The U.S. Figure Skating Championships made their way to Greensboro North Carolina this weekend and so did I. Attempting to find a way to stay involved in skating without actually skating myself, I brought the boyfriend to North Carolina to watch the weekend events of the U.S. Figure Skating Championships (from here known as Nationals) at the Greensboro Coliseum. We were unsure about what to expect as both of us are northeastern types, however, we were really pleasantly surprised!
In our eyes, the small cities had the same feeling as Richmond, big buildings for corporations surrounded by side streets filled with unique shops and independent restaurants. As you make your way out of the cities, you begin to stumble upon typical big-box suburbs.
I appreciated historic Elm Street in Greensboro not only for its history and great International Civil Rights Museum, but, also for the Green Bean, a perfect coffee shop playing excellent music and serving not only the typical espresso drinks that independent (and not so independent) coffee shops are known for but also Red Lattes. Red Latte is a drink made from red rooibos tea that is ground up and brewed quickly in an espresso machine to make a very concentrated brew. I had drink with this red espresso combined with white chocolate, milk and honey. Wow! We also visited the unique “Just Be” art and gift shop that was filled with local and U.S. domestic hand-made art from new and recycled materials. The items were along the lines of the DC Crafty Bastards art fair mixed with some more commercial merchandise such as a guide to Kabbalah, Pangea body products and other “insprirational” gear.
We also had a really nice dinner at Table 16, a restaurant known for their use of local produce and food. The experience was great – the staff were welcoming, the manager helped us choose (including a tasting) our wine for dinner and the menu items were fresh and unique. I had a main course of flounder, pan fried and lightly breaded, with caramelized onions, pomegranate seeds and roasted Brussels sprouts! A nice surprise, I really liked the dinner bread too.
Also in Greensboro, we had an enormous and really tasty breakfast at the Smith Street Diner. The diner was a small place, maybe no more than 15 tables and a counter with walls covered in photographs, drawings and paintings of PIGS! They served out of this world biscuits, as big as your hand and probably about 4 inches high. It is impossible to finish one if you hope to eat some of your breakfast as well. The boyfriend had a corn beef hash that he loved and I had an omelet with mushrooms, onions, smoked salmon, peppers and tomatoes. With unlimited coffee, this fabulous brunch came to about $18!! Really, really great.
Winston-Salem offered us brunch as well in its burgeoning arts district at “Breakfast of Course” or “Marys Too.” Winston-Salem is sort of a strange place in our eyes because it seems to be prosperous, with even more tall buildings (ones that you can even see from the distance) than Greensboro, but with prosperity built from RJ Reynolds and tobacco. The bit that we visited, the arts district, was like a college town street, with tons of unique art and new age shops combined with independent restaurants. BOC offered a quirky breakfast menu that included breakfast nachos, breakfast burgers, breakfast asian salads and a developed list of options to make your own pancakes and omelet. What really did it for me though was the atmosphere and the art. The walls were covered in original designs of funky animals with little sayings. The ceiling in the main dining room was painted like a “galaxy” full of stars and a milky way. Coffee was served in random, non matching mugs and each table had different salt and pepper shakers. They also had a cigarette dispenser transformed into a hand made art dispenser. Awesome J I had corn griddle cakes (essentially fried polenta), veggie sausage, home fries and eggs while the boyfriend had a breakfast burger. Overall great experience, however, word to the wise, there was already a line at 9.30 AM!