Huntin’ Camp BBQ and Grill

After our big adventure at the Poinsett Bridge and Carl Sanburg House, we stopped at The Huntin’ Camp BBQ and Grill in Traveler’s Rest for dinner. Located at the corner of Highway 25 North and Goodwin Road, Huntin’ Camp is a wooden building with lots of outdoor seating and a large parking lot.

Inside, Huntin’ Camp has a fun rustic decor with lots of “stuffed” animals. People, it’s called Huntin’ Camp and you are there to eat meat. What did you expect? After visiting the men’s room on the way out, McB said there was a taxidermied wild cat perched over the urinal. That goes beyond the pale but the rest of the decor is within reason and goes with the theme.

This delicious basket of hush puppies arrived at our table when we were seated. It’s just a crying shame that McB doesn’t eat hush puppies and they were mine, all mine.

I love the sides that come with BBQ so after surveying both the menu and the buffet, I chose the buffet. Most of the items on the menu came with predetermined sides (fries and slaw) and I wanted something different. McB decided on a steak with fries and mac-n-cheese.

WHAT I WANT TO MARRY FROM THE BUFFET (You know, if marrying bacon is legal, why can’t I marry other food items?): the peach cobbler and Alabama white BBQ sauce

 

WHAT I LIKED FROM THE BUFFET: bbq chicken, pulled pork, mac-n-cheese, green beans and potato salad

 

 

WHAT I WOULDN’T PICK AGAIN: baked beans (not a strong dish for SC bbq restaurants) and hash and rice

 

 

McB’s steak and fries were good. The mac-n-cheese was cold and since he’s not a complainer, he refused to send it back. He enjoyed the meal and given the size of the portions, he was full despite skipping the pasta.

 

Overall, we give Huntin’ Club a good review. The buffet allowed for a nice variety and plenty of sides and may be the best of all options.

 

Upstate (and just into NC) adventure

“Let a joy keep you. Reach out your hands and take it when it runs by.”
  Carl Sandburg

Part of the reason we moved to South Carolina was to take advantage of the mild, and often sunny, winters that alluded us in Ohio. Last Saturday we were blessed with a sunny day and decided to make the most of it by visiting the Poinsett Bridge on our way to Carl Sandburg’s home in Flat Rock, NC.

To access the Poinsett Bridge, we followed 25 north and then turned off to the right where directed by the big, brown highway sign. I believe we were on old 25. If you follow those brown signs you’ll find it without any trouble. I do advise you to be cautious as the route to the bridge is quite popular with cyclists. When you reach the bridge, you will see a nice parking area to the right of the road. It’s horseshoe shape provides an adequate space for parking and makes things quite easy when you’re ready to get back on the road.

After carefully crossing the road, you will find a newer set of wooden steps that make it easy to get down onto the bridge. Getting down to Little Gap Creek, the body of water that runs beneath the bridge, may be a little tricky for those with mobility limitations or impractical footwear. The photo to the left shows the upper half of the path that leads to the creek. You can see some exposed roots and rocks along the path. I think most people could navigate it easily but it’s worth mentioning that tennis shoes or hiking boots are ideal.

When we visited the creek was low, exposing large patches of rock that allowed for good access and lovely photos.

The natural beauty is undeniable but so is the majesty of the bridge itself. Built in 1820, this treasure features a 14′ gothic arch. It is a bit boggling that this bridge was still used in the 1950s. The craftsmanship is a grade above what we are used to seeing these days. Poinsett Bridge

It is also a beautiful spot for portrait photography. The arch can soften the light or create interesting, and mysterious, shadows. McB and I chose the mossy walls of the bridge’s upper surface for our self-timer portrait.

After traipsing around in the woods, climbing about, and snapping lots of pictures, we got back in the car for the drive up to Flat Rock, NC and the Carl Sandburg Home National Historic Site. The drive was an easy, picturesque one and once again, those nice brown signs lead the way to our destination.

Upon reaching the house, McB eagle-eyed a parking spot in the small, and very popular, parking lot. The lot, and the park itself, is popular because of the beauty and accessibility of the grounds. The property is named Connemara and features a number of hiking trails including one that will take you to the top of Glassy Mountain. I look forward to hitting those trails one day but we were going for the first-time visitor experience and that meant seeing the house.

If you are traveling with someone with mobility needs, you can use a phone in the welcome area/restrooms to call a park ranger to request transportation up to the house. It’s roughly .3/mile but it is a bit steep and could be a challenge for some. There are a number of benches along the route for any walkers who need a rest.

At the top of the hill, you will find the house. Tours are $5 and offer a good deal of information about the Sandburg’s and their relatively simple life at Connemara. During my time at the house, it was clear to me that the Sandburg’s were more interested in enjoying each other than living the life that many would expect from a famed poet/author and his wife.  The guestroom, that was used by Edward R. Murrow and other notables, is located by the kitchen. It features simple furnishings and seemed to double as a sewing/ironing space. Given what we heard about the Sandburg’s, I wouldn’t be surprised if those items were in the room when guests visited and I doubt any of those guests cared one bit.

The property also featured Mrs. Sandburg’s goat farm. She had quite a reputation for her herd and the care she took in breeding her goats. There are still goats on the property today. This area does not require admission and is a popular spot with the younger visitors. The goats are quite docile.

This chair, a frequent perch for Carl, was one of my favorite spots. I can imagine that the serenity he experienced while taking in the world helped to spur his creative genius.

Connemara is a beautiful, almost magical place. There is a bit of something for everyone and you don’t have to be a Sandburg scholar to take something away from the visit. If you’d like to learn more about the Sandburg’s click here.

It was a really wonderful day. It was meant to be my birthday celebration and really, I couldn’t have asked for a better gift than exploring, learning, and photographing with my sweet husband by my side.

Operation Biscuit – Week Three

McB’s common complaint about biscuits is that they are too “bready.” I began to think if I could solve this problem, I might find a biscuit he will eat. Since I can’t change the composition of a biscuit, which is essentially bread, I decided to bust out a flavored biscuit recipe. My friend sent me a link to these cheddar garlic biscuits. I mixed things up and made these for breakfast last week.

McB said that he liked the fact that the biscuits had a flavor other than bread and butter. I was torn because I had some positive feedback for the first time in this experiment but since “bread” and “butter” are two flavors that I enjoy, it was also a little hard to hear. He went on to say that the garlic was a little overpowering. I wonder if he would feel that way if I had prepared the biscuits at dinner instead of breakfast.

I am now looking for herbed biscuit recipes though I plan to tackle Plain Chicken’s 7up Biscuits next, so more “bread” and “butter” for him and more heaven for me.

Wild Ace

Last Saturday I was craving wings in the worst way. McB wanted pizza or maybe boneless wings. Given the foul weather, we decided to skip a trip downtown Greenville and instead set our sights on downtown Greer and The Wild Ace (109 Trade Street, Greer) as our destination for wings and pizza.

We arrived at The Wild Ace just after 2:15 p.m. The place was fairly crowded but not overwhelmingly so as there were still a number of empty tables.

The hostess stopped by our table to get our drink orders. After a short wait, our waiter brought the drinks and said that he would return to take our order as he had food waiting to come out to another table. We were both ready to order when he walked away but I was under the impression that he would be right back so I chatted with my husband and waited.

It turned out that I WAITED AND WAITED. After delivering food to the table in question and taking orders from patrons who had just walked in, our waiter stopped to help another staffer bus a table. That table wasn’t needed immediately or during the next hour that we were in the restaurant. At this point I started to fume. We were left sitting for at least 10 minutes at this point. If the decision were mine, we would have paid for our sodas and hit the road. McB reminded me that we weren’t in a hurry. In a compromise, we agreed until 2:45 and then cash out if the waiter had not returned. He made a few other stops and finally came back with about five minutes to spare.

The waiter did apologize for our wait and took our order. At this time I ordered wings and McB got a caesar salad and a 14″ pizza for us to split. He said “for us to split” when placing the order. McB’s salad came out (the croutons were quite good but the dressing came on the side and was so thick that he had to dip his lettuce into it) but my wings didn’t appear. The wings finally came about 25 minutes later when the pizza arrived with a single plate for McB. I had to ask for another plate.

The wings were reasonably good. It was a hot sauce, and I like heat, but it was also had a little of the hot-to-be-hot flavor that I’m not as fond of. I had a slice of the pizza and thought it was also tasty thought not any better than Mythos. McB agreed that the pie was good but not worth the hassle. At one point he was torn about whether to hope for good or bad pizza since he knew that no matter the flavor, there was little chance we’d be back again.

I do have to say that while he failed us in many ways, our waiter did do a good job of refilling our drinks. There is something to be said for that.

I don’t think we’ll be going back to The Wild Ace Pizza & Pub. I don’t mind a relaxed atmosphere but it shouldn’t involve this kind of service.

Lil Rebel 290

I passed the Lil Rebel 290 last December as I was making my way down route 290 to catch up to 25 and then on to Tennessee. It’s a nice looking building from the outside and on the day I passed, the parking lot was pretty full. I love small, local restaurants and immediately made a note to Google it at some point.

McB and I first tried the Lil Rebel (2608 Locust Hill Rd, Taylors) the day after Christmas. On that visit we both ordered burgers and were quite impressed by the portion size, speed of service, and friendliness of the waitstaff.

Lil Rebel has a large menu with lots of choices but I’m not sure I’ll ever fully appreciate them all because I’ve fallen for their Calabash chicken dinner. It’s unlike me to order the same entree but during our last two visits, it’s been the Calabash chicken. The only change up has been whether I order all fries or a fry-onion ring split. Again, this is not like me but look at this plate.

Calabash chicken - little rebelThe succulent chicken breast planks are surrounded by a light breading that is perfectly seasoned to provide just the right kick for the palate. I used very little dipping sauce because frankly, it wasn’t needed. The fries are hot, fresh, and plentiful.

regular chicken fingersOn this particular visit, McB ordered the regular chicken fingers. He liked the fingers but was eying my Calabash. He loves the fries at the Lil Rebel. He likes very few fries so I’m glad that these can help fill the void left by our departure from a Raising Cane’s city. On this visit, McB also tried the house BBQ sauce. It is a slightly watery sauce made with Greek sauces. I found it to be curiously delicious. McB liked it but regretted not choosing the more traditional hickory sauce.

The portions are large and the prices are low. The quality of the food can’t be beat. It’s not a gourmet meal but it’s good homey cooking. There are healthy items on the menu; I’m just too stuck on the Calabash to get to any of those. I’ve also been unable to order one of their many dessert options. It’s not that I don’t want to but we generally leave stuffed to the gills with a doggy bag in hand.

The staff is so nice and friendly. They are always willing to make recommendations. I also like that you typically don’t have to ask for a “to-go” cup and our instead are asked whether you want one or not. I think local restauranteurs just have a better understanding of the role good service plays in customer loyalty. It definitely shows at the Lil Rebel.

Oh and for the parting shot, our “clean” plates from this visit. You can see the corner of the box housing our leftover chicken planks. It’s important to note that this meal occurred after 1:30 p.m. on a Saturday when I didn’t prepare breakfast. We were famished and STILL couldn’t finish all the food.

Lil Rebel 290 is a great little local gem. I can’t wait to take visitors there.

Visit to Bob Jones University’s M&G and my rant about Elgin

Last week I popped over to Bob Jones University’s Museum & Gallery (Heritage Green – Buncombe Street in Greenville, SC) to see “Rublev to Faberge’: The Journey of Russian Art and Culture to America.” The exhibition primarily focuses on icons from the Russian Orthodox Church, most of which came to the US and to Bob Jones after the Bolshevik Revolution.

The exhibit itself was amazing. I wish I could share images but photography is not allowed in either of the M&G locations. It’s also a bit disappointing that the M&G website does not show images from the collection.

The works are displayed along a timeline beginning with a piece created by Andrei Rublev in the 1300’s and continuing past the Bolshevik Revolution and murders of the Romanov family. The icons vary greatly. Some of the images are small and unadorned and others feature a painting of Christ (or another religious figure) with clothing made from silver filigree. Some of the icons have been embellished with semi-precious stones in the frame or as part of the piece itself.

The icon stood out most to me was an acheiropoieta or an icon that is said to be an image of Christ that was not produced by a human hand.  The icons of this class are said to be reproductions of a cloth featuring Christ’s image. One of the icons in the M&G collection that fell into this category was truly haunting. The face of Christ seemed to glow and the expression was full of both grace and sorrow.

As I made my way through the museum and came to learn that many of the icons there were purchased from Armand Hammer, who traveled to the then Soviet Union in 1921. There are several accounts of what he planned to do there – provide medical aid or feed the starving peasants – but, what he ended up doing best was collecting Russian icons and other works of art. In truth, the communists had destroyed thousands of the Orthodox icons and pieces belonging to the Romanov’s so his actions did save a fair amount of Russian art that was then brought the the US to be sold. It’s likely that many of the pieces would have been destroyed without his intervention but with so many of its treasures found in galleries and private homes around the world, it’s easy to understand why Russia doesn’t want these icons going home with tourists now.

It got me to thinking about the Pergamon Altar, Elgin Marbles, Caryatid, and countless other pieces that are tucked away in museums far away from their homelands. I could go on and on about the Caryatid in particular and how I think she should be shipped back to Athens immediately but this most is about a day at the M&G and not Elginism. It’s just that even though I enjoyed seeing the icons, I felt a little sad for the Russian people who might never get the chance to see some of these treasures.

I enjoyed my day at M&G and look forward to taking in the many lovely works of art found in the main location on the Bob Jones campus.

Operation Biscuit – Week Two

For anyone who might be new to the blog, I’m trying in vain to find a biscuit recipe that my husband likes. He thinks biscuits are hot, bread-flavored hockey pucks and I’m determined to find the magic recipe that will change his mind.

As I mentioned in the first OPERATION BISCUIT post, McB prefers canned cinnamon rolls to homemade ones or even Cinnabon-made ones. I feared that the same might be true for biscuits so before going any further with homemade recipes, I decided to take a step back and buy canned biscuits.

canned biscuit

For my testing purposes, we had the Great Value version of butter-flavored, flaky Grands.

McB found them to be “bready.” I don’t really understand this critique. As I asked him, it is bread, so is that good or bad? Beefy cheeseburgers are good but I have come to understand that a bready biscuit is not.

I thought the canned biscuit was OK but as the day progressed, it began to sit like a little lead ball in my stomach.

I don’t think we’ll repeat this again.