i had a blast enjoying a lovely meal (details on the cuisine to follow) in chapel hill with kara, a friend i've had since elementary school! we were having fun reminiscing over little shared details from our pasts, such as:
■ lying in bed desperately waiting to hear 455 -- our school district's snow emergency number -- called out on the news channel to indicate a snow day
■ fabulous birthday parties at radnor rolls (my personal favorite), the ardmore Y's pool, the skatium, and the miniature golf course
■ ridiculous cheers from our high school football games (i was in cheerleading, kara in band)
■ 'whatever happened to . . .' <-- this game is much easier than it must have been in years past, thanks to facebook! anyway, kara moved back here about a year ago (she's a UNC alum x 2) and i am so impressed at how she's managed to explore the area and find great things to do in raleigh. we were both marveling over how much free-er we are now than in years past, and a lightbulb sort of went off in my head with a bit of an overdue epiphany:
this is such a novel concept to me after years of rushing around and cramming things in, that i can understand why it's taken me several months to make the realization. i know things will change big time
i chose a field that is not all that lifestyle unfriendly, but my high strung nature hasn't really let me take much advantage of that yet. even though i've had more time, i haven't been fully cognizant of it, and i don't think i've appreciated it as much as i should have.
since i can't do what i really wish i could do with that time (which is MARATHON TRAIN, obviously . . . ugh!), i am going to work on really taking resolution #3 seriously.
because guess what? despite the role that 'busy-ness' plays in our culture, i'm taking a cue from my 2011 muse leo b.: DOWN with busy! i have free time and i'm not afraid to admit it!
what to do?
i haven't decided on this weekend's adventure quite yet, but i found some great inspiring resources that may also be useful to those living in the triangle
this list actually comes from the UNC medicine residency program website . . . which is laughable, considering the amount of free time most residents have to play with. nonetheless, it's a pretty great list!
here are some of my favorite suggestions from the list:
✰ hike at the Eno River Park in Durham
✰ rent a canoe at University Lake in Chapel Hill (well, maybe not in this weather . . .)
✰ check out an exhibit at the NC Museum of Natural History, Raleigh
✰ see a show at the Cat’s Cradle in Carrboro
✰ sign up for the sprint triathlon at Meadowmont in the Fall, Chapel Hill (well, not right now, but maybe someday.)
✰ shop at the Smithfield Outlets just outside of Raleigh
✰ picnic at the Duke Gardens, Durham
✰ eat eastern NC BBQ from Allen & Sons, Hwy 86 Chapel Hill
✰ pet the belted cows at the Fearrington Farm, Chapel Hill
✰ listen to renowned authors read from their books-Quail Ridge Bookstore, Raleigh
✰ wait in line for the best biscuits of your life at Sunrise biscuit kitchen, Chapel Hill [check!]
✰ see an exhibit at the Nasher Art Museum, Durham
✰ see a touring Broadway show at the Broadway Series South, Raleigh
✰ see local artists featured at the 2nd Friday artwalk, Carrboro
✰ catch a play at Playmaker’s Theater on UNC’s campus
✰ free live music festival last Fridays of the month in Hillsborough 6-9pm
✰ watch independent movies at the Varsity or Chelsea in Chapel Hill or the Carolina Theater in Durham
✰ play with lions and tigers at the Carnivore Preservation Trust, Chapel Hill
✰ pore over a non-medical book at Café Driade coffee house/art gallery, Chapel Hill
[this just in: minutes after pressing publish, i had to strike through the above after seeing #35 on the NYT "places to go in 2011": OMG! i'm pretty jazzed for #41, as well.]
there are a number of interesting suggestions on this list of free things to do, although i'm not sure i'm ready for to this one:
adventures aside, it's time for some leisurely weekend errands and another trail run (this week's challenge: the al beuheler cross country trail in durham). i know the hills on that course are crazy (i've done it before), but i'm hoping for it to feel a little bit easier than last week's off-road experience!
workout: 35 minutes dave farmar yoga podcast + 30 minute walk outside during a lull at work (i've never in my entire medical career gotten to do this, and it was glorious!).
[one] x 2: this was our second experience dining at [one] restaurant in meadowmont, and i am happy to report that once again we had a great time! the service was on the slower side, but with the conversation topics as detailed above, none of us really cared.
[one] has clean and modern decor, which i love. interestingly, this style is not super-common in the triangle -- other places with a similar design vibe are revolution and guglhupf, but i can't think of too many others.
we hung out at the bar for a while, contemplating the delicious-looking menu:
josh enjoyed a st. supery cab while kara chose a pinot noir; i had an alcohol-free night out (i've decided to really cut down on the etOH even while TTC as i read in this book that it may impact fertility). initially i was a little sad not to be imbibing, but honestly as the night wore on i was sort of glad, because i think it just would have made me sleepy (we didn't get home until after midnight!).
once we got seated, we were presented with an iPad for further perusal of the wine list:
while we didn't end up ordering a bottle, i could see how it could be a fun way of making an informed choice! and the 'pad certainly matched the restaurant's decor.
after the iPad came some warm focaccia, which was good:
however, looking back on my previous review, i would say i preferred the prior version, which was doughier and less crispy.
the three of us shared an eye-catching appetizer, which was delectable:
this was my first pork belly experience, and i have to say it was a good one!
we diversified with our entrée orders.
i tasted her dish and it was excellent! next time we go back, i may order it for myself (sans cilantro, because i'm a hater).
josh chose to go carnivorous, and he chose well:
so flavorful and melt-in-your-mouth good!
my entrée was actually my least favorite (and this rarely happens to me! i pride myself on usually choosing well . . . but i guess you can't win 'em all!). i went vegetarian and chose the cassoulet, which our server had said was new on the menu and very good.
maybe it was just too similar to the bean-based recipes we've been dining on all week, but i just found it a little boring, plus the breadcrumbs were a bit dry. i'm sure it was far healthier than the meat-filled cassoulet at vin rouge, but i think i prefer the traditional version!
dessert was also not my favorite, but that was sort of my fault. i really wanted to try the macaroon with pistachio croutons and strawberry balsamic sorbet because i thought it would be a pillowy, french-style macaron, which i've never gotten to try (but i really, really want to!).
but, it wasn't.
instead, it was a cakelike creation with marzipan-type filling and a layer of chocolate ganache, and it just didn't wow me. i did really enjoy the bright-tasting balsamic-strawberry sorbet served alongside.
despite my criticisms, it was a lovely meal overall and i would go back in a heartbeat!