Archive | May, 2011

Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company

31 May

I love my nieces, I really do. And you know there is a but or a however coming……I am a girl who lives alone with a semi quiet eight pound poohuahua. I’m not used to a lot of noise or constantly around little ones. So when my sister told me she booked a babysitter for Sunday night- I was ecstatic.  We took advantage and went to check out Thr3e Wise Men Brewing Company in Broad Ripple section of Indianapolis. Thr3e Wise Men is relatively new, it opened earlier this year and I am always game to try a new brewery.

Despite it being Race Day, it was hopping for a Sunday night. They have an open seating area inside with regular tables and longer picnic like tables that you share with others along with outdoor seating facing Broad Ripple Ave. They provide popcorn and have a limited menu with goodies such as hot sandwiches, pizza, calzones and traditional appetizers.

They have a sampler that offers 3 – 6 oz. samples  for only $5. I hate commitment and beer commitment is horrible if you don’t know what they have. This was a great way to try their beers.

From left to right :

Two Lucy’s Blackberry Wheat

Snow Bunny Blonde

Black IPA (special of the day)

Our server suggested I drink in order from left to right and that was definitely the way to go. The Blackberry Wheat was my favorite mostly because of the color, duh and it was quite refreshing for a warm evening and not too hoppy. I liked the Snow Bunny Blonde but the taste was strong and think I would only be able to have one or two in an evening. The Black IPA was delicious and ideal for an after dinner drink-hello chocolatey hints!


We started off with an order of fried pickles with horseradish sauce, which was new to me because I always have them with ranch. It was fantastic and I can say with confidence I am finally starting to dig the horseradish. I hated it when I was younger but I guess I have a more refined palate now. I never tried fried pickles before living in Charlotte so I had no clue that they were on menus all over the country. I still fear one of these days I’m going to run into fried pickle spears again—blech! Our dinner came out shortly after downing the pickles. I wanted something with substance but also light so I went with the hummus pizza

MMMMMMMM! A perfect, light meal. The chunks of goat cheese were the winner of this pizza but also the hummus-it was roasted red pepper as opposed to plain hummus. I wasn’t a huge fan of the cucumbers on the pizza though (it reminded me of the seinfeld episode where Kramer wants to open up a make-your-own-pie restaurant place and he gets in an argument with Poppi over putting cucumbers on the pizza) Even so, it was still a terrific meal. The table next to us had their regular pizza and it looks wonderful as well with pleasing sizes.

Since I like to support local businesses, I got a growler of their Blackberry Wheat to go. My very first growler, I felt like a real adult when it was placed in front of me. Awwww.

They told me this will be good for two to three weeks  so it will be perfect for me to take home to Charlotte! Nothing like some ready to go booze when I get home. Right after I got it, I remembered I live alone so the night I drink this will be a fun one!

All in all, a solid brew pub to try if in Indianapolis. I love their selection of beers and I heard they are one of the only places around that you can buy beer (their growlers) on Sundays since I don’t think you can buy beer on Sundays in Indy.

What’s your favorite brewery? Favorite beer? I was a Natty Light girl forever (blame it on going to college in WV) but am starting to develop a palate for trippels and IPA’s. In the summertime, I love fruity beers and Abita Purple Haze and Sweetwater Blue are my two favorites.

Through my eyes: Indy 500 Parade

29 May

 

 

She’s gone country

28 May

The drive to Indiana started out ok.

I got my traditional breakfast of Dunkin Donuts egg white turkey sausage flatbread along with a cup of joe (but with an extra shot of espresso)

And I gotta say, not a fan of their flatbread they’ve been using recently. I noticed they changed it in the past year. The bread now seems tougher and lacks the flavor of the previously one used. Thank God, Lincoln was the only one in the car with me while eating this because it was one of the unsexiest things I’ve devoured. I was practically gnawing at the sandwich just trying to get one bite. I must write DD soon and voice my opinion because unsexy flatbreads aren’t good for anyone.

Homeboy looks confused why I am trying so hard for a little bite of food.

So, I drove. The drive heading west into Tennessee moved very slow due to the rain in the mountains but once we went across the TN border, it turned into a gorgeous and peaceful  day.

Until I turned on the radio.

All country, all the time. Ok, I lie, all country and Christian rock music. These Christian rock folk are sneaky too. I would be jammin to the song then all of a sudden I listen to the lyrics and hearing about sacrificing, loving Jesus, etc. I am all for the J man but not with music. Especially when I was listening to Nine Inch Nails “Closer” a half hour before. So the country came on and  I listened Mostly because I was too lazy to grab a cd or turn on Pandora. I like torturing myself like that. Then “Strawberry Wine” by Deanna Carter came on. I haven’t heard that song in ages and wore out the cd “Did I Shave My Legs For This?” when I was in high school. I actually still use that saying whenever I have a bad date. I’m not a country music gal at all but I did go through a small stage in high school and time after college where it’s all I listened to. I blame this on working at Roadhouse Grill as a hostess and dating a guy from Texas, respectively. I listened to the country station after that and heard a song and thought it was cute. I was thinking to myself “Please don’t be Taylor Swift, please don’t be Taylor Swift” and yeah, it turned out to be “Mean” by the Swift bunny. Grrr. I don’t like that girl. I don’t know if it’s because she is so tall, lanky, looks like an evil bunny rabbit (I affectionately call her Donnie Darko), that we share the same birthday or that she does the love sign with her hands all the time when I was doing it way before her but I just don’t like her. Yet, I was jammin to her song and contemplated downloading the song.

Maybe I can get on board with country music?

Not only was the music a let down, the snack department was disappointing. I grabbed this Oikos greek yogurt from the fridge since I  could always use a container of protein loving


I think I’ve been spoiled by Chobani because no other greek yogurt comes even close to theirs. Like the Yoplait yogurt I tried a few weeks ago, I wasn’t a fan of the Oikos.

I brought a coconut water with me

Nasty as well. I struggled just to choke down 1/3 of this and poured the remainder out at a rest stop. It wasn’t overly sweet or tart, it was just nasty and not like other coconut water I’ve tried. I will be staying away from the passion fruit flavor in the future.

In true Frugal Friday fashion, lunch was free! When in Kentucky, I stopped for gas and when I went in to go pay for a Diet Coke, I saw this sign

Oh, it was on. Gas station pizza may not be the best option for lunch but I’m not one to turn down pizza.

Look at those mini puddles of grease sitting on the pepperoni, yum.After a few blots of a napkin, Lincoln and I shared the piece then went on our way through Kentucky.

The drivers in Kentucky were crazy—the speed limit was 70 mph and I was going 80 mph but I felt like everyone else was going at least 90mph. I kept getting over in the right hand lane to let people pass and I’m not going to go off on a rant but some people out there really need to learn that the left lane is passing lane. You don’t just sit there and hang out. If someone is behind you, move over and let them go. I cannot stand the coasters.

I was getting a bit worried because I had a coupon for Chick Fil A that I wanted to use for a free dinner but didn’t see any in the state.

I kept thinking to myself “What is Kentuckys beef with Chick Fil A?” and then bam-I saw a billboard for it. And the angels were watching over me because I saw there was a Starbucks at the same exit and believe I raised my hands in the air while exiting saying “Praise Jesus” which I never say. I blame this on Melissa from Real Housewives of New Jersey and her Jesus talk. I got my salad to go, along with a cup of ice to keep it cold since I wouldn’t be eating it until later then got some caffeination.

For those of you who want to see what Louisville looks like, here you go:

 

 

That cup of ice that I got at Chick Fil A came in handy big time. When I was an hour south of Indianapolis, traffic came to a dead stop and went to one lane then slowly started to move again and went back to two lanes. Why not do construction on a major road leading to Indianapolis on not only Memorial Day Wknd but Race Wknd as well (Indy 500 is on Sunday) So, we were back at two lanes but 20 minutes went by and we didn’t move at all. I start to get a little agitated with this, not only do I have to pee, my butt was asleep and there was a creepy trucker next to me waiving at me. I looked up traffic online and turns out that there was a big rig carrying hazardous materials heading south on I-65 that overturned and went into the northbound lane, so northbound was completely shut down. We sat there for another hour before traffic returned to normal and I could do the minimum speed again. All I could do was stare at Lincoln and wish that I could have someone driving me around (and that I had a furry bed like his)

I got to my sisters house and took a bubble then enjoyed my salad.

 

I was disappointed with the salad. The lettuce didn’t taste fresh and it was meh at best. And don’t think just because I was on the road I didn’t score some condiment loving

 

 

 

I leave you with two items that I can’t wait to try:

 

Do you like country music?

What do you do to pass time when you’re stuck in traffic?

Hotspot

28 May

Let’s talk hot spots.

 Since I no longer have cable and my neighbors are smart and protect their wireless and I didn’t want to sit at Starbucks for hours on end each day, it was time for me to look at other options on how to get wireless.

Enter in Verizon.

I heard about their hot spot modem that you can use anywhere and you don’t even have to connect anything. After talking with the Verizon rep at the store, he sold me a good deal. Turns out that I am still getting my bank discount so that’s helping me a bit. Some of you may think that’s wrong that I’m still using it but the justification is the bank brought on some depression in my life, so I think it’s ok. I bought it for $100 with a $50 mail in rebate and it’s only going to be $40 a month with my discount. I can take it anywhere though and it’s still cheaper than my former Time Warner bill so I can deal with that.

Say hello to my new baby

Another baby with a hot spot? This guy right here.

He has been itching like crazy ever since we got back from Florida. Every time I look at him, he is chewing his butt or chewing his leg like it’s a buffalo wing. He’s developed a few hot spots and I know since it’s driving me crazy, it must be driving him bonkers. We went to the vet to see what the deal was but after examining him, they think it’s some kind of allergic reaction since there are so fleas or ticks on him. They prescribed him medicine and I have to give him half a pill every day. The pill is so tiny and he won’t eat peanut butter (we are an anti peanut butter household) so I’ve been trying to add it to his food. But the little smartie finds it every single time then looks at me all “et tu mama”?” like I’m trying to poison him. No little pup, I am trying to make you better.

A perk of going to the vet? The fro yo place right around the corner

I wanted something rich and got the cookies n cream with coconut, white chocolate chips and strawberries

Thank god for fro-yo and hot spots…..well some of them.

How do you get your internet access?

Frugal Friday: good savings, bad savings

27 May

Happy frugal Friday! I’m leaving on yet another road trip today. But not going to the beach or anywhere near the ocean–going the opposite way to Indianapolis and then Chicago. This time it’s only a nine hour trip so hopefully i t won’t feel as long as the Florida drive and once again I will have my trusted co-pilot by my side.

(source)

The wonderful Tonya was over the other day and did a mini photo shoot for Lincoln. I just love her work so much and Lincoln was quite well behaved. He usually barks at strangers but fell instantly for Tonya due to the belly rubs and baby talk. But back to my point, Lincoln and I will be going on yet another roadtrip to see my sister then detouring in Chicago for a few days. I can’t wait to get to Chicago!!

The week has been chock full of savings, some I am happy about and some not so much. Yeah, you read right, I am unhappy with some of my savings. But we will get into that later.

The Good Savings

First was when I got back to Charlotte last week. I came home to a ton of mail and while going though the boring stuff saw this beauty of a return address!

Skinny Cow actually sent me coupons—hooray! But they are tricky cows. I wrote them a few weeks back telling them how much I love their products. Their stuff is expensive and I can’t afford it every single week when I need a fix so I just straight up asked for coupons. It can’t hurt to ask right? They emailed me back thanking me for the comments but said they don’t send out coupons so seeing this was a BIG surprise.

If you read yesterday’s post, you saw I am not a brunette. It’s been awhile since I’ve had dark hair and upkeep for highlights are so expensive. And I don’t like looking like white trash with my three inch roots so going back to my natural color seemed to be the best decision for me-financially and appearance-wise. In an effort to save even more money, I skipped going to my regular hairdresser instead and decided to go to the Aveda Institute for a cut and do my own color

But then I asked myself: “What is my natural hair color?” I’ve been coloring it for so long I can’t remember the last time when my hair was au natural. I went to Target to check out their selection of colors and saw this tool in the hair dye section.

Perfect! Just what I was looking for. I entered in my information and it gave me a few different colors and type of dye to choose from. With the recommendation of the find your color machine, I went with Pure Darkest Brown by L’Oreal Sublime Mousse.

I went through my coupons and saw that I had $3 off –yes!

It was on sale for $8.99 so I got a box for $5.99—pretty good deal if you ask me!  I got my hair cut on Wednesday for only $15. It took about an hour and a half since the student had to get things checked off by the instructor. For $15, I am happy with the cut……except the bangs. I told her I wanted longer side swept bangs but they ended up too short and have been pulling them back instead.

So I now have brown hair and bangs, quite a big change for my hair in one day. But I will rock it! The best part was that it usually costs me $100 every three months to get my hair done but by going to the Aveda Institute and doing my own color, it only cost $26. Yeah, I can roll with that.

I found this coupon for a free strawberry-lemonade from McDonalds in the paper a few weeks ago.

So when I looked at the temperature and it was 80 something degrees out by 10am yesterday, it was definitely time to redeem.

So how was it? Very tasty! It was refreshing and sweet but I think I would’ve liked it better if it was over ice instead of slushie form.

I found this purse at Salvation Army for $3.99 on Wednesday. I know, I know, I am moving and do not need to buy any more crap but it was too cute to pass up.

The Bad Savings

I was happy to go food shopping since this week was triple coupons at Harris Teeter. Triple coupons only happen a few times a year and it’s just a magical time for me since I try to save even more than I normally do! I went to Our Coupon Home to check out what items were on sale, what coupons are out there for those products to see what items I could get for cheap or free. After going through their site and my coupons, I put a list together of items that were either going to be cheap or under $2

I went to Harris Teeter on Sunday morning with my list, my coupons and my hunger for savings. And a majority of items I was hoping to get, were all gone. I would look for one item and nothing. Go to the next and nothing. People already cleaned everything out! I did find some items on my list that were under $2 though

The total?

$10.14. Meh. I know it could have been a lot more but when I got a crapload of stuff for $15.12 earlier this month, it annoys me that I didn’t get that much when the coupons were being tripled this time around. So I did some more research and went back to Harris Teeter early on Monday morning to see if I would have any luck at a different location.

Not so much. I only found four items on my list of 10+ items and got a six inch turkey sub from their deli.

They have a program where for every 15 six inch subs you buy, you get a foot long free. This was my 15th sub so I now have a foot long coming at me soon (that’s what she said??) But on the flip side, Harris Teeter has raised their prices for the six inch subs yet again and now they are $3.49. Boo.

The total of $7.52 this time around made me feel a little better so really I got the four items for only $4.03 so about a buck apiece. Not too shabby.

Do you cut or color your own hair?

Do you ever get bummed out about not saving as much as you wanted to as the grocery store? I thought I would get more items both times around but was sorely mistaken.

My shrooms

26 May

I really need to remind myself not to buy tons of fresh produce before I am set to leave town. I went to Trader Joe’s on Sunday night and got some staples for the week such as bananas, apples, onions, oranges, kiwi and mushrooms. I’ve been able to eat all of them except my beloved mushrooms. And to make it even more annoying when I cook with shrooms I always sing “My Shrooms” to the tune of “My Humps”

“My shrooms, my shrooms, my shrooms, my shrooms

Cooking baby bellas bellas and even shiratake”

I can’t help it, I turn everything into a song.

I made crock pot chicken the other day using Hawaiian marinade. I mixed the sauce with chicken broth then threw in leg quarter and cooked for seven to eight hours.

While that was finishing, I cooked red onions and pineapples with two tbsp of low sodium soy sauce and garlic then laid on top of the chicken

I had rice on the side then added a huge pile of shrooms on top to make a very filling meal.

The next day I enjoyed a heaping portion of mushrooms with eggs

On Wednesday, my friend and I went to Icehouse for lunch to use up a $20 Groupon I had. I need to start burning through all of these Groupon and Living Social deals I’ve bought before I leave so it’s go time. When we walked in, we saw this lovely sign. Game on.

It was only appropriate for me to get a beer. Because it was Wednesday, sunny and half off of course.

I got the Thai Noodle Salad with chicken and ate the whole thing, it was flavorful and refreshing, which was much needed since it was 90 something degrees out. Plus I’ve been craving pad thai like whoa lately so this subdued the craving for a few days.

Afterwards, we stopped by Not Just Coffee. I was in serious need of java. This is a new coffee shop and I keep meaning to go even though I’m a tried and true Starbucks gal.

But the thing is they have weird hours. They open in the morning, break for siesta then open back up at night and are closed on the weekend. I dig the siesta concept as I love an afternoon nap but closed on the weekends does not work well for me.

 

It’s a small joint with a couple of stools set up at the bar. We wanted something cold and both went for the iced mocha. The barista was friendly, took his time making the drinks and you could tell it was made with love.

Topped with some of the best whipped cream I’ve ever had and cocoa. Suck that baby down and go straight to my hips, well worth it.

And check out this beautiful mural right next door! Can we say love?

When I got home, I was out for the count. See above where I said I love afternoon naps, there is just something enchanting about them. I tried to wake up to go to a Yelp event but it wasn’t in the stars. My head was pounding and opening my eyes even hurt so I took some Excedrin and waited for it to pass. I wasn’t even hungry when I finally got up and running again so dinner was a bowl of pineapple and kiwi.

Ok, I lie, I killed the last of the cupcakes from the wedding.

The picture almost didn’t happen because it was that delish. Oh cupcakes, I can’t quit you. I’m glad you all enjoyed hearing about papi chulo and the meat parade. Maybe our paths will cross again and thanks for the mad compliments on that dress-I felt so pretty in it and scored it for $20 at Ross (originally $100) I think I will cry if I move somewhere and they don’t have Ross.

Oh yeah, I’m a brunette now!

 

I feel like I should be on Real Housewives of New Jersey with this hair color and surprisingly enough, this is my just near my natural color. But more to come on that later…

Do you like mushrooms?

Should I go back to highlights? Be honest, I can take it.

Ch-Ch-Ch-Chima!

25 May

I went to a wedding reception at Chima Brazilian Steakhouse on Saturday night. Chima is huge taking up  two stories right in the heart of Uptown Charlotte.  Their setting is chic and trendy with a touch of class,  the upstairs area consists of a dining area, bar area and a couple of private rooms. I had to snap a picture of the wall because I thought it was so cool, I want a wall like this in my house!

Now the thing with Brazilian steakhouses is you gotta dig meat, like a lot. They give you these little cards that you turn off to indicate if you are ready for more meat or not so much.

This was the first wedding I went to stag. If I can’t find a date, I will usually drag a friend but couldn’t find anyone so it was me by my lonesome because my date is lame and canceled on me. It’s alright though, I make friends easily plus the drinks were aflowin

This is their signature drink and sadly,I have no clue what the name is. I just saw other people drinking it and told the waiter to bring me one of the pretty drinks. It was basically a mojito but without the mint. Regardless, it was still tasty! Add a couple of glasses of red wine and I was a happy gal.

We all made our way to the salad bar by order of table. The salad bar was ok….I was expecting more variety but the artichoke salad , monster asparagus and creamy veggie soup made up for that.

Before the meat came out, they set out polenta fries and creamy mashed potatoes but not enough. Seriously, five or six fries for our side of the table and a little side portion of mashed potatoes? Um, no, this girl likes her carbs. 

Then game on—flip that card to yes please and bring out the meat!! The meat men (seriously, what is their title?) came out decked in kerchiefs ala Don Knotts on Three’s Company armed with a stick of meat. At one point I just stopped asking what it was and just said sure.

And then papi chulo appeared. So papi chulo was one of the kerchief clad men serving the meat and reminded me of the guys in South Florida I used to like so much when I was in my teens. If he was over the age of 23, I am the queen of Sheba. He started asking where my date was, etc. You know appropriate stuff a young boy should be asking a woman while at work. I told him my ex boyfriend was supposed to come with me but canceled. He said something to the effect of “If I were your boyfriend, I wouldn’t let you out of my sight” Well, thank you papi. Then he asked me what a man should never ask a lady (I was in a dress and dolled up so a lady for the evening….not OF the evening) :

“How old are you?”

Oh hell no. I did my signature index finger in the air and started shaking my head back and forth and went off on a little rant. He backed off after that…..for a few minutes. Next round o’ meat he came back over asking if I wanted to get together at the end of the evening. I told him, sure, I would find him before I leave. I never did. Oops. Thanks for making me feel good for a few minutes papi chulo. I kind of want to go back there and school him on what not to say to women though.

It was very laid back and casual even for the setting. The setting was intimate where you could converse with the people around you without having to yell. I finally got to talk with my friend who got married without having to battle a line of people doing the electric slide.

The bacon wrapped sirloin was my by far my favorite because bacon wrapped items are proof that god loves us and the bbq ribs was my second favorite. Throughout the whole dinner, I was waiting for someone to say they didn’t eat meat because I wanted to break out my Greek accent with “What do you mean you don’t eat no meat…. that’s ok, I make lamb” but no go, it was a room full of carnivores.  I heard a rumor that there was pesto crusted lamb but by that point I never wanted to look at another piece of meat ever again and I also wanted to write an apology note to my colon. 

Game over.

Thank God there wasn’t a traditional cake served, instead….

wait for it….

there were cupcakes to go!

Courtesy of Just Baked Cupcakes, which I have a Groupon to burn through at home. They were so smart to give these out as favors instead of a regular dessert. And some people didn’t even want their cupcake –I believe I heard one guy say he doesn’t like cupcakes—wtf? So, me being the caring lady I am took a few to go. I would hate for those cupcakes to wind up in the trash while there is hungry Tiffany in Charlotte. So I went home and snuggled up with my hot date….their Zesty Orange cupcake.

No matter how much I eat, there is always room for cupcakes!

Have you ever been to a Brazilian steakhouse?