Saturday, August 1, 2015

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to Block & Grinder in the South Park neighborhood of Charlotte. 
This farm to kitchen restaurant's philosophy is "Back to Basics" with a menu "structured around appreciating every fresh ingredient."

One option was a Wild Game Burger. This day's choice? Kangaroo served with a tomato aioli. Now I have never tasted Kangaroo but I am always open to trying a new taste. 

They import their Kangaroo from New Zealand and serve it along with other wild game including camel and elk. The Kangaroo burger was outstanding, cooked perfectly and serve on a toasted bun imprinted with a B & G. 
Kangaroo Burger
Instantly, you know it is not a beef burger with the distinct “wild” flavor, much like a venison burger, but earthier. The homemade fries were crispy and just the way I like them. 

Dora here. It was the day for trying new things all around. Topped with feta cheese and served with curry aioli, the Lamb burger could've passed for beef. I'm not sure if that's good or bad for Lamb lovers. :) 
Lamb Burger

I just know that I enjoyed the lean, smoky flavor and I'm a huge fan of feta. I tried the aoili, but preferred it without. And I'm with Ernie. The fries were perfect.

Service was attentive and for the most part quick, and the wait staff helpful and knowledgeable.

Just a note. When you order unique options, they tend to be a bit pricier. 

Dora here. Gulp. You're not kidding. Two burgers, one iced tea, and no appetizers = $47. Yowzee! Better save up your pennies.

As I was saying, don’t let that discourage you. Go for it! 

We rate this restaurant 5 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving outstanding food. 

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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Excited about Reading: Love on a Deadline by Kathryn Springer

Amazon Purchase Link
The Cover Story~
MacKenzie “Mac” Davis left her hometown of Red Leaf, Wisconsin, to pursue a degree in journalism. But when her dad, the town’s beloved Coach Davis, suffers a mild heart attack, Mac returns home to help out. She takes a job at the weekly newspaper but instead of covering serious topics, her editor wants her to write about social events—like the garden club’s flower show and the historical society’s afternoon tea. Mac knows it’s no way to earn her father’s respect—or the attention of one of the newspapers she hopes will hire her when she leaves Red Leaf.

When Hollis Channing, Mac’s high school nemesis, returns to Red Leaf to marry her celebrity fiancé, the editor asks Mac to cover the big event—and all the festivities leading up to—for the newspaper.

The last thing Mac wants to do is reconnect with the person who made her life miserable when she was a teenager . . . unless it’s spending time with Ethan Channing, the bride’s older brother—and Mac’s first crush.

Mac is no longer the awkward girl who wore the school mascot costume to the Homecoming dance but she realizes something hasn’t changed. Her feelings for Ethan.

Sharing my takeaway~
Reporter "Mac" Davis chomps at the bit for a meaty story, anything that'll take her back to the big city, away from Red Leaf where everybody still thinks of her as Coach's daughter. Physician Ethan Channing returns to his hometown, intent on sinking roots in the small community, surprised at Mac's transformation from sideline "water girl" to beautiful woman.

I have read a few books by Kathryn Springer and enjoyed them, so I scooped up Love on a Deadline when it listed on NetGalley. I'm glad I did. The romance between Mac and Ethan moved along at a fairly smooth pace, and the cast of secondary characters really enhanced the story. The faith thread was subtle, and the story kept me flipping pages for a couple hours.

No heavy drama to sift through in this novella, just a really sweet story that makes for light, relaxing reading. A great book to pack in your beach bag or to squeeze in on a lazy weekend afternoon.:)


Disclaimer: Sending my thanks to NetGalley and Zondervan for the privilege of reading and reviewing Love on a Deadline. I was provided a free copy of the book in exchange for my fair and unbiased review. I was in no way compensated for my review.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to the historic south end of Charlotte near the Dilworth neighborhood to Crispy Crepe. 
Exterior

Dora here. Hey, I recognize that cute guy in the red shirt! :)
I would've preferred to sit outside, but the Saturday afternoon of our visit was a scorching 95 degrees. The interior was cozy and air conditioned. Check out that giant bottle of chocolate syrup along the wall. How cool is that? 

Interior
This unique eatery not only serves crepes, but also waffles, salads, flatbreads and sandwiches. 
Making Crepes

I chose the Egg n Turkey Bacon Waffle which is served with two eggs, turkey bacon and fresh fruit. Now this waffle is not an ordinary waffle. It is a Liege waffle, named after a city in Belgium, and is made using brioche style dough and caramelized Belgian sugar, and pressed in a cast iron press. 

This waffle was outstanding, definitely the highlight of the dish, and reminds me of waffles from our trips to Europe. The soft scrambled, not runny eggs and bacon were perfectly cooked. 
Egg n Turkey Bacon Waffle 
Dora here. Isn't that plate huge? I couldn't let Ernie eat that whole meal by himself!  He definitely needed help with the waffle. Wow! Yeasty and yummy and my fork kept sneaking over to his plate. :)

I strategized my order. I knew we were going for a sweet crepe, so I ordered the Smoked Turkey with White Stilten Cranberry Cheese sandwich. Doesn't that sound intriguing? I know, right? And look at it. Sweet caramelized onions, cranberry cheese...need I say more? Yummo! And to be fair, I did share. :)
Smoked Turkey with White Stilten Cranberry Cheese sandwich
The Chocolate Peanut Butter crepe was filled with mini chocolate peanut butter cups, vanilla cream & drizzled with caramel. The chocolate and cream, almost like a donut cream, all mingled together for a sweet ending to a great meal. Check this out!
Chocolate Peanut Butter crepe 
Dora here. The crepes don't normally come split like this. Somebody was a bit too quick with the knife. Lucky I snapped a picture because this crepe vanished within seconds.

The coffee was a different story. Too weak for me. Bummer. 

Three hours of free parking is available in a garage around the corner. Service was a bit slow because of the packed restaurant, but you won't need that long to eat. :)
Parking
We rate this restaurant 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving great food. 


Have you tried a Liege waffle? What about crepes?
Do you have a favorite? Sweet or savory?
Click to add a blog post for Crispy Crêpe on Zomato

Friday, July 24, 2015

New Release: BECK'S PEACE, a Christian Romance Book

Happy Book Birthday to Beck's Peace,
the second book in the Harmon Heritage series, 
where three siblings struggle to find healing and peace after their father's tragic death. 


Purchase Link ~ Available now
with Pelican Book Group
Burn survivor Savvy McCord doesn't blame her best friend for running away. She can't even look at her scars without wincing. When Beck's disappearing act spans years, she relinquishes dreams of love and marriage. Unable to face Savvy's expectations of happily-ever-after, Beck Harmon deserts her, far away from the rumors that he's just like his father. When the wanderer returns, dreams of forever blossom in Savvy's heart, but she worries he'll leave again. Can Beck convince Savvy that her true beauty comes from her inner strength and faith? Will his idea to help burn victims regain their self-confidence restore Savvy's trust in him? Will love be what the wanderer needs to find peace for his hurting soul?


Harmon Heritage, available with Pelican Book Group
Rori's Healing ~ available now
Beck's Peace ~ available now
Burk's Surrender ~ Coming September 18, 2015

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Meet Beck Harmon of BECK'S PEACE, a Christian Romance Book

Tell us your name and a little bit about yourself.
I’m Beck Harmon, the middle of the Harmon siblings, younger than my twin, Burk, by a couple minutes. The one who doesn’t have his act together yet. The prodigal. I kinda lost myself for a while, who I was, what I believed in. Took me ten years, but I finally found my way home.

Tell us about where you live and why you choose to live there.
Anywhere I can find a job. At least, that’s how it’s been for the last decade. But since I came home for my sister’s wedding, that whisper to stay is gaining traction and digging in. And besides, Savvy’s here.

What is a quirk of your personality that most people wouldn’t know?
I reckon I have a few quirks. Don’t we all? When stress hits, I tend to run to the loudest, noisiest place I can find to drown out that voice in my head. The one that screams I’m just like my father. Since coming back home, though, I’ve noticed that the voice is fading. Might have something to do with a certain golden haired beauty…

Over the years, I’ve worked several jobs, but the one I enjoy most? Remodels. Crazy, isn’t it? It’s a sweaty, dirty job, but I’m good at visualizing the beauty beneath the rubble and restoring a space to the treasure it once was.

What obstacles did you have to overcome to reach your happily-ever-after?
Might’ve saved some time if you’d asked what we didn’t have to overcome. First, God had to hit me over the head with a sledge hammer to get me to accept that I am my own person, that my life isn’t determined by my father's choices. As if that wasn’t enough, I had to prove to Savvy that I wouldn’t take off again when things got rough. That got a little dicey when I was offered a job a couple hours away, and it sure didn’t help that there was a hometown veterinarian circling like a vulture, waiting to swoop in and make things permanent with her.

Tell us about your special lady. What makes her special?
She’s honest, doesn’t play games like a lot of women I’ve known. She’s a firefighter, feels called to save lives, and she’s strong physically and spiritually. Her sweet, humble spirit draws me like a bee to honey. Her eyes mesmerize me, always have. Hazel, but when she looks at me, they seem to transform from brownish gold to emerald, melting-like, as if I’m some dreamy guy. Makes me want to be that man for her.

The first time you saw her, what did you think? Did you like her immediately, or did she have to grow on you?

Immediately, no question. In all the years I was gone, I never stopped loving her. That love was what kept me away, but it was also love that brought me back home.
Pre-Order: Coming JULY 24
with Pelican Book Group

Burn survivor Savvy McCord doesn't blame her best friend for running away. She can't even look at her scars without wincing. When Beck's disappearing act spans years, she relinquishes dreams of love and marriage. Unable to face Savvy's expectations of happily-ever-after, Beck Harmon deserts her, far away from the rumors that he's just like his father. When the wanderer returns, dreams of forever blossom in Savvy's heart, but she worries he'll leave again. Can Beck convince Savvy that her true beauty comes from her inner strength and faith? Will his idea to help burn victims regain their self-confidence restore Savvy's trust in him? Will love be what the wanderer needs to find peace for his hurting soul?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to the Boone/Blowing Rock area in the mountains of North Carolina.

Our first stop is Our Daily Bread, a casual upbeat delicatessen. 

From the menu, you can tell this deli focuses on blending unique ingredients together to make unusual sandwiches.


I chose the Smoke Stack, a combo of smoked components (smoked turkey, smoked applewood bacon, melted smoked Gouda), along with chipotle aioli, tomatoes, and spring greens on sourdough bread with a side of Sweet Basil Corn Chowder. Loaded with corn in a creamy broth and a sweet basil undertone, the soup was great. But the sandwich was outstanding. All of the different smoked flavors worked well with the chipotle aioli, and the toasted sourdough bread held it all together.
Smoke Stack
Dora here. Since we visited on the Fourth of July, I opted for the daily special, the Red White & Blue Chutney Sandwich. Smoked ham, melted brie, balsamic blueberry chutney, tomatoes, roasted red pepper aioli and basil leaves pressed in cranberry French bread. Hello! Blueberry chutney? Doesn’t that sound fabulous? Well, it was. A melt-in-your-mouth mixture of everything I like about breakfast and lunch. Yum! Definitely adding this place to our “must visit” list.
Red White & Blue Chutney Sandwich
We rate this restaurant 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving great food.
Click to add a blog post for Our Daily Bread Delicatessen on Zomato

Our second stop is Town Tavern in downtown Blowing Rock.

It was a beautiful day, so we decided to sit outside.

Dora here. Great choice! Restaurants with an outdoor patio score bonus points. :)

For lunch I chose the Tavern Philly Cheesesteak served on a Milano roll with a huge amount of thinly sliced rib eye steak, American white cheese, peppers and onions and a side of Tater Tots.
Tavern Philly Cheesesteak
This sandwich was unique in that the components were all cooked together giving it great flavor, as opposed to cooking individual ingredients and layering. Not only was the sandwich great, the tater tots were just the way I like them. Crispy.

Dora here. Burgers are my go to meal when we’re away from home, and I hadn’t had one all week. The Bacon & Cheddar burger satisfied my burger craving. Meaty and juicy, and the slightly toasted bun makes this meal a winner! Oh, and the creamy ranch dip for tater tots now replaces boring ketchup!
Bacon & Cheddar Burger
We rate this restaurant 5 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant that serves outstanding food.
Click to add a blog post for The Town Tavern on Zomato

Your turn. What's your favorite go-to meal when you're away from home?
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