Sunday, January 19, 2014

Mother-Daughter Weekend and Sunday SBR - Week 2

The more appropriate name might have been "sister weekend" since Mom and I were asked multiple times if we were sisters.  Judge yourself based on the picture below, but apparently we look a bit alike.

A simple text on Friday morning - "Thinking about coming to Charlotte.  Give me a call!" was all it took to make a girls' weekend in Charlotte materialize.  By Friday evening I was done with work and Mom pulled into my driveway.  We kicked off our weekend at Heist Brewery with cocktails and tapas.  While the camera stayed tucked away, we munched on chicken and waffle bites, BBQ duck flatbread, brussel sprouts, scallops with an avocado cream, and chili with cornbread.  If you're looking for a casual restaurant with a cool vibe and unique food presentations, Heist is the place to dine.

My mission for Saturday was to share all of my favorite Charlotte weekend activities.  A perfect Saturday in the Queen City!  We started with a yoga class and then made our way to Not Just Coffee at Atherton Mill for caramel lattes.  Seriously the best cup of coffee in Charlotte.  We split a vegan chai custard donut just for good measure!

Next stop was the farmer's market for lots of local produce.  I'll be roasting parsnips, radishes, and sweet potatoes later this week!  Mom also picked out a selection of veggies for a big stir fry.  After some shopping, we worked up an appetite.  I've heard many good things about Vietnam Grill, but recently had gotten a rave review from a friend.  We started with an order of vegetarian rice paper rolls with a peanut sauce, and then shared two entrees.  The vegetarian pho was filled to the brim with vegetables and then topped with thai basil and bean shoots.  In contrast to the heat of the soup was a cold cabbage salad topped with jumbo shrimp.  We both agreed that it was a filling, yet healthy lunch, and we enjoyed trying a new cuisine.

We concluded our shopping with a few killer deals - a $150 pair of Mizunos for $42 and new bedding for two rooms for just $150 total.  My thrifty personality was quite pleased.

Later that evening we stopped by the taproom at Lenny Boy Kombucha for a couple tasting flights.  Our favorites were the "peach bomb" and "ginger".  We both agreed they were much more tasty than a beer samplers and look forward to coming back to sample different flavors throughout the year.

We weighed many dinner options, but eventually decided to enjoy a "restaurant week" experience at Napa on Providence.  The bread service included a warm toasty loaf served with pomegranate honey butter.  I tried to contain my carb-loving appetite, but could have dominated the entire loaf!

Our selections for the first course included:

Kale Salad: caramelized onions, roasted grape tomatoes, spiced pecans, house-cured & smoked pancetta with clementine vinaigrette

PEI Mussels – saffron crema, roasted red peppers, and green onions

The kale salad was  crisp and well seasoned and the sauce accompanying the mussels was good to the very last drop.  Does anyone else order mussels simply as a vehicle to soak bread in the savory sauce?

When it came time for our entrees, we were both considering the grouper.  However, in order to avoid getting two of the same thing, I stepped outside of my normally vegetarian/pescatarian diet and chose the pork chop.  I've had several meat cravings recently, so it seemed to be the appropriate choice.  We were both very pleased with our meals, ranting and raving about the execution, and sharing both entrees so we could each have a taste of each.

Grilled Pork Chop – carrot puree, braised cabbage, and apple gastrique
Apple-Crusted Grouper – roasted sweet potatoes, sautéed garlic spinach, fig & balsamic reduction
Keeping with our theme of sharing, we split two desserts.  The death by chocolate cake with coconut was an indulgent dark chocolate cake with layers of mousse and fulfilled our chocolate craving.  The lemon panna cotta was in complete contrast, with a cool lightness and flavors of strawberry, mint syrup, and candied lemon peel.  We left full and happy, and yet again, were impressed by Charlotte's restaurant scene.

Sunday was spent enjoying a lazy morning on the couch sipping on cups of tea and a late breakfast.  We both enjoyed every minute of our girls' weekend and I feel so fortunate that we love spending time together.  Thanks for coming to visit Mom!

Lastly, because it's Sunday, I'll fill you in the this week's workouts.

Swimming - 6400 yards

Biking - 4 hours and 40 minutes on the trainer

Running - 20.3 miles

Strength - 2 hours

Total Time:  12:35

It was a solid week of training and I hit all of my workouts.  I even squeezed in an hour on my yoga mat after a long bike trainer workout on Saturday.  As I sit here on Sunday night, hours after having completed my last workout of the week - a 10 mile run - my legs are certainly feeling the combination of strength work, bike power intervals, and run speed work.  It's all about getting stronger though, so I'll take that as a sign that I'm headed in the right direction.

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