Birch Co. Finds #001: Local Edition + Tribe Pop Up Finds

 This vanilla sugar latte from Not Just Coffee is my favorite cup of jo in town.

This vanilla sugar latte from Not Just Coffee is my favorite cup of jo in town.

Welcome to my new weekly series where I share my favorite things and where you can find them. This post may contain affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission if you click a link or purchase something that we have recommended. While clicking these links won't cost you any extra money, they will help us keep this site up and running and keep it ad free! 

 

There once was a time when I wrote down all the places I wanted to check out in Charlotte in a small notebook. That time was ten years ago, I had a blog by the name of in the Queen City, and finding cool things was not as easy as it is today. 

Charlotte is booming with amazing local business, many are new and some have been around forever. Here are my favorite finds from this week:

 

Events

Girl Tribe Pop Up. This was by far their best yet and makes me excited for what's next for these amazing, hardworking, and talented women. I went on Friday, for the VIP preview night (thanks for the invite, ladies!), and it was stellar. There was a bar with custom cocktails, a swag bar (the best kind of bar, in my opinion), discounts at every booth, and so much more. VIP hours are the best hours because it's not as crowded and gives you the opportunity to meet the women behind each business.

girl-tribe-pop-up-southend-charlotte-nc

Oh, and I got inducted into the Jeni's Ice Cream Fan Club. Now I'm counting down the days when her Charlotte location opens up.

jenis-ice-cream-truck-charlotte-nc

 

Art

The team behind #thesavageway has launched Driveway Art, a take on their Clean Graffiti program but for residential properties. You may have seen their work throughout town and now you can bring it to your own driveway! Checkout what they did for the Girl Tribe Pop Up this past weekend:

the-savageway-clean-graffiti-dirveway-art-charlotte

 

Books

I've been on a cook book buying spree lately. My latest purchase (and a birthday gift from my mom) is Kachka: A Return to Russian Cooking by Boonie Frumkin Morales. I found it at Park Road Books, a local book store that has been around since 1977 and the people who work there are super helpful and lovely. I also purchased two books for Charlotte's birthday: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Of Thee I Sing: A Letter to My Daughters by Barack Obama. I can't wait to read them to her!

park-road-books-charlotte-nc

 

Beauty

GUSTO + CO is an online skincare store, founded by Marquita right outside of Greenville, SC, that features a carefully curated collection of independent brands and niche cosmetics. I met Marquita at the Girl Tribe Pop Up and she was very knowledgeable about natural skin care and answered all of my question! She is lovely and I hope you give her website a look. Oh, and I walked away with something called Mermaid Oil from SALT by Hendrix, a brand out of Australia. I'm waiting on my jade roller to arrive so that I can go to town on my face with this magical facial treatment. 

gusto-co-mermaid-oil-salt-by-hendrix-australian-skincare-jade-roller

 

Food

I always crave comfort food when my husband travels so my mom and I paid a visit to A&A International, an Eastern European grocery store that we have been patronizing for decades. Their new-ish location on Sardis Road is much bigger and so is the selection of various Russian staples and dumplings. Oh, the dumplings! I highly recommend the Siberian dumplings, now available for purchase by the pound.

Speaking of dumplings, my current favorite way to eat them is with a little bit of quality butter, a pinch of Shichimi Togarashi spice from Savory Spice Shop, and a handful of chopped dill or green onions (or both!). Right now Savory Spice Shop has all of their gift sets on sale for 30-50% off. This is a steal! Run, don't walk, before they sell out. I got the Bloody Mary spice set that I'm going to debut at the next book club meeting with my girls.

 

Drinks

I'm a coffee drinker, however, I drink more hot tea than your average person. Tea is ingrained in me thanks my Russian upbringing and growing up drinking tea from samovars at dinner parties hosted by my grandmother. This is why I was most excited to meet the ladies behind Birch Fine Tea at Girl Tribe Pop Up. They're not your grandmother's tea company. Alena and Kristina focus on all natural and organic teas that promote weight loss, energy, and wellness. You can shop their tea collection online or order their teas to sip on at The People's Market in Dilworth.

 

Stay tuned for future roundups of my favorite weekly finds, places, and events!

 

This Week's Eats: Week 10 | Easy One Sheet Pan Dinners

Not going to sugar coat it, we ate out a lot this week. It was hard to avoid with Brandon traveling this week and me having meeting across town. There were also meeting with friends and a date night for the second week in a row (lucky us!).

 

Monday

Breakfast: cereal

Lunch: grain bowl salad

Charlotte's Lunch: apple sauce, Nutella on whole grain, dry apricots, cheese, strawberries, and almonds.

toddler-bento-box-march5

Dinner:  Blue Apron's General Tso's Chicken. I have the tendency to impulsively purchase produce items and then struggle to come up with something to make. Some days I open our fridge like the contestants on Chopped open their mystery baskets and create something great in 30 minutes. This time the items were bok choy and daikon radish. I whipped out our paella pan because it was the only thing that could handle the three pounds of bok choy and allowed me to pan fry the chicken without having to batch it in a smaller pan.

The meal was delicious and has been officially added into rotation. 

blue-apron-general-tso-chicken-bok-choy-daikon-radish

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: cereal, Eggo waffles with Nutella

Lunch: ham sandwiches.

Dinner: roasted sausage and veggies. I'm all about one sheet pan meals, especially when I have to run out the door to an event or client meeting. 

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: cereal, Eggo waffles with Nutella, bananas

Lunch: Take it to the Bridge breakfast sandwich, Peacock (pineapple mint) kombucha from Up Dog, and a signature late from Lincoln's Haberdashery.

I had a morning meeting in South End with just enough time to finally check out Lincoln's Haberdashery. I, 100%, understand the obsession now. Think they'll let me move in?

 Take it to the Bridge 

Take it to the Bridge 

Acme smoked salmon, house toast, cream cheese, dill, red onion, capers, and ikura.

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole wheat, cheese, salame, broccoli, and fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-march-7

Dinner: Mini Italian meatloaves, orzo, and broccolini.

This was the second one sheet pan dinner of the week and a bit more complicated, but not so much that I wouldn't ever make them again.

mini-italian-meatloafs-orzo-broccolini

 

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggos with Nutella

Lunch: Living Burrito and a Matcha Maca with hemp milk from Living Kitchen. This was the first stop of several during an epic afternoon with my besties Katy, Erin, and Charlotte. 

 Matcha Maca with Hemp Milk

Matcha Maca with Hemp Milk

 Living Burrito

Living Burrito

Sunflower seed refried beans, cauliflower rice, sprouts, pico de gallo guacamole and cashew sour cream wrapped in a collard leaf – served with fire and brimstone hot sauce.

Dinner: Nachos with BBQ beef brisket and a cheese quesadilla from Tin Kitchen.

 Tin Kitchen BBQ Beef Brisket Nachos + Cheese Quesadilla

Tin Kitchen BBQ Beef Brisket Nachos + Cheese Quesadilla

Corn tortilla chips with goat cheese, salsa verde, scallions & sriracha.

 

Friday

Breakfast: yogurt bars.

Lunch: Japanese steak and shrimp chile ramen from Pei Wei. I recently signed up for their rewards program so the entree was free with the purchase of a large drink. Not a bad deal at all!

 Japanese Steak & Shrimp Chile Ramen

Japanese Steak & Shrimp Chile Ramen

Wok-seared house-cut marinated flank steak, fresh-cooked shrimp and noodles in a spicy-savory Japanese sauce with minced garlic, red bell peppers, carrots, snap peas, onions, cilantro and lime.

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole wheat, cheese, tavern ham, carrots, almonds and dried cherries.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-march-9

Family Dinner: Martha Stewart's arroz con pollo.

Datenight Dinner: A delicious dinner at Zeppelin. Y'all, if you haven't been, GO! The meal that we ate deserves a separate post so stay tuned...

 Scratch Buns

Scratch Buns

Sweet miso heritage pork belly, shaved cabbage, and pickled chilis.

 

Saturday

Breakfast: protein pancakes with fresh berries and jam.

Lunch: Haberdish. Did you really expect us to go a week without eating there?!

 Brunch Cocktails

Brunch Cocktails

 Livermush Toast, hot Side of the Day, Sweet Potato Dumplings, and 2 piece White Fried Chicken

Livermush Toast, hot Side of the Day, Sweet Potato Dumplings, and 2 piece White Fried Chicken

Livermush Toast: set with Carolina gold rice, topped with mustard, molasses, bread & butter pickles.

Hot Side of the Day: sauteed baby kale and shaved carrots served with smoked pork in a honey glaze topped with crunchy benne seeds.

Sweet Potato Dumplings: hand-spooned with brown butter, sage, parm.

 Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding

Dinner: Russian dumplings + leftovers.

 

Sunday

Breakfast: cheese blintzes.

Luncharroz con pollo leftovers. 

Dinner: mesquite pork loin, mashed potatoes, and corn.

 

Would anyone be interested in a recipe bank? I know our breakfasts and lunches are pretty repetitive but we tend to have more fun with dinner. 

 

 

Friday Brunch at Haberdish

If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time you know that Haberdish is one of my favorite restaurants in town. So much so that I'm currently on a five week streak of eating there and I can't wait to go back again this week. My favorite thing about the restaurant, other than the food and the decor, is the fact that you can order a la cart so anyone can enjoy eating there regardless of budget.

As many times as I've dined at Haberdish, this was my first time trying their brunch. We were there for my girlfriend's birthday and we went all out... on a Friday morning. Because why not?!

haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch

 

Here's what we drank and ate:

 Blonde Bloody Mary | Cathead Vodka, local heirloom yellow tomato mix, lime, and olives.

Blonde Bloody Mary | Cathead Vodka, local heirloom yellow tomato mix, lime, and olives.

Cathead vodka, local heirloom yellow tomato mix, limes, and olives.

 Blonde Bloody Mary

Blonde Bloody Mary

I have a new favorite Bloody Mary and she's blonde. She's less acidic and much sweeter. Add a dash of Haberdish's homemade hot sauce and you're in business! 

 Counter Culture COffee

Counter Culture COffee

haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch-coffee-cups
haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch-coffee

Counter Culture organic, direct-trade coffee served in a thermos.

 Mac & Cheese

Mac & Cheese

A side of mac & cheese to start off brunch.

 Livermush Patty

Livermush Patty

Livermush Patty set with Carolina gold rice.

 Grits

Grits

Slow-cooked Anson Mills grits.

 Two Eggs Any Style

Two Eggs Any Style

Cage-free, local eggs, your way.

 Biscuits with Gravy

Biscuits with Gravy

Biscuits with housemade sausage milk gravy.

 Bacon

Bacon

Edward's thick-cut country bacon.

 Thing Cut Country Ham

Thing Cut Country Ham

Edward's dry-cured, thin charcuterie-style country ham.

 Daily Fruit: Bruleed Grapefruit with PInk Himalayan Salt

Daily Fruit: Bruleed Grapefruit with PInk Himalayan Salt

Daily fruit: bruleed grapefruit with pink Himalayan salt.

 Classic Mimosas

Classic Mimosas

 Chicken & Waffle

Chicken & Waffle

Chicken & Waffle: waffle, de-boned fried chicken thigh, slaw, bread & butter pickles, with a choice of honey butter syrup or maple syrup.

 Waffle with Fruit

Waffle with Fruit

Waffle with fruit: two waffles, fruit compote, and whip cream with a choice of honey butter syrup or maple syrup.

 Brunch Babes

Brunch Babes

Happy birthday, Ally!!

 

This Week's Eats: Week 9 | Discovering New Restaurants in Cabarrus County

Some weeks you're winning, other weeks you go off plan twice... the first day. Anytime my workload increases, the ability to stick to our weekly plan decreases. We ate out a lot this week and my body is craving a nice earthy salad as I write this at 10pm on a Sunday evening. The good news is that my salads are already prepped for next week so there will be no excuses!

I launched a side project, in addition to everything else that I'm working on, called Cabarrus Co Foodie. We've lived near the county for years and in it for almost two. I felt like it was time to not only explore what my "new" hometown has to offer but to also share my journey. Follow me over on Instagram and Facebook to see what I've discovered! Trust me, there are a few gems that are worth the drive from Charlotte!

Monday

Breakfast: ham sandwich and a yogurt bar.

Lunch: A banana foster crepe at C3 in Concord. Not exactly the healthiest choice but I did yoga that morning so it balanced out. 

c3-concord-nc-banana-foster-crepe

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, ham, almonds with dried cranberries, and broccoli.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb26

Dinner: La Unica because life. I had the carne asada, which is big enough to feed two adults, and it hit the spot. Brandon had the authentic street tacos, and Charlotte killed a quesadilla. 

la-unica-harrisburg-nc-carne-asada-charro-beans

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Mickey Mouse Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: Chick fil a. 

Dinner: Marcella Hazan's Bolognese because we can't stop, won't stop, loving this pasta sauce.

marcella-hazans-bolognese

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: ham sandwich plus a yogurt bar.

Lunch: The Smoke Pit you-pick-three plate. Y'all, this is some of the best BBQ I've had in a long time. I ordered a ton of food, mostly because I signed up last minute to take a Crowned Sparrow craft class and would not have had time to cook dinner. Two birds, one stone. 

the-smoke-pit-concord-nc-pick-three-meats

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, broccoli, and organic fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb28

Dinner: leftover BBQ for the family.

My Dinner: Bar eats at Legion Brewing. 

 Juicy Jay IPA

Juicy Jay IPA

 Southern Brat with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts

Southern Brat with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts

First course: Southern Brat (Cheshire Bratwurst soaked in Dos Amigos. Apple Bacon Saurkraut and Dos Amigos Whole Grain Mustard on fresh Nova’s Bakery Bun) with a side of Roasted Brussel Sprouts (Brussel Sprouts, Toasted Pecans, Honey Sriracha glaze). The brat hit the spot but, I'll be honest, I was not a fan of the Brussel sprouts. Paired it all with Juicy Jay IPA.

 

 Beauty and the Beets (Beet and Orange Saison).

Beauty and the Beets (Beet and Orange Saison).

legion-brewing-charlotte-nc-plaza-midwood-meat-and-cheese-plate-wednesday

Second course: Meat & Cheese plate ($5 Wednesday special). Paired with Beauty and the Beets (Beet and Orange Saison).

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Mini Eggo Waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: leftover BBQ.

Dinner: Greek chicken kabobs with saffron cous cous and homemade tzatziki sauce. It's one of our all time favorite meals to eat, especially when it gets warm outside.

greek-chicken-kabobs

 

Friday

Breakfast: yogurt bar.

clio-yogurt-bars-harris-teeter-charlotte

Lunch: A Mediterranean bowl at Cava. I was really excited to try it out. It was okay. It's a build-your-own concept which is great, however, I ended up with an overwhelming amount of flavors for one bowl. I wish they had a suggested combos menu, kind of like Chopt with their tested salad menu.

cava-charlotte-nc-university-city-grain-bowl

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, ham, almonds with dried cherries, and broccoli.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-march2

Dinner: Three Monkeys, the friendliest neighborhood bar! 

 

Saturday

Breakfast: cereal.

Lunch: leftovers followed by oysters and Bloody's at Ally's backyard birthday party.

oyster-roast

Dinner: our original evening plans fell through so on the way from the birthday party we stopped by Inner Harbor Seafood in Plaza Midwood to pick up some fish to cook for dinner. We got a whole red snapper, a whole tilapia, and a large salmon head (to make soup later). We kept it simple with boiled potatoes as a side. 

inner-harbor-seafood-plaza-midwood-charlotte-nc-red-snapper

My mom, who is an absolute treasure if you didn't already know, encouraged Brandon and I to go out on a date so that's exactly what we did. We hung out with the Au's, drank craft beers, ate soft pretzels, and took oyster shots (because YOLO). 

 Maine Beer Company's Woods & Waters IPA | Salud Beer Shop

Maine Beer Company's Woods & Waters IPA | Salud Beer Shop

 Oyster Shots | Growler's 

Oyster Shots | Growler's 

 

Sunday

Breakfast: French toast with an assortment of berries.

Lunch: salmon fish head soup.

Dinner: glazed chicken breast with a side of potatoes, haricot verts, and mushroom medley.

 

What delicious meals did you cook up this week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 8 | Kitchen Fails and Delicious Celebrations

There was very little planning that went into this week. Not because we were busy, but because Brandon was traveling and because our schedule was filled with celebrating friends, family, and life. The little planning was a good thing because we managed to screw up the only two meals that were planned. Oops.

Monday

Breakfast: Bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: family lunch at Panera Bread.

Dinner: Orange Glazed Meatballs with bok choy and Jasmine rice. This was our second time making the Blue Apron meal and it was a bit of a fail. I read a few comments and decided to use egg to hold the meatballs together and to also pre-bake them prior to frying. Don't do that. I also didn't realize that we were out of oranges, that we didn't have enough sweet chili sauce, and I accidentally over-corrected by using too much ponzu. We ate the meal but it wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella and a banana.

Lunch: Russian dumplings.

Dinner: "Damsel Pasta." This was almost another fail because the sausage that we were going to use was expired. Thank goodness for a Harris Teeter less than a mile away from the house. The other fail? Zoodles that were very bitter and waterlogged because the zucchini wasn't very fresh.

 Damsel in Dior Pasta over Zoodles

Damsel in Dior Pasta over Zoodles

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: grain salad bowl with tofu.

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, strawberries, and fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-feb21

Dinner: leftover pasta.

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella and a banana.

Lunch: smoked salmon with boiled baby potatoes.

Dinner: pizza, pasta, and cocktails at WP Kitchen + Bar to celebrate my friend Erin, who was recently named the editor of Carolina Bride

 Calling Dr. Love | A mildly tart and refreshing mix of fresh raspberries, Ban Vodka, St. Germaine and prosecco.

Calling Dr. Love | A mildly tart and refreshing mix of fresh raspberries, Ban Vodka, St. Germaine and prosecco.

 Once Bitten...Twice Shy | A smooth mixture of Maker's Mark, Amareno cherry juice and sweet Vermouth

Once Bitten...Twice Shy | A smooth mixture of Maker's Mark, Amareno cherry juice and sweet Vermouth

 Spaghetti | tomato-basil-garlic sauce, parmesan

Spaghetti | tomato-basil-garlic sauce, parmesan

 

Friday

Breakfast: chocolate yogurt bar. All the Russians in Charlotte (including me) are going nuts over these because they remind us of our childhood snack that is a much sweeter version of what these are.

Brunch: Haberdish to celebrate a friend's 30th birthday. It will required a separate post to talk about all the things we ate, but here's a photo I took of our table while standing on a chair to give you a glimpse of the feast.

haberdish-noda-charlotte-nc-brunch

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, broccoli, and fruit gummies.

toddler-lunch-feb23

Dinner: all you can eat sushi at Mr. Tokyo. I think this makes it three weeks in a row that we've been there...

mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-1
mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-2
IMG_3602.JPG
mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-4
IMG_3603.JPG
mr-tokyo-all-you-can-eat-sushi-charlotte-nc-6

 

Saturday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella

Lunch: grain bowl salad and leftovers

Dinner: pork chops with sweet potatoes and slaw. We eat very little pork (outside of BBQ) because I had a very bad experience when I was pregnant. I'll spare you the details but it was enough for me to swear off (non-BBQ) pork for eternity. But my husband asked for pork, and I couldn't think of anything better for dinner, so we had pork. 

I did a quick marinade using brown sugar and soy sauce before Brandon threw the chops on the grill. For sides I made roasted sweet potato spirals and a red cabbage slaw with daikon radish, peach, orange slices, and juice of one lemon.

marinated-grilled-pork-chop
red-cabbage-slaw-daikon-peach-orange

 

Sunday

Breakfast: smoked salmon with boiled baby potatoes.

Lunch: snacks after a 90 minute flow at NoDa Yoga. (More on that in another post!)

Dinner: pre-made pho from Aldi. I wasn't a fan, mainly because it tasted too much like onion. 

 

I enjoyed having to plan a few meals but with plenty of leftovers and will try to do the same for next week. 

What's on your menu next week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 7 | Asian Flavors and Nights Out on the Town

We did a much better job planning this week, finding multiple uses for protein, cooked up a decadent Valentine's Day dinner for the whole family, and enjoyed several meals out -- including date night on Saturday (thanks, mom!).

 

Monday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: Kung Pow noodle bowl from ALDI.

Charlotte's Lunch: I forgot to take a picture so, to be honest with you, I have no clue what I made her.

Dinner: Peruvian style roasted chicken with tangy green sauce and a cucumber avocado salad. This is one of my new favorite recipes for roast chicken that we've been coming back to again and again.

Since there's only three of us, one whole chicken yields multiple meals. One half is always used for roasting while the other half is used for chicken stock. This time I used chicken from the stock to make a second dinner on Tuesday evening, it was already cooked so it only needed to be reheated in the sauce before being served.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: chicken soup with veggies and leftover rice.

Dinner: Butter chicken served over roasted cauliflower. The sauce was delicious but not at all spicy (we're heat seekers!). The meal was toddler approved, Charlotte ate everything on her dinner plate and asked for more. I may throw in some sweet potatoes and peas next time to add a few extra nutrients.

butter-chicken-over-roasted-cauliflower
 Butter Chicken sauce from ALDI

Butter Chicken sauce from ALDI

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese.

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole grain bread, broccoli, clementine, almonds, and dried cherries.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb14

Lunch: Persis Indian Grille lunch buffet for a Valentine's Day date with Brandon.

persis-indian-grille-charlotte-nc-lunch-buffet-1
persis-indian-grille-charlotte-nc-lunch-buffet-2
persis-indian-grille-charlotte-nc-lunch-buffet-3

Dinner: A Valentine's Day feast for four: two whole lobsters (ALDI), two pieces of filet (Earth Fare), roasted asparagus (Costco), sauteed mushroom medley (ALDI), and a chocolate cake for dessert (Earth Fare). Phew! The whole meal (including a bottle of wine) came in under $60.

valentines-day-dinner-at-home

I accidentally broke off the lobsters' claws when taking them out of the package so it looked like we had giant red bugs on our plates.

earth-fare-chocolate-cake

 

Thursday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: tuna salad for me, sandwich for Charlotte.

Family Dinner: Butter chicken leftovers served over rice.

My Dinner: pepperoni pizza from Fuel Pizza delivered via Postmates to NoDa Brewing's Disney Trivia night because it was their largest trivia night ever and it was quicker to order delivery than to stand in line to get Tin Kitchen. Still a little bummed I didn't get my Tin Kitchen fix but it's all good! We made up for it by going to Haberdish for second dinner. I got one chicken tender and the hot side of the day (sauteed potato hash with chorizo, onions, garlic tossed in a creamy smoked tomato dressing topped with fresh herbs). 

 Hop Cakes @ NoDa Brewing

Hop Cakes @ NoDa Brewing

 Sauteed Potato Hash @ Haberdish

Sauteed Potato Hash @ Haberdish

 

Friday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese and Haberdish leftovers.

Lunch: Asian noodle bowl from ALDI.

asian-noodle-bowl-aldi
asian-noodle-bowl-aldi-2

 

Charlotte's Lunch: Justin's vanilla almond butter on whole wheat bread, cheese, salami, broccoli, and organic fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb16

Family Dinner: barbacoa tacos with all the fixin's. 

My Dinner: tuna tartare, meat and cheese platter, signature popovers, and several cocktails at BLT Steakhouse. I had the pleasure of tasting new house cocktails and mingling with BLT's marketing and PR team. You can read all about my brunch experience last March by clicking here.

 Tuna Tartare @ BLT Steakhouse

Tuna Tartare @ BLT Steakhouse

 Charcuterie @ BLT Steakhouse

Charcuterie @ BLT Steakhouse

 Signature Popovers @ BLT Steakhouse

Signature Popovers @ BLT Steakhouse

 Monkey Cyborg (Monkey Shoulders Scotch, Cynar, Brown Sugar, Muddled Rosemary, Cranberry Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

Monkey Cyborg (Monkey Shoulders Scotch, Cynar, Brown Sugar, Muddled Rosemary, Cranberry Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

 Peppered Rose (Stoli, Fresh Grapefruit, Lime, Luxardo Crude "Rizzo" Grapefruit & Rosemary Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

Peppered Rose (Stoli, Fresh Grapefruit, Lime, Luxardo Crude "Rizzo" Grapefruit & Rosemary Bitters) @ BLT Steakhouse

 

Saturday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: barbacoa rice bowls.

Dinner: Mama Ricotta's for datenight with my boo. We ordered a large salad and one entree and it was more than enough food! 

mama-ricottas-charlotte-nc-red-wine
 Tuscan Salad (Romaine, diced Roma tomatoes, house made fresh mozzarella, red onions & Kalamata olives tossed together and splashed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil) @ Mama Ricotta's

Tuscan Salad (Romaine, diced Roma tomatoes, house made fresh mozzarella, red onions & Kalamata olives tossed together and splashed with balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil) @ Mama Ricotta's

 Pollo Bianco (Scallopini-style chicken layered with prosciutto and mozzarella in a Chianti wild mushroom sauce. Served with today's vegetable and garlic mashed potatoes) @ Mama Ricotta'S

Pollo Bianco (Scallopini-style chicken layered with prosciutto and mozzarella in a Chianti wild mushroom sauce. Served with today's vegetable and garlic mashed potatoes) @ Mama Ricotta'S

 

Sunday

Breakfast: omelet with a side of fresh fruit.

Lunch: barbacoa rice bowls.

Dinner: hot dogs, fries, pop corn, and pretzels at the Charlotte Checkers game.

Dinner #2: hockey and ice skating after the game made us crave Russian dumplings and salad so that's exactly what we ate... while watching the Winter Olympics. The perfect meal to end an amazing weekend!

Brandon is traveling next week and my work to-do list is long so the menu for next week is a bit simpler and leans heavily on meals that make great leftovers.

What's on the menu at your house this week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 6 | Menu Tastings and Lots of Asian Flavors

I should have known better than to save meal prep for Sunday, the same Sunday as the Super Bowl, because it didn't get done. Other things that didn't get done this week: preparing the meals in time for me to enjoy them before rushing out the door for evening events. I ate a lot of late meals, snacks for meals, or no meals at all. I also didn't get to the gym until Friday so I was an anxious mess.

Here's what we ate this week:

Monday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: Trader Joe's chicken and dill pelmeni.

Charlotte's Lunch: whole grain Nutella cats, cheese, carrots, pepperoni, and almonds with crasins.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb5

Dinner: a one-sheet-pan-meal of salmon, fingerling potatoes, and steamed kale inspired by this Blue Apron recipe. I have really bad luck with topping the salmon with anything before putting it in the oven so we went the simple route of salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Dinner #2 (because one is never enough!): RuSan's with my dear friend for sushi and sake. I ordered the All About Tuna roll (spicy tuna, apple, carrot, topped with tuna, jalapeno candy, and eel sauce), the Lemon Salmon roll (tempura kale, cucumber, topped with salmon and lemon slices, drizzled with spicy guacamole sauce), and two pieces of salmon sashimi.

 All About Tuna Roll

All About Tuna Roll

 Lemon Salmon Roll

Lemon Salmon Roll

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: ham sandwich for Charlotte, bowl of popcorn for me.

Dinner: orange soy glazed meatballs with bok choy, carrots, and rice, inspired by this Blue Apron recipe. I also good shishito peppers (I'm obsessed!) for an appetizer with a creme fresh, lemon, and soy dipping sauce.

 Shishito Peppers

Shishito Peppers

 Orange Soy Meatballs + Sycamore Brewing Mountain Candy IPA

Orange Soy Meatballs + Sycamore Brewing Mountain Candy IPA

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese. 

Lunch: string cheese and a box of Valentine's Day chocolates followed by Trader Joe's burrata, prosciutto, and arugula flat bread around 3 o'clock.

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on wheat bread, cheese, pepperoni, carrots, and fruit gummies.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb7

Dinner: roasted chicken breast and vegetables for the fam, granola bar for me. 🤷‍♀️

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with Nutella.

Lunch: ham sandwich for the kid, random snack food for me.

Dinner: leftovers for the fam, blogger tasting event at Kid Cashew for me. 

 Crab Cakes | Kid Cashew

Crab Cakes | Kid Cashew

 

Friday

Breakfast: bagels with cream cheese.

Lunch: All you can eat sushi lunch at Mr. Tokyo to celebrate Brandon passing his PMP exam. 

 Seaweed Salad

Seaweed Salad

 Tiger Roll - Spicy tuna crunch and mango in the outside, tuna and salmon on the outside, topped with crunch and masago.

Tiger Roll - Spicy tuna crunch and mango in the outside, tuna and salmon on the outside, topped with crunch and masago.

 Phoenix Roll, Tiger Roll, Eel Roll, Tuna Roll, Spicy Salmon Hand Roll

Phoenix Roll, Tiger Roll, Eel Roll, Tuna Roll, Spicy Salmon Hand Roll

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole grain, cheese, pickles, fruit gummies, and ham.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb9

Dinner: Nobody was hungry for dinner after the lunch that we had.

 

Saturday

Breakfast: French Toast with topped with assorted berries and sweetened condensed milk.

french-toast-berries

Lunch: another celebratory lunch, but this time prepared at home. For starters we had a strawberry mint Old Fashioned and caprese salad. For the main course we had t-bone steaks served with small potatoes, sauteed mushrooms, and garlic parsley butter. It was delicious!

strawberry-mint-old-fashioned

Dinner: pizza from Blaze Pizza because nobody wanted to cook and clean up after a third meal. We ordered a simple pie (sauce and cheese) for the kid and split a build-your-own between the two of us. It was delicious and a perfect end to an awesome food day.

baby-eats-blaze-pizza
blaze-pizza-build-your-own

 

Sunday

Breakfast: leftover French Toast.

Lunch: delicious brunch at a friend's house.

Dinner: leftovers.

 

We had a delicious week, save for a few skipped or snack meals. We definitely spent more time in the kitchen and it felt good to try new things. The orange soy glazed meatball dish was superb and has been added into rotation. We have an event every evening next week (except for Monday) and we have adjusted the meal planning accordingly: making larger portions so that there's plenty of leftovers and meals with minimal hands on time.

What's on the menu at your house this week?

 

 

This Week's Eats: Week 5 | Feeling Burned Out and New Local Eats

This week I burned out and hit a wall after working long hours. We made it through the first three days of the week before giving up the meal plan and giving in to eating out. Throw in a weekend of activities and the Super Bowl and the week of planned meals was a wash. Life happens and there are worse areas of life to get off track. Am I right?! 

Here's how our week panned out:

Monday

Breakfast: pancakes

Lunch: grain bowl salad. This week I switched from kale to arugula to keep things fresh. 

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole grain, cheese, carrots, ham, and almonds.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-jan29

Dinner: leftover beef stew and grilled romaine lettuce salad.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: pancakes.

Lunch: whole wheat chicken nuggets with a side of garlic french fries

Dinner: pan seared scallops over a bed of quinoa and arugula with a side of parsnips.

scallops-quinoa-arugula

 

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: pancakes. 

Lunch: grain bowl salad 

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on wheat bread, cheese, carrots, almonds and fruit gummies.

bento-box-toddler-lunch-jan31

Dinner: Marcella Hazan's Bolognese. SO GOOD. Served on snowflake shaped pasta, per the toddler's request.

bolognese-sauce-on-snowflake-pasta-from-trader-joes

 

Thursday

Breakfast: bagel with cream cheese.

Lunch: leftover bolognese

Dinner: we were craving Chinese food so I found a new spot in the University area called Inchin's Bamboo Garden. It's a franchise/chain and it was only their fourth day being open. The food is good but a little expensive for the area, which is okay because we lack "upscale" restaurants near us. It was clean and the service was good. I'm going to wait a little to give them another try, they need to work a little bit on developing and deepening the flavor profiles of their dishes. 

Here's what we ate: wonton soup, beef hot garlic, and fish creamy chili oil.

 wonton soup

wonton soup

 beef hot garlic

beef hot garlic

 fish creamy chili oil

fish creamy chili oil

 

Friday

Breakfast: breakfast tacos from Babalu at Creative Mornings.

Lunch: Five Guys at the mall food court. Don't judge.

five-guys-burger

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on whole grain, cheese, carrots, almonds, and apple slices.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-feb2

Dinner: Hot wings and potato skins at Three Monkey's, our favorite neighborhood bar. What?! We're working on our Super Bowl bodies. ;)

three-monkeys-harrisburg-nc-potato-skins
three-monkeys-harrisburg-nc-hot-wings

 

Saturday

Breakfast: Bojangle's.

Lunch: lots of delicious bites at a friend's baby shower.

Dinner: homemade fajitas.

 

Sunday

Breakfast: bagels

Lunch: The Dumpling Lady's dumplings and noodles. 

dumpling-lady-charlotte-nc-catawba-brewing

Dinner: Super Bowl grub at two different parties. #mypantsdontfit

 

We're not on any specific (restriction) diet but after this week we may need to do a hard reset to get back into a healthier eating groove.

 

 

Mr. Tokyo: All You Can Eat Sushi

When you boast on Twitter about getting all of your meal planning complete and groceries purchased and a friend asks if you want to go to dinner you obviously say YES! This is exactly what happened a few Fridays ago when my friend Joey suggested we go out for sushi.

We both live on the outskirts of Charlotte where sushi options are slim. You have the usual suspects with "fusion" menus where a restaurant crams as many Asian flavors on the menu as possible, instead of focusing on one or two regions, and it tastes...Americanized. They try to be too many things to too many people at the lowest price possible. This is not how we like our sushi and why, when the craving hits, we head into town to get our fix.

Having said all that, our side of town is growing. New shopping centers bring new restaurants, some new and some existing concepts that work in other parts of town. One one of those restaurants is Mr. Tokyo. The original location is in south Charlotte and has a great reputation for quality sushi so when they opened another location on our side of town I knew we were in trouble. And by trouble I mean having to wear non-elastic pants to eat there.

There are two dinning options: all you can eat sushi and hibachi or ordering off of their standard menu.

Obviously we chose the all you can eat option. I typically eat $30-50 worth of sushi in one sitting so paying $18.99 (plus a little extra for the few "premium items") is totally doable.

Gluttons beware! They will charge you $0.50-$1.00 for leftover sushi to curb over ordering. Better to under order and order more, than over order and pay more.

Here's everything that I ate:

 Yellowtail Jalapeno

Yellowtail Jalapeno

 Tiger Roll | Spicy Tuna, crunch, mango with tuna, salmon, crunch, masago on top  Dragon Roll | Eel, cucumber, crabmeat with sliced avocado on top, eel sauce  Spicy Tuna Hand Roll

Tiger Roll | Spicy Tuna, crunch, mango with tuna, salmon, crunch, masago on top

Dragon Roll | Eel, cucumber, crabmeat with sliced avocado on top, eel sauce

Spicy Tuna Hand Roll

 Sashimi | salmon & octopus

Sashimi | salmon & octopus

The octopus sashimi was the only disappointing thing that evening. 

 Samurai Roll | Spicy salmon, crunch, mango with salmon, avocado, coconut chips on top

Samurai Roll | Spicy salmon, crunch, mango with salmon, avocado, coconut chips on top

The texture of the coconut chips threw me off a bit, however, I did enjoy their flavor on the roll.

 BBQ Squid

BBQ Squid

Needless to say, Joey and I sat and talked for about an hour after devouring dinner because we couldn't move. 

I'm excited to have something on our side of town that's delicious and has a great reputation. Can't wait to try the rest of their menu!

 

Where: 10012 Benfield Rd, Ste 300, Charlotte, NC 28269

 

Have you been to Mr. Tokyo? What's your favorite sushi roll there?

 

This Week's Eats: Week 4 | Haberdish and Chopt

We started this week strong: a large batch of pancakes to get us through several mornings and meals with tons of flavor. Then everything came to a halt on Wednesday when I woke up with my left eye swollen shut. Turns out being sick for two months straight can cause your eyes to get "sick" too. Thankfully, some of the meals earlier in the week yielded enough leftovers to sustain us till the end.

 Barrel Aged Black Manhattan | Haberdish

Barrel Aged Black Manhattan | Haberdish

 

Monday

Breakfast: pancakes

Lunch: Chick-fil-a. Don't judge.

Charlotte's Lunch: the usual suspects... almond butter sandwich on whole grain, cheese, carrots, apples, and fruit gummies.

toddler-lunch-2018-01-29

 

Dinner: Martha Stewart's Arroz con Pollo. This is one of my favorite recipes that I make over and over again. Sadly, I didn't get to eat it because it wasn't ready before I had to leave. I had to rush to get to Hygge for a Skillpop class. That salad I didn't eat after yoga came in handy.

 

Tuesday

Breakfast: pancakes.

Lunch: Arroz con Pollo.

Dinner: black pepper beef with bok choy on jasmine rice. We would eat this dish weekly if it was up to my husband.

 

Wednesday

Breakfast: pancakes. 

Lunch: grain salad 

Charlotte's Lunch: Nutella on wheat, cheese, carrots, almonds and crasins.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-2018-01-30

Dinner: an easy pasta sauce I call "Damsel Pasta" because I was introduced to it by Jacey of Damsel in Dior. I love this dish because it easy, flavorful, and we almost always have the ingredients on hand to make it.

 

Thursday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with various nut butters.

Lunch: ham sandwich.

Dinner: leftovers

 

Friday

Breakfast: Eggo waffles with various nut butters.

Lunch: Trader Joe's Butter Chicken from the freezer section. It had the perfect amount of spice but not enough rice. Definitely inspired me to make it from scratch in the near future!

Charlotte's Lunch: almond butter on whole grain, cheese, carrots, fruit gummies, and ham.

toddler-bento-box-lunch-2018-01-26

 

Dinner: Haberdish. I love Haberdish. I could eat there every week and not tire of it.

 Hushpuppies

Hushpuppies

 Okra, Fried Chicken, Trout, Mac & Cheese

Okra, Fried Chicken, Trout, Mac & Cheese

 

Saturday

Breakfast: cereal and Eggo waffles.

Lunch: Chopt! Because I haven't had enough salad for the week. :)

The current destination salads are inspired by Vietnam so obviously I had to try them (hashtag I'm a Pho addict)! I tried the Vietnamese Meatball Noodle Bowl and it was delish. Husband went with the Mexicali salad and the kid devoured the Mexican Chicken Soup. 

 VIETNAMESE MEATBALL NOODLE BOWL: Warm lemongrass turkey meatballs, chilled rice noodles, pickled hearts of palm, English cucumbers, crispy shallots, cabbage & herb blend, SPICY TAMARIND VINAIGRETTE, A DRIZZLE OF SRIRACHA, and A WEDGE OF LIME. | c/o CHOPT

VIETNAMESE MEATBALL NOODLE BOWL: Warm lemongrass turkey meatballs, chilled rice noodles, pickled hearts of palm, English cucumbers, crispy shallots, cabbage & herb blend, SPICY TAMARIND VINAIGRETTE, A DRIZZLE OF SRIRACHA, and A WEDGE OF LIME. | c/o CHOPT

 Mexican Chicken Soup | c/o Chopt

Mexican Chicken Soup | c/o Chopt

Dinner: leftovers and Trader Joe's chicken and dill pelmeni.

 

Sunday

Breakfast: made another huge batch of protein packed pancakes that will last us a couple of days.

Lunch: leftovers

Dinner: giant batch of "clean out the fridge, freezer, and pantry" beef stew. Yum!

 

I've been getting into a routine of completing all of our meal planning and shopping by Friday so that the weekend can be reserved for prepping and relaxing. I'll let you know if that makes life easier and less stressful or it turns into a chore with a self imposed deadline that will be difficult to keep up with... like blogging about what we eat on a weekly basis. ;)