Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Adventure: A (Quick) Trip to North Carolina

This past weekend was our oldest nephew's First Communion. While Spouse and I aren't on the Catholic wagon anymore, we recognize and appreciate that his brother and his wife are raising the three monkeys with some sort of catechism. Plus we hadn't seen them since the holidays! Way too long. 
My in-laws with nephew, O.
Youngest nephew, A, is the blond back of head in bottom left corner.
The trip down was just groovy, and we even managed to find the only brew pub in Charleston, WV, which we highly recommend to anyone. The former Charleston Brewing Company, now the Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, is in downtown Charleston, and just a mile or so off of I-77 - so easy to get to and back on the road + has parking on the street at a meter, or there is a parking garage attached. 

They had 9 beers on tap - only serve Charleston Brewing Co brews - and since we were driving, decided to do two flights and our swell bartender threw in the 9th beer free. My favorite was the Citra Ob-Session, a delicious American Pale Ale with citrus. Nicely balanced, with a clean finish - it would be an awesome middle of summer, hotter than blazes, way to chill out. 

The food was really yummy. I went with three tacos: thai shrimp (too much peanut sauce), baja fish (good but fish was heavily fried and coated), and chicken (yummiest of the three and had the most kick too). It was a perfectly sized meal as there were no sides, chips, etc. and made with small corn tortillas and fresh accompaniments inside. 

Spouse had their breakfast burrito, which featured chorizo, scrambled eggs and he totally mowed it. Said it was really tasty. In short, should we ever need a place to nosh in Charleston, WV, we will be back. The company was also really nice. Ended up chatting with a few of the bartenders, plus the gentlemen on either side of us. 
Just south of Charleston, WV
We hit Winston-Salem about 10:30 p.m. and, as everyone in the fam was either in bed, or headed that way, we decided to venture out on our own for a nightcap. Found a place within a mile (honestly, had we known we could have walked!), called First Street Draught House. Groovy building first of all - has a shiny metal outer coat and art deco font, a la an old style diner and as it was late-ish, we settled at the bar. Decent beer selection with North Carolina brews highlighted, so we both chose one. I loved mine - the Jade IPA from Foothills Brewing. Again a delightful American IPA, with citrus overtones. Spouse chose Big Oak from Red Oak Brewery. If you go, say hey to Jason, the bartender who is anxiously awaiting word on medical school!

Saturday morning, we dressed up fancy like and went to church. There was enough family and friends that we needed two whole pews, and I was lucky enough to sit between niece (the oldest of the three) and youngest nephew. Beautiful church and really lovely service. 

We ate lunch at another pub, called The Quiet Pint Tavern, which hilariously is about a block from First Street. Smaller beer selection than First Street, but again, highlighted the NC brews. Having experienced Highland Brewing Company in February (need to write up that trip!!!), we both tried their Little Hump Spring Ale, another American Pale Ale with citrus overtones. I liked it a lot. Our second beers were Foothills' Hoppyum (spouse's choice), which was also quite tasty, while I embraced my hippie roots with Mother Earth Brewing's Sisters of the Moon, another American IPA. Also yummy. 

Spouse tried their steak tacos which he said were delicious. I tried their Forest flatbread, with parmesan cheese, baby portobello mushrooms and truffle oil. Decently sized and super duper thin (like a lavash), I totally devoured that mother. It was so. damn. tasty with the truffle oil. Pop-in-law went with one taco, which he said was perfectly sized.....especially as he helped my Ma-in-law with her chicken & prosciutto flatbread a bit. I had a wee piece and it was also really nice. 

Dinner was a party hosted by my super lovely brother- and sister-in-law at their house. The weather was perfect, so it was a lovely indoor/outdoor party. Great food, lots more beer (got some Mexican beers logged in Uptapp'd), and fun company. Their friends, and my sis-in-law's family, are groovy, hilarious people, so just had a really nice time. We did poop out a little early but given the travel and fun-filled day, seemed right. 

Sunday, we had brunch with them and the kiddos at a really yummy local cantina called The Porch. It was my perfect meal: a breakfast bowl featuring grits, poached egg, bacon, pimiento cheese spread, & green onion, with a side of jalapeno cheese grits and fresh fruit!! Spouse got another chorizo breakfast burrito and said it was smashing and less greasy than the one he had at Black Sheep. 
Grits with grits!!!!
While Spouse chatted with the adults, the two older kiddos made us those plastic loomed bracelets, and I read about 6 books to the youngest one. Just a really nice visit, albeit way too short. 

The Porch was one of those places where you order at the counter and they bring your grub to your table. Housed in an old warehouse space that is now home to a distillery, beer club, muy thai studio, as well as one or two other places I cannot recall, neat atmosphere as well as good food. They also had a fairly decent beer selection (nothing craft, but some beers you don't always find and would go really well with mexican inspired food), but since we were going to be driving all day, went with coffee instead. 

We hit the road right after and took a new route, which only took 6 hours and 15 minutes. WOOT! 
Metal statue outside of the Welcome to Virginia Center. #LoveVA

Honestly, it is ridiculous how *not* often we see them, given that it's less than 400 miles. But in all of our defenses, they are super busy with three kids, all of whom play soccer + both adults also play soccer, and well, we gallivant. But hope to get down there again this year, at least. (Must visit godchild in Massachusetts and want to hit Nashville, as well....)

Got home early enough to totally unpack, watch a movie, and get to bed at a decent hour, so all-in-all, a really fun, cool adventure, with tasty craft brews & local grub, and some time with people we love a whole bunch. Totally feeds the soul, even though visit was short. <Ahhhhhhhhhh>

p.s. - Side story: Nephew, O, thinks since we aren't having kids, that we should, "retire from our jobs, move to Winston-Salem, and get the same jobs there." All direct quotes. I'll be honest, I was touched and maybe teared up a little bit. I love being an aunt. 

1 comment:

  1. All of that sounds amazing!

    I love the LOVE.

    And I love that Nashville is on your list! ;-)