Sunday, April 19, 2015

Match Day! and Staycation

The long-awaited pediatric orthopaedic fellowship match day was Friday, April 10th and I'm beyond excited to announce that I matched at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite!  After having closely looked at 11 programs across the country, I knew without a doubt that Scottish Rite was the perfect place for my final year of training.  And even more exciting - I'm moving back home!  I'll still be enjoying Charlotte for a bit longer though, since fellowship doesn't begin until August 2016.

After celebrating the start of staycation with my parents at Taste of the Nation on Wednesday night, Thursday brought a much needed morning to sleep in and be lazy before Dad, Bailey, and I conquered a cold and rainy 6.5 mile run through Myers Park.  Afterwards, we went to 7th Street Public Market for lunch.  Mom and I shared an arugula salad with a fresh lemon dressing and wild mushroom pizza from Pure Pizza.  The sprouted grain crust dipped in whipped cinnamon honey was a sweet treat.

After taking a work trip to Hendrick Motor Sports a few months ago, I knew it would be a fun afternoon activity for Dad's birthday.  We were fortunate to receive a private behind the scenes tour through the entire facility and Dad seemed to really enjoy it.  

Flanked by his NASCAR idols - Dale Earnhardt Jr and Jimmy Johnson
Royce, Erin, and their dog Kahlua arrived Thursday evening to join us for the weekend.  That night we enjoyed a fantastic meal at 300 East to celebrate Dad's birthday.

After more than 48 hours of cold and rain, it finally started to dry out on Friday.  We all packed in to the car and made the short drive to Crowder's Mountain for an afternoon of hiking.  All of the humans and the two 4-legged friends completed an 8 mile hike with nearly 2000 feet of elevation change and some technical stretches of rocks.

Mom, Dad, and Bailey were looking as great as ever and are always up for an adventure in the woods.  I'm so happy I get to be closer to the whole family again next year.

For a brief period of time, the clouds started to clear and Erin, Bailey, and I climbed out on some rocks to capture the view.

I wish I had a video of these two crazy animals during our drive to Crowder's Mountain.  There was endless whining, barking, and attempts to climb over the seat.  Kahlua is a nervous traveler and Bailey wasn't happy that she had to share a seat that she normally has to herself.  After 3 hours of hiking, however, they curled up and slept in silence the whole ride home.

Rooster's Southpark was the location for our dinner on Friday night.  I've dined here once before and was impressed with Jim Noble's approach to local and organic proteins and produce.  Although our waitress left something to be desired, we all thoroughly enjoyed our meals.

I had the flounder special with cremini mushrooms, asparagus, and ramp puree.  The portion size was perfect and the fresh flavors paired wonderfully together.

Sides are served a la carte, so we selected a few for the table.  The mac and cheese is unique in that it is made with a rich parmesan cream.  The fried okra with a sriracha aioli was enjoyed by all.  And lastly, the asparagus were the most tender any of us eaten.

And since we were celebrating - Dad's birthday and my fellowship match - desserts were a necessity. We shared the coconut cake and chocolate mouse five ways and had no difficulty cleaning the plates.

Saturday featured several of my favorite Charlotte activities, including a long run through Freedom Park, a caramel latte from Not Just Coffee, a stop at Savory Spice Shop, and trips to both Atherton Mill and Regional farmer's markets.

I said goodbye to my family and favorite pups on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed being lazy for the remainder of a very rainy weekend in Charlotte.  Tomorrow is a big day in the running world - the Boston Marathon!  I have many friends racing and I wish them all the best of luck on what is promised to be a very rainy, windy, and cold day.  

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Taste of the Nation 2015

Taste of the Nation is without a doubt my favorite annual Charlotte event.  I've professed my love for the food, drink, and charity multiple times in the past (2012, 2013, and 2014), but I'll give you a brief idea of what you're missing if you have yet to attend.

Taste of the Nation combines an elaborate celebration of Charlotte's best chefs and restaurants, endless wine and crafty cocktails, live entertainment, wine grab-bags, and a silent auction to yield a fabulous evening for fundraising for No Kid Hungry and local beneficiaries Second Harvest Food Bank and Community Culinary School of Charlotte.  My fabulous parents even traveled from Atlanta to join me for the evening of food and fun.

If my description of the event isn't enough to interest you, let me swoon your senses with pictures of many of the delicious bites that graced my palate this evening.

300 East
Espresso Brownies, Goat Cheese Panna Cotta , and Passion Fruit Cheesecake
Baku Restaurant
Wage Beef Tataki Wrapped Around Pickled Daikon

Napa on Providence
Grilled Shrimp Over Chick Pea Salad
Date Nut Clusters and Merlot Truffles
Midwood Smokehouse
Housemade Chips and Jalepeno Bacon Dip

Johnson and Wales Culinary School
Assortment of Desserts
BBQ Pork Sliders and Chips
BBQ Pork Belly Taco and Carrot Cake
Dogwood Southern Table and Bar
Rosemary Vodka Lemonade and Brisket with Bourbon Cherries
Gallery Restaurant
Seafood Gazpacho, Pork Belly, and Deconstructed Key Lime Pie
In addition to a standard ticket, there are also VIP tickets for sale.  The benefits include early entry and an extra hour of opportunity to eat yourself silly as well as access to the Luxe Lounge.  In addition to the incredible sweets pictured below, there were passed appetizers and premium cocktails.

Cupcakes, Macarons, and Fancy Chocolates
Needless to say, it was a glutinous night that once again highlighted the incredible culinary talent that exists in Charlotte as well as the charitable giving from the community.  Congrats to Share Our Strength and No Kid Hungry for the 20th annual event.  I can't wait the 21st event in April 2016!