Monday, January 2, 2012

Painting in the New Year

First of all, let me promise that a Christmas Day recap post with lots of pictures is coming soon.  I took many pictures with Mom's fancy camera and need to download those before I publish.  Maybe tomorrow . . .

In the meantime, things have been busy around here.  Since moving into my new home 6 months ago, I've been anxiously awaiting the opportunity to paint the interior.  The current paint is the builder-grade ivory color that was in pretty rough shape.  I contemplated hiring painters versus tackling it myself (with the assistance of family), and decided I'd much prefer to spare the cost in exchange for some manual labor.  With the weekend off work, I decided it was time to conquer the paint job.  Mom volunteered to come spend several days in Charlotte and help with the painting.

She arrived Thursday, and by the time I arrived home from work Friday night, the entire living room was coated in a fresh layer of "chocolate mousse" paint.  The woman really knows her painting!  When I walked in that night I was amazed at how much more welcoming and warm the house felt with the new color.

Friday night I treated Mom to dinner as a small token of my appreciation for her help.  We dined at 300 East, a small contemporary American restaurant in Dilworth.  The restaurant itself is located in a quaint little house and we were immediately impressed by the ambiance, cozy tables, and unique feel of the restaurant.  To start we shared the "Sweet Potato Ravioli with Gorgonzola Cream and Toasted Walnuts".  The waitress said it was their most popular appetizer, and we could certainly tell why.  It was very rich and decadent, but the appetizer portion was just right.

For my entree I selected "Bronzed Sesame Salmon with Brown Rice and Fresh Kale".  I've had a hankering for salmon for a couple weeks, so this hit the spot.  The salmon was cooked perfectly, and the Asian marinade paired well.

Mom's entree was the "Winter Farro Salad with Roasted Mushrooms, Local Butternut Squash & Kale, Parmesan with Grilled Marinated Lamb."  Her plate was clean not long after I took this picture, so I believe the dish was a success.

Not wanting our perfect dining experience to come to a close, we elected to share a dessert.  This little piece of heaven was a Rosemary-Infused NC Apple Cobbler with Whole Wheat Scone Topping and Vanilla Ice Cream.  The addition of the crystallized rosemary was an unexpected, yet incredible flavor addition.

Saturday we took a break from painting and enjoyed shopping (farmer's market, Earth Fare, and the mall) and were both happy to cross desired items off our list.  Before we headed out I whipped up a pancake breakfast to fuel us for the day.

Rather than the traditional party-style New Year's Eve festivities, I much prefer the nice dinner and pajama-lounging plan.  Mom really wanted to get glamorous and hit the town in search of a crazy-wild party, but I managed to convince her otherwise.

For dinner we dined at Copper Modern Indian Cuisine, a restaurant I've heard lots of great things about and also for which I happened to have a gift certificate.  I forgot to capture the beginning of our meal on camera, but we started with a glass of Riesling (for me) and a Copper-tini (for Mom).  We paired our drinks with Mushroom and Green Peas Kulcha (stuffed Naan bread),  Paneer-Kala Chana "Tuk" (a rather disappointing mix of black chickpeas and cumin seasoning that was much too dry), and the House Salad (greens, match-stick veggies, spice-crusted goats cheese, apricots, and a homemade vinaigrette).

We had a difficult time deciding which entrees to order since the titles and descriptions were of traditional Indian dishes which we were not in any way familiar with.  In the end, we shared two dishes.
Roasted Seabass, Spinach Corn Croquettes, Masala Scented Jagary Tomato "Kut"
This entree was smaller than I would have expected given the price, but was very tasty.
The masala sauce was my favorite part and  left me wishing they had been a little more generous with it.

Rasile Aloo aur Pakode - Fingerling Potatoes and Spinach Dumplings in a  Zesty Banarasi Curry
This was the more traditional saucy Indian-type dish I was expecting.  The flavors were excellent without being too spicy. 
By 9pm, we were home and snuggled in our pajamas.  Our girl's night New Year's Eve festivities included Amelie's desserts (macaroons and salted caramel brownie!), watching Midnight in Paris (in typical fashion, I did more watching the back of my eyelids than the movie), and falling asleep before the clock struck midnight.
Flannel pajamas + Robe + Roaring Fire + Movie = perfect lazy girl's New Year's Eve
Sunday morning we relived the ball-drop and countdown to 2012.  Rather than champagne I toasted with a tasty cinnamon hazelnut latte.  Not exactly the typical celebratory toast, but absolutely perfect for me.

After the brief celebration we were back to painting.  We tackled the hallway, kitchen, and spare bathroom.  I somehow calculated that given the seemingly small space, we'd be done by mid-afternoon, but the painting project that begin at 8am didn't finish until 7:30pm.  It was a long day, but we were proud to have completed the task.  HUGE thanks to Mom, who single-handedly did the majority of the paining!  If anyone needs a GREAT painter at a VERY reasonable price, just let me know.

After a long day of painting, we decided to enjoy a quiet dinner at home.  While Mom was hard at work painting the bathroom,  I whipped up a stir-fry using many of our fresh farmer's market veggies.  And for dessert, we might  have possibly sipped peppermint-chocolate chip milkshakes.

The last meal of my weekend was a classic New Year's meal with a twist.  It hit the spot!
Polenta + Mustard Greens + Curry-seasoned Kidney Beans + Fried Egg
Happy 2012 to Everyone!!

No comments:

Post a Comment