I know it’s been an incredibly long time since I have updated my blog, but it’s been for a very good reason. So much has gone on and changed in my life that there really hasn’t been time to keep things running on a reasonable time frame, but now that things are slowing down I feel like I can step back into it. So what has been going on, well we’ve moved from sunny Charlotte, North Carolina to the beautiful Pacific North West, Seattle to be more precise. And I’ve never been happier. It’s a gardener’s dream with long rainy springs that are filled with flowers and amazingly sunny summers that just never seem to end. It’s inspired so much new work that I just can’t wait to share with you all.
If your like me, your always looking for cheap, but romantic date night ideas, people always say you should go to those summer concerts, and while there have been quite a few signs around it took me most of the summer to get to one this year. It wasn’t until I read about Charlotte’s Symphony Series; The Summer Pops that I really wanted to go. At first, I will admit, I thought it would be hard to convince Rich to go sit in the park for a few hours, listening to classical music even with an awesome picnic. So I decided to be super sly about which concert I picked. Luckily each week at the Pop’s is really different, highlighting lots of types of music and I was able to wait until I found the perfect one, it was music that he just couldn’t refuse. July 17, Selections would be from Star Wars and Raiders of the Lost Ark. Geek Bibles if there are any! He was more than convinced when I showed him, he was even excited!
So I knew I was going to have to pack a pretty stellar picnic if I was going to keep us both happy and cool all afternoon, but for some reason, procrastination maybe, I left it all to that day. Honestly I was pretty exhausted after baking up a batch of my Chocolate Chocolate Chip cookies, and packing up fruit, Irish Cheddar Cheese, and Nasturtium Butter on Spiced Bread, white wine and water the day of the symphony. Next time I promise I’ll be proactive and make all the food ahead of time.
Our little picnic didn’t even begin to compare to what the average Pop’s goer brought, while their were more casual goers, quite a few had pretty insane set ups. Low wooden tables that sat on top of beautiful blankets that were strewn with pillows, some even had tablecloth’s, vases of flowers, and candles. People definitely came prepared to impress.
Then finally after waiting about two hours the music started. The conductor seemed a bit nervous, but he did a really wonderful job. The music was powerful and all of these pieces from such dichotomous sources came together to form a beautiful whole. The crowd really was silent, drawn in by the symphonies beauty; the music could be heard throughout the entire park. Even the little kids around me sat still and listened. This Tuesday they will be playing their last concert for the season called Celebrate America! In honor of the 4th of July. I really hope that everyone who can, goes and see’s the symphony for their last summer concert. I know I will be there. Bye!
You can buy tickets on their website or at the event with cash or a credit card. http://www.charlottesymphony.org/summer.asp
Last weekend Rich and I went to the Charlotte food festival, The Taste of Charlotte. We’ve gone almost every year since moving to here in 2007. It’s a great way to try out local eateries without dropping a lot of cash. I have to say my favorite food to try is always the BBQ and the bakeries. Charlotte has so much great BBQ and every year I like to try a few brand new restaurants. My favorites from last year were Mac’s Speed Shop and Amelies French Bakery, two of Charlott’es most delicious destinations, so I was really looking forward to see what tasted great this year!
Food is in order of how it was eaten not how great it was.
1. Garland Jack’s Secret 6 BBQ Sauce
Even though this BBQ sauce is sold in grocery stores it is actually one of the best sauces I’ve had. It’s sweet and rich with a wonderful molasses undertone and comes in six different varieties. We both tried different flavors and they tasted great!
2. Polka Dot Bakery
The Polka Dot Bakery was my favorite shop of the day! Their portion size was perfect, the cupcakes left you feeling full, but without a crazy sugar high. We started out with the Red Velvet cupcake. It’s light and fluffy with just the right amount of richness. I really liked that they weren’t dyed to brightly and that the flavor was what stood out. Then we moved on to the amazing and I really do mean amazing strawberry cupcake. The strawberry icing tasted like a freshly picked strawberry with a wonderful rich smooth consistency. The cupcake was studded with real bits of strawberry and had a wonderful light flavor. These are definitely my new go to cupcakes!!!!
3. Hickory Tavern
You could smell the Hickory Tavern Sliders all the way down the street. The meat had a wonderful spice blend mixed into it, and I loved the simple use of fresh sliced onions, ketchup, and mustard on burgers served a perfect medium rare!
4. Carolina Ale House
We decided to try the wings from the Carolina Ale House after seeing another couple munching on them; they just looked so good, and they were not a disappointment. The outside of the wings were spiced with herbs, not with heat, but rich wonderful flavor, and the creamy dipping sauce made for a wonderful accompaniment. The wings were extremely juicy and defiantly warranted the included wet wipes. Rich loved the Go Get Messy logo and made sure I got it in the picture.
5. Artisan Munchies
Artisan Munchies have been a long time favorite of mine. The have sugared cashews, and pecans, but my favorite is always the hot almonds covered in warm brown sugar, they melt in your mouth and are absolutely addictive. I ate the entire paper cone in about 20 minutes!
Sauceman’s chopped pork was wonderful, it was flavorful and rich and the accompanying coleslaw was creamy and light with the slightest bite. They specialize in authentic Queen City BBQ that is smoked for hours over a mix of hickory and oak wood to create an amazingly rich flavor in their pork. I can’t wait to check out their restaurant in Historic Southend.
This seasons Southern Spring Home and Garden Show was by far my favorite out of the last three years. Each year the main room, the Belgard Gardens Showcase is given a theme to work with, something to bring all of the different vendors together, while still challenging them to create their own artistic expression around, this years theme was “Rhythm in Bloom.”