Wednesday, May 11, 2011

356...Sushi Special

I don't like change. When I came to Clemson in 2001, I thought downtown was the picture of college perfection. A large sampling of Clemson products, a rustic coffee shop, a lovely bookstore, a fashion shack, and a variety of restaurants all coexisted in downtown. As a freshman, I didn't have a car, and spent hours downtown Clemson due to its proximity to my dorm room.

Slowly, and much to my begrudging, things begin to change. The coffee shop closed, and changed into a bar. Fashion shack closed and also became a bar. Local rumor mill claimed that the coffee shop owners got into a fight and broke off into two businesses. One reopened the coffee shop a year later in a corner of downtown (Moe Joe's). The other took over that downtown fashion shack after several failed attempts at a sushi place. (Mainly bad luck, like flooding, not bad food, kept the business from being a huge success). Finally, the right place gave the owner a chance to open one of the first unique eating experiences in Clemson. 356 is a nice mixture of an artsy, big-city bar with a few added college touches (pool tables in the back) and great food. With such a great place, I do have to admit, that even sometimes, change is good, and 356 is much better than a fashion shack!

I have always associated 356 with literary readings. I saw Ron Rash read for the first time at 356. Eventually the literature crowd moved over to the Blue Heron, but I was already hooked on the veggie sushi by that point. Therefore 356 evolved from literary highbrow to fancy date. Time passed, and honestly, 356 fell of my radar of places to go.

When I started dating Trae, we taught each other about food. I think one night he suggested sushi in an attempt to impress me with his food daring-ness. In truth, the idea of sushi didn't seem daring, but fish did! I hated fish, but with coaxing from Trae, I tried...and really liked...all the sushi 356 had to offer. We soon learned that 356 offered an all you can eat sushi special on Monday nights for 12 dollars a person as well as 2 dollar martinis. You do not get to pick the sushi, but you get three different kinds of sushi on each plate you are delivered.

Since we were broke when we started dating, 356 was a special treat. We only ate there maybe once every two to three months, but each time provided a cozy atmosphere with no blaring music to talk over. The bartenders and waitress have always been nice, and even remember us despite our spotty attendance at 356. Also, Trae is allergic to shell fish, and technically on all you can eat sushi night, you are not allowed to pick your sushi, but the staff has always been extremely accommodating on Trae's allergy, which also is another reason I love 356. (Last time, the waitress went as far to make sure that the sushi rollers didn't need to change knives to make sure not cross-contamination of shellfish and non-shellfish would occur.)

 Last Monday, Trae came in from work saying we needed to go to 356, with his reason being, "we have to enjoy it while we can!" That impromptu sushi craving and date is what gave birth to the bucket list. We decided over delicious rolls and rolls of sushi that we couldn't miss a single culinary creation that the area had to offer while we were still here to enjoy it. And 356 was a perfect way to start our bucket list culinary adventure!

A picture from 356 date night in 2009!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Food Bucket List

My husband and I are moving. I am truly scared, excited, and nervous about this. I came to this area in 2001 for college; two degrees and eleven years later, I am finally moving. Trae has pretty much grown up around this area, and this summer will be his first summer not spent at the near by lake. Instead, we will spending our one year anniversary trying to find plates to eat off amongst all the boxes. In order to give this move a little more buffoonery, we have come up with a Food Bucket List. We have listed all the places we can to eat in the last two months we have left at home. I am posting our huge list here by area, as well as including links that I could find for each place. After we eat there, I will cross if off the list and blog about it (what we ate there, why it is on the list, etc).

Ok...on to the list:


356 (Monday Night Sushi Special)
Blue Heron (Burger Night)
Nick's Bar
Daawat Indian Buffett
Backstreet Pub & Deli
Peppino's Pizza

Todaro's Pizza
Super Taco
Calhoun Corner's 
Tony's Pizza
House of Leung Chinese 

(Any loyal Clemson fan will notice the lack of certain staples, such as Tiger Town Tavern; however, we know we will get out fill those those delicious foods when we come into town for Clemson home games!)

Fiesta Mexican Grill
Sidetracked Cafe
Central Main Street Deli 
Monk's Coner

Smoking Pig BBQ
Waffle King
Mac's Drive In
Village Bakery

Palm Gas Station Slushie 
Paesano's Italian Restaurant

BBQ on the Run
McGee's Irish Pub

Coffee Underground
Sweet Basil Thai Cuisine
Rainer's Cafe
Melting Pot...Girl's Monday Night Out
O-cha Tea Bar
Barley's Tap Room

Total: 31 Places (four of which are pizza know you are in a college town when....)

I can't promise we will get to all these places, because I sadly don't have a summer job and Dave Ramsey's budget is already frowning on our food map of the area. (We see fun...Dave sees dollars!) Yet, we are going to try, by nifty budgeting, selling of things on craigslist, and a yard sale. It is the summer of fine eats on a college kid budget!

That wasn't much of a kiss!

Dear William and Kate,

I am not a morning person, yet I still woke up for your glorious wedding on Friday. Being a Yank, as all you Brits call us, I couldn't feel more removed from the Royals; however, after watching your wedding from couch with a plate of British inspired 5 am breakfast, I truly feel connect with you two. Cliche? Cheesy? Yes, but true.

I feel connected to you because I too suffered from the first kiss jitters. My future husband and I talked, practiced, and debated the merits of length, passion, tongue. Pressure from parents dedicated that we keep it a simple, quick, yet loving kiss. Lucky for us, no one timed us, the press did not put up headlines, declaring the kiss too short and thank goodness there was a second one to satisfy the gluttonous crowd. No, none of that. There was just one kiss.....and his grandmother sitting on the front row of the small, aptly echoing chapel.

"Well, that wasn't much of a kiss!"

Now, Will and Kate, you don't have to read the newspapers; you can ignore the press, especially when regrading your day. However, I cannot avoid hearing an elderly Southern Belle nicknamed Peaches hotly and humorously  declaring her displeasure in the kiss. (FYI, you can even hear her say it on the wedding video. Press reports aren't heard on wedding videos!)

Therefore, I want you to know that I understand the pressure you felt on the balcony. Just be glad the Queen didn't give you a lecture on "how you are suppose to take her and SHOW you that you LOVE her! Suppose to have put some passion in it!"

(I promise to you both, that after the wedding, while waiting in a secluded area of the church, my husband swooped me up into his arms and SHOWED me that he loved me with a huge wonderful kiss...a caliber of kiss that I am sure you two shared away from the public eye on your wedding day!)

Lack Luster Wedding Kisser


A Letter to All My Non-Royal Readers

Dear Royally-awesome Readers,

Yes, you did read my letter to Will and Kate correctly; I was in fact up at 5 am watching the royal wedding. What that letter does not tell you is that I woke up at 3am, because I have BBC America, and they started their coverage of the wedding at 3am. Lucky for me, my husband was on a fishing trip with his father, so he wasn't around to call me psycho royal stalker between snores. I also had to finish my prep work for my royal wedding breakfast in case my mom felt well enough to come. (Sadly, she did not.) I even pulled out the wedding dishes, champagne glasses, and a table cloth! My wedding breakfast feast for one was:
  • Fresh fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • British short bread (recipe to follow)
  • Chocolate chip hot cross buns
  • Eggy Cheesy Yummy casserole (recipe to follow) 
  • Sparkling cider mocktail (description to follow) 
And please pardon me, but I am going to brag on my spread with the following photos:

As you can see, I had a princess tea party for myself! I do wish my mother had been well enough to join, but I did enjoy my one person party. I loved putting on a pretty nightgown and setting up a beautiful table. I felt like I was a VIP to a fancy party! Sometimes treating yourself at home is better to a wonderful meal is more uplifting than a bubble bath, new pair of shoes, or even a massage. Grant, dishes have to be cleaned afterward, but something special exists when you sit down in front of a snazzy meal knowing that it sits there to be consumed by you and you only...that you are the special recipient of such a meal.

Anyways, I would love to hear how you spent the Royal wedding day!!

The Hopeless Romantic

Recipes coming ASAP!