Friday, February 16, 2018

Exploring Avondale

For those who have been to Charleston before, you might know that our area is broken up into a bunch of different sections by the rivers that cut through the Lowcountry.  Each one of these areas has its own little neighborhoods that make it unique.  North Charleston has Park Circle, (my favorite place to get a burrito), downtown has Harleston Village, Mount Pleasant has the Old Village, and West Ashley has Avondale.  Living in West Ashley, I am partial to Avondale; it has our favorite brewery, a bunch of parking (optimal for Charleston!), a few great restaurants, and the best street art anywhere in the city.

The chART Initiative was started as an outdoor art gallery to support contemporary artists.  It gives so much life and color to the streets of Charleston, in an otherwise very historic and strictly regulated area.  Even as you're driving into Avondale on Savannah Highway, you can start to see bits and pieces of art on each building.
Charles Towne Fermentory in Avondale is our go-to spot.  I shared about it earlier this month in my third installment of local breweries, but it definitely deserves to be mentioned again.  They have a rotating cycle of delicious beers, and they're known for their New England-style IPAs and Gose.  Right now, I am obsessed with their Skipjack Oyster Gose.  They also have a small rotating kitchen inside with some awesome chefs coming in throughout the week.  Anything from ramen to a lobster roll and huevos rancheros to cheeseburgers is available in their kitchen on any given night.

And after you've had a drink or two, make sure you stroll to the alley behind the Fermentory for some of the best art in Avondale.  You can even catch a glimpse of the brewery behind the Fermentory taproom through the windows.
Across the street from the Fermentory is the best place for cheese steaks in the city: DB's.  I especially love the mural outside their shop - it's a full map of Avondale with the big horse nose where DB's is.  Funny story: that horse wasn't originally part of the design, and there was a DB's logo over the shop on the map.  City of Charleston ordinances only allow one piece of signage per restaurant, so they had to put the horse over it to cover the additional advertising!
Walk across Avondale and Maple streets from DB's to get to some of our other favorite restaurants in the area.  Verde salads are my go-to for lunch, Mellow Mushroom has delicious pizza, and I still have a Groupon to Al Di La that I need to use!
After dinner, don't forget to walk behind Mellow's strip to see even more fantastic art!  No matter where you go in Avondale, you're bound to see or try something really cool and unique.  If you're in Charleston, I definitely suggest a visit to my favorite neighborhood.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in your city?  

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Simple Pleasures on Valentine's Day

Happy heart day, friends!  
I hope all of you treat yo'self a little today.  We have kickball tonight, and I made some treats for our teams.  I thought it would be fun to share some simple pleasures on the blog today.  I have little notes in my phone and in my planner, and I've been trying to keep track of more fun, positive things recently.  So, here are my simple pleasures, this time, related to "firsts:"
  • The first day of a new Pandora month, when you feel like you have limitless skips
  • A brand new EOS lip balm - it's so perfectly spherical!
  • That first giant chip when you open a new party-size bag
  • When you buy a new bathing suit and the inner padding is in the right place... for the only time ever
  • The smell inside a new peanut butter jar
  • How long your phone battery lasts when you first buy it
  • The first beach day of the year
  • New car smell
  • The first spring blooms of the year - coming soon in Charleston!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Sweet and Spicy Korean Beef

This shop/post has been compensated by Collective Bias, INC. and The Coca-Cola Company, all opinions are mine alone. #ItsAMatch #DietCoke #CollectiveBias

Dinner is my absolute favorite meal of the day.  It might sound crazy, but I love stopping at the grocery store on my way home from work, grabbing a few ingredients, and making something Mike and I will enjoy.  One of our absolute favorites is Korean Beef.  This was one of the first recipes Mike ever made for me, and it's so delicious.  We've made it our own over the years with some added sriracha as well as the addition of lettuce wraps, but without a doubt, it's never disappoints!
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1.4 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon sesame oil
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 teaspoons sriracha
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground beef
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced
- optional: cooked rice or romaine lettuce
- garnish ideas: toasted sesame seeds, sliced carrots, green onions
While at Harris Teeter, shopping for all my dinner essentials, I also picked up a pack of Diet Coke® Zesty Blood Orange.  I love the pairing of citrus in Asian cooking, so the Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange was the perfect pick to go with my fresh lineup of ingredients.  As you can see, they have a few other new flavors, and you can check them out here
1. In a small bowl, whisk together brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, ginger, and sriracha.
2. Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Cook and crumble ground beef until browned.
3. Drain nearly all the remaining oil/fat.
4. Fry the garlic for 1-2 minutes in the middle of the beef.
5. Stir together the beef, garlic, soy sauce mixture, and green onions, allowing to simmer until heated through, about 2-3 minutes.
6. Serve over rice or in a lettuce wrap.
What I love about this recipe is the easy ways to offer exactly what both Mike and I want, changing nothing about the actual Korean Beef.  I cooked white rice in our steamer for him and picked up bib lettuce for me.
Seriously, how delicious do both of these options look??
Obviously, Mike and I both chose Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange to go with our meals, but Diet Coke® has added four new flavors to its lineup.  They now feature Fiesty Cherry, Ginger Lime, Twisted Mango, Zesty Blood Orange, and, of course, Classic Diet Coke®.  The can-shape may have changed for the Classic flavor, but the delicious taste has not!  You can look for the single cans to try all the new flavors at an affordable price.  You can even take this quiz to see which Diet Coke® matches to you!  I matched with the Diet Coke Zesty Blood Orange - how about you??
What's your favorite easy dinner?  Have you seen the new sleeker Diet Coke® cans?

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