Columbia, Beaufort & Hilton Head; Part Two of our Road Trip through South Carolina

Our Road Trip with Atlanta Food & Wine Continues
Filed Under > Everyday

As you read yesterday, we recently set out on a pretty epic road trip throughout South Carolina, eating and drinking our way through a handful of the state’s must-see cities.  And as we were driving from Greenville to Hilton Head and then onto Sea Island for The Southern C Summit, Columbia was a no-brainer for a pitstop.  It was my first time in town, though Kat had been during college for a game or two to visit friends.  It didn’t take me long to see that this was one FUN town on a college game day.  The plethora of local breweries, great spots to catch some good grub, and the overall setup of the town really built the scene for a perfect weekend in the south.  And as someone who didn’t have college football at their school, I can appreciate that more than you know! 

We really lucked out with our itinerary on this part of the trip and our time in Columbia; the AFWF team powwow’ed with the state of South Carolina for must-eat, must-drink stops for us to get a feel for the place, setting us off in the fanciest Lexus SUV to roll us around in style.  And after we were done in Columbia, we had our eyes set on a quick stop in Beaufort and finally settling in Hilton Head for the night. 

The first on our list for the day was Rise Bakeshop, which was named Columbia’s Best New Restaurant last year by the readers of Free Times. Owned by Chef Sarah Simmons (who also owns CITY GRIT and Birds & Bubbles in Manhattan), the place boasts a big menu of southern staples at a fast-casual frequency.  It’s the perfect place for a great biscuit, drool-worthy breakfast or lunch sandwiches and top quality salad bowls… basically everything they serve (minus the cheese) is prepared in-house using only the best ingredients.  It was totally right up our alley; the team piled up on sweet and savory treats for later, only after talking to the lovely Chef Sarah and hearing her story.  This talented lady really knows her stuff; she’s been recognized as one of the most creative people in business, a new and notable chef, and one of America’s best new cooks, and many more accolades by Food & Wine, Zagat and Fast Company magazine just to name a few.  Her drive and passion for the industry was contagious, too; she told us about her big plans to continue paving the way in Columbia for top-scale dining.  We definitely plan to keep an ear out for her next endeavor…with Columbia only three hours away from Atlanta, it would be a great excuse to come check out a new restaurant of hers and have a little weekend getaway.  

After our stop at Rise, we piled back in the car to make our way to 2Fat2Fly where friends/owners Ramone Dickerson and Cory Simmons have in all seriousness, changed the game with their absolutely, ridiculously awesome stuffed chicken wings.  That’s right; you read that correctly…stuffed chicken wings.  The name may be my favorite part about the biz too with a play on the stuffed chicken that are too fat to fly!  We arrived hungry, because we didn’t want to waste this chance at this when-in-Rome experience here in Columbia.  And a side note, the guys were sweet to let us come in; they were actually closed for dining because it was Super Bowl Sunday and the team was busy in the back preparing catering orders all day long.  But the boys showed us the utmost southern hospitality as they brought out some of their finest stuffed wings for us to enjoy (with the place to ourselves!).  And man, the lineup was creative, innovative and irresistible: mac & cheese, chicken & waffles dunked in maple syrup, jambalaya rice & sausage, collard greens & rice and lastly, jalapeno, bacon & cheese.  Insane, right?!  They were some of the best wings we’ve ever ate…I mean just mind blowing how they actually stuff them.  We definitely put a dent in the platter in front of us, but alas we did go home with some wings that we knew would be just as good heated up later that night! 

We knew we wanted to pop around Columbia for a little bit longer, and since the city has a great brewery scene, we stopped by River Rat Brewing next for a flight of craft beers. The brewery was super laid-back and welcoming; one of those places where you’d want to hang out with a few of your friends for a few hours.  It had a great, large outdoor area that would be so perfect for sunny weather and a good #SundayFunday.  The space was awesome, and one we’d definitely recommend visiting for yourself. 

Before we knew it, it was time to hit the road again, and we wanted to swing through super charming Beaufort on the way to Hilton Head.  Whenever you’re passing through South Carolina, it’s really worth your while to stop through here; the quiet streets of antebellum homes nestled on the water make it the most idyllic little town.  If you have time, be sure to rent bikes and meander the streets covered in Spanish moss; they’ll take your breath away!  And if you have time to catch a quick bite, you must go to Q on the Bay for some of the best BBQ around (with Alabama white sauce of course), and homemade strawberry cake (recipe stays in the family…don’t worry I’ve already tried to get it). 

Our final stop on deck for this epic South Carolina road trip: Hilton Head.  It was such a treat to get a little taste of springtime weather here, and the cool ocean breeze and sand between our toes put a smile on all of us.  We had a ton of recommendations to go check out Hilton Head Brewing Co., the island’s first brewery located on the north end.  We were so glad we did; after getting a behind-the-scenes tour of the brewery, we enjoyed tasting several of their finest IPA’s at the bar.  The new-to-town brewer, Nick Farstad, impressed us with his drive to get the brewery back to booming post-Hurricane Matthew, and he was great to teach us about the diverse flavor profiles of some of the brewery’s most beloved beers. We left there wishing Nick and team the best in his efforts to “put HHI on the [beer] map.” We know we’ll be back for another round soon! 

Our last (and maybe my favorite) reservation found us at One Hot Mama’s, the culinary brain child and family-friendly BBQ joint by the talented Chef Orchid Paulmeier.  You may remember Chef Orchid from season 7 of The Next Food Network Star!  Chef Orchid sure knows what she’s doing; the spread set us back a few lbs. probably (because we just couldn’t leave any bites left behind), and we all settled into a comfortable and happy food coma after we devoured what was on the table.  I think my favorite dish was the juicy-wet ribs, but I know that Kat couldn’t stop talking about those wings and Kathryn loved the macaroni & cheese.  The one thing we could all agree on though; the chocolate, bacon pecan pie.  Bold statement here, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a better dessert! Definitely worth a visit when you’re on HHI.  

Whew!  To say we had a great time meeting these talented chefs, eating this fantastic food and enjoying these drinks throughout South Carolina is a major understatement.  Big thanks to AFWF, Discover South Carolina and Lexus for making it all happen.  I know I can speak for the team in saying how fortunate we felt to have had the chance to see some of these hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems around the state.  It’ll make it even more fun to meet up with the chefs at this year’s Atlanta Food & Wine Festival during the first weekend in June!  Early Bird tickets go on sale 3.24, so be sure to set a reminder in your calendars…it’s one of my favorite events all year!  Check out a few peeks from last year’s festival below (but most importantly, read about the tasting tents you’ll want to visit first!) to see what all of the buzz is about.   Truly, MKR

P.S. Here’s an elegant southern themed private dinner I styled for the festival last year, along with a stunning Asian inspired rooftop dinner and the jaw-dropping farm table set up in the vineyard! xo  


A Roadtrip through South Carolina with Atlanta Food & Wine

How to spend 24 hours in Greenville, South Carolina
Filed Under > Everyday

We recently had the most amazing time in South Carolina, as I’m sure you can recall from our posts on Instagram and Snapchat (username WAITINGONMARTHA).  Coming back from the whirlwind of a trip (we were gone 10 days in total), I was officially convinced that South Carolina is probably my (second) favorite state.  With its incredible geographical delights, drool-worthy food and great drivability from us here in the A, it makes for a wonderful getaway and worthwhile trip – however long you can go.  

Atlanta Food & Wine Festival teamed up with our friends at Discover South Carolina and Lexus to send us on a food-and-drink filled 3 days-2 night road trip.  And man, the itinerary was GOOD.  There’s a lot to cover, but in today’s post, we’re talking about where to visit in Greenville. 

First on our itinerary was Six & Twenty Distillery, where founders David Raad and Robert “Farmer” Redmond welcomed us with open arms after a morning of road tripping north from Atlanta.  David and Farmer’s passion for their craft was apparent from the second we walked through their doors; we had a wonderful time hearing about their unique process in making a variety of handcraft whiskies, bourbon gin and vodka. The homemade touch was obvious with everything we saw (and tasted!); every bottle was meticulously filled, hand corked and labeled on site, and the batches of bottles were numbered and personally signed. The team left with t-shirts and bottles of Six & Twenty’s crowd favorite, Carolina Cream, in tow. 

We were enamored with the story behind the Six and Twenty name too.  Legend has it that before the Revolutionary War, a Choctaw woman was captured by the Cherokee and made a slave. She overheard the Cherokee’s attack plans for the trading post where her British lover lived. She escaped captivity to warn him of the looming danger, and traveled 96 miles to save him. She set geographical points along the way, based on her distance from the Cherokee village.  The distillery is located approximately 26 miles from the original village, giving it its name! Check out more on this love story that made history (and one heck of a great name for a distillery). 

Next on the itinerary: lunch at Grits & Groceries, which is located at Saylors Crossroads at the junction of 185 and 284.  Its closest town is a little place called Belton, about 30 minutes away. As we pulled up, we found cars lining both of th roads, seemingly at the only establishment around.  We knew we were in for a treat seeing how busy it was in the middle of the day.  We grabbed Bloody Mary’s at the outside bar and eagerly waited what we knew would be a feast to remember.  And we were right; Chef Heidi Trull sent out her fried country ham balls with homemade pepper jelly (AMAZING) and we scarfed them down in practically one bite.  When the place cleared up a bit, Chef Heidi sat us right at the bar so we could have a front-and-center view of the kitchen.  She then went and served us the royal treatment, bringing out samplings of all of her mainstays on the menu: her famous praline bacon, “Eggs Elizabeth”, fried cheese grits with tomato jam, “Three Little Piggies” sandwiches, shrimp and grits, the Palmetto Burger (possibly the best grassfed beef burger we’ve ever had with a big ole scoop of homemade pimento cheese on top), and of course (somehow we found room) for her husband Joe’s homemade fried apple pies.  I mean they had to roll us out of there, but not before they sent us on our way with more fried apple pies for later and plenty of homemade pepper jelly. 

Happy food comas set in, and we headed back to Greenville to check into the Westin Poinsett, which has a great central location in the downtown. We took a bit of a breather to reset, explore the town and gear up for dinner at the wildly popular Willy Taco Feed & Seed.  With two locations (the other in Spartanburg, SC), the “Willy” of Willy Taco, William Cribb, has knocked it out of the park with this full-service, upcycled cantina concept.  This location in particular is inside a renovated, historic Feed & Seed building that’s had a special place in Greenville residents’ hearts.  The owners did a fantastic job staying true to the historical details, while ushering in cool, modern details that fit the funky vibe. And on the menu: a great mix of conceptual tacos, burgers, sandwiches, salads, house-made chips and fresh juice margaritas. The vibe was electric and funky; people everywhere happy to be there, joining friends for a few drinks at the bar and noshing on some impressive taco creations at the tables. 

 This wasn’t our first time in Greenville, and it certainly won’t be our last.  We absolutely adored having this chance to see more of this great town, and highly suggest these spots if you’re wondering where to visit in Greenville.  A big thanks to AFWF, Discover SC and Lexus for showing us a few more must-visit gems, and introducing us to new faces and friends that we’ll be sure to seek out come June at the Atlanta Food & Wine Festival!  Stay tuned for our recap of Day 2 and 3, where we stopped in Columbia, Beaufort and Hilton Head.  Amazing lineup, right?!  Truly, MKR

P.S. Next time in Greenville and Traveller’s Rest, we’re hoping to check these off the list: Dark Corner Moonshine, Copperhead Mountain Distillery, Quest Brewing, Brewery 85, Grape and Grains of Greenville, Swamp Rabbit Trail Brewery and Blue Ridge Brewing Company.  Spread out, in moderation, of course! xo 

Photography, Kathryn McCrary for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival, Discover South Carolina and Lexus.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

Twenty Four Hours in New Orleans

Where To Eat During A Quick Trip To NOLA with Atlanta Food & Wine
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Where To Eat New Orleans , Balise Where To Eat New Orleans , Cafe Du Monde(C)©©© www.haleysheffield.comWhere To Eat New Orleans , Willa Jean. Get the FROSE!Where To Eat New Orleans , St. James CheeseWhere To Eat New Orleans , Cane & Table

I’m sure you saw that we had quite the adventure in Louisiana a few weeks ago.  We teamed up with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival and Louisiana Travel on a 3-day road trip to get a taste of the best Louisiana food and drink.  Last week, we shared our recap of Baton Rouge and Lafayette and today we’re all hungry again reminiscing over our stop in New Orleans.  

We kicked off the 3-day trip with a bang in NOLA, hurricane in-hand the second we stepped off the plane.  First stop, NOLA Distillery. Opened just last month, we were lucky enough to get a little behind-the-scenes tour and tasting.  We all loved the craft vodka made from only Louisiana-grown sweet potatoes (the state is known to be the home of the best sweet potatoes, FYI).   We saw first-hand how NOLA’s vodka is distilled twice and filtered, giving it a hint of sweetness and a touch of earthy flavor.  The vodka went perfectly in what the team joked as their “Kale-Gate” cocktail (more on that backstory here) and their take on a Cosmopolitan.  

After we sipped a few cocktails and talked plans for the tasting room (opening soon) with the lovely NOLA team, we scooted over to St. James Cheese Company.  This local shop would definitely become my go-to for an easy lunch with the girls; think cheeses on cheeses, wines and drool-worthy sandwiches.  We were thrilled to have the queen of cheese herself, Liz Thorpe, with us to introduce us to some pretty fantastic pairings with our wine.  Liz published The Cheese Chronicles back in 2009, and her immense knowledge about the many variations of cheese was downright inspirational.  Her newest book, The Book of Cheese, breaks down cheese into nine “gateways” of flavor, rather than by country, milk type, etc.  Her take on enjoying cheese, finding flavors and kinds you love, and understanding the wide varieties in this unique way is refreshing.  It’s approachable.  And with over 400 pages in The Book of Cheese, there’s something for everyone.  Seriously cannot wait to get our hands on this “cheese bible”

We could have stopped there; bellies and hearts SO full.  But alas, we were in New Orleans, and there was more goodness to taste.  Next up: Willa Jean.  And oh, let me tell you: Willa Jean is an absolute MUST when you’re in NOLA.  This contemporary bakery was opened by Chef John Besh, Chef Kelly Fields and Chef Lisa White in the Central Business District, and it celebrates the best of the best Southern comfort food with fresh, local ingredients.  We loved chatting with Chef Kelly Fields; she was incredibly welcoming, hilarious and to say that she blew us away with her cornbread, frosé and homemade chocolate chip cookies (a recipe that includes 5 different kinds of chocolate and one she took two years perfecting!) is an understatement.  COME HERE with your girlfriends for a boozy brunch on your next trip; you won’t regret it. 

Next, (no we’re not done yet), we downed a quick dozen raw oysters with wine at Borgne, another gem by Chef John Besh and Chef Brian Landry.  Borgne is known to be one of the best spots for fresh seafood in the area, and it did not disappoint.  Its menu is a true celebration of Louisiana coastal fare, with everything from Oysters on the Half Shell to Pan Roasted Lemonfish with brown butter turnips and Shrimp Toast with pork belly and sweet chili sambal.  Its ultra cool, modern vibe in the bottom of the Hyatt makes it a hotspot (and easy locale in the Central Business District) for visitors and locals alike.  

It was a big day, but we (somehow?!?) left room for dinner at Balise.   Balise, manned by 2016 James Beard winner Chef Justin Devillier (also with La Petit Grocery), was named after the first French settlement at the mouth of the Mississippi River.  And the place is clearly steeped in its history; located in a 19th century Creole townhouse that’s expertly decorated, and irresistibly intimate in its ambiance. On our prix fixe menu, we enjoyed fare like Fried smoked oysters, chilled Roasted Beets with Lemon, Mint and Brown Butter, Roasted Lamb Shoulder, Pan Roasted Gulf Shrimp and Chicken & Ricotta Dumplings…I mean my mouth is watering just recounting it here now.  And to top it all off, Walnut Cake, Apple Crisp and Sticky Toffee Pudding (the table’s favorite).  

Lastly, we (somehow) made it to Cane & Table because who could say no to Hurricanes.  Located in the heart of The French Quarter, Cane & Table is a gem of a restaurant and bar where Chef & Mixologist Nick Detrich mixes up the best hurricanes I’ve ever had.  Truthfully, when I looked at our itinerary and hurricanes where on the menu I wasn’t impressed, but that’s because I was used to the cheesy spring break, overally sugared hurricanes in neon plastic cups.  Chef Nick sticks to the original recipe; refreshing, crisp, and goes down like water Hurricane. Cane & Table deservedly tops the list for where to drink in town, being featured on Vogue and The New York Times.  The vibe here was second-to-none (string lights out back, drippy candles and palms), and the company was even better.  Nick was the warmest guy, welcoming us into his tiki-inspired world and teaching us a bit of history along the way. 

After that whirlwind of the day I rolled myself into bed and woke up the next morning still full from one of the best days I’ve had in awhile.  A big thank you to all of the chefs for welcoming us into their worlds, and make sure to check out the entire photo gallery below!  Truly, MKR

Photography, Haley Sheffield for Waiting on Martha | This post is in collaboration with Atlanta Food & Wine Festival,  Louisiana Travel and Lexus.  All opinions are 100% our own. 

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