Saturday, December 10, 2016

One Taco Two Taco





                My family does not have the luxury of eating out regularly.  Since we have birthed the children, we always seem to have a tough time managing the kid’s needs and getting to eat our food while it is still warm.  There is usually some type of spilled mess that I feel the need to clean up before our server spots the flowing river that will make its way down the table, pooling on the floor.  And inevitably either my husband or I have to remove one child or the other from the restaurant because they wanted or did not want some food item touching another food item on their plate and they proceed to have a screaming fit to express their dislike.  We are a hot mess with young children and we know it, so we opt out of most of the trendy new openings where people can easily see our crazy life.
                When I was invited to attend a soft opening of One Taco Two Taco I was truly excited and figured I could make a date night out of it for my husband and I.  Sadly, we did not make it because one of the kids was not feeling well.  I shrugged off the opening and I did not really think too much about it until the day that One Taco Two Taco opened to the public.
                It was lunch time, I was home and the kids were in school.  Although I was in the midst of school work, I seized the moment and bolted out the door to eat some tacos.  I am super picky when it comes to food. Picky as in the ingredients quality has to be something I would have chosen to cook with myself.  The recipe needs to be totally authentic or a completely new, twisted version. I mean, I do not want a Taco Bell type taco from a locally owned eatery.  Not only am I selective with the food itself but the environment in which I will be eating is also important.  The music playing in the background, the color of the lighting, the ability to see what is happening or not happening in the kitchen will all influence my experience.
                There are always, always some hic-ups during the first day of a new business.  Whether it is computer glitches, an item left off the plate or the air conditioning goes out, something will go wrong.  Knowing this through personal experience, I kept my expectations realistic and just wanted to eat something as fuel for my body and not for my soul.
                I was pleasantly surprised by the scene.  The d├ęcor was fresh and swanky without being over the top.  There is a sort of chic, modern atmosphere with cool toned colors, yet warm lighting.  It made me feel comfortable and impressed me more than I thought it would.
The server was friendly and quickly took my order of Carne Asada Fries, which by the way is a healthy serving, and two of their specialty tacos.  The tacos by themselves would have been sufficient to feed my husband. 

My food arrived and holy smokes it had an amazing presentation.  The server placed a piping hot, cast iron trivet on my table.  It was piled high with pencil thick fries, marinated beef cuts and fresh pico-de-gallo.  The two tacos were of the same quality of pleasantness. You could clearly tell the food was fresh and cooked with care.  To say that I enjoyed the flavors would be an understatement.
One Taco Two Taco has definitely earned my business.  If I were to recommend a restaurant it would be this one.  The family friendly, yet modern feeling dining room with excellent, affordable food is a win for me and my family. I hope you and your family will enjoy One Taco Two Taco as much as I do.

                

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Woah!

  Wow! It has been a really long time since I have written a blog post. Do you think I should jump back in and get to writing something?




  I was able to travel to see my stepmother and brother in Germany last fall. It was really nice to be home. somethings were exactly the same and others were very different.
  That is how life is though, ever changing and yet something never change. Life is funny that way. It is one stationary yet evolving progression into the future.  Maybe it is not life that is changing but me that is. Yes, I think that is more likely.
There have been big changes for my bubble over the last year-ish. I went back to Germany for a visit. My family moved to Lexington. My daughter started kindergarten and I am finishing up my first semester at Midlands Technical College. And because my plate was not full enough, I decided to start substituting at the kid's school.  Life has been interesting to say the least.
 Anyway, Here are a few pictures I took while abroad. My brother, his fiance and I hiked about 12 kilometers the day I took the first two pictures. Once we reached the top of the mountain we climbed all these crazy high stairs for the most rewarding view.  This picture does not portray the beauty as it was seen, but at least you can get a feel for how breath-taking it was.







Monday, May 11, 2015

Out Of My Zone

Lately I have been trying new things. New foods, cooking techniques and now a book review.

I'm not really sure why I decided to review a book. I mean let's get real here, I can't even complete most daily tasks let alone something that will take a few weeks to do. But I must say, I'm so happy that I am doing it. I say "am" because I'm not technically finished reading it. However, I am finding myself reciting the authors words and that's kind of big for me.

LooseThe Cape - Realities from Busy Modern Moms and Strategies to Survive written by one of our own Columbia mother's, Alexa Haddock Bigwarfe and her friend Kerry Riverra is a reality driven perspective that is not only honest but an eye opener.
With help from mom's around the country these ladies have nailed situations that new mom's and experienced mom's alike, find them selves in. They also provide reasurrence through their own twisted mom comedy. I wish this book had been around five years ago. I'm looking forward to finishing these last few chapters and I think every parent should read this.  Here's is the link to buy the book. I promise you won't be disappointed!


http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B00UWCLY9M?ie=UTF8&redirectFromSS=1&pc_redir=T1&noEncodingTag=1&fp=1 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Local Movement



  You might have noticed the local food movement sweeping over the Midlands, and the rest of South Carolina for that matter. I mean its kind of hard to miss the Soda City Farmers Market on Main Street, or the that list of must-eat-at-while-in-Columbia  restaurants just so happen to source most of their ingredients locally. And hearing about Columbia Food Tours tasting their way through said hot spots on those beautiful January days just solidifies the thirst for local food.

  What you might not have noticed though, is that the movement has touched more than the local consumer or the small farmer. Large farms, the USDA, schools, and many more entities are joining the conversation. Each looking to learn, incorporate techniques and assist in making foods more accessible.

  I attended the Agri Biz Expo in Florence and was amazed at what I saw. At first I saw the typical "Red Tape enforcer' government employee, the ginormous farmer that just wanted to make a buck and of course the salesman. Avoid eye contact at all costs I thought to myself or I would be thousands of dollars in debt in the matter of ten minutes. Non the less, I was hyped to be there.

  It didn't take long before my heart was warmed and there was change occurring in what I was seeing. I started to see the people. The government point person became this really knowledgeable lady that wholeheartedly wanted to help people navigate all the hoops that are in place. The amount of helpful information that she gave was like hitting a Vegas Jackpot. Then I saw that large farmer. That farmer happens to be from the midlands area. He was sitting in on a Soil Seminar that Dr. Kloot from USC was giving. With it being the year of the soil endorsed by the United Nation, it was refreshing to see that farmer learning a better way to tend to the soil. And as it turns out, that farm has put in place some amazing organic practices. Now we have the salesman, which didn't try to sell me anything. Not even an idea that their product was better than xyz. They just wanted to help solve problems that most farms run into at one point. Actually one even offered to help me with some writing contacts. Finally we have the schools. Dave Lamie of Clemson gave a fantastic workshop on Choosing Wholesale Markets for Local food Products. (I have some handouts if your interested.) And the Florence Extension is looking at building a Food HUB  among other projects. How awesome is that?


  I walked away from the expo being able to see the local food movement happening at the state level by local people. I'm so grateful to see the love these people have for our great state and local food.




Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Midlands Food Alliance

  Over the past few months I have been working with other local people who share the love of supporting our local farmers.
  
  We have come together and created The Midlands Food Alliance. The press release states our ideas. 

​"We don’t have a concrete map or understanding of the local food system. There are gaps and challenges that are not currently defined. We have people that care about local food, but we don’t have a network built or communication among the people that care about the local food system.

Local food supports our health, the local economy and local farmers, it tastes better, is resilient and sustainable, and independent from big corporate farming and the food industry. It provides food security for the region, which promotes homeland security and secures water for the future. Caring about local food will hopefully influence future generations to make better food choices and will connect children back to their roots. Local food is better for the environment, connects us back to our land, and will help preserve our beautiful S.C. wildlife and traditions, such as hunting and fishing. We want to work toward a fair, secure, sustainable, dependable, healthy local food system.

If we are going to support local food and learn how to improve the local food system, we need to map it out and understand it better. That way, we’ll know where our strengths and weaknesses are so that we work toward a healthier, more accessible local food system as a community. We need to raise awareness of the local food system and advocate and educate about the gaps and weaknesses we find in our local food system, so that we can make it better. Creating a network that cares about local food and opening communication is important. Connecting local farmers to each other and all aspects of the local food system is also important, as well as connecting local farmers to resources and information.

    We have an opportunity to learn about how to improve our local food system. Local food boosts the local economy, decreases the carbon footprint of food, is better for the environment, and connects back to the land, where we belong. The Midlands Food Alliance is coming together to map our food system. We are looking for members right now."

The Midlands Food Alliance

If you are interested, please get involved. 


Or 

Sustainable Midlands  (803) 381-8747

  

Monday, November 17, 2014

Navigating Disney

Wow! Finding real food in Disney has alway been the stick in my throat. The whole Dinning Plan thing burns me too. Trying to navigate through a week can be just a tad bit irritating to say the least. 
 
 This time I decided to let it go and just do the best I can. I mean after all it is vacation and your supposed to eat junk, play late and laugh a lot, right? 

 We got in yesterday, later in the day but in time for supper. We are staying at The Wilderness Lodge so we ate here. 

 I was truly suprised to see a pan seared quinoa cakes dish along with several other appatizing choices. Someone has obviously made an executive decision in the food department. I ultimately decided on a smorgasbord of meat that wasn't quite South Carolina BBQ, but still quite delicious. 

 Today we headed into Epcot for a special Princess lunch. Again, wonderful selections offered in the Norweigan eatery! Seriously!! I'm not sure what has happened that made Disney finally get with it, but I like! 

 Thanks for making some changes Disney! I can't wait to share what other goodies I find this week :)


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Our Food System



                I had the opportunity to attend The Midlands food Summit hosted by The Midlands Local Food Collaborative on Monday. When I got the invite I had no idea what the event was, or what it was really about. Nor did I have a clue as to what The Midlands Local Food Collaborative was or what they stood for. Needless to say I was just tickled to be included in something to do with the midlands food movement.
                After giving myself a bit of a pep-talk sitting in the car, I headed for the door of the Philips Center at the State Farmers Market. Once inside I quickly tried to find some familiar faces. Seeing a few made me more comfortable and I started to breathe a little bit easier. I found a seat and started to listen to the crowd around the table. I unknowingly sat with a group of Ag Teachers.
                About an hour or so into the meeting I had a pretty clear view of who this collection of people are. I was extremely grateful to be present. They are people that work, lead and motivate our actual food system. It was everyone from Non-Profit Food Hubs, The USDA (Natural Resources Conservation Service), Farmers, Lenders (agricultural lenders that help get grants and such), to the consumer. It was a large group of entities and individuals that care about making our food sustainable.
                I think I might have actually died and gone to Heaven for the few hours that I was there. Being able to learn about the challenges that our current farmers have was truly an eye opener for me. To realize that for our whole state, we only have two USDA certified slaughtering facilities gave me perspective on what our meat farmers are up against. For me to hear that our schools are not equipped to handle fresh food was another kicker. Are we not building kitchens in schools anymore? Or is it that there are so many regulations in regards to cooking real food, that the system just does not allow real food? I was learning all of this and more while we were brain storming ideas on how to solve such issues.
                And that is where the beauty of this whole meeting came together. When a hundred or so people put their minds together to bring positive change, is when change can actually happen. We all understand that in today’s society that what we eat will not be 100 percent local. But to strive towards a goal that will allow more people to actually have access and eat food produced in South Carolina, is a goal all South Carolinian's should be working towards. If we want to avoid major price hikes and not knowing where our food comes from, we might want to take a moment to think of how much food is needed for each person, each day. Then think about how much land is actually being used to raise said food. And then, Think about who will farm that, because as of now the average age of a farmer is 59 years old.
                My brain is still reeling from so much information, information such as the Food Safety Modification Act (FSMA) that was signed into law in back in 2011. (http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/FSMA/ucm247548.htm )   It went into law but the FDA has yet to re-release its guidelines. Guidelines that when first released last year would have cause the organic farmer to be obsolete. Thankfully, the FDA is rewriting the guidelines, but they still expect that a number of small farms to be put out of business.

                Whatever the FDA decides is appropriate, we as consumers can make the difference for our state by buying from our local farms, and of course by being active in organizations that lead the way in managing our food rights. I mean, how silly would it be if we could no longer have a farmers market because of regulations?