June 2012 archive


I’ve known for a while that a food truck phenomenon was sweeping the nation.  I’ve also known that a Charlotte food truck contingent existed, although I wasn’t all that interested in chasing them down.  Until recently, however, I also didn’t know what I was missing.  Enter my friend Jenn who, a couple weeks ago, offered to take me to the South End Gourmet Food Trucks for a belated birthday celebration.

Charlotte’s South End is a historic, but urban/funky neighborhood adjacent to Charlotte’s Uptown.  Apparently, every Friday night in South End is known as Food Truck Friday.  Who knew?!?  (I seriously have to get out more.)  Each Friday, 4-5 of Charlotte’s food trucks park directly across the street from the Phat Burrito and serve deliciousness from 5:30-9:00p or until they are out of food, which ever comes first.

With so much deliciousness to choose from right there in one spot, it was impossible to choose just one.  So, we made the rounds.  Not being her first visit to the food trucks, Jenn, in her infinite wisdom, suggested that we hit the cupcake truck first because “They always sell out and if we have any hope of getting cupcakes for dessert we need to get them now.” So, first stop…the Southern Cake Queen truck…a mobile cupcakery!!

The cupcakes were $3.00 each, or 4 for $10.  I ask you – how’s a girl supposed to pass up that kind of a deal, especially for a belated birthday celebration?  I mean, you’ve GOT to have cake at birthday celebration!  We got one Turtle cupcake, one 14 Karat cupcake, one Crimson & Creme, and one Lemon Drop.

Dessert – CHECK!  Now onto the main course.  Stop number two – The TIN Kitchen.

For $9 each we got two tacos and a side.  Jenn ordered the Pork Carnitas tacos with red rice…

while I chose the Porchini Grilled Steak tacos with chips and salsa.

The two taco serving size made sharing and sampling one of each very convenient.  They were both delicious, but I’m here to tell you those steak tacos were OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD!!!

Main course – CHECK!  Now, it’s true that sides came with our delectable entrees, but Jenn and I had both noticed something of interest from while menu browsing.  Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Truffle Parmesan fries…

from The Herban Legend, our third (and final) stop.

There are no words.

We did not hit the food trucks on a corresponding South End Gallery Crawl night which was a little disappointing, but totally fine at the same time because we were then able to take our food truck fare to the South End location of the Common Market, get a couple of draft brews, and enjoy our dinner on the patio with a little music while chatting the night away and taking in the local culture.  Jenn’s Pale Ale is captured in the fry picture above.  But I went with something a little darker…

A Saison Black to be exact.  You’ll have to forgive me because 1) I was apparently too busy salivating over my brew…or the cupcakes…or both to bother focusing my shot and 2) because I’ve forgotten the brewery name.  Trust me though, it was delish! And a perfect pairing for the steak tacos!  We managed to polish off every crumb of our tacos, sides, and fries, plus the Turtle and 14 Karat cupcakes.  Lucky for him, I got to take the remaining two cupcakes home to the The Mr.

Of course…they were cupcakes for MY birthday…so we cut each of the remaining two in half and shared.  Of the four, the Crimson & Creme (red velvet with creme cheese icing) was my favorite.

The Mr. and I had a LONG day the next day with a ridiculously overdue “clean-out-the garage-day.”  After dropping off two car loads of donations at the Salvation Army, The Mr. didn’t have to ask twice as to whether or not I wanted a beer.  Since we were in the neighborhood we ended up at the Plaza Midwood Common Market location.  (You know, where we had so much fun at the Southern Tier beer tasting last year, and heard the first rumblings of the NoDa Brewing Company.)

Speaking of NoDa Brewing Company, we grew a little peckish while sipping our brews and just happened to notice via Facebook that the Maki Taco food truck was currently parked in its side lot.  I was keen to introduce The Mr. to the joy that is the food truck, so we jumped in our cars and headed towards NoDa.  There we grabbed a couple tacos



The tacos were yummy, but they were a little skimpy on the shrimp for my taste.  We enjoyed our tacos on NoDa’s patio and chatted up the brewery owner, Todd, for quite a while as he personally zested limes for their NoDable Series NoDajito brew.

The Mr. chose this mojito inspired barley pop to pair with his tacos

while I sipped the Monks Trunks.  What can I say?  I’m sucker for Belgian.

So, in a matter of 24 hrs, I hit 4 out of Charlotte’s 8 food trucks.  The weather in Charlotte has been perfect for dining al fresco lately.  Naturally, I repeated the process the following Friday.  The Mr. was out with the boys so, once again, he did not get the South End experience.  But, never fear, he’ll get his chance.  As for me, if you are looking for me on a Friday night, I’m probably truckin’!

Cheers y’all!

The Mrs. Signature

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Kitchen Disaster — a Confessional

Tonight the Mr is “Mr. Kitchen Disaster” … “Taco the Terrible” … “Slaughterer of Poor Tortilla Chips” …

It wasn’t supposed to end like this. I was supposed to make second portions of a lovely, healthy dinner that The Mrs had made already, two nights in a row. She had helpfully left the recipe out on the counter, for a baked beef taquitos — one of those where everything that one usually would eat is substituted with something more healthy.

And so I thought, as I was assigned to go get more (lean) ground beef during the day, that I could surprise her when she came home from her after-work exercise class with: a hot meal, a cold beer, and the realization that she was done. A helpful surprise, if you will.

So, I started a half-hour early, pored over the recipe, and decided that — yes, I can do this! Continue reading

Permanent link to this article: https://kitchendoesnttravel.com/archives/947


So, my birthday was a couple weeks ago.  And yes, that number in the title corresponds to the number of birthdays I’ve had.  And, no, I’m none to pleased about the proximity of the number that the aforementioned number rounds up too.  But, I guess it’s better than the alternative, right?

I honor of this grand occasion, I’ve decided to take a cue from Xanthe. She’s a photographer in the UK.  I discovered her blog and photography through the Shutter Sisters blog.  On the 38th anniversary of her birth, Xanthe posted a list of things she like to do or accomplish in her 38th year – a.k.a her Birthday List.

That got me to thinking.  Maybe it’s just the beginnings of the midlife crisis I will inevitably have in 4 yrs, but there are things I want to do in life and I don’t want to put them off any longer.  So, without further adieu, in no particular order, here is My Birthday List.

My 36 Things:

  1. Learn to take really beautiful photographs.
  2. Actually complete a 365 Project…the daily photography practice should help achieve #1.
  3. Exercise regularly enough that it becomes part of my regular routine (like eating, going to work, brushing my teeth), not just be a project that I work on intently for a couple months and lose interest.
  4. Have more dinner parties.
  5. Enjoy my weekends, not just spend every Saturday simply running errands and cleaning my house.
  6. Hire a housekeeper. (Should help achieve #5).
  7. Plan a trip to the Oregon Wine Country/Willamette Valley.
  8. Make a budget and stick to it so as to boost general savings AND savings to pay for said Oregon trip.
  9. Call my grandmothers more often.
  10. Have intentional monthly dates with The Mr. …not just eating out because we didn’t have time or were too tired to cook at home.
  11. Explore Charlotte more.
  12. Explore NC more…I really wanna go to the Outer Banks.  We’ve been North Carolinians for 7 yrs. It’s time.
  13. Finish buying furniture for and decorating our bedroom.
  14. Decorate, organize, and actually use my guest room/office space for something other than storing things that have no designated home.
  15. Actually complete the Couch to 5K app I downloaded to my iPhone a couple years ago.  (I never seem to get past week 3…see #3).
  16. Make plans to stay at Blackberry Farm for some special occasion…or at least drop enough hints that The Mr.  surprises me and whisks me away to there.
  17. Learn to maximize the potential of my photo editing software.
  18. Participate in more local cooking classes, wine, and beer tastings.
  19. Make a habit of going to bed on time and at the same time every day.
  20. Make getting as much local food as I can from the famer’s market that is literally 1 mi from my house a priority.
  21. Stick with and grow this blog.
  22. Use my car less and my bike more.  (Should also help achieve #3)
  23. Live daily in the freedom of Grace, showing others the Grace that I’ve been shown.
  24. Have the guts to do something like this.
  25. Be intentional about cultivating my friendships.
  26. Go TO the movies more.  It’s so much more fun than watching Netflix on my couch.
  27. Get a primary care physician.  I have a couple specialists, but (ugh, as I get older) I need someone helping me look at the whole picture.
  28. Take more weekend trips.
  29. Sing more.
  30. Get a new haircut.  (I’ve had the same one for 5 yrs now.  It’s really cute…but I need something new).
  31. Memorize more Scripture.
  32. Make daily quiet time a priority and let that quiet time take many forms.
  33. Start going to the opera again.
  34. Start flossing daily.  (I got through spurts where I’m really good about it, then I won’t do it for weeks months on end.  Just keeping it real…)
  35. Eat at my dining room table daily, not just when we have people over.
  36. Stop being bothered by having just turned 36.

A lot of these things aren’t major world or life changing things.  Most of them aren’t sexy.  Many aren’t deep.  Some are.  On some level, most are unmet goals that show a pattern of non-completion in my life.  I want to be someone who finishes what I start, someone who sees things through to the end.   What do you say?  Wanna help keep me accountable?

Cheers y’all,

The Mrs. Signature

Permanent link to this article: https://kitchendoesnttravel.com/archives/893

A Month of Color

So, we bought our D90 just over two years ago.  We didn’t take it off “Auto” settings until I took an Intro to Photography class about 6 months later.  I took my second Intro to Photography class a year after that.  We just invested in our second lens a couple weeks ago. (By that I mean that The Mr. bought me a new lens for my birthday).  In this slow progression, I do feel my photography has improved, but it’s no where NEAR where I would like it to be.

If you ask any photographer he/she will tell you that the only way to get better at it is to shoot, shoot, and shoot some more.  Shoot CONSTANTLY.  So that’s what I’ve got to do if I truly want to build and learn to flex my photography muscle.  I’ve got to shoot daily.  I’ve pledged to complete a 365 project before, but unfortunately failed to see it through.  This time, though, I mean business.  As it’s early June, halfway through the year, it seems like as good a time as any to start project like this.  Sort of a Half-Year Resolution, if you will.  New Year’s Resolutions are SO CLICHE anyway.  😉

I’m a big fan of the Shutter Sisters.  Each month always have a monthly “Picture _____ ” project going.  The blank is usually filled with a word that allows for creative expression and interpretation in shooting.  You know “Picture Hope” or “Picture Summer” or “Picture Discovery.”  Well this month, thanks to Xanthe’s inspiration, the assignment is to shoot color.  Starting today each weekday has been assigned a different color.  Those who wish to participate are challenged to seek it out and shoot it.  Here’s the schedule.

Looks fun, doesn’t it?  Anyone want to join me?

I was first introduced to this concept by Nichole from Little Brown Pen.  She mastered it while shooting all over Paris and now has a book to show for it.  While I’m certainly not expecting a book deal from this project, I’m definitely going to use this opportunity to kick off my own little Project 365 – for real this time and see what I can do.  Check back and I’ll show you the finished color project at the end of the month!

Cheers y’all,

The Mrs. Signature

Permanent link to this article: https://kitchendoesnttravel.com/archives/941

Hoppy Camper

Last Sunday, we found ourselves driving back from visiting our newest niece (for all our other nieces who read about beer — we love you all the same!). After a long car ride, the Mrs can get a hankering for a particular food. And from then, it’s on.

As we pulled into town, she wanted her favorite burger — a special from Big Daddy’s Burger Bar (We refuse to call it Bad Daddy’s, just because they changed their name to avoid a conflict. How rebellious are we?)

The Mrs makes her own modified “Western Burger”, with buffalo meat, applewood smoked bacon, crispy onion straws, cheddar, and BBQ sauce. Mine is similar, but with no onion straws. She opts for sweet potato fries; I’ve got to have my tots.

We carry out more often than dining in, especially when our pups have missed us. So, we also ran by local favorite, Common Market, to pick up some brew.

I chose Old Hickory Death by Hops, and the Mrs reached for Tiny. As you might suspect from an name like Death by Hops, this gem from Old Hickory is an Double IPA or Imperial IPA.

DBH pours with big bubbles in the head but the head is about 1/4″ with a little lacing. I may have been a little too fast with my pour — I was excited about this one!

The color is a light amber and the smell! Smells like grapefruit and citrus … smells “hoppy” but not “piney”. (Clearly someone needs to do further hops research! I should be commenting on Cascade hops and dry-hopping)

On the first sip, I got a big bite on the front of my tongue, rounding around to bite the sides of the tongue as well. This beer is a biter, be careful! Yummy, yum, yum!

The Mrs. went for the Tiny, and I must confess that if I had to pick “last beer ever”, it might be that.

I’m back home with my pups, a great beer paired with a favorite burger, and I’m a Hoppy Camper!
The Mr. Signature

Permanent link to this article: https://kitchendoesnttravel.com/archives/935