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Charleston Eats and Some Home Cooking

I think we found our new favorite quality-casual place. Mercantile and Mash, which only opened last September, has already made it’s mark in my book. They do breakfast, lunch, dinner, and brunch on Sundays. Plus while you’re waiting you can walk around with your wine glass and try to talk yourself out of buying all their cute kitchen equipment. I got out of there with only an adorable metal tray, but it was a struggle.

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In my opinion it was the perfect mix of fancy and laid-back: high quality ingredients and innovative sandwich ideas (we were only there for lunch), but none of the fuss. I ordered the Bahn Mi sandwich and Alfonso, the pastrami cured salmon sandwich. But, as always, we split them- half of each for each.

Bahn Mi Sandwich
Bahn Mi Sandwich
Pastrami Cured Salmon Sandwich
Pastrami Cured Salmon Sandwich

Both sandwiches were excellent, but I think the pork belly was my favorite.

I went looking for a Bloody Mary, but they only do those for Sunday brunch. However, the super helpful staff helped us pick a champagne and some fresh juices for a make-your-own mimosa bar at our table!

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We will definitely be back to try breakfast and brunch sometime soon. Maybe we’ll even take some house-cured meats home.

Meat curing
Meat curing

We must have not been in to cooking anything on Saturday because when Alfonso got out of work that night we hit the tail end of Ramen with Friends put on by the Short Grain Food Truck at The Daily. Saturday night was the culmination of the five week Ramen with Friends foodie series and IT WAS A PAAARRRRTAYY! We showed up around 11:45pm and expected there not to be too many people, but the music was pumping and the line was out the door.

Artists at work
Artists at work

While we did some ramen-waiting, we sipped on a local stout of which I cannot remember the name. Good idea having the beer line apart from the ramen line!

X'ed out means sold out!
X’ed out means sold out!

Ramen finally arrived, we chowed down, and got home around 1:15. I remember when that was a normal time to get home on Saturday night.

By the time the weekend was over it was time for some healthy home cooking. Enter the salmon and lentils. I’ve seen different recipes and versions of fish and lentils, but since we still have a full basket of legumes left, we decided to make our own. To be honest, I picked the golden petite lentils for this recipe because the golden color looks so pretty with the pink salmon.

Petite Golden Lentil Salad
Petite Golden Lentil Salad

The salmon was marinated in a similar marinade as the salad dressing and the pair perfectly complemented each other. By the time we finished taking pictures, the lentil salad had completely cooled, but feel free to gobble it down warm. It’s good that way too.

A table full of healthy goodies
A table full of healthy goodies

We served the salmon with a little avocado and lemon, all washed down with a Westbrook 5th anniversary Chocolate Raspberry Stout.  Geeeez Louise it was mouth-watering!

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See that olive oil in the background? It’s not just Spanish olive oil, it’s from Sevilla! It’s the little things that get you excited.

Dijon, Garlic, and Lemon Marinated Salmon

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2lbs. of salmon, cut into individual steaks

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup lemon juice

3 large garlic cloves, minced

1/4 cup Dijon mustard

1 T peppercorns

3-4 sprigs fresh thyme

1/4 cup minced parsley

salt to taste

Whisk all the ingredients except the salmon and salt together until emulsified. Place salmon in a medium sized bowl and cover with marinade. Cover the bowl and let marinade in the fridge for 30 minutes-1 hour. Don’t let it go too much as the acid from the lemon juice will “cook” the fish.

Heat oven to 375°F. Heat a large, oven-proof frying pan over medium-high heat with enough oil to sear the salmon steaks. Place the salmon skin side down and sear for 3-4  minutes only on the skin side. Sprinkle with salt and put directly in the oven until internal temperature reaches 125°F on a meat thermometer- the time will depend on the thickness of the salmon steaks. Remove and let rest for 5 minutes.

Petite Golden Lentil Salad

2.5 cups cooked petite golden lentils

3 cups fresh baby spinach

1/2 cup toasted pine nuts

1 cup cucumber, peeled and small diced

3/4 cup red onion, small diced

1/4 minced parsley

For the dressing:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/4 t mustard power

1.5 T Dijon mustard

1.5 t salt

1 t freshly ground pepper

2 garlic cloves, minced

While the lentils are still warm from cooking, add them on top of the spinach in a large bowl. This will wilt the spinach just enough for the salad without cooking it. Add the rest of the salad ingredients and mix until well combined.

Add the dressing ingredients to a small mason jar and shake until emulsified. Add about half of the dressing to the salad and mix well. You may want to add more of the dressing or just serve on the side for those who want extra.


This week has been a little healthy and a little indulgent. How was your week in food?

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3 thoughts on “Charleston Eats and Some Home Cooking
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