Last night, suffering from a bit of cabin fever, I was determined to get out of my apartment. Upstate SC got blanketed with 6-8 inches of snow Monday. I know that's nothing to those of you who live in the Northern states but trust me, for South Carolina that's a lot of snow!
After being stuck at my parents' house for three days, then stuck in my apartment for another night, I was ready for a nice meal out. Plus I was out of food at my apartment. My fridge looked like the Grinch had visited it. He even took the Who Hash.
I live just outside of Clemson, so I headed there. I was familiar with Rockhopper's Restaurant, next to the Ramada Inn on Highway 123, but it had changed owners last year and was now known as The Boulevard Grill.
Sorry there's no pictures. I didn't think to get my camera.
It was a cold night, so I knew I wanted some of the crab bisque advertised on the sign out front. And once I opened the menu I zoomed right in on the Shrimp N' Grits. I love Shrimp N' Grits and it's hard to find it on the menu up here. Down in the Low Country, no problem, but hard to find upstate.
The crab bisque came out first. Nice and creamy. There weren't big hunks of crab meat, but it was a very rich soup that really warmed me up.
Then came the Shrimp and Grits. Creamy grits covered with shrimp, tomatoes, scallions, andouille sausage and a rich pink sauce. It was delicious. If I hadn't had the soup as a starter, I would have eaten every bit of it.
Washed it all down with a Thomas Creek Appalachian Amber Ale. Thomas Creek Brewery is just up the road in Greenville. Bill for the soup, entree and beer was $20 before tip.
I'd definitely go back.
The Boulevard Grill
1310 Tiger Boulevard
Clemson, SC 29631-1114
Today my sister and I visited the Spartanburg Museum of Art to check out their "Postsecret" exhibit. If anyone doesn't know about PostSecret, I'll just point you to postsecret.blogspot.com
It's a fascinating and often moving project and the exhibit didn't disappoint.
Driving down Highway 29, I knew I didn't want a chain meal. An Indian restaurant caught my eye, but my sister doesn't like the smell of curries. Which boggles my mind, frankly.
We drove further, passing the usual chain offerings. Then, to my surprise (I don't get up to Spartanburg often) we were in Cowpens. We drove past the Red Barn BBQ. "That's it!" I thought, turning around and zipping into the parking lot.
Red Barn's been open about 7 months. My sister had the pulled pork sandwich and fries. I wanted to get something new, something I'd never tried. Brunswick stew! I'd never had brunswick stew at any BBQ joint, always focusing on the combo platters or pulled pork or sliced beef.
My sister said her sandwich was good. The stew was great, a lovely stew of chicken, corn, maters. Very hearty and perfect for a chilly afternoon.
Again, sorry there's no pics. I forgot to retrieve my camera from my van.
As we were nibbling our meals, I got intrigued by a item listed under the sides menu. When the waitress came by to top up our drinks, I asked her, "What makes the 'Fancy Mac' so fancy?"
Without missing a beat, she replied, "The way I carry it" which got a laugh out of me. Then she said they added green peppers, bits of onion, mushrooms and pimento cheese to their regular mac and cheese. She told me she'd bring me a sample. I said, "That's sounds great. I'll take a side order."
The Fancy Mac was really creamy. I really liked the add on, especially the mushrooms and pimento cheese. The side size was just right. It's a pretty rich dish, I don't think I could polish off two helpings.
They had four types of sauces in bottles on the table: a red sauce, a vinegar-based sauce, a mustard sauce and a hot sauce. I dipped my hush puppies in some of them. The red sauce was good and the mustard sauce was stronger than Maurice's. Didn't try the vinegar or the hot.
Don't know when I'll be back this way, but I'll definitely stop in at Red Barn again.
Red Barn BBQ and Other Stuff
5225 S. Main Street, Cowpens, SC
Winter hours 11:a.m. - 8 p.m.
Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.redbarnbbq.net