My Charlotte journeys continue to grow as the months pass on! Last month I had my fourth visit in the past six months to the Queen City. I spent three days bouncing around for work activities, visiting my best friend, and of course continuing my food adventures. I have to share a quick story that gave me a laugh while on my visit. I spent some time with a work colleague who lives in Charlotte and has for thirteen years. As we began to discuss my love for food she started to list off some of the popular bars and restaurants in the area. I let her in on the secret that I had gone to almost everything on her list. She explained with shock that she had lived there for over a decade and had yet to go to most of them. The conversation continued with me giving her recommendations on which hot spots to get to and which seemed a bit overrated.
Believe it or not, there are still a small handful of Morristown restaurants I have not dined my way through. It’s not necessarily for lack of wanting to try them. It’s just that I’m always out to try the newest place on the block or settling with my regular favorites.
Morristown has had some exciting new restaurant additions in the works for the past few months. Stirling Tavern is one of these endeavors! It took over the beloved David Todd’s space on South Street. I was a big fan of David Todd’s so they had a lot to live up to in my mind. Once I learned that the renowned Stirling Hotel would be taking over the reins I had high hoped for good things to come. (I haven’t been myself but have heard only great things!)
I am not a New Yorker, or even a full on frequenter of the city. I say this upfront because there are PLENTY of restaurants I have not tried, discovered, or reviewed yet. This post comes from a recent business week trip and a date weekend spent in the Hell’s Kitchen area of the city. For the work trip, I was lucky enough to be with a group of like-minded food lovers who were excited at the prospect of trying out some of the area’s restaurants. Based on a little research, some friendly recommendations, and pure proximity we scoped out our week’s food conquests. This is a compilation of the best restaurants to encounter while visiting. It will give locals some new inspiration if they haven’t already tried these locations. And for the visitor or tourist, you can try these eateries with confidence that you will be eating something delicious. One quick public service announcement…I apologize for the lack of photos. After long days in our conference I tended to eat first, think later. You’ll just have to trust me!
Spoiled Rotten. That’s the words that best describe me after my recent excursion to Ninety Acres at Natirar. Before I carry myself back and away with the dining experience, I’ll let you know how I ended there. Natirar is a sprawling 500 acre property and estate in Peapack, NJ that houses a cooking school, farm, meetings and event space, and a fine dining restaurant, Ninety Acres. The property is the embodiment of countryside elegance. The restaurant is reserved for luxurious nights out with an expensive menu, extensive wine list, and elaborate farm to table fare. Previous to my most recent visit I had visited the restaurant one other time for a special birthday dinner date with my now husband. However; our friends know us all too well and more than one of our wedding guests thought to give us a gift card to this estate to use to enjoy the finer foods in life. We’ve managed to make it six whole months without finding the time to make a reservation. But, we had an empty weekend and we finally ceased the opportunity.
My husband and I have been trying to meet my grandparents for a double date dinner for months now! We hadn’t seen them since our wedding and we had taken our big honeymoon trip and they had just returned from a long cross country excursion. We had so much to catch up on. We decided that there was no better way to talk about Paris than to eat in a true Parisian style restaurant. My grandparents were the ones who introduced me to the beautiful French city back when I was 12. So it was all very fitting.
Last week I was invited in to try out a new gourmet burger restaurant. The place was Westfield’s newest restaurant scene addition, Butcher Block Burgers. After pre-viewing the menu online before my visit, I had those fun butterfly excitement feelings. It looked like Butcher Block was using a different take on their burgers. We all know that revolutionizing the burger isn’t exactly ground-breaking anymore. It seems that every bar in town now has a creation to call their own. While Butcher Block Burgers certainly has their share of all too common “gourmet burgers” lining the menu, they’re also taking another approach with some of their other menu items. Have you ever eaten a pork burger? What about a shrimp one? There are about nine different patty types on the Butcher Block line up. The diner can choose from the restaurant’s pre-designed and composed burgers or they can build their own from start to finish.
I will try to quickly get to the facts and the experience that you all are eager to read about. When iPic theaters reached out to me to extend the invitation to come in for an advanced tasting and screening at their new (and only) state of the art theater in New Jersey, I was instantly excited. The fact that I work a full time job with a long commute and carry very busy athletic and social calendars makes it extremely difficult to get to media events to represent Behind the Plates. So when I get an invitation for something that is interesting to me, relevant to the blog and my readers AND on an open day, I do a little happy dance. Ok, time to get down and dirty with the facts on this new theater.
What do you do when you are having a honeymoon hangover and feeling a little like you aren’t getting the appropriate Vitamin D and excitement levels in your life? You whisk yourself and your husband off to a local getaway to ease the pain. At least that’s what we did. Just three weeks after our return from the honeymoon we were wander-lusting so hard that we booked a last minute weekend in New York City. After arriving at our Paris-inspired hotel, The NoMad, which had us flashing back to our European stays, we embarked on a tourist filled couple of days in our own backyard. We never take the time to explore New York City from a tourist perspective because we often take for granted that it’s “our city”. But, we realized we knew so little of the history of it that it was a perfect opportunity to pretend like newbies!