Before we set off on our adventure today, spanning from the early morning New York City streets to the calm lapping of lake waves against a North Carolinian dock soundtracked by a mandolin in the background, I have to say that one of the most amazing meals I have ever had, was had in SoHo at a family friend’s place: The Dutch, an American Restaurant, Bar and Oyster Room inspired by local cafés, country inns, corner taverns, neighborhood bistros, seaside shacks, roadside joints, old school dining halls and the same mix of cultural influences that make New York City great. It’s a new place getting rave reviews that can’t seem to serve enough people in a night and for good reason. Delicate, savory, boisterous foods that pack a punch and leave you with taste buds that will always and forever want more. Joined by five others, the table saw little oyster sandwiches, fried green tomatoes with ruby red shrimp, cornbread to kill for, a take on okonomiyaki with tender asparagus, grilled quail with delicate but powerful summer salsa and poblano, scallops over seasonally good sweet corn and chipotle, pot pies, a special with scrumptious oysters, six appetizer cocktails, about every dessert in the world (peach pie, key lime pie with ice cream, chocolate cake, a selection of heart-stoppingly good fresh made ice creams) and two bottles of wine (one white, one rose). It was a two and a half hour experience that, like I said before, left me thinking it was a beautiful symphony of art, rather than simply “substance.”
Trucking our full and happy butts up and out of the restaurant, we ventured into The Brooklyn Brew Pub to enjoy a Sixpoint Sweet Action and discuss future plans and my flight that following day.
New York City to Charlotte, North Carolina on a small plane, bumping gently and enjoyably the whole way – I was about to be carless, homeless, and friend-full for the next ten days.
What brought me down to the Piedmont was a gathering of college friends that I hadn’t seen in about a year at maybe the perfect location: a lake house equipped with a great kitchen, porch, dock, and water Carolina waters. We danced and chatted and caught each other up rocking in chairs back and forth. During the day, we ran and drank coffee and water-skied and prepared delicious midday meals. Massages for everyone and really, just a house full of warmth and support. I couldn’t have come into a more comfy-cozy return.
Once day, Galen, LZ and I turned down the early morning water skiing offer for a grocery store run instead. We planned on picking up the rest of the ingredients for lunch and dinner for the next two nights. The only problem was that none of us had specific meals in mind and all of us are indecisive.
Strolling aimlessly in the Piggly Wiggly for a few, we decided on burritos for dinner, and hummus-based sandwiches for lunch. The burritos were something I became really excited about: I hadn’t had any Mexican food in Seoul (save the free chips and salsa I pounded one night), and I was craving that spicy sting and hearty bean flavor. Bumping around the store, we found the tomatoes, onions, peppers, cheese, black beans, red beans, rice, lettuce, limes, chives, and mint we were looking for. We also snagged a few peaches for the salsa and a few sweet potatoes to roast and throw in too. If we were doing burritos, we were doing real hearty, I-don’t-think-I-can-move-now burritos. And a side of watermelon. I mean it’s summer, after all.
Chopping away at the chives and onions, we put some music on, danced around the kitchen happily, and found hot sauce in the cabinet. When the rest came in from the day on the water, we were ready to sit down, and feast with ten good friends, and great relaxing stories.
The burritos themselves turned out great – deep flavors stemming from the sweet potatoes and beans, met with vibrant sweet touches from the peach salsa, combining with the crispy crunch of the green peppers, onions, and lettuce, all topped off with your choice of smooth cheese and potent spice. Couple this with a nice beer, gin and tonic, or margarita and you are in the market for a wonderfully content-laden evening to watch sunsets fall over lapping lakes. I highly recommend it.