Savvy Travel Tips

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Being an elementary school teacher who is pretty early in their career, I’m far from rolling in the dough. Budgeting has become a big reality and makes you really evaluate what you’re investing your money in.  I think I have a pretty good balance of paying bills, gas, groceries, and having some fun money. That being said, traveling all the time can be pretty pricey, but I’ve rounded up some of my best travel tips to help you save some serious cash money.

Stay Where You Can

         I don’t necessarily mean stay in the half star Motel 7, but don’t think you have to be right there spending two hundred bucks a night somewhere either. One of the best parts of having friends spread out at different places around the country means having a place to stay when you want to visit! One of my best friends lives right on the Gulf Coast, less than two hours from New Orleans. No, I can’t walk to my hotel from Bourbon Street, but two hours is perfect for a trip! Call up old friends or relatives for a place to stay, I mean most people have a guest room for a reason. But, if you seriously don’t have anyone to stay with near a place you would like to visit I suggest trying Air BnB. I’ve used Air BnB a dozen times and only had one experience that was less than amazing. Overall I think Air BnB is so much cheaper if you want to be at a certain location when traveling.

Pack Smart

         I am a lady who loves to have choices when packing for a trip. I have always been an over packer and had a dress for that and the perfect shoes for that. However after college when I started traveling more and more with friends, I’ve discovered that I’m typically the one having to lug all the bags in and out and up a flight of stairs. With that being said, I’ve discovered the art of consolidating. Rather than packing 7 pairs of shoes I now pack 1 pair that is dressy and 1 pair that is more casual. I might only pack a single pair of jeans and a variety of tops that go with them. Now of course this differs depending on where I’m going and what I’ll be doing but I definitely don’t pack my whole closet anymore. Plus I try to only bring one bag; all my toiletries, clothes, makeup, and shoes usually fit in my large suitcase. This makes car rides and packing up so much easier by only having one bag to worry about.

Pinterest

          Pinterest isn’t just a place for cute clothes and recipes. It’s a great network to plan and share ideas for a trip too! Especially if you’re going on a trip to a place you haven’t been on, starting a Pinterest board can be so beneficial! You can look up local restaurants, the best places for happy hour, tours, free sites to see and things to do, cute picture ideas…the list is endless as to what all you can look up and pin for your trip. Whether you make your board public or private to just the people going on the trip, making a board really cuts down on the whole, “uh…so whadda ya wanna do?” You can already see what everyone else is interested in doing, plus it gets you more excited for the trip!

Something Special

         Ah…souvenirs. Of course you always have pictures and your memories from a trip but if you are anything like me you like something special to remember the trip. Now, rather than picking up something random and different each time I go somewhere, I’ve stuck to getting the same thing; a Christmas ornament! I feel like keeping this little tradition makes me save so much money because I know exactly what I’m looking for and don’t spend money on something random that sits on a shelf collecting dust. Whether it’s an ornament like me or a magnet or a coffee mug, I’ve found that sticking to my same souvenir makes it all the more special.

Balance

         It’s super easy to wanna ‘treat yo self’ everywhere you go when you travel. I mean even if it’s just for the weekend, to me travel=vacation and vacation=a time to relax and spoil yourself. However, as I stated earlier, living on that teacher budget doesn’t always grant me everything I want. With that in mind I definitely try to keep some balance of going out when traveling. A lot of time I’ll hit up Total Wine and Aldi for some drinks and snacks for a trip. Then whoever I’m traveling with, we have snacks for the trip and can eat breakfast in for at least a day or two and then order pizza or Chinese another night. Going out for lunch over dinner is also a really great savvy tip, same meal but usually saves you a few bucks! I know this sounds pretty calculated, but trust me it really will pay off to pick and choose your wants. Saving $100 on a few meals not only means you’re saving money in general but it also means that you could put that money towards your next trip!

Traveling is not a cheap pastime. Flights, hotels, food, souvenirs…it all costs money. However, if you take the time to look at some of these tips hopefully you can enjoy all the benefits of traveling without breaking the bank! Let me know how you like to save money when traveling, too!


Angel Oak Restaurant

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Everyone is looking for a new, hot restaurant that has fresh ingredients and a great vibe. Angel Oak Restaurant is exactly that and then some. Located right along the Savannah Highway in John’s Island, South Carolina; Angel Oak is the perfect place to get your farm to table fix while on your next vacation.

So, when thinking about what exactly farm to table means I automatically think that the restaurant is buying local produce and meats and incorporating that into their dishes. If you’re really lucky you might even be able to snag a restaurant that has a small garden out back that sources some of their menu. Well, Angel Oak not only has their own garden but also their own farm animals, which are all represented in their menu! Cooking up only the best in-season meals, their menu can change throughout the year highlighting on the best their farm has to offer.

When I was originally taken to Angel Oak Restaurant I was told all about how they were farm to table and that they had, “ the best fried chicken.” Well…as a southern girl I know good fried chicken and I was excited to try it but I was amazed when I dove into that golden goodness. Buttermilk fried chicken fried to a perfect crisp and then drizzled with herb honey, and if that doesn’t get your mouth drooling the actual meat itself was the juiciest and freshest chicken I’ve ever tasted. Pair that with fresh brussel sprouts and macaroni and cheese and your taste buds will be thanking you over and over again the whole ride home.

Okay so besides the actual (phenomenal) meal, every little detail of the restaurant was everything you want. The most darling building adorned with string lights and local art make you feel immediately at home. Once you cozy up at a table or wooden bench you can go ahead and start thinking about cocktail time. Angel Oak does have a pretty full bar with local beers, wine, and liquor but the thing that is so endearing about the restaurant is that the bar is just a small stand in bar where your waiter goes and prepares your drink for you. So no, you can’t go up to a huge wrap-around bar and sit down and order a brew but I love the intimacy of their bar and actually the whole restaurant.

From presentation to taste buds to atmosphere, Angel Oak Restaurant satisfies on every level possible. Despite staying on Edisto Island for my vacation, making the hour-long drive to eat was beyond worth it. The restaurant might look off the beaten path and small in comparison to other ‘well known’ restaurants, but it by far was one of the best meals and experiences I’ve ever had.

 


Jacksonville: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

 

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One part about adulting that I’ve had to get use to is that not all of your friends are going to live within a mile of you for the rest of your life. Relationships, jobs, and schools look different for everyone and people move away. However, having friends live in different places can be exciting! For one, you always have a place to stay when you go visit them. Secondly, you can plan to make time for each other by going on getaways that are new and exciting for both of you!

Hence how our trip to Jacksonville, Florida got planned. With one friend on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, one in Atlanta, and two of us in Greenville we really wanted to go somewhere that would be equidistant for everyone. Once we went through the places we’ve already been and established that we wanted somewhere near the beach we took to Google Maps. Double-checking distances for everyone we discovered that Jacksonville was exactly five hours for everyone! Seems like the perfect plan, or so we thought…

Jacksonville was a very interesting place to say the least. We laughed, we cried, and we definitely left with some stories to tell.

So here it is, Jacksonville: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly.

The Good

         Gotta look at everything with a little bit of positivity. So to start off, Jacksonville had some really good food! Seafood by the beach, a scrumptious brunch, and every appetizer your heart could ever desire at a sports bar. Pretty much everything we ate lived up to all of our expectations.

Another great thing about Jacksonville is that it’s only a forty-minute drive from St. Augustine. Not knowing what exactly to except from our trip, we decided to just spend one day in St. Augustine. Now despite the scorching heat, St. Augustine was definitely the highlight of the trip. Free winery tour and tasting, phenomenal drinks at gorgeous hotels, and probably one of the top 3 best meals I’ve ever eaten in my life.

Lastly, another pro of our trip to Jacksonville was the location of our Airbnb. Aside from a twenty-minute drive to the beach and the drive to St. Augustine-everything was within a 5-10 minute drive from where we stayed.

 

 

The Bad

         So we took our trip during Memorial Day weekend ready to brace ourselves for the holiday crowd. Nope, not in Jacksonville. I swear, everywhere we went was dead! One of our favorite restaurants that we went to was Kickbacks. The coolest décor, colorful waiter, and fantastic food…but completely dead! We were so confused but everyone kept saying that it was early and everyone would be out later…we were eating dinner at 7:30, how late do these people stay out?

Another bad part about our trip: the heat. Let it be known that unless you are going to Disney World or planning to spend all day on the beach-Florida in late May…no, just no.

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The Ugly

         Ah…the ugly side of our trip to Jacksonville. Why don’t we start with our Airbnb. Yes, it was in a great location…and that’s about it. The running joke all weekend is that we were staying at Florida’s version of Grey Gardens. Complete with overgrown bushes, creepy artwork, and the cockroaches…LIVE cockroaches! Thankfully the owners did spray one day while we were gone and all we really did was sleep there, but even that was a stretch. Word to the wise: before booking your Airbnb double check that there is a picture of the outside of the house.

The I.D. situation was another ugly side of Jacksonville. Well, more annoying than anything, but all the same. After being in Jacksonville for a good five minutes we took to the beach! We had done our research and found that the Lemon Bar was the hot spot for lunch on the beach. Well…it was also the site where we got to argue with two “bouncers” and a manager over how my twenty-four year old friend’s I.D. was ‘100% a fake I.D.’ After a series of “Scan it!” and “Okay, get an officer to confirm it’s real,” the manager allowed her to come in. Now, I will say they had phenomenal coconut shrimp and an amazing Miami Vice, but come on…

And then there was the Trolley/Fountain of Youth tragedy of 2017. The trolley seemed like a great way to see and do everything we wanted to in St. Augustine but that was until we were stranded miles from our car in the Florida heat outside a chocolate shop waiting for our next trolley. There went trolley one, two, three, and even trolley number four. Nobody got off the first four trolleys that went by our stop. FINALLY we were all able to board a trolley and head towards the Fountain of Youth-the main attraction that we wanted to go to. But, oh wait; it was closed early for a wedding! Now, just because it was closed did not mean that we didn’t get to drink from the fountain…but that’s another story for another time.

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Ah Jacksonville, such a unique place to visit. I can’t say that we’ll be back anytime soon but I wouldn’t have wanted to go on this trip with anyone else. That’s the thing about traveling though. You plan where to stay and where to eat but everything isn’t going to be as glamorous as you might have imagined. In fact, sometimes you get screamed at from random women on the street during a photo-shoot that you stole her husband’s clothing designs and that she’s going to come looking for you. But, if you have your friends with you, everything is a memory you can laugh at later…at home and away from the cockroaches.


Chapel Hill

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So, in recent news my boyfriend started a new job in Raleigh, NC working at an engineering company. While he has traveled there many times to visit friends and go to UNC games I had never traveled past Charlotte. With that said, I knew that there was a lot to discover in and around Raleigh. First stop: Chapel Hill.

Both of my boyfriend’s parents attended the University of North Carolina and it was at UNC where they actually met each other and fell in love. So with blue practically running in their blood, I knew long ago that one day I would journey to Chapel Hill and see what exactly made it so special.

Spending an entire day in Tar Heel country and I actually understand why people love it so much. Between the stunning campus and vibrant downtown strip I might just become a basketball fan after all…

Here’s a rundown of everywhere we went and everything we did in a day at Chapel Hill.

  • He’s Not Here Big ole’ cups of beer and home to the infamous Chapel Hill wall. Awesome place to just hang around the back porch with friends around a picnic table or of course watch some basketball by the bar.

 

  • Top of the Hill Super swanky restaurant with a phenomenal rooftop view of downtown Chapel Hill. A wide variety of entrees to choose from plus an awesome afternoon menu with appetizers like Bavarian Pretzels and cheese and fried pickles and jalapenos. Plus they brew their beer in house…need I say anything else?

 

  • University of North Carolina Campus More than just a place for the students, there’s a lot of really unique UNC landmarks like the fountain and the bell tower. Plus, it’s just a really beautiful campus to walk around.

 

  • Four Corners Right along East Franklin Street is Four Corners. Classic Sports Bar complete with burgers, wings, and everything else in between. A great place to sit at the bar for a quick bite and drink. Plus, they have weekday specials!

Blue Ridge Brewing Company

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When I think of rooftop bars in the Upstate area I typically think about downtown Greenville. However, there is a hidden gem located in the heart of downtown Greer. Blue Ridge Brewing Company originally opened its doors in Greenville in 1995, and relocated to Greer almost two decades later. Between handcrafted drinks and exquisite cuisine, this place is something to be sought after.

The first level of the brewing company is a large, open, swanky room that is perfect for an intimidate date night. Once you make your way upstairs, you’ll find their phenomenal rooftop. Between the cozy corner booths and oversized umbrellas, this rooftop makes you feel like you’re mere miles from the beach. The perfect place to hang by the bar and enjoy the view or grab a mid-afternoon bite with co-workers.

Besides the visual appeal, I also love the diversity of Blue Ridge Brewing Company. I feel like several brewing companies only serve the beer that they brew in house. However, here you have your pick of anything from domestics to sangria to margaritas! Plus their food is equally diverse. Hand-tossed pizza, sizzling steak, fresh seafood, and good ole’ southern BBQ. The menu has something special to please everyone’s appetite.

I’m a big believer that you don’t have to follow the mainstream to find the best that life has to offer. I love the hustle and bustle of a big city, but sometimes it’s nice to take a break and enjoy what’s sitting in your own backyard. So, the next time that you are wanting to add a little spice in your usual plans, explore Blue Ridge Brewing Company and I promise you won’t regret it!


Barista Alley

If you live in the Greer area and are looking for a step above your average cup of joe, then look no further! Barista Alley had it’s grand opening Friday, March 31 in downtown Greer. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held at 2pm that afternoon and from then until closed the place was completely packed with people eager to get their hands on some artisanal coffee.

Barista Alley proudly serves Methodical coffee and circa doughnuts which come together for a delicious combination. The menu provides a variety of choices for you to get your java on depending on what your taste buds are craving. You could try out one of their pour overs, a cup of espresso, or even one of their special flavored lattes (I got the lavender latte-SO good!) Even if you’re not a coffee drinker, they offer several different smoothies and smoothie bowls which almost look too beautiful to eat!

With the killer food and drink part already down pat, the next significant part of any good coffee shop is the ambiance. Is it the place where people bring their parents who are visiting from out of town? Is it the place where everyone sits around on their laptops ignoring each other? Well, I think that the ambiance created at Barista Alley is that of a cool-relaxed place where people will want to go and escape for a little while. With the main wall made up of glass windows the entire building is already lit with warm natural light, which only accents the wholesome décor. There are also a variety of places to sit depending on what you are looking for. Cozy chairs for close conversation, two bars perfect for some me time or a little work, and several tables for those bigger groups to sit together. This coffee shop has something to please everyone, and did I mention there is a record player?

Sipping on a lavender latte and eating my fresh cake doughnut while listening to Frank Sinatra definitely brightened my day at the opening of Barista Alley. Following their grand opening, the shop took the rest of the weekend to regroup and figure out any changes that they needed to make. With workers that humble, you’ll be sure to have nothing less than a great time on your first visit to Barista Alley. I know I can’t wait to come back and continue to watch them thrive.

 

Welcome to Greer, Barista Alley!

 

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Swamp Rabbit Brewery 3rd Year Anniversary Party

 

Nestled in the heart of downtown Traveler’s Rest is the Swamp Rabbit Brewery. Swamp Rabbit has been serving made in house brews to the people of T.R. for three years now and a celebration was definitely in order! The big party was held on March 25 and people were there all day long celebrating the brewery with some insanely sweet deals.

The Brews

At Swamp Rabbit there are six brews on tap that are made right there on site. These brews include pale ales, lagers, and even a German-style Oktoberfest brew. If you’re a connoisseur of all things beer, then you know that sometimes you have to really pay for the good stuff. Fortunately, on the day of the celebration all brews were $5 a pop! You could try a little of this and a little of that, and still not break the bank! How awesome is it that they decided to treat their customers to a little penny saving on their anniversary?!

The Food

Rule of thumb for a lot of local breweries is BYOF (Bring Your Own Food) or if you’re really lucky…they’ll have a food truck parked nearby for you. Swamp Rabbit is no exception to either one of these rules! On any normal given night you can pick up a pie from Sidewall and walk on over to the brewery and enjoy your pizza there or they might have one of their usual food trucks parked for you to try. On the day of their anniversary celebration it was food truck paradise; three food trucks parked out back all day long for the party-goers. Automatic Taco, Keepin’ It Fresh, and Ellada Kouzina were there to feed the great people of Traveler’s Rest between drinks.

Fresh food, great beer, and did I mention the music? Premiere Party Entertainment had DJ Austyn playing only the most dance worthy music during the celebration…I may or may not have participated in a 9 minute cupid shuffle dance competition. To say that this anniversary party was a good time is an understatement. If you live in the Greenville area I definitely recommend you giving Swamp Rabbit Brewery a try the next time you’re wanting something different to do on a Saturday afternoon. Also be on the lookout for their next anniversary party…if this was just for their 3rd year I can’t wait to see what year 4 looks like.

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6 Reasons to Start Shopping at Aldi

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No matter your age, where you live, what car you drive-everyone eventually has to go to the grocery store. While most grocery stores basically sell the same products, there are always so many stores to choose from. Within fifteen miles of my apartment I have the options of Bi-Lo, Wal-Mart, Ingles, Publix, Lowes Foods, Trader Joes, Whole Foods, Earth Fare, Sams, and Costco. All great stores that I’ve always had amazing experiences at for various reasons. However, I’ve recently discovered the magical land of Aldi. I had heard people talk about Aldi plenty of times in the past.

“ Oh I love Aldi!”

“Aldi has great prices!”

“I always get my produce at Aldi!”

But I never thought much about it because that’s all they would say. Even after having several friends tell me that they’ve started shopping there I still hadn’t set foot into an Aldi. It wasn’t until my mom came home with a box full of fruits and vegetables and told me that she only paid six dollars for all of it that it all changed. SIX DOLLARS! I was so impressed that I had to see what all the hype was about, and now that I’ve been shopping at Aldi for almost three months—I honestly can’t imagine myself getting my weekly groceries anywhere else.

Why you need to be shopping at Aldi too…

  1. Produce of the Week

Yes, it’s true—their prices on produce in general are amazing compared to that of another img_9488grocery store. However, it’s their produce of the week picks that consistently blow my mind. Every week there are three of their produce that they have on special sale. I’m talking a pack of three green bell peppers for seventy-nine cents sale. Avocados for forty-nine cents a piece sale. THAT IS RIDICULOUSLY CHEAP! I almost always get their produce of the week no matter what it is, because for prices that good I’ll find a way to incorporate it into my meals.

  1. Organic for Cheap

 Okay so I feel like most people have started to go the organic-gluten free route in their diets lately. Now it’s always a great thing when you want to make your life healthier, but have you seen some of the prices on stuff lately? Whole Foods has tons of organic and gluten free products for you but you’ll end up spending fifty bucks on six items. Now unless you are a millionaire who just loves throwing their money around, that’s gonna really start to hurt your grocery budget. Health nuts no longer have to fear for their wallets, because Aldi is here to save the day! Aldi has a huge selection of organic AND gluten free products for a fraction of the cost. Now being healthy won’t actually break your bank.

  1. Off Brand Glory

img_9487For me, buying off brand food products can either be a hit or a miss. Sure, it’s usually cheaper to buy that store’s brand of product but it’s usually not as good. Well I can say with 100% certainty that there has not been an Aldi-brand product that I haven’t loved. Tortilla chips, salsa, cheese, yogurt, soup…you name it I’ve probably tried it and it’s all just as good if not better! Hands down my favorite Aldi-brand product has to be their Vie Sparkling Water. They come in a variety of flavors and taste just as amazing as La Croix but they cost almost exactly HALF THE PRICE!

  1. Name Brands Too!

Not into the off brands? I totally get that! One reason I never found myself doing all my img_9490shopping at Trader Joes is because all they have is their brand of products. Not at Aldi! Aldi has tons and tons of brand name products for a reduced price. Nothing is wrong with them and there is no quick approaching expiration date, just sold a lot cheaper because of the selection they offer. Just on my last trip there I saw products like Gatorade, Capri Sun, Pringles, Naked smoothies, McCormick, Tide, and Little Debbie. That’s just me naming a few of them; there are dozens of name brands all throughout the store for you to choose from.

  1. Save the Planet

Everyone should always be looking for ways to improve our planet and make the environment a better place. Aldi is a great place to practice those green skills! At Aldi they don’t waste a single thing. All products are placed directly on the shelf in their boxes that they were shipped in and they don’t use any bags when you check-out. What you’ll have to do is either bring your own re-usable bag or you can just grab one of the empty boxes that was on the shelves and pack your groceries in. Voila! You just shopped for groceries and made one small step to reduce waste.

  1. B.U.D.G.E.T.

Okay so as far as making a budget for grocery shopping…I’m terrible. I always make a list before I go to the store but I usually end up buying twice as much stuff as I went in there for. Before I started shopping at Aldi I was spending about $60-80 a week on groceries. My list would usually consist of groceries to cook two dinners and lunch for the week for myself. Now, I’m spending about $30-40 a week and I can get groceries for two dinners, lunch for the week, breakfast for the week, and snacks. Think I’m exaggerating? This is my exact list of groceries that I bought on my last trip to Aldi:

  • Almond milk
  • Orange juiceimg_9494
  • Boneless chicken breasts
  • Breakfast sausage
  • Turkey Pepperoni
  • Pesto sauce
  • Pack of mini cucumbers
  • Two packs of tomatoes
  • Bag of onions
  • Fresh salsa
  • Raspberries
  • Mushrooms
  • Mayonnaise
  • Spinach
  • Mint chocolate chip ice cream
  • 12pk sparkling water
  • Naked smoothie

img_9495All of that for exactly $41.24!! I’m spending less and getting more groceries than I ever use to when I would shop at another store.

Aldi might not be a household name just yet, but I strongly encourage you to give it a try. Saving money on groceries doesn’t mean that you have to be an extreme couponer…if you take advantage of places like Aldi then you can easily save hundreds of dollars a year. Use the link below to see if there is an Aldi near you and start shopping and start saving!!

https://storelocator.aldi.us/Presentation/AldiSued/en-us/Start


Southern Culture Kitchen & Bar

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          When there is a restaurant in the city that you live in that has been voted Best Brunch in the Upstate two years in a row…you have got to check it out. Southern Culture Kitchen & Bar is located on North Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville, S.C. The menu at Southern Culture features a variety of elegant entrees with a sassy, southern twist. For my first experience at Southern Culture I wanted to experience all the southern-brunch goodness that my stomach could handle.

Southern Culture is nestled in a shopping center about ten minutes from downtown Greenville. While to the naked eye, the outside of the building just looks like another restaurant…the inside tells quite the different tale. If the theme of Southern Culture is “sassy and southern” then their interior decorator nailed it! Everything from the wooden panels, the light fixtures, to the artwork reflects the southern culture of this eatery. My personal favorite part of the restaurant décor definitely has to be the movie screen that they have displayed against one of the main walls. While I was there for my brunch they were streaming old cartoons on the screen! Having some Saturday morning cartoons with a side of mimosas definitely made the atmosphere super relaxed and made my brunch that much more enjoyable.

When I think of some of my favorite southern foods three words come to mind: fried, spicy, and saucy. The brunch menu definitely honored those three stereotypes with their own twists on several classic brunch dishes. One of the dishes, Grandmas Revenge, features fried chicken served between a Belgian waffle with a fried egg, bacon, cheese, and dijonaise. Some of the other unique dishes available are fried crab cakes benedicts, sweet potato pancakes, and a hippy bowl with jalapeno cheese grits, black bean cake, lime sour cream, goat cheese, and green tomato salsa. So many mouthwatering entrees to choose from that I literally had to ask my waitress to come back three different times because I simply could not decide. That being said, I went with one of my favorite brunch dishes; the omelet! The Down South Omelet is prepared with three fresh eggs with country ham, onions, peppers, pimento cheese, and creole sauce tucked away safely inside. Not only did it have all my classic omelet picks inside but it also had pimento cheese…and trust me when I say that anything with gooey-melted pimento cheese is going to be divine. Add a side of fried green tomatoes and BBQ brunch potatoes and you have one perfect Saturday morning meal.

Now the most important question to ask of any brunch…what’s to drink? Bottomless Mimosas and a Bloody Mary Bar make this brunch oh-so memorable and stand out from most other places in the area. For the mimosas you can either take your champs with the classic orange juice for an amazing price of $12 a person or you can even upgrade to premium juices for just an extra two bucks! If you opt for the premium option you will get to enjoy a different juice each time you get a refill and they have an enormous variety that they filter through. Some of the ones I got to sample from were grapefruit, pineapple mango, and blackberry-blueberry. (And for the record, all three of them were DE-LICIOUS) Now, I’m not usually one for a Bloody Mary but the variety that they offer would please anyone who wants to get an early morning dose of their veggies with a side of vodka. They have a wide selection of house made mixes as well as a variety of vegetables for you to choose from to make your unique drink. All you need to do is add $1 to the vodka of your choosing and tell your waiter or waitress what you want in it. Does it get any better than that?

A memorable environment and food that leaves you craving more the moment you take your last bite. Southern Culture is definitely a staple in Greenville and the perfect place to take any brunch lover. Whether it’s starting your Saturday off, or winding your weekend down on Sunday; if you haven’t tried Southern Culture yet…what are you waiting for?


Crepe Myrtle Café

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My favorite type of restaurant is the type of restaurant that makes me completely forget what city I’m in because I am so enveloped with the atmosphere. Crepe Myrtle Café in Auburn, Alabama does exactly that with their unique environment and cuisine that they have created. In a city full of so many restaurants geared towards college students, Crepe Myrtle definitely stands out.  

Once you pull up to the café you’re already transported to the French countryside with the rustic barn and greenery surrounding the building. Inside you get lost deeper and deeper into a new world with each step. The first half of the building actually serves as a local market with so much fresh produce, dairy, and grains made local to Alabama available for purchase. They even have some special goodies made in-house using local ingredients including their mouthwatering fresh-squeezed orange juice. Looking around the front room with all of the bright colors of fruit and vegetables around you, you feel more like you are in a market in Europe, not a college town in Northern Alabama.

Continue walking through the produce market and you’ll find yourself in the actual café. Here you’ll be able to find your perfect made-to-order crepe or grab something sweet like a slice of coconut cake. Like any great creperie, they have a wide variety for you to choose from on their menu. Everything from breakfast crepes with farm-fresh eggs and veggies to savory crepes with roasted chicken, fresh bleu cheese, and buffalo sauce. Feeling more sweet than savory? They have those too! With a variety of ingredients like Nutela, berries, brown sugar, and sweet cream…they have tons of dessert crepes to satisfy your sweet tooth.  

After you order your food, it is then time to find the perfect seat to enjoy it at. There are plenty of casual booths and tables both inside the café and market, however I opted for the patio. In their outdoor seating area they have huge round tables surrounded by a wooden wall drenched in vines and blooming flowers with a partially covered rooftop. The perfect place for conversing with friends and enjoying the warm southern air over lunch. But, the actual patio isn’t even the best part. If you decide to sit outside you get the exciting experience of getting to spend some time with locals to Crepe Myrtle…no I’m not talking about the people that work there; I’m talking about the chickens! Yep, I said it, chickens! I said that everything sold at Crepe Myrtle is fresh and local to Alabama, the eggs are no exception! While kicking back and enjoying your scrumptious crepe some of the cafes’ chickens wander around the patio for your entertainment. Don’t worry they don’t bite, only peck!

 

Casual environment, simple ingredients, unbelievable results. Crepe Myrtle Café absolutely blew my mind with how quickly it became my new favorite place for Saturday lunch. Crepes might seem like a decadent dish, but in reality crepes are really quite simple. All you need is some fresh and local ingredients and people who enjoy making a great product. Crepe Myrtle Café should definitely be on your list of a must try restaurant the next time you are in Auburn.