Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Daffodils, A Birthday, and Vacation Eats

I'm back from a brief spring vacation and quickly back into the swing of things.  Before I get too busy with work again, here are some pictures that capture my escape from reality.

Prior to leaving Charlotte, Mom paid a visit to supervise house painting.  As a "thank you," I treated her to dinner at Good Food on Montford, one of many local restaurants on my "must eat here" list.  The menu is tapas style, so we opted to share several very unique dishes.

Lamb Pasta
THIS DISH IS INCREDIBLE, and requires you to pay a visit to Good Food.
Unfortunately, their pasta dishes aren't listed on the online menu, so I can' give you a description.

Prince Edward Island Mussels
Green Curry, Coconut Milk, Cilantro
Excellent flavor and sauce which requires nearly an entire loaf of
fresh bread to soak up every last drop of the savory goodness.

Sea Bass, Roasted Vegetable Cake, and Citrus Chutney
This was the fish special the evening of our visit.
The fish was a bit overcooked, but the vegetable cake and citrus chutney were delicious.

Crispy Quail Lettuce Wraps
Marinated cucumber, Asian pear, and chili
Our server described this as his favorite dish on the menu, so our expectations were high.
Although it was good, it lacked any memorable flavor and the "crispy" description was absent.
Thursday morning, we set out for an adventure to Gibbs Gardens, which is an incredible 300-acre estate with impeccably manicured gardens located in Ball Ground, Georgia (just an hour drive north of Atlanta).  More than 30 years ago, Jim Gibbs set out to develop a world-class public garden.  Today, he has created an absolutely beautiful park featuring seasonal gardens (daffodil, manor house, Monet waterlily, and Japanese).  In the spring, the daffodils are the highlight of the park and provide a bright burst of color.

Mr. Gibbs still lives on the property and you can literally explore the grounds that lead right up to his front door.  I fell in love with his property, and have dreams of my backyard having a similar appearance.  Most especially, I'd like to replicate the pool and deck landscaping.  It's just money, right?

The Japanese gardens are one of the largest in the country.  I'll be back in the summer to witness the abundance of water lilies.

No trip to Atlanta is complete without quality family time.  Obviously, Bailey has a very tough life in my absence.  I'd like to say that her nap on Dad's lap (complete with blanket, of course) was necessary after a 8 mile run.  In reality, I'm pretty sure this is a daily occurrence.  It's a tough life!

Royce turned 25 on Friday!  After opening some gifts (I stocked his refrigerator with NC craft beers), we celebrated with dinner at Five Seasons Brewing in Alpharetta.  The food was good, but not particularly photo-worthy.

Last, but not least, there was no shortage of home-cooked meals.  Mom made this "taste's like lasagna" soup one cold night.  It's originally my Aunt's recipe, but we modified it to be vegetarian - substituting tempeh for ground beef, and amping it up with the addition of shredded zucchini.  SO GOOD!  Along side we had a arugula salad and Great Harvest toast drizzled with balsamic.

Easter Sunday's breakfast featured eggs, although for the first year that I can remember, there was no egg dying.  Instead, we made open faced egg sandwiches layered with tomatoes, arugula, sprouts, capers, and mustard.  Fresh fruit rounded out the meal with a punch of juicy sweetness.

The weekend also included a long hike in the woods, several Daddy-Daughter runs, a nap in the sun, Mother-Daughter manicures and pedicures, and Homeland Season 2 marathons.  Is anyone else completely obsessed with this show?  Somehow the weekend flew by, and suddenly it was 4am this morning and I was cursing my alarm clock.  Back to reality . . .

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