Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short, Yet Sweet

Leaving work on Friday morning I was smiling ear to ear - GOOD-BYE NIGHT FLOAT!  I'll be back for an entire month of nights in November, but until then, I'm back to living in the daylight.

Rather than spend a weekend here in Charlotte being lazy and probably sleeping more than necessary, I opted to make a short trip down the road to the ATL.  Since Father's Day is next weekend and I'll be here doing some racing and working, this weekend was the perfect time to make a little surprise trip home.  Bailey's crazy barking prevented my stealth approach, but Dad was still sufficiently surprised.

I've been anxiously awaiting the opening of the Cherokee Aquatic Center since it was first discussed a few years ago.  Finally, it has recently opened, and so I made the quick drive just down the road to check it out. Not only is the facility incredible and far superior to the dungeon-like Woodstock Aquatic Center, but it's currently long-course meters.  I had nearly the entire pool to myself and the 3000 meters flew by.

There's nothing better than home-cooked meals!  Mom prepared a great vegetarian stir fry with brown rice.  After three weeks of toast, peanut butter, sweet potatoes, and an occasional salad, my stomach was very happy to have a real meal.

Saturday morning the smell of fresh-from-Hawaii coffee woke me from my slumber.  I'm no coffee connoisseur, but Kona Joe coffee is definitely the best I've ever tasted.

Sufficiently caffeinated, it was time to get down to business and knock out a bike + run.  Bailey decided she needed some exercise as well and hit the treadmill for a short run.  Tri Latta is just a week away, and I can only hope that race goes better than my Saturday workout.  I'm blaming on the sleep deprivation and miserable humidity.

Saturday  night we joined nearly the entire city of Woodstock for a 70s concert by Yacht Rock Revue.  Although it's not quite the music of my generation, the band was good and had the crowd energized.  I, however, seemed to miss the infusion of energy, and instead accomplished the feat of sleeping through a rock concert.  What can I say . . . that takes talent!

Sunday morning Royce and I arranged to take Dad out for a Father's Day brunch (one week early).  I had heard several great reviews of Local Three, so we opted to check out their brunch.  If you live in the Atlanta area, you MUST go check out Local Three.  Their Sunday brunch is served straight from a buffet line in the kitchen, giving you a unique behind the scenes glimpse at the chefs preparing the dishes as you fill your plate.  I'm not a frequent bruncher, but this was a stellar meal, with a great ambiance, and very reasonably priced.

Plate #1
Corn bread with apricot jam, mixed greens, fig and ricotta crostini,
mac and cheese, shrimp and grits, black eyed pea  + greens soup
Happy Father's Day Dad!

Plate #2
French toast with strawberries, scrambled eggs, bacon, Elvis pancake (banana chocolate chip with
peanut butter sauce and caramelized bacon), spinach and cheese panini, cauliflower quiche,
seasoned potatoes, and roasted ham with sweet potatoes, carrots, and green beans.
Now that I was stuffed to the gills, it came time to say good-bye to the whole family and hit the road back to Charlotte.

The drive home was a weather nightmare.  Just north of Greenville there was a torrential downpour, and as if that weren't enough of a challenge, as I made my way through Spartanburg, I was greeted with a hail storm.  Despite dodging cars and trucks stopped in the  middle of the highway, I escaped the madness and was happily greeted by sunshine as I crossed into North Carolina.

My final weekend activity was a trip to Taste of Charlotte.  Along with Taste of the Nation, I try to make these two local foodie festivals an annual event.  The street fair features samples from more than thirty local casual restaurants.  Last year I enjoyed a casual afternoon wandering through all of the booths.  This year, however, I arrived to threatening skies and escalating winds.  Having scoped out the restaurants online, I made quick work of gathering the plates that I was most excited to try.  The rain quickly changed from sprinkle to heavy raindrops and so I opted to grab things to-go.

Zizi's Vegan: Organic Quino Salad
Polka Dot Bake Shop: Strawberry cupcake with lemon icing

Mellow Mushroom: Kosmic Karma Pizza
Red sauce base with feta and mozzarella cheeses, spinach, sun-dried tomatoes,
 and Roma tomatoes with a pesto swirl.
Newk's Favorite Salad: mixed greens, grilled chicken breast, gorgonzola cheese, dried cranberries, grapes, artichoke hearts, pecans and croutons tossed with Newk’s sherry vinaigrette

Caffe Siena: Sea Bass Cake with Chipotle Slaw

Woodland's Indian Cuisine:  Vegetable Biryani with Chana Masala 
Don't those dishes look delicious?!  I was impressed that there seemed to be more vegetarian options this year and hope that is a trend which continues.  Although the rain put a damper on the festival, it certainly won't keep me away year after year.  If you live in Charlotte and haven't ventured in to Uptown to explore the Taste of Charlotte, be sure to add it to your calendar for June 2014!

And that sums up my weekend . . . far too short, yet packed with fun, family, and food!  Here's to hoping this week is a great one!

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