Thursday, August 15, 2013

Carolina Lovin'

I had such a great week in North Carolina, getting in some great mother-daughter bonding time. We packed in as much as we could - wedding dress shopping with my sister, going to the movies (yes, I did see Monsters University for the second time and am in no way ashamed of it), shopping, many thrift stores (I love buying 25 cent books and brand new workout tops for $3.50), reading and drinking coffee at Barnes and Noble, a full day in Boone and Blowing Rock, and of course, lots of eating out.

Beautiful day in Blowing Rock - felt like fall

One of my favorite places to eat when I'm home is Amos Howards on Wednesday evenings - wing night! They have about 10 wing flavors and local beer on tap. My mom and I ordered 17 wings between the two of us and I had a beer for only $15 - including tip! While the restaurant itself is unassuming from the outside, the best part by far is that you can sit inside an actual giant barrel. It's amazing and so unique and I wish I was eating wings in a barrel every Wednesday. I'll just have to live vicariously through my mom until I'm home next time.

Another great new restaurant that has popped up in Hickory is Hatch, a sandwich bar using local produce and succulent ingredients, like pork belly and avocado. The food was so delicious that we managed to go there twice during the week. On our first visit, my mom and I shared the pulled pork banh mi and pork belly BLT, which were both fantastic. The banh mi had all of the classic flavors - cilantro, carrots, sriracha - with a slight Southern twist. The pork belly just melted in your mouth with a nice crunch and crispness from the lettuce. My mom couldn't resist getting the banh mi again on our second visit, but I decided to try the turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich. The turkey was piled high with several strips of crunchy bacon and a generous amount of smashed avocado. If only I was there for a few more weeks to try more of their creations. I really hope they succeed since Hickory is your more typical Southern town that doesn't venture far out of the culinary box. There were a lot of customers coming in and out while we were there so I have high hopes!

My lovely mom :)
Turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich
Pulled pork banh mi
On my last day, we went to the local farmers market and there was a fantastic selection of produce. If only I was staying longer, I would have bought so many fresh fruits and veggies. The heirloom tomatoes were only $1.75 a pound! They are at least twice that price in NYC. If only I could have brought home a few pounds with me. We did get a pint of blackberries that were plump, juicy and tart - I hope my mom makes a delicious dessert with them!

It was hard to leave my mom, but I was happy to come back to the place I call home now and to my hubby. We haven't been apart for an entire week in years so I was definitely missing him a ton. At least I know I'll be back to North Carolina for Thanksgiving - only a few months away!

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