Hot!♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬

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wanderingjew
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2014/06/02 20:00:48 (permalink)

♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬

Sandra and I were in Charlotte and Asheville  a few weekends back celebrating my cousin Lindsey's wedding. 
The wedding actually took place in Charlotte but afterwards, we spent a few days in Asheville...  We had some excellent weather, great food,fantastic scenery and I had a reunion with two of my  (much older) first cousins, who I haven't seen in at least 3 and a half decades.
 
Saturday May 17
 
I didn't get any sleep. We decided to fly into Charlotte early in the morning for an evening wedding. Little did I know until the evening before that there was a small window of thunderstorms that were expected to hit Rhode Island at around 6 am-just in time for takeoff. With a very short layover in Baltimore I got very nervous. Especially after waking up at 2am after a restless sleep to check the weather. Those thunderstorms were heading right at us and were due in about 4 hours. If we miss the layover.....we miss the wedding... I couldn't go back to sleep. I stayed wide awake in bed till the alarm went off at 3:30 am.
 
My anxiety lessened when I checked the weather again, it seems the storm was weakening as it entered Rhode Island but we were still due for some heavy rain...
 
We got to the airport and hoped for the best as soon as we got on board and the chatty flight attendant (who thought he was actually funny) finally shut his trap (he made me even more wound up than I already was) and we took off- I finally breathed a huge sigh of relief.
 
We arrived in Charlotte early, around 9:30 am. Our first stop was coffee. Since Chi Town Diner insists I start taking photos of my coffee stops- then here it is..
 
IMG_4471 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
The Smelly Cat Coffee House in the No Da neighborhood in Charlotte
 
like the sign on side of the building says "be cool, drink coffee"
 
They even have cool cups and t shirts
 
IMG_4472 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
IMG_4473 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
They serve a decent cuppa java, however I thought it was better the last time I was there... The Smelly Cat is very popular, so it must be just a fluke.
 
We only drank coffee while I was there (well I did, Sandra only drinks decaf lattes or decaf coffee)  afterwards we decided on an early lunch
 
I did some research on yelp as I was jonesing for a good country fried steak. Apparently a new restaurant opened up back in 2012 to some very good reviews..
 
IMG_4474 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Cafe South
 
IMG_4475 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
Located in a non descript building in the middle of suburbia. Cafe South is a Greek owned eatery specializing in good ol' boy eats with a smattering of Greek menu items which seems to be very common in the Charlotte area.
 
I don't remember what Sandra got, but I knew I was getting the Country Fried Steak over rice. My meal began with warm toasty cornbread and Unsweetened Iced Tea
 
IMG_4478 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
My meal arrived and I wondered if it was going to live up to my expectations after my amazing meal at Mama J's in Richmond the weekend before
 
IMG_4484 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
IMG_4480 by ohso37, on Flickr
 
The country fried steak was fork tender, and the brown gravy was decent enough, however I thought the collards were just so so, maybe they were better than so so but after my collards at Mama J's the weekend before, they just could't compare. The star of the meal was the fried squash.  Thick cut, breaded and fried they were very reminiscent of the fried squash I enjoyed at the Wagon Wheel in Fort Lawn SC two years ago.  Overall Cafe South was fine, I give it a solid B minus and would certainly return for the fried Squash and try other items on the menu as well. 
 
After lunch, we checked into our hotel located in the south suburbs. Sandra  took a nap and I decided to walk the half mile to the hotel where the wedding was going to be that evening. The Ballantyne Hotel. This is where President  Obama stayed during the 2012 democratic convention. I stopped at the bar in the lobby for a pale ale from the local Old Mecklenberg Brewery. While I was there I ran into my cousin Lisa's husband, Phil. Everyone was staying there (we were staying nearby at the Aloft)  he introduced me to my Cousin's Dane, Scott, their wives, as well as Scott's son and daughter whom I had never met. They are in their 20's and teens. It's amazing- and we're first cousins. After having a drink with them. I returned to my hotel to wake Sandra up and get ready for the evening's event.
 

 
As you can see we put on our most stylish hats and I wore my most stylish eyeglasses.
 
Come to think of it we must have started a trend because..... The bride and groom  followed suit..
 

 
That's the bride, my cousin Lindsey (my first cousin Lisa's daughter) and the groom, Victor.
 
The wedding itself was beautiful, it was held outdoors.  The reception was a also great, although the DJ played alot of stuff I never heard of. The party was in full swing at 11PM when we finally ran out of steam. After a sleepless night the evening before, we were tired and returned to our hotel.....More to come..
 
 
post edited by wanderingjew - 2014/06/02 20:03:42
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83 Replies Related Threads

    ChiTownDiner
    Filet Mignon
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:21:12 (permalink)
    Where's Mona?
     
    #2
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:22:23 (permalink)
    Thank you for finally complying with my wishes regarding coffee house photography!  Did you send me a mug?
    #3
    wanderingjew
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:23:29 (permalink)
    ChiTownDiner

    Where's Mona?


     
    wrong side of the family. They wouldn't know Mona from Buffetbuster
    #4
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:26:04 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    ChiTownDiner

    Where's Mona?



    wrong side of the family. They wouldn't know Mona from Buffetbuster

     
    Are you suggesting similarities in body style, shaving habits, eye shadow and dress?
    #5
    Greymo
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:27:32 (permalink)
    Wow!   I finally get to see a "Roadfooder" IN A SUIT!!
    #6
    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:28:59 (permalink)
    You don't care for the coffee at McDonald's anymore?
    #7
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 20:31:05 (permalink)
    Victor seems to be having some eye problems....hoping he was able to focus at some point!
    #8
    wanderingjew
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 21:08:43 (permalink)
    ChiTownDiner

    Thank you for finally complying with my wishes regarding coffee house photography!  Did you send me a mug?

     
    No
     
    ChiTownDiner 
     
    Are you suggesting similarities in body style, shaving habits, eye shadow and dress? 
     
     
    Yes
     
    ChiTownDiner 
     
    Victor seems to be having some eye problems....hoping he was able to focus at some point! 
     
     
     
    I thought that happens to every groom after the  nuptials ??!!
    #9
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/02 21:20:18 (permalink)
    Photos of coffee but not of your beer?  I call beverage discrimination!
     
    That CFS looks good, and over rice is definitely not the norm up in these parts.
    #10
    rumaki
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 10:02:19 (permalink)
    Love the Smelly Cat t shirt.  I want one!
    #11
    will_work_4_bbq
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 10:45:43 (permalink)
    rumaki

    Love the Smelly Cat t shirt.  I want one!


    Me too!
    #12
    Greymo
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 11:33:58 (permalink)
    You can buy the shirt online at their website.
    #13
    lleechef
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 11:41:49 (permalink)
    My, my, you are certainly fetching in those glasses and that hat! 
    #14
    mayor al
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 12:34:04 (permalink)
    Sort of a Drew Carey Look, Ehhh?
     Dapper with a Rhode Island twist. 
    #15
    EdSails
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 18:15:46 (permalink)
    Nice Glasses, Elton! Dale! 
     
    I actually love the look of that Smelly Cat-----it is really an iconic look for that type of building. 
    Country fried steak on rice? Sounds good, just hold the rice......
     
    Looking forward to more of the report!
     
     
    #16
    lleechef
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/03 22:46:06 (permalink)
    I too was thinking Elton and was just waiting for my computer to start belting out "Benny and the Jets"! 
    #17
    wanderingjew
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/04 08:44:49 (permalink)
    SC
    Like coffee, I always thought beer was more regionally appropriate west of the Rockies.
    Honestly I  didn't take my camera when I walked over to the Ballantyne. My having a beer was spontaneous when I discovered they had a local brew on tap. 
    For you, Screaming Brad, I will make sure I get a photo of every craft beer I have in future trip reports!
     
    There are some hilarious photos of my (much older) cousins too. I'll post those as well
    #18
    hatteras04
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/04 09:51:07 (permalink)
    I think that looks more like country style steak as in this recipe from Alton Brown than what I normally think of as country fried steak:
     
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/country-style-steak-recipe.html
     
    Still, it looks delicious and I would like to try it.  Looking forward to more of the report.
    #19
    harriet1954
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/04 12:13:18 (permalink)
    I'll look at the rest of the pictures in a minute, but if I don't express this now, I'll forget (like I forget everything!). I notice that the graphic of the Smelly cat on the cup resembles the architecture of the building front (oh no! I just scrolled up and noticed that EdSails said just about the same thing! Always late to the party :( ).
    #20
    buffetbuster
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/04 12:36:01 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    ChiTownDiner

    Where's Mona?



    wrong side of the family. They wouldn't know Mona from Buffetbuster
    Are you sure the title shouldn't be "in Carolina.....on a four day bender"?

    #21
    wanderingjew
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/04 17:30:10 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    wanderingjew

    ChiTownDiner

    Where's Mona?



    wrong side of the family. They wouldn't know Mona from Buffetbuster
    Are you sure the title shouldn't be "in Carolina.....on a four day bender"?

     
    That title will probably fit tonight's gathering. Poverty Pete is in town so it looks like there will be "rabble rousing" up in Providence tonight.
    #22
    wanderingjew
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/04 20:57:39 (permalink)
    I think it must be a genetic thing
     

     
    Here's cousin Lisa (the mother of the bride) and her hubby Phil   She refers to me as her "baby" cousin. I'm 5 years younger and a foot taller than Lisa.
     
     

     
    And her older brothers, my cousins Scott on the left and Dane to the right...
     
    I guess my mother's side of the family clearly has  an obsession with hats and glasses!
     
    I'll continue with the trip report tomorrow evening.
     
     
     
     
     
     
    #23
    buffetbuster
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 08:04:52 (permalink)
    I am definitely starting to notice a family resemblance.
    #24
    ScreamingChicken
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 09:10:21 (permalink)
    I think Phil's wearing a set of Harry Caray's old glasses!
    #25
    wanderingjew
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 19:12:26 (permalink)
    Sunday May 18
     
    We didn't get up till probably close to 8:30 AM. That's late for us. After checking out of our hotel we were planning on meeting up with friends in Hooterville Linconton. First a stop at a coffee house in the outer outer suburbs (some may say boonies)  of Charlotte where Route 16 and I 485 meet. The Coffee House at Mountain Island, is a cozy little coffee house in a strip mall, owned by an older couple who didn't fit the stereotypical mode of what some here on the forum may think is the typical coffee house owner.  Anyway, the coffee was fairly decent (but not memorable) and unfortunately I couldn't get a good photo of the place.
     
    Afterwards we headed towards Lincolnton, and met up with my friends Julianne and Scott at a regional chain called Fatz. Unfortunately on a Sunday in the middle of no where, beggars can't be choosers. Some of you may recall I've stayed with Julianne in the past when I visited Charlotte. We've known eachother for over 20 years  when we met back in Seattle . Like me she was a non local, having moved there by way of Wisconsin.  I had a Yuengling beer and we shared a very ordinary fried green tomato appetizer but it was great to be among old friends. After we parted ways we went to lunch.
     
    IMG_4485 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    Just over a half hour  later we arrived at Red Bridges Barbecue Lodge  in Shelby
    Specializing in BBQ for over 60 years
     
    As we pull in we are amazed to see all the pigs who are happily awaiting their demise to be eaten.
     
    IMG_4488 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
     
    IMG_4489 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    We asked ourselves why these pigs would be so happy, with what they're about to face, and we summarily realized, "they're pigs, they don't know any better"! 
     
    Inside the restaurant it gets even stranger with pigs thrown into the throngs of passion
     
    IMG_4497 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    Anyway, about the meal
     
    I ordered a Pork Plate which comes with BBQ Slaw and asked for some Mr brown with Mrs. White and some Unsweetened Iced Tea
     
    IMG_4492 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    There was nothing mind blowing about the BBQ and I really didn't detect much smoke to the meat, although the bbq slaw is probably some of the best I've had but sadly I'm still not a fan.
     
    The hushpuppies....now that's another story...
     
    IMG_4494 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    crunchy and craggy morsels of corny goodness. 
     
    Sandra just got  a bbq sandwich and asked for the slaw on the side, it was kind of funny  when she asked the waitress what bbq slaw was and I had to point out that Sandra is a Yankee ( a real one at that from rural Southeastern CT)
     
    After lunch we continued on our trip towards Asheville admiring the mountains in the foreground.
    We arrived and stayed at a hotel not too far from the Biltmore estates. The weather when we left Charlotte was a little unsettled but it was an absolute gorgeous day when we got to Asheville. 
    It was already well into late afternoon and we decided to spend the rest of the day into the early evening walking around the Arboretum.
     
    IMG_4498 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    IMG_4499 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    IMG_4500 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    IMG_4502 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    afterwards we headed to dinner.
     
    Tupelo Honey Cafe
     
    IMG_4503 by ohso37, on Flickr

     
    A regional chain of a handful of restaurants in North Carolina and Tennessee originating in Asheville. Recommended by both Paul Sundancer 7 and Nancypalooza, we went to the South Charlotte location since it was closest to our hotel.
     
    Each meal begins with a fresh warm biscuit and homemade blackberry preserves
     
    IMG_4506 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    I opted for the "nutty fried chicken" with smashed sweet potatoes and asparagus
     
    IMG_4508 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    It was basically chicken fried chicken with a creamy white gravy. 
     
    Sandra opted for the mountain trout and goat cheese grits with asparagus. She even asked if I would take a photo
     
    IMG_4510 by ohso37, on Flickr
     
    Although I enjoyed my meal, I took a bite of the trout and grits and realized I ordered wrong....
     
    Sandra declared this (and one more meal afterwards) the best of the trip....
     
    After dinner we returned to our hotel for the evening...

    More to come...next week...
    #26
    Glenn1234
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 19:29:01 (permalink)
     
    We recently ate at a "Fatz" in western NC not far from Asheville when much of everything else was closed.  We got there late.    (Memorial Day).   .... Not bad for a chain.  The Calabash fried chicken was decent.
     
    The warm biscuit from Tupelo Honey Cafe looks great. 
     
    Glenn
     
     
     
     
    post edited by Glenn1234 - 2014/06/05 19:30:34
    #27
    JRPfeff
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 21:05:49 (permalink)
    Dale, my friend, you are beginning to worry me.
    #28
    JRPfeff
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 21:23:05 (permalink)
    dot dot dot
    #29
    JRPfeff
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    Re:♪ ♫ Nothing could be fine-uh than to be in Carolina.....on a four day weekend ♩ ♬ 2014/06/05 21:26:15 (permalink)
    Regional chain. That's kind of like high-class call girl, isn't it?
    #30
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