Beets and Bratwurst

Delinquent. That's what I am. Apologies for the silence on the western front. A few exciting items percolating on my side literally pulled me away from the computer the past week. So let's pick up where we left off, shall we? Our recent trip to New York City was the best one yet and I am excited to write about it this week. Last weekend took us to Raleigh to cheer on the Wolfpack. Our state's capital has a robust food scene and we painted the town red in the culinary department. Places not to miss coming soon. I have begun running again. While I do not love it, I am pleased to be able to do a 5K and not break down entirely. The runner's high makes the grievances well worth it. I have started swishing with coconut oil in the mornings again. As soon as I wake, I brush my teeth and pop a spoonful in the hatch for five minutes. In this time, I put away dishes, tackle the counters and if necessary, bring out the vacuum. I have also started drinking warm water (not hot) with lemon and cayenne. My favorite cousin in London has added this to her regimen with success. Finger's crossed for the great fortune on this side of the pond.

There is ample excitement abounding in the world these days. The debates, which have given rise to some hilarious mini-videos of Trump's facial expressions. The Japanese airline ANA has launched its much anticipated #StarWars jet. My heart pumps every time I see a Carolina Panthers airplane so I am quite certain that this will be something else. A blind pregnant women touched a 3D ultrasound of her unborn baby. Technology in the obstetrics department is truly mind boggling. Lena Dunham wrote a lovely Instagram post about needing alone time to recharge. She said,"when you take the time and space you need, kindly and responsibly, you're suddenly available to the people you love in a whole new way." I think many of us are pulled in a zillion directions and feel guilty taking a bit of me time. Don't. Pull yourself away when necessary. The world (and those with whom you live) will thank you for it. And for those of you with partners who are introverts, it is not you. They recharge in solace. Old news but Mark Zuckerberg confirmed that Facebook is getting a "dislike" button. I think the objective here is not for haters to thrive but rather when reading unpleasant or sad news, one can show sympathy in a way other than "liking". We are headed to a wedding in Pinehurst in a couple of weeks time. Any foodies out there with  restaurant or watering hole spots we cannot miss?

We keep executing due diligence about dogs and I have decided that I want an English Springer Spaniel. I understand that they need a lot of exercise, which I view as an added bonus in our lives. As of late, I am besotted with the recipes of Deliciously Ella. Do check out her space and be inspired. You can mix and match and by this I mean incorporate a dressing of hers with one of your favorite salads. With the red carpet commentaries purring in the background yesterday evening, I read an interesting article in Food and Wine about sommeliers. Wine is my drink of choice and I am constantly striving to learn more about it. This summer, I have been reading the book Kevin Zraly Windows on the World Complete Wine Course, which I highly recommend. My father is a wine aficionado and he regularly introduces us to new grapes and vitners. After seeing the documentary Somm on Netflix, I am further intrigued. The discipline and learning that goes into taking the exam is inconceivable. Approximately 200 candidates take the exam each year and only 10 pass. These dedicated individuals spend 150 hours training with mentors and 10,000 hours studying alone. Each candidate tastes 20,000 types of wine. There are 229 master sommeliers in the world and one of them (a woman at that #girlpower) has an outfit here in Charlotte, Corkbuzz. She has locations in New York City too should you find yourself there. Ill be imbibing there on Wednesday afternoon. In addition, the food is inventive, elegant and scrumptious. Do add it to the list if you have not yet been. Get with the program!

We enjoyed a superb weekend that (yet again) rotated around enjoying the delicious weather and food. Friday night we made burgers in the pan and let me tell you, this is the only way to prepare them. You freeze the burgers for 15 minutes to get the meat nice and cold so it does its thing when hitting the hot pan. As soon as you hear a sizzle, you smash the burger to half an inch thickness. Served on potato rolls that browned over butter on a pan, these are the business. Five Guys and wherever else, get in line. Recipe coming this week. On Saturday morning, the two of us hit up our favorite coffee shop in South End for coffee and headed over to East Boulevard for a box of decadent beignets at Duck Donuts. I must admit, my new found lust for doughnuts is somewhat alarming. I am always partial to cinnamon sugar whereas Matthew likes the maple with bacon. The latter part of the day was spent uptown perusing the barbecue festival, which in my opinion is not nearly as inviting as it was when formerly held on Tryon Street. We ate in a couple of restaurants and both meals were sorely disappointing. In fact, I am quite confident that the second glass of Sauvignon Blanc spurred posting at the first spot. I didn't even photograph our dinner at the one place it was so abysmal. Saturday evening was spent frequenting a pair of spots in Plaza Midwood. The weather was delightful and so we sought out haunts where we could enjoy the evening air. Places included Bistro La Bon, Workmen's Friend and a charming spot, Twenty-Two, which is an art gallery with a retail wine shop and they sell Lebanese Pilsner. There we had the opportunity to peruse some paintings and meet interesting people. It seems everyone wanted to give their impressions and it was terrific. This spot offers amateur nights where anyone can come and paint or draw. I think this is going to be the next date night spot for the two of us. Terrific wine selection to boot. 

Upon leaving, we came across a couple riding a horse. Naturally, someone did the "neigh neigh" and asked for a photo opportunity. Thank my stars she wasn't offering rides down the busy Central Avenue. I would recommend coming here for a drink when waiting on a table at Soul Gastrolounge. Saturday's grub further reaffirms my belief that some of the best meals to be had are those prepared in one's very own kitchen. Judging by social media attention, the below dish caught the attention of many. A pair of weeks ago we had a dinner party. I prepared a slow braised roast, which is traditionally served with potatoes but I wanted something different. I aimed to produce something healthy yet full of flavor and encompassing gorgeous color. This below salad fit the bill like you cannot imagine. We ogled over it. Once dinner was packed away and the mice were in bed, I snuck out to eat it from the bowl with a spoon. I had a few nibbles for breakfast the morning following and a hearty bowl with a fried egg on top for lunch. Super easy and chock full of hearty nutrients, you should put this in rotation immediately. Note, it lends to serious leftovers. Zum voll!

Congratulations to the Panthers for their season opener yesterday and how brilliant seeing Stephen Curry beat the "keep pounding" drum before the game!

Marinated Beets with Potatoes and Horseradish

Adapted from my beloved (underscore) Bon Appetit


5 medium sized beets - roasted, peeled and chopped into one inch pieces
7 TBS extra virgin olive oil

3 TBS red wine vinegar
Kosher salt
Ground pepper
1 lb Yukon Gold potatoes - scrubbed and cut into one inch pieces (yep, skins on)
3 green onions - thinly sliced
3 cups watercress - or more, this is your rodeo
Bunch of fresh dill - chopped
Bunch of fresh parsley - chopped
1 TBS horseradish
Juice of one lemon
Small container of Greek yogurt


1. To prepare your beets, wash and individually wrap in aluminum foil. Put on a pan (they might ooze) and roast at 450 for an hour. They are done when you can slip a knife or fork in and out easily. Once finished, let cool, unwrap and genteelly remove the skins. Chop and throw in a small bowl with 2 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS vinegar, pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Toss with your hands. Let sit at room temperature for around 30 minutes.

2. Toss potatoes with 1 TBS olive oil, pinch of salt and some cracked pepper. Spread out on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally until golden brown. You will need around 30 minutes here but you be the judge. Let cool.

3. In a small bowl, mix the lemon juice, 4 TBS olive oil, 1 TBS vinegar and horseradish. Stir until uniform.

4. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl and add the chopped green onions, watercress, dill, parsley and mixture from step 3. Toss to combine and season with kosher salt and pepper. Add the beets and gently toss again. Drizzle on top with your Greek yogurt. Go to town.

*I adore beets but they can temporarily stain your fingers. If you are planning on getting a manicure on this day, do yourself a favor and handle the beets first.

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