Posted on Feb 3, 2014 | 1 comment
Looking back over the past two posts, I’m just baffled by how much food and fun I crammed into my short weekend in Greenville! Nichole of Gap Creek Gourmet sure knows how to show a gal a good time! I’ve got one last post to share with y’all, and it’s food-filled doozy.
Nearly every Tuesday night and Saturday afternoon, John Nolan, owner of Greenville History Tours, leads a group of food lovers around downtown Greenville to check out some of the area’s most popular restaurants. He has two food tours–the At the Chef’s Table Tour and the Tastes of the South Tour–both of which cost $45 and last for 2.5 to 3 hours. During my visit, I went on the Chef’s Table Tour, a unique, behind-the-scenes, VIP excursion on which we sampled signature dishes at five area restaurants AND met each of the chefs behind the food. Five amazing dishes, five alcoholic beverages, time with the chefs, plus tidbits of Greenville history and architectural facts make this tour an awesome value. If you’re looking for things to do in Greenville, I can’t think of a better way to spend the day than on this Greenville food tour!
Each of the stops on John’s Chef Table tour are part of the Table 301 restaurant empire, and our first destination was Soby’s on the Side. Soby’s on the Side is located right next to Soby’s (more on that restaurant below). It’s a breakfast and lunch joint (with breakfast offered all day and brunch on the weekends), and they also handle all of the catering for the Table 301 group.
Our tasting plate featured their interesting take on steak and eggs: filet mignon, orange marmalade, sorghum syrup, egg yolk, and green onion, with a mimosa on the side.
After our breakfast tasting, we headed over to Nose Dive, a gastropub that serves lunch, dinner, and brunch on the weekends. At Nose Dive, they take the term “gastropub” seriously–they’re striving for food forwardness, to be more than just a bar. They’ve got some traditional pub food on the menu (burgers, fish and chips, and tater tots, to name a few), but the menu also feature unexpected dishes like pekin duck, potato gnocchi, and steamed mussels, plus a dark chocolate candied bacon brownie. Yes, please.
While we sampled a dish of hearty pot roast with creamy Anson Mills grits, sweet heirloom carrots, and blistered tomato (and a beer), Chef Craig Kunhs talked about his home gardening practices, and how he feels it helps him to better understand the products he buys from local farmers to use in the restaurant.
Our third stop was Soby’s New South Cuisine, a Greenville institution. When you walk into Soby’s, your eyes automatically fall to the open kitchen, which is the gorgeous, hammered copper centerpiece of the restaurant space. We arrived to see Chef Shaun Garcia putting the finishing touches on our tasting plates.
While the group enjoyed Soby’s signature crab cake with sweet corn maque choux (AMAZING) and a handcrafted cocktail, Chef Shaun talked about growing up in the kitchen of his grandma’s meat-and-three restaurant, and how those early experiences still influence him to this day.
Next on the tour, we took a stroll down Main Street, into Falls Park, to have a bite at the French-inspired Passerelle Bistro. I also had the pleasure of eating brunch at Passerelle on my trip (read all about it here). Both Chef Teryi Youngblood and Sous Chef Drew Erickson were onsite, and spent time talking to the group about the offerings at Passerelle while we enjoyed a traditional cassoulet with rabbit confit and a glass of French wine.
After four courses, we sauntered over to The Lazy Goat, a Mediterranean-themed restaurant which specializes in “simple international food that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.” I love that blunt honesty, which they list loud and proud on their website! The tour ended with glasses of mosacto and slices of chocolate cheesecake with tarragon whipped cream.
In addition to his food tours, John Nolan also offers the following history tours:
Check out the Greenville History Tours website for more info!