Weekend in the ATL (part #2)

Last weekend the BF and made like the birds and headed South(west) to Atlanta!  You can check out part 1 of our mini vaca here.

Soooo where did I leave off?  Oh yes, one of many two-hour naps Smile

When we finally awoke, it was time for DINNER.  We were both in the mood for some Mexican treats and after some research we agreed on Tin Lizzy’s.  They have a HUMONGOUS menu and you can order things a la carte, which always makes me happy. What’s there not to love about sampling LOTS of mini niblets?

image

I was also happy to see that Tin Lizzy’s supports National Breast Cancer Awareness month AND that the restaurants sports a good sense of humor 🙂

DSCF7928

After perusing the menu, the Man Candy and I developed a game plan.

Course #1:  A “Top of the House Margarita” for the lady, A “Fall Off the House Margarita” for the man, and Queso Fundido with chorizo, grilled onions, and peppers:

DSCF7930

This dip was delicious—though I would have preferred larger hunks of sausage…  The bigger the better in my book Winking smile

Come to think of it, the margaritas may have been a contributing factor to my love for this dip.  What I remember most vividly is how deliciously creamy it was.  The chips had some sort of seasoning — paprika and cayenne perhaps?  The spice of the chips paired with the creaminess of the cheese made for a really good combination.

Course #2:  A second round of marg’s plus one Santa Fe Steak Taco and one Fiesta Chicken taco.  For each of us, naturally.

DSCF7931

Good god these tacos were delicious.  The Santa Fe steak taco came with grilled steak, jalapenos, onions, tomatoes, cilantro and was smothered with spicy ranch and cheesy queso blanco.  Despite being listed as a “healthy option,” the fiesta chicken taco packed a tasty punch.  It came on a whole wheat tortilla topped with grilled chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, onions and cilantro.  SO GOOD!

Course #3:  Margarita #3 for the man…. Big glass o’ water for the lady… AND a Grilled Chicken Tin Skillet:

DSCF7934

Right when the food arrived, Jarrod looked concerned….

“Did I seriously just order that?!”

DSCF7935

Even though we were both ridiculously full by this point, we managed to do some damage on this skillet.  The hot skillet was full of veggie rice, grilled red peppers and onions, jalapenos, some crispy tortilla strips, queso blanco, and salsa fresca…..   Heaven.

After eating all this delicious food, we had to do some googlin’ and see if there are other Tin Lizzy’s locations closer to home… Sadly, the only locations are in Atlanta, but this restaurant alone is worth the drive to ATL.  I promise you.

Tin Lizzy’s Cantina on Urbanspoon

And as if that weren’t enough…..

Course #4:  Dessert from Joes on Juniper!  Sooo…. Joe’s turned out to be a gay bar (oopsie…. Smile)….  Jarrod and I felt a little bit like outsiders… But who cares check out the dessert tray!

DSCF7936

Enter my perpetual indecisiveness!  Gahhh!  After much debate and a few suggestions from the bartender,  I nabbed the chocolate cake with white icing and took it back to the hotel with me.  After we ate ourselves into oblivion there was nothing left to do but SLEEP.

Good thing we had a big dinner, because we didn’t eat breakfast until NOON on Sunday.  Torture, I tell ya.  Torture.  I’m surprised my body didn’t experience a complete meltdown.

Apparently, we weren’t the only ones who thought the Thumbs Up Diner would be a good stop for Sunday brunch, because we waited for nearly an hour for a table!

image

This gave us ample time to figure out what we wanted to order.  Jarrod went with the build-your-own omelet… of course.  What is it with guys and their obsession for build-your-own menus???

DSCF7939

I got my usual eggs & turkey sausage plus a whole wheat homemade biscuit, and about 3 lbs of potatoes:

DSCF7940

I was really excited about the homemade whole wheat biscuit — but once I sunk my teeth into it I was not a fan.  It was way too moist–kind undercooked in my opinion.  In my mind a biscuit should be flaky and buttery with a bit of a crunch to it.  This guy was DENSE.  And moisssttttttt.

Oh… and there may have been a belgian waffle Smile

DSCF7941

Thumbs Up Diner on Urbanspoon

After breakfast, we headed to the Centennial Olympic Park to walk around a bit.

DSCF7942DSCF7945

We got there just in time for the water fountain show.

DSCF7946

DSCF7948

By then it was nearly football time!  Jarrod did some research and found a bar with the Sunday Ticket—so we were hopeful that they’d have the Browns game on.

When we pulled up outside of Black Bear Tavern I was ECSTATIC to see a decked out Browns van parked on the street!!!

DSCF7952

Once inside I was stunned to see a bar FULL of Browns fans!  Unbeknownst to me, Jarrod had secretly scouted out a Browns bar in ATL.  It’s official.  My boyfriend rocks Smile

DSCF7956

After watching half the game and realizing the Browns were definitely not in it to win it, Jarrod decided to take me to lunch at a cool place he’d found last time he was in Atlanta.

Alon’s Bakery & Market

DSCF7970

This place was AWESOME.  It reminded me of a smaller Earth Fare with less groceries and more soul.

DSCF7958

They also had a fully stocked bakery section:

DSCF7957

PLUS a large selection of fresh breads, pre-made grub, and made-to-order sandwiches and paninis:

DSCF7959

They even had a fresh-served ice cream section and a mini coffee bar in the middle complete with stools for sitting!

LOVE THIS PLACE!

DSCF7960

We grabbed a couple of salads to share:

DSCF7962

And a few turkey sandwiches:

DSCF7965

This was the Peppered Turkey sandwich:  naturally smoked peppered whole turkey with alfalfa sprouts, avocado, red onion, and sliced tomato served on whole wheat bread with grainy mustard and mayonnaise (AKA my sandwich soul mate).

DSCF7966

And since the whole weekend was a major bust, we decided to try and turn things around by sitting on the patio with some dessert and some coffee.

DSCF7961DSCF7967

DSCF7969

Ok… maybe the weekend wasn’t a complete bust.  😉

Alon's Bakery and Market on Urbanspoon

 

 

P.S….   HAPPY 300TH POST TO ME!!!!

/

Continue Reading

Weekend in the ATL (part #1)

This weekend the BF and I set sail to Atlanta!  Check out our digs at the Renaissance-Midtown hotel:

atlbd_phototour14

We got our room for $100 a night on Priceline.  Not too shabby for a 4* hotel!

DSCF7879

Prior to arriving, Jarrod made me agree that I wouldn’t check my email unless I was peeing or pooping.  Yes.  Those were the actual terms of the agreement.

Soooo needless to say, not much work got done at this lovely desk:

DSCF7882

43 seconds after arriving, we decided it was time to get some grub and took a stroll over to a local bar called Charlie G’s 11th St Pub:

DSCF7883

This was a total locals bar—well local transplants I should say because this bar is home to the Bears Upstairs (a HUGE group of Chicago Bears fans).  Both of us really enjoyed our grub.  I ordered their special chicken fajita wrap and Jare Bear got the chicken philly…  And then we each swapped each other for half:

photo (3)photo

I LOVE sharing Smile  … though, my wrap was the better of the two (of course).

Charlie G's 11th Street Pub on Urbanspoon

Post-lunch it was time to get our walk on and burn off some of the grub.

DSCF7886

We walked around the Midtown area for a couple hours before heading back to the hotel.  I was dumb and wore shoes that cut into my heels, so the backs of my heels were completely raw Sick smile  youch!

We took a 2 hour nap before we headed out to dinner at Baraonda.  This was my pick for two key reasons.  1:  I was craving Italian.  2:  It was half price bottle-o-wine night Smile

Baraonda was pretty cool inside—especially the large pizza oven:

DSCF7888

We split the bruschetta appetizer and the lasagna for our entre:

photo (2)DSCF7887

Both were just OK… The bruschetta had cold tomatoes which I am NOT a big fan of.  Maybe that’s weird, but I am a hardcore hot tomato gal.  The lasagna was pretty tasty though a bit overdone on the cheese (is that possible??!!) and not really all that filling once we split it between us.

Baraonda on Urbanspoon

Hmmmm what to do what to do…  We consumed a bottle of wine and not nearly enough food…

So we headed on over to the Gordon Biersch Brewery for a post-dinner appetizer and dessert, of course Winking smile

The Southwest Egg Rolls appetizer was INSANELY delicious. We devoured the rolls in about 2 minutes flat.  The egg rolls had chicken and black beans all wrapped up in a crunchy shell with roasted red peppers and pepper jack cheese.  So amazing.  I cannot wait to try and make something like this for a football Sunday!

Then came the dessert:

DSCF7889

This Triple Chocolate Brownie was ta-die-for….  It was almost like they’d warmed up brownie batter and plopped it down on the plate – no chew or bite to the brownie at all.  Just melt in your mouth deliciousness topped with a dollop of melting ice cream and chocolate and caramel sauce:

DSCF7890

Gordon Biersch Brewery on Urbanspoon

After dinner, we sauntered back to the hotel.  Jarrod decided it was time for a post-dinner workout so we hit up the gym for a few chest exercises.

Work itttttt:

DSCF7891

Hehehe love this one Smile

DSCF7892

After ALL THAT we hit the hay so we could wake up bright an early for breakfast at R. Thomas Deluxe Grill:

DSCF7901

I picked this restaurant because it had a lot of healthy options on the menu.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from the place, but I CERTAINLY did not envision anything like this:

DSCF7893

This was quite possibly the most random, cluttered, overall odd restaurant I’ve ever been to.  For a brief moment, I considered grabbing breakfast elsewhere but when the server brought me coffee as soon as we were seated we decided to stick it out.

Jarrod got the Sausage Queen omelet (Veggie sausage, cheddar, red peppers and onions, rosemary potatoes and shiitake gravy) and garlic green beans:

DSCF7894

Green beans for breakfast?  Ok…… If you say so.

I got two eggs, toasts, and taters AKA the Break Eggs Special:

DSCF7895

The potatoes were super tasty and I LOVED the 9 grain bread.

After breakfast we took a walk outside the restaurant to check out their crazy bird collection:

DSCF7897

Ughhh…. I hate birds.  So freaking creepy!!!! Shortly after this photo, the bird started going crazy and hanging upside down swaying side to side in a violent way.  I hightailed it outta there.

DSCF7898

R. Thomas Deluxe Grill on Urbanspoon

Breakfast:  Check.

Time to get our walk on!

After breakfast we walked about 2 miles through midtown and checked out the sites – like this cool art museum.  Though the outside of the art museum is about as much art as either of us care to handle Smile

DSCF7902

When both of us realized we had to use the potty, we snuck into the W Hotel.  The parking lot was full of fancy pants cars.  Even a Rolls Royce!  The hotel was SWANKKYYYYY and full of young blinged-out people.  Jarrod is a huge hip hop fan, so he immediately assumed some big shot rapper must be in town.  We took a squat on the couch and tried to figure out what famous person might be staying at the hotel.. but no such luck.

DSCF7904DSCF7905

After our potty break, we walked through Piedmont Park and played on the jungle gym for a bit until we both managed to hurt our shoulders… Man we are old.  So we popped a squat on the field and watched some people play football for a bit.

DSCF7906

Check out this ref in the tight zebra print pants:

DSCF7908

That is hot.

We stumbled on a little farmers market a little ways over from the field, so we checked out a few of the vendors.

DSCF7909DSCF7910

Then we stopped over at Caribou for some coffee where Jarrod re-discovered his college obsession with turtle mochas and I discovered that Caribou’s pumpkin latte is nowhere near as delicious as Starbucks.

After another 2 mile jaunt, we arrived at our lunch destination:  Grindhouse Killer burgers:

DSCF7917

This place was pretty funky inside.  The robots behind the bar were especially cool to look at.

DSCF7911

DSCF7913

Jarrod said this one reminded him of what I look like when I go more than two hours without eating:

DSCF7912

That turd.

I went with a single burger and Jarrod nabbed a double-turkey-burger-lettuce wrap:

DSCF7915DSCF7914

In all honesty, neither of these were very good.  The bun on my burger overwhelmed the meat–at times I forgot I was even eating a hamburger.  Jarrod’s turkey burger had a really odd consistency–like really moist meatloaf.  Not exactly what I look for in a burger.  BUT we did split a chocolate peanut butter shake and it was so AMAZING.  The shake was so thick that I actually split the straw in half trying to drink it!  I’d go back for the shake fo sho but pass on the burgers.

Grindhouse Killer Burgers on Urbanspoon

DSCF7918

MORE walking brought us back to Midtown, where Jarrod spotted a guy who looked a whole lot like one of his favorite rappers:  Lil’ Wayne:

DSCF7919

Jarrod figured Lil’ Wayne musta been the rapper staying at the W Hotel, so we stalked this guy for about a mile before he ducked into some building and we lost him.  Dang!

Since our lunch was meh, we stopped by Marlow’s Tavern for a few appetizers.  I really liked the vibe inside Marlows.  It was sporty but still swanky, posh but comfy at the same time.

We ordered the Chicken Queso Soup and the BBQ chicken flatbread:

DSCF7921DSCF7922

The soup was good, but I wasn’t a fan of the flatbread pizza.  Hey Mary—you don’t like BBQ sauce. Remember?!  Why did you think it’d be a good idea to order a BBQ pizza?  Duh.

DSCF7923

Marlow's Tavern on Urbanspoon

After Marlow’s we went back to the hotel for our 2-hr pre-dinner nap 🙂

To be continued!

/

Continue Reading

A day in Clover, SC

This past weekend my mom and sister made the long haul down from Ohio to visit me in North Carolina.  7 hours in the car, and they still had smiles on their faces when they arrived Open-mouthed smile

I’ve been so excited for them to come down since I relocated to Charlotte in April.  When you’ve spent your whole life in one area, it’s really bizarre to pick up, move, and plop down in an entirely new city without physically sharing it with your friends and family.

One of our excursions over the weekend led us to Clover, South Carolina to visit my mom’s friend Lucy.  My mom and Lucy met on the internet.  Apparently, that string of crazy runs in the family Smile.

Clover is a very rural town about 45 minutes away from Charlotte and about 30 minutes from Rock Hill, SC.

By rural, I mean there was a whole lot of this going on:

DSCF6990

I don’t know what it is about this photo, but I absolutely love it.  Maybe it’s because I don’t often get the opportunity to photograph animals in such close proximity, or maybe it’s just the look in this guy’s eye.  Doesn’t he look like he’s posing for the photo??

Lucy lives on a beautiful property dotted with wildlife and rustic buildings.

DSCF6991

It’s crazy that such a short drive out of the city brings you to this peaceful, seemingly simple, town.

DSCF6992

If it weren’t for the sweltering heat (holy triple digits!) I could have walked around taking photos for hours.  Every nook and cranny bubbled over with picturesque country charm.

DSCF6993

Are you ready to hightail it to the countryside yet?

DSCF6995

By the time we finished touring Lucy’s house, we were starving (when am I not?) and headed to Lell’s Café in Rock Hill for lunch:

DSCF7015

Lell is a friend of Lucy’s, and her café is about “real food and quality products.”  They specifically focus on using fresh local ingredients with an emphasis on keeping the menu as organic and natural as possible.  They don’t even serve pop (soda for your southerners), given the artificial ingredients and chemicals it contains.

How awesome is that?

DSCF6998

I eyeballed the menu and the specials and spent some time drooling over these fabulous looking scones:DSCF7003

But decided to go with Lucy’s advice and get the French Connection sandwich for my meal:DSCF7012

The French Connection had sliced ham, a generous portion of deliciously melty brie (welcome to heaven), and fruit spread:DSCF7009

I’m not usually big on mixing sweet and savory, but I am so happy I stepped outside the box and got this sandwich because the combination was simply fabulous.

DSCF7010

Yow.za.

DSCF7013

Jenny tried the veggie wrap which featured the hummus of the day.  Unfortunately, the hummus of the day happened to be olive hummus and Jenny happens to hate olives (even more than I do!).  She took most of the wrap home with us, and Mom, who adores olives (she must be adopted) had the leftovers for a midnight snack and said it was fabulous.  DSCF7007

I tried to be sneaky and snap a photo of mom on my way back from the bathroom.  Of course the light shining in the window washed out what could have become THE ONLY photo in existence with her actually smiling.

DSCF7002

Apparently the gods are on her side and intervened on the photo op, thus destroying my hopes of getting a natural photo of her.

One of the many great things about Lell’s is their serious coffee selection:DSCF6999

I went with the mocha latte:

DSCF7004

So friggin delicious.  One of these days I am going to get a job as a barista so I can learn to make delicious coffee concoctions for myself.  A girl can dream, right?

Lell’s carries their local focus from the table to the walls and displays artwork of several local artists.  Lucy was one of the artists featured.  How cool!DSCF7014

Lell's Cafe on Urbanspoon

After lunch we drove around Rock Hill, scouted out downtown Clover, then hit up the Goodwill where I found a new pair of running shorts (tags still attached!) and a gap skirt for $3 a pop.

Can I get a Boo.Ya.?

Dinner was courtesy of Lucy’s husband Tommy, the Red-Neck-Chef.

DSCF7019

Hello Moroccan Chicken!

DSCF7020

As soon as I saw the olives, I had to giggle.  Poor Jenny Smile

DSCF7021

Even with the olives, this meal was deserving of a golf clap for the chef!  I adore anything with cumin, so this dish was right up my alley.  Ok…  yes, I picked out the olives. Maybe the Red-Neck-Chef will post this recipe to his blog so we can all enjoy it again Smile

We ended our visit in Clover on a sweet note courtesy of a large slice of Lucy’s homemade peach pie:DSCF7028

Only in the south Smile

I may not have gotten any photos of the people in this post, but every person mentioned has a website so feel free to get your stalk on Winking smile

/

Continue Reading

Weekend in Paradise

I’d like to rewind this past weekend, click the pause button, and live the life of an islander for the rest of eternity.  The island life.  Where your stresses melt away, your to-do lists disappear, and daily woes are forgotten.

OHH, PLEASE. I forgot to say please!

Ahhhh the island life.

DSCF6186

Forget the fact that I missed out on first place in the 5th grade spelling bee because I misspelled the word “paradise.” As a wee 10 year old I hadn’t experienced paradice let alone PARADISE!

What’s this island I speak of?

Good old Bald Head Island, NC.

1DSCF6130

**sigh**

Bald Head Island. A beautiful harbor and beaches that stretch for miles. No cars—just golf carts. No stress—just cocktails.

DSCF6131

Quite frankly, there’s not much to do there.  But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it?

They even have little trucks to smuggle you across the border:

DSCF6185

Being the Frugalista I am (can I coin that??!?! … no pun intended Winking smile ) the BF and I rented a TEENY TINY little studio right on the harbor (this one was called the Elements – Fire).

DSCF6237DSCF6133

DSCF6134DSCF6135

So cute and quaint and sassy all in one little shoebox!

DSCF6136.DSCF6136

We didn’t waste any time once on the island.  First stop—kayaking on the beautiful island marshes!

DSCF6144

BF wasn’t exactly a natural…

DSCF6146

Tootsie tanning:

DSCF6145

Bird watching… (birds are so creepy).

DSCF6155

After kayaking it was back to the harbor.

DSCF6159DSCF6160

For a little dinner at Eb & Flo’s!

DSCF6161

Dining out = happy Mary

DSCF6162DSCF6164

We split some yummy jambalaya:

DSCF6169

Reminds me of New Orleans!

DSCF6171

Grey Goose and Tonic for the lady.  Blackened chicken Caesar wrap for the man.

DSCF6173DSCF6174

My entre:

DSCF6176DSCF6177

Shrimp AND potatoes?!  Sign me up!

DSCF6179

The restaurant deck was prime for people watching across the harbor.

DSCF6181

DSCF6183

We took a stroll on the beach after dinner.  It was entirely empty and entirely peaceful.

DSCF6187

Saturday we had one thing on the agenda:  BEACH TIME!  With chairs and umbrella in our cargo, we headed for the sand.

DSCF6241

Never underestimate the luxury of a nice beach umbrella.

DSCF6191.

The beach was pretty uncrowded, but still provided quite the opportunity for man candy oogling Winking smile

DSCF6195

After a few hours in the sun (or sprawled out on a beach chair under the nice shade of a 6 foot beach umbrella as the case may be)…

photo 3

we were in need of some serious fuel.  We headed to the Shoals Club where I feasted on an ENORMOUS burger complete with Swiss cheese, onions, and mushrooms.

DSCF6206

After lunch, it was—you guessed it–back to the beach!  We were so full, that we both passed out under the umbrella for a good hour and a half.

R&R.

DSCF6189

Good Ole Baldy:

DSCF6209

For dinner, we headed to the River Pilot Café.

Cheesy appetizer goodness:

DSCF6212

DSCF6213DSCF6215

DSCF6217

BF got the jambalaya pasta for dinner (apparently we were really missing New Orleans):

DSCF6218

It was DELICIOUS.  Shrimp, sausage, country ham, and chicken over pasta?!?!

DSCF6219

FABULOUS lobster bisque.

DSCF6221

SALAD with EGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG Open-mouthed smile

DSCF6222

After dinner I realized the sun was setting… on our mini vaca Crying face

DSCF6229

I woke up bright and early Sunday morning and took a stroll along the harbor.

DSCF6242

This is what I do to keep myself occupied when my travel buddy is STILL.FREAKING.SLEEPING… It’s 9am.  Get your butt in gear man.

Anyway….

For breakfast we headed to the Maritime Market Café to get our grub on.

DSCF6249

I know this looks like a massacre, but it’s actually a bit o hot sauce heaven.

DSCF6243

The breakfast burrito was delicious and so were the potatoes.

His face says “enough with the pictures already” but his plate says “I’m a breakfast burrito eating champion.” I’ll go with the latter.

DSCF6250

Ooooooghahhhhhh yessssssssss cheesy bagel bliss:

DSCF6247

Never have I ever seen a golf cart with a baby car seat strapped in…

DSCF6201.

Waiting for the ferry to take us back to the daily grind:

DSCF6252

Farewell Bald Head!

(insert obligatory “I’m the King of the WORLDDDDDDDDDDD” titanic reference here)

DSCF6256

We’re already planning our next beach retreat… hopefully priceline will be kind to me Smile

signature

Continue Reading

Up and down and all around Charlotte

Talk about a whirlwind weekend.

Thursday night I headed to NC for a wedding and got to spend a decent amount of time in Charlotte eating delicious foods, enjoying the beautiful weather, and condo-hunting my booty off (yes, I’m moving!).

Thursday night my flight got into CLT around 7pm, so pizza was the obligatory dinner of the evening.

Libretto’s Pizzeria
Libretto's Pizzeria & Italian Kitchen on Urbanspoon

DSCF5633

We ordered a 10 inch “personal size” spicy sausage pizza:

DSCF5634

Some garlic knots:

DSCF5639

And a side salad:

DSCF5636

The pizza was FABULOUS.  Despite being described as “four small pieces” this 10 inch pizza was MORE than enough for two people.  Actually, I only ate one piece of the pizza (which honestly was like 2 normal size pieces).  Not “small” in any way…

DSCF5635

The garlic knots were also awesome (and cheap) and it gave us the chance to try out Libretto’s pasta sauce for dipping.  The sauce was delish—I’ll definitely venture to their pasta dishes in the future.

DSCF5641

Only downside—the salad was crazy expensive given it was merely lettuce, tomato, a bit of cheese and dressing.  $5.95???  Come on now.

So, back to the condo huntingafter driving around Charlotte for hours on end scoping out neighborhoods, I was able to eliminate about 90% of the pre-selected units I wanted to look at.  So much for being proactive.

Low and behold there was one FABULOUS oober CHIC condo in a great location (and in my price range)!  As soon as I walked in, I KNEW it was the one.  I could totally picture myself living there and the current owners were super nice.  I dare say they were great future landlords Winking smile

Soooo… that evening the BF and I put the great condo search of 2011 out of our heads, and headed out to treat ourselves to a DELICOUS dinner.

Dolce

Dolce Ristorante Italiano on Urbanspoon
I’m not sure there is a better way to describe dinner at Dolce other than it truly was a pleasure to all of my senses.  I absolutely adore this place.  The food was outstanding, the ambiance was great, and the waiter was so friendly and accommodating.  I love the south.

DSCF5648

You all know I’m a sucker for free (tasty) food—so the house beans and bread were right up my alley:

DSCF5649

For our appetizer, we went with the Napoleone, which was layers of oven roasted tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, baked & served on crostini bread and then drizzled with balsamic reduction.

Come to mama:

DSCF5650

Thing of beauty:

DSCF5651

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

DSCF5653

Of course there was wine involved:

DSCF5655

And for our entre, we split the Amtriciana:  Bucatini sautéed with shallots, pancetta, lightly spided tomato sauce and aged pecorino cheese plus we added grilled chicken:

DSCF5657

If you’re in Charlotte, go to Dolce.  Eat this.  You will thank me 🙂

Cowfish
The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar on Urbanspoon

I’ve been dying to go to Cowfish since I purchased the Living Social deal MONTHS ago, and we finally went this weekend.

DSCF5658

It was a beautiful 80 degree day in Charlotte (hello, it’s March!), so we went with a light refreshing app:

DSCF5662

The diced chicken mu shu lettuce wraps!

DSCF5663

Crisp chilled iceberg lettuce for wrapping around fresh diced chicken and sautéed vegetables, simmered in a tasty brown sauce… This was hands down FABULOUS.

DSCF5664

Since we went light for the appetizer, we decided to go balls to the wall crazy for our main meals.  I ordered the Turkey Boursin Burger, which had a JUICY turkey burger topped with rich garlic & herb boursin cheese, sautéed mushrooms and grilled onions atop a brioche bun with lettuce and tomato.

Boom.

DSCF5666

The BF got the Stringin’ the blues Chicken Sandwich, which had blackening seasoning, blue cheese crumbles, a pile of crispy onion strings and homemade gorgonzola sauce (!) on a brioche bun.

DSCF5667

Without exaggeration in anyway, these may have been the most amazing burgers this mouth has ever tasted.  Holy wow is all I can say.

On a separate visit to Cowfish, I went with the Bento Box which gives you a little bit of everything including a mini burger and a sushi roll.  Great for the indecisive glutton (aka MOI!).

SOOOOO CONDO HUNTthe next morning I get a text from my adorable future-landlord asking if I can meet for a quick cup of coffee before I flew home to Ohio.  OF COURSE I can meet for coffee!  There is always time for coffee.

Much to my HORROR, over one particularly delicious cup of coffee, I was informed that the owners of my beloved condo had decided NOT to rent their unit.  Why go though all the trouble of scripting a picture perfect craigslist posting and meeting with possible tenants (not once but twice in the same day) if you aren’t a thousand percent sure you are ready to list your condo for rent?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Vivace

I REALLY tried to love Vivace.  Maybe it was that I was comparing it to the amazing dinner I had a Dolce, or maybe it was the amazing-condo-just-got-ripped-out-from-under-me blues… But Vivace just didn’t WOW me.

DSCF5669

For our appetizer, we ordered the bruschetta with roasted mushrooms, robiola bosina (not even sure what that is), arugula, and truffle oil

DSCF5668

This was tasty, just pretty mild – it was hurting for a drizzle of balsamic reduction in my opinion.

Then we went with the Smoked Chicken and spinach stuff agnolotti for our entre.  It was served with sun-dried tomatoes (the best part of the dish i.m.o), mushrooms, and roasted garlic crema:

DSCF5670

I’m not a huge fan of cream-based pasta sauced, but I’ll admit this was yummy.  The BF really loved Vivace, and I’ll definitely give it another shot.

Icehouse

We also grabbed lunch at Icehouse one day, and I was not impressed.  So unimpressed actually that I didn’t take any pictures.  I went with the philly cheese steak sandwich and mac and cheese (meh and meh).

The BF got the Buffalo chicken wrap.  Ummmmm NOM NOM NOM.  (That’s me stealing bites of his food because his was SOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much more tasty than mine).

I saw a few people order pizza while we were there, and that looked to be the star of the show.  Next time my friends, next time.

CONDO?  Wherefore art thou?  While waiting in the airport to come home, the BF informed me via excited text that he had found a condo in the same complex and the one that got away.  Same layout, same cost, etc. etc. etc.  I almost cried when he told me.  So he arranged to go view the condo with a realtor, took about 30 iPhone pics and forwarded them to me, then we proceeded to discuss the condo for about 45 minutes on the phone.

I was beyond ecstatic.

I faxed in my application first thing Monday morning.

2 hours later, I was informed someone else submitted their application before me.

Sad smile

What the crap.

Back to square one it is!

signature

Continue Reading

Making my Charlotte foodie rounds

This past weekend I jetsetted down to Charlotte to spend the weekend with my wildly-attractive recently-relocated boyfriend.

The plan was to go straight from the airport to dinner (no need to beat around the bush, right?), so I changed into my dinner clothes before catching my flight and was being SUPER careful to not wrinkle or otherwise launder my shirt before dinner.  I was pretty impressed with myself because my shirt managed to make it through the flight unscathed.  Once I landed, I headed to the bathroom to straighten up and when I lifted my arm to fix my hair I was greeted by a very unpleasant I-just-ran-a-marathon scent wafting up to my nose.  I smelled horrible.  So horrible in fact, that I’d like to apologize to the lovely old man who sat next to me in seat 8B.  That must have been a rough flight for you…

Lucky for me, the BF finds humor in almost all random situations, especially those that involve me fumbling out of my intended picture of perfection.  So, we rerouted to Target where the BF spent a few minutes sniffing out the best lady’s deodorant while I changed into a clean shirt in the bathroom.  Just the thought of him standing in the deodorant aisle comparing Suave Sweet Pea to Secret Va-Va-Vanilla makes me chuckle.  Lovely start to the weekend 🙂

After the stink debauchle we finally headed to dinner, which was courtesy of a Living Social deal I had purchased a couple months back.

I love coupons.

Intermezzo Pizzeria

First off, the atmosphere at Intermezzo was AWESOME.  There wasn’t a ton of seating inside, but that was just fine by us. The whole interior of the building is brick and looks very old and is full of character.  It reminded me of what I picture an old Italian cellar to look like.  I loved the low lighting and of course the staff was very friendly.

DSCF4923

Appetizers were half off (SCORE!), so we decided to order up the two that sounded most tasty.  First was the bruschetta with tomatoes, scallions, house made mozzarella on top of house made bread:

DSCF4924

Second was the garlic braided twists with garlic, herbs, and artisan olive oil:

DSCF4925

Both of the apps were pretty good – but I preferred the garlic twists, even though they were over cooked.  The bruschetta was bland and needed some balsamic glaze drizzled on top.  Though, once I dunked it in the awesome tomato sauce that came with the garlic twists though it was quite tasty.

I ordered up the Intermezzo side salad so that I could squeeze in some veggies between the bread and cheese, but wasn’t a fan of the dressing so not much of it got eaten.  Jarrod didn’t like the dressing either.  That’s four thumbs down.  Darnit…  What a waste of veggies.

DSCF4926

I was a little worried going into the dinner ordering because the apps were so-so and salad really was meh.  After we eyeballed the menu one last time, we ended up ordering the Milanese pizza which came with mozzarella and romano cheese, red onions, and sausage (which we swapped in place of the grilled chicken):

DSCF4927

The pizza was FABULOUS.  Seriously delicious.  Thank god because the atmosphere at Intermezzo was so awesome I definitely want to go back… though I’ll be skipping over the appetizers.

Intermezzo Pizzeria and Cafe on Urbanspoon

Harper’s

For lunch the next day, we headed to Pineville to grab some grub Harper’s courtesy of a Groupon purchase:

DSCF4928

Walking into Harper’s I really wasn’t expecting anything interesting given that it’s attached to a mall.  Surprisingly, the décor and atmosphere was unexpectedly cool and unique!  I love when that happens!

The bar alone was HUGE and overall it seemed like a fun place to chill.

DSCF4929

The BF went with the Chicken Caesar roasted wrap… *cough* BORING *cough*

DSCF4930

I, on the other hand, ordered up the pimento mac and cheese:

DSCF4931

Holy canoli.  After a couple bites, I added a few dashes of hot sauce and I swear to you it was mac and cheese perfection.

DSCF4932

For the main event, I went with the pulled chicken streetside tacos which were served with fresh corn tortillas, avocado salsa, red onions, cheesy goodness, cole slaw mix, chipotle cream sauce, and cilantro.

DSCF4933

After one bite, all I could say was WOW.  Actually it was “Woooowwwwwww you have GOTTTTT to try these!!”

DSCF4935

Jarrod agreed the tacos were fab.  Two thumbs up Harpers!

Harper's Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Black Finn

MUCH later that night we headed to dinner at Blackfinn.  Our original intentions was to go to Libretto’s for some pasta, but we couldn’t even walk into the place since the Bobcats game had just let out.  So we went with the backup plan of Blackfinn.

image

I was being a grumpy pants when we first arrived to Blackfinn, so thankfully the BF took charge and ordered us some delicious grub.  Why was I being a grumpy pants?  Good question.  I’ve been wondering the same thing myself.

We started off with some side salads with balsamic vinaigrette — and they were just delicious.  Blackfinn’s salad really made up for the crappy salad I had at Intermezzo, and THANKFULLY started to pull me out of my illusive bad mood.

For the entre, we split the blackened chicken alfredo with fettuccine.  The pasta had a really creamy alfredo sauce and diced tomatoes, red onion, parmesan cheese, and the piece de resistance–GARLIC BREADDDDD.

Note that no pictures were taken of this meal because of the aforementioned grumpfest, though somewhere between the salad and pasta I was back to my normal self.

Sunset Grille

Sunday Sunday Sunday… my last day in Charlotte (for this trip at least), so we headed to Sunset Grille for some Sunday Brunch, courtesy of a Groupon deal.

image

As soon as we walked in to Sunset Grille I was in love with the place.  I was completely caught off guard by the decor and ambiance (in a very good way).  I think the best way to describe it would be Southern Swank — horse hair covered stools, rugged high top tables with sleek white leather chairs, and white bull skulls on the wall.  All of the staff seemed to have the slow southern draw down pat as well, which I adore about North Carolina.

DSCF4941

My newfound love was only strengthened when they brought us a **FREE** welcome basket of fresh doughnut fritters:

DSCF4936

Yes, please!

DSCF4937

We decided to go with our breakfast standby–something sweet and something savory split in twos between us.  For the savory, we had the three egg omelet with baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and provolone cheese plus we added in some of Neese’s homemade sausage and a side of scattered hashbrowns:

DSCF4938

For our sweet dish, we ordered the buttermilk pancakes with chocolate chips

DSCF4939

These pancakes were melt in your mouth delicious.  I love this place and can’t wait to go back and try out their lunch and dinner dishes!

Sunset Grille on Urbanspoon
All in all a wonderful weekend in Charlotte!  Can’t wait for my next trip 😀

Continue Reading

Things I’ve learned over a week in Charlotte

  1. The people in Charlotte are nice.  Like SUPER nice.  Like almost weirdly nice.  I love them.
  2. Carwashes in Charlotte are a whole heck of a lot cheaper than in Ohio… 30% cheaper, to be exact.  Though, they will look at you funny when you ask to stay in the car as you go through the carwash.  Apparently, that’s not how they do it here in Charlotte.
  3. Everyone is really nicely dressed.  Not in a I’m-better-than-thou sort of way, but in a I’m-putting-my-best-foot-forward-today (and every day for that matter) sort of way.  I’m a fan.
  4. Chicken paws are not the same thing as chicken breasts!
  5. Speaking of chicken, why is the chicken breast at the butcher counter at Harris Teeter only $1.99 a pound???  That’s cheaper than the stuff they have on the shelves.  Mystery.
  6. Either u-turns are legal here or we’ve broken the law 7 times in the past week.  I’m hoping for the former.
  7. North Carolina is part of the South.   People actually have accents here.
  8. A Charlotte native can spot an Ohio accent a mile away… I didn’t think there was such a thing as an Ohio accent.  I was wrong.
  9. Public transportation is awesome.
  10. People are young here.  Like a city chock full of Doogie Howsers. 
  11. I’m pretty sure it’s possible to eat at a different delicious Charlotte restaurant for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day for a whole year without having any repeats.  I may have to try that sometime.  Charlotte knows a thang or two about food. (Stay tuned for more on that topic!)

Continue Reading

Bye bye New Orleans (part 4 of 4)

Sunday, Sunday, SUNDAY!

Started with breakfast at a New Orleans staple:

DSCF3876 

Mother’s!

The line outside of Mothers was a little intimidating, and we contemplated seeking nourishment elsewhere.  Much to our surprise, the line moved pretty fast… and even though there was an ADDITIONAL waiting line inside the restaurant we had food in front of us within 20 minutes of our arrival at the restaurant.

Unsuspecting diners waiting patiently for some grub:

DSCF3877

Even though Mother’s is known for their ham, I have to say the BEST part of this breakfast were the homemade preserves that come with the biscuit. DSCF3878

I also ordered the Jerry’s omelet (egg whites, bell pepper, red onion, mushrooms, and turkey), which came with a giant blob of grits.  Bleh I hate grits.

DSCF3879

The omelet was quite tasty as was the giant belgum waffle that Jarrod ordered:

DSCF3880 

After breakfast, we headed to the Corner Oyster Bar for some football!

DSCF3884

Luckily, they had the Sunday ticket so we were able to watch the Saints game while simultaneously watching the Browns lose to the Steelers.  Awesome! :-/  Go brownies.

DSCF3881

Showing some team spirit on the ceiling: DSCF3882

While watching the first half of the game, we ordered up some Down South Eggrolls:

DSCF3883 

They were delicious!

Here we go Brownies, here we go!

DSCF3885

On the tour yesterday, the guide told us we had to try a gyro from Ali Baba because they are “just outta sight man!”  So at half time, we wandered over to try things out first hand. 

DSCF3887 

The goods:

DSCF3889 

Jarrod likes to pretend he’s a pirate anytime he eats a gyro. Haha 😀

DSCF3890 

So, this gyro was definitely tasty (but sorry NOLA, Nate’s Deli in Cleveland still has the vote for best gyro this mouth has ever tasted).

After the gyro, we headed back towards our hotel.

DSCF3891

On the road again…. DSCF3892

Then decided to stop at the Checkered Parrot for the last quarter of the games.

DSCF3893 

Jarrod posing as a Saints fan in his newly acquired Saints T shirt:

DSCF3894

One thing that I never got used to in New Orleans was being able to take our drinks to-go!  No open container law still boggles my mind.  But, it did make for some fun city strolling 🙂

Sometime after leaving the Checkered Parrot I fell into a food coma and forgot to take pictures the rest of the day.  I’m sure this coma was driven solely by excessive food consumption and had nothing to do with the cocktails I enjoyed during the game 😉

After the game, we headed back to the hotel for a 2 hour siesta, then we decided to grab some bruschetta at Primos (again)… we are such suckers for bruschetta!  Afterward, we started a trek to an Italian restaurant I had found online, got tired halfway there, and decided to eat dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe instead.  Lazy bums 🙂

We went with the twisted mac and cheese and hot fudge brownie bowl.  I’d say we made a very wise decision indeed!

Before heading home Monday morning, we had time for one last meal in the Big Easy.  We passed Daisy Dukes Express several times every day that we’d been in town, and given its close proximity to our hotel we decided to give it a try for breakfast.

DSCF3895 

The restaurant looked like a real hole in the wall from the outside, so we were pleasantly surprised by how nice the inside of the restaurant was!

DSCF3897 

Very clean and slightly swanky!  Love it!

Jarrod went with the Cajun Omelet:

DSCF3898

Luckily I was able to steal a few bites of this beauty because it was fanfriggintastic!

DSCF3899 

I went with the standard 2 eggs over medium with hash browns and sausage:

DSCF3900

HANDS DOWN best breakfast we had in New Orleans!

Daisy Dukes Express on Urbanspoon
Overall, and AWESOME few days away with the Man Candy.  I’d love to go back to New Orleans sometime so that I can check out the districts outside of the French quarter.  First stop though has to be Cafe Du Monde for a beignet!

For those who were wondering, we stayed in the Holiday Inn Express on Carondelet (technically in the Business district).  We got an AWESOME deal on this hotel (only $60 per night–BALLER!).  The hotel included free wi-fi (obvious necessity), free continental breakfast, and it was only 1 block to Bourbon Street.  Everything in the French Quarter was in walking distance, and we did not rent a car.  Taxi to and from the hotel was $33 (for two people) each way.  Overall, I was really happy with the hotel.  Anytime you are looking for a good bargain, you have to be willing to make sacrifices.  The Holiday Inn express was clean, but I did notice a lot of the repair work on the building was not so great.  Give me a clean room, comfy bed, and good location, and I can overlook crooked electrical outlets and  slow draining showers.

Continue Reading