Honey, Honey

In keeping with the short but sweet tradition, here we are. We had a superb weekend. Friday late afternoon we met friends just east of the Panthers Stadium to tailgate. They had a spread from Bojangle's, which I must admit, was a first for me. Oh how deprived we were as children. I was not interested in chatting or engaging because all of my attention was focused on the light, buttery biscuits. The Panthers put up a good fight and we left sometime during the third quarter. We watched the final scenes of the game from the bar at Vapiano. I am familiar with this spot from my days living in Germany. Easy, economical food and Peroni on tap. We split a delectable margarita pizza as well as an aglio y olio pasta (fresh garlic in olive oil with chilies and chopped parsley) and both were terrific. A simple, no fuss dinner on Tryon Street.

Saturday was one for gallivanting. According to my FitBit, we clocked just over nine miles of walking. That morning we were up early for coffee and our usual tour de uptown walk. Matthew made his debut at yoga in Romare Bearden Park, which was terrific fun. I think we have a convert (insert sarcasm here). From here, we went to RUSH by Rush Espresso in Brevard Court for our second shot of the day. This spot is darling and great attention as well as care go to the brewing of drinks. Take a seat outside and watch the early fans enjoying soccer as well as libations. Sometime later in the morning, we ventured to Craft Growler Shop to enjoy the scene and watch the folks behind the Hex and their coffee pop up bar in action. We were especially fortunate to have Turner invite us to sample their magnificent waffles, which are made with cider from Charlotte's very own Red Clay Ciderworks. Talk about the cross-fertilization of synergies. In addition to the waffles, we had a delicious cheese and charcuterie plate that we washed down with a couple of rounds of Kolsch. This beer hails from Cologne, Germany, which is around thirty minutes by train from my Dusseldorf and actually, the city's arch rival. 

Craft was the business and we plan to spend more time here moving forward. We were fortunate to have the pleasure of chatting with the spot's owner, Dan, originally from Nashville who moved to the QC from NYC where he spent time in the kitchens of some serious restaurants. When you find yourself there, ask for him and introduce yourself.  After Craft, we walked the 1.2 miles back to my apartment and returned to Brevard Court for an afternoon of British football and a banh mi from Pho Plus. Packed with flavor and uber cheap, this sandwich made for a superb al fresco lunch. After this livery, we had a very low key afternoon. In the evening, we headed north to Noda to see one of Matthew's high school friends, Joe Firstman, in concert at the Evening Muse. Prior to the show, we popped into Solstice Tavern for a visit. After the show, we grabbed a late dinner on the back porch at Davidson Street Public House. Great scene, outstanding service but my burger wasn't what I expected. This said, better luck next time and we will return for a second try. Sunday was quite boring really. It was one for cleaning, organizing and getting our ducks in a row.

The below recipe is simple, different and oh so delicious. You can substitute peaches or nectarines for the plums should you like. For a heartier fare, I would add quinoa or toasted farro. A salty cheese on top would also be stunning and ditto a can of tuna if you are needing protein. You could also toast some nuts to sprinkle on top. Or you can serve it to play second fiddle to your main course. Whatever you do, sharpen your knives and pull the below together.

Plum Fennel Salad with Honey Ginger Dressing
Adapted from my beloved Bon Appetit


3 ripe plums - thinly sliced
1 small fennel bulb - thinly sliced and hold onto the fronds
1 TBS sesame seeds - toasted
Juice of one large navel orange
1 TBS white wine vinegar
2 TBS honey
Freshly grated ginger - use your microplane and go to town
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Pinch of kosher salt
Olive oil


1. In a small bowl, prepare your dressing. Combine the juice of one large navel orange with white wine vinegar, honey, freshly grated ginger, 1 tsp red pepper flakes, pinch of kosher salt. Whisk until uniform. Set aside.

2. Combine your plums with the thinly sliced fennel and more grated ginger. This adds such lovely flavor. Pour the sauce on top. Scatter with toasted sesame seeds and fennel fronds. Put in the fridge for an hour or so. This allows the fennel to soften and the "flavors to get to know one another".

3. Upon serving, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.

We ate this for a light supper and I had leftovers the following day with a fried egg and toasted hazelnuts on top. Bonjour for sure.

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