Mojo’s Famous Burgers & More

When McB and I decided to try a new restaurant, we headed over to Mojo’s Famous Burgers & More, 2541 N. Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville. There’s a good buzz about Mojo’s and after reviewing the menu, I was eager to try one of their very unique burgers.

Mojo's Famous Burgers & MoreThe food is made-to-order. There are free peanuts for hungry dine-in patrons to enjoy while they wait. McB selected the “chubby cheeseburger” with bacon and an order of fries. I had the “Texan” with onion rings. As you can see from the photo, the portions are quite large. Neither of us came close to finishing our meal but then, I didn’t really want to.

The Texan Let’s start with my burger which came with jalapenos, cream cheese, avocado, and salsa. I know it seems like a bit of an odd combination but it’s also the kind of thing that could work if the ingredients were combined in the right measure. It’s not the case with the Texan. There is a thick slab of cold cream cheese stuck on the top of this burger. It’s roughly half the thickness of the burger patty itself. I think the cream cheese is meant to add a tangy flavor and balance the heat of the jalapenos. What it succeeded in doing was adding a cold gelatinous mass to the burger. The bun was so puny that it couldn’t begin to stand up to the heavy-duty ingredients. It was a messy, greasy sandwich that cooled down far too quickly. The onion rings were large and fresh but they were fried a bit too hard. The onion on the inside of the breading was hardly recognizable as an onion. It became a tough, transparent circle of nothingness.

Chubby cheeseburger with baconMcB’s burger was really thick. Even before he took a bite, he regretted getting the double patties. His bun also disintegrated. He did not think the bacon’s sweet, hickory flavor tasted right when combined with the oddly spiced burger meat. He also found the fries to be under-salted and just a bit lackluster.

Despite how others feel about the place, we found it to be bad Mojo indeed.

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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.

 

 

The accidental Christmas parade or our new home for the holidays

A friend asked if I felt that my brain cells were dying off during this period of unemployment. I answered with a polite “no,” realizing that this person doesn’t understand what a challenge it can be to get adjusted to a new town, rock the household stuff, and look for a job. I’ve also got a library card and an appetite for really thick historical non-fiction so, again I say “no, my brain is doing just fine.”

I must admit that my brain isn’t concerned about the actual calendar date like it was when I was working outside the home. I know what day it is, but the date – not so much. It’s for this reason that we wound up going to dinner in downtown Greenville on the same night as the Christmas parade. I was pretty sure that the parade was on December 3 (which it was) and that December 3 was a Friday (no, nope not at all.)

We drove down to the West End to eat at Smoke On the Water (more on this later) and quickly realized that the parade is indeed the same night. We found a parking spot, with just a little difficulty, and decided to make a full night of it.

First for dinner, Smoke On the Water, “a saucy Southern tavern,” specializes in burgers, smoked entrees, and barbecue.  The atmosphere is relaxed and modern-rustic. Our server was fast and helpful. Before our meals were served, we were treated to cornbread and brought a variety of bbq sauces. While Mr. McB found the sweet sauce to be his favorite, I went for the thin peppery sauce that was a bit like Tabasco. Neither of us were overly fond of the mustard-black pepper sauce but agreed that it was an interesting spin on the Carolina mustard sauce. I thought it could help clear the sinuses.

McB had the bbq chicken sandwich. He was pleased with the saucy, grilled breast that was topped with melted cheese. We were both quite pleased with his fries. I don’t know what’s happening, but I’m becoming a fry-thief and these were definitely worth taking.

I had the “home plate” which featured three side dishes of my choice. I selected the baked beans, squash casserole, and loaded potato cake. The baked beans were sweet and spicy; I’m almost positive that there were a few bits of jalapeno in the dish. The squash casserole was good but since it contained red peppers, something I wasn’t expecting, I had to pick around those pieces. For that reason alone, I probably wouldn’t order it again. I’ve saved the best for last with the loaded potato cake. The cake was made from mashed potatoes blended with something both creamy and tangy. It was then breaded with panko and deep-fried before being finished with a sour cream sauce and chives. That was a little lump of heaven. It melted in my mouth, my big smiling mouth.

Our meals were reasonable and we felt full but not miserable as we made our way from the restaurant and out to explore before the parade began. Our first stop was The Cook’s Station.  It’s a local, high-end culinary store. They have beautiful things including some dream kitchen setups and lots of nifty gadgets. We had lots of fun looking around. The husband made a mental note that if the bank account is drained, I may have blown it all there.

We continued to stroll around until we found a spot for parade viewing. The night was warm and we enjoyed the people watching before things got started. The parade itself was lots of fun. There were bands, floats, cute little kids, several Grinches, Storm Troopers, Santa and everything else you could expect from a Christmas parade.

After the show was over, we continued up to The Chocolate Moose for a treat. We were dismayed to see the mess that folks left behind on the street and sidewalks.  The pizza boxes, bottles, cups, napkins, and other rubbish were all contrary to the civic pride of the parade. Once inside the cupcake shop, we grabbed a seat and enjoyed delicious, rich cupcakes (black-and-white for him, black bottom for me) and fresh coffee that really hit the spot.

As we made our way toward the car, we made a quick stop at Ice on Main and the Christmas tree. Despite the fact that the ice wasn’t optimal for skating, everyone seemed to be having a good time including the guys in shorts.

Just this past Sunday, we decided to add another Upstate Christmas tradition to our holiday celebration and headed to see the Roper Mountain Lights. The fee is $10 per car and proceeds go to the Roper Mountain Science Center and several educational charities. They also offer a deal on three admissions for $21 which would be perfect if you are expecting company during the holiday season. In addition to the drive-through features, there is a walk-through Winter Wonderland where you can sit on Santa’s lap and roast marshmallows though not at the same time.

We enjoyed both parts of the attraction. After roasting (and eating) marshmallows, we saw the large boards that were decorated by various local schools. There was a lot of creativity and good use of recycled materials in many of these displays.

The drive-through features were quite nice as well. I thought the big caterpillar near the butterfly garden was especially cute. Our only complaint is that you don’t get a good view of the majestic star at the top of the mountain.

I hope to repeat both of these holiday traditions in 2012. I can’t wait to add new experiences to the repertoire too, as long as we still get to go to The Chocolate Moose that is.