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Posts from the ‘Southern Restaurants’ Category

Spartanburg Peeps Chicken Salad Chick Went Upstate

Tasty Tuesday-Chicken Salad Chick.

Spartanburg peeps, Chicken-Salad-Chick is in the house. For those of you who have followed me, you may know that I have a thing for Chicken salad. I.love.it!

What seems like forever plus one year ago, I lived in Alabama and wrote about my visits and experiences trying each of the foods selected by the Alabama Tourism team in a pamphlet called “100 Dishes To Eat In Alabama Before You Die.”

Yes, Alabama has some of the most glorious food and food scenes that I have encountered as I meander around this earth. Not just my opinion, Frank Beard and what not. (Link above.)

Without a doubt, I miss many of my favorite Alabama foods and foodie visits, but time and space has now brought me to beautiful South Carolina. I am having so much fun seeking the best dishes in this state that I now call home. However, I was thrilled to see that one of my Alabama faves has come to my SC neighborhood.

Chicken salad, what’s the deal?   Short version. An adorable success story that began with an Alabama woman and her husband-to-be became a team.   Woman makes some killer chicken salad in her kitchen, invites her friends to taste it,  then perfects many variations of chicken salad, naming salads after her friends, and with the help of her now-husband/co-founder makes big, like 100 restaurants big.

One of the things that make this a great lunch spot is that it is dang cute.  The original designer and graphic artist got the branding right. As right as I have seen in a long time.

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Chicken Salad Chick Logo

Bright and happy colors in a clean modern environment, with accolades galore.

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Chicken Salad Chick Tables and Decor

When you get your logo and brand on point, you can sell more.

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The “to-go” case called “Quick Chick” and merchandise.

Am I right?

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Chicken Salad Chick Cookies

Almost forgot. The food.

IMHO, what makes this chain a great lunch spot is its’ varied and interesting menu. Things like pimento cheese BLT, turkey clubs, and turkey pesto. I remember when I visited this chain; the broccoli and grape salads were just as famous and interesting as the sandwiches and they seemed to fly out of the door. They also have a great salad menu, soup, and an adorable kiddie menu.

Of course, there is a chicken salad, or two, for people like me. Choices range from categories such as classic, fruity, savory, and spicy.   After my first visit, I tried to find their recipes online but to no avail.  However, I see that there are a few KopyKat’s recipes out there.  I am going to give them a whirl.  It’s not rocket science but a few variations and tips that might make a difference. *grape salad recipe below

 

All of these items pictured are “to-go.”  That chicken salad on a croissant is a killer.  The Dixie Chick is my favorite, savory-onion.

There are a few things that bug me.

  • I am getting older, it’s a thing. I don’t need as much food. I want a sandwich. That is it. I don’t want a side item, I do not want a cookie, hell, I do not even want the dang pickle.
  • Plus, the add-a-drink is $1.99. This is not the only place that upcharges for the beverage, but it bugs me.
  • They are closed on Sundays.

However, the positives far outweigh any negatives.

  • I would have to say that what I love most about the food served from CSC is that it always seemed to be fresh, cold, and crisp. There are so many ways to order combinations of the menu items.
  • Their menu does have so many healthy options, I mean I go straight to that croissant but the choices are there.
  • It’s a happy little place.

Price point: I have already heard from local friends who feel the price point for the chicken salad is too high. I mean FFS, it’s not. Some people eat at Chick-fil-A, so let’s compare it to a Chick-fil-A combo which is $5.99-$6.19. Or, a Wendy’s meal item such as Dave’s Hot n Juicy ¼ lb combo which is $6.19.

MEGastars 5* Love it for a lunch spot. This restaurant is going to be successful here in the Upstate. Mark my words.

MEGapick Like my pizza, I’m into the classics and I choose the “Classic Carol.” If I’m in a walk on the wild side mood, I’ll choose the onion lover’s “Dixie Chick.”

Chicken Salad Chick Spartanburg

Chicken Salad Chick Grape Salad Recipe

CopyKat Chicken Salad

In the footsteps of Cribbs other restaurants, the food is locally sourced, elevated in fresh ideas that incorporate South Carolina’s best foods.

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The Mother of All Meat-n-Three’s Wade’s Spartanburg, South Carolina Seeking The Best Food In SC

...what I found was the “mother of all meat and three’s,” and is like no that I have ever seen on my travels.

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Seeking The Best Food in South Carolina The Standard, Spartanburg

With a motto of “Our collection of award-winning restaurants promises you the best dining experience of your life.”

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Hiking, Biking, Mushrooming, And Taco Grooving Seeking The Best Food In South Carolina

After a day of hiking on The Continental Divide and contemplating where the rain goes to either the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico, Farmhouse Tacos is where it's at to fix that calorie deficit.

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Megaschooled on Lowcountry Cuisine A Dead Dog And A Visit To Poogan’s Porch Charleston South Carolina

What’s up Meg?

Tasty Tuesday – at Poogan’s Porch in Charleston, South Carolina

I’m on a South Carolina food journey to chow down at the best restaurant in each of the 46 counties while seeking the Top 100 Food Dishes To Eat In South Carolina While Alive, Or, Before Dead, Whichever Comes First.

Why This Stop?

Charleston, South Carolina is a city that repeatedly ranks high on lists of cities to visit on this planet. As an example, in 2018, picturesque and historical Charleston was rated best city to visit in the USA for the sixth year in a row. In 2016, Charleston, South Carolina was voted the Number 1 city in the world, and the Number 1 city in the U.S. and Canada. You get the idea. [1]

But since my Tuesday blog is about food, and I am looking for good chow in South Carolina touristy or not, I wanted to check out the place for myself.  Although Poogan’s Porch is not on the list that I am following, it has received many accolades the likes of; Martha Stewart, Southern Living, The Travel Channel and so on. Apparently, since their opening in 1976, many celebrities, and politicians, worldwide globe circlers, and local people alike have come to visit and their photos line the walls like shiny awards. But it wasn’t the recommends nor the accolades that brought me there.  Specifically, I was looking for some good “low-country” cuisine.

Although I am no expert on the following subject, I would be remiss in not writing about some things that I have learned from this food stop. So, bear with me for a few paragraphs, and I will add a few links for further reading.

What I learned about Lowcountry cuisine, to me, is that it is southern food and it is not. I would liken it to the grandmother of southern food.

The “Lowcountry” is technically a place that spans from Amelia Island, Florida to Sandy Island, SC and into the sea islands of North Carolina.  These peoples and this cuisine is one of the oldest melting pots in this country. With colonists from Europe, trade with the Eastern world, and Native American inhabitants, many unique foods were combined.

However, it was these colonists who brought slaves from West Africa to work on the plantations. The Gullah-Geechee peoples descend from these peoples and some later migrated, left the area, and some went to the Sea Islands off of the South Carolina coast. Here the Gullah language is still spoken, and the history is being preserved. [5]

I love the definition of soul food from Food Historian Michael Twitty – “African American food is more than just soul food, it’s more than just down-home, home cooking, it’s actually the highest cuisine in the Western consciousness married with the great ideas of the oldest cooks in the world, the Africans. [2]

So, imagine dishes from the sea, wild game, and rice, combined with foods and cooking methods that this group of slaves brought to this shore. Some of the slaves would work in the kitchens of the plantations.

As pointed out by food historian, Michael Twitty, some of these peoples were working alongside and being trained by classic French Chefs. [6]

It is said that the popularity of many of these foods was then brought to the public from the owners of the plantations. Of course, the slaves had to make do with whatever foods they had available to them, including the now popular nose to tail use of animals.

Poogan’s is located in a high rent district, yet quaint part of Charleston in a restored Victorian home.

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Poogan’s Porch of Charleston, SC

The tight quartered first floor has dining rooms and a bar area, the second floor holds more dining tables. I found the place to scream 1980’s florals but it was cute enough.

Charleston Poogan's Porch

A dining room in Poogan’s Porch of Charleston, SC

The bar was pretty full for a weekday morning *not judging* and had a good Victorian vibe that was more timeless.

Charleston Poogan's Porch

The bar at Poogan’s Porch in Charleston, S.C.

I stopped in for a late breakfast and although at first glance, I found the breakfast menu small, it was not The Waffle House. I was able to try a good variety of foods off of the menu.

But, because this is America, and I am over 18, I went straight for the rich foods. She-Crab soup

Charleston soup Poogans

She-crab soup from Poogan’s Porch of Charleston, SC

 Macaroni and cheese, with country ham and aged gouda.

Charleston Poogans

Macaroni and cheese with country ham and gouda at Poogan’s Porch in Charleston.

 

I have never understood chicken and waffles and yet they were somehow right. Sweet Potato Waffles with sorghum butter. Dang!

Charleston Poogans

Fried Chicken and Waffles at Poogan’s Porch Charleston, SC

French toast with infused cream and berries. Champagne macerated raspberries, mascarpone cheese, and candied pecans.

Charleston Poogans

Not the ho-hum French Toast and bacon at Poogan’s Porch Charleston, SC

For the non-adventurous breakfast seeker, they have you covered with the “Ike’s Down Home Breakfast”

Charleston Poogans

Ike’s Down Home Breakfast at Poogan’s Porch, Charleston, S.C,

Everyone shared these famous buttermilk biscuits.  See the link below for this recipe.

Charleston Poogans

Buttermilk Biscuits from Poogan’s Porch in Charleston, SC

Even though I had said I found a small menu, I should have said small but mighty, or small but interesting, with items such as pulled pork Benedict, shrimp Etoufee omelet, and shrimp and grits with tasso ham, gravy, and peppers.

I did not spend time investigating the ownership but note that this restaurant changed hands in 2017 and that one of the owners had been a line cook in/since 1977. However, I did learn that Poogan’s Porch is on haunted Charleston tours. I also learned that Poogan was a dog who was either abandoned by the former owners who left in haste or, Poogan wandered in and was loved and immortalized forever.

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R.I.P. Poogan Poogan’s Porch Charleston, SC  

MEGastars **** The food was above average and aside from the wait, I enjoyed my visit. I love that Poogan’s support local cuisine and take things up a notch. Overall, I would recommend this place to one who was visiting the historic area. On that note….

MEGathoughts

I am thankful to have learned about this unique history and learning more about Lowcountry cuisine. Where else in the world do we find this combination?

After listening to and reading the philosophies of Michael Twitty, I expanded my horizon about the gentrification of these foods and its history. I know he will likely never read my blog but I bet he may want to school me on this subject or maybe slap me across the head. But when I really looked, I notice that Poogan’s description says that their food is a “fresh approach to Lowcountry cuisine.” I now know better and will do better Michael Twitty. I even have bone to pick with this city and it’s history-stay tuned for that write on an upcoming weekend.

MEGatips

  1. Unless you want to be in a crowded Victorian hallway with strangers, do make reservations. You may make them via Resy. Poogan’s Porch
  2. Parking is scarce, there is a parking lot located on the opposite side of the street.
  3. Link to Poogan’s Porch Buttermilk Recipe and get this, they are made with shortening, no wonder they are tasty! Poogan’s Porch Buttermilk Biscuit Recipe
  4. [1] [2] Gullah Geechee Peoples and travel rankings
  5. Link to Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage website. Gullah Geechee Cultural Heritage Site
  6. Link to Michael Twitty, Food Historian on YouTube by SCETV Origins of the Lowcountry Cuisine | Between the Waters 

 

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This MEGabites and MEGastars description is found at the bottom of each South Carolina Tasty Tuesday post. If you are new to my 100 Dishes South Carolina escapade, this may be helpful information.

Follow along on “Tasty Tuesday’s” as I make my way like Miss Pacman in yet another state that I call home. A culinary trip across scenic and historical South Carolina. *I select stops based on convenience of location and they are in no particular order.

The blogs will be available under the South Carolina 46 Best tab.

I am loosely following the list of “The best restaurants in each South Carolina County for 2016.”

Maybe the food from these chosen restaurants will make it on my list, and maybe they won’t. I often refer to this list as “46BestSC”

[1] sncksofjax.com

 

Unlike my “Alabama 100 “quest where I followed a formal list from Alabama Tourism, and to my knowledge, there is not a formal South Carolina “100 list.” I am making my own list the Meg way and have some food fun while making my way like Ms. Pacman, in yet another state that I call home.

I have been visiting places that vary from the Mom and Pop diners to the white cloth James Beard recipient eateries. A quest to find tasty dishes, unusual settings, and great foods that highlight folks who are dedicated to local food with pride and a whole bunch of South Carolina style.

I use a 5 MEGastar system.  For the most part, I am traveling a distance to try these dishes and these places get one shot at how I view the food and experience.   I will not be taking an average of three visit experiences and I factor this in when I give my star rating. That said, I’m very easy to please, I can overlook quite a bit and have worked in the foodservice industry.  I am not a *schooled food critic, just Meg, a curious traveler, with an interest in trying different foods and sharing my two cents on the experience.  I try to follow my own star system so that I may be fair to the wonderful dishes on this list.

  • *meh food. Just wasn’t good. Maybe the food came from a can? or,  the place was not one that I would want to send someone to show pride in South Carolina.   This has happened to me a few times and is always a difficult write for me.
  • ** passable – the food was “ok” but the place was not “ok” or vice versa.
  • *** good but not outstanding or unique.
  • **** Very tasty dish AND meets one of the definitions set forth by Meg. Local food and/or truly highlights South Carolina Pride.
  • ***** I actually died, went to heaven and came back when I ate the dish. And/Or, something is very unique, something you cannot get anywhere else.

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I swear to you that while the blue hairs hit the beer and sunshine, I began by hitting the cake.

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