Category Archives: Restaurants

Bridesmaids’ Luncheon

I had an awesome 10 mile run this morning!

I started off with a thin slice of Dakota bread with some PB & banana and even had enough time for coffee.  I like to drink coffee before long runs because I drink it every morning and I don’t think you should do anything too outside your regularly scheduled programming.  However, sometimes before early races, I don’t have time for coffee.

Like I said, the run was great!  I ran with Jen and it was wonderful to have someone to talk to for 10 miles.  As we chatted, the time just flew by.  Before I knew it we had covered 5, then 8, then 9 miles! The last mile was a big hill, but we got through it and pounded out the last few tenths of a mile on flat terrain.  It was great!  The weather was just perfect.  A little humid but the temperature was only in the 70’s.  Such a nice change from the high temperatures we’ve been experiencing early in the morning.

My face gets really red when running.

When I returned my sweet guy made me this green monster for breakfast #2.

1/2 frozen banana

1 scoop chocolate Amazing Meal

1/2 scoop chocolate whey protein

1 cup frozen spinach

1 cup almond milk

5 mint leaves

It was delicious!  I’m experimenting with putting mint leaves in my smoothies.  I think I’ll try more next time.  I don’t want it to be too minty so I’m trying it a little at a time.

Coffee #2 was a must! Have you heard that coffee might possibly help muscle recovery after runs?  I first heard about it in a Runner’s World article, which you can read here.

After getting ready, it was time for my bridesmaid luncheon.

I held a luncheon in honor of my bridesmaid at 300 East in Charlotte.   They were really easy to work with.  Picking my menu was super easy because I love their simple but delicious food.  Their pastry chef even called me personally to give me a consultation on what she could do.

The Menu

Appetizers:

Hummus plate with veggies and pita chips

Housemade Pimento Cheese with crackers and veggies

Guacamole with salsa and tortilla chips

Entrees:

Sonoma Salad ~ Red Potatoes, Avocado, Grape Tomatoes & Dijon Dressing over Baby Greens, with Grilled Chicken, Grilled Shrimp, or Lump Crabmeat

Fig and Prosciutto Pizza ~ with Gorgonzola & Grilled Fruit

Grilled Chicken and Pesto ~ with Roasted Red Peppers and Provolone on Focaccia

Grilled Portobello Sandwich ~ Gorgonzola, Arugula, Red Onion, Tomato Salad & Sherry Vinaigrette on an Onion Roll

Special Drinks:

Peach Bellinis, Mimosas, Honig Saugvignon Blanc

Dessert:

Key Lime Pie with Raspberries and Raspberry Sauce

I had a great time picking out this menu! 🙂

The table with one of the bridesmaid’s gift and a photo of me.  My aunt found this photo of me a few days ago.  I was two years old and it was taken at her bridesmaid luncheon 25 years ago.  If you could see it more closely, you know notice that I used to be a blonde!  Funny, because my hair is almost black now.

Some of the girls and my family before everyone arrived.

While appetizers were passed around, I had a club soda with a splash of cranberry juice.  I also drank a full glass of water to rehydrate.  Don’t worry, I enjoyed myself.  I soon switched to a peach Bellini.

The bridesmaids’ gifts were a necklace and earring set I handmade.  I took a class to learn how to make the “branch-style” necklace, but made each necklace differently.  The one pictured above is Candace’s set.  I used sterling silver wire, hooks, and chain, topaz, Swarovski crystals, and mother of pearl.  The earrings are mother of pearl to match.  I’m really proud of these necklaces because I have never done anything like it before.  It was really important to me to give them something nice and something that reflects myself.

My (3rd) cousin Marie and wedding director, my grandmother, and my aunt.

A candid photo of the table.

My cousin April, Brittney, and my sister-in-law Jen.

I somehow missed taking shots of the apps, but let’s move on to the entrees.

I ordered the Sonoma Salad with shrimp.  I always eye this salad, but have never ordered it.  I’ll pretty much eat anything with avocado on top.  I also had a glass of the Honig at this point in the meal.  I chose this wine because Brad and I visited Honig winery on our day-long trip to Napa.  It is our top recommendation to anyone going to Napa.  Small and intimate, they give you a lot of attention and we absolutely love d it.

Candace (my matron of honor) ordered the fig and prosciutto pizza, as did a lot of people.  If you try 300 East, you’ve got to try this.  It’s one of my favorite things on their menu.  Salty sweet combos are always my favorite!

I had about 1/2 of my key lime pie.  It was the perfect balance of sweet and tart.  Scrumptious.

300 East is so cute!  I love the fireplaces with iron fronts, all over the old house turned restaurant.

Just the bridesmaids (and me!): April, Ashlyn, Candace, me, Jen, and Brittney.

Two shots of the whole group.

I had a really nice time talking to everyone and involving Brad’s mom and grandmother into getting to know the women in my family and my friends.  Each of my bridesmaids are so special to me, so honoring them and the commitment it takes to be a bridesmaid was very important to me.  It was also really nice to have a wedding festivity that didn’t center around me.  I prefer to be the hostess way more than the guest of honor.

300 East was a dream to work with.  The food was perfect and the staff was extremely helpful and hospitable.

After the bridemaid luncheon we all hit up this super cute consignment boutique around the corner, called Sweet Repeats, which has really swank, barely used stuff.

It was a great day to celebrate with the women I love! 🙂

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Hawthorne’s Pizza

Two weeks ago when Brad’s mom and grandma was in town, we did Customshop for dinner.  This time we wanted to go out for pizza.  Brad wanted to try Hawthorne’s NY Pizza & Bar, a popular pizza place in the Elizabeth neighborhood of Charlotte.

It was slightly muggy but pretty nice outside since the sun was starting to go down, so we asked to sit on the patio where it was quiet and we could talk.

Brad and I both rocked our aviators. 🙂

This lady will be my mother-in-law in 7 days.  🙂

Brad and grandma in matching brown t-shirts.

Studying the wine list.

I went with the Friday white wine special (haha, I typed whine instead of wine), a Sauvignon Blanc.

We ordered two 18″ inch pizzas: one veggie and one basil and tomato, both had 1/2 pepperoni per Brad’s request.

I had one of each…

…sans pepperoni.

I liked the veggie more than the basil and tomato because it had marinara, while the basil tomato had no sauce.  I much prefer marinara and lots of it.  I usually request extra, bur our waiter never made it back to our table.  The pizza was delicious and I think the carbs will be well-spent.

I spent the rest of the night wrapping my bridesmaids’ gifts, with which Brad was so sweet to help me, blogging….and now…

I’ve got to head to bed stat, because I’m running 10 miles with Jen tomorrow at 7 am!

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Sushi at Enso

Yesterday evening, I arrived home from work to find this.

Wedding presents!  I received some of my very first Vietri dishes!

Vietri dishes are made in Italy, but Vietri is a North Carolina company.  I first learned of the company driving back to Raleigh from Charlotte (back when I was in grad school and visiting Brad on the weekends).  I often listen to NPR (because I’m a 80 years old) and while I was driving WUNC (NC Public Radio) did an interview with Susan and Frances Gravely, founders of Vietri.  They told a really lovely story about how they traveled to Italy with the mother in the 80’s and loved the Italian pottery so much they started importing it to sell it in the U.S.  You can hear the story here or read a shorter version here.

I just love beautiful dishes so in lieu of “fine china” I decided to go with Vietri’s intricate Italian pottery, which is handmade so every piece is just a little different.  It’s just beautiful.  I can’t wait to make a fancy meal (maybe Italian?) and plate it on my pale blue dishes and show it to you. 🙂  Maybe I’ll learn a thing or two on my Italian honeymoon.

After tearing into the boxes, Brad said the magical words for someone who worked all day and spent two hours commuting: “Honey, you shouldn’t have to cook tonight, let’s go out and get sushi”.

Well, if you insist.

To put it nicely, I haven’t been extremely impressed with the sushi scene in Charlotte.  Our favorite is Sushi 101 and Ru San’s is pretty good too (although they could probably benefit from a new website).  Since we live Uptown, we wanted to walk to a sushi restaurant and decided to try Enso since we’ve never tried it before.

Enso is a part of the Epicentre which is a complex in Uptown Charlotte with some dining, a couple of stores, but mostly bars and clubs.  It’s really not our scene, but we go every once in a while to try a new restaurant or take advantage of their movie theater which is 18+ after 7 pm (awesome).

I started off with a seaweed salad that also had some micro greens.  It was pretty yummy.

Hi Brad.

For sushi, I ordered the eel and avocado Maki roll.

I also had two Yellowtail tuna Nigiri, with plenty of wasabi.

Brad and two make rolls: spicy tuna and the eel and avocado.  He also had the tamago (egg) Nigiri and the mackerel Nigiri.

Enso was very trendy and a little pricey. The sushi was fresh and they had some very interesting rolls I would like to try.  I just wasn’t in the mood for huge rolls with tempura and 9 different toppings last night.  Sushi 101 is definitely still my favorite Charlotte sushi restaurant, especially because of their reasonable prices.

After dinner, we dropped by the The Wooden Vine which we went to last Thursday for a Tuscan wine tasting.  We are all about all things Italian lately. 😉  We really loved the Satta Costa Di Giulia (similar to a Sauvignon Blanc) and the La Mozza I Perazzi (a bold Sangiovese blend), so Brad bought a bottle of each.  The had to be ordered and shipped so last night was the perfect opportunity to pick them up.

Soon upon returning home, Brad headed to bed around 9 pm.  He’s been traveling for work since Monday and often does not get the sleep he needs in hotel rooms.  I stayed up until just after 11 to do some bloggy stuff, then turned in for the night.

To keep with the theme, here are some interesting Italian proverbs about marriage:

Ne di Venere Ne di Marte non si sposa ne si parte! – Neither marriage nor war will go away once you start

La buona moglie fa il buon marito – A good wife makes a good husband

La moglie e’ la chiave di casa – A good wife is the key to a good home

Meglio il marito senz’amore, che con gelosia – Better to have a husband without love than one who is jealous

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I apologize in advance…

…for the low-quality iPhone photos.  If I’m going to keep blogging, I’ve got to stop leaving my camera at work.

When I got home yesterday evening, I decided to forgo workout #2 of the day to spend some time with Brad who was going out of town.

I got a little hungry waiting for dinner so I tried this out.

TJ’s White Bean Humus.  The verdict?  eh….kinda bland.  Not as thick as humus and I missed the tahini.  I think it could have been improved with stronger herbs and a bit of salt.  I think I could make a much better version.  But now I have a whole tub to eat.  Maybe I can convince Brad that he likes it.

With a few veggies, plus some un-pictured pretzels.

Then I was off to dinner with some lovely Charlotte bloggers.  This time we were meeting up on my end of town: Uptown at Dandelion Market.

In attendance: Jen, Jen, Brittney, Diana, Michelle, Jessie, Jessie (and  husband), and Katie.

Katie’s food came out first and I had to snap a photo of it because the salad is just so interesting.  I had it the last time I ate at Dandelion Market.

House salad with dried cranberries in a parmesan basket with balsamic vinaigrette.

Then I made myself busy taking blurry photos when no one was looking.

Finally my mussles came out.  They were super tasty probably due to the creamy broth they were in.  I used the bread to sock up the broth and it was delicious.  Tomatoes and garlic garnished the mussels as well.

I also ordered the stuffed zucchini which had more stuffing than zucchini and was delicious because of that.

I love anything served with a thick sweet marinara.  The stuffing was parmesan and bread crumbs.  Yum.

I also had a glass of Pinot Noir.  I just couldn’t resist.

We had originally planned to go to Dandelion Market because we purchased a Groupon.  Groupons are deals on stores and restaurants in the city you sign up to receive coupons.  This Groupon cost $10 and was good for $20 worth of food.  The news of the Dandelion Market coupon erupted on Twitter and all of us bought one anticipating a blogger dinner  meet-up.   However, when we all went to print out our Groupons, we  noticed that the fine print said we were only allowed to use two Groupons per table.  Poo  poo.

When our bills came I thought What the heck…it doesn’t hurt to ask.  So I asked and the manager told our waiter that we could all use our coupons!  Yes!  My $24 bill became a $4 bill, just like that.  Don’t worry, I’m sure we all tipped generously.  I used to work in a restaurant and am sensitive to tipping appropriately.

Non-iPhone photo, courtesy of Jessie.

It was a fun night and I’m so glad I got to meet Jen for the first time!

I woke up the today 45 minutes before my alarm clock went off (GEEZ!).  But, I did get to make a delicious breakfast.

I started off making an egg over easy Allie-style.  When I first saw this, I thought…genius!  You don’t have to flip the egg and it steams perfectly.  I often pop the yolk when I flip it so this is perfect.

Altogether now…

My last Food for Life sprouted English muffins spread with Laughing Cow.  One was topped with an egg over easy and some slightly browning avocado.  The other with a little blueberry jam.  Strawberries on the side with some much needed coffee.

Somehow even with the early start this morning, I managed to be right on time.  What did I do with the extra 45 minutes?

Back tonight later with a no-photo lunch recap, snacks + dinner and hopefully (fingers crossed) a looooong run!

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Carb day and bloggers at Brixx

Breakfast repeat.

Around 10:30 I had a gnawing hunger, which I remedied with a Lara lemon bar.

I liked the tartness which was similar to the key lime.  I hadn’t tried either of these in the past but the tartness worked.  Maybe I’ll try making them myself.  I especially liked the addition of coconut in the key lime from yesterday.

When you stay out even 30 minutes too late, you either go to bed later or you skip doing something important like making your lunch.  PB & J was my quick throw-together lunch of choice, which I had not much longer after I ate the Lara bar.

I also packed raw veggies and a peach.  However around 11 am I got a pretty nasty headache and couldn’t bring myself to munch on crunchy veggies with a headache.

Around 2 pm I decided that I seriously needed to go home because my headache was starting to make me nauseous and the florescent lights weren’t helping.  I headed home, but not before dropping by a store to pick up my 16 vases for my 16 tables at my wedding reception.  The shipment had just came in to the store.  Several of the vases in the shipment had been broken along the way, but lucky for me, all of mine were still in one piece.  Whew! I don’t think I could deal with any major issues this late in the game.

My grumbling stomach needed a snack before my nap at 3:30 pm.  I nuked some peaches and topped it with Greek Gods yogurt, the last of my homemade granola, and about 1/2 Tbsp. sunflower seed butter.

I slept soundly and woke up feeling soooo much better at 5:30 pm.

Brad and I had plans with a bunch of other Charlotte bloggers at Brixx Pizza in the South Park area.

We got there a little early and waited with Kath and Matt for our table to be ready.

Other bloggers who joined us were Katie, Michelle, Diana, and Rachel.  It was nice to hang out and get to know these ladies better.  Rachel was visiting from California, but she’s actually from Gastonia, where I am from.  Such a small world!  We had fun discussing how everyone in Gastonia has an Uncle Ronnie, which we both do of course. 🙂

Our appetizer of choice was the Mediterranean plate, which was three types of hummus and pita chips.

I also partook in some Kath and Matt’s bruschetta.

I avoided all of the complicated beers and stuck to something I knew: Stella.

I talked Brad into splitting a spinach salad with me since I hadn’t seen a veggie all day.  The dressing was a bit spicy.  Other toppings were croutons, pistachio, and goat cheese.

We also split an 8 inch roasted veggie pizza, which is my favorite at any pizza place.  Brad asked for his half with pepperoni, but somehow it ended up with pepperoni all over it.  I picked mine off and gave them to him.

I always ask for extra sauce but sometimes can’t get the waiter to bring it to me until I’m almost done with my pizza.  Brixx gets brownie points by getting my extra sauce to me before I was done with my first piece.

I headed home early to make a fruit salad for a brunch tomorrow.  I’ve got a 4 mile race in the Dilworth neighborhood bright and early planned too and more blogger meetup fun. 🙂

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Catching up on yesterday

I didn’t blog at all yesterday so I’m still playing catch-up.

Lunch was with coworkers at a Japanese restaurant in Hickory.  Sushi was on the menu, which is why we went, but the sushi chef did not come in until 12:15 pm.  We arrived at 11:45 am.  Fail.

I wasn’t really feeling a pound of hibachi chicken and rice so I ordered the seafood soup with a side of veggies.

There’s no photo because I was with coworkers, but it wasn’t that exciting anyway.  My soup was tiny and had three pieces of seafood: one shrimp, one scallop, one piece of imitation crab.  I use the term “seafood” loosely.  Me vegetables were a nice surprise in that it was a pretty large portion, albeit sauteed in quite a bit of oil.  My fortune cookie said “You are working hard.”  What kind of fortune is that?

I had the Key Lime Pie Lara bar for a snack.  No photo again since I was working from a coworkers house.  But this is what it looked like sans the display of ingredients.

Someone at work mentioned ice cream, so I had cold and sweet on the brain when thinking about dinner.  I had a quick strawberry chocolate SIAB with homemade granola.

Brad and I then decided to go grab a glass of wine at this newer place on Tryon St.  called the Wooden Vine.  Lucky us, we got there right at the beginning of a wine tasting of Tuscan wines, which we happily joined.

We had a great time trying the wines and talking to our wine guide, since we’ll be in Tuscany in just over two weeks (!!!) for our honeymoon.

We also had this delicious spread set before us.

My plate + some fruit and about 2 more pieces of cheese.

Chianti Classico

Eventually some friends joined us and we had a nice evening talking with them.  I ended the night with a snack before bed.  Turning in a little later always makes me hungry.  My snack of choice was pretzels and Laughing Cow.

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DMB Concert in a lotta photos + a little words

Afternoon snack

Pre-Concert Dinner with Brittney:

Flying Saucer, Charlotte

Ace Pear for Brittney, Sam’s Summer  Ale for moi

Fun menu

Hippies for everyone:

Hippie Hollow for me

Hippie Burger for Brittney

1 hour, 2 miles of bumper to bumper traffic, and a brief rain shower later…

Tiny Dave

Tinier Dave


Tall boy and a short girl (calling the kettle black)


Are my eyes open?  Who knows.

Late night.

Early morning.

Flax Optimum  cereal

Homemade granola

1/2 banana

raspberries

Organic skim milk

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