Matthews Community Farmer’s Market

When I moved to Charlotte, I knew I wanted to live in South Charlotte. The house I ended up buying was the last I looked at and is near the community of Matthews. When people ask me where I live it’s just easier to say, “near Matthews” rather than South Charlotte. Gives them a better idea of where exactly I am. What I didn’t realize when I moved here was the proximity of an amazing Farmer’s Market. It’s literally a five minute drive.

Matthews, for those of you outside NC, is a small town that was populated in the 1800’s. Here is a bit of history from their official website.

In 1879, Matthews was incorporated as a municipal corporation in the state of North Carolina. Jeremiah Solomon Reid headed a committee to secure the town charter. The town’s official name became Matthews, in honor of Edward Watson Matthews. In 1880, the official census listed 191 residents.

The downtown is at the corner of John Street and Trade Street. It’s not big…but it is quaint.

The Matthews Community Farmer’s Market is open year round, with special hours during the winter, and in the summer there is a twilight market on Tuesday nights. Everything sold at the market comes from within a 50 mile radius. Local. Fresh. Yum.

Here is a very important tip about the market…YOU MUST GET THERE EARLY. It opens at 7:15 am and by 7:45 a lot of stuff is sold out. What can I say it’s a popular market. This morning I went by Hinson Farms, as their son has his own fresh egg business, but they were sold out. I was there at 7:30. He’s still one of my favorite people in the market. He said, “sorry, they are all gone” and I replied “that’s a good thing”. He said, “well not for you”. Their eggs are so yummy indeed it was good for him but not for me.

I was on the hunt for basil, tomatoes, red onions and wanted some fresh goat cheese. I always buy goat cheese from Bosky Acres. They have plain and some flavors…my personal favorite is garlic and chive. You can also find them at Earthfare if you don’t make it to the market. I use it for my turkey/goat cheese grilled cheese (see earlier post). I also put it in scrambled eggs.

 I bought my red onions today…4 for $3 from Fisher Farms. I can’t wait to put them in my Orzo salad, which I am making tomorrow for a BBQ at my parent’s house.

They had some amazing looking purple cauliflower which I will try very soon!

A vendor I normally visit but didn’t today because I have lettuce in my fridge is Tega Hills Farms. They have the best lettuce. The bibb is my favorite. Today she even had squash blossoms! I plan to stuff those with some goat cheese and fry them up this summer.

but you have to get there early…because there is always a line!

A few other tips about the market.

They have cooking demonstrations from local chefs most weeks.

They have a large lot in the back for parking.

The ladies that sell flowers there have the best flowers. I bought some for Easter and they lasted almost two weeks. They are gorgeous and well priced.

 

Also, they have an email list that sends out a blast Friday morning telling you what vendors will and won’t be at market and what kind of veggies, fruits and other products they anticipate being there. Here’s the website for the market.

http://www.matthewsfarmersmarket.com/

Last, I bought a new camera this week so hopefully I can improve my food photography. I forgot to take a photo of the tomato man…but here are a few shots of his yummy tomatoes. They are a little pricey but grown with love. He’s always at the front of the market.

Enjoy your Saturday evening! I will be in bed early after this early trip for you all…ok and for me too!

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A quick trip to Asheville

So the boyfriend and I decided to do a quick road trip up to Asheville to see one of our favorite bands, Big Sam’s Funky Nation and have an early celebration of somebody’s big birthday coming up in May. If you don’t know Big Sam, please stop what you are doing (including reading this blog) and YouTube him. Or check out his website here:

http://bigsamsfunkynation.com/

He’s awesome. It’s always a party with Sam. West Coast peeps he is headed your way soon, including the Sierra Nevada brewery in Chico.

Upon arrival, we wanted to do some good old Asheville people watching and headed to what used to be the Flying Frog…which is no Solace. We sat outside and even though it was a little chilly, the people watching was as usual fantastic.

To start I had this yummy black bean soup to warm me up.

After dinner, we headed to Pisgah Brewing Company, an organic brewery in Black Mountain, NC just outside Asheville. It’s a small venue but the beer is good. It’s a bit hard to find so make sure to bring your electronic devices w/ maps on them.

We danced off our dinner to our buddy Sam, who Franklin got to meet, and had a blast.

The next morning, we got up and headed to Tupelo Honey Cafe. I’ve been to Asheville a few times, and have tried to go to this place each time unsuccessfully. The problem is, I love breakfast, I love sleeping in, and by the time I get here on a weekend…it’s an hour wait. Oh but wait…it was a Friday that we tried to go this time which meant no wait…great success!

I ordered an omelet w/ carmelized onions, basil, and goat cheese and goat cheese grits. I really love goat cheese if you haven’t already figure it out.  These grits rocked. I was a very happy girl. And again, the bad photographer, it was like bite 2 that I took this photo.

After this we did a little shopping, headed to the Grove Park Inn for a relaxing day of golf (him) and spa (me) and a lovely pre-birthday Friday night that even included some additional dancing at the Grove Park.

A trip to Vegas…

I traveled to Vegas for the NASCAR event in early March and here are some tales from that trip.

As a native Californian…I am a loyal In N Out burger fan. Growing up I was always a really picky eater, which is so weird now becasue I love food. Anyway, I was the kid that always had to wait extra time for my burger at McDonald’s becasue I used to order them plain. No mustard. No ketchup. No onions. Definitely no picke. Ick. So when I was introduced to In N Out by my father, who grew up near the first location in Southern California, I was instantly in love. Granted, I did order it at first w/ out the sauce, but now it’s a Double Double w/ Grilled Onions, fries and a Diet Coke.  In college and well post college too, my friends and I used to justify our burger intake by saying it was a well balanced meal. The five major food groups were represented. Meat, check. Dairy, check. Vegetables, check. Bread, check. Fruit (yes a tomato counts), check.

So instantly upon my arrival it was a Double Double w/ Grilled Onions, fries and a Diet Coke. Boom!

Later that night…it was legendary Rao’s at Caesar’s Palace. I knew of Rao’s from my favorite TV Chef Giada DeLaurentis. She had featured Rao’s in her show, Giada’s Weekend Getaways. It’s old school Italian and modeled after their restaurant in NYC, which another friend tells me is impossible to get into. My colleague and I were told to definitely order a meatball…we did. We also split the Penne Vodka, a Veal Parmesean (that looked like a pizza) and Chicken Scarpariello. WOW. Everything was awesome but we totally overordered. It happens. Here is a photo of our feast.

The next night…it was one of my favorite restaurants of all time. Estiatorio Milos. If you like fish…this place is for you. Full disclosure…it’s very pricey. However, it’s the freshest, most delicious fish I’ve ever had. I’ve been to both their NYC and Vegas locations. YUM. Vegas is a people watching adventure as it’s in the new Cosmopolitan Hotel and Casino. My colleagues and I sat outside on the patio and had a very enjoyable evening. I can’t even really tell you the kind of fish we ate because everything is fresh and fish you’ve never heard of. They prepare it for the table, family style. Most of the fish is prepared in olive oil, lemon and and capers. That’s it. Also a must is the tomato salad. Typical greek tomato salad and SO yummy. Here is a link to Milos.

http://www.cosmopolitanlasvegas.com/taste/restaurant-collection/estiatorio-milos.aspx

We also went back to another seafood favorite, RM Seafood by Rick Moonen. He was a contestant on Top Chef Masters and is the Master of sustainable seafood. It’s just off the casino floor at Mandalay Bay and I highly recommend it as well.

Stay tuned for more blogs!

A recent trip to NYC…

Hi everyone! So sorry it has been so long since my last post. Work and a cold kept me busy and well exhausted.

As promised this blog will be about a recent trip to NYC but I have also been cooking so stay tuned for some new recipes coming your way shortly.

On the second weekend of the new year…a few friends and I went to NYC for a girls weekend. NYC is one of my favorite cities to eat in and on this trip I was able to visit one of my old favorites, cross a big one off my list, and eat some fabulous brunches. I heart brunch.

First the old favorite…Serafina. You can never go wrong with a trip to Serafina in the city. They have five locations in the city and they are always, consistently delicious. The other day I was trying to recall my first trip there…and I am fairly sure it was none other than Five Time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion Jimmie Johnson who first took me there. I know for certain we have been there mulitple times together. Pizzas, pastas, and yummy salads are always good comfort food on a media tour. Trust me.

The big one…ABC Kitchen by chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. It’s a cozy yet fancy farm to table restaurant on 18th street near Union Square. As a foodie, I kept seeing articles about how good it was and it certainly lived up to it. My favorite dish of the night was a roasted carrot salad with avocado. Sounds so strange, especially considering I am lukewarm about cooked carrots (ask my mom, I used to spit them out) but this dish was amazing. The seasoning on the carrots, with the creamy avocados…YUM. If you are traveling to the city, make a reservation. I will certainly be back. Where are the photos you ask? Well…I was too busy eating.

However, I did take some brunch photos for you guys so let’s talk about that!

The first place we went for brunch, I had been to before, and when you are searching for a place with friends, you want to go where you know the food is good. Eatery on 53rd and 9th is SOLID.

We started, as I had done with my friend Kate the first time, with the macaronni and cheese with BACON. YUM! And it takes the edge off of everyone at the table who has any resemblance of a hangover.

This trip I ordered Green Eggs and Ham to go along with my delicious guava mimosa.

Eggs with pesto, goat cheese and ham on a crossaint and a side of greens. Yes please!

However, the star of the table was the fantastic stuffed chocolate and banana french toast with ice cream. Ordered by my friend Ramsey’s five year old daughter Miss Ava, we all pitched in to “help” her finish it. OMG. It was phenomenal and it was our duty to help her out right?

The following morning it was a trip to the Uppper East Side to catch up with our friends The Shiftans as well as my friend Kate who made the treck up from the financial district. Big ups to Kate for making the hike. We went to Sarabeth’s on Madison and 93rd. I suck because this was the only photo I took.

I have an unusual love for Huevos Rancheros so I have a habit that when I see it on a menu…I must order it. The Upper East Side however might not have been the best place for that dish. It was just eh. I have a great recipe for Huevos you can make at home that I will post in the near future.

I am also a dork and when a place is famous for something…I order that too. Sarabeth’s famous velvety cream of tomato soup…did not disappoint. The soup was so creamy and yummy but had big chunks of tomato in it too. I googled it and found a recipe for it from Good Housekeeping so you know I will try that and let you all know how it turns out.

So all in all I was well fed in NYC. Love that city.

Here is what you can expect in upcoming posts…

My smoked turkey eggs benedict

A slow cooker carnitas pork shoulder (which i ate some leftovers of last night…so good)

My famous homeade salsa and guacamole

and the aforementioned Huevos Rancheros which utilized the extra salsa and guacamole.

Also, I have been itching to make a Pot Pie since having a delicious one at Fran’s Filling Station. Maybe this weekend!