Happy Saturday! The weather the last few weeks has been absolute perfection for outdoor activities…including patio dining. This time of year is my favorite with mild temperatures, low humidity and few bugs.
What I’m dreading most is the arrival of mosquitos as temperatures continue to warm. They love me and unfortunately they eat Finn up too. I found this post on Instagram from local holistic pediatrician Dr. Ana Maria Temple to be helpful when it comes to why DEET is okay and how to choose the best bug sprays. At her suggestion I just ordered some cans of Off! Family Care Unscented for Finn. We tried SO many of the non-deet, essential oil sprays last summer and none of them worked. (I’d like to note that I leave as much as I take from the account I referenced above.)
In the meantime, I am soaking up the spring season and I’m spending as much of my days outside as possible…eating, working, playing with Finn, runs and walks. I’ve also had the windows in my house open. I love it!
I’ve had some really awesome patio dinners at restaurants in the last couple of weeks and you’ll see some of them here in this post. So many restaurants seem to really have improved their outdoor dining spaces and it’s been great to see them full and busy.
Nothing new to see here. Mostly smoothie bowls or yogurt bowls with plain greek yogurt or Siggi’s 4% vanilla with granola, fruit and peanut butter. For the last couple of weeks I’ve been using Trader Joe’s Peanut Butter Protein Granola and Simple Truth Organic Oats and Honey Granola Clusters. I need to get back to making my own but these two are both great for a store-bought option.
Deli salad with romaine, iceberg, mushrooms, tomatoes, chicken, bacon, cucumbers, hard boiled eggs, cheese and a basil-balsamic dressing.
Homemade salad with spinach, avocado, chickpeas, hearts of palm, feta, blueberries, dried cranberries and sunflower seeds with honey dijon balsamic dressing.
Avocado toast on sourdough with butter, quartered cherry tomatoes, hemp hearts and sea salt.
Baby spinach with avocado, chickpeas, hearts of palm, dried cranberries, sunflower seeds, blueberries, tomatoes, feta and the same dressing as above.
This lunch looks plain but was super tasty. I took a Blue Harbor lemon and dill tuna packet and mixed it with a little mayo and ate it on crackers. I also had some apple and brie slices.
This one wins yummiest salad award for the last couple of weeks. Mixed greens, trim-color quinoa, chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, sunflower seeds, feta, dried cranberries, hearts of palm and smoked salmon. I forget how delicious and versatile smoked salmon is. I like it a lot and this was a nice switch from my go-to canned salmon.
Finally, an egg salad sandwich on wheat with lettuce and tomatoes. I like eggs, I like hardboiled eggs, I like mayo but I think I’m good on egg salad for a while after this one…haha.
Patio dinner out at Bernardins at their Winston-Salem location (they have one in Charlotte too). They’ve done major upgrades to their patio and it’s comfortable and cozy. This was a goat cheese tart with oven dried tomatoes and eggplant that was rich, tangy and very delicious.
My entree was creative and so good. It was rare ahi tuna served over soba noodles with baby bok chow, shiitake mushrooms, tahini sauce and wasabi sauce. This is a dish I would order again and would like to recreate at home!
Outdoor dinner at home with grilled teriyaki marinated salmon, sautéed garlic green beans and a baked potato. I have been on a baked potato kick for about a year now. I love a crispy and salty skin. Here’s how I bake mine:
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Scrub potato, poke with about 10-12 holes (I use the tip of a sharp knife)
- Generously coat in olive oil and sea salt
- Bake for about 50-60 minutes depending on size of potato
Sheet pan dinner with roasted Italian chicken sausage, carrots, yellow potatoes, baby portobello mushrooms and Brussels sprouts. I coated everything in olive oil and then seasoned it with sea salt and Trader Joe’s new Soffritto seasoning.
Highly recommend picking up this seasoning. It’s tastes great and I can imagine so many ways to use it from seasoning meat and veggies to stirring into pasta to a bread dip with olive oil.
Bernardins was so good a couple of weeks ago that we went again last week. I had the fish special which was a Chilean sea bas over seasonal vegetables with a coriander vinaigrette. The fish was cooked very well and the flavor of the vinaigrette added a lot to the dish.
Roasted veggie dinner leftovers over yellow rice with melted shredded cheese, hummus and hot sauce.
Last patio dinner at Cowfish in Charlotte. Finn joined for this one! I haven’t been to Cowfish in over a year so it was great to be back. Started with seaweed salad and edamame.
And some rolls. The one on the right was super fresh and light having no rice (I like rice in my sushi but this was refreshing and the salmon and tuna was great quality). I sure did eat a lot of fish over the last couple of weeks.
I am so hooked on Lenny Boy Kombucha right now. It’s so light and refreshing and I find myself reaching for a bottle almost every afternoon now that the weather is so nice. Lenny Boy is brewed in Charlotte and they’ve been around since 2011!
Peach and blueberry cobbler with praline ice cream for dessert during a patio dinner at Bernardins.
Do you prefer indoor or outdoor dining when the weather is nice?
Do you like kombucha? Favorite brand?
Any noteworthy/need to try Trader Joe’s finds lately?