Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Where do you want to eat?

Where do you want to eat? Simple question, right? But when you live in the grand strand area it can be very difficult to get a definite answer. We have an extensive amount of restaurants with different varieties of cuisine. At least you can be sure that if you try a different restaurant every night, you won't have to go to the same place for at least 8 years.

Even though I consider myself an experienced home-cook, I enjoy the occasional dining out experience. I love good quality food and I love trying out new restaurants in the area. I've had my good share of the restaurants in this area whether it was a job or just hanging out with friends.

I previously worked for a company that would send me to a restaurant and evaluate their service and food quality. This really opened the food critic in me and opened my eyes to the more artistic side of cooking. It helped me connect personally with my food whether I was cooking or eating. I can say that I don't just eat my food, I savor every bite. I let it speak to me as if it's telling me a story of flavors and textures. It's almost like falling in love.

Sometimes, unfortunately, some restaurants just don't have that love chemistry with me. I give them a second or third chance before I give up on them forever. But, fortunately for me, there's a lot of fish in the sea. I'm all about finding that one restaurant that will just sweep me off my feet.

I will be sharing my restaurant experiences here and I just want to clarify with everyone that I'm not an official food crtitic, chef, nor affiliated with the hospitality industry in this area. I just like to eat to good food and share my opinion with whoever wants to hear about them. Myrtle Beach is increasing its interest in the culinary experience. Myrtle Beach presented for the very first time Taste! Gourmet food & Expo last year. We had a semi decent crowd but I sure was expecting to see a whole lot more people. Maybe next time.

That's why I was very excited to hear about F.L.A.V.O.R. and made arrangements to be there. The restaurants that showed up really impressed me with their dishes. I counted 19 restaurants and I wish I didn't eat so much towards the beginning to give the others a chance. Of all the dished I did try, my favorite was Mr. Fish's sushi. I also loved The Charleston Cafe's She Crab Soup, Paplova, and Crabcakes. I've never dined at these restaurants before and I was extremely pleased with what they had to offer. I can't wait to see what else they can impress me with.

There's a lot of she crab soups in the Grand Strand but the Charleston Cafe's She Crab was unlike any other I've ever had. Creamy, meaty and full of love. I love crab cakes and theirs is the meatiest I've ever had. I can't stand a crabcake that's mostly filling and overpowered with salt. But this one only had a crumbly crust on the outside while the inside was filled with moist crab meat. It was beautiful! The Paplova melted in your mouth, literally. A light, creamy and fluffy pastry with a slight crunch topped with whipped cream and sliced strawberries. Awww..., for this one I closed my eyes and just had to pause and savor the moment.

I love a good sushi and in the Grand Strand, fortunately, we have good sushi. King Kong in Carolina Forest, Miyabi's in Murrells Inlet and Sugami in Myrtle Beach are at the top with high quality, taste bud pleasing sushi. You'll find a lot of other places with sushi that, well, isn't bad, but isn't great either. At this event, F.L.A.V.O.R., Mr. Fish had an amazing smoked salmon sushi garnished with caviar! I looked for it the next day on their menu but couldn't find it. I really hope they add it SOON.  A lot of people were waiting around their booth for seconds and thirds. Sugami was there too, but Mr. Fish really blew them out of the water with theirs. I usually like a slice of ginger with my sushi to add extra flavor, but this one didn't need any extra flavor.

Everyone else there had good food. Really. It was good. But there were two dishes I had to throw away. The first one was from one of my favorite restaurants, Tommy Bahama. I've dined at this restaurant several times and I'm never disappointed, but at this event I was. Their Ahi Tuna Tacos were overpowered by the flavor of capers. Not good at all. I threw it away. So sad. The other was American Culinary Federation's She Crab Soup. This isn't a restaurant but it's an organization of chefs and cooks. Their soup tasted as if they were about to run out and they decided to dilute it with water. Not good at all.

Everyone else was good but didn't sweep me off my feet. Oh well, maybe next time. In May, Myrtle Beach will be presenting their second annual "Coastal Uncorked" Food and Wine festival. I will definitely be cheking it out and posting my thoughts here. Paula Deen will be here presenting a cooking demo at the Alabama Theater. Very exciting!

There's lot of good food in Myrtle Beach and lots to do. But please do me a favor, stay away from those silly, multiple item seafood buffets. BLAH!

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