Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Charlotte: Legion Brewing

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I truly can't believe that Christmas is in a few short days, but my advent calendar doesn't lie. 23 chocolates down, 1 to go!

I'm sorry it's been so quiet on the ole blog lately. Between exams, lots of extra shifts at the olive oil shop (Christmas shoppers out in full force, I tell ya) and holiday happenings it has been a jam-packed December. But I imagine you all feel exactly the same way, so I shan't drone on anymore.

Instead, let me tell you about a brand spankin' new brewery in Charlotte! Legion Brewing opened just last week in Plaza Midwood and I wasted no time dashing and prancing over to check it out.

Fast "facts" --> Legion is open late (until 11pm!) on Sundays which is very rare in Charlotte. This automatically places it in my good graces. The brewery is located in the old Brodt Music Company and the old signs and some instruments were left behind = charming and cozy vibes.

 We ventured to Legion right after a *very close* Panthers game on Sunday (Keep Pounding, yadda yadda) and the brewery was hopping (hops pun intended).

There is a ton of seating and space inside, some carefully placed TVs for sports watching and board games to play, should you get bored of your beers.

As is tradition upon first visits to breweries, flights were in order!

We slurped down each and every beer with verve. Hoplights include both of the IPAs, the brown ales and the Cranberry Saison. But I'd drink every beer in that flight, easy peasy. Insider information: if you ask for pretzels at the bar, you shall receive! Free!

Now I probably should apologize for taking a photo in the bathroom at Legion, but it was too cool not to share (and a huge upgrade from most brewery/bar bathrooms). And since ~50% of Charlotte/the world will never get to see the inside of the Women's restroom, here you go...

That art deco looking art installation on the wall? Look again - it's the tops of toilet bowls! Cool, huh? 

So there you have it! I'm obviously a big fan of Legion Brewery, the beer and the atmosphere. I can't wait to go back!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year friends! I'm off on a tremendously exciting family vacation on the 26th - I'll be sure to give you a full report in the New Year (hint: it will involve palm trees, macadamia nuts, papayas, and hopefully not contracting Dengue fever).



Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Recipe: Pantry Pasta Primavera

I should begin this recipe with a few caveats. 

1.) All of the ingredients for this recipe do not, in fact, originate in the pantry. You will have to open your refrigerator and freezer, as well. [If you're keeping your frozen broccoli in your pantry though, you probably have bigger problems than the title of this recipe.]

2.) This is by no means a fancy, blow your mind recipe. This is a recipe for those nights when you're not inspired in the kitchen, did a bad job grocery shopping and meal planning, and want something healthy and pretty tasty.

Now that we've cleared the air, how about that recipe?!

This recipe is inspired by a dinner that Torsten made last week -- Giada's Pasta Primavera. If you have all of the ingredients for her recipe, *by all means* make that instead. It is wonderful and gets 5 stars on, which is unheard of. Giada is a goddess and I will not pretend that this recipe is half of hers. BUT! I can almost guarantee you have the ingredients necessary to make this recipe lying around.

I got home from campus last night around 8pm. I had attended a Campus Dining Forum with Aramark last night (repping the Nutrition department!) and an hour of talking about what kind of food I would like to see on campus left me Hungry with a capital H. This recipe was ready in 20 minutes and hit the spot!

Pantry Pasta Primavera
Serves: 1


1 large carrot, peeled
Handful of grape tomatoes
2/3 cup broccoli (I used frozen broccoli that I defrosted in the microwave - desperate times)
Fresh thyme
1 clove of garlic
2 glugs of basil olive oil
2/3 cup whole wheat rotini
Salt & Pepper


1.) Preheat the over to 400 degrees

2.) Cut the carrots into long chunks, halve the tomatoes, and mince the garlic.

3.) Put the carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, fresh thyme, a glug of olive oil and salt and pepper on a baking sheet. Toss. Bake for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the minced garlic with 3 minutes left.

4.) Cook the pasta according to package directions. 

5.) Toss the pasta, vegetables an additional glug of olive oil and a dash of S&P.

6.) Serve! (bonus points for topping with freshly grated parmesan)

Note: the best part about this recipe is its flexibility. Any roasted vegetables would be great here. Butternut squash, onion, asparagus, squash, mushrooms, eggplant, etc. Additionally, any fresh or dried herbs can be substituted for the thyme (basil would be great!) and a plain olive oil would work just fine. Of course, I won't be offended if you happen to use penne or rigatoni instead of rotini. 

Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Dinner at Revival in Decatur

I was going to share a lil Thanksgiving week recap with you all, but seeing as it's already Wednesday (and December 2nd), it seems a little "SO last holiday." Cliff's Notes version: we went very traditional with our feast, had oodles of leftovers (making a breakfast casserole out of stuffing was a revelation), walked our tails off and watched lots of football. It was perfect! Now it's time for final exams, group projects (groan) and papers for the next two weeks.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. While it might be too late to share Thanksgiving happenings, it's *never* too late to tell you about an awesome new restaurant in my home town! Come Friday evening, we were all a little kitchen-ed and turkey-ed out, so a night out on the town was in order. Take the term 'night' lightly, as the only reservation we could get was at 5pm! I know, I know... we're a wild and crazy bunch.

The early bird dinner time was more than worth it, though, as I'm sure you'll see! Revival opened in downtown Decatur a few months ago. Chef Kevin Gillespie is a notorious B.I.G. deal in Atlanta and this is his newest venture.

The restaurant is in the most charming house. I probably said 100 times over the course of the meal "this is my dream house" or "I could really get used to living in here" followed by "especially if they would bring me this food every evening."

The restaurant is based on the notion that they want you to feel like you're at Grandma's house. They even have a faux old-timey kitchen that you can dine in with a big group!

Everything we ate was delicious and a nice respite from leftovers. Let me show you!

We started with Toasted Deviled Ham Tea Sandwiches.

Next up was the complimentary Skillet Fried Corn Bread. OH BOY was this ever good.

For our entrees --> my dad got the Spiced Carolina Catfish, my mom ordered the Coca-Cola Braised Beef Shortrib, and I had the Anson Mills Farro with butternut squash, apples, and pumpkin. We also shared sides (or as they call them, trimmings (!)) of Stone Ground Grits with Caramelized Onions and Hickory Smoked Local Greens. [Full disclosure: we licked our plates clean except for approximately 4 bites of collard greens which I shamelessly requested a to-go cup for.]

For dessert we shared the Pineapple Upside-down Cake with Dr Pepper ice cream. It was phenomenal (something I never thought I'd say about pineapple upside-down cake) but truly un-photogenic, so I'll spare you.

At the end of the dinner, our delightful server left us with this little card. How charming! How Southern!

No, I'M much obliged, Kevin!

I'll leave you with some seasonal tidbits. I'm going whole-hog with Christmas this year. It helps counteract the Finals doldrums....

It wouldn't be Christmas without middling milk chocolate advent calendars! Trader Joe's was SOLD OUT already, but World Market came to the rescue...

And a tiny little (real!) tree for my tiny little apartment. Decorated with ornaments from when I was a kiddo! 

Seasonal PSA: The lighting of the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is on NBC tonight! My sole goal for the today is to finish studying in time to watch. Priorities.

Have you tried any new restaurants lately? Do you have an advent calendar? Real tree/fake tree?