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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Greenville Zoo

elephants Greenville ZooAfter moving from Columbus, home to one of the nation’s best and largest zoos, I didn’t have high hopes for the Greenville Zoo. At just 14 acres, it’s tiny but it’s also home to a nice collection of animals including elephants, giraffes, primates, leopards, and lions.

Just a few of the primates at the Greenville Zoo…

This legless lizard lives in the reptile house. Yes, it’s a legless lizard and not a snake.

The rhinoceros iguana lives there too.rhino iguana

Visitors can throw feeding biscuits to the giraffes. It requires good aim.

The toucan is one of many birds found at the zoo.toucan
There are also several flamingos. The wind caused this one to have a bad feather day.FlamingoThe gators are a popular attraction.gatorsOur friend is feeding the goats using special crackers purchased at the zoo. The small barnyard area allows visitors to feed and pet several animals including goats, a pig, ducks, and chickens.
goat feeding

If I were to use one word to describe the Greenville Zoo, it would be comfortable. It’s easy to navigate and never seems too crowded. We were zoo members in Columbus and would often target just a few areas of the zoo for each visit due to the size of both the zoo and the crowds. Even then, it was easy to get tired and a bit crabby. Greenville is small enough that you don’t have that experience.

In addition, the animal enclosures are well-kept and make viewing the animals very easy. The gentle hills of the walking paths allow visitors to enjoy a bit of exercise while enjoying the animals. The typical zoo visitor can plan to spend 60-90 minutes. Those who want to extend the visit, can bring lunch and enjoy the picnic area or get lunch at the reasonably priced snack bar.

The zoo also offers a good number of educational programs at a reasonable rate. It would be nice to see more adult events but I understand that childless couples really aren’t the zoo’s target audience.

It might not be the biggest or the best but there’s something very appealing about the Greenville Zoo. With a planned expansion, the zoo is growing and I’m one member who can’t wait to see what happens.

Yes, he picked Indian food. No, he doesn’t have a fever.

Mr. McB is known for being a picky eater who doesn’t generally like to try things outside his comfort zone. This reputation is not entirely fair. He is pretty conservative in his choices but he has also become increasingly adventurous in recent years. That’s why I am so pleased that an office outing took him to Saffron Indian Cuisine; I know he would have never selected it on his own, but he gave into peer pressure and came to learn that he really did enjoy it.

After his visit, McB decided that he had to treat me to the lunch buffet. I enjoy Indian food and am always eager to try new things so I was pretty excited for our visit a few weeks ago. The restaurant, located at 1178 Woodruff Road in Greenville, is part of a small strip mall. While the exterior of the building might seem a bit bland, the inside is bright and welcoming. Inside you’ll find a relatively spacious dining area with Indian art and ample seating.

The buffet ($7.95 during the week, $9.95 on weekends) isn’t particularly massive but it still manages to feature a nice variety of choices in both vegetarian and chicken entrees as well as some salads and other specialties. Patrons pick up their own plates from the warming station and no one seemed to be bashful about making multiple trips to visit the buffet.

my plate from saffronMcB limited himself to chicken korma, naan, and basmati rice. I tried a small helping of almost every dish that was on the buffet including a lentil curry, lemon tofu, panir makhni and tandori chicken. I can’t complain about any of the dishes that I tried. They were flavorful and well cooked. I didn’t make a pig of myself but I did feel satisfied for the rest of the day.

My only disappointment was that the samosa tray was empty when we arrived and was not refilled until just before we left. I could have helped myself but I was far too full by then. Thankfully, they were very diligent about replenishing the naan. I suspect Saffron goes through at least 100 pounds of naan daily. It was very popular with everyone who visited the buffet.

Whether you love Indian food or want to try it for the first time, I highly recommend Saffron. The very affordable buffet provides a nice mix of spicy and mild dishes that can please any palate. The staff is nice and helpful and the restaurant is clean and bright.

If you don’t take my word for it, you might be interested to learn that Saffron is also Greenville’s highest rated restaurant on Trip Advisor. It just goes to show that no matter the cuisine, good food is bound to be noticed and respected.