Salud! Great beer from a craft Cerveceria.

In our hometown of Charlotte, NC, there’re always a lot of cool events happening daily.  There’re also many different districts, and parts of the city that host events constantly, and where you are almost always guaranteed a great time. 

One of our favorite areas is NoDa (the North Davidson area) which is known for its artsy laid back atmosphere, and craft beer breweries. We visit NoDa often, and it never disappoints. 

Right next to the corner of North Davidson and 36th St, there is a little beer shop called Salud.  Well, our friends from Salud, decided to venture into brewing their own beer a while back, and this past weekend they opened their brand-new brewery on the second floor of their beer shop. 

At 3100 sq feet, Salud Cerveceria is so cozy you feel as if you were hanging out in your best friend’s place. The decorations, the attention to detail, every single piece that adorns this place was handpicked and thought of with exact precision. You can’t deny the originality (and the good taste) as soon as you walk through their doors.

My favorites? The walls covered by book-pages at the entrance and bathrooms (I hope the books were recycled!), the gorgeous wooden floors, the over-sized shuffleboard, the small hanging plants that embellish the place (which are also for sale!), the colorful mural in the stage area, the living room atmosphere, and of course, the beer!

Did I mention that the place hosts their own art gallery featuring local artists? All items are for sale and they will change monthly. 

With 14 beers on tap, you can choose from IPA’s to Saisons, and everything in between, including non-alcoholic options.  The Raspberry IPA was to die for, too bad they sold out too soon… it was a popular choice and everyone wanted a taste of it. Names like Mesa para uno, Estacion, and Negra Bretta, are not only quite creative but also invoke the rich Latin flavor in each and every beer they craft.

So, needless to say my friends, the owners Jason, and Dairelyn Glunt shined like stars with the grand opening of this remarkable brewery, where you can not only taste great beer, but also hang out, drink some good coffee, sample their tea, and have a fantastic time. A truly remarkable story of hard work and dedication for what they love, that shows in every aspect of their business.

Wait! I haven’t told you, they also have enough room to dance! Bring it on Salsa!

One thing I thought that was quite fantastic… for the grand opening, they had piñatas for guests to enjoy…. This says it all…. It was a piñata a lot of people enjoyed beating.  (I’m still laughing inside).

So, next time you are in Charlotte, NC, stop by Salud Cerveceria, and when you are done having fun, follow the path downstairs, take some beer home from their shop, and have a bite to eat courtesy of Fud-at Salud, which has also been featured in Diners, Drive Ins and Dives by Guy Fieri! Yeah, it’s that good. 

Salud!

Great beer from a craft Cerveceria.

 

 

BEER FEST: Brews, Food, and Good Friends.

Oh beer, how we love thee! You all know that we LOVE craft beer and, fortunately for us, craft beer has become one popular house item (well, at least in our house).  Everywhere you go, craft beer breweries are constantly popping up and seem that they here to stay! That makes me happy.  

RELATED: FLYING SAUCER BEER CLUB

I was a light beer kinda girl before I met hubby (so was he), but for a few years now, we like to explore and play with beer flavors and visit breweries everywhere we go.

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So needless to say, we make it a point to go to Oktoberfest in Helen, GA every year, and to attend as many craft beer festivals in the area as we can.  

 

There are MANY beer fests in our hometown of Charlotte, NC. Moo & Brew has a good one every year, and we make every effort to attend and sample goodness.  

 

 Recently, we attended the Southend Hops Festival, benefiting the RescueMe dog rescue.  Southend Hops Fest featured 40 North Carolina and South Carolina breweries.  My favorites? The Corban Avenue Honey Blonde from Twenty Six Acres Brewery (Concord, NC)... AND a Mango IPA, which I cannot remember the brewery to save my life (shame on me).  

Craft Beer Fests are incredibly fun and relaxing. Taste some beer, eat some great food from the food trucks, bring your dog, have fun with friends and even make new friends... my type of fun.

 

It's easy to get hammered really fast (since most fests start at lunch time), so always remember to pace yourself, and drink lots of water...and eat! That helps. I'm talking from experience, folks!

On an exciting note, our friends from SALUD in NoDa (Charlotte, NC) are opening a brewery this weekend! I will be posting pictures and a review on their beer too.

Next step for us? A visit to Asheville, NC. I cant wait to try the many, many breweries and sample all their brews. I mean, brewing beer is an art!

RELATED: GOODHOPS BREWERY REVIEW, WILMINGTON, NC

So stay vigilant of any beer fests in your area, go try it and enjoy your beers! I'm liking IPA's now....who would've thought?

Always,

MIA

BIKINI OR BUST!

If you follow along with our blog, you know we recently took a 7 day cruise to the Caribbean. While it was beautiful and wonderful and magical and all those other lovely adjectives one usually uses to describe the tropics, we had some serious anxiety about one issue in particular. 

Bathing suits.

(Cue dramatic music)

Since the birth of our daughters 7 years ago, neither Mia nor myself has braved a beach or pool in a bikini. We settled for concealing but cute one pieces, and were resigned to stay covered up on the sidelines in our suits and cover-ups and let me tell you how much fun that is..... not so much!

It sucks to hang around the fringes of the poolside, hot and under layers because we are too nervous to show a little skin while everyone else is running free without a care in the world. 

So this trip we made a pact.

BIKINI OR BUST!

Our husbands have told us for years "Wear the two piece! No one cares! You look great in whatever." (Scored some brownie points with that one). But dang if it isn't hard to quell that inner voice telling you that your legs are too full of cellulite, your tummy isn't has tight as it once was, and your top half is, well.....lacking. But you know what I say to that little voice?

SCREW YOU!

We bought those two pieces and proudly (ok timidly at first, but eventually proudly) swam in that water, sun bathed on a lounge chair, and explored the islands in, you guess it, those bikinis. Cellulite, surgery scars, some extra jiggle and all. 

I'm not gonna lie and say it was easy, or that I wasn't nervous or intimidated by other more buxom/toned bodies, but I will say that I am so proud of us for doing it. No one on that cruise ship or on that beach cared a lick what I looked like and the only people whose opinion I value, don't care a lick about how I look in a bathing suit. My friends like me because I am funny and kind and like a good Harry Potter joke, not because I do or don't have abs. (Let me insert here that if you do have friends who care if you do or don't have abs, you need some new friends, seriously, you don't need that kind of negativity in your life).

My friends... BEHOLD: US IN A BIKINI:  A QUICK LOOK.... A VERY, VERY QUICK LOOK:

There you have it people, video-graphic proof of our accomplishment! 

So, to all you ladies and gents out there struggling with self esteem issues, or dreading going to participate in a social activity involving a swim suit, just put on the dang thing and have some fun! No one will ever be more critical of you than yourself (damn asshole brains), swallow that fear and criticism and... 

Dive right in, the waters great.

 

Releasing your inner child... Laser Tag edition

My nephew’s (Coco’s son) birthday celebration was this past weekend, and like every cool ten year old kid, he wanted to invite his friends to play laser tag and have some pizza and cake.  Obviously, I was invited because I’m the cool Aunt…. and because my daughter is very close to her cousin so she had to go….mostly because of the latter.  Maybe I made up the part about being the cool aunt...whatever.

Anyway, we all gathered at this place in town called SportsConnections; an arcade kind-of place where they showcase a large selection of arcade games, jumpy houses, mini-bowling, wall climbing, ropes course, laser vault, bumper-carts, and yes, laser tag. 

It was the first time playing laser tag at this place.  I decided to play because my daughter wanted to be on my team… and because I wanted to beat the hubby.

The place was a big warehouse looking room, with a maze of tall walls with holes and columns, so you could see through them and spot the adversaries. They asked us to grab a vest/gun set and step into two lines; each of about 10-15 people.

One “marshal” took one of the lines to the left of the room, the others were taken to the right of the room and towards the very end of the play area.  That was our zone; the red zone. 

We realized that we had all adults and two 6 year old in our team.  All other, agile, sneaky, intrepid kids were on the green team. 

Oh lord. 

We were going to get beat. 

RELATED: HELLO WEIRD

I admit, I’ve only played this game once or twice before.  And you all know I wasn’t the sportiest person in the room, so the idea of getting blasted by a group of ten year olds was, well, not very appealing and quite ego-painful. 

I was determined to defend my self-esteem, and I released my inner child. 

Oh boy, I released my inner child.

As soon as the game started, I crouched and carefully made my way towards their “base” for a surprise attack.  Nobody was guarding it, as they didn’t expect a hit so soon.  I took advantage of this and took many points out of their board and into ours. 

Then I got killed, and had to shamelessly return to base for a “recharge”.

I got ready, ducked, and sneaked silently like a hunting cat waiting for its prey as I made my way around the rubber walls. 

I got killed.

Again.

Re-charge.

I decided I was going to change my approach and stay put to defend our base. 

I patrolled the perimeter, making sure every green light was turned around by the beam of my red laser.  I was the defender; the all-powerful guardian. 

Until a group of 4 ten- year olds blasted me out of my base, forcing me to run and recharge.   

Apparently you get points taken out when someone hits you, so the “millions” of points I thought I got, I didn’t.  I lost most of them.  But I still did OK. 

Game was over fairly quickly.  We played six short games in one hour.  All of them packed with unique roll-playing action and fun. 

By the time the game was over, I was drenched in sweat, and thirst took over my will to speak. 

Pizza and cake worked wonders to quench the tiredness.  All the kids were still excited although sad that MY TEAM WON.  Apparently, the other adults in my team were pretty good, so we beat the green team.  No thanks to me, I’m sure.  Either way, we had so much fun; I seriously want to do this again.

Maybe an adult game so I don’t feel bad for defeating the kids. They didn’t care that much though.  They were happy just to play. 

By the way.  My legs hurt so much!!!!! Crouching and sneaking for an hour is not good when you are not in the best of shapes.  Oi Vay! 

Did I just eat that? Anecdotal accounts of weird food tasting

Oh food! How we love thee.  Yes, you all know how passionate we are about good food, different food, and great places to eat. We hunt for the perfect place to dine in every city we visit, and we are not afraid to try new plates. We love ethnic food, simple food, elaborate dishes, or just plain different. Never say no to food tasting should be our motto.

Here are some foods that we have tried and successfully eaten. The golden rule is to remember that things do not taste the way they look.

BLOOD SAUSAGE

I've tried two versions of this sausage. Come to find out, this is a very common food product in many European and South American countries. Growing up in Colombia, we ate this on a regular basis. I'm pretty sure my sister stopped eating it the day she saw my aunt preparing a large batch for the family but that's besides the point. Now before I get a bunch of "ewwwws" and "grosssss" and a rapid clicking of the x in the top right corner of your screen, just hear me out. Blood sausage is just what it sounds, but it has lots of other yummy ingredients and spices in just the perfect combination to make you forget you are eating....well....blood.  A blood sausage is the delectable mixture of rice, onions, spices and coagulated pork or beef blood housed in a fresh sausage casing. The Spanish version, Morcilla is very savory, while other variations such as the Polish blood sausage contains different spices (but still very tasty!)  If you ever have the opportunity to try this weird sausage, do it! It's exquisite.

RAW FISH (whole- eyeballs and all!)

While in Rome, we stopped at a little neighborhood restaurant which served amazing food. One of us had an appetite for fish, so fish was ordered (keep in mind that we didn't speak Italian, so we were guessing the menu). What we didn't know was that the fish was raw and solely cured in salt. I've heard of this before but had never tried it. We had eaten raw fish before (duh! Sushi!), but this fish was whole, with intact eyes and everything. Before they serve it to you, they will hammer the rock salt coating in order to break it open and extract the fish. Next, they will clean the scales off the body, de-gut it, and deliver it proudly to the table. WHAT? We tried it and O.M.G. Here goes the BEST fish I've ever had in my life.  So fluffy, so savory, so fresh.  

TRIPE

We love beef, so when we saw a dish called Tripa in Italy, and we guessed the word "cow" on the menu... it couldn't be that bad, right? Well, come to find out, Tripa or tripe is the lining of the cow's stomach. COW STOMACH! If textures aren't your thing when you eat, you may want to think twice about trying this one, it's a tad chewy but I will say, the spices it was cooked in made the whole experience much more pleasant. Although very tasty, the thought of eating a cow's stomach makes me feel a little...well, icky.  

TURTLE SOUP

Turtle is one of the things I'd never even imagined as a thing to eat in my life. When a dish called Turtle Soup showed up in one restaurant while in NoLa, we had to try it (duh- we ordered everything that sounds weird on a menu!) And I've gotta say, it wasn't bad. It was very savory, but the gritty texture of the meat is something that I'll have to pass on next time. 

We have also tried snail, alligator, conch salad, and frog legs...all tasty in their own way, yet not something we would eat as comfort food.

What is the weirdest thing you have eaten? We want to know! COMMENT BELOW!

Always,

Mia

Game night fun! -Grown up edition

You all know we LOVE to spend time with the kiddos and we often have family game nights or family movie nights, which are great...but from time to time, we, the adults, need our own "adult-time" with our friends. I typed adult-time in quotations because, when we get together we don't really act like adults... We are all kids at heart (which makes our night that much more fun).

Here's a list of games and activities that we recommend. We usually have some drinks and cocktails mixed in, but all these are also totally fine for a sober night.  Just enjoy and play!

1. CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY

Yes, this is REALLY a game for horrible people, but the truth is that it is sooooooooo funny, my belly aches every single time we play this game, because we all laugh so hard. The objective of this game is basically be the first one to collect a certain number of black cards (usually 7). If you do, this probably means that you are the worst of them all... in a dirty-mind kinda way. Players take turns drawing a black card and reading it out loud. Whoever reads it is considered the "judge" for that round. Then, players throw in their white card (facing down) so the judge doesn't know which card belongs to who. The black cards have a question, fill-in-the-blank, or statement that you must pair with what you think is most appropriate using your white cards. For example, the judge can read "What's that smell?" and you will answer that with the white cards, which I probably shouldn't type here (in case a kid reads this...lol). The white cards are outrageous and surprisingly politically incorrect at best. The combination depends on how dirty your mind can get.  P.S. to win this game you must play the player, so if you know the judge well, play to their sense of humor.

2. REVERSE CHARADES

Just like the regular charades game, reverse charades is played in groups. The twist is that instead of one person performing in front of the teammates, the group must act out the card and only ONE person guesses. The more you guess correct, the more points you get. Trying to get a group of people to act out the same thing in a few seconds WITHOUT talking is both challenging and hilarious!

3. HEADBANDS

Everyone wears a headband on their foreheads, and every person places a card on the slit of their headbands, facing the group. You can read everyone's cards, but you have no clue what you card says. Each player takes turns asking questions to the group to gather clues and guess your own card. You only have 30 seconds per turn. You must ask only yes or no questions like, "Is it a thing? An animal? A place?" "Can i find it in a house?" etc, you get the point... kinda like playing 20 questions but everyone takes turns, and you must remember where you left off when your turn comes back around. If you guess your card, you keep it and put another one on the headband. The player that gathers the most cards wins.   

4. SPOONS

This game is truly hilarious. You only need a regular deck of cards (or two depending on how many players) and spoons (forks might be a little too dangerous). Let me explain; if you have five players, you will need four spoons. One less than the number of players. Everyone sits around a table and the spoons are placed in the middle (making sure everyone can reach them). Each player starts with four cards.Then one person starts passing cards to the left from the remaining deck (facing down). The objective is to gather FOUR of a kind (four queens, four 8's, four 7's etc). When you get a card from the player beside you, you will try to match it with the cards you already have to see if you can gather four of a kind. You will have to make a split decision and choose one of your cards to pass to the left. This is a very, very fast paced game, and you must have four cards at a time and pass the rest. If you get four of a kind, you have to reach out and grab a spoon. Once someone reaches out for a spoon, all other players must reach and try to grab their own spoons. One person will be left out each round. Get ready to laugh all night.

5. SCATTEGORIES 

This is another one of our favorite games! The game contains different cards with a series of 12 categories each. Things like, "a boys name", "things that are cold", "a villain in a movie or book" etc.  Then a letter is produced with a unique 20-sided die. Each player must then jot down an answer to the category which contains a word that starts with the letter that was rolled. For example, if you rolled the letter J, all your answers MUST start with J.  "a boys name" you can answer Jacob, "things that are cold" juice, and so on.  You have three minutes to answer the 12 categories. It's fun to see who's more resourceful with words in the group. This game is always a lot of fun!

We often make up our own games, or try to find new ones. For example, can't wait to try the new "Watchamouth" "Speak Out" or "LOLz" which are both played using a mouth piece to distort your words.  We also like to play Cranium, Monopoly, and just plain 'ol rummy. Mix a little wine in the games and you will have an amazing game night.  P.S.  You can make any of these games drinking games if appropriate.  Just remember, drink responsibly and don't drink and drive.  

What are your favorite party night games? I want to try some new ones!