Savory Saturday

Palmetto Olive Oil Co. and Bacon Brothers Public House have lingered on my list of places to check out. Thanks to some free time, a gift certificate, and indecision, we were able cross them both off the list on Saturday.

We started our day at Palmetto Olive Oil Co. on Augusta Street. The shop specializes in fresh olive oils and high-quality balsamic vinegar varieties. Upon entering the shop, one of the nice ladies who works there asked if we would like to sample. We said yes and were given a bowl of bread chunks and some general guidelines.

At first, we sampled the oils. The store stocks oils from both hemispheres depending on which area is harvesting. The oil we tasted was pressed from olives in November and December. Since this oil is very fresh, it contains antioxidants and other health benefits not found in grocery store oils. The flavor is also very different. The more robust oils take on the flavor on what grows around the olive trees. This can lead to a very fresh almost grassy flavor. I have to admit, this was not my favorite.

We moved into the flavored oil section. I found many things to like here. A few of my favorites were the spicy chipotle, a rich butter-flavored oil which would be great if you wanted to reap the health benefits of replacing butter with olive oil,  a delightful Herbes de Provence, and zesty blood orange. We wound up bringing home the blood orange olive oil. While I look forward to using it for entrees, I’m also interested in the idea of infusing brownies with a hint of orange by using this oil.

After sampling the oils, we moved to the white balsamics. A few of the highlights here were the fresh peach, Sicilian lemon, pineapple, and the original unflavored white balsamic.

We moved the the back of the store and exchanged our bread for a scoop of vanilla ice cream to use with the dark balsamic vinegar selections. Mr. McB loved the Tahitian vanilla and black cherry. We brought home bottles of both. I was a big fan of the maple, champagne, lavender, and raspberry. I selected a small bottle of maple and am looking forward to pairing that with the blood orange oil for what could be a delicious salad dressing.

After leaving the store, we decided to travel toward home and have lunch at Bacon Brothers Public House. This small farm-to-table establishment is located in a strip mall on Pelham Road. If Farmer Brown was a hipster, his house would look like the inside of Bacon Brothers. Functionally, there is a smoker behind the restaurant and a chamber inside the restaurant where their homemade meats and sausages are cured. Take the name as a clue, Bacon Brothers is not for vegetarians.

We both ordered the burger which is made from ground chuck, brisket, and bacon. Mr. McB had the traditional two-patty version and added a fried egg. I went with one patty and added a side of onion rings.

bacon brothers public houseLook at the size of that egg hanging off the side of the burger. After one bite, he had a pool of rich, egg yolk all over the plate. The burger became a fork-and-knife food at that moment. He doesn’t normally like messy foods but the unique flavor of this burger made it worthwhile.

photo 2Before I get to my review of the burger, let’s start with the onion rings. They weren’t the crispiest rings I’ve ever had but, they were far from soggy. They were fresh and featured a very light beer batter. The sweet onion was really allowed to standout instead of being overpowered by a mound of coating.

photo 4As you can see from this photo, the single burger is pretty substantial. The flavor is very different from a normal burger. Here you are getting the sinful smokiness of the bacon and brisket. It’s like a barbecued burger minus sauce. The leaf lettuce, American cheese, pickle, and special sauce all complimented the flavor very well. They balanced without muting. As a bread-lover, I have to take a minute to wax poetically about these delicious house-made buns. They are fluffy but still substantial enough to handle this burger.

We look forward to returning to both establishments and enjoying more of what they have to offer.

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Sunny Point Cafe

Back in August, I had the chance to meet my parents in Asheville for a visit to the WNC Farmers’ Market and lunch. While we enjoy the Moose Cafe located at the market, we wanted something different. Enter Sunny Point Cafe located at 626 Haywood Rd in West Asheville.

574685_10151011169052233_74143656_nSunny Point has the tiniest of parking lots. Thanks to my dad’s eagle-eyes we were able to nab a parking space but be prepared to park and walk to the restaurant. Actually, there can be a bit of a line so be prepared to let you party out of the car so they can get your name on the list while you find on-street parking.

That tiny parking lot is the only thing that separates the cafe from the lush garden where Sunny Point grows much of the produce used in their dishes. Lettuce, greens, tomatoes, and herbs were just some of the tasty items growing the day we visited.

After a brief wait, we were seated at a table under the partially enclosed patio. We ordered the fried green tomato and goat cheese appetizer. It was delicious, maybe too delicious for its own good since there are no pictures of it.

195903_10151011169472233_58360315_nDad ordered the burger. From this picture you can see how big and thick it is. You can also seed that gorgeous slice of heirloom tomato from the garden. The beef is free-range, hormone-and-antibiotic-free. It comes on a toasted English-muffin bun.

 

300808_10151011175157233_32485797_nMom got the grilled chicken sandwich with cheddar and maple-and-black-pepper bacon. Her bacon wound up on Dad’s burger. He said it was very good. She enjoyed the sandwich and the delicious fries.

I ordered the black bean tostadas. I can’t adequately describe this pile of delicious without going to the menu description. “Two crisp corn tortillas topped with grilled chipotle cheese grit cakes, roasted tomatillo salsa, and baby greens. Garnished with black bean corn salsa, cilantro crema, feta cheese, and fresh cilantro.”

378215_10151011169212233_326582162_nI loved everything about the dish. The contrast between the creamy elements and the tangy tomatillo salsa and the crispy tostadas and the moist grit cakes…my taste buds couldn’t ask for more. It was so delicious. I must admit to waking up craving this dish. It’s so unique and flavorful, I can’t imagine anything that would make a good substitute.

I would highly recommend Sunny Point. Other than the parking lot and the fact that they do not have Sweet’N Low for your coffee, it’s almost perfect.

Fresh to Order – Buckhead

Fresh to Order BuckheadIn our travels earlier this summer, we visited Fresh to Order in Buckhead, Georgia. The restaurant was recommended by a member of the valet staff at our hotel. I’m so glad we took the time to ask him for a recommendation.

Fresh to Order, or f2O, is a casual-dining atmosphere with fantastic meals made in about 10 minutes for roughly $10 per entree. The ingredients are chosen with care and the meals are very tasty.

When we walked in to f2O, the staff greeted us promptly and explained the concept. They were very eager to help with questions. Since everything was made fresh, they were happy to accommodate special requests with our order.

soup flightSince we both had light lunches, we were pretty hungry. We each started out with an appetizer. I chose the soup flight that features five different soups in sampler sizes. This is a great idea and I’m surprised that more restaurants don’t offer this.  My flight including tomato basil (Yumm and I don’t like tomato soup.), corn chowder (good but got a bit too sweet at the end), chicken and dumplings (good), chicken tortilla (very nice), and mushroom (my favorite!!).

Mr. McB had the ale laced chicken fingers. He said they were hot, juicy, and flavorful.

steak paniniFor our entrees, I had the bourbon filet steak panini. It was delicious beef with bleu cheese, caramelized onions, baby greens, and horseradish aioli. The flavors played well together. The sandwich was hot and the bread was deliciously crusty. The kettle chips were a nice side for the sandwich.

McB's meal from f2OMcB ordered the balsamic steak with baby greens and mac and cheese. The beef was tender and the balsamic Cabernet reduction added a fantastic flavor. He was happy with the mac-n-cheese as well.

We had a great experience at Fresh 2 Order. Our delicious food was prepared quickly and the whole meal was affordable. I’m sure we’ll make time to visit f20 on a future trip to Atlanta.