Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Breath of Fresh Air

Look who I stumbled upon when I came home from work Friday!

Dad, Mom, and Bailey all came to spend the weekend with me in Charlotte.  The combination of their busy work and travel schedules, mixed with my work schedule, has left us unable to connect in Charlotte for quite some time.  Fortunately, they were able to make the trip and we enjoyed a beautiful weekend in the Queen City.

Friday night we chose a casual dinner at Brixx, a local pizza restaurant.  After sitting at the bar and sampling several fall beers, we made our way to a table.  We each started with a different salad - Spinach, Arugula and Pear, and Mediterranean.  We were impressed with the substantial portions.  Next, we split two pizzas. The first was a wood-roasted vegetable on wheat crust (wild mushrooms, broccoli, onions, peppers and fresh oregano with tomato sauce and mozzarella).  The second was a wild mushroom on original crust (wood-roasted shiitake, portobello and button mushrooms, mozzarella cheese, topped with fresh arugula and shaved parmesan).  Both had a perfectly thin and crispy crust and flavorful toppings.  My favorite was the more saucy garden vegetable.

Saturday morning Dad and I had one mission to accomplish - a 10 mile training run.  This was Dad's second-to-last long run prior to his first half marathon at the Atlanta Thanksgiving race in just a few weeks.  Despite temperatures in the upper 30s, we took a tour by foot through my stomping grounds, including South Park, Myers Park, and Dilworth.  Whether it was the absence of the Atlanta hills or having his coach along his side pushing him a little harder, something added some fire under his step and we averaged 9 minutes per mile.  Great work, Dad!

For breakfast, I made a easy and tasty french toast casserole.  Sadly, my post-run hunger got the best of me and it was consumed long before I gave thought to taking pictures.

Keeping with the focus on food, lunch was sponsored by the Fresh Market and Whole Foods Thanksgiving food sampling events.  So . . . much . . . good . . . food!  I can't wait for holiday cooking to begin!

After planting some flowers at home and enjoying some lazy time lounging on the deck, we cleaned up to head to dinner.  First though, we enjoyed some wine at Pisces Sushi Bar.

The restaurant of choice for the evening was Fern, Flavors From the Garden.  We've eaten there once before, and knew that without a doubt, we'd be back.  They have recently debuted a new fall menu and we enjoyed a couple appetizers to share, and then each had a unique entree.

Autumn Leeks
Pan-seared leak rounds, pumpkin puree, muscadine grapes, kale, and a red wine gastrique

Chorizo and Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates
House-made vegan chorizo, medjool dates, Bosky Acres goat cheese, arugula, and piquillo pepper salad

Fall Harvest
BBQ grilled tempeh, FEBA Farms vegetables, pumpernickel soil, and chestnut creme sauce

BBQ Tempeh Steak
Sliced BBQ grilled tempeh, green grits, toasted hazelnuts, braising greens, sorghum vinaigrette

Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Filet
Char-grilled pumpkin, turnip and apple puree, caramelized brussel sprouts, mushroom bacon
Overall, the meal was excellent.  My only complaint was that my Fall Harvest dish was lacking in sauciness that would have helped to bring the dish together.  It's so enjoyable to feast on delicious vegan and vegetarian cuisine that is prepared with such precision.  In the market of carnivore-focused restaurants, it's refreshing to have this gem in Charlotte.

Dessert was several treats from Amelie's, including a creme puff, salted caramel brownie, and French  macarons.  

Thanks to the end of daylight savings time, we enjoyed an extra hour of slumber this morning before tackling some  chores around the house and taking the beast (aka Bailey) for a walk to the park.  

Sadly, it's back to reality this afternoon.  Studying for the OITE, reading for and preparing my grand rounds presentation, and making plans for tomorrow's surgical cases.  Let another week commence.

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