You Have to Try this Place: Sure Fire Tacos

Columbia certainly has come a long way in terms of taco options! These days true taco-aficionados seek out restaurants where they are made with fresh and innovative ingredients, and there’s no greater example of this than Sure Fire Tacos and Tortilla Grill, which Foodie writers Miriam and Sarah recently visited for lunch.  You may not have noticed the change in signage… Sure Fire is on Gervais Street near Motor Supply.  Look for the logo on their building: Sure Fire Taco Logo

Sure Fire Tacos originated in Texas, and calls its cuisine “Tex-Mex with a twist”. The menu is full of genuine, Texas-inspired items that are influenced by exotic flavors and inventive ingredients. Flour tortillas are rolled and baked at the restaurant daily, giving each dish a foundation of freshness. Then the Signature Tacos, Burritos, Nachos and Bowls are all assembled with various fixings that you’ll only find at Sure Fire, like al Pastor pork that’s been marinated in fresh pineapple juice and spicy chorizo seasonings, slow-cooked and tender chopped Brisket, their delicious Avocado Ranch, taco, and house Queso Blanco sauces, six different scratch-made salsas, sweet and spicy mango-habanero salad, flavorful cilantro lime rice, flame-roasted black bean and corn salad, zesty Mexican slaw, and Mexican Street Corn.

Sarah ordered both the Moby Dick and Big Hass tacos, while Miriam went with the La Playa and the Hen House for her meal. Sarah is a big fan of fish tacos, and this one did not disappoint! The fried, moist, flaky white fish was topped with Sure Fire’s own house-made, spicy Mexican slaw, avocado and crunchy tortilla strips, and some added hot sauce for good measure. The real star for her though, was the Big Hass. The fresh, crispy, fried avocado was wonderful, and made more so with the addition of black beans, pico de gallo and Queso Blanco! This taco was unlike any she’d had before.

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Miriam very much enjoyed the Hen House taco, with its perfectly grilled chicken, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and Queso Blanco, especially as it was topped with Sure Fire’s unique Avocado Ranch sauce. The La Playa ended up as her favorite, though. How could it not be, with plump, grilled shrimp, Mexican slaw, and Pico. Even the freshly fried tortilla chips and salsa bar were outstanding! The two also found the decor to be really pleasing; lots of open space, tastefully designed and with live plants adding a fresh, summery feel. The bar is an inviting one, and on warm days, Sure Fire also has outdoor patio seating available. Drinks are another thing Sure Fire does right; their signature drinks are hand made using no mixes, but instead fresh fruits and even house-made cane sugar flavorings for a sweet and refreshing taste with every sip!

The quality of the food is what you notice most of all at Sure Fire. Our tacos were a steal at $3.99 each, and easily filled us up. On Taco Tuesdays at Sure Fire you can get two tacos, small chips and their fabulous queso for just $8, and on Thirsty Thursdays they have $2 drafts with the purchase of Nachos or a Bowl. Plus, on Sundays, kids 10 years and younger get a FREE kids meal with the purchase of a Bowl, Burrito, Nachos or Quesadilla and drink!

916 Gervais Street | 803.764.1016 | Open daily 11am – 10pm | Visit website HERE

 

You Have to Try this Place: Lima Peruvian Cuisine

The first time I tried Lima Peruvian Cuisine (on Rosewood Drive inside the Jim Casey Fireworks complex), I felt a bit uneasy as I read the menu. Nothing sounded familiar, and although I consider myself fairly adventurous, and the menu had a photo of each dish, I didn’t know what to expect.  I hadn’t looked on a map of South America lately to know where Peru is located (I have since then!) and didn’t know if I should expect something similar to Mexican food or what.  Peruvian food is very different from Mexican food.  Not a taco in sight.  Peru is a country on the Pacific coast of South America, and hence, has many traditional dishes made with seafood.  That was fine by me.  I love seafood.

Lima Peruvian Food and Drink.jpg

I asked Ruth, the congenial smiley owner of Lima Peruvian Cuisine, what she would suggest I try, considering I had not eaten this type of food.  She pointed to Causa and to Choros a la Chalaca.  I chose them both.  Causa is made in a mold and is quite a beautiful little dish.  Two layers of mashed potatoes seasoned with Peruvian spices and a hint of lemon are on either side of a delicious filling made with, your choice, of tuna, chicken, shrimp or vegetable salads. I tried the shrimp salad.  Served cold, it was refreshing.  I couldn’t believe that cold mashed potatoes could taste this good!  The Choros a la Chalaca were mussels served on the half shell, marinated in lime juice.  They came topped with a yummy combination of tomatoes, cilantro, onions and fresh corn.  Hands down, the best mussels ever.
I was so excited about this wonderful lunch experience, I raced home that evening, gushing with enthusiasm.  My husband said he’d like to try it, so we went that night!  He 20170314_123345tried the Lomo Saltado – thin strips of beef sauteed with fresh onions and tomatoes, and served with rice and french fries.  I asked Ruth if that was traditional… rice and french fries, and she said yes, that french fries are very popular in Peru.  The potato is very popular, served many ways. I tried the Leche de Tigre… I am afraid if I tell you the ingredients you won’t try it, but you should!  Okay, here goes: ground fish marinated in lime juice, onion, Peruvian rocoto chilies, ginger, garlic and cilantro, and accompanied with shrimp.  It was wonderful – like ceviche! And I had a salad along with it.  Their salads are different from what we’ve come to expect here in the USA –  they contain potatoes, beets and avocado, and other items (depending on the salad).  All is served fresh and made to order.  We loved it for dinner too!
The atmosphere is bright and cheerful with traditional woven cloths adorning the tables.  Peruvian souvenirs are for sale in a case near the entrance.  Ruth has applied for a liquor license so hopefully we’ll be able to enjoy a glass of wine or a cocktail with our next meal there.  You really have to try this place! — Kathy Gardener
3830 Rosewood Drive | 803.851.3646 | Visit FB page here

You Have to Try this Place: East Bay Deli

This New York style deli with a distinctive southern flair will delight your taste buds with their made-to-order sandwiches, wraps and salads, in addition to a variety of hotdogs and giant potatoes. The fresh salad bar features a TON of tasty items to choose from and the dessert case is full of giant cakes and cheese cake shipped direeast-bay-deli-1ctly from Carnegie Deli in New York City.

East Bay Deli features mouthwatering options for breakfast, lunch and dinner! For breakfast, the deli offers a range of breakfast wraps, omelets and more. When stopping in for lunch or dinner, start off with the tasty Broccoli Cheese Soup or try the soup of the day. Next, warm up with their DELIcious chili and a Dixie Darling, a triple decker sandwich with roast beef, turkey, and swiss with coleslaw, pepper relish, lettuce and tomato on toasted rye bread. Or try the Rajun Cajun, which is cajun turkey on Texas Toast with provolone cheese, lettuce, tomato, and spicy creole sauce. Oh my!

Make sure to check out Easy Bay Deli’s Facebook page to stay up to date on daily east-bay-deli-2specials, such as the mouthwatering “Mexicana Spud,” a GIANT spud stuffed with Chili, cheddar cheese, onions, & sour cream. Yum!

With its eclectic menu and healthy options, East Bay Deli appeals to all, which explains why they have won Best Deli 13 years in a row! You can even bring you pup to the deli, as outdoor pet seating is available.

Hours: 7am – 9pm, Delivery Hours: 11am – 8:30pm | 1426 Main Street, 803.814.2277 | eastbaydeli.com

You Have to Try this Place: Swamp Cabbage Brewing Company

This family-owned brewery and taproom is located just a stone’s throw from Williams Brice Stadium in Columbia South Carolina, and is one of the newest breweries on the city’s burgeoning craft beer scene. Swamp Cabbage likes to mix it up by using interesting ingredients like chipotle peppers Swamp Cabbage(just a whisper of heat) in their Chipotle Amber and pumpkin pie spices for their wonderful Harvest Amber (this writer’s favorite), as well as brewing excellent traditional ales. Try a flight to get a taste of the current offerings. Bring your growlers along ~ know you’ll want to get them filled! 

The taproom’s atmosphere is laid-back, relaxed, put-your-cares-on-hold. The staff is made up of two very friendly brewer-brothers and their wives – so, depending on the day and time of your visit,  you’ll find one or more of them pouring the beer, giving tours of the brewery, tending the tanks, sweeping up… each dedicated to the idea of providing an outstanding beer-drinking experience to their patrons. Bring your kids (games in the corner), bring your pups (large outdoor covered deck with tables) and bring your thirsty self.  Swamp Cabbage Logo.jpeg

Swamp Cabbage is the perfect place for your gatherings, like holiday parties. (our company is having a holiday drop-in this Sunday, December 4th from 3pm – 7pm… feel free to drop by with family and say hi! There will be a few specialty vendors offering unique gifts… Sip and Shop!)

Stay tuned for upcoming events, such as new releases, brewery brunches, and painting/ceramics parties and classes on their Facebook page. Click here.

921 Brookwood Drive, Columbia, SC 29201 | Swampcabbagebrewing.com

Tasting Room Hours:

Wednesday: 5pm – 8pm
Thursday: 5pm – 8pm
Friday: 5pm – 9pm
Saturday: 12pm – 9pm
Sunday: 1pm – 6pm

Grill Marks

Located in the Vista, Grill Marks is a sophisticated burger joint with a full service bar andFries house-made milkshakes.

To begin your Grill Marks experience, start off with the Slider Trio: Pimento & Bleu, Crimini & Swiss, and Jalapeno & Pepper-Jack. Or if you and your party would like an array of appetizers go for the $8.99 “Three Way” option that allows you to enjoy pick any three of these apps: Skinny Fries, Fat Fries, Sweet Potato Fries, White Truffle Parmesan Fries, Bleu & Pimento Cheese Fries, Fried Pickles, Fried Green Tomatoes, Onion Rings, White Truffle Parmesan Chips, or Bacon and Bleu Chips w/ cracked pepper.

Certified Angus BeefNext comes the Burgers and UnBurgers. All Grill Marks burgers are freshly ground from a custom blend of only the finest 100% Certified Angus Beef. Try the Hot Mess Burger, which includes two beef patties, a grilled hot dog, chili, cheddar, swiss, American applewood smoked bacon, onion straws, fried pickle, lettuce, and tomato. We’d love to see someone try to take a bite out of that monster! Or try the Hawaiian Punch burger: grilled pineapple, bacon, pepper jack cheese, jalapeño pesto, lettuce, and tomato. Let’s get tropical! Choose from over ten burgers – ALL #mouthwatering…you can’t go wrong.

Not into Beef? Grill Marks also has amazing veggie burgers, turkey burgers, fresh salmon, and marinated chicken sandwiches! Order the Heavenly Veggie, which is Grill Marks’ special blend of roasted veggies, black beans, herbs, and spices combined into a mouth-watering patty with pepper jack cheese, jalapeño pesto, lettuce, and tomato. The Foghorn Leghorn Game Clucker is also amazing, featuring grilled chicken breast, avocado, applewood smoked bacon, pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato, and chipotle aioli.

Halloween FreakshakeFollow that Mouthwatering Burger with a Sweet Treat! You simply can’t leave Grill Marks until you’ve ordered dessert – it’s THAT good! We recommend The Tower, which is a bed of brownies with a mattress of ice cream, topped with a hard chocolate shell and pretzel rods. Or if you want to share, order the Sundae Fundae, which is Grill Marks MEGA dessert. You’ll love very large spin on a classic favorite!

They have a large variety of desserts and drinks. From Floats, Marks Famous Milkshakes, Spiked Floats, Shaketails (milkshakes minus the milk. Add liquor!), Beer Shakes (spun with homemade vanilla ice cream) to Freakshakes the possibilities seem to be endless. So whether you feel like a brownie or a beer milkshake you are in the right place.

Grill Marks has even crafted a special FreakShake in the spirit of Halloween. Wow! It is a nerds shake topped with ice cream and green whipped cream. They smothered it with monster gummies, oreoes, sprinkles, then drizzled with chocolate and strawberry puree and topped with a creepy gummy EYEBALL! Ask your server about it today.

View their ENTIRE menu here!! It will leave your taste buds forcing you to visit asap.

Grill Marks is also a favorite brunch spot. They serve brunch on Saturdays & Sundays from 11am – 3pm. It’s the perfect chance to try out their Ultimate Bloody Mary (pictured on left below) or a yummy Benedict burger with a couple of Bellini’s! You just can’t go wrong when given those two choices.

This past Thursday I ate at Grill Marks with my boyfriend for the first time and LOVED it. I had a foster puppy with me and they have a wonderful “outdoor dining” area, though I was still “in” the restaurant which was neat. From where I was sitting I could see the moon in the sky and a few tables over Governor Nikki Haley was dining too.  I felt like it was a very relaxed atmosphere and our waitress was great too. I ordered from their special menu for Restaurant Week Columbia – get 3 for $15! I enjoyed their homemade Chocolate Milk shake, delicious BCB burger, and a side of skinny fries. And oh my goodness – I was NOT disappointed. They had mayo, ketchup, and mustard on the table, so my burger was messy and amazing! My boyfriend did not order off the special menu for Restaurant Week and ended up with a generous side of onion rings (we devoured them together!) and their Hawaiian Punch Burger – Applewood Smoked bacon, pepper-jack cheese, grilled pineapple, jalapeño pesto, lettuce, & tomato. The onion rings tasted really good to me and I liked dipping them in the sauce that was served with them. Our foster pup slept under my chair the entire time and enjoyed the bowl of water they brought out for her. They also sell dog treats (Grill Barks) that a dog shouldn’t have to go without;) It was a great night and we enjoyed walking along Gervais Street after our meal. View the special menu that I ordered off of here. Officially a fan of Grill Marks!! Enjoy, Foodies!

See Grill Marks’ Facebook page here.

711 Gervais St.  |  grillmarks.comgrillmarks.com

Hours:  Mon – Thurs 11am – 10pm; Fri & Sat 11am – 11pm; Sun 11am – 9pm

Smoothie King

You definitely have to try this place if you haven’t already, Foodies! A Smoothie King nutritional smoothie is the most delicious drink available on the market. Cool, thick and creamy – Smoothie King smoothies are custom-blended with ALL natural ingredients including real fruit and juices, making smoothie-king-fall-picthem a nutritious and convenient alternative to fast food. And they are available in over SEVENTY choices to suit a wide variety of needs.

Fitness Blends. Slim Blends. Wellness Blends. And even Blends to Take a Break. Smoothie King has a wide variety of smoothies to meet your unique purpose & needs.

Fitness blend? Try the Hulk smoothie – made with Butter Pecan Ice cream, Bananas, Weight Gain Blend, Non-Fat Milk, Turbinado, Wheat Germ, Whey Protein & Vanilla. Yum! This is just one of many blends designated to help you in your fitness journey!

Smoothie KingSlim blend? Try their Angel Food smoothie made with strawberries, bananas, non-fat milk, vanilla & turbinado or Island Impact blend made with pineapple, mango juice blend, papaya juice blend, protein blend, & mango sorbert.


Wellness blends?
 Enjoy their Green Tea Tango smoothie crafted with matcha green tea, choice of one fruit, protein blend, vanilla frozen yogurt & turbinado or their Acai Adventure smoothie made with acai sorbert, apple juice, blueberry juice blend, protein blend & turbinado.
Don’t know which smoothie you should order to meet your purpose? Visit their website here (scroll down and look on the left side) & fill in the blanks “I want to…” & “so I can…” and a list of recommended smoothies for YOU will appear. Start blending with Smoothie King, Foodies!

Locations:

4601B Forest Drive, Columbia | 803.401.5340

945 Lake Murray Blvd Suite G, Irmo | 803.407.2555

1205 Lincoln St.

Cock N’ Bull

Cock N' Bull

Located in the heart of Rosewood, the Cock N’ Bull Pub is a British style neighborhood pub that absolutely loves soccer. Their friendly warm staff, great food and beer, and their amazing fish & chips every Friday night will make you want to keep coming back for more. Featuring 21 beers on tap including imports and craft beers from around the United States, bottled domestic and imported beers, their large selection of ales extends from pales to porters!
saladWhen dining at the Cock N’ Bull Pub, we recommend beginning by ordering the Black Bean Nachos: fresh corn tortilla chips with queso, jalapenos, pico de gallo and sour cream. You can even add chicken! In the mood for wings? Give their Tavern Wings (10 wings, choice of house sauce, Buffalo or Thai sweet chili) a try.

Now for the main dish, you can get the Pan Fried Shrimp Burger, which is a shrimp patty with Philly Cheese Steakremoulade, lettuce and tomato. Yes, please! Or you could order a B.L.T salad that is topped with grilled chicken, tomato, crumbled bacon, sunflower seeds, and cheddar cheese. If you’re looking for more common pub fare, order the Bull Burger, which is perfectly seasoned & hand pattied with lettuce, tomato, mayo & mustard. Their Philly Cheese steak is also amazing…you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu!

Mixed DrinkNow this restaurant is LOADED with daily specials, Foodies! Monday is Trivia and Pint night ($3 pints), Tuesday is Taco Night ($2 rotating flavors every week), Thursday brings Curry specials, Friday means Fish & Chips, and Saturday is Soccer Saturday, which means rotating beer specials during games! See the Cock N’ Bull Pub’s Facebook page here.

Cock N' Bull Pub

A warm welcome awaits you at the Cock N’ Bull Pub!

326 South Edisto Avenue  |  803.251.4474

thecocknbullpub.net

Hours:

Lunch: Wed – Sat 11am – 2:30pm

Sunday Brunch: 11am – 2:30pm

Dinner: Mon – Sun 5 – 10pm

Happy Hour: Tues – Fri 2:30 – 7pm

Beef Jerky Outlet

Beef Jerky OutletLocated between Regal Cinemas and Bonefish Grill, Beef Jerky Outlet brings Columbia an incredibly wide variety of the finest jerkies available. Although they do offer amazing beef jerky, Beef Jerky Outlet’s name doesn’t begin to describe the range of gourmet foods offered inside those double doors.

Beef Jerky Outlet DisplayBeef Jerky Outlet’s unique design allows you to browse and sample for yourself 32 of their jerkies as well as their assortment of flavored popcorns, candies, veggie chips, and cheese curds (imported from Wisconsin!). Try their many flavors of salmon jerky, sausage, bacon & ham jerky, turkey jerky, game jerky, and of course — beef jerky! Beef Jerky Outlet offers not only the basics, but also some truly unique and interesting flavors. Their Crawfish Flavor Beef Jerky combines two of your favorite things- beef jerky and a down home crawfish boil. The beef used for all the jerky is eye of the round and is from grass & U.S. grain fed cattle..no antibiotics, gluten free & slower in sodium!

Beef Box Gift (200 x 300)If you are a die hard fan of jerky, then you absolutely NEED the MegaBeef Box, which includes a stunning array of 1 lb Traditional Prime Rib, 8 oz Smoked Cherry Beef, 8 oz Smoked HBBQ Beef, 4 oz Traditional Slap Ya Mama Crawfish, 4 oz Traditional Roasted Garlic, 4 oz Smoked Teriyaki Beef, and 4 oz Smoked Reaper. It’s time to treat yourself!

Sauces and Rubs (200 x 314)Check out their massive selection of BBQ & hot sauces (collegiate labeling – every SEC, ACC and Big Ten school represented!), spices, jams, fresh cheeses, and pickled products — not to mention the hilariously sarcastic meat loving t-shirts for sale. Get their 3 Beer BBQ Rub (brown sugar sweet with mild heat), which really flavors Pork, Beef, Chicken and Fish. It can also spice up Baked Beans, Corn, Squash and Other Dishes. Try their Frostbite Hot Sauce (if you dare): the world’s first white hot sauce. WARNING. Nothing frosty here. Extremely hot. Ingredients: Vinegar, Water, Salt, and Aqua-resin of Capsicum. Beef Jerky Outlet even offers you the chance to easily grow your own Ghost Chili Pepper plant or your own Trinidad Scorpion Pepper plant! How awesome can one store be?! Shop for Beef Jerky Outlet products online here.

Rounding out the menu if you are feeling adventurous, you can try some exotic game meat jerky such as alligator, kangaroo, ostrich, and more. Oh my! Sample delicacies such as the Wild Boar BBQ Stick, the Peppered Elk Stick, or the Original Antelope Stick (just to name a mere few!). If you just can’t decide between the many choices, then check out the Wild Side Game Sample Pack: a 16-piece collection of 6 game jerky strips and 10 game meat sticks, comprised of no less than 9 different animals.

Head on down to Beef Jerky Outlet to experience a friendly, family store environment which definitely has something for everyone!

1260 Bower Parkway Suite A-5, Columbia, SC 29212  |  columbiasc.beefjerkyoutlet.com

Hours: Mon – Sat 10am – 9pm; Sun 12 – 6pm