Last week was just a pre-game for more delicious eats during my actual birthday week and I wasn't the only one celebrating this week. We also celebrated the birthdays of two very special girls later in the week so to say we were on a sugar high all week would be an understatement.
Second Chances at Shake Shack
I had a client meeting on Monday evening and afterwards I made a quick pit stop at SouthPark Mall to restock on a few beauty items. By the time I left the mall it was late and I was starving so I made a pit stop at Shake Shack. I've only had it once in New York and I wasn't too impressed but I believe in second chances and at 9 o'clock on a Monday night it seemed like a good idea. Plus, it was dead compared to the hour long lines they've been experiencing since opening their doors.
I ordered the SmokeShack with a side of cheese fries with bacon and a seasonal lemonade. Safe to say I enjoyed it this time because for someone who wasn't very hungry I ended up eating it all.
Bees and Berries and Business Besties
I ordered the seasonal Bees and Berries sandwich and a vanilla soy latte.
I wish this was my breakfast every day!
Trade Secrets at Merchant and Trade
We snacked on Oven Baked Lamb Balls with cucumber tzatziki sauce and waffle fries and washed it down with the house Old Fashioned (Evans Williams Black, Demerara Syrup, Angostura Bitters).
Celebrating 34 at Kindred
There are only a few restaurants in the Charlotte area that live up to the hype and Kindred is one of them, which is why it was a natural choice to celebrate my 34th birthday. The food, as always, was impeccable. Here's what we ordered, starting with the barkeep's choice for a bourbon based cocktail:
Bar Keeps Choice: bourbon, lemon, grapefruit, amaro montenegro, and honey.
It goes without saying that the milk bread is arguably the number one reason we came here.
Grandfather's Pickles: cider vinegar and onions.
I'm forever obsessed with their Grandfather's Pickles to the point where I chased down Chef Joe Kindred at an event a few years back to get the recipe and spent the entire summer trying to recreate it.
Duck Fat Potatoes with dill and aioli.
Cauliflower: harissa yogurt, nepitella, and pink peppercorn.
Gnocchi: beef and pork bolognese, tomato, and parmigano reggiano.
Tagliatelle: morel mushrooms, miso, thyme, English pea, and hazelnut.
Bucatini: creme fraiche, lardon, egg yolk, and ruby streak.
Of course, another reason to celebrate at Kindred is their birthday cake. I don't like birthday cake but LOVE theirs. Incidentally, it was the only thing Charlotte ate for dinner because she knows that there's birthday cake at the end of every birthday celebration. Smart girl.
Mexican Matzo Ball Soup (for the Sick Toddler Soul)
Per birthday tradition (mine or Brandon's), Charlotte caught a bug at camp and got sick so soup was on the docket on Thursday. We made a pit stop at Harris Teeter after her doctor's appointment to pick up a few necessary items to make soup and Charlotte violently vomited all over the meat department. Thankful for the team members who assisted us and cleaned up the mess, they deserve a paid day off, or ten.
Once we got home and she was tucked in on the couch I got to work. I made Marcela Valladolid's Mexican Beef Soup but with a concerned Jewish mother twist: matzo balls.
I'd like to think the soup worked like a charm because after about 36 hours the kid felt brand new and as if nothing ever happened.
Friday evening we packed up the car and headed north to Raleigh to celebrate my niece's second birthday. We often take back roads to avoid rush hour traffic and have made it a tradition to stop at Simply Asian in Asheboro for dinner. We've had a variety of dishes and I always come back to the Pad Thai with shrimp. So good!
Lulu Turns 2
We started our day with fresh fruit and cinnamon buns, followed by a yummy birthday party spread, followed by three o'clock munchies cured by a poke bowl delivered by Postmates.
Medium poke bowl with avocado, white rice, spicy tuna, cilantro, corn, cucumber, edamame, green onion, jalapeno, kale, pineapple, sweet onion, ponzu, salmon, seaweed salad, albacore, and furikake.
Mama's Night Out
A short Uber ride into downtown Raleigh and a few hours away from screaming toddlers (one from exhaustion and the other due to an ear infection) was just what the doctor ordered. We stumbled right into Raleigh's International Food Festival with ethnic food trucks lining the street. The lines were long for just about every vendor with only one hour left for the event. We found one vendor that was sampling Tom & Jenny's sugar free caramels. Yes, sugar free caramels! They are delicious (the original flavor is my favorite) and were created by a dentist. You can find them locally at Reid's Fine Foods or on Amazon.
Our next stop was The Haymaker for cocktails and 90's rap. I ordered the namesake cocktail, The Haymaker.
The Haymaker: Tanqueray No. Ten gin, vodka, Benedictine, Carpano vermouth blend, and grapefruit bitters.
Havana, Ooh Na-Na
We've lived in Cabarrus County for two years and have barely explored downtown Concord. There are so many cute store fronts and restaurants, including Havana-Carolina. We've heard about this gem of a Cuban restaurant for years and we finally had the opportunity to try it on our way back from Raleigh.
Here's what we ordered:
Carolina Cuban Sampler: one fried stuffed potato ball, two empanadas (one chicken and one beef ), and three croquettes with thinly sliced plantains chips (mariquitas), served with garlic mojo and cilantro dipping sauces.
(Inside the fried stuffed potato ball)
Cuban toast with home style sauce.
Caribbean Skewers (Brochetas del Caribe): grilled pork tenderloins skewers, alternated with sausage, pineapple, onions, and peppers chunks. Served with a side of plantains and black rice.
Pan Fried Udon Noodle
A simple dish to end an indulgent week was just what the doctor ordered. We made this "better than take-out" udon noodle dish for dinner, a favorite go-to when nothing else would do.
What's your favorite birthday treat?
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