Field of Dreams

This past weekend was the cat’s pajamas for sure. Friday night marked opening game for the Charlotte Knights, who kicked off their first season playing at the new BB&T Ballpark in uptown Charlotte. Sold out crowd in a ballpark whose capacity is 10,000. In short, that’s a lot of people. To call the ballpark spectacular is understatement of the year. From the stadium, one has a tremendous vantage point of the city’s fast burgeoning skyline. The uptown ballpark is truly magnificent and this new addition is certainly reason for the city to be proud. My apartment happens to overlook the ballpark and while we didn’t have tickets to the game, after libations, dinner and a bit of tame gallivanting, we sat on my balcony and enjoyed the animated livery. We hit the hay with the windows open, listening to the action below. I woke up around 4.00 in the morning to grab water and peered out my bedroom window. The ballpark, while empty, was still beautifully lit. I cannot wait to attend my first game.

Saturday brought gorgeous Carolina blue skies and a full day of endless sunshine. We spent the morning doing our usual grocery rotation. This day also called for a special trip to my favorite Mexican market in town. They have the best avocados in the city. Perfect for peeling and using that very day. They also sell gorgeous tomatillos. We also made a pair of pit stops at Home Depot and Lowe’s to secure goodies for the back yard including herbs, potted soil, a fern for our front porch and some other greens I could not live without. We shall return soon. En route home, we picked up a salad and sandwich at the local gourmet haunt Reid’s and ate standing in the kitchen as we deliberated on our day’s plan of attack. We invited a group of our friends over for a late afternoon cookout, so a nice chunk of my morning was dedicated to getting our ducks in a row for guests. Ditto should be said for Matthew who spent a couple of hours in the backyard doing his thing. Around 4.00 pm we warmed the chips, salted the guacamole, filled the coolers with ice, cut the limes and set the playlist in motion. The weather was beyond conducive to al fresco entertaining and as our friends began to arrive, the fun began. This intimate crowd made for a grand Saturday indeed. 

We kicked our Sunday off quite ceremoniously with coffee on the back porch as the weather was again glorious. After a pair of hours in the sunshine, we motivated and ventured out for lunch to our favorite Mexican haunt. The place we frequent serves spicy salsa made of chopped tomatoes, cilantro and shredded cabbage and boasts the best pollo asado in the city. They also offer a small cluster of tables outside and have Dos Equis Amber on tap. Outdoor dining at its most casual and my kind of spot for sure. From here, we took our time getting home to watch the final afternoon of The Masters. This is more Matthew’s speed than mine but thrilled that Bubba secured his second green coat. Sometime around 5.00, we fired up the grill. Dinner was organic chicken breasts with a jerk rub and leftovers for Africa from our cookout. Below is a new salad I prepared and one that I will absolutely make it again. You sort of just add everything to a bowl, drizzle with the vinaigrette and gently move things around. I made ours a pair of hours before the party to let the flavors come to life. The combination of lemon juice, honey and curry powder packed a remarkable punch that juxtaposed nicely with the crunchiness of the salad. Added bonus is that this yields a lot so expect to feed an army or if a smaller crowd, anticipate leftovers to see you through the week.

Crunchy Bulgur Wheat Salad


1 granny smith apple – chopped
3 ribs of celery – chopped
Generous bunch of fresh parsley – chopped
1.5 cups of dried bulgur wheat – cook according to the simple instructions
¼ white onion – chopped
¾ cup of walnuts – chopped and toasted
3 green onions – chopped
1 cup golden raisins – you can cut this in half if you like
2 lemons
3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 TBS honey
1 tsp red pepper flakes – more if you like a bit more heat
1 tsp curry powder
Kosher salt


1. Prepare the bulgur wheat according to instructions. Once cooked, remove from heat, give a big stir and let it sit. Now is also a good time to toast your walnuts. You can do this in the oven or in a pan on the stove. Keep an eye out as you don’t want your walnuts to burn.

2. In a small bowl, mix your extra virgin olive oil, honey, the juice of two lemons, a bit of lemon zest, curry powder and a pinch of salt. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl, add the chopped apple, celery, parsley, white onion, green onions, walnuts, golden raisins and the red pepper flakes.

4. When your bulgur wheat is ready, add it to the medley too. Give everything a big but gentle stir. Now drizzle with your dressing and stir again. Season to taste. If you want a couple more dashes of curry powder, red pepper flakes or a pinch more of salt, go for it.