August Restaurant Week 2022 & Robin’s Just Desserts Review
Hello hello, again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great week! For this edition of Foodie Adventures, we’re reviewing the restaurants we visited for August’s Restaurant Week SC, along with a small business spotlight on macarons from awesome Simpsonville, SC-based Robin’s Just Desserts! 😋🍪
August Restaurant Week Review
Besides the start of Autumn, when I can break out my pumpkin everything and deck the halls with leaves and scarves galore, one of my favorite times of the back half of the year is Restaurant Week SC. Blink and you miss it! But don’t worry, it does come back every January!
We decided to keep it low-key this year (we are trying to save up money for the wedding next year 👰🏻🤵💒), so instead of our normal 3-5 spots, we only chose two for the blog this time. Don’t worry, we were very selective, as usual. The criteria as to how we pick which restaurants we attend aren’t a closely guarded secret, but we’ll tell you if you ask. 😌
Passerelle Bistro Dinner
Downtown Greenville, SC
I had been to Passerelle Bistro once and was impressed by the menu, so I was definitely looking forward to coming here with Jamie for our normal Tuesday date night!
The graphic designer background in me instantly picked out the connection to the suspension bridge homage in the typography of their logo, and on their website, they note that their name translates to “footbridge”.
I started with a lemon drop drink (pictured above), super refreshing and paired well with my petite salad. This came with mixed greens, pickled green beans, cherry tomatoes, croutons, and a champagne vinaigrette.
Jamie had the lobster bisque as his appetizer course, which was creamy and silky, and paired well with the light beer he chose before dinner.
I decided to go with the Bouillabaise, a light French seafood stew consisting of saffron shrimp stock, mussels, red snapper, shrimp, and cherry tomatoes, served with roasted red pepper grilled baguettes. The fish was flaky and cooked beautifully and the broth was so flavorful, dipping that warm grilled baguette in there to sop up all the broth was the best part! Jamie chose the Steak au Poivre, with french fries, au Poivre cream sauce, and a truffle pessillade dipping sauce. The steak was cooked just to his liking (medium), and the au Poivre sauce and truffle dipping sauce were both great!
Last but not least was dessert! Jamie got the chocolate mousse with fresh berries and raspberry sauce, and I got their Benton butter cake with lemon meringue and raspberry sauce on top. Both were delicious, and I love lemon-flavored anything, but I’m a sucker for a chocolate mousse so both Jamie and I were big fans of the mousse!! 🍫💜
Persis Biryani Indian Grill
Our second stop was Persis Biryani Indian Grill for Restaurant Week! We wanted to try out this place for Restaurant Week in January this year as their menu sounded awesome, but couldn’t make it out. We had recently gone to an Indian wedding over the summer for our friends in Charlotte and fell back in love with authentic Indian food, so were super excited to see them participating again! This was also great for our Friday date night, as they set up the menu with three courses for $45 a couple.
Our first course was a complimentary set of chips with tamarind and mint chutney for dipping. The appetizer course which followed was the Onion Pakora, which was dipped in a chickpea flour batter and served with the same two sauces. If you’ve ever had samosas before, the batter on the outside of the fried onions was almost identical to that! The best way to describe this dish is… if a deconstructed Bloomin’ onion from Outback Steakhouse and a samosa had a baby. It was delicious and the onions were super crispy. Being able to choose between the slightly spicy and clean mint sauce or the sweeter tamarind sauce was fun.
Next, we got to choose between three different entrees for the two of us at dinner. I picked the Chana Masala (vegan), which consisted of whole chickpeas simmered in onion and tomato gravy with spices, served with Basmati rice. Jamie mixed it up and tried something new, picking the Andhra chicken curry, which had chicken cooked in the south Indian style and finished with cilantro (also served with Basmati rice).
Everything was delicious, and we had plenty to bring home for leftovers too! I ended up eating mine for lunch the next day. They also asked us about what spice levels we wanted in our dishes, which was thoughtful. Their full menu, which we breezed through while waiting for our dishes to come out, looked massive and contained a ton of dishes from various regions of India, so I’m excited to go back and try more!
One of my favorite parts was the butter naan for the table, we split this in between our two dishes. They have various types of naan they make at the restaurant, and ours came out nice and warm along with our entrees. As we were eating, it was perfect to tear apart and dip some in the curry and masala!
Lastly, we did get a dessert to share called Gulab Jamun, which were little pastry balls soaked in cardamom-infused sugar and syrup. Imagine little ping pong-sized dough balls but they taste like syrupy-soaked pancakes. They were delish, and unfortunately, we ate them so fast that I forgot to take a picture. 😂 We’ve enjoyed them before at other restaurants and even at the wedding we attended and they can sometimes become almost sickly sweet, but the ones from Persis were just right. 💜
Small Business Spotlight – Robin’s Just Desserts
I absolutely love featuring our local bakers on our small business spotlights, and this one is no different! Robin Roach, owner of Simpsonville, SC’s cottage bakery, Robin’s Just Desserts, has become known around town for her amazingly creative French macaron flavors, but also creates anything from custom cakes, chocolate charcuterie boards, cupcakes, and more!
We sat down with Robin to talk to her a little more about how she got started with her business, some of the amazing work she does with the special needs community through baking camps, and we reviewed some of the great desserts she sent our way (#gifted).
How did you first get into baking?
My Grandmother, who was from Sicily, came from a family of bakers. The family has owned a café/bakery in Palermo for years! I can remember standing on a stool in my Nonna’s basement kitchen in New York when I was little. My Mom was also an incredible baker. Both instilled a love of baking in me. They always encouraged me to push forward with it.Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
Did you always love baking or was there someone in your family that helped you discover your love of it?
I always loved it but my Nonna was the catalyst. She saw how much I loved baking and started me at four years old. I made my first choux dough for cream puffs before I was five-years-old.Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
I know you mention your son Bryan on social media and your website, is he a big part of your baking journey or helping you bake?
He’s the reason I started the business! I have three boys – Danny is 23 and is at Clemson getting his MBA, KT is 22 and in the Marine Corps, and Bryan is my 3rd son. He was born with Down Syndrome and was dually diagnosed with severe Autism. He is also Non-Verbal, but is doing amazingly well and is quite smart.
During COVID, we baked a lot and I had the idea to start something that could end up at a storefront that would exist to not only sell the best-baked goods, but to employ and train people with special needs in baking arts and customer service. While our storefront dream has not yet been realized… We are currently at the Simpsonville Farmers Market, Fountain Inn Farmers Market, and Greer Farmers Market every two weeks. We do festivals and pop up shops all through the Upstate and do custom orders, weddings, and events large and small. Bryan helps right now at the markets! Learning to interact with customers, packaging, labeling, even filling and help with the baking. His hands are in almost everything we do!Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
I love following along on your Instagram, you come up with some of the coolest flavors! Those dark chocolate-dipped macarons we got to try were amazing! Where do you decide to pull your inspiration from, or how else do you find inspiration?
Honestly, I sit and think of my favorite (and Bryan’s favorite) flavored desserts. I try to group flavors by collections! Coffee, ice cream, candy bars, classics, seasonal fruits, donut shop etc. We have come up with about 70 flavors now and we have been able to customize almost any flavor! I don’t even list them anymore. 😂 The chocolate dipped was because I had a lot of mixed color shells filled with vanilla. I figured if you can dip Oreos, why not macarons? Who doesn’t love chocolate?!Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
How often do you come out with new macaron flavors or do the seasonality of certain fruits or holidays have any bearing on what you add to your desserts?
I can’t say how often I come out with new ones. At least a few times a month. I feel our customers look forward to unique flavors, so I try to research as much as possible when I think of one!Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
Tell us more about the baking camps for special needs kids!
So knowing what baking can do in everyday skills, I decided to create a baking camp. I try to keep the costs low and we have partnered with the Down Syndrome Association of the Upstate and Big Brothers Big Sisters. Baking provides so many skills for people with special needs. Motor planning, fine motor skills, basic math and critical thinking, and sensory skills to name a few. It also provides social opportunities and an opportunity for other job options.
I also wanted to include at-risk youth, because they’re a group where there’s an opportunity to learn a skill set and have kids helping kids in a highly supervised setting. There’s a unique opportunity to effectively change a life and a community through local businesses by supporting them. 💜 We do also offer private lessons.
I’m hoping once we get a storefront we can make these at no cost for those who need it or at ingredient cost. The camps are successful and we will continue to offer them as requested.Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
Since I run a non-dairy/gluten-free friendly blog, how do allergen sensitivities play into your future menu items when it comes to desserts?
Both Bryan and me have Celiac disease. I use dedicated mixers and baking pans for my macarons and meringue cookies. We always use only dedicated gluten-free ingredients in our macarons and macaron cakes!Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
What’s your favorite custom flavor or design you’ve ever done and why?
For custom cakes, it’s definitely my beehive and Sonic the hedgehog cakes I’ve done (you can find pictures on our Instagram). For French macarons, it has to be the Banana Pudding and Peach Cobbler flavors. During the holiday we offer boozy hot cocoa bombs that I have a ton of fun with! We also have over 25 cupcake and cake flavors.Robin Roach, Owner, Robin’s Just Desserts
Now for the fun part, review time! We loved getting to try out some of Robin’s unique flavors. This box was not vegan, meaning the ingredients included organic egg whites and used Happy Cow butter to make the frostings. In this box, you see above (starting top left, going across), we got a dark chocolate-covered vanilla macaron, an Espresso, hot cocoa, cotton candy, birthday cake, and lavender French macaron. Our faves were the hot cocoa and the chocolate-dipped ones, super unique! The hot cocoa one had chocolate icing and marshmallow fluff on the inside. 😋
Next, were the macaroons made special for me, the vegan ones! All of the sets were gluten-free, but these contained vegan butter in the frosting instead. Going around the first left-hand side picture, I had a vanilla, lavender, pumpkin spice, chocolate-covered vanilla, and a birthday cake French macaron. The dark chocolate-covered and pumpkin spice were my favorites for sure, it put me in such a great mood for the Autumn season fast approaching! 🍂
We also had a chocolate cupcake thrown in there for good measure and we gave that to our buddy Max to try, he said it was delish! He loved the frosting and those chocolate shavings on the top made all the difference, super moist cake too. 🧁 Definitely make sure to check out Robin online and show her some love on Facebook and Instagram, and see which events she’ll be going to near you below! 👇
Before we go, do you have any new products, events, or promotions coming up that the foodie fam should know about?
We have over 70 flavors and they can purchase directly from our website, plus a custom order, and follow us for our Market Menus and where to find us. We have a few new products – macaron cakes, meringue pops, and cookies, and we continue to try to be innovative in what we offer at the markets:
- Gio’s Pastry carries exclusive Italian-flavored favorites in our Macarons.
- Ding Tea in Greenville, SC carries over 18 flavors of our Macs!
- Harvest Kitchen in Greer, SC carries both our regular and Vegan macarons.
- Chesnut Coffee (Verdae location) – Macarons carried there starting 9/5/22
- Fall Events (more are being added daily!):
- Saturday’s Simpsonville Market – thru October 1st
- Tuesday Night – Fall special dates Greer Farmers Market
- Special Events –
- 9/9-9/10 – Spartober Fest
- 9/17 – 1800 Drayton Events Fall Market
- 9/24 – Inman Harvestfest
- 10/1 – Aunt Het Festival
- 10/8 – Spartanburg Soaring
- 10/14 – French Macaron Class at The Cooks Station
- 10/15 – Abiding Peace Fall Fest
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? Where was your favorite Restaurant Week location or dish this go around? Have you tried out Robin’s macarons or sweet treats yet? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗