Author Archive: Tom Taylor

Pigging Out at Bacon Bros

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It’s been awhile since I’ve done a restaurant review. It’s a bit more difficult when you’re not eating out as much, and you’re trying to watch your weight. Even so, today Glynda wanted some company for lunch, so we decided to try a new place, Bacon Bros. Public House.

I’ve heard good things about Bacon Bros. Several of my friends have visited and said that the food is excellent. The stories were that all of the recipes have bacon in them. Well…I guess that’s technically true. After all, anything with bacon must be excellent, right? We were here to get to the root of those stories.

Background

Bacon Bros. is a locally owned restaurant, and opened last year. According to the restaurant’s website…

Serial entrepreneurs Eric Bergelson and Mike Porter, along with Chef Anthony Gray and Jason Callaway, are the Bacon Brothers. Porter and Bergelson decided to branch into the restaurant business and teamed-up with Gray and Callaway in 2012. In one of their early meetings, Callaway brought bacon he had fried that morning at home and transported it in a mason jar that he placed in the center of the table where they were gathered. The four men started snacking and talking about their love of bacon. As the pieces quickly disappeared, they realized they had a concept and name for their new restaurant.

The restaurant is located on Pelham Road, near “restaurant row,” in the same area as EarthFare.

Atmosphere

I usually take “public house” to mean a bar, and I think an English pub is the decor for which they were striving. Everything has a rustic look to it. There are picnic tables outside, and exposed rustic wood inside.

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The place was filling up for lunch, so Glynda went ahead and got a table before I got there. We were seated next a large table of Verizon employees out for lunch. It was loud and conversation was difficult.

Behind the restaurant was a deck around with outside seating. To get to it, one must walk past a curing room, with all sorts of pig products.

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Menu

I guess the best way to describe the cuisine as Southern classics dowsed with a heavy dose of “chef-iness.” Contrary to what I had heard, not everything has bacon in it. However, almost all of the menu items have some sort of pork product. Selections start with a “Meat Board.” This is a collection of deli and other meats sold by the ounce, including salami, pancetta, liverwurst, prosciutto, and head cheese.

Appetizers are listed as “snacks and include oddities such as boiled peanuts, fried pickles, and tater tots. These run from $5 to $8 for most.

There are three salads, but why would anyone bother with salads here?

A selection of sandwiches run from $8 to $12, including a Reuben, pulled pork, a burger, and a BET – Bacon, Egg, and Tomato with a duck egg.

The entrees include crackling pork, shrimp and grits, and fried catfish. There is also a selection of barbeque pork options. These run from $14 to $22. However, there’s a catch…

Unless specified, I don’t think the entrees come with any sides. Those will set you back another $4-$5 per side. Looks like this could get VERY pricey very fast.

Food

Oh, these pesky diets and limited retirement budgets…I would have loved to have loaded up with some of the signature dishes, but decided to go with a sandwich, instead. Glynda and I both got the Reuben.

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It included the requirements – pastrami on rye with sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing. A helping of red cabbage was included on the sandwich for a bit more color. Glynda and I both thought the meat on the sandwich was fantastic. Stands to reason for a place known for its meats. Overall, though, the sandwich was lacking. It was very dry, and could have benefited from a tad more sauerkraut or dressing.

We also ordered a side of fries to split. This came out as a whopping serving in a bowl that we placed between us.

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The fries were OK, but got very soggy toward the bottom of the bowl. The fries were served up with some of BBPH’s own ketchup. This had a hint of heat and vinegar to it, and I found it to my liking. I’ve been known to mix ketchup and balsamic vinegar, when available. The waiter said that it also had some chipotle and cayenne in it, which explains the heat.

Service

About the best way to describe it was lots of flash, but little substance. For example, the simple delivery of a straw for our drinks involved some sort of weird napkin origami where the waiter never touches the straw. Right before our meals arrived, knives were delivered to us in a box, similar to those containing dueling pistols. We used these precisely once – to cut our sandwiches in half.

Where things mattered, though, service was a bit lacking. It was slow overall. Not terrible, but just enough to get to the point where I wondered, “Where is our waiter?” one too many times. Granted, it was a busy lunch service, but the place wasn’t packed. There seemed to be plenty of wait staff on hand, including one giant with a long beard.

Conclusion

While the novelty of a bacon oriented place has tons of appeal, I was not impressed. The sandwich could have been much better, and service was so-so. Add to that very high prices, and this is a place I don’t think I’ll visit very often. However, in fairness to Bacon Brothers, I didn’t like The Lazy Goat the first time I tried it, and now it’s one of our favorites. I would like to come back and try one of the entrees at a leisurely dinner and see if my opinion changes.

The Mystery of the School Car

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Pleasant Grove

As I was browsing through the collection of photographs of old schools from the South Carolina School Insurance Collection, I noticed something odd. The same car started showing up in photo after photo.

Car Collage

You don’t notice it while viewing the images one by one on the archives website, but when you look at them en masse, it’s one of the things that jumps out.

Obviously I assumed that it belonged to the agent who was responsible for inspecting and photographing the schools. Stands to reason. I can see it going something like this…He (and I’m most definitely sure it was a “he” given the time period) would park the car in front of the school, do his inspection, then step out front for a photo. Including the car in the photo also proved that he was there, and that he had been the one to take the photo. (more…)

Bell Tower Evolution

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Old Shiloh School B&W

Old Shiloh School in Anderson County

My encounter with two old schools with similar architecture made me want to take a closer look at historic rural school architecture in general. Probably the best resource for this in our state is the South Carolina School Insurance Photograph collection housed online at the South Carolina State Archives website.

The early 1900s saw a flurry of school construction. Schools were consolidated, and new rural schools were constructed for both Black and White populations under the Rosenwald grant program. In 1919 the state created the Sinking Fund Commission to provide insurance coverage for public schools and other public buildings.

In 1935 the office of Special Agent was established for the Commission. The duty of the Special Agent was to inspect the state’s property holdings. The result of which was the creation of a collection of photographs of schools, taken from 1935 until 1952, which the Sinking Fund was absorbed into the state’s Budget and Control Board. (more…)

School Multiplicity

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Algary Mount Olive 2

Top – Algary School in Shoals Junction, Bottom – Mount Olive School in Laurens County

Glynda and I were on our way back from Prosperity on Wednesday and decided to take the scenic route through the country. Our route retraced part of my trek when I paddled Boyds Mill Pond last week (the dry part, not the pond.) As we were driving on Indian Mound Road I spotted a building, and made a U-turn to check it out. The Mount Olive Community Center has exactly the same design as Algary School in Shoals Junction. It had to be an old school now repurposed as a community center.

Mount Olive School

…and here’s the Algary School for comparison.

Algary School

I love it when I find another matching old school. It’s kind of like historical Concentration (without the turning over cards bit.) It makes, sense, though. Using a consistent floor plan and design saves money We do it today – I helped with the construction of three schools in Spartanburg Five that use the same floor plan, and I know of many in Greenville. The question I had was whether or not this particular design had any historical significance. (more…)

More Moog

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Bob Moog with His Moog Synthesizers

Ken Cothran was very indulgent. He waited patiently as I tried out all of the gear in the Moog showroom. After our Moog Adventure we were having a discussion on Facebook, and he confessed that most of what he had heard sounded like noise, and he wasn’t sure how such an instrument would be used in composition. Ken wasn’t criticizing the instrument, but just didn’t have the background with it.

I explained that for the most part at the Moog Store they were just putting the instrument through its paces, demonstrating the the types of sounds it could create. This would be similar to running a few scales on a chosen instrument. The Moogs are monophonic, and are meant to be part of a toolbox of instruments, which would include multi-track recorders and sequencers.

As I was trying to come up with a good example of how these instruments could be used (Monophonic Moogs specifically, as opposed to modern polyphonic digital keyboards), the first thing that came to mind was the classic – Switched on Bach, by Wendy Carlos.

Switched-On_Bach_first_sleeve_(seated_Bach) (more…)

A Pilgrimage to Asheville for a Moog Music Tour

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Moog Voyager 40

MiniMoog Voyager 40

It was 1982. Dr. Robert Moog (rhymes with “vogue”) was visiting the campus, giving master classes in the afternoon and presenting a lecture on music synthesis in the evening. I was a senior music major at Furman University, and a DJ with WPLS, our campus radio station. Somehow I landed (mostly by begging) the assignment of interviewing Dr. Moog for the radio.

Dr. Moog was gracious, and turned my bumbling, star-struck questions into a wonderful interview. He made me sound good. It’s now years later, and I wish I had a copy of that recording. Alas, with the ephemeral nature of magnetic tape, it’s probably long gone.

I’ve always held an appreciation for Dr. Moog, Ray Kurzweil, and other early pioneers of electronic music. Some years back I was amazed to learn that Dr. Moog had moved to Asheville, NC, and further still, had re-established his company, Moog Music, in the area. I knew that I would have to pay a visit. It was always on my list of “that’s something I’ve gotta do someday.” I finally made the pilgrimage yesterday with my friend, Ken Cothran. (more…)

Labor Day Week Rambles

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Highway 9 Country Store-006

Labor Day snuck up on me. First, it’s been so dad-blasted crazy around here, that it was upon me before I knew it. Secondly, I don’t seem to pay much attention to holidays anymore. However, a holiday means that my friends are more available for exploration, so there are more opportunities for joint exploration.

I had a couple such opportunities this week, so I’ll combine them into one post. On Labor Day proper, Keith and I headed up to Hendersonville for German food. After a nice lunch of sauerkraut and weisswurst, we took a circuitous route back home. One of our stops was Double Springs Baptist Church, located in a little hollow off of old US 25 (now NC 225.)

Double Springs Baptist Church (more…)

Time Lapse at the Farmer’s Market

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I’m slowly collecting my little snippits of time lapse video from around Greenville. So far I’ve been limited to 10-15 second bits. That might be enough if I string a bunch of them together.

Regardless, Saturday morning I decided to do a time lapse at the downtown Greenville Farmer’s Market. I headed down early before the crowds arrived so that I could get set up. I was armed with my larger tripod, and my newly acquired selfie stick, which has a tripod mount in the bottom of it. Extended, it would put my GoPro nearly twelve feet in the air. Not to shabby.

I set up toward the upper end of the farmer’s market so that I would have a view back down the hill toward the Poinsett Hotel. I found a great place right across from Port City Java, so I got a large cup of coffee, then set up the tripod, on the street where I thought it would be out of the way.

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Paddling Boyd’s Mill Pond

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Boyds Mill Pond-17

Paddling on Boyd’s Mill Pond

I’ve known about Boyd’s Mill Pond for most of my life. It was on the way from Gray Court to Greenwood (via short cut.) Visits to my dentist in Greenwood would take us on the road that curved by the pond, giving me glimpses of the small lake. Even back then, I long to stop and explore.

Fast forward several decades and I finally have a chance to explore the area. In 2012 The Karl H. Dixon Park opened, and now provides the only public access to the lake with a playground and boat ramp. I had dropped by here to scout several weeks ago, and this morning I decided to haul my boat down and check it.

Boyds Mill Pond-002 (more…)

Springwood Time Lapse

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Springwood Time Lapse Set Up

Springwood Time Lapse Set Up

The clouds were perfect for time lapse. There was a slight breeze and they were moving nicely. I wanted to get some iconic Greenville buildings in the video, so I headed downtown to Springwood Cemetery.

I park out on main street and entered through the main decorative gate. I was looking for a spot where I could get a few of the monuments, along with several of Greenville’s buildings. Unfortunately, the department of corrections was doing grounds maintenance, so I had to find a spot where they weren’t trimming, etc.

I found what I thought was a suitable spot and set up the camera, settling in for a long haul with my little folding chair.

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