Peruvian Chicken, Great Exhibits, And Sometimes Hometown Is Best (as it should be)Thursday, July 23, 2015
Before leaving Charlotte, we visited Trader Joe's and got some of the cold brew coffee concentrate (I don't even like hot coffee but doing things with it cold? yes.). We had a phenomenal lunch at Viva Chicken -- a Peruvian rotisserie chicken restaurant that came highly recommended in the uber-cute Elizabeth neighborhood.
We bought a whole chicken to share, which comes with three sauces: aji amarillo, huacatay, and roasted rocoto (which they call the 'gringo killer' but it really isn't too hot). This chicken was so juicy, so tender, so full of chicken-y flavor.
The whole chicken came with three sides, so we got cilantro infused rice:
an extra order of arroz chaufa (with red peppers, green onions, eggs, ginger, and Peruvian soy sauce) for the little rice lovers:
fried yucca which was really starchy and when I offered one to each of the boys, I explained it was more like a giant french fry than anything -- which seemed as though I wasn't giving credit to the yucca, but there it is. Kinda starchy, lightly fried, a french fry cousin really. These were fun to dip in the different sauces, though:
and sweet plantains which were so sweet and soft and sticky and just this terrific mix of banana and pineapple flavors. I had some for dessert:
Ooooh it was all so wonderful. We sat under a covered porch and had a great time.
Walking back to our car, we passed by Cluck Design Collaborative, and saw these terrific log benches out front. Yessss:
Av drove me to the Levine Museum of the New South while he and the boys did some other Charlotte things. I wanted to also visit the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art and the Mint Museum, but they were closed on Tuesdays.
The Levine has two floors of exhibit space -- upstairs, exhibits on the SCLC, Integrating the Charlotte Medical Community, and the Lebanese Community in NC. What was so terrific, though, was their permanent exhibit downstairs, Cottonfields to Skyscrapers: Re-inventing Charlotte and the Carolina Piedmont in the New South which was designed by Staples and Charles (they both got their start working at the Charles and Ray Eames office). It was *terrific*.
Tenant farmer house:
Thrilled to see they had a picture and included one of our ancestors, Leonidas L. Polk, who started 'The Progressive Farmer' in 1886. He became president of the National Farmers Alliance which lobbied state governments to create schools for farmers (including what are now NC State, NC A and T University, and Clemson). Progressive Farmer eventually expanded its sections to start 'Southern Living'.
Poll tax receipt:
In 1913, Philip Lance used this cart to sell his roasted peanuts in downtown Charlotte. Lance crackers = still yummy:
The exhibit was put together sooooo well. It was fabulous to see these facades and to walk in each:
Inside the little church exhibit was this Billy Graham Biblegraph (the #1 thing to do in Charlotte according to TripAdvisor reviews? Not this or any other museum, park, activity -- the Billy Graham Library.)
Finally for supper on the way home, we decided to do something different -- we'd heard of Matthews Cafeteria in Tucker, Georgia -- they were busy! Av and I grew up going to cafeterias. I loved going to Morrison's at the Gadsden Mall with my grandparents (I remember when considering going to USA in Mobile for college, and seeing a Morrison's there -- I thought, well, no matter what I'll get my vegetables and never starve. I think the Mobile one is the last Morrison's still operating in the universe, and here's the best review of it.) and Av went to Britling's, both Niki's, Pioneer...
I love when these places are still serving the old standards like what our grandmothers liked. I never pass up the chance to get aspic. And here at Matthews they're serving pear salad -- canned pear, dollop of mayonnaise, shredded cheese, and a half maraschino cherry. Where is the bridge club meeting?
I had that with boiled cabbage, turnip greens, and a roll:
Av had the fried chicken and rice:
Egg custard pie for dessert:
Actually, sigh, none of it was particularly delicious, but sometimes you meet things where they are for what they are, although our experience with the 'service' there was such that I am still wondering if the women working in the dining room were tasked anything other than clearing tables. Glad to see such a place in business since 1955, but was hoping for a little more. Here in the land of meat and threes (Birmingham), we have it pretty good. Maybe I'll just run into Niki's West and let them make it all right again with an infusion of fried green tomatoes and rutabagas next week. That's a great idea.