Friday, August 5, 2011

From The Lens: The City of Steeples

One of the most fascinating things I have found out about Wilmington since living here is the beauty of all the majestic churches in this area. If you are ever in Wilmington, NC I would strongly suggest you bring your camera and plan on spending a day just meandering around the downtown area. You will not be disappointed. Between the fascinating churches, well appointed historical homes and the opportunity to peek into a few private gardens…well in my opinion it just doesn't get better.

I was fortunate to take this walking tour (no guide included) during the earlier part of the summer. I would not recommend this if the weather is calling for a heat warning. In that case, check out The Dog Days of Summer: What to Do in The Cape Fear to Stay Cool blog and head over to some of those instead.

So here we go….

Spending the day wondering around, taking it all in, meeting the locals, and enjoying the sounds and wonders of downtown Wilmington is one of my favorite staycations.

Steepled Kiss,

Other Toast 2 Cape Fear Reads:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Osteria Cicchetti Restaurant: OC Review

Hearts: Large portions, reasonably priced, lovely setting and gluten free pastas available upon request.
Farts: bring on the chocolate sauce and can be a tad noisy in the large dinning area.

YAH says...

This was our second time to the Osteria Cicchetti, affectionately dubbed the OC by locals here in Wilmington. This lovely Italian restaurant is located directly across from Mayfair. On this trip we brought a guest visiting from Florida.

Before entering, one is greeted by a lovely fountain. Definitely a charming addition to the ambiance.

Once inside, there are several dinning areas. I prefer not to sit in the larger dinning area as it can get a bit noisy when the restaurant is busy which is often.

We went for lunch on this day and I ordered their Italian salad topped with their special fish of the day Halibut.

YOF ordered the Tre Colore salad topped with salmon. Her salad consisted of arugula, endive, radicchio, and was dressed in balsamic vinaigrette.

My friend ordered the house special. A lovely dish of fresh fish atop fresh mixed vegetables.

For dessert YOF and YAH opted to once again order the profiteroles while my friend opted for the cheesecake. Both are well made and we would recommend them highly.
There is no doubt in YAH's mind...we WILL be back!

Whipped cream kiss,

Monday, July 18, 2011

Nicolas Restaurant Review

Hearts: A chef that goes above and beyond to please his customers, gluten free items, lovely atmosphere and reasonably priced too!
Farts: I have heard their drink selection is awesome...I don't drink unfortunately.

YAH says...

The family was in for a few days and with them their dietary considerations. Both families have members that must eat gluten free. One would think that in this day and age, every restaurant would offer gluten free but that is not the case.

After finishing up at the Children's Museum in downtown Wilmington, we went to the Internet to find a place to eat that served gluten free. Nicolas was one of the only ones we could find that was not a chain restaurant. My niece was tired of the disappointing taste of gluten free at the chains. We gladly headed over to Nicolas.

The interior reminded me of a NY styled restaurant, chic but comfy. Not your typical Italian type of interior design but definitely refreshing and relaxing.

The lunch menu offers a wide choice of options from appetizers, soups, salads, subs and sandwiches, pizzas to pastas.

We wound up ordering the fried mozzarella and chicken wing appetizers to start. All the adults ordered a house salad with a wonderful lemon dressing. The gluten free selections were ordered from their dinner menu and included spaghetti and penne pasta in parmesan pink sauce.

The children ordered a wood fired twelve inch cheese pizza, chicken cutlet sub with fries, and gluten free spaghetti with butter and parmesan (this was a special request not on their menu). I opted for the soup and salad combo.

I did taste the gluten free penne pasta in parmesan pink sauce and it was delicious. So much so that both my nieces couldn't believe that this entre was gluten free. They kept asking the waitress if in fact this dish was gluten free. She reassured them several times and said that the chef prepares everything carefully and they could be reassured that all of the dishes that were ordered gluten free were in fact gluten free.

All of the lunch entrees were yummy. My favorite was in fact the gluten free pasta with the pink sauce. I know what I am ordering the next time I go there for dinner.

And what sets this restaurant apart from any other that I have dined at so far is the chef. He made a personal appearance at our table to talk with my nieces about the gluten free dishes they had ordered. They are hooked! Not only will they be back the next time they are in town but they truly appreciated his wonderful flare for cooking! He is indeed an eccellentissimo chef!

Parmesan pink kiss,

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Happy Days Diner Take Two!

Young At Heart says...

We went back! I mean who wouldn't with the great selection for desserts. And being we are dessert freaks...of course we went back! Just look at this scrumptious chocolate cake. YOF said it was the best chocolate cake she has found in Wilmington to date. She added the scoop of gelato.

I ordered a wonderful apple crumb topped with vanilla gelato. Warmed to perfection and blended with just the right amount of apples and spices. Mmmmmmmmmmm!

So for take two, I say two thumbs up on Happy Days Diner desserts!

Crummy Kisses,

Oh Happy Days: Review of Happy Days Diner

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Baba Ghannouj

Hearts: Fresh food, reasonably priced, large sized servings
Cons: Use paper products

YAH says...

Baba Ghannouj is located inside the food court at Independence Mall. They opened awhile ago and we have been going there pretty regularly but I kept forgetting to bring my camera on our foody outing. Not this time!

The food at Baba Ghannouj is fresh, traditional Greek, and has a multitude of choices from the standard gyro to chicken kabob. They also have several Greek desserts to choose from as well.

Both YOF and myself truly enjoy this Greek quick stop. The only drawback, in my opinion, is that one has to consume their food in the noisy food court or take it to go.

The food speaks for itself! It is yummy delicious and reasonably priced too!

Yougurty Kiss,

Further reading on Independence Mall

Saturday, July 9, 2011

No-Fo Market and Cafe

Hearts: One of the best cake dessert spots so far in Wilmington, huge servings, wide menu selection
Farts: Ummm...maybe that you don't know what desserts they have until you get there

Young At Heart says...

No-Fo is one of the best cake dessert locations fooling. I am not the cake lover here but I will say they have a terrific selection of cakes in my book!

This treasure of a spot has not only ambiance but a lovely lunch selection. Immediately upon entering you are surrounded by a chic gift shop containing a wide variety of items.  Included in this area are items for children, bed and bath items, books and cd's and my favorite a large selection of chocolate delicacies.

Around the corner you go and immediately you feel as if you are going down under the sea.  From ceiling to floor the theme is swimming with unique ocean items.  It gives this eatery a special ambiance that is both relaxing and yet intriguing.

On this outing, I ordered the grilled chicken salad which consisted of grilled chicken breast atop mixed greens, fresh oranges, red onions, spiced pecans and goat cheese served with a side of balsamic vinaigrette.  They have made this salad their own with the fresh oranges and spiced pecans. The serving size is huge!! I wound up taking 1/2 of it home as I was ordering dessert.

For dessert your server will give you a breakdown of choices as their cake selections change. On this day I had a delicious lemon and blueberry cake with cream cheese frosting.  I would go back just for this cake! It was moist and the blueberries fresh not canned. I think I have found our dessert heaven in this little gem of a treasure down under the sea!

Young Old Fart is buried in textbooks this week, so I will just post her luncheon pics for you to see.

Keeping with her healthy eating trend, barring our Fridates for desserts, she selected this entree which consisted of mahi mahi atop a large portion of grilled veggies.  I do know that she finished it all and said it was delicious.

For dessert she selected a banana cake with butter cream frosting. She said that butter cream was a tad too sweet but balanced with the cake. In her opinion she would have preferred it topped with cream cheese frosting. And the main suggestion she had for the restaurant is to figure out a way to serve the cakes at room temperature.  Because many of the cakes ingredients require refrigeration, we received the cakes directly from the frig. Unfortunately this takes away from their consistency and tends to make the cakes not a moist as they could be if they were served room temperature.

But...this will not keep me from coming back. I WILL be back for that yummy cake I had. Even Young Old Fart said I got the best out of the two :-)

Cream cheese kisses,
Young At Heart

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Tres Chic: Elizabeth's Ladies Boutique

Hearts: Wonderful customer service, unique outfits, fair price for the quality
Farts: None

Young At Heart Says...

Elizabeth's Ladies Boutique is nestled in The Cotton Exchange in downtown Wilmington. Her wears range from unique to chic and I have no doubt that if you need a dress for a special occasion or one to wear just for fun, you will find it here.

What makes this dress keeper so special is that she gets to know her customers.  In short order she will be pulling just the right outfit that will meet your request.  This personal touch is lacking in the larger department stores and to me this service is part of the charm of supporting our local businesses here in Wilmington. She gets an A+ for customer focus and customer service.

Each garment in this boutique is hand selected by the owner and there is a wide selection. But I didn't see two of the same thing while I was there!

You can be assured that your outfit won't be walking past you in Wilmington. Her selection is a wonderful mix of cotton and floaty fabrics that are reminiscent of the yester years and yet, are top fashion styles for the trendy stylist today. 

Accessories abound and you will complete your outfit in no time.

So be sure to shop local at Elizabeth's Ladies Boutique. You will be pleasantly surprised and chances are you will become a long standing customer of Elizabeth's.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Celebrate the Fourth in Downtown Wilmington


Noted as Coastal Living's 10 Spots to Celebrate the Fourth and recent recipient of Southeast Tourism Society's award of Top 20 things to due in July, the Battleship NORTH CAROLINA, U.S. Cellular, and the City of Wilmington present the 2011 15th Annual Battleship Blast Fireworks show sponsored by Food Lion, Star News Media, WECT TV-6 and 102.7 WGNI on Monday, July 4, 2011.
The 50th Battleship Anniversary celebration will not disappoint and at 9:05pm the Battleship fireworks spectacular will begin. You don’t want to miss this year as the fireworks display will take on new forms that have never been seen in Wilmington before.

Have a safe and wonderful Fourth of July!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Oh Happy Days: A Review of Happy Days Diner

Hearts: LOTS of dessert choices, coupons!
Farts: HUGE portion sizes (I know, how can that be a bad thing?) and some things TOO sweet

Young Old Fart Says....

I was really excited to try out this diner knowing that it had a ton of desserts to try out.

From gelato, to cake to pie...there really was anything to suit your hearts desire. 

YAH and I went twice. Once for sundaes and another time for cake and pie. The sundae experience was definitely unforgettable, but probably not in the best way. At the waitress's recommendation I got their brownie sundae with vanilla, chocolate, and coffee gelato, a brownie, chocolate sauce, caramel sauce, whipped cream and a cherry. I know, I know it sounds like enough to feed an entire army. I knew it would be big but normally portion sizes never deter me. 

Even when this sucker came out I thought, "I can totally pack this away." I took the first bite and it was glorious, the gelato was just divine. However, I eventually made it to the brownie and was completely thrown off by its sweetness. In my mind brownies are a more chocolatey fudgey goodness, not so much a carrier for super sweet chocolate chips and sugar rushes. While the brownie was overtaking my sweet tooth, the second I hit the coffee gelato I almost blew out of my seat. Now, I love coffee flavored ice cream...I have to tell you this gelato was like taking a spoon and diving into your Foldger's container. It was WAY too strong. Ironically enough, though I was thinking this the whole time I was eating this sundae, I ended up finishing off the whole thing. Need proof?

It wasn't until after I finished the entire thing that the waitress informed me, "Normally it takes three of us to eat this and even then we don't finish it! Hehehehehehe" Well...I paid for eating three waitress portions worth of this concoction, trust me. The sugar rush from this bad boy knocked me out for the rest of day. I am not diabetic, but after my Friday afternoon sugar coma I think I can sympathize. Now don't think I won't be coming back for more gelato goodness, I definitely will. But next time I plan to create my own dreamy sundae so I can control the sweetness level and the amount of hours I plan to be comatose : ) 

Kittens and fudge,

Young At Heart Says...

We were on a mission. You see, Young Old Fart is now in the throws of summer school at UNCW and swears that the only thing that keeps her going is our Friday dessert dates. Off we went in search of their renowned Sundaes to fill her veins with renewed perseverance (better known as a sugar rush).  The sundae selection is vast and I DO mean vast. In addition you can create your own gelato concoctions.

I choose their Almond Joy Sundae. It was definitely a joy to the palette albeit a bit sweet for my older taste buds. Combining the three known ingredients of the Almond Joy Bar one will find Coconut, chocolate and almond gelato topped with chocolate sauce, almond brittle, whipped cream and a cherry.

On my next outing to this 50's throwback I will be bringing a Sundae sharing buddy to help me polish off this huge sundae. As you know by now, Young Old Fart NEVER shares a dessert. I was left to my own demise and almost finished it off but not quite.

We will be returning in the near future...more updates to follow. I have my eyes on another yummy dessert I spied!