Saturday, July 24, 2010

Restaurant Review--Dressler's

I admit when a friend forwarded a coupon for Dressler's to me a few weeks ago, I totally wrote it off. I thought an eatery at the Metropolitan was a little too pretentious for me. Oh, will I ever learn to get over myself?!
With Charlotte Restaurant Week we decided to treat ourselves (thanks to a gift card) to dinner. We were trying to decide between a long time favorite, Melting Pot, or this new one, Dressler's. Since Melting Pot only had a 3pm or 10pm reservation, we went with Dressler's. Oh and aren't we so glad we tried something new!
This place is delicious. Hands down every thing we ate was divine. That might sound dramatic, but it's true. We started with our appetizer selections of Thai Calamari and Goat Cheese & Garlic dip. Adam loves calamari and said it was the best he'd ever had, so I had to see for myself. Wow. Tender and full of flavor with the Thai and wasabi. This stuff was actually fork tender! Not that rubbery tentacly stuff you get at most places. And the Goat Cheese came hot with roasted garlic cloves to spread on pita points. Yum. The marriage of roasted garlic and warm goat cheese is a party in your mouth. We added a wedge salad to our fixed menu because we love wedges. And theirs is called the "wedgie." Gotta love a fancy restaurant that calls their salad a Wedgie. Lots of bacon and blue cheese to satisfy our pallet. Onto the main course. I chose the Maryland Style Crap cakes that came with a weak mescalin mix on the side. Not sure if it was a garnish or I should eat it. But the pecan remoulade was delicious and the cakes were meaty. So who cares about the lettuce on the side. Adam's Ribeye was a "Blackened Heart of Ribeye" that was thick like a filet but had all the good qualities of a Ribeye, served with asparagus and mashed potatoes. We finished off this meal with creme brulee and homemade carrot cake. I always think I don't like creme brulee, but I'm always surprised by the smoothie creaminess and crusted sugar. Apparently the owner's mom makes the carrot cake and it was pretty legit.

One thing I liked about this place was the location. There was live music out on the patio and it overlooked the Charlotte skyline. Something about it made me feel like we weren't in Charlotte but in some hip big city. Maybe we live in a big hip city and I don't even know it. I highly recommend this place. It's definitely pricey, and since Restaurant Week is over, you may have to save it for a special occasion.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Sad Sir Ed's

Just days after reporting on our favorite restaurant, Sir Ed's, it has closed. Unbeknownst to me until Adam stopped in for a pint (or few) to the news that tonight they were serving until they ran out. What a sad day for us. We love the pub and taking walks up to Park Road Shopping Center to enjoy "our place." No more yummy nachos or fish n chips or tomato soup. Sad.
I found a few articles, all vague, online.
This makes me hate Montford Drive more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Restaurant Reviews part 1

Adam and I love to eat. We like to think we are foodies. Not the snobby kind who use truffle oil or salt rocks. But we enjoy food. In fact, eating with Adam is a joy for sure. I know that sounds weird. But he is very systematic in his eating and the way he enjoys food is fun to watch. Anyway. We don't get to eat out much. When we do it's because we were given a gift certificate. I love restaurant gift certificates. After a couple really great meals, I figured it was worth sharing.

Hands down our favorite restaurant is Sir Ed's at Park Road Shopping Center. We like the pub atmosphere, the beer, and the really good food. Some suggestions for you: Jamaican Jerk Chicken Nachos, Tomato Basil Soup, Potato Cakes, the Wedge, Black Bean Burger, and Fish n Chips.

Recently, we've gotten to go on a couple "fancy" dates thanks to some extremely kinds folks. Let me start with our first, Bonterra. This restaurant is located in an old church in the heart of Dilworth. It has a "fine dining" atmosphere, but not a pretentious one. On this particular date we were indulging and therefore not paying attention to the prices. We started out with some "food with wine" which are small plates such as cheeses and olives. We had a delicious Smoked Salmon and Goat cheese spread. I admit I was a little weary of the smoked salmon part, but it was subtle and really yummy. Our next course was an app and salad. This course we chose calamari and their Azalea Salad. These were good, not great, but good. Then the main course. YUM. We got the Ribeye and the Lamb Chops. We don't mess around. Our intention was to share, which we did. The Ribeye was perfectly cooked and came with this flavorful pearl barley. The Lamb came with a divine black pepper gnocchi. These dishes were spectacular. We finished off the meal with dessert, of course. We ordered the Chocolate Sampler, but got the Molten Cake with Mint ice cream. This mint ice cream was bright green and smooth and tasted like a fresh mint leaf. And the decadent molten cake was smooth and creamy. We ended up getting the chocolate sampler too, which was rich. After 3 hours of dining we headed home. We loved Bonterra for it's food and service. We enjoyed not being rushed, but allowed and encouraged to take our time. Often times when you take the chance on a fancy (i.e. expensive) restaurant there is a chance the food won't meet expectations. Our philosophy is that if we are going to pay A LOT (i.e. $30 plus, but really more than $10) for an entree, then it should blow us away. Our food at Bonterra exceeded our expectations. Hopefully we'll get to go back. Maybe Groupon will offer another deal.

This got I'll split up my reviews. Next up: Dressler's

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Mr. Bill

It's been almost a year since we moved into this house. We were so excited to get out of an apartment and into a house. Part of being in a house and a neighborhood was the prospect of meeting neighbors. This looks way different in my head than in reality. A while back we made some bread to take to our neighbors. One of those was Mr. Bill. Mr. Bill kinda scared me. He'd sit out on his "stoop" with his cat, Killer, and if I waved or smiled he seemed to just glare. He was sort of a mystery to us. He never had visitors, but every Saturday like clockwork he'd leave in the morning early for a few hours. We always wondered what he did.

In the short time we've been living here we've seen Emergency crews come to Bill's house twice. It made me so sad because he was alone and it highlighted my inability to really reach out and care for our neighbor. I fell into the would have/should have/could have bit. After the second time, Mr. Bill never came home. We reached out to the folks coming by his house (old friend and coworkers). He had had another stroke, this was his 3rd in a year. We would ask how he was doing whenever we saw someone at his house and it seemed that he wasn't doing too well. Eventually his sister and her husband drove up from Florida. We met and talked to her a while. In that first meeting she gave us some insight into Bill. He was a bit of a loner and even when she was visiting or driving through he didn't want her to come by the house. They would talk on the phone and check in with one another, but it didn't seem to go further than that. She hadn't seen him in 9 years. I could sense a sadness in her, that she didn't really know her brother or understand the way he was. It turns out he was a bit of a hoarder too. (the folks coming by the house were cleaning it out for when he was able to come back home) We found out through our other neighbor that Mr. Bill passed away on July 1st. Once again I found myself wanting to go over to comfort his sister, but paralyzed. What do I say? I didn't know Bill. In fact, I was a sucky neighbor when it came down to it. So what, I took him homemade bread once!

Yesterday we saw his sister and her husband and talked to her a while. She seems to have learned so much about her brother in his death. He worked up until March 2009; he was 70. She was planning a private service because she didn't know anyone down here (they are originally from Ohio), but 30 people from his old work showed up for the service. She said his old boss even cried when he spoke. This brought tears to her eyes. I could only imagine what this meant to her to see that he did have a community here. His friends even encouraged her to bury him here since he saw himself as an adopted North Carolinian. One of his closest friends gave her the burial site. I was just so touched to hear a little more about Bill's life too. And even more thankful that his sister got to learn more about him because I could sense the pain in her voice when she talked about how he kept her out of his life.

I have no earth-shattering reflections from this encounter. It's just been sitting in my heart and making me think. About neighbors. About family.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

8 crazy months

It's been a crazy 8 months because I'm still in awe of the fact that I am a mama to this sweet little lady Charis Root. Seriously!? This is such a fun age! People are so on when they say each new stage is so fun even though you miss the one before. That's been true for us. I can't believe she's already 8 months old. That feels so grown at times.

This past month has been a bit crazy for us. Just days before Charis was 7 months old I was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer. That alone is crazy. I had to wean her, which made me so so sad. In the midst of lots of appointments and starting chemo God has gifted us with the most delightful baby girl. Without depending on her too much for joy these days I am so very thankful for her life. God totally knew what He was doing when He gave us Charis Root.
So, I feel like it's been a jam-packed month for her:
- We went for shots today and I checked her weight...17 pounds! 17 scrumptous pounds at that. She is like a little gummy bear.

I just love the way she's looking at her daddy
- Since I had to wean her from nursing, some friends "donated" their breast milk. I know some of you out there think that is weird, but I don't and she didn't seem to notice. She's had a mixture of breastmilk and formula for the past month. Fortunately, she'll take anything in the bottle.

kisses from daddy!
- She made her first road trip to Louisiana!! And she did AWESOME. Seriously. It was about 11 hours there and 13 hours back and she was a gem. She got to meet some new friends, walk down Magazine street, hang out with her grandparents and auntie, and visit the Mandeville lakefront. We loved getting to take her to some of our favorite places, even if she wasn't fully aware of it.

at the lakefront
- She is getting on all fours a lot and trying to crawl. I'm so not ready for this. She's definitely made a few moves. She is way more mobile now. She goes from sitting up to "crawling" on her tummy and back up. She can totally get to what she wants now.

she can "crawl" with something in her mouth!
- She went on her first bike ride. My mom got us one of those kid bike trailers for Christmas and we broke it out over the weekend. She is still a little too small, but totally seemed to enjoy the wind in her hair.

riding with daddy
- She LOVES to eat and will eat ANYTHING. A friend made me some baby food, which was a huge gift, and Charis is loving it. Peas, chicken, squash, black beans, green beans, carrots, apples, oatmeal, watermelon. You name it she'll probably eat it. She is such a good eater. Watermelon is the most fun b/c she attacks it when you put it out in front of her.

eating blackbeans
- She's had lots of babysitters. She gets lots of loving from all sorts of friends. That's so awesome.

- She loves her dollie that she sleeps with. The moment we lay her down she reaches for dollie and cuddles up with her and her thumb. It's super cute.

hanging out way past her bedtime with some girlfriends!
- Waking up is the best. She is always in a good mood and walking in her room is a blast. I know that sounds weird, but she is so excited to see us. Recently, we went in after a nap b/c we heard her squealing and she was sitting up! I think she was even a little surprised at how she ended up like that.

- She loves the pool. We don't go that much, but when we do she loves the water.

splashing in the pool...strap in mouth the whole time
- We tried the johnny jump up recently and she's still a little too short, but she loves to bounce.

look at those toes!

If you are visiting me...

visit Jen's site and stay tuned for an update of baby girl's 8 months!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sweet Bee

We seriously have the best baby ever. I know that is so dramatic and every parent thinks this about their babes. But, I'm serious. She's been easy from day one. And now, in light of my cancer diagnosis, it seems like it's all part of God's amazing plan for our family. In the past 2 weeks Charis has had more sitters than she has in her short little 7 and a half months. And it's been such a relief to be able to leave her with anyone and know that she is being taken care of.
Lately she has been such a joy and delight. Walking into her room each morning as she wakes up is pure delight. As I am navigating through life now with cancer, I am so incredibly thankful for this little sweet soul who has brightened my life and my heart in ridiculous ways. I am thankful that I get to just enjoy her and that I don't have to explain why my head is shaved or why I'm tired. In fact, we can generally nap at the same time. Adam and I are truly amazed with our little lady. I'm just so excited to be her mama, to be able to be a mama.
Here is a sweet picture my sweet friend Taryn took of Charis Root and Nora Fern today.

Nora Fern kissin on baby root