Sobremesa: Fall Dinner

Friends, it’s that time again!

Sobremesa (n) — the time after a meal when the food is gone, but the conversation around the table continues

We had such a lovely dinner gathering earlier this summer, and we are excited to announce our next global dinner for the fall:

Join Us for a Night Under the Stars

Thursday, October 25, 2018

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Joined by my lovely friend and co-host, Sarah, we invite you to a wonderful fall dinner to celebrate the season, cook together & enjoy incredible food and relish in wonderful conversation around the table with friends, new and old.

Sobremesa is a global dinner series launched earlier this year by the amazingly creative minds behind Sunday Suppers in New York. Hosts from around the world are chosen to entertain guests with seasonal dinners in an effort to gather around the table and share the simplicity and love of food.

About the Meal 

from Sunday Suppers

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This meal is inspired by the earth and the processes of fermentation and natural aging.

Fall is one of our favorite seasons and connects us back to the earth. As the season shifts, the color palette mutes and darkens to deep, warm hues. We turn inward, move at a slower pace and look for comfort. Spending more times indoors, we gather around the table with the ones we love. We prepare foods you want to share.

Pungent Cheese, Meat + Fruit
Bread & Black Garlic Butter
Pear, Endive, Fennel, Coriander, Smoked Ricotta
Mercato
Short Rib w/Chili Oil, Garlic Chips
Braised Olives, Pickled Carrots
Saffron Risotto
Plum Torte + Espresso

I am THRILLED about this menu, and I’m even more excited about the venue. This time, we are hosting the dinner at one of the few remaining historic mid-century modern homes in Charlotte. Formally the Blumenthal home built by New York architect Saul Edelbaum in the 1950’s, Sarah and her husband, Charlotte architect Ken Pursley, have lovingly restored and revitalized this home, while keeping the historic beauty in tact.

We cannot wait to gather together, to cook together and to share an incredible meal & amazing conversation. Tickets will go VERY fast, so grab yours today.

Tickets* can be purchased here.

*A portion of the proceeds goes to The Global Hunger Project, a global program based on an innovative, holistic approach, which empowers women and men living in rural villages to become the agents of their own development and make sustainable progress in overcoming hunger and poverty. 

 


Simplify Your Life: Meal Planning

This month, I wrote a blog on Meal Planning for my friends at Simplicity Organizers. They have been the organizing experts in Charlotte for more than 10+ years, and specialize in all things home & office organization. My favorite area of organization includes the kitchen (duh) and meal planning, so I was honored to write a few tips I’ve picked up through the years. 


 

Simplify Your Life: Meal Planning

It all started almost 12 years ago. I was a newlywed and the only thing I knew how to cook was scrambled eggs (and “fancy” ramen, where you add in vegetables to those $0.29 packs of noodles, but I don’t think that really counts). I wanted to learn how to cook, but more importantly, I was also trying to manage our newlywed finances as well, so I wanted to learn how to cook efficiently. Thus began my love affair with meal planning.

Fast forward to the present where I find myself trying to balance work, married life and the manic whims of a precious 3-year-old. Once again, I’m in a place where meal planning is ESSENTIAL for our finances, for our health and also for our sanity.

So, how can we simplify our meals and routines? How can we reclaim peace and joy in cooking?

Do a quick Google search and you will find hundreds of websites giving you “7 Tips” here and “10 Steps” there to simplify your meal planning. Hours and hours go by, hundreds of clicks to and from sites on Pinterest, and you might still end up totally confused and unsure of how to actually get started. I’ve been meal planning now for 12+ years, and I feel like I’ve tried it all. Through it all, I’ve discovered a few successful ways to simplify our lives (& our food budget) by meal planning:

Plan One Week at a Time: Gather your family calendar and decide how many nights you can cook at home vs. take-out/going out to eat. Everyone’s schedules are “so busy” these days, so plan which nights you WILL cook…aiming for at least 3-4 per week.

If you’re really ambitious, try meal-planning for two weeks. Calendars, practices, appointments, etc., are typically set in stone for at least two weeks at a time. I am usually at my MOST efficient financially and with groceries (avoiding food waste) when I plan a couple weeks at a time. Flexibility is key, groceries can carry over, and impromptu nights out don’t matter as much because you can move that night’s meal to the next open night.

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Take Stock: What items do you already have? A huge part of simplifying your meals, is simplifying your ingredient list. Try to cook 5-6 ingredient meals. Use healthy, whole ingredients when possible; simple, unprocessed and whatever produce is on sale that week.

NOTE: Taking stock of your pantry and fridge are a LOT easier to do if they are organized ahead of time. Before you get started with meal planning, take an hour to go through and organize; dispose of expired food and group by “like-items” (cans, grains, breakfast stuff, etc., in the pantry and fruit, veggies, dairy in the refrigerator). Store items in clear bins or baskets for easy visibility.

Click here to read the complete blog over at Simplicity Organizers.


Poke Wars in the QC

I’m a devout sushi lover. If I’m being honest, I’m actually borderline obsessed. My sweet husband no longer asks me where I want to grab a spur of the moment meal because he knows the answer is ALWAYS sushi. It’s not just rolls either, I actually prefer sashimi style and usually am pretty adventurous when it comes to trying all the raw fish options.

My mild obsession with sushi began in college when I was a wee bright-eyed, extremely naive southern gal. I had recently befriended one of the most incredibly creative people I have ever met, Shigeharu Kobayashi…or affectionately known as Shige. His family owns one of the oldest and BEST sushi restaurants in Columbia, SC, and Shige was quite dismayed when he learned that I had NEVER tried sushi before. He sat me at the sushi bar, made me try everything and THEN told me what they were. 🙂

It was the best introduction to sushi because I was able to tell what I liked by the flavor, the taste, the texture without being turned off by any preconceived biases I might have had toward certain seafood just by the name. Fast forward through the past 16 years of a blossoming love of all things sushi. I’m forever in debt to Shige for introducing me.

But this post isn’t about sushi. That was a long a## introduction to bring me to the point of this post which is all about POKE. Insert another raw fish obsession (and one I would not have ever tried if it weren’t for Shige.)

POKE

Poke is a raw fish salad in Hawaiian cuisine, and served as an appetizer or sometimes (all the time in my opinion) as a main course. Pronounced POH-KEH, not poke (just in case you were still confused.)

You had me at raw fish salad. Poke really started to pick up some restaurant real estate in Charlotte starting back in 2017. While there are some asian restaurants that also serve poke bowls (or added to their menus when the trend started to get legs), the QC now has quite a growing list of Poke-dedicated establishments.

Last I saw, there were already 15+ places you could get a poke bowl. I’ve been to a few, but here are my current rankings for the growing Poke-dedicated establishments in Charlotte:

Poke Wars

  1. Best All Around: Hi Tide Poke & Raw Bar
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    It was my first, so maybe that’s why I hold it near and dear as the best so far, but I also think it’s because if you stripped it all down to the core of the cuisine…JUST the meat, their fish is the BEST. Fresh & sustainably caught. Without all the spicy mayo, toppings and other hoopla you add on there, the meat needs to be able to stand out on it’s own, right?!My favorite dishes from Hi Tide include the Poke Nachos (crispy wonton chips topped with ahi tuna & avocado deliciousness) and the Poke Rainbow (seasoned milky queen rice topped with fresh cuts of salmon, hamachi, ahi tuna and all the toppings…come on.) So good.
  2. Best Toppings (& Best Combinations): Seoul Poke Bowl
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    This would be my second favorite so far. It’s definitely pricier, but the variety of toppings is really nice, and I like the Korean spin on the menu options as well. My go-to is the Seoul Poke Special ($15.95!), but recently they launched their $3 Poke Tacos on Tuesdays. Yes, they are as good as they sound…and yes, they might be stealing my heart away from Hi Tide…one taco at a time:).
  3. The New Kid on the Block: Poke Bar
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    Definitely a chain and you get that feel when you walk in, but for the newbie in town, I thought the bowls were pretty good. For less than $10, you can get 2 proteins, a wide variety of toppings, sauce combinations and more. The portion size was pretty large I thought, especially for the price.

Still on the list for me to try, Umami Pokerito in Pineville. I’ve heard really great things, but to be honest, it might take me awhile to get here because I’m TOTALLY spoiled being within a 10-minute radius from all the others. If it takes me more than 10-15 minutes in the car, I usually punk out. We will see:)

Looking forward to….Pokeatery…this will be the first East Coast location of the rapidly-growing Bay Area restaurant from husband and wife duo Derek and Joann Chung. They are currently scouting areas to open in Charlotte and I, for one, vote for MY amazing neighborhood…Oakhurst. We desperately NEED more restaurants and FAST. Our incredible Common Market can’t be all by it’s lonesome anymore and don’t even get me started on McBonie’s. No.

What’s your favorite Poke in Charlotte and why??