Japanese Tuna Salad

Japanese Tuna Salad

Japanese Tuna Salad

After a rocky start to a 39th birthday week I decided to get out of dodge and see what I could find out in the wilds of North Carolina. 

Things I Learned This Weekend Traveling In The South: 

1. There are few problems a Reba McEntire impersonating drag queen, whiskey, and riding crop can't solve. 

2. The incorrect response to learning someone's cat is a hermaphrodite is, "your cats fucked up."

3. If for only a few minutes, the right meal can calm your tits. And the Japanese Tuna Salad at Lucette Grace in Raleigh, NC did just that. See photo above.  

Road Trips, Rory Gilmore, and (Future) Rugged Mountain Husband's

Grit Skillet with Homemade Ginger and Sage Sausage from Over Yonder (Valle Crucis, NC).

Yesterday I found myself riding with the top down, scarf on my head, over-sized sunglasses protecting my baby blues, driving through the beautiful High Country mountains of North Carolina. 

Okay only part of that was true. 

I was on a day trip to some mountain towns in western North Carolina. But I was mildly gassy, my Ray-Bans were smudged and the Nissan top does not come down. And it was more than beautiful. I'm 8 months into my new life here in Winston-Salem and I have only recently begun to travel outside of the city limits. Winston-Salem has enough to offer me (booze and food) that I haven't yet felt the need to break free. However, yesterday I was called upon to travel West like many of my kind before me. 

I landed in Valle Crucis, NC. Home of the locally famous Mast General Store chain found here in North Carolina. And also home to Over Yonder restaurant. Picture any restaurant you would imagine Logan would have taken Rory to on Gilmore Girl's if he wanted her to feel comfortable. Located in the "Hard" Taylor House built in 1861 you can't help but awkwardly tell the waitress you plan to never leave as your grit skillet with homemade ginger and sage sausage is served to you on the back deck overlooking a koi pond that's adjacent to the garden, that's nestled on the hill overlooking the valley that makes you want to leave all your belongings behind and just start life new with nothing but your cast iron skillet and a couple pounds of butter.

After the waitress asked if I wanted my 12th coffee refill I decided it best to just lay down and roll down the drive over to the original Mast General Store. Originally opened in 1883 this general store has sold everything from caskets to the North Face. Plus you can still get a $.05 cup of coffee. Not to forget the entertainment of locals on the back porch singing old mountain songs. 

Added bonus - everyone in the mountains seems to be hot. Not it has been a long time hot, but why hasn't Mode Magazine been up here yet to snag that man behind the counter for future shenanigans with Betty and Mark? Like I said...all I need is my cast iron skillet, a couple pounds of butter, and now my empty ring finger for that rugged mountain husband.

I hope you enjoy the pictures from my day trip below!


Pickled Strawberries, Phantom Roommate Syndrome, and Pleasing Others

Pickled Strawberries

I am in no position to beg for forgiveness regarding my absence with this blog. Naturally my apologies to my two faithful readers.

Let me see if I can catch you two up. 

In the last three months I have gained no ground on how to boil water on an electric stove top. I am 1000% convinced that they are the Devil’s work. Oddly, I have learned how to fry an egg on an electric stove top. It takes me more than twice as long as it did on a Heavenly blessed gas range, but still, I can fry an egg again.

In the last three months I have explored my vast new surroundings (read: the five square blocks that make up my new downtown living situation). There are wonderful fish tacos at King’s Crab Shack. Amazing wings and pizza at Ronni’s Restaurant. There is hardly anything Irish about the Irish bar down the street. And the dark horse winner is the oddly hipster bar around the corner that seats maybe 10 and has absolutely no online presence. One night I had to actually walk over there to see if they were open.

I have had to ban Pimento Cheese from my home. I have found a new love of air conditioning (Captain Planet will not be happy with me). And I have learned the difference between “y’all” and “all y’all”. 

Also I have slowly found my way back into my kitchen.

Though still suffering from phantom roommate syndrome (I am sure this is real even if it’s not on webMD) I am learning what it means to cook for one. By “cook for one” I mean I still cook for the roommate I don’t have and then I freeze the rest. My freezer has become a cook’s nightmare. 

Thanks to the cast of characters that I have met in my new Melrose Place of an apartment building I have been able to pawn off some of my baked goods. 

Most recently I found myself in possession of a flat of strawberries. And after learning that the good folks of North Carolina do not look kindly upon rhubarb I had to compromise my plans of pies and jams. Thankfully the latest copy of Southern Living arrived and suggested pickling my fruit. Which oddly sounds like a euphemism for a man in a cold pool. 

So with some pound cake, vanilla ice cream topped with pickled strawberries I fed some neighbors and filled a void. Then kindly edged the last of them out of my home by 930 because I am old and needed to catch up on my stories on the TV. 


Inspired by Southern Living Magazine but with modifications

Until next time. 

And know that bullying clearly works because I wouldn’t have done this without threat. Thank you Tami Two. You would be Tami Number One Fan but my mother is Number One. 

Haute Cuisine, Haute Furniture and Haute Firemen

Scarlett has no time for this traffic. She just chewed Rhett out for not taking the HOV lane. 

I have officially lived in North Carolina for five days. And save for one traumatic incident at the local grocery store I will say it has been a good choice. The weather has been accommodating. The people have been friendly. The food has gone straight to my hips. And most of my money has gone to the local furniture economy. 

This week I will keep it short and sweet. Perhaps just a quick food recap of what damage I've done to my heart and liver. We can catch up in more detail once U Haul delivers my jewels and furs.

I've spent most of my week with The Countess. As she is a native to this land I knew it best to befriend (read:work for) her. In a very quick manner she was taking me to the Canal Street of furniture, High Point, NC. This cornucopia of furniture factories has more backdoors than a gay bar on Halloween.

Before I knew it I was shaking hands, winking and "killing them with kindness" to get the best deal. In the end it paid off. I now, at early to late 30s, own a sofa. 

Between dealings with furniture mavens from around the mid-Atlantic I was being rushed off to various eating establishments around the Triad area. First there was Biscuit Factory (don't even try to find them - I will cut you). The lesson from that trip was to order my burger "all the way". Now I am a lady and try to never go "all the way". But you best call me a priest because I gave it up at that meal.

Second came a New Year's Eve Extravaganza in Greensboro. The Countess was scheduled to appear before her court late that evening. Thankfully she didn't have her plus one already assigned. It was here that I experienced what I can only assume to be true Southern Hospitality. And by "southern hospitality" I mean cheese stuffed figs wrapped in bacon with a salmon wasabi chaser on rye. 

As if one meal with her court was not enough. The Countess and I returned the following day for New Year's Day Dinner. The scene was set with her selected few around a buffet of black eyed peas with hog jowl (yes, hog jowls), collard greens, corn bread and fried pork chops. With every delicious bite I kept reminding myself to locate the local temple before my Jew Card is revoked. But I doubt even Jesus himself would have passed up that fried chop. 

You can see now that I have tossed all holiday dieting out the window at this point. Between stops at the hot dog joints, the pizza parlor and Starbucks I have maintained a barebones staff in my own kitchen. At least until my pots and pans arrive. I can only eat so many salads out of a Kitchen Aid mixing bowl.

Please stay tuned. I hope to bring you continued reports of a Northern Queen in a Southern Court. Me and my hips have to make dinner now. 

Until next time.

Back up the short bus!!!!!

While I was wrapping up this post the building fire alarm went off. I am safe and sound. As is the hot fireman who happens to live on the second floor.

Pall Malls, Puddin' and Pancakes

***don't trust advertisers...it has been my experience that longer is not always milder

Good evening fans (hey Just Joni)!

This post is going to be short. I have been beyond busy with work and life. Not that y'all (hi again Mom) are not priority number one in my day to day. But I need to pay my bills and the street corners have been cut throat as of late.  

I spent most of last week in the fine state of North Carolina gettin' my fill of "southern cuisine". Why the quotes you ask? Because after my third trip there in three months I am pretty sure that "southern cuisine" is code for artery clogging amaze-balls food that should only be eaten with supervision of a reputable medical doctor.  

Here is where I ate - and I recommend that you try them should you find yourself in Pall Mall country.  

Milner's American Southern - try the burger and a Manhattan then race back to you hotel room with clients in the car because as good as the burger is it will cheat on you like a bad online date that lasted a few too many years. Then leave a generous tip for the housekeeping staff. Probably not a good idea to leave a box of Swiss Cake Rolls on the nightstand for emotional eating. We all love Little Debbie - if you need proof here it is (click here...right here...this is the link I want you to click

Firebirds - now judge kindly, but try the burger with sweet potato fries. With a Manhattan. No need to rush home though.  

And if you ever find yourself stranded at the Marriott in the Piedmont Triad Airport in Greensboro you MUST MUST MUST get the Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding (see photo above). Trish, the barmaid, will weave you a magical tale of her friend shooting a car thief in the leg and not getting charged with anything because it's friggin' North Carolina people! Take a swig of Moonshine and brace for the impact of the bullet. Then laugh over it while you eat Krispy Kreme Bread Pudding.  

That was North Carolina and about 600 hours of my week.  

Here are some other things I've been up to: 

Rhubarb Compotes

Upside-down Rhubarb Cake

Sourdough Pancakes

Sourdough Banana Bread 

Sourdough Banana Bread French Toast - bet you wished we were dating at this point don't you? I'm single and ready to mingle...in my kitchen. 

UPDATE (04.23.2017): Rumor has it that Milner's has closed due to some unmentionable indiscretions.