Way back at the end of May, L’s boyfriend came into town for a visit. They had all kinds of fun things planned, but on the Sunday he was here, it was all about food and Game of Thrones.  I’m sure you’ve picked up by now exactly how nerdy my friends and I are, so you should not be surprised that a day long GoT marathon was in order.  But first, we needed sustenance. And L’s boy had to meet the parents. So the friends tagged along to ease the tension.  Where better to go than Motor Supply Co. Bistro.

L has been telling me for years that I needed to go to Motor Supply, but I somehow never made it there.  On this occasion, I was glad I did.  It was an utterly gorgeous day in May, and we were sitting on the patio.  There were 7 of us, so we took up a pretty big table.  We started with a basket of pastries, a round of coffee, and mimosas and bloody marys.

Motor Supply Co

You can read the rest of the Hungry Lady’s post about her experience at Motor Supply Co. here.

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Guest Post: Jamestown Coffee

By: Rockstar Dad

I knew it was going to be a busy Friday. The day was going to be filled with meetings, article deadlines and The Dark Knight Rises. It may be a busy day, but I knew it was going to be fun. I was taking the Groupie Wife and little Roadies across the dam into Lexington to visit Jamestown Coffee.

One of the great things about being a foodie is getting to eat for free. James, owner of Jamestown Coffee, invited me out to try his homemade pimento cheese bagel. How could I say no?

If you’ve never been to Jamestown Coffee Company, and you want to go, you will be in for a treat. The atmosphere brims with gourmet quality, complimented with southern charm.

The roadies made themselves at home, receiving the highest compliment that a parent can receive… having a stranger tell you on how well behaved your kids are. (Hello, Vicodin.) They enjoyed their cake pops while the Groupie Wife and I enjoyed some coffee.

I had Jamestown’s signature drink, The Palmetto Pecan Latte and Groupie Wife had their mocha. Now, I do have to tell you that she LOVES Starbucks mocha. It took a little convincing to get her to understand that this was going to be better. A lot better. She was convinced upon first sip. (HA HA! Take that SB!)

While I sipped on my latte (topped with whipped cream, caramel and pecans…to give it a crunch), James was busy making the pimento cheese. You heard that right. This is homemade. Fo real, yo. It was so worth the wait.

The sharp pimento cheese mixed with the crisp saltiness of the bacon on a bagel is pure…I would say orgasmic, but this is a family blog. (You get the idea.) This did not come off a truck, prepackaged and frozen. (The next time you go into your favorite coffee shop, take a look around and see if there’s a kitchen. If you don’t see one…where do you think their food comes from?).

Read the rest of the post at iloverockstardad.com

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Guest Post: Pawley’s Front Porch Food Truck

By: The Foraging Foodie

Today’s review is about as easy as it gets. Pawley’s Front Porch needs little introduction to most locals. Food Network’s Diner’s, Drive-In’s, and Dives somewhat immortalized the Five Points location two years ago as Columbia’s go-to place for foodies venturing into the midlands, though whether or not they were quite ready to handle such a load is another question. Soon after their rise to stardom, however, they launched their mobile eats food truck, spreading their SC island burgers across the city. In many ways, I think the truck may be the best way to get a bite of Pawleys; though the main restaurants sweet potato fries and larger list of burgers and tacos are tempting, the truck itself has been known to crank out their very best burgers fast and quick, delivering the amazing bites that were promised from their television appearance, consistently hot and loaded the way they were meant to be.

Read the rest of the Foraging Foodie’s post here!

 

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Introducing… Guest Contributors!

As we have moved to Charlotte, we will not be able to enjoy the Columbia, SC culinary scene on a regular basis. However, we still wish to keep our site active and will be sharing restaurant reviews written by a few of Columbia’s experienced food bloggers, as well as an occasional restaurant exposé of our own. Hell, maybe you are completely new to this and just want a piece of your own work published in a public forum. Send it to us!

We hope you enjoy a new perspective on restaurants in Columbia, SC!

If you are interested in contributing, contact us!

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Momo’s Bistro, Revisited

Although we have already visited Momo’s Bistro, a few changes to the culinary team and restaurant attracted us back to 2930 Devine Street for another taste. This revisit was sparked by a serendipitous meeting outside of the local health foods store, where Carlos Brown and Carlos Cuevas (Celebrity Chef and General Manager, respectively) were raving about the new changes that were happening to Momo’s. I lent them a half-interested ear until I heard the words “Kangaroo” and “Ostrich.” Ok. Thats something you don’t have a chance to dine on every day. So with curiosity piqued, Capital City Eatz decided to head back to Momo’s Bistro to see what the fuss was all about.

What an outrageously appetizing spread. No, this isn’t available on the menu. Just a sampling of each of the new dishes all arranged on one platter. My favorite part about this picture? The meat to vegetable ratio. (Upper left to upper right) Slices of tender pork topped with the sweetness of a sauteed apple and potato hash, “Chili Rosemary Kangaroo”, pan seared ostrich topped with buttered pecans, and venison topped with a mustard glaze.

The “Baja Fish Tacos” and “Seafood Cakes” topped with fried shrimp. Both were delicious, but the tacos are only available on the lunch menu, and the cakes…the dinner menu. Now to delve further into description….The “Baja Fish Tacos”: Ceviche marinated fish, scallop, with mango salsa, black beans, and wrapped up in a soft flour tortilla. The “Seafood Cakes” are a combination of lobster, crab, and shrimp, with Cajun Remoulade Sauce, and Manchego Smash.

Here we have the “Seafood Belmar.” The most expensive item on the menu, but stuffed with enough succulent seafood for two. Fight over the lobster tail, or go straight for the filet of choice fish. There are clams, scallops, shrimp, and mussels aplenty.

Get down to Momo’s Bistro to give a warm South Carolina welcome to a home-grown celebrity chef, a chef who has cooked for the likes of Arnold Palmer, Lil’ Wayne, Donald Trump, and Jim Carey. When you taste his food, you will understand why.

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Jake’s Bar & Grill

Are you a maturing collegiate looking for like-minded fellows to share an enlightened conversation with? Maybe you enjoy the notion of a game of shuffleboard without the lingering fear of a freshman spilling a poorly managed night of indulgence on you? Perhaps you are a young professional looking for some casual networking opportunities over a refreshing pint?

If  you enjoy pairing your nights revelries with intoxicating conversation with other interesting contemporaries, you need to check this place out. Jakes Bar & Grill seems to cater to a crowd of twenty and thirty-something’s. Its the kind of bar that won’t leave you feeling uncomfortable at the sight of obviously under-aged kids.

Now we enjoy a resfreshing pint or two (or three) as much as the next fellow, but we were really checking out Jake’s Bar & Grill for the food. Specifically, the pizza.

The Eggplant Diva. Fried eggplant and other complementary toppings. Time for your close-up, Eggplant Diva.

Mmmm, pizza close-up. Fried eggplant, caramelized onions, green peppers, and a light sprinkling of oregano to top it off.  Some highlights: nice cheese- to-sauce ratio and crispy-enough-crust make this a pleasing pie.

We also ordered some free-range, cruelty-free lemon-pepper wings, but their lack of photogenic-ness (or our lack of photography skills) lost them a spot in this post. They were quite good, but we’ll go for something saucier next time.

Food was satisfying, let’s look at some other perks of Jake’s Bar & Grill:

  • Live Music
  • Large outdoor deck area. Complete with fountain, bar, bathroom, and stage
  • Menu featuring local produce
  • Over 30 beers on tap
  • Shuffleboard, pool tables, arcade games
We HIGHLY recommend the food at Jake’s Bar & Grill. Order with your bartender and enjoy a cold one or a get generous with a round of shots for the table while you wait! Proper respect to Jake’s for including local produce and free-range chicken on their menu!

 

 

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