Category Archives: New American

Honeymoon Cafe

Honeymoon Cafe is one of several craft cocktail bars recently opening in the Market Square area of downtown. I hadn’t noticed before last month but almost all of the spaces on Main St in this part of town are now bars focusing on anything but off-the-rack cocktails. Good on them.

Honeymoon is a little different from the rest of the craft cocktail bars since they also have  breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner menus. I liked that their breakfast menu was available all day which makes possible the almost irresistible breakfast for dinner option.

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Atmosphere
Houston considers ‘old buildings’ anything built more than 50 years ago. Its also prone to yanking those buildings down in favour of shiny glass and steel boxes. Shame, but at least in downtown you’ll find the last remnants of buildings originally built before 1900. Honeymoon is smack in the middle of one cluster.

Historical context and old-world architectural detail aside, you’ll find Honeymoon to be very casual with mixed bag patronage. Early hours usually pulls in post-work suits umbilically attached to laptops, later hours pulls the pre-party crowd getting in some meaningful conversation before the night spins out of control.

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Drink
Yep, there is food and I’ve been happy with my food orders here on previous trips, however  this round was about drinks. And actually I just tried the one, Peter Cottontail,  but with different preparations.

The base layer of the Peter Cottontail is carrot juice. Ginger and lemon are added and then there is the variable; either Green Chili vodka or Mandarin Orange vodka. I tried both but my preference was for the Green Chili version. A little amusing heat from the chili, inherent sweetness of the carrot, a little acidity from the lemon and the zing of ginger all in one glass. Its health drink! I can rationalize with the best of them.

Service
Like most ‘craft cocktail’ venues, each drink is prepared with almost ceremonial process so it will take a bit longer. Food orders are typically a 20-30 minute turnaround. Staff here are mostly friendly and knowledgeable however I did get some impatience from one bartender when I asked some questions about preparation. Who knows, maybe dude was having a bad day but this seems an anomaly rather than the standard.

Price
Pretty fair. $9-12 per cocktail. $8-15 per food main.

Drinks: August2015

Honeymoon Cafe| 300 Main | HTX 770902

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Charleston | Persimmon Cafe

Sometimes I tag interesting restaurants I want to try before I travel, other times I ask the locals after I arrive. Since I had success with asking the local teen crowd in Santa Barbara for their favourite spot, I did the same in Charleston. The result was a trip to Persimmon Cafe.

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Atmosphere
Persimmon is located near one of the many in-town colleges. Its also housed inside a laundromat. There are a few stools at a window-side bar next to a row of washers. However I noticed most patrons come in to start a set of wash then order takeaway on their way out. Should you decide to eat in, the window-side stools face Calhoun St., a heavily traveled street, which makes for good people watching. The constant swish-swish  of washers and clank-clank of jeans tumbling around a dryer may not appeal to some but I found it quirky white noise.

Food
The menu wins for simplicity – paninis, soups, sides and cookies; most of the paninis were some variation of grilled cheese. The lump crab panini appealed but the ‘adult grilled cheese’ was recommended by a college student I met earlier in the day. An interesting and delicious combination of smoked Gouda cheese combined with thinly sliced green apple and prosciutto. Tartness of the apple combined beautifully with the smokiness of the cheese and the saltiness of the prosciutto. The melty cheese and crispy bread were good textural contrast all the way to the last bite.

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I couldn’t resist trying the peanut butter and candied ginger coleslaw. It sounded just too odd to pass up and I was curious how the flavours would play out. Short answer – they work. The secret seems to be in using small amounts of peanut butter, which added a subtle nutty flavour, and candied ginger adding a sweetness which complimented the otherwise bland flavour of purple and green cabbage. I rarely eat coleslaw since, to me, it usually tastes like crunchy mayonnaise but I would definitely order Persimmon’s version again.

Service
Its counter-order setup and if you do eat in, they’ll walk it out to you. I’m pretty sure patrons eating in get preference since I got my order before the takeaway crowd that came in before me. The people working here are young, knowledgeable and exceptionally friendly, which seems to be the case everywhere in the city.

Price
Reasonable. Adult Grilled Cheese + Peanut Butter and Candied Ginger Coleslaw = $9

If you’re looking for great-tasting, low-cost and casual fare with  quirky atmosphere in the inner Charleston area, Persimmon is good choice.

Lunch: December 2014

Persimmon Cafe | 226 Calhoun | Charleston SC 29401