Wednesday, February 19, 2014

From the Land of Ma'am: Hosting Kyria

As I said last week, I had the opportunity to host Kyria over President's Day weekend.  Her visit got off to a bit of a rocky start as one of her flights was cancelled. Delta was able to re-book her on another flight, but then her bag got lost - but she rolled with the punches like a champ.  It helps that we are similar sizes and wear the same size shoes so I was able to borrow some clothes to her!

On Friday night, we stayed in and I made lentil enchiladas and a southwestern black bean salad, both of which turned out great.  I would highly recommend either recipe!  After dinner, we played a couple of games of cribbage which is one of my all-time favorite card games.

Saturday morning I was hoping that we could do an outdoor run, but the sidewalks were still snow-covered thanks to the 8" of snow we received last week, so we both put in our time on the dreadmill before hitting the road for Asheville.

I was a little nervous about the drive to Asheville as part of the drive is on a winding, steepish road but luckily the driving conditions were perfect.  Our first stop when we got to Asheville was the Biltmore.  I had a free pass so Kyria got in for free which was nice as the admission fee is $49 this time of year.  It was fun to explore the property with Kyria and the views in this area never disappoint!

After the Biltmore, we headed into downtown Asheville.  The first place we went to was a gourmet potato chip place that came highly recommended by a friend and it did not disappoint!  The chips are all made-to-order and so good.  We shared one order which was a perfect appetizer for dinner. We had a lot of choices, but went with "The Parisian" which had rosemary, thyme, goat cheese, truffle spritz and sea salt.  They were SO good.  I will definitely be back so I can try some other kinds!

Next we had dinner at Tupelo Honey which is one of my favorite places in Asheville.  It's this cute southern place that happens to have a great gluten free menu.  I had a basic grilled cheese and tomato soup, which was really good, and treated myself to this fun drink which is lemonade with rosemary.  I know it sounds like a weird combination, but it is so good!

After dinner, we were pretty full, but a visit to Asheville is not complete without a stop at French Broad Chocolate.  They have the best drinks and treats to choose from.  We both had hot chocolate made with dark chocolate ganache and each bought a treat that we saved for later (a chocolate-coconut brownie for Kyria and a GF peanut butter cookie for me).

We were officially stuffed after that so headed back to the hotel and called it a night.  On Sunday morning we headed back into Asheville.  I went to mass while Kyria checked out the city on foot, and then we had a delicious brunch which I failed to take a photo of!

I was hoping to take Kyria on a hike on a trail off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, but unfortunately the parkway was closed due to the snow and ice we received last week, so instead we went to Crowder's Mountain State Park, which is about 30 minutes from Charlotte.  I hadn't been here before, so it was fun to check out a new place.  We hiked to the summit which had a pretty view.

After hiking for about 4-5 miles (I think?) we headed back to Charlotte.  We had worked up an appetite so I took Kyria to my favorite Charlotte restaurant, Cabo Fish Taco.  I love the fish tacos at this place and the atmosphere is vibrant and casual so it's my kind of place.  I had a tuna taco and a mahi mahi taco and both were excellent!

After dinner, we headed back to my place to read, relax, and watch the Olympics.  On Monday morning we woke up to sunshine and mild temps (36 degrees F) so we headed out for a run.  Kyria is training for a 50k and the Boston marathon, so she needed to get some miles in, but we ran together for about 1.5 miles before I split off and headed back.  I have slowly been working on increasing my run/walk intervals and I am now able to run for 3 miles straight without any walking breaks!  That's a pretty big accomplishment for me after not running for almost 10 months!

All in all it was a really fun weekend!  I love the Asheville area so it's always fun for me to introduce others to my favorite places there.  Kyria and I travel really well together as we have similar interests and similar travel preferences (active days, earlier bedtimes, earlier mornings).  Now that I've hosted her, it's my turn to head out to visit her and I am hoping to do that this fall in conjunction with a running rendezvous with some other friends!

When you have visitors, is there one particular restaurant you like to take them to?  Cabo Fish Taco is my #1 pick for sure!


Becky said...

Yay! Glad you had such a great weekend! I don't know if there's a favorite restaurant I have to take people but I pretty much always take out of town guests to Mount Vernon - I just love it!

Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Wow, I'm so impressed you are up to running 3 miles now!
It sounds like you and Kyria had a really great weekend and that hike looks beautiful.
I don't really have one specific restaurant I take visitors to, but I usually do bring visitors to the North End, the Italian section of Boston. The restaurants are delicious and most importantly, so are the desserts.

missris said...

This sounds like such a fun weekend! And randomly, my sister took us to Tupelo Honey when I visited her in Asheville and you're right, it's DELICIOUS!

Marlys said...

Bravo on the running! I didn't know you were up to that many miles! Sounds better all the time!
Our favorite place to take guests is to Stella's in Battle Lake as the food is good, the wine menu is awesome and the atmosphere casual. For a small vacatioin town it is a great place to eat!
Sounds like you had a great weekend!

Leigh said...

Sounds like such a fun and perfect weekend! I've never been to that area, so I'd love to check it out one day. And awesome job on the run!

Nora said...

Does Ted Drewe's count as a restaurant!? =)

That's so awesome that you're running 3 miles with no walking breaks. I bet it feels great! So happy for you.

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

For all the concern you had about whether Kyria would make it to Charlotte at all, it sounds like you had a really great weekend. Yay!

I don't really have a favorite restaurant. It usually depends on who is visiting. If guests are adventurous, then I'll take them somewhere I haven't yet tried. If they're less adventurous, I'll stick to tried and true places I've been to in the past.

Anonymous said...

I love that you're running again!

The restaurants I take people to vary with who's visiting. If they're a Top Chef fan, like we are, I'll usually take them for a slightly fancier dinner at Colicchio and Sons Tap Room as you and I did. If we are just staying around my neighborhood then I love Kefi, where we went for my birthday, because it's inexpensive and the food is delicious and of course as a New Yorker, I like to take people for REAL pizza ;)

Raquelita said...

Woohoo for your return to running! I'm so glad that you and Kyria had a great weekend together! NC is one of the few states that I haven't spent time in, and you are making me want to change that sometime soon.

Lisa-Marie said...

This looks so fun! I really want some rosemary lemonade now.
My favourite food places for guests are - The Butchershop Bar and Grill, which I blogged about, Nanakusa's or Oko, whixh are Japanese restaurants, or Arisaig, which is a modern Scottish restaurant. If you are EVER in Glasgow, we will go!

Carolina John said...

How cool! I'm so glad you're finally able to run some decent miles again. it has to feel cautiously fantastic.

I love Tupelo Honey as well. Some of the small towns outside of asheville have great restaurants too, one of my favs is in Weaverville. It only has 1 stop light, and both restaurants near the stoplight are great. And of course, we took you to my favorite places to take guests in Raleigh, Natty Greene's and Cup of Joe's.

Jolene - EverydayFoodie said...

Sounds like you guys had a great time! Tomato soup and grilled cheese go so well together, don't they :-) Classic combination. I've actually never had visitors to Regina, as this city isn't too great to visit. When people are coming here from the neighboring cities though, I have a couple recommendations that I give them.

Mandy said...

Sounds like a fabulous trip! I am glad that she was able to get to visit you. I need to go to Asheville and the Biltmore. Fish tacos are always delicious.

I really love taking people to Pittsburgh and Rohlands. :-)

Stephany said...

I know this post is all about hosting Kyria but I AM JUST SO EXCITED ABOUT YOUR RUNNING! WAHOOOO! I am THRILLED you are running again. It must feel SO good!

Anyway, Asheville sounds like such a fun city and I'm glad you got to take Kyria there and have a great visit. Those potato chips look SO good!

I'm not sure if there is a specific restaurant I take people to if they visit. It always depends on their tastes/needs.

Jeanie said...

Looks like a glorious time -- how wonderful to have a friend visit! And good news about your running -- even a little is a big deal!

Abby said...

First off, I am SO HAPPY that you are running again! Yay!! This is such great news!

This looks like such a fun weekend! Those potato chips sounds amazing - Yum!

I think the rosemary & lemon sounds good. Since rosemary takes over my herb garden this time of year - I sometimes put rosemary springs and oranges in my infuser (w/ water) - it's really refreshing!

I love love love Cabo Fish Taco. Yum. My mouth waters at that photo!!

I have a few areas I like to take people now - and the restaurants depend on what type of food the people like.

Kyria @ Travel Spot said...

When I read your post I realize how much we ate!! As you know, I had a great time and loved hanging out and seeing a new part of the country for me!

When people come to stay with me, I usually like to go for a burrito (as you know), or we also have really good Ethiopian and Korean food nearby. So I guess it depends on the person, but if they are from a less diverse place, I would probably take them to ethnic food. The other thing would be brunch and there are a bunch of different places to choose from! There is also a really fun pizza/cheese co-op in Berkeley and it's in a fun walkable area, so that is a good one for a half day jaunt.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

There are lots of different places around here but it just depends on the person.

Lauren @ Sassy Molassy said...

I loved reading Kyria's post about her trip to visit you and especially about you guys using your one pair of shoes to run on the treadmill. :) Just that photo of the chips makes me want to jump into the screen and grab a handful!

When people visit, we tend to take them either to one of our many good breweries or a taqueria that has amazing tacos and margaritas. We have pretty bad Mexican food here, so to have one good place is a lucky. It's kind of odd since Oregon in general has a ton of good food. I also love taking people to the wineries because the scenery out there is just so beautiful.

Charis Faith said...

So glad y'all had a fun weekend! I definitely thought about you girls! I am thrilled you are running the Shamrock race with me!!! Cabo is definitely a favorite of mine, so glad you love it too!

Shoshanah said...

I love fish tacos too! Unfortunately they aren't the easiest to find in Louisiana, or at least the ones I've had heard tend not to be very good, but anytime I'm back in California I make a point to have a taste or two of them.

Amber said...

It looks like you guys had such a great weekend together! Glad that her flights didn't mess with your weekend too much. Hard to believe that there were weather problems when you look at the picture of Kyria from the hike!

When you come to visit us Eric will play lots of crib with you - my dad taught him to play at Christmas and he LOVES it. I am not as big of a fan but I don't mind playing a game or two from time to time!