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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Our big fat Greek(ish) dinner

After our outing to the Greenville Zoo on New Year’s Eve, Mr. McB and I were starving. He really wanted pizza so we headed down to Pelham Road to have a pie at Bertolo’s only to find that they were closed. The same was true for Moe’s Southwest and Acapulco.  It was just four in the afternoon so the folks who own/run these establishments must have been gearing up for quite that party that night.

We notice that The Original Acropolis (3620 Pelham Road – Earth Fare Plaza) was open and since he was starving, McB was more willing to try a Greek restaurant that normal. Things were pretty quiet so we got a seat immediately. The décor is very showy. It seems that this is true of many Greek restaurants in the US. I don’t mind it, it’s just very…fancy.

We review the menu and quickly realize that Acropolis serves a mix of Greek and Italian dishes. This seems to be pretty popular in this area. We had a good experience at Greek/Italian Pomodoros just south of Asheville and our beloved Mythos pizza comes from a Greek/Italian kitchen.

I am pretty hungry so I select the moussaka. It’s a heavy dish but I’m hungry enough to handle it. McB picks pizza (regular Italian not the pita version.)

Greek saladMy meal came with a Greek salad. It was a good basic salad with a flavorful Greek vinaigrette that really popped with the olives and feta in the salad.

 

MoussakaThe moussaka was a bit different than what I was expecting. I was presented with a slightly Americanized version of Greek moussaka (eggplant/potatoes, seasoned ground beef, béchamel sauce) but it was surrounded by a hearty tomato sauce with slices of feta. It was like a little Italian moat around my moussaka castle. The core dish was good for the most part. The beef was well seasoned with the traditional cinnamon and all spice. The potatoes weren’t cooked as thoroughly as I would have liked.  There was also some bitterness to the eggplant but it’s eggplant and sometimes that just happens. The tomato sauce and feta pairing was good but I feel like they were there on the plate trying to cover for the shortcomings of the moussaka. While this odd combination wasn’t horrible, it didn’t provide the authentic experience I was looking for.

Pizza from AcropolisMcB’s cheese pizza featured the same sauce that surrounded my moussaka. It was a heavy sauce that was applied liberally – too liberally for his taste. The crust held up to the sauce but the ratio of cheese to sauce was less than ideal. The next day I tried to have one of his leftover pieces as cold pizza but this pizza just isn’t made to be eaten cold. I wrapped it in foil and reheated in the oven. I wasn’t fond of the pie. The sauce was just too much for the pizza.

I’m not sure we’d head back to The Acropolis. We only go out once or twice a week so I don’t see us using one of our limited opportunities there. It’s not a horrible place, the service is good and the portions are plentiful and other than the pizza, the food isn’t bad. It’s just not the place I would pick.