Favorite Places to Eat While Traveling #cbias

Favorite Places to Eat While Traveling #cbias | The Destiny Manifest

Favorite Places to Eat While Traveling #cbias

I’ve teamed up with other members of Social Fabric to bring you a list of our favorite places to eat while traveling in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom (UK). From big cities to small towns, we’ve got a wide variety of wonderful places to visit and eat delicious food at fantastic restaurants.

Bon appetit!

Eastern US

Tampa, Florida – I Run for Wine
Annapolis, Maryland – Maryland Momma’s Rambles
Framingham, Massachusetts – 3 Garnets & 2 Sapphires
Orleans County, New York – Living Off Love and Coffee
Charlotte, North Carolina – MommyB Knows Best
Eastern North Carolina – Rebecca Lately
Raleigh, North Carolina – The Dirty Floor Diaries
Greenville, South Carolina – The Destiny Manifest <– That’s me!
East Greenwich, Rhode Island – Mama Luvs Books
Richmond, Virginia – Close to Home

Western US

Phoenix, Arizona – Brie Brie Blooms
Aliso Viejo, California – Una Colombiana en California
Oceanside, California – Adventures of Valley Writer
San Diego, California – Toot Sweet 4 Two
Wildomar, California – Simple Sojourns
Las Vegas, Nevada – Growing Up Gabel
Las Vegas, Nevada – Home Cooking Memories
Reno, Nevada – Saving in Nevada
NE Oklahoma (Route 66) – The Creative Princess
Tulsa, Oklahoma – Masterpiece
Austin, Texas – Texas Type A Mom
Dallas, Texas – The Effortless Mom
Dallas/Denton County, Texas – Coffee & Giggles
Houston, Texas – A Day in Motherhood
Palestine, Texas – Going Crazy! Wanna Go?
Provo, Utah – Clarks Condensed
Salina/Sevier, Utah – Home Maid Simple
Salt Lake City, Utah – Summer Scraps
Bainbridge Island, Washington – Popcorn and Pearls
Seattle, Washington – Faith Filled Food for Moms

Northern US

Chicago, Illinois – East 9th Street
Lake County, Illinois – THE ROCK FATHER
Long Grove (NW Chicago Suburbs), Illinois– Make Dinner Easy
Naperville, Illinois – Making Time for Mommy
Cincinnati, Ohio/Northern Kentucky – {enjoy the view}
Detroit, Michigan – Roasted Beanz
West Michigan – Eat Local, West Michigan!
Rochester, Minnesota – The Mama Report
St. Charles, Missouri – Robyn’s Online World
St. Louis, Missouri – inRandom
Omaha, Nebraska – Midwest Mammas
Seward, Nebraska – Busy-at-Home
Dayton, Ohio – Mudpies and Tiaras
Miami County, Ohio – The Home and Garden Cafe
Milwaukee, Wisconsin – Outnumbered 3 to 1
Norwalk, Wisconsin – The Mommy Bunch

Southern US

Northwest Arkansas – Jamie’s Thots
Northwest Arkansas – MamaBuzz
Atlanta, Georgia – The Jort Report
Cumming, Georgia – In the Kitchen with KP
Greenville, South Carolina – The Destiny Manifest <– That’s me again… hey, SC is in the East AND the South!

Canada

Quispamsis/Saint John, New Brunswick – Older Mommy Still Yummy
London, Ontario – Creative Cynchronicity

UK

Banbury, UK – Bubbablue and Me
Bristol, UK – Slummy Single Mummy
London, England – The 21st Century Housewife
Portishead, UK – Practically Perfect Mums

Favorite Places to Eat While Traveling #cbias | The Destiny Manifest

Best Restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina

Best Restaurants - Blog Hop

In 2011, Greenville, South Carolina was listed as the 6th best place to live in America by Relocate America. That honor is due, in no small part, to the amazing number of fantastic local restaurants that fill our fair city. In fact, Greenville is one of the “Tastiest Towns in the South”, according to Southern Living magazine.

I’m joining a group of bloggers from across the United States and Canada to spotlight the best restaurants in our various cities, as part of a Blog Hop presented by the Social Fabric community.

When I began to compile a list of favorite local restaurants in Greenville, SC, I enlisted the help of my husband, sister, and my mom and step-dad. Our combined list was quite long, but after much debate, we’ve narrowed it down to a good mix of our favorite locally owned restaurants.

Travinia Italian Kitchen & Wine Bar

Travinia is at the top of our restaurant list on date nights. Their contemporary Italian cuisine is unmatched by the other Italian restaurants we have tried. Travinia has extensive lunch and dinner menus and a gluten-free menu. The Classic Fettuccine Alfredo is my husband’s favorite, and I usually go for the Chicken Parmesan. The restaurant offers many lunch and dinner specials, such as 25% off bottled wines on Tuesdays, and 1/2 off specialty martinis on Wednesdays.

Travinia is located at 1625 Woodruff Road, Greenville, SC 29607. Visit Travinia’s website for full menus and information on specials.

Travinia Italian Kitchen - Greenville, SC
Source: Metromix Greenville

Saskatoon – Steaks, Fish & Wild Game

If you’re looking for a unique taste of the Pacific Northwest, look no further than Saskatoon! This steakhouse offers fresh, cold-water salmon, clear river rainbow trout, wild game, such as elk, pheasant, and bear, and many other interesting tastes – emu and portabella mushrooms, to name a few. The dining room at Saskatoon has the feel of an authentic Northwest lodge, designed to give guests a “warm, friendly escape from the hectic city life!” Saskatoon offers paleo, low carb, and gluten-free dishes on their menu. The current specialty entrees include kangaroo and ostrich filets, with wild game sausage as the specialty appetizer. Definitely an interesting place to step away from your busy life and enjoy delicious food!

Saskatoon is located at 477 Haywood Road, Greenville, SC 29607. Visit Saskatoon’s website for full menus and information on specials.

The Peddler Steakhouse

The Peddler Steakhouse is a Greenville, South Carolina landmark! Established in 1969, this fabulous restaurant is located in a nearly 100 year old stone building and has been described as “Greenville’s most unique eating place”. I actually had my (first) wedding rehearsal dinner at The Peddler, more than a decade ago, and it was the perfect locale for hosting an event. The Peddler offers a wide selection of grilled specialties – steak, chicken, fish, and whole pork tenderloin. So delicious! I highly recommend this beautiful historic restaurant – you’ll be converted into a regular right away!

The Peddler Steakhouse is located at 2000 Poinsett Highway, Greenville, SC 29609. Visit The Peddler’s website for full menus and information on specials, receptions and catering.

The Peddler Steakhouse - Greenville, SC
Source: The Peddler Steakhouse

Mike & Jeff’s BBQ

When I asked my step-dad his opinion of the best restaurants in Greenville, he immediately recommended Mike & Jeff’s BBQ. According to him, their BBQ pulled pork sandwiches and BBQ pork spare ribs are the best you’re ever likely to find in the Upstate of South Carolina… and this man loves his barbecue! The restaurant is very casual — stop by on a hot summer afternoon after walking the Swamp Rabbit Trail and enjoy a plate of excellent barbecue pork or chicken!

Mike & Jeff’s BBQ is located at 2401 Old Buncombe Road, Greenville, SC 29609. Visit Mike & Jeff’s BBQ’s website for their menu, specials and pricing.

Lieu’s Chinese Bistro

Lieu’s Chinese Bistro has the most amazing Chinese food! They were voted one of the ten best restaurants in Greenville by South Carolina Magazine in 2005, and their food and service back that vote up 100%. Lieu’s offers a wide selection of appetizers and lunch and dinner entrees. My favorite is their Ginger Chicken and Broccoli, while my husband prefers the Lieu’s Spicy Chicken. The dining room is classic and tasteful, and the service is prompt and friendly.

Lieu’s Chinese Bistro is located at 1149 Woodruff Road, Greenville, SC 29607. Visit Lieu’s Chinese Bistro’s website for full menus and wine list, plus information on catering and events.

Lieu's Chinese Bistro - Greenville, SC
Source: Lieu’s Chinese Bistro

The Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery

The Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery is an amazing place! The owners are committed to the community and this shows in every aspect of the cafe and grocery. Located just two miles from downtown Greenville, SC, just off the Swamp Rabbit Trail (for biking/running/walking), the restaurant and grocery are accessible by car, foot, or bike. The Swamp Rabbit Cafe provides high-quality, delicious baked goods and coffee and in the grocery, you will find that at least half of the inventory is grown within 150 miles of Greenville. That’s mighty impressive to me! The cafe’s menu offers a selection of sandwiches, muffins, soup & desserts – with vegan and vegetarian options! Eat great food while feeling great about supporting the Upstate South Carolina’s farmers!

The Swamp Rabbit Cafe & Grocery is located at 205 Cedar Lane Road, Greenville, SC 29611. Visit The Swamp Rabbit’s website for their menu and information about their weekly produce boxes, as well as community events and music!

The Lazy Goat

The Lazy Goat is a Mediterranean-themed locally owned restaurant located in one of the most beautiful spots in the heart of downtown Greenville, SC. From the outdoor dining patio, you can look out beyond the decorative waterfalls to the Reedy River and the Peace Center. The menu features influences from Spain, Morocco, Italy, France, Greece, Africa and the Middle East. Choose from wide selections of pasta, pizzas (I recommend the Tomato Mozz – yum!), “graze & nibble” platters, meats & cheeses, and entrees such as Braised Veal Short Ribs and Moroccan Chicken with Falafel Waffles. You can’t go wrong with so many fantastic dishes at your fingertips. The Lazy Goat’s motto is “time well wasted”, and it truly is!

The Lazy Goat is located at 170 Riverplace, Greenville, SC 29601. Visit The Lazy Goat’s website for their menus and wine list, as well as to make a reservation or plan a party.

The Lazy Goat - Greenville, SC
Source: The Lazy Goat

Smoke on the Water

While you’re enjoying the beauty of downtown Greenville, stop in at Smoke on the Water and try their award-winning Pimento Cheeseburger! Smoke on the Water is a saucy Southern tavern with an expansive menu offering everything from barbecue brisket and specialty burgers to mouth-watering steaks and grilled chicken… not to mention salads, sides, and decadent desserts! Smoke on the Water has live entertainment and patio dining, so you can enjoy the beautiful summer weather downtown.

Smoke on the Water is located at 1 Augusta Street, Greenville, SC 29601. Visit Smoke on the Water’s website to check out their menu.

Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen

Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen serves up New Orleans classics in a laid-back and casual dining experience. The restaurant is located in the building that once housed the first Ford dealership in the Upstate of South Carolina. The menu includes Seafood Gumbo and Gator Po’ Boys on authentic Gambino’s bread, as well as Jambalaya, Oysters Rockefeller, and an array of sandwiches. Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen has a kid’s menu – chicken fingers, corn dogs and fried shrimp in a basket of fries. Check out this beautiful piece of Greenville’s history & enjoy the most delicious Cajun food in Upstate South Carolina!

Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen is located at 631 South Main Street, Greenville, SC 29601. Visit Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen’s website to view the complete menu — don’t forget to check the calendar to see which live bands are playing on the weekends!

Ford's Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen
Source: Ford’s Oyster House & Cajun Kitchen

Monterrey’s Mexican Restaurant

Monterrey’s Mexican Restaurant is my favorite restaurant! Monterrey’s restaurants can be found throughout the South, but my favorite location is in Greenville. The food is absolutely wonderful – I have never tried a single dish that wasn’t fantastic! This is an excellent restaurant for kids — there is a kid’s menu, as well as corn tortilla chips/salsa con queso while you wait for your meal to arrive. Monterrey’s has draft beer on tap and the margaritas are amazing. When we ask the kids where they’d like to go for dinner, they say “Monterrey’s!” about 90% of the time — that’s a pretty great endorsement, I’d say!

Our favorite Monterrey’s Mexican Restaurant is located at 1813 Laurens Road, Greenville, SC 29607. Visit Monterrey’s Mexican Restaurant’s website for their menus or to find other locations.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about our family’s picks for the Best Restaurants in Greenville, South Carolina! Make sure to stay tuned — many of my fellow Social Fabric bloggers are compiling their city’s best restaurant lists and I’ll be posting the complete list in two weeks! So if you’re not a Greenville native, keep an eye out — chances are, your city is on the list that’s coming soon!

Best Restaurants in Greenville, SC
Plan on visiting South Carolina? Pin this post for future reference!

Goldfish Snacks for Growing Tweens #MakeItGoPuff

Goldfish Snacks for Growing Tweens #MakeItGoPuff

Collective Bias Disclosure Statement

I thought I knew what to expect with tween girls. My little sister spent an entire summer with me when she was 12, so I have some prior experience dealing with preteen mood swings and the generally cranky attitudes. My own girls have been handing out attitude and hormonal eye-rolls for a couple of years now, so I’m used to that. I’m even used to having to cajole (and sometimes threaten) them into taking showers and wearing deodorant.

However, I was not prepared for the voracious tween hunger pains. Yes, I know that tween and teen years are the period of most rapid growth, and that for girls, the growth period begins around 10 to 11 and lasts until age 15. Having that knowledge is a completely different thing from seeing the effects of that statement on one’s pantry shelves (and grocery bills)!

Goldfish Puffs for Growing Tweens #makeitgopuff

I buy snacks every week at the grocery store — applesauce, peaches and pears, carrots, bananas, cheese sticks, broccoli florets, Goldfish snacks. These are the same snacks I’ve been buying for years, but now the kids go through them like wildfire and then wander about moping that “they’re starving”. 

When I went shopping at Target last week, I came across Goldfish Puffs. They come in a larger chip-style bag and in several bold flavors — Mega Cheese (my favorite), Cheddar Bacon (the tweens’ favorite), and Buffalo Wing (David’s favorite). The Goldfish Puffs got rave reviews from the girls, and a thought occurred to me.

Goldfish Snacks for Growing Tweens #MakeItGoPuff

It seems that the best kinds of ” teen snacks” are mini-meals in between regular meals, so I’ve done a little experimenting and come up with a few ideas that incorporate the newly-discovered Goldfish Puffs into slightly larger mini-meals that will {hopefully} tide them over until dinnertime.

The girls both love macaroni and cheese, specifically the microwavable kind. When I’m making mac & cheese for family dinners, I make macaroni casserole from scratch, but there’s no accounting for taste, and the tweens love quick and easy mac & cheese. In order to spice it up a little, I crushed up a handful of Goldfish Puffs in “Mega Cheese” flavor and sprinkled them on top of the girls’ mac & cheese. They absolutely loved this… it disappeared in no time and it’s their new favorite snack.

Macaroni and Cheese with Goldfish Puffs #makeitgopuff

Next, I tried adding Goldfish Puffs in “Cheddar Bacon” to mashed potatoes — once again, rave reviews! The girls prefer their Goldfish crushed into their mashed potatoes, while my husband prefers the crunch of the non-crushed Goldfish Puffs in his potatoes. He’s developed a serious love for this particular snack and has been taking it to work for lunch.

Mashed Potatoes with Goldfish Puffs #makeitgopuff

I’ve got all kinds of things in mind now — popcorn with Goldfish Puffs mixed in, chicken breaded in crushed buffalo wing Goldfish Puffs — and they’re delicious to snack on, straight from the package (or bowl) too.

I might be fooling myself by thinking I know what to expect in raising tweens and teens, but I do seem to have solved the growing tweens’ snack cravings… at least until the next growth spurt hits!

Learn more about Goldfish snacks by Pepperidge Farms by following along on Facebook or on Twitter. Pick up your bags of Goldfish Puffs at your local Target store today! You won’t be disappointed!

Goldfish Snacks for Growing Tweens #MakeItGoPuff

Rockin’ The Samsung WB200 Smart Camera! #SocialCamera

Rockin' The Samsung WB200 Smart Camera! #SocialCamera

Collective Bias Disclosure

Last year, I practically begged my husband for a new camera. Our old camera had broken and all we’d had for over a year was our cell phones for pictures. We didn’t have iPhones, just basic cell phones, so as you can imagine, the picture quality and resolution were dismal — there was no way we could print out those photos for scrapbooks or photo albums.

With lots of big life changes to look forward to, we decided to buy a fancy, expensive camera. Of course, we didn’t realize until it was too late that we should have set aside enough money for the higher zoom lens for this fancy, expensive camera. I love this camera, but it is not the most portable, not the easiest for taking pictures on the fly, and the zoom function with the basic lens leaves much to be desired.

With end-of-school programs and a lot of family gatherings coming up, we knew we needed to look for a smaller, more portable camera with a much better zoom function… and it needed to be pretty cheap. When I was offered the opportunity to shop at Walmart and try out the new Samsung WB200 compact system camera with Wi-Fi direct connectivity and an 18x long zoom, I was very excited. {You can see all the details of our shopping trip in my Google+ album.}

This camera meets all of our criteria, including the price point. It was priced at $199.00 in the store, but when I checked out at the Photo Center register, it rang up at only $179.00! $20.00 savings? Yes, please!

Samsung WB200 Smart Cameras

I honestly wasn’t sure if the Samsung WB200 was going to be able to match the photo quality of my bigger camera, but it surprised me! My husband and I each carried one of our cameras on our recent trip downtown for an open-air Cowboy Mouth rock concert. You can barely tell any difference in the photographs at all!

Quality Comparison - Old vs. New Samsung WB200 Smart Camera

And the zoom… oh my, the zoom! Our old camera will zoom up to 30mm with the basic lens. Our new Samsung WB200 smart camera will zoom up to 72mm! This difference was very evident at the concert. My husband took a snapshot of our girls and I from one side of the river, using the Samsung WB200 long zoom, and I snapped a picture of him using our old camera. Similarly, I took pictures of the Cowboy Mouth concert from across the river using our old camera, while David used our new Samsung smart camera to take close-up shots of the lead singer/drummer, Fred LeBlanc. Isn’t the difference astounding?

Zoom Comparison - Old vs. New Samsung WB200 Long Zoom Camera

The Wi-Fi Direct connectivity is pretty awesome — it has several different wireless features.

  • MobileLink: allows you to connect a smartphone to your camera and copy captured photos and videos from the camera to the smartphone.
  • Remote Viewfinder: shows previews of images from your camera on a smartphone and lets you capture photos.
  • Auto Backup: allows you to transfer recent photos and videos to your computer wirelessly.
  • Email: allows you to email stored photos and videos.
  • SNS & Cloud: allows you to upload photos and videos to social networking sites, such as Facebook, Picasa and YouTube, and cloud services, such as SkyDrive.

What does all of that mean? Well, when Addah met the lead guitarist for Cowboy Mouth and posed for a picture, I emailed it directly to friends and family. No need to wait until we got home to share the excitement!

Meeting JT of Cowboy Mouth - Samsung Wi-Fi Cameras

The Samsung WB200 also has a 3-in. hybrid touch screen, panoramic feature, split screen, macro and low light photography, and a ton of photo editing filters: miniature, vignetting, ink & oil painting, cartoon, cross filter, sketch, soft focus, fish-eye, classic (black/white), retro and zooming shot. Edit your pictures on the camera and then upload them straight to Facebook — it doesn’t get much easier than that!

Samsung WB200 Smart Cameras Built-In Filters

If you prefer to take photographs using manual settings for aperture and shutter speed, you can do that as well. This would be a great camera for a new photographer who’s learning about manual photography settings.

David thinks the new camera belongs to him (shh, don’t tell him he’s wrong) and the tweens keep stealing it to take pictures of their neighborhood friends. We really couldn’t be happier with our new wireless Samsung Smart Camera!

Keep up to date with Samsung by following them on Facebook and Twitter. The Samsung WB200 Smart Camera is currently available in stores or online at Walmart.

Rockin' The Samsung WB200 Smart Camera! #SocialCamera

Summer Fuel Rewards with @MasterCard #FuelFamilyFun #MC

Summer Fuel Rewards with MasterCard! #FuelFamilyFun #MC

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It’s officially summer and the kids have a million ideas about what they’d like to do. Unfortunately, very few of those ideas are free. I don’t know if it’s a “tween thing” or what, but apparently the days of happily braiding {free} friendship bracelets and drawing {free} chalk designs on the front walk are over.

When asked what they’d like to do over their summer vacation, their answers ranged from “pool party with my friends” and “Six Flags in Atlanta” to “that hotel at the beach with the water park in the lobby” and “the mall, so I can get some new cool summer clothes, because the ones I have now are boring”.

Okay… deep breath.

We’re not made of money. We’re not even comfortably getting our bills paid every month. We’re still firmly in the oh-my-gosh-we’re-out-of-bread-and-we-don’t-get-paid-for-a-week zone, so clearly we’re going to have to do some fancy financial footwork if we want to scratch anything off of our tweens’ “Must Do” lists this summer.

One of our biggest expenses this year has been our gas budget. We don’t drive long distances, but between school and David’s job, we do a lot of driving within a small area. This figure doesn’t go down much in the summer; school is out for the girls, but David does more driving between the various schools in our area, helping the custodial crews with all the work that must be done.

Summer Fuel Rewards with MasterCard! #FuelFamilyFun #MC

This is where the Fuel Rewards Network helps us so much with saving on our budget. The Fuel Rewards Network is a free loyalty program that allows you to earn savings on fuel when you purchase groceries. All you have to do to start earning rewards is visit the Fuel Rewards website and sign up. It’s very simple and takes almost no time at all. If you link your MasterCard, you can earn an additional 3¢/gal for every $100 you spend on groceries! You can even use a MasterCard debit card to sign up, if you’ve given up all credit cards, as we have!

I went grocery shopping yesterday (visit my Google+ album to see how that went!) and spent just over $100. I paid with the MasterCard debit card that I linked to the Fuel Rewards Network and saved a total of 10¢ off per gallon – 3¢ for spending $100 with a linked MasterCard, a one-time 5¢ bonus for linking up my MasterCard, plus 2¢ in grocery rewards fuelperks!

We’ve been using the Fuel Rewards program with MasterCard for the last two weeks and we’re already up to 55¢ off per gallon in fuel rewards! Now, we have had family in town and we’ve done a lot more grocery shopping than usual, but still, that’s a huge savings!

Summer Fuel Rewards with MasterCard! #FuelFamilyFun #MCI normally spend around $300/month on groceries, so I could be earning between 30¢ and 55¢ per gallon in fuel rewards every time I fill up using the Fuel Rewards Network! We have a 15 gallon tank in our PT Cruiser and we typically fill up three times per month. Gas is averaging $3.16/gallon this week in our area, which means it will cost us $47.40 to fill up our tank.

Our current 55¢ savings on each gallon brings the cost down to $39.15 — about $8.25/tank or $25/month savings!

I don’t know how tight the average family’s fuel budget is, but $25 is a tremendous savings for us! With that extra money every month in our summer fun budget, we will certainly be able to replace some of those “boring” summer clothes for the tweens, or throw an awesome pool party for Lakin’s 12th birthday!

The best part? I didn’t have to do anything except visit the website, sign up and add my MasterCard… then shop like usual!

Summer Fuel Rewards with MasterCard! #FuelFamilyFun #MC

Hurry up and get signed up… the faster you do, the more you can save! For more information and to keep up with all the news about the FRN program, you can follow them on Facebook and on Twitter.

What will you do with the money you save using the Fuel Rewards Network & MasterCard?

Summer Fuel Rewards with MasterCard! #FuelFamilyFun #MC