I love trying something new.
Whether it be a specific dish, an ingredient or a restaurant, exploration is key. You don’t know if you like it till you try it, right?
I’ve never been bungee jumping or skydiving and neither one is on my bucket list. I’m more adventurous when it comes to food. Maybe it’s because a culinary curiosity doesn’t require me dropping like a stone with the cold, hard ground getting closer…. and closer.. That’d be such a terrible way to lose that expensive lunch I just had.. Or even my life.
Yes, eating has it’s downsides… Namely tight clothing, salmonella or starving your bank account. I guess we have to choose our battles.
My goal is to encourage you to broaden your hunger horizons. If you’re already deliciously daring, bravo! If not, swallow your pride and something different.
And please, don’t decide if you like something just by smelling it.
There’s picky and then there’s my little brother.
He breaks the ends off the breadsticks at Olive Garden because they’re too hard. He only likes ketchup from McDonald’s… And he hates leftovers. “Make ahead meals” aren’t an option for him. We are very different when it comes to food.
He’s engaged to an Indonesian woman and he won’t eat any of her cooking… That’s so sad to me. Instead, he gets Taco Bell almost every night. I love Taco Hel…er…Bell, but c’mon!
When I was home for Christmas, I got him to go to a Thai restaurant and he actually tried the food. This was HUGE! So what if he hated everything… The point is that now he knows for sure.
There’s a new place in Greenville called Genghis Grill-The Mongolian Stir fry. I was curious… A new restaurant… And Mongolian food, what?! We went in thinking it’d be some stir fried stuff slung onto a bed of rice. WRONG.
You get a metal bowl… Walk to a big buffet and stand in awe… Literally. There’s a bunch of raw meat (steak, chicken, shrimp, beef, pork, Mongolian meatballs), a big selection of seasonings, an array of veggies and quite a few sauces. Your mission is to fill your bowl. It should be overflowing. Pick your meat, season it, add veggies (remember, they shrink when cooked), put a sauce (or a mix of a few) in a little metal ramekin and slide down the counter. Then, you tell them what starch you want (rice, tortillas, pasta, udon noodles), hand over your bowl and ramekin, and go sit down.
They take your concoction and dump it onto a big round griddle. Next thing you know, your server brings your cooked dish to the table. It’s interactive eating at its best… THIS is the new semi-homemade…. can it, Sandra!
Our server was excellent. He made all the difference. He offered great guidance and suggestions. When we walked in the door, the “hostesses” didn’t seem to care if we were hungry customers or American Gladiators with an appetite for apathetic oblivious workers… So it really wasn’t until we sat down that we understood this brilliant concept.
When I was growing up in Florida, there was an Americanized version of this at a shopping/entertainment plaza… The place was called “Dish.” I like Genghis better!
Go… You must… But go hungry. Lunch is a great deal… Dinner is a bit more expensive.
Keep in mind that trying something new is even possible with a place you’ve been to before.
In Greer there’s a wonderful joint called Bin112. It’s small, but the impact it leaves is big.
When you sit down you’ll get a basket of bread and some spicy, homemade potato chips. They could put Lay’s in the Chapter 11 line.
This year, we went there to celebrate New Year’s Eve, a first for us. We got free champagne when we sat down. I chased that with a mojito. Theirs comes with a rock candy stirrer. They truly had me at “rock candy stirrer.” What a blast from my candy crazy childhood!
We had flaming cheese for an appetizer.. Yum… And for my meal, I chose a favorite (so sue me)…the BIN Stack. It’s a filet mignon medallion, stacked with a crab cake, a fried green tomato and a potato pancake. This edible Jenga is the buoy in a sea of sautéed greens and a lobster, garlic and bacon broth. Bring a tissue… You may weep.
My partner in cuisine crime got the Amber Martini (vodka, amaretto liquor and hazelnut liquor with a lemon twist). It’s the alcoholic’s chicken soup. You’ll be warmed from the inside out… Even your toes will get a hug. For his meal, he chose the Candy of the Sea…. Jumbo sea scallops with garlic and coconut cream… Served with sautéed greens and rice. I tried a bite… And I’m so glad I did. The scallops melted faster than chocolate. Well done, chef!
Please branch out… Start with these, if you’d like. Go on a culinary quest.. You’ll feed your belly and your brain.
Tip: Don’t rule out supermarkets as a place to grab a quick meal. Our favorite is Whole Foods. We’ll often grab a piece of pizza (love the pesto portobello) and we’ll split something from the sushi bar. The Fresh Market has great options… Ingles has a salad bar. Whole Foods and TFM have excellent snack-sized desserts, if you’re just after a quick sweet. At Whole Foods get the gelato. WH also has a salad bar and a hot food bar… Kids seem to love those.