Zenzational Friends and Good Times

Bob Briggs, Ron Martin, Debbie Briggs

Bob Briggs, Ron Martin, Debbie Briggs

The Ronald and I have some of the most wonderful friends in the world.  (Of course, I hope everyone feels that way about their best buds, but I still must give proper appreciation to ours… naturally… for being the very best.)  Anyway, a couple of our favorite folks hail from Landrum, South Carolina.  Bob and Debbie Briggs.  He has served as Landrum’s mayor for nearly two decades.  She owns Zenzera Restaurant… an amazingly perfect coffee and wine bar on Landrum’s main drag, which is East Rutherford Street.  Check it out at www.Zenzera.com if you can’t get there in person.


(2014 Update… Unfortunately, Bob and Debbie have retired and sold the restaurant.  Thanks for the memories!!!)


As true Zen Friends, we love the food that Bob and Debbie and their team serve up… ranging from tempting tapas items to superbly satisfying lasagnas.  A particular favorite of mine remains the crab cakes… easily the lightest and most crab-filled with perfectly crispy edges.   These Zenful little delights literally melt in my mouth!

We also love the many bands we’ve seen play there, especially on Friday and Saturday nights.  Zenzera attracts some of THE most remarkable talent, both on nights where dancing rocks the floor to Open Mic Tuesdays.  Seriously.  Hubby hails from New York City.  Despite being an admittedly “citified snob” (aka “NYC is the center of the universe and nothing is as good anywhere else”), he regularly comments on some of the talent we’ve seen at Zenzara as even better.  There’s one particular guitarist who truly plays Hendrix as well as Hendrix and Santana as well as Santana!  Oh, and then, just as part of his Zenzomenal range, he’ll swing into a Johnny Cash song with every bit of the deep, round-toned resonance as the Man in Black himself.

DSC07146 spinach strawberry salad

Anyway, when we are at Zenzera, we delight in entertaining Bob and Debbie, for a change… when they manage to get a rare night off.  One evening recently, Ron roasted up some yummy Cornish Game Hens, and I prepped the Veggie-Filled Rice and my fun Spinach Strawberry Salad.


Cornish Game Hen preps

Cornish Game Hen preps

True believers in the Keep It Super Simple philosophy, we just topped the hens with some butter and a sprinkle of Montreal Chicken Seasoning.  The rice was out of a box, but with plenty of sautéed chopped sweet onion, mini Portabella mushrooms, and red bell pepper added.


We’ll share the salad recipe with you here… it is so Super Simple and yet so scrumptious, you’re apt to find yourself making it several times in the next few weeks!


Super Simple Spinach Strawberry Salad

Super Simple Spinach Strawberry Salad

Super Simple Spinach Strawberry Salad

1 pkg baby spinach leaves

1 pkg fresh strawberries, sliced

6-8 crisply cooked bacon slices, broken into coarse chunks

Bottled Vidalia Onion salad dressing (your favorite brand)

At serving time, toss the spinach and strawberries with half the bacon slices and the amount of dressing that you prefer.  Sprinkle with remaining bacon.

Kiss Lips

KISS Tips:  Expect no leftovers, but if there are any, plan to eat them within 24 hours, as spinach salad with dressing goes limp rather quickly.  This recipe also travels well, as long as you keep your ingredients separate until serving time.  No pre-mixing!

We serve up lots of our Super Simple recipes in a number of cookbooks.  Try Fifty Years of Fabulous Family Favorites, or Champagne!  Facts, Fizz, Food & Fun, a cookbook dedicated to champagne and sparkling wine.  There’s also a new Cranberry Cooking.

An all-time favorite, if you love dogs, is a book called Dog Days in the Life of The Miles-Mannered Man.  Written by a Newfoundland, it’s a splendid collection of tall tales, wagging tails, and tantalizing treats.  Seriously, at Miles’ insistence, one of the 4 FREE bonus treats is a collection of his favorite recipes.  (No, he did not cook them up; he gobbled them up!)

Anyway, you can check out some of the publications in the Books category on Amazon.com or at www.QTPublishing.com, the Quiet Thunder Publishing website… with love and laughter.

About Cathy Burnham Martin

Author of 20+ books, and counting! A professional voice-over artist, dedicated foodie, and lifelong corporate communications geek, Cathy Burnham Martin has enjoyed a highly eclectic career, ranging from the arts and journalism to finance, telecommunications, and publishing. Along with her husband, Ron Martin, she has passions for entertaining, gardening, volunteering, active and visual arts, GREAT food, and traveling. Cathy often says, "I believe that we all should live with as much contagious enthusiasm as possible... Whether we're with friends or family, taking people along for the ride is more than half the fun."
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