Columbia SC Dining: Blue Cactus Cafe

October 11, 2008

Blue Cactus Cafe
2002 Greene St #H, Columbia SC 29205
(803)929-0782

Web Site: http://www.bluecactuscafe.com/

When I inquired about other good Asian restaurants in the Columbia area, the folks over at Baan Sawan suggested that I check out the Blue Cactus, another Five Points restaurant for lunch.

“What is it?” I asked.

“Its kind of a funky combination of Mexican and Korean” said Sam.

“You mean like Kimchi burritos and stuff? Like what David Chang makes in New York at Momofuku Ssam Bar?

“Yeah, sorta, but they’ve been there for like 14 years, at least as long as we have been around.”

Given how much I trust Sam’s judgement on good food, particularly Asian cuisine, I had to go check this place out.

As it turns out, an American guy who was familiar with Tex-Mex cooking married a Korean lady, and they opened Blue Cactus in 1994. The menu is an eclectic mix of Korean and Cuban/Mexican/Tex Mex cuisine. I didn’t try much of their Latino/Mexican stuff, but what I will say is their Korean is very good, given what they have to work with in Columbia and not having a lot of access to Asian markets.

Blue Cactus Cafe, Columbia SC by you.

Mexican…. Korean! Which one is it? Does it matter if it tastes good? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Columbia SC Dining: Burger Night at Gervais and Vine

October 4, 2008

Gervais and Vine
620-A Gervais St., Columbia, SC 29201
(803) 799-8463

Web Site: http://gervine.com/

Columbia is a town very much steeped in Southern tradition and lags behind from a culinary perspective to its more high-tech rival capital city in North Carolina, Raleigh. However, this is not to say that there aren’t some real dining gems to be found in South Carolina’s state capital. One such restaurant I really enjoyed was Gervais and Vine, which is part of a Columbia restaurant group that also owns Mr. Friendly’s and Solstice, both of which are also well-received by the city’s more sophisticated diners.

Gervais and Vine, which is situated in Columbia’s historic “Vista” district is a Wine/Tapas bar which serves a Mediterranean-focused menu and is targeted towards the city’s professionals and more cosmopolitan scene. I happened to stop by on one of the various theme nights that the restaurant is known for — BURGERS. Having not had a decent burger in quite a few months, I was lured in.

Gervais and Vine (Burger Night), Columbia SC by you.

Ready for some seriously upscale burgers at Columbia’s premier wine bar? Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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The Finger-Lickin’ Ginormous Carolina ‘Q Post

September 6, 2008

carolinapig by you.

Over the summer months in 2008, I’ve spent a lot of time in the Carolinas, in particular, the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area (The Triangle) and also the Columbia, South Carolina area. Two cities which are as different as can be from a cultural and socio-economic perspective, but which do share something in common — Barbecue.

Even if you are trying to shed the pounds like I am, when you travel, maintaining discipline can be extremely difficult, especially when you are surrounded by co-workers who want to go out and have a good time. And when you’re in the South with a bunch of out-of-town males, particularly in the Carolinas, evening entertainment can usually be classified into two distinct areas — ones which involve Pork and ones which do not. I’m not going to get into the details of the ones which do not, because that could get me in trouble with the wife.

Here are all my Carolina Barbecue sins exposed, some of which I am proud of and would repeat again, and some of which I would not.

Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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Columbia SC Dining: Baan Sawan

June 26, 2008

Baan Sawan Thai Bistro
2135 Devine Street, Columbia, SC
(803)252-8992

Web Site: http://baansawan.blogspot.com/

I’ve been backlogged for weeks on content — I haven’t even completed my posts on Raleigh and Cape Cod, but I wanted to share with you with what I think is one of the best Thai restaurants I have ever eaten at in my entire life. The crazy thing about it is that it seems to exist in a place where it clearly shouldn’t.

Let me start off again. For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on assignment in the town of Columbia, South Carolina. Suffice to say that Columbia, while it is the largest city in the state and the capital, isn’t exactly the most progressive town in the South from a culinary perspective — it boasts very few quality Asian restaurants — well, let me rephrase that — few quality restaurants, period, and is about as meat and potatoes as you can possibly get. However, it is also the host to the University of South Carolina (USC) which is considered one of the better research universities in the region, so some diamonds do thrive here. The college kids and academicians need good places to eat.

Against all odds, Baan Sawan thrives. Click on the “Read the rest of this entry” link below for more.

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