Like most people, I had Monday, January 2nd off of work. I had the bright idea to take a short road trip to either Charleston or Greenville (fine, it was all for the purpose of going to Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and a few outlets!) but got lazy and decided to stay closer to home. I still wanted to go somewhere, so I took a mini road trip out to the Village at Sandhills. It’s lame to even call it a road trip, but it justified it for me as still being adventurous without actually leaving Columbia.

After a little shopping, lunch was in order. There aren’t as many restaurants out at Sandhills as you might think, and even less that I would actually want to eat at (Cracker Barrel? Nah, no thanks) so I settled on Al Amir Bistro because of it’s proximity to a parking space and because I know that they have pretty good food.

I went in behind two women with an absolute gaggle of children, and the hostess was glad to let me sit farther away from the child zoo than she originally showed me to sit. Flexibility = I like that. The service was a little slow at first, but it gave me plenty of time to decide what I wanted to eat. I kept waffling between the eggplant parmesan and a feta salad, or falafel and a cucumber yogurt salad. After a strenuous mental battle, the former won out.

The feta salad was nice and crisp, with enough cheese to have some with each bite, and the tangy vinaigrette was applied in a similar manner- just enough for each bite without being too much. I hope you enjoy these Instagram pics that I took with my iPhone (follow me at username theaprilblake)! Much better quality than my old Android Eris, I must say. Anyways, feta salad. Delicious. Great start to dining out in the new year!

The eggplant parm consisted of four lightly fried slices of eggplant, atop a bed of angel hair spaghetti noodles, mixed in with Parmesan and Al-Amir cheeses, with a red sauce and baked in their brick oven (I think it’s in the brick oven, anyways!). This dish was great for warming up on a breezy but not freezy January day. It was good, but I am at a loss for a really poignant, mind-blowing description at the moment. It was eggplant parm, though it had a special little Mediterranean twist with the Al-Amir cheese. I ate half and took the rest to eat at home for lunch the next day, where it re-heated up very nicely. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a hot meal at Al-Amir.

Al Amir’s locations have been shuffling all over Columbia like something that shuffles a lot (again, I am losing my words today, so think of a good metaphor please?), so who knows how long this location will last, despite their good menu, service and location. This review is specific to the location at the Village at Sandhills.

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