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Yesterday found us heading out on a hay run which lead to J and I checking out a new to us restaurant off of Woodruff Road in Greenville.  We have been long time fans of the Korean BBQ on Woodruff (the one in the same building as the Red Robin gas station…weird? yes!) but had seen that another Korean restaurant had popped up a little further down the way and decided to swing in to check it out.

It is a tiny restaurant so large parties or families with lots of kids will have some difficulty seating together but for just the two of us it was very quaint and cozy.  There are pictures of menu items on the walls and the menu was well illustrated with pictures and both English and Korean titles.

We started with fried dumplings.

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They were good, not spectacular, but tasty.  The dipping sauce was exceptionally good and accentuated the standard pork filling nicely.

J ordered the Bulgogi at a level 9 spiciness.

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This was very tasty and fairly spicy but was more like any Asian stir-fry.  It was a large portion and heavy on the beef so well worth the price, just not the flavor we had been anticipating.

I ordered the Duk Boki.

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Duk boki is kind of like a stir fried or maybe braised spicy rice cake.  This was very spicy and was ok.  I felt the rice cakes were a little mushy so there wasn’t the chewy texture that I am more familiar with and the spicy flavor was a little one dimensional, but otherwise it was good and the portion was ginormous!

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I felt that the side dishes were a little lacking.  There were three kimchi type vegetables and 2 bean sprout type things but there wasn’t a sweet or sour balance to the flavors.

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Everything was just HOT and SPICY or somewhat bland.  The kimchi was very good.  VERY good, so next time I would probably get something that focused on the kimchi.

All in all I found it to be a fair restaurant.  Not exactly where I would go for my Korean fix, but not a bad restaurant.  You get a lot of food for the price and J and I left full and sated.  The staff was very friendly and we enjoyed talking to them so I can definitely see us going back there but just ordering different items.

Kimchee Korean Restaurant is located at 1939 Woodruff Rd, Greenville, SC 29607

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For the past few years I’ve made a bit of a deal about who first footed us.  First footing being a Scottish tradition that I had been introduced to by a Scottish boyfriend many many MANY years ago.  I liked the idea of it and have made a pointed effort to be aware of who first footed us every new year.

This year was the first in many years that J had actually been home so part of my brain was already thinking about how he would finally get to properly walk across the threshold and usher in a year of good fortune.  Then midnight struck and we scampered outside with sparklers and… I don’t remember who walked back in first.  It may have been Beckett who forgot his shoes or it may have been Sophie who was spinning like a top, high on the festivities and (illegal for her) chocolates.  I don’t know.

And then today, the first day of the New Year when traditionally you are supposed to do the thing you want to do all year and eat collards and peas.  For many years now I’ve made a point to ride on January 1st.  But not this time.  This time I played with the colts, laughed at Pip, and then came back in to hang out with my family.  Tonight we are having carry-out Mexican, no home cooked meal here.

It’s been an odd day, full of departures from my normal routine but you know I’m ok with it.  Sometimes I think we need to stop doing the things we’ve always done if we’re always getting the same results, especially when those results aren’t always great.  I spent over half of 2014 not riding even though my horses were sound and my body fit enough to ride.  I made decisions based on how I always HAD done things instead of how things needed to be NOW.  I’m not that exuberant 18 year old girl willing to jump on any horse.  I’m not that confident 20 something proudly waving my trainer-credentials at anyone needing help with a horse.  I’m a wary, yet determined 40 year old that wants to take up the reins for myself instead of helping everyone else.

So… I am.

So last week was…. well… it was just wow.

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On Saturday we met up with J’s sis and brother and their families for my first ever tailgating experience at Clemson’s Homecoming.  Wow is all I can really say.  My brother-in-law Stephen is a marvelous photog and took some spectacular pictures, seriously click through them to see orange clad cuteness… It’s a good thing that Pip’s HP colors are orange otherwise we would’ve been dressed inappropriately!

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We walked all over the place, looked at the floats, had hamburgers and beverages at the rockstar RV… and basically had a blast.  The boys played until they were exhausted and Sophie basked in the awesomeness of her cousins.

And then came Sunday!! Horses loaded, costumes packed and away we went!!

This was our first year competing in the costume division. Pip and I went as Angus and Merida.  We didn’t win as Pip wasn’t technically in costume since he passes as a twin to Angus… but we had fun 🙂  I got to wear this awesome wig made by Katie of Top it Off Hats.

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I sent her the most hilarious email asking if she would be able to modify her kids’ Merida wig into a helmet cover and turns out Katie is also a avid equestrian and as luck would have it we have the same size (dimensions) helmet so she made the wig on her helmet and it of course fit mine perfectly!! She is awesome!

We were parked in a huge grassy field… with seed heads as high as Pip’s mouth lol.  It made for some most interesting tacking up as all three horses wanted to gorge instead of cooperate.  Obviously Pip and I went as Angus and Merida.

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The pace photog was able to get an awesome shot of Pip giving me the spooky eye just at the start of the pace. Pip was a bit uncertain about my red curls and Meredith’s wings but he settled in fairly quickly…

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L and Paris went as the Fox and the Hound. L’s mother made the bulk of her costume and Paris was a real trooper with her whiskers and fluffy ears.

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Meredith and Maddy were Tinker Bell and Pixie Dust…. Those wings were hilarious every time we cantered as it appeared that Mere and Maddy were going to lift right off into the air!!  Be sure to notice Maddy has little tiny antennae!  Also notice the grass!!  It was insane! I still have seed heads in the truck and there are gobs in the trailer that were caught in the doors!

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We had a good brisk ride… altho not fast enough for a ribbon.  I was under serious time constraints as I had to get back home before 2 so that M and I could leave to go to Maryland to pick up horse feed (I’ll explain the need to go to Maryland to get feed in a later post).  After getting the truck stuck in the tall grass we were on our way home where I basically dumped all the care of my Pipper on Mere and L so that I could get everything in the car and ready to hit the road yet again. Thanks girls for hosing down and putting away my pony 🙂 and for unloading the trailer too… I really hated not seeing to my own horse but we were running a little late and so many things still needed to be done before we were off again!

We decided to take the recently purchased X5 as it gets superior fuel mileage (can one say gas mileage for a diesel?) and had plenty of room for the amount of feed we were purchasing.  Plus driving the X5 is fun and since driving was going to figure prominently in our adventure it seemed like a smart choice…

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It was a beautiful drive up.

We had great adventures in refueling pretty much at every stop… thank you trucker in Raphine VA for flashing me in your tidy whities… and I won’t begin to list the ogles I got for wearing my riding pants.

Yes I rode to Maryland in my riding pants… full seat breeches on leather seats for long distance driving is my new must have.

So we got to our hotel and crashed… I think we ate but can’t honestly remember at this point as it was a loooooong drive to Maryland and the effects of power walking at Clemson coupled with my ride at the pace as well as all that time in the car had left me stiff and achy.

We were up early to a cool crisp morning and headed out for Gooseberry farm (I’m just going to call it Gooseberry farm from here on out… I don’t know the actual name of the farm but she sells and makes Gooseberry so it makes sense for me).   Unfortunately Dr.Deb was sick and couldn’t come out to chat but her son AJ was there to help us pack up.

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The X5 handled no differently for the addition of feed and so we decided to jaunt around the area and enjoy a mini vacation.  So off we headed for Lancaster PA where we grabbed a tasty lunch at the Shady Maple Farm Market Cafe.

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M and I had the pork and kraut.

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While Sophie had the broasted chicken (evidently a specialty of the cafe).  We were amused to see a huge “Oriental buffet” in the middle of the cafe.  I wasn’t expecting to see a spread of wontons and rangoons in the middle of an Amish/Mennonite grocery store but it appeared to be very popular with the locals.

After eating entirely too much at the cafe, we walked across to Good’s Store and found all matter of cute and wonderful things…. none of which will be pictured here as they will be reappearing later this year under our Christmas tree!  It was a fun adventure and Sophie in her typical style discovered the names of every store clerk we came in contact with, which may have been disconcerting to them but they thankfully rolled with it.

And then we were off again to Carlisle PA!

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The day was truly beautiful with all the gorgeous farms still green against the bright blue sky!

As with most of our adventures, food figures prominently and we had intended to eat at Fay’s in Carlisle, only to arrive and discover that Fay’s is closed after lunch.  So we drove around briefly with M giving us the penny tour as she’s been there before with my brother who makes a yearly trip up for Banner of Truth.  It’s a lovely town, very quaint.  We decided to drop into my brother’s favorite bookstore (and send him photo texts with “where are we?” attached lol… we are mean people)

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The name of the store escapes me, but it’s lovely.  I found a stack of “ancient” books that I wanted to bundle up and bring home… but their corresponding price tags kept me from doing so.  There’s something about really old books that I just love, doesn’t even matter the subject matter… I find them fascinating.

M remembered eating at a pub just down from the bookstore so we walked down to check it out.

I was not disappointed.

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Neither was Sophie.

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Market Cross Pub in Carlisle… awesomeness indeed.  I had their home-brewed Porter and it was delicious and wonderfully paired with the fish & chips and the chocolate chip sundae as well 🙂  I wish we had something more on par with this pub at home as the ambiance was perfect and the staff reminded me of the heydey of Velo Fellow when Dragon was still there.  Thanks Joe (our server) for being awesome… and looking like the blond headed bad guy in Top Secret!

After enjoying our early supper we decided to head on down towards Charlottesville VA.  Michie Tavern was on the docket for the next day and we wanted to be close enough to allow for a restful night and an early lunch before the long drive home… little did we know our adventure was just beginning…

Stay tuned for Part II of our epic whirlwind adventure.

Jim, Sophie and I were able to stop into Belgian Delights for lunch today and we were all so impressed!  It was love! Sophie’s already asking to go back… I think she was taken with the decor as much as the food, although you do have to love a place where you can order “meat” and the waitress doesn’t even question what you want!

Jim and I ordered coffee which is delicious, but very, very strong.  I love strong coffee and after 4 cups I was pretty much buzzing (did I say 4 cups? ummm yeah… 4).  Sophie had sweet tea which was extremely sweet but she liked ok (diabetic shock sweet… be warned… I don’t care for tea that’s quite that sweet).

Angus Bazooka

Jim ordered the Angus Bazooka which is simply a beef kebab on a sub with a whole gob of frites. Jim opted for Sauce Americaine which was very tasty.  I did not get a bite because Jim (as usual) wolfed it down while telling me how wonderful it was.

Angus Kebab et frites avec mayonnaise

Sophie ordered “MEAT” and ended up with the same thing as Jim minus the bun. She didn’t care for the peppers that came on the skewer but ate the rest with gusto. The peppers (which are not even visible in the photo I think) she deposited onto my plate. I thought they were delicious.

Crepe Ardennais

I ordered the Crepe Ardennais which looks so deceptively small and demure sitting on the plate. In truth it was one of the most filling things I’ve ever eaten. Very tasty, most likely exceedingly fattening (from the richness of the sauce!) but oh so good! Ham and fresh herbs covered in that heavy creamy sauce… yum!!

Belgian waffle with strawberries and cream

For dessert we ordered a Belgian waffle with strawberries and cream. I have had Liege waffles in Belgium and loved them. This is not that waffle (although they do have Liege waffles on the menu). This was an almost savory sensation of tart strawberries, lightly sweetened cream and a waffle. The waffle was not particularly crunchy, but the whole thing together was quite tasty. Next time (and there will be a next time!!) I will get the Liege waffle because that (much like Belle-Vue) is what I associate with Belgium.

All in all we had a great meal! The waitress was friendly but not so much that we felt like we had to entertain her (it’s a chronic problem for us in most places we go).  The coffee was so excellent even it was smiling… or I think it was anyway!

Happy Coffee?

It’s no surprise that we are eagerly planning to pop in again… maybe just for coffee and a waffle… maybe for a more serious meal!

Big Thumbs up from Sophie!

I officially have had enough of over-educated, know it alls.  If I see one more woman in a power-tweed skirt with wedge heels I may go insane.  If I have to deal with appalling manners from people who should know better I think I may join Jim’s grandpa up on his mountain and close myself away from the insanity that we call society.

Why?

I survived, barely, the 20% off everything sale at Earthfare.

Emphasis on barely.

This wasn’t my first 20% off sale.  I’m an old pro… got a list and everything.  Inventoried the day before, had a game plan… good to go!

What I had not accounted for was the insanity induced by the current economic downswing AND the fact that Earthfare advertised the sale in the paper.

Sigh.

Let’s see… a little background.

Earthfare is a regional organic/natural grocery store.  They are based in Asheville I believe and have several stores around the southeast, predominately in SC and NC.  For the most part their clientele are either health nuts or urban professionals with a few regular folks with food issues (like us) thrown into the mix.  We tend to be friendly with all sorts and have never really had a problem with anybody while shopping.  The staff know us by sight and name (buy a couple 50lbs of flour and sugar and you become memorable).

So anyway.

We arrived at EF late due to catching a killer sale at Sunrift (seriously, $70 pants for $8.50) and having to wait for our coffee bean order to be made at Leopard Forest (20 mins of waiting… it’s still worth it!). Oh and we met up with Jim at PhoNoodleville for Vietnamese (I’m dreaming about Vietnamese Calamari… it’s that good).  So it was knocking on 5pm when we waltzed in the door.

Unfortunately Jim was unable to join us for the shopping extravaganza as he had to go to work, but that left me and M to handle the kids and I felt that it was ok.

So we entered the fray and immediately my buggy was stolen, luckily I didn’t have a child in it at the time.  I went to pick out a couple limes and turned around to no buggy.  The produce guy found me another one, and I was sort of more amused than disgruntled… but I should’ve recognized the mood in the store was not so cordial at that point. 

From there I attemptedto get to the carrots and celery but was physically blocked by a sea of humanity… ok so it was 4 people with shopping carts… but a creek of humanity doesn’t sound as good.  I NEVER got to the carrots btw.  M bullied through, but I ended up floating around the periphery looking at things that other people weren’t mauling.

By this point, 10 mins into my shopping, I was beginning to get annoyed.

So I moved on to bulk goods were I met a nice woman buying figs.  We discussed the merits of dried versus fresh and parted amicably.  I attempted  to purchase all my bulk goods at one go, but had to actually leave the area with the tide of humanity (this time more than 4) as it pushed us on down to wine and cheese. 

Surprisingly, there were only a handful of people in the cheese section so we loitered there a bit longer than necessary, catching a breather and chatting with the tattooed cheese girl. 

Then we braved the meat counter.  Our rather M did.  I decided that I would revisit the bulk bins to pick up a bit of couscous.  Enter the power-tweed skirt woman.  HISSSSSS!!   When I reentered the bulk area I noticed that most of the customers were parking their buggies to one side so that everybody could access the various bins without being blocked.  Oh not Tweedy!  She had a good fourth of the section blocked.  I politely, and I suppose TOO Southernly, asked her to let me access the couscous and she sneered down her nose and moved one whole inch out of the way.  I smiled, thought vile things about her, and squeezed/reached my way to the bin.  The couscous is in a lever bin meaning you pull down the handle and it goes into the bag.  As I pushed down on the handle Tweedy backed up OVER me and as I caught my balance couscous went EVERYWHERE… big French couscous… all over that slick floor.  Kinda like walking on tiny marbles.  I quickly shut off the lever, but the damage was pretty bad.  Couscous all over the place!  So I reached out to balance on her buggy as I attempted to clean up the couscous mess with my foot and she glared at me and stormed off.  So I’m left standing there with my hands on my hips as she slips and slides and almost twists her hoity-toity ankle in her precious wedge heels (secretly that amused me).  So I cleaned up as best I could, dashed back over to tattooed cheese girl to inform her of the incident and rejoined M at the meat counter.

M was making enemies faster than the butcher could wrap up her orders.  When she took the last of the ground sirloin there was an audible hiss from the amassed crowd, the last brisket drew a groan and when she ordered all of the remaining chicken breasts I thought we may not make it out alive!  Oh my!  It was “skeery” to use a good Southernism.

Tweedy waltzed past at one point and we glared like fighting cats at each other.  I resisted the urge to hiss…  aloud… until after she passed. 

It was at that point I registered the thought that maybe 20% off wasn’t really worth it… but it was too late to back out.

So on around we went, splitting up and cajoling the kids to endure just a bit longer.  The kids, by the way, were quick to pick up on the malevolent vibe in the store and were edgy at best.  Sophie started not feeling well and near the end she was curled up in one of the buggies singing “Amazing Grace” and “Abide with Me” mournfully to herself (people stared… and a couple complimented her singing).

At last we were done and in line, only to remember that we didn’t get any canned tomatoes (we’ve long since run out of the ones canned last summer) and so we veered out of line to get them and do one last walk around to make sure we had everything.  At that point M and I split up again.  M had to park her buggy with Xander in it at the end cap and I parked on the next aisle where I could eyeball Xander and make sure the buggy stayed put.  I could not see M, or hear her for that matter, but I could clearly see Xander.  Suddenly M reappeared, her face flushed, her eyes blazing and I knew something had pushed her over the edge.  Due to the crush of people we didn’t meet back up until the check out and M was livid.  Apparently when she bent over to pick up the tomatoes (they are on a lower shelf) a man backed into her and sat on her head.  Like his butt was on M’s head.  And then he pushed into her so that her head went UNDER the shelf.  And if that wasn’t bad enough once she righted herself some other woman launched into her about leaving Xander in the buggy by himself.  M tried to explain that I was standing right there watching him, but she wouldn’t listen and M ended up just leaving to get away from her!

AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!  Insanity!

So I think I’m going to be staying here at the farm and sending the others out to deal with the masses.  Give me sheep and horses and crazy cows any day… I’ll leave society to the rest of you 🙂

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