Having recently relocated from a middle-of-nowhere college town to a slightly less middle-of-nowhere state capital, Columbia, I have spent a lot of time wandering around and exploring. I have found that free, local newspapers make exploration a little easier—at first, anyway. Very early on I managed to find some awesome Farmer’s Markets (local everything! Including produce, herbs, meats, seafood, and better yet, apple, peach, and blueberry donuts baked on-site!) and believed that I was truly in heaven; then, as I was savoring my blueberry donuts, I decided to find the local coffee shop I had read about in one of the local newspapers.

What I found was mere minutes from the farmer’s market, offered individually brewed cups of coffee, and had a season brunch menu that I just couldn’t resist. The place: Drip. I’m no coffee aficionado, and honestly judge coffee shops more on the quality of their hot chocolate than the coffee, but one sip of their espresso milkshake and I was hooked.

I had quite a time deciding between the turkey, brie, and raspberry jam panini and the prosciutto, ricotta, and peach panini with a honey and balsamic vinegar sauce. I chose the latter of the two, and even now, ask myself what prompted me to turn down brie with raspberry jam. Except I know what prompted it: the prosciutto and ricotta were accents to the brilliance that is locally grown SC peaches in the middle of July + honey + balsamic vinegar. If I could resist eating fresh peaches long enough to bake them or cook with them in any way, I would have fulfilled my vow to serve every future peach dish with a honey and balsamic sauce, but the end of peach season snuck up on me while I was blindly eating peaches with (almost) every meal. Next year, though, it will happen. My friends and family will beg me to stop serving them this combination, and I’ll laugh and shake my head and keep doing it. I loved it! Even better, however, is that Drip buys all of the bread from a local bakery. Awesome.

But in all seriousness, how on earth could I ever turn down the classic that is turkey, brie and raspberry jam? Despite my newly-found love of the sandwich I did have, I was still debating with myself about which sandwich I should have ordered. I’ll return, probably after this weekends farmers market and I will limit myself to two apple donuts in order to leave room for the coffee and sandwich awaiting me.

Also, when I’ve learned a little more about the coffee brewing technique, I will return to this post and discuss the finer points. Until then, eat fancy paninis; have a panini party!

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