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The Best Restaurant In Greenville – Plum Tree Bistro

plumtreeoutside

Greenville, NC is best described as a chain restaurant wasteland, as far it comes to food. I exhausted all my research options (yelp, urbanspoon, random googling, etc) and came up with very few options for possible good food in Greenville. Seriously folks, sometimes, it’s not that easy. I even drove around the streets just looking for places. One of my colleagues had suggested Plum Tree Bistro and I had also seen it on urbanspoon, so that’s where I headed. It’s unfortunately tucked on the backside of a random stripmall. It’s a shame really because it’s quite a fabulous place.

It’s an american bistro with a female head chef. Please don’t let the outside fool you. They have a tragic sign and even more tragic neon lettered signage as well, but don’t be dismayed. Go inside! They also cater and do parties. In fact, there was a holiday party going on in back when I was there. They have a variety of meat and fresh seafood dishes, salads and other starters, specials, and homemade desserts. The chef delivered my soup to me and also asked about everything else. They really care about the food and the experience here, and it shows.

plumtreechowder

I probably should have eaten a vegetable, like perhaps a salad, but since I’m a soup nut, I got a cup of the clam and corn chowder. It actually came out in a literal cup, a mug to be exact, which was odd. It was actually a bit difficult to maneuver. This soup was ok. It wasn’t bad, but not great either. It did have tons of clams and corn and a good helping of potatoes. But the flavor was just kind of blah. And the chowder was a bit on the watery side. Later on I found out that the salads are big deals here. The chef even makes her own dressing. So go for the salad here if you’re looking for an appetizer.

plumtreeshrimp

There were a ton of specials that night including rack of lamb (but I’m not too into lamb), sesame seed encrusted ahi tuna (but I’m not too into tuna), a grouper catch of the day with caper sauce (but I can’t stand capers), so I had to stick with the regular menu. I wanted the hurricane scallop dish but they were out of scallops so I got the hurricane shrimp. This was a more than generous serving of lobster stuffed ravioli with lobster cream sauce topped with grilled hurricane brushed shrimp. Man, I ate it all! The shrimp were perfectly grilled with a slightly sweet and zesty hurricane marinade. The ravioli were overly stuffed with the lobster mix and the cream sauce was nice and mild so that it did not overpower the lobster inside the ravioli. It really was surprisingly delicious.

plumtreebrulee

My server asked one of the chefs if there would be scallops on wednesday. He said that more scallops would come in on wednesday. Then he asked me if I had wanted to order them on this night. I told him yes. Then he insisted that I get free dessert since I didn’t get the entree I wanted. How sweet is that? I had to pick the caramel creme brulee because not only do I love creme brulee, but that chef had just been out earlier telling another table about how he had just taken the creme brulees out of the oven 30 minutes ago. So I knew it would be super fresh.

Have I eaten at any other restaurant in Greenville? Well no, not yet. Then how do I know this is the best restaurant in Greenville? For one, 98% of other restaurants here are chains. There are literally only about a handful of restaurants that are not. I know this is the best restaurant in Greenville because of the food I ate, how the owners and chefs made me feel, how evident it was that they cared about their customers, and because this restaurant would still be good, even in a big city. Even in a city like Raleigh, with tons of competition. It would definitely be up there with the big guys. I could tell that the people that eat at Plum Tree are regulars. The staff seems to know everyone by name. And they must keep coming back because it’s good food, made by good people, and not corporations. If I lived around here, I would definitely be a regular!
Plum Tree Bistro At Arlington on Urbanspoon

Thanksgiving Feasting

thanksturkeycorn Ahhh Thanksgiving.  A glorious holiday whose sole purpose is to make us eat good food. This holiday always gets a big thumbs up from me. This year I went with my moms to her friends’ residence in upper montgo. There was the requisite turkey, of course! This one was about 15-ish lbs? I’m a dark meat person, how about you? Although every bite was a bit nerve-racking as I had just watched this clip from the Today show talking about how terrible dark meat was for you. F em, I say! Corn. I love me some corn. Do you see the fancy plates and such? This was a proper meal!
thankssides2We had a bevy of sides, of course, some traditionally thanksgiving, some not. This broccoli cheese casserole was a nice surprise. Instead of the green bean casserole, it was broccoli, and I ate it up. Mashed sweet potatoes. While I love plain old mashed potatoes, nothing beats mashed sweet potatoes. This is all in line with my preference for sweet potato fries over plain. Brussel sprouts and sliced carrots! Ok, I’m being honest.  I didn’t touch this plate. Ha!
thanksstuffingStuffing. Good ‘ol stuffing. For me though, I’ve never been much of a stuffing girl.
thankssides1And to round out the sides we had cole slaw, green beans, and mashed potatoes. Some cranberry sauce for you? Why yes! And of course, the thing that makes thanksgiving what it is – GRAVY. I admit it, I would put gravy on just about anything. I am a gravy girl.
turkeycheesecakeWe had three desserts with this meal. And even though we were all stuffed, we forced everyone to try all three. The first was the standard pumpkin pie. It’s one of my favorite things about fall. That and sweet potato pie! We also had this pumpkin cheesecake from an argentinian bakery in northern jersey. It was so damn cute it was nearly a shame to hack in to it. But hack into it we did.
thanksberrytartAnd to round out the thanksgiving dessert trifecta, we had this berry tart. All in all, my stomach was beyond satisfied. Oh, and I also drank some homemade cactus flower hooch. It was so odd tasting, yet fascinating. It was the color of beet juice, yet thick. And it was super sweet touching the lips but then had a bizarre savory aftertaste. It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever tasted! This was an especially memorable thanksgiving spent with great people over some great dishes!

Madonna Estate Winery

So we drove around Napa and Sonoma a lot. The scenery was beautiful and it was nice and relaxing. Again, it wasn’t crowded at all, which really helped. Had there been traffic, I would have probably been annoyed. We tried to go to one particular winery, but it was closed, so we just happened upon this one towards the end of our visit because we figured we had to actually go into an actual winery. So we just sort of ended up at Madonna Estate.
It’s family owned and they still do things very naturally. In fact, they don’t even water their vines. It’s only what comes down from the sky.
These barrels cost $1500 each or so. Just the barrels. Man, that’s an expensive barrel. We got a nice tour of the facility from one of the workers, who happened to be totally laid back. We basically got a private tour since it was so uncrowded. It wasn’t snooty at all and he wasn’t trying to shove winey knowledge down our throat, which we really appreciated. Neither of us is very into wine so we really didn’t care.
Look how cute these grapes are. We did buy a couple bottles of wine. They’re much more expensive than any typical bottle of wine I would buy, but we totally were sold by the guy who gave us the tasting and the tour. He just won us over!

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