Thursday, July 31, 2014

Weekend Whereabouts: Charlotte!

Last weekend I was in Charlotte for yet another family reunion, this time it was my maternal grandmother's family. For some reason I had a bad feeling about this trip when I woke up Thursday morning, but tried to go with an open mind. 

Thursday night, we stayed at the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, which was a blast. It was a fantastic family friendly environment and in most cases you wouldn't even need to leave the hotel because they have everything, restaurants, indoor waterpark, arcade, bowling alley, bar and a few more amenities for the family to enjoy. 

My sister and I did however leave late at night to enjoy some sibling bonding time at Dave and Buster's down the road with a little dinner, drinks, and reliving the days of sibling rivalry on arcade games. By the way, arcade games are so much more fun with a little adult juice in your system. 

Friday, the entire family enjoyed a day at Great Wolf Lodge's waterpark. My favorite slide was the Howlin' Tornado. We did it about 4 times. It is definitely a must-do if you're of the height requirement.

Friday night consisted of switching hotels so we could stay with the rest if the family and a meet and greet for the family at my cousin's house and then a night in the town. My sister, aunt and I went to Epicenter in Uptown. We first visited a rooftop bar called Rooftop 210. It was a pretty cool place, with a great atmosphere. 

The second place we visited was Howlin' at the Moon, which is a piano bar. I took my sister to a piano bar in Fort Worth a few months ago, so now she likes to serif there is one around when we go out. It was my aunt's first time in one and we all had a blast!

The rest of the weekend wasn't as much fun as the first two days. After we got back to our room, we discovered we had problem with our hotel room, which I won't go in detail about, but it was awful! No one got any rest, which everyone in my family needs or else we have attitudes.

Saturday was family fun day at the park, which was ok for the most part-lots of games, food and conversation going on. I'm not sure if it is a good or a bad thing, but my family is very competitive so things got a little interesting at the park, especially during the family kickball game, which ended in a 17-17 tie to appease everyone. 

Saturday night, I needed a little time away from family, so I went out alone to the Woodshed. It was quite an interesting place. It was my first time there and I had heard a few people talk about it. Of course, it's a gay bar, but not one of those pretentious ones. I'm sure it can be a fun time for some.

I didn't get to do any of the family activities planned for Sunday. I had to get home for work Sunday night. I hope you all had a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Weekend Whereabouts: Cincy style

This weekend I was in Cincinnati for a family reunion and I wasn't impressed. I think I say that simply because I couldn't explore the city the way Mr J Sully explores a city. I'm usually alone, and if I'm not alone I'm with like-minded individuals that want to see what all a city has to offer in the time period I'm there. 

So, I woke up around 345 Friday morning to hit the road to Atlanta to fly with my aunt and little cousin. I refused to ride with my grandparents, which is how my mom got there. And yes, I woke up that early and drove in the rain after $35 all you can eat and drink Tapas and Tinis.

Airplane selfie

After arriving in Cincy and my grandparents checking into our hotel, my grandpa somehow talked us into going to the casino. I'm not a big gambler, I hate losing money that I can't justify, but I was the big winner of the day spending a whopping $8 and bringing home $15! No one else won anything. 

After the casino we stopped by the mall, Kenwood Towne Centre. Apparently, this is the good mall according to my cousin. Unfortunately, I didn't buy anything. 

Friday evening consisted of a meet and greet, which we didn't stay for very long and a nap. You know I needed it after 4 hours of sleep.

Friday night I had to go out and experience nightlife. It wouldn't have been right. So, I caught an Uber Black (more expensive than UberX but UberX wasn't available) to the city (45 minutes away) and checked out the club scene. The first club I went to was called Shooters (a bear bar for those of you who understand homo). It was kind of dead, but I stayed for a while and eventually went to Below Zero Lounge (typical gay club). I actually had a great time people watching at both places and met some people at Below Zero, as it is referred to locally. 

After Below Zero, I had to eat, of course, so I followed people around the corner to a taco place that had a window on the side if the street. I'll be blogging about that next, but the name was Gomez Salsa.

Saturday, was quite different from Friday, which is where this trip went sour. Long story short I ended up on the "charter" bus my cousins rented and rode to the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center (Freedom Center).

So mad I'm on the bus.

The Freedom Center is located on the outskirts of the city between the Bengals' stadium and the Reds' stadium in an area once known as Little Africa, according to our tour guide. 

The tour of the museum consisted of many exhibits pertaining to the period of slavery in the United States, as well as a quilt exhibit of African American history from the time of European settlement until the present, with quilts representing the Trevon Martin case and stricter voting laws. 

Slaves on a ship quilt

Robert Smalls Quilt (I played him in a play in 3rd grade)

Wilma Rudolph Quilt

Little Rock 9 quilt

Trevon Martin Quilt

Saturday night consisted on a slightly "ratchet" banquet and sleep because I couldn't find an Uber car. I'm so glad to be back home, although I'm trying to find a reason to go back to Cincy and explore how I want to.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Tapas and Tinis #Euphoria2014

Last night I attended Tapas and Tinis, an event hosted Town Magazine and Euphoria at The Loft at Soby's. This was my first time attending this event, as I am usually working, and I had a blast. 

The food was provided by Derin Moore of Performance Foodservice Roma. It was all so delicious! I'm not sure I had a favorite. 

The music was pretty good as well, which was done by The Erica Berg Collective. 

The purpose of this event was to stir up some excitement for Euphoria coming up in a couple of months and it definitely served it's purpose well. I also had fun meeting new people like Nicole (yes, that's her real name) from Gap Creek Gourmet and Tara from Custard Boutique  in the West End. It was also nice to see big names in Greenville's food scene. I definitely cannot wait until Euphoria! I hope to see you there!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Whistle Stop Cafe

For some odd reason I had a desire to go to Travelers Rest, SC, also known as TR, yesterday. Don't ask me why, I just did. So, after I slept half of the day away and got a few chores done I looked up places to eat and came across The Whistle Stop at the American Cafe.

The Whistle Stop Cafe is located on TR's Main Street, which is slowly seeing some growth possibly due to the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I think I saw this place on Facebook a while ago, but I had not heard much about it. Urbanspoon only had one review, so I didn't have much to go off of, as to what I should expect.

The atmosphere of The Whistle Stop Cafe is very family friendly with exposed brick walls and train paraphernalia through out.  They also have some old pictures of TR hanging on the walls.

The menu has something for everyone, from roasted chicken to shrimp and grits. They also try to use as many local ingredients as possible. 

For an appetizer, we had the chips (I don't remember the exact name), which were homemade chips fried in truffle oil and covered in a sauce with Parmesan cheese. They were good, but I felt it was lacking something. 

My date ordered a side salad with his entree. It was pretty large, so he shared it with me. The salad was a bed of spinach with bacon and a balsamic vinegarete. The vinegarete was really good.

I asked out waiter his recommendations as far as entrees go. He recommended the pork chop with mashed potatoes and green beans or the steak. For some reason, I typically don't follow the waiter's recommendations and usually do my own thing, but I listened this time and it worked out well for me. I had the grilled pork chop with bacon macaroni and cheese and corn pudding. The pork chop was cooked perfectly, which was a bit surprising as when I usually get pork chop out it is dried out. The macaroni and cheese was really good, even though there wasn't much bacon. 

My date had the shrimp and grits which he said was really good. He was very glad the shrimp was cooked correctly and didn't have a fishy taste. He said he is very picky about his seafood.

The service wasn't bad, and in case you are wondering they do serve beer and wine.

This place is definitely a hidden gem. I am glad I stumbled upon it. Hopefully I can bike the Swamp Rabbit Trail soon and visit for lunch. 
The Whistle Stop at The American Cafe’ on Urbanspoon

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy Birthday 'Merica! Dinner at Universal Joint

My Independence Day was spent in the bed, at work for a few hours and then dinner with a guy I met online. I had a late night after the baseball game on Thursday, so I didn't get out of bed until about 12 and that was probably because I had to get to work. Ugh! Work was cool though, not to busy but it wasn't completely dead. Dinner was pretty cool though. 

 We went to a new restaurant/bar in the North Main neighborhood, called Universal Joint. I had only been here once, about a week ago for drinks. It is a very laid back atmosphere, which is why I chose it to meet this guy for the first time. I knew I didn't want to go downtown because of the mass of people the Red, White and Blue Festival (aka fireworks) draws. The last time I went, it took me almost 2 hours to get home and I usually get home in 15/20 minutes depending on traffic. Also, with it being our first time hanging out and him being newer to town, we needed somewhere a little more chill.

Universal Joint has a pretty versatile menu ranging from chips and cheese and salsa on the appetizer menu to salads, burgers and a variety of sandwiches.

For an appetizer we had chips and cheese and the salsa. It was ok, nothing to really write home about. The cheese probably could've been melted a little more and the salsa was a bit hot, but again, it wasn't terrible but wasn't fantastic. (sorry, I didn't want to scare him off by taking pics of the food this time) For an entrée, I had the Brisket Philly, which is smoked brisket with cheddar cheese, sautéed mushrooms and caramelized onions. It was really good, and I had it with a side of tater tots. He had the arugula and mushroom quesadilla. It looked pretty good, didn't ask how it was but considering he ate it all, he was either hungry or with was good.

I'm sure I'll be back to check out more of the menu and just to hang out with friends.

Universal Joint on Urbanspoon

Baseball and a night on the town!

Like I said in my last post, this week for me has been date week and I wanted to go on a date every night. My date on Thursday night was actually with some coworkers. I try to make it to a Greenville Drive game at least once per season and considering I had the week off at night, it was the perfect time to hang out with coworkers. 

The Greenville Drive is the local minor league team affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, and they play at Flour Field, which is located in Downtown Greenville's West End. Flour Field has some amazing views of the Downtown Greenville skyline, but I'm pretty sure the best view is obstructed by some trees behind the outfield. Tickets are pretty cheap, we paid $8 each to have seats, but general admission is $6 I think. Thursday nights are $1 beer night (PBR), so if you are just going for that general admission is probably your best bet. 

We didn't stay for the whole game, so I'm not sure if we won your not and it would take too much energy for me to look it up right now and pretend I knew. When we left we were tied 1-1 with Asheville. Overall we had a pretty good time.

The night ended with bar hoping all through downtown, which was pretty crowded due to the holida

Thursday, July 3, 2014

IPA...the restaurant

I've had my nights off ALL week, which doesn't happen much because I barely take off from work (the struggle continues to be real). Because I work an opposite schedule from the rest of the world, or so it seems, and never have time for dates or hanging out, I decided I wanted a date every night this week. That's right, I became a serial dater this week and if I had found a speed dating event I would done that as well. (Geez I sound desperate, I swear I'm not, just looking to change things up a bit)

So my second date this week was last night and we went to Independent Public Alehouse (aka IPA), which is located just between downtown and the Cherrydale area. It is a cool spot, that serves as a neighborhood bar for that area and a restaurant until 10. After 10 you can probably count on a band to be playing (check their Facebook or website for schedules).

This was my first time eating here, I usually stop in for drinks every now and then, and I made the suggestion because my livingsocial is expiring. The menu is pretty interesting featuring items such as mushrooms and wings as appetizers and pies as desserts. The entree section of the menu is cool in the sense you choose an item- either the melt, grits, the sandwich, garden Caesar or farm salad, or the plate, and then you choose your meat. For meats, you have the option of pulled pork, beef brisket, chopped chicken, catfish or gulf shrimp. You also have the option of adding seasonal veggies.

I chose to do the melt, which is Texas toast with grilled onions, Swiss and cheddar cheese and your choice of sauce, with pulled pork. For my side, I had sweet potatoes, which were tapped with pecans. The melt was really good and used the mustard based sauce in it.

My date chose to do grits, which are pepper-jack grits with house gravy, bacon and green onion, with the gulf shrimp. He said he liked it. Sorry, no pic- 1st date, didn't want to scare him off.

For the most part, it is a pretty laid back atmosphere. The staff was very friendly and we even met one of the owners. Definitely a place I will have to go back to and check out the rest of the menu options.

Independent Public Alehouse on Urbanspoon