Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Columbia, SC Day 2

I'm not sure if it was the gignormous king-sized bed, the air-conditioning, or something else, but I did not sleep well my first night in Columbia. I was up at 7, 8, and then finally got up at 9 am and headed out to find breakfast.

I stopped at Cool Beans near the University of South Carolina, and had a bacon & cheese croissant and some sweet tea. Perhaps, vegetables were not going to be part of my "diet."

The plan was to take a cab to the Riverbanks Zoo & Garden, but unfortunately, Columbia is not like DC: you can't just flag a cab on the street. I had to go back to my hotel and have them call a cab for me. $15 later, I was there! Admission was $9.95, but it was so worth it! There was the garden, the zoo, the mini aquarium, and a trolley ride through the forest and across the river. There were also TONS of children, strollers, and families. It was quite nice to be able to come and go as I pleased and not having to wait on anyone else.

This was one of the prettiest zoos I've ever seen. (To clarify a possible confusion: I don't like animals as in cats and dogs, but I do like zoos) I've never seen a giraffe so close! They literally came and ate lettuce from children's hands: I wasn't brave enough to feed them, and did not want to spend an extra $1.

Had the same cab driver pick me up, and drop me off at the South Carolina State Museum. There were interesting exhibits covering the history of SC, some of the technological advances, but I've had enough. I was also hungry. Alas, some of the places I wanted to eat at (I know, so grammatically incorrect) were closed. I ended up at the Motor Supply Company Bistro. This place changes the menu twice each day! I had a spinach and artichoke quiche with Havarti and fruit salad. This was perfect! Eggs, flaky dough, vegetables and fruit. And I discovered something new: YELLOW watermelon! It tastes pretty much exactly like the regular watermelon, but still...how cool?

After brunch I headed to the Koger Center for the Arts, for a free Palmetto Concert Band concert. I was so impressed! The band is composed of mostly band directors, but there was also a nuclear physicist! The music was grand and they did a tribute to the five military branches: The Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. It was also interesting to see the "regular folk" of Columbia: some people were dressed to the nines, others were in shorts and flip flops.

After the concert I headed back and watched One Tree Hill at my hotel. Then it was 8 pm: time for dinner. I was exhausted from swimming the previous day and walking in the sun, but the room-service menu looked pathetic. I changed and went out in search of food (does it sound like all I did was eat? Well, yes, there was a lot of eating!)

The Indian restaurant I wanted was too far away, and would not deliver, and I wasn't interested in American bar food. And then I saw a sign for Saki Tumi (I honestly crossed my fingers and wished it was open...and it was!!!). The restaurant was beautiful: modern, minimalistic, but with dark wood and dark red colors. I was asked if it was just me for dinner: yes, I'm by myself, blah, blah, blah. This was the first time my sushi was prepared by two white college students...and alas, it showed. I ordered a spicy tuna roll (Tuna, green onion and spicy mayo. Rice outside and sprinkled with Togarashi spice) and Charleston Roll (Lump blue crab, avocado, cucumber, green onion and Japanese mayo, sprinkled with wasabi flavored sesame seeds). There was SO much rice (shamelessly I scraped some of it off) and the Charleston roll was quite disappointing: not enough crab...and I'm not even sure there was avocado.

The highlight of the meal was actually a Hon-Dashi styled miso soup with tofu, carrots, and shiitake mushrooms. I also had edamame sprinkled with pink Hawaiian salt: fancy!

After dinner I stopped by Marble Slab Creamery and treated myself to a double dark chocolate icecream [tip: ask for a children's size cone! save $$ and calories]. I was a happy girl. 2 episodes of Big Love and I was out cold till 9 am the next day.

1 comment:

The Poor Dispositionist said...

Waaay too much rice (you can tell by the picture). Why didn't you use Craig's List to set up a couple of dinner dates while you were in town?