Here it is. The penultimate day of the Southern Swing. Tomorrow we fly back to Los Angeles. Today, we... literally do not have to do anything. We plan to meet Barbie's friend Lauren who moved to Charlotte from New York City, but other than that and the usual on-the-laptop work, we do not have to do a gosh darned thing.
The view out our window. It is raining. Before the rain began, there was a line of golfers whacking balls on that driving range. I suppose they are now lined up at the bar.
With our room and suite upgrade, we also get lunch in the hotel. Shall we?
The bar, where we chose to eat. Much more comfortable than the restaurant. And we got a bonus; two lunch meetings slash sales pitches going on next to us, so that we got to listen to the salesmen say, "We're here to do whatever it takes to get your business," and then hear the response, "To be honest, we need a better price," and then, silence.
When the hotel is treating, you treat yourself to three courses. Let us begin.
French onion soup. I should stop ordering this when I am not at Balthazar in NYC, because all other onion soups make me sad inside that they are not Batlhazar's Onion Soup Fondue.
Barbie's chicken club with sweet potato fries.
My turkey burger with bacon. Shame on me for two things. One, I did not ask for blue cheese. Two, I did not ask for BBQ sauce. Seriously. I am a fool.
Barbie's dessert, but I completely forgot what the stuff under the stuff was.
My dessert. Pretty obvious what this is.
This is the last golf course pic, I swear. I just wanted to share the pond and fountain.
With some time free in the afternoon, Barbie decided to fulfill her quest. What quest? In Charleston she spotted a young woman with, "awesome shoes." Barbie asked her where she purchased said shoes. Young woman responded, "Target." Guess where we headed off to?
Welcome to target. Us Awesome.
I can name, oh, eleventy people I know for a fact will be horribly annoyed that I flipped this picture vertically.
For the record, Barbie would never make me wait while she goes shoe shopping at home. But this was a quest. And for those who want to know... yes. The Target shoes of awesomeness were found and purchased.
The Ballantyne, A Luxury Collection Hotel, indoor pools.
The wonderful Lauren came to our hotel suite. Amazingly, she lives down the street. Originally, we were planning to stay at a hotel downtown. Someone in Charleston recommended the Ballantyne, and we switched not knowing that this choice placed us literally next to the people we would be visiting in Charlotte.
Lauren came and we spent some time catching up in the room, and soon it was off to a local Spanish restaurant that Barbie had found on Open Table, Miro Spanish Grille. A restaurant named after one of my favorite artists? Sign me up. If you really, really know me, you know that I have an authenticated Miro lithograph my parents bought me in 1979 that looks exactly like my childhood teddy bear. Miro is not Picasso, but he matters.
I love when a menu is online. Get ready for food detail.
Platanos, fried plantains.
Manchego y Jamon, prosciutto and manchego cheese.
Vieiras, sauteed scallops in a sun dried tomato and peppers sauce.
Langostinos al Pil Pil, sauteed jumbo shrimp in garlic, olive oil, and paprika. (Yes, we nearly ate it all, but I took a picture of the last shrimp.)
Paella Valenciana, traditional Spanish recipe with seafood, chicken and saffron rice. It was almost as good as the paella we had in Madrid, and just about equal to the paella in Barcelona.After a meal so good we did not even have room for dessert, we went back and talked with Lauren late into the night.