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A Taste of Peru

We didn’t go to Peru to eat, but it’s much more pleasant to recall memories of food than manual labor. Here are a few samples of the Peruvian fare that we were lucky enough to feast on.

Rice with lentils and chicken. Most dishes were accompanied by plantains.

Ceviche, or, as the Peruvians liked to say “cebiche.” One of the dishes that our alien digestive systems couldn’t stomach. Luckily, we were forewarned of the tribulations that faced any daring American. Anything that isn’t cooked it off-limits. Nobody felt like testing this benchmark.

Fried fish and papa frites.

Fried fish and arroz.

Fried Shrimp, or “langostinos.”

Hawaii meets Peru: Fried Langostinos with various fresh fruits.

Cebiche

A little peruvian ingenuity. Somebody thought beef jerky and sautéed onions was a good idea for breakfast. Turns out, the only thing wrong with this dish is the texture inequality between the soft onions and the tough strips of stringy beef. Nice try.

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Mezza Lebanese Bistro

Mezza Lebanese Bistro and Hookah Bar. Ever find yourself hankering for some hookah? Maybe you just need a drink to take the edge off. Regardless of what your vice is, feel better about these “unhealthy” habits and pair a little intoxication with some Lebanese cuisine.  Apparently mediterranean food is good for you, so it all cancels out, right?

Warm pitas with a mixture of dried thyme, roasted sesame seeds and olive oil for dipping. You might think that pitas and spiced olive oil make a poor substitute for good ol’ bread and butter, but give it a chance. The thyme truly tickles your tastebuds as the subtle taste of olive coats your mouth. Delicious. This tasty starter is complimentary to folks joining Mezza for dinner.

Vegetarian grape leaves. Hand-rolled grape leaves stuffed with rice, tomato, onions and parsley. Served with pickled beet (I think) and lemon slices. Are you one of the those people who stops listening after “vegetarian?” Well, you are missing out on a lot of delicious dishes. This one right here? It’s good.

Tabbouli. Parsley, cracked wheat, tomatoes, onions, and mint mixed with olive oil and lemon juice. Very resfreshing. Also ordered a side of Mezza potato cilantro: fried, diced potato garnished with cilantro, garlic, olive oil. Only after re-examining the menu did we realize our mistake. Ever heard of “Kibbeh Balls?” No? Well listen up. Two cone shaped croquettes of Angus brown beef mixed with cracked wheat and stuffed with seasoned Angus ground beef, ground lamb, onions and nuts (Deep fried). Wow. Thats a meal fit to be served at the South Carolina State Fair.

Manakish Cheese, a mediterranean style pizza. Quite different from its Italian cousin, but excellent all the same.  Oven-baked and topped with a mix of mozzarella cheese, Akawi cheese, spices and a hint of pesto.

Manakish Zaatar. Oven-baked dough topped with dried thyme, roasted sesame seeds and olive oil. Much like the appetizer featured above, but with the price tag of an entree. The dried thyme, sesame seed, and olive oil is a flavor combination that you may have not explored, but after a taste, it’s something you will want to try again.

Mezza is delicious, no doubt, but it is slightly on the expensive side for the amount of food. There is a ton of flavor packed into each dish, but for a foodie with an appetite, the $/food ratio may not be the best. Located in the Vista. Check out there menu here. Decent service, cool interior, great fresh food. Definitely worthy of a taste.

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Cock n’ Bull

If you understand the words “Barclays,” “Dempsey” and “Concacaf,” then Cock n’ Bull Pub & Grill is the place for you. With a new location and 21 deliciously refreshing domestic and imports on tap, this British-inspired pub is proven to be the best place to pull up a seat next to a stranger and enjoy the fútbol matches playing on one of the large flatscreen conveniently displayed around the Rosewood home-turned-pub.

The service certainly matched the level of soccer play (or far exceeded if you are talking about Wolverhampton). The waitress made sure our drinks were full and our tab was paid quickly and seamlessly. The first time we visited, sun and fresh air was pouring into the pub through an open door on a balmy leap day in February. Couldn’t have imagined a better atmosphere to watch the game, with cheers and camaraderie echoing in the background.

After our first visit which was strictly social with no fare, we had to go back for a taste…

Cock n' Bull Tavern Wings

…and couldn’t resist the signature sweet and spicy Tavern Wings. These must have been good, for my strapping date seemed to skip the digesting and inhaled them almost in an instant.

Oyster Po' Boy

For myself, I decided on the Oyster Po’ Boy. The crispiness of the breaded oysters and exterior of the roll was a delectable contrast to the softness of the oysters and tomatoes. The roumelade that was missed in the first bite resurfaced on the second, and added a dulcet taste to the Po’ Boy that left me already looking forward to the next bit.

The English-inspired Pub & Grill, located in the heart of Rosewood, boasts some unbeatable specials that would pair perfectly with the lastest soccer match. These specials include “8 Buck Lunch” on Mon-Sat for an entree, side and soda/tea for $8. They also offer $3 mimosas on Sundays and for those not as comfortable with drinking the oh so girliest of morning drinks, they also offer $4.50 manmosas. If Sunday Funday didn’t do you in, every Monday is Pint Night- $3 pints all day!

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Chefs on the Shoe

The inaugural “Chefs on the Shoe” was held Monday night at the McCutchen House on the Horseshoe. The event was characterized by a food giving generosity that Capital City Eatz has never yet experienced at a festival. For 1 ticket (the equivalent of $1) you could sample all the food a particular chef or restaurant had to offer. As your experienced food festival attendees will tell you, it is always a good idea to take inventory of every offering at each table, so you will be sure to get the best combination of food possible. Don’t go throwing your ticket at the first cleverly plated hamburger you see. The chef at work in the above picture is from Mezza Lebanese Bistro & Hookah Bar.

Gazpacho. Easily the most unique offering at the event. These little spheres were made with tomato and a solid chemistry background. Pop this tomato gusher into your mouth and wait for the flavor explosion.

Two chefs from the Thirsty Fellow in action. Putting together the skirt steak sandwich you see below.

 

 A slice of Arkansas Razorback. Delicious revenge, with a side of coleslaw (remember, remember, the 5th of November).

Adluh grits topped with quail, jalapeno cheesecake for dessert.

A unique take on Beaufort Stew.

Limp duck quesadillas with too much going on with the sauce.

All proceeds from the event are being placed into a scholarship endowment in the name of the late Chef Jules Pernell, a South Carolina chef instructor and chef who died after 22 years of teaching.

 

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Gift Card Giveaway | Congratulations to the Winners!

Congratulations to our Giftcard Giveaway Winners!

CCE GIVEAWAY WINNERS

*Winners chosen using an Excel spreadsheet and the Random Number Generator

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Giftcard Giveaway!

Giftcard Giveaway- Over

To show appreciation for all of our wonderful and loyal followers and celebrate this famously hot Columbia weather, we are doing a giftcard giveaway! There are 6 giftcards up for grabs. The first giftcard ($100) and our top prize is from Rosso Trattoria- you can read our post about this fine establishment here. The second place giftcards ($50) are from Momo’s Bistro on Devine Street and Saluda’s in Five Points, and the third ($20) are from the Thirsty Fellow, Hunter-Gatherer Brewery and Ale House, and Hooligan’s! We hope you are as excited as we are! To enter, please do the following:

  • Retweet a tweet about this giveaway on Twitter*
  • Share this giveaway on Facebook*
  • Subscribe to our email list (top right of site or at the bottom of this post)
  • Leave a comment on this post with feedback about our site. This can be anything, just keep it CCE related.
*for those who do not use twitter/Facebook, please share via email with at least 5 people (and BCC us so we know who you are!)

To gain extra entries and more more chances to win (up to 3 extra entries, only 1 giftcard/person), you can:

  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Like our page on Facebook
  • Comment on another post
  • Follow us on Instagram (@capitalcityeatz)
  • Donate to our Homeworks of America- Peru Trip Fundraiser

When you comment on this post, in addition to your feedback, please let us know which other forms of entries you completed so we make sure we have them all! We cannot enter you if you do not comment on this post. We will announce a winner at noon on Friday, April 13th! Good luck!

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*We do not post more than 2 times a week. Usually only once! We never send out spam.

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Saluda’s

Saluda’s has been on our list of restaurants to try for awhile now, and on the eve eve of the famed St. Patty’s Day Five Points Festival, we finally made it up the carpeted wooden staircase to this second-story fine dining Columbia, SC establishment.

At our table on the front balcony, we had a great view of Five Points and beyond. The  Five Points fountain was dyed green and visions of “Irish Car Bombs” had been dancing in our heads for days, but Saluda’s calls for a little more refinement, so we opted to start our evening with a glass of chardonnay instead of the festive mixture of Guinness, Baileys, and Jameson. Every now and then our nostrils would flare as plates of food passed our table. Anticipation was certainly in the air, and it smelled amazing!

We were attended by a very courteous and knowledgable waiter, who was able to rattle off an abundance of specials with delicious descriptions and made great recommendations for our meal. Having heard our waiters speil, we started with The Oyster BLT, a unique take on a Southern classic.

Romantic Restaurants in Columbia SC

Fried oysters over a bed of greens, topped with crispy slices of bacon and some sort of remoulade or aioli (Pictures were a bit difficult, given the lighting). With the delicious flavors of the crisp oyster and cuts of fatty pork fading on our taste buds, we took on the always difficult decision of deciding on an entrée. Wait, you said BLT! The remoulade made have had some tomato-ey elements to it. But did it really matter? We had our bacon. What else can you ask for in an appetizer? It was remarkable.

Columbia SC Restaurants

Pan-Seared Scallops over Sweet Potatoes. Two ears of fried potato supported by several large scallop medallions, all on an island of mashed sweet potato swimming in broth. Pleasantly rich. The sweet potatoes combined with the broth to form a delicious thick sauce that coated the scallops. The presentation is unique and fun, and if you want, you can even pretend it’s a rabbit!

Fine Dining in Columbia SC

Fish Du Jour. The Chef’s daily special of freshly caught seafood. In this case, it was a enticing cut of salmon. Cooked to perfection. The Chef’s specialty is seafood, and he really put his talents on display with our meal. The sear on the salmon and scallops was perfect, giving the outside the right amount of texture and flavor and while retaining the juices. We paired our entrées with a glass of The Dreaming Tree 2009 “Crush” , a bottle of wine produced in part by Dave Matthews. So of course it was some of the Best of What’s Around (where are the crackers, cause that joke was cheeeeee-sy).

romantic columbia sc restaurants

For dessert we had a slice of a blueberry cobbler cheesecake. This. Was. Awesome. Just look at that artful presentation and the layer of sweet blueberry cobbler crust. And with the last forkful of the cobbler, our meal was (very unfortunately) at an end.

Saluda’s creates an intimate and relaxing atmosphere. The lighting is warm and the dining room spacious, and the chef certainly knows how prepare his seafood.  They boast an abundance of daily specials, including a happy hour from 4-8; $3 for a glass of house wine, liquor, and draft beer. Come on into this fine dining Columbia, SC restaurant for a relaxing night of drinks and eats.

Saludas, Columbia SC

Saluda's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Request for Help- Peru Mission Trip

To our fellow foodies, bloggers, restaurant owners, friends, family and loyal readers,

We hope you do not mind this rare deviation from our usual restaurant- related posts to explain an initiative we are undertaking in addition to a request for your help.

In May of 2010, back before Capital City Eatz was even a twinkle in our eyes, we made the trip to San Jacinto, Peru for a two-week mission trip. We travelled with the nonprofit organization Homeworks of America, a nonprofit founded in 1996 with the goals of repairing homes of homeowners in need, assisting youth in their development, and empowering communities to meet the needs of their members. The trip was spiritually, mentally, and physically rewarding as we were able to directly impact the lives of ten Peruvian families by building them homes, not to mention the hundreds we touched with our willingness to help those less fortunate than ourselves.

2010 Peru Trip

Posing with some of the kids of the families we built homes for

On May 7, 2012, we will be departing the United States and traveling back to Peru. Six other missionaries will be traveling with us on our journey to help the residents of this town. The village is impoverished and in need of our help.

We are going to be providing the inhabitants with thousands of vitamins that we will be carrying with us. The vitamins will provide the necessary nutrients that the villagers lack in their daily diet.  In addition to bringing these vitamins, we will be constructing village homes for many of the families. In 2010, we were able to construct 8 homes during our time there.

As Mother Theresa once said, “Do small things with great love.”  Vitamins, food, and shelter are physical and temporary needs that come and go.  Our services are greatly needed in this area, and although they may be small efforts, they will bring the villagers hope.

Peruvian Home

1 of 8 of the homes we constructed during our 2010 trip

By supporting our trip, you too could help bring more than physical assistance to these people.  You can share the gift of hope.  Sending chewable vitamins would also be greatly appreciated.  We have created a donation button below (Paypal) in addition to one on our sidebar to assist us in collecting donations. We thank you in advance for any donations you wish to send and ask that you keep us and our group in your prayers as we embark on this journey.

David Allen & Samantha August

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St. Pat’s in Five Points

Saturday morning, Capital City Eatz joined the ranks of the thousands of people celebrating their questionably-Irish heritage on the streets of Five Points. The sun was out and the weather was cooperating. A perfect day to enjoy some people watching, drink over-priced Budweiser products, and find a generic food vendor with a short line (the line at 2 Fat 2 Fly was simply too long for our limited supply of patience). All of this was ours for a modest $15.

 

The Mobros

View from behind "The Mobros"

Food Booth

Mmm Funnel Cakes

Ordering a Gyro

Yur-O Time!

The Fountain

The Great Green Geyser

We enjoyed a few hours of the fun; taking in a couple tunes here and there, reveling in a few mid-day brews, and doing a LOT of walking and talking. The pot of gold goes to the gyro vendors for providing much needed sustenance during the roistering. Thank you to the lovely people of Columbia (and surrounding areas) that make this such a highly anticipated festival every year!

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Terra

Terra is perched on a hilly rise just over the Gervais St. bridge and rushes out to meet you when you arrive in West Columbia. The brick sidewalk adds an Old South flavor to the walk down State  St. toward the doors of our destination, but after a few stumbles it’s not hard to see why brick gave way to good ol’ fashioned concrete.

Simple Food without Pretention. Terra delivers just that in excellent fashion. The large wood-trimmed main room is separated by several low room dividers and a raised bar area. Columns, greenery, and colorful paintings give depth and character to the room (although my memory may have created the columns on its own). We were seated in booths close to the kitchen. Comfortable, but slightly impractical. I have never been a fan of booths that are large enough to seat more than two, but maybe it was our fault for dining with more than four. Just make sure the person on the inside of the booth is rationed only a small amount of water, or claims an exceptionally large bladder.

terra columbia sc fine dining 

We were greeted by our waiter, put in orders for several cocktails and appetizers, and sat back to enjoy the menu. So many delicious options and only one stomach to fit it into. The cheese plate arrived as we were downing our Dark and Stormy’s and El Diablo’s. I don’t think our pairings were spot on, but the tequila, ginger beer, Creme de Casis, and fresh lime of the El Diablo tasted just fine with the aged cheddar.

west columbia sc terra fine dining

The quail make for an awkward, but tasty dish. The two birds lying naked together on a bed of couscous and root regetables. Unfortunately, it is not currently on the menu, and Capital City Eatz did not have the prudence to photograph the menu (rookie mistake), but it was succulent bird all the same.

fine dining terra columbia sc

As is often the case, something on the menu just JUMPS out and grabs you. For this particular Capital City Eater, the seared flounder was calling. What was unique about this dining experience was the appeal of the delicious rice dish accompanying the fish. The flounder was just getting in the way of my mouth and this incredible medley of rice, mushrooms, peas, and the narcotics that the chef must have put in there. Very tasty.

Enough words. Lets look at some pictures…

terra west columbia romantic restaurants

 

romantic restaurants terra columbia sc

Another successful feasting foray across the river! Everything was well presented and expertly cooked. Terra made a terrific first impression and we will certainly be back for more. Until then, Capital City Eatz moves on to find more hidden gems among the restaurants of Columbia, SC. Searching for a good Fine Dining Columbia, SC Restaurant or Romantic Columbia, SC Restaurant? You found one.

Terra, West Columbia SC

Terra on Urbanspoon

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