Even the rain couldn't keep us away from some good baseball action.
April 19, 2012 – Highlights of our Riverdogs Ball Game are:
- Good food – hot dogs, bacon and pimento cheese (Louisa’s included cole slaw); cheese fries; and creamy Charleston Ice with mango/strawberry mix.
- Grand slam.
- Midget wrestling! Seriously, midget wrestling. We think more people were watching that than the game at some point.
- Our seats were great, right along first base line towards back of the infield.
- The rain stopped before the game.
- Tony felt the need to keep quoting movies. Louisa was dancing like she was taking advantage of Thirsty Thursdays (yes, she was stone-cold sober).
- The visiting team changed the pitcher, and the home team River Dogs went from being 6 down to being tied, and eventually won.
May 11-12, 2012 – Moving always brings its own challenges; packing, cleaning, sending stuff you actually did need with the movers (thank goodness for Walmart), and driving 1000 miles in just over a day. The movers were pretty good, they just showed up an hour and half outside their two hour window. But, we still made it to Fayetteville, NC, and our hotel was good. Actually, that’s a story in itself. We wanted to stay in Florence, but there was a NASCAR event in a nearby town and, well, any hotel you’d even think about staying at was booked solid.
Anyway, we made it to NC, got some rest, and were on the road again. Highlights included driving through the pretty southern VA countryside and snagging lunch at McDonald’s in Thornburg, VA; passing by DC and spotting the Washington Monument, Capitol dome, and Jefferson Memorial; not getting hit by Maryland drivers (unlike the two multi-car wrecks we saw); getting stuck in traffic for 3 hours in the Baltimore Washington Parkway; enjoying the openness of the NJ turnpike; Popeye’s chicken (go with the fries, skip the mac ‘n cheese) on the turnpike; seeing the NYC skyline; driving through Queens at 9pm on a Friday night; going through Delaware and Connecticut; and finally reaching our hotel in MA.
Now to unpack, do a bit of exploring, and wait for the movers!
We’ve heard good things about Graze. I mean, what’s not to like about a changing, eclectic menu with dishes such as lobster mac ‘n cheese, Buffalo shrimp tacos with blue cheese slaw, shrimp bisque, and steak? So we headed over after work for a dinner date. We did make reservations, but they weren’t necessary – the restaurant always had a few two-seaters open.
Tony was feeling like some drinks, and they did provide an interesting martini menu. Louisa opted for a plain raspberry, while Tony’s first choice (a root beer martini) was out of stock; instead he went for the old standby, the lemon drop. The lemon drop was quite good (though would have been better with a sugared rim, just my preference) but the raspberry was quite strong (and not in a good way).
We started with the Buffalo shrimp tacos and the shrimp bisque. The tacos, a special for that evening, were fantastic – fresh shrimp, still-crunchy slaw, blue cheese, and the house Buffalo sauce was authentic. This might have been the best dish of the night. The shrimp bisque was thick, spicy… and creamy. Very creamy… as in, all the shrimp had been blended. The flavor was good, though.
For entrees we went with the appetizer lobster mac ‘n cheese and the black pepper and lime sea scallops. The mac ‘n cheese was quite good, and the portion is generous. The pasta was thicker, small half circles (quite good) and the cheese sauce was smoky; lobster was a bit chewy, but that will happen. Overall we really liked this dish. Scallops were large and cooked perfectly, though we were split on what we thought of the chorizo and sweet pea risotto. Tony, not a fan of smoked sausage, did not like the chorizo; there were also quite a few peas. Louisa loved the chorizo, but questioned the inclusion of cheese (cheddar?) in the risotto; it was tasty, but might have been better paired with a Southern fried chicken dish than the scallops.
Overall we would go back, but maybe try some different things on the menu.
Heart Woodfire Kitchen has a diverse menu emphasizing fresh ingredients, and an industrial/spartan vibe (it does get loud when it’s crowded – and it will get crowded). We sampled the pork green chili with thick pieces of tender pork, a few diced carrot pieces, and topped with cheddar cheese and sour cream. If you like green chili, you should try Heart’s version. Entree #1 was a roast beef sandwich with horseradish, cheese, mayo with roasted red and green peppers and mushrooms, on a fresh roll, and a side of roasted veggies seasoned with lemon and olive oil. The sandwich was great, my second favorite roast beef sandwich (after beef on weck with horseradish… anyone from Western NY will know what I mean). Entree #2 was a New York strip steak with a garlic/pesto-ish sauce, fried mashed potato bites, and a side salad (which Louisa got to eat). The steak was cooked wonderfully, and had a good seasoning, and the potatoes were a must-try. Drinks were a great Holy City Porter, and another drink called a Mule, made with vodka/ginger beer/lime juice/thyme. (The beer was better than the mixed drink.)