The Hungry Wanderers

Eating and exploring our way through the world

Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

Tria Terra

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 23, 2010

Nearly two years ago, when we first met our friends Kath and Matt, they met our other local friends Kate and Nate for the first time (the same weekend that we met Kath and Matt coincidentally) and dined at Tria Terra.  Ever since then, it’s been on the Husband’s and my list to get to.  We finally made it a point to go last week when the Husband’s parents were in town for the night and are we glad we did!  We also checked out CLTEats’ post and knew we were in for some good food 🙂

Not knowing how crowded it would be on a Thursday or how big the restaurant was we made a reservation in advance, but once we arrived we found out that we’d be able to enjoy a generally quiet evening to catch up (there were only two other tables while we dined).

The restaurant is nestled in a shopping center on Pineville-Matthews Road, next to a Chuck E Cheese.  I had mistakenly thought I’d passed it numerous times, closer to the street, but that was actually Trio (a restaurant we never had a chance to try).  Tria Terra is a generally an Italian restaurant, tapas, and bar.  However, the foods I believe are French, Spanish and Italian (tria terra = three lands).

IMG_2554 The restaurant is a good size for the general atmosphere that I assume it’s going for.  Not too small, but not big either.

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After being seated, we looked through the menu and contemplated what to have.  There was so much to choose from that looked good! IMG_2558

While we thought about it, we were brought some bread and breadsticks as well as (I think) a pesto-oil.  The thicker bread was so soft!  IMG_2561

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We decided to get a bottle of wine to split.  The Husband found a red we’d not heard of before and decided to try it – the Montepulciano D’Abruzzo.  We definitely enjoyed it.

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As a group, we decided to get two tapas to share and individual entrees.  The first one was the Pimiento Rellenos con Queso de Cabra – stuffed pepper with warm goat cheese. YUM! This was the perfect first dish and really set the standard for the food for the evening.

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Our second tapas dish was the Parrillada de Cordero – grilled lamb in rioja sauce.  This was tender and flavorful.

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The Husband and his mother each ordered salads as well.  The Husband’s was a green salad and his mother had a Caesar.  Both seemed pleased with their salad selections.

After our appetizers, we were brought out little plates of sorbet.  I love palate cleansers! Especially lemony flavors.

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Up next were our entrees.  The Husband ordered one of the specials – the Spinach Ravioli.  Lots of spinach and not tons of cheese. 

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His mother ordered the Pollo alla Fiorentina (a dish I was definitely eyeing).  It was a chicken breast stuffed with spinach, mozzarella, prosciutto and mushrooms served with roasted potato and spinach.  She said it was excellent!

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I went with the Lasagna Di Campagna – lasagne in a creamy tomato sauce.  After CLTEats’ rave review, I knew I had to try it, especially since lasagne is traditionally my favorite Italian dish.  I actually thought it was just okay – I think the creamy tomato sauce just didn’t hit the spot for this lasagne (perhaps because I’m not used to it in my lasagne dishes).

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Last but not least, my father-in-law ordered the fish special of the night.  I don’t remember what fishes there were, but it overall looked like an enjoyable dish.  I believe he did like it.

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Overall, we were glad we made it a point to get there before we moved.  The food was excellent and the service was very attentive.  The Husband also thought it was reasonably priced for the quality of the food.  If you’re looking for a good Italian, Spanish, French restaurant, make it a point to get to Tria Terra.



Tria Terra Italian Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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Savor with friends

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 11, 2010

On Saturday night, to celebrate Kath’s first 1/2 marathon and Emily and Casey’s great finishes, the six of us decided to head up to Savor, a restaurant just outside of Uptown.  Kath and had been there before and one of Emily’s J&W’s professors owns the place.  As soon as Kath sent out the email and I followed the link to the restaurant’s menu, I was excited to get there and I knew exactly what I was going to have 🙂 More on that later…

Kath, Matt, the Husband and I carpooled and met Emily & Casey there.  Before E&C arrived, we enjoyed the beautiful weather taking photos outside. 

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The Husband got a kick out of the door.  He felt like it was something off of a submarine (metal with a porthole). 🙂

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The Husband and I were surprised to see that Savor is across the street from Open Kitchen.  We’ve been to Open Kitchen a small handful of times over the past 2 1/2 years, on the original recommendation of our real estate agent.  It’s this hole in the wall Italian restaurant with plastic checkered tablecloths and some amazing fried chicken livers.

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This neighborhood is definitely growing with its restaurant options.  A few days ago, I saw on Eat My Charlotte that The Burger Company just opened and we passed it on the way to Savor (not even a block away I think).

We got some quick shots (thanks to KathEats.com for all couple photos on this post) before heading inside to wait.

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kaths me & her

The inside of the restaurant was quaint.  The walls were all exposed brick, with lots of artwork, and bright sunshine from the many, many windows.  The restaurant’s not particularly big so we were sure to make a reservation!

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While waiting for Emily & Casey, the four of us started looking through the menu.  I already knew what I wanted to eat, but I double checked that it was still on the menu! (It bothers me when restaurants change their menu in the restaurant and not on their website without noting on the website that the menu is subject to change.  Not a problem here though!)  I love how their menus are clipboards with the pages tied on with pretty ribbon.      IMG_8053

The two main sections I check out were the appetizers and entrees. IMG_8055

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We all took a look at the wine and beer list as well.  While I was first closely examining the whites for a glass…IMG_8057

…the rest of the group examined the reds for a bottle to share.IMG_8058  After some quick tastings that our waitress brought us, we decided to go with the Viridian Pinot Noir from Oregon.   IMG_8065

Just as the bottle arrived, so did Emily & Casey!

emily & case  One last look at the Specials board, and we were ready to order!

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To start, we decided to get two appetizers for the table: Pimento Cheese Dip and Chips and Hummus and Pita Wedges.IMG_8066

The pita chips were SO soft and pillowy.  I definitely used some to go with the pimento cheese as well. IMG_8067

The pimento cheese dip was good but not what I expected.  It was super smooth instead of the usual chunky dip I’ve had in the past. IMG_8069

Look at the great view of the city out the window! IMG_8071

For our entrees, the Husband went with the Pan Fried Chicken and Drunken Greens.  The chicken was fried and topped with cheese and bacon.  While the chicken was a little over fried for his taste, he really liked the topping.  The Drunken Greens were collared greens in a broth and perhaps some bacon.  We both really liked this!IMG_8075

The entree I ordered was the Pepper Stuffed with Mushroom Risotto over sauteed vegetables.  The online menu noted Yellow peppers but the restaurant menu just said “Pepper” so I expected Red.  The peppers were nicely roasted with the skin removed and the risotto was rich and creamy.  The veggies of the night were green beans, sugar snap peas, and carrots (some nights they have brussel sprouts and/or asparagus).  They seemed to be glazed with a balsamic vinegar.  This dish totally met my expectation and I’m quite glad I ordered it! For any vegetarian readers, the waitress confirmed that this dish is completely vegetarian.IMG_8076 

When we were done with our entrees, the group considered dessert (all posted on the chalkboard), but decided we were all too full.  We spent probably another hour there just chatting away and catching up.  I’m going to miss these guys so much when we move!

As for Savor, the Husband and I definitely recommend it.  The food is tasty and very reasonably priced and the service is excellent.  Our waitress was very friendly and attentive and when Matt’s fish turned out to be overdone, they were reasonably apologetic and worked to make it right.  If we planned to be here longer, I think we’d definitely head there again!





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Harbour Kitchen & Bar

Posted by Amanda @ The Hungry Wanderers on April 2, 2010

When planning our whirlwind vacation to Australia, I realized that we would be in Sydney around the time of Foodbuzz’s March 24, 24, 24 (check out foodbuzz.com if you’re not familiar with it).  The Husband and I thought that dining in Australia might be competitive for this competition so we searched for interesting and unique restaurants and menus to submit for our idea.  We found that the Harbour Kitchen & Bar at the Park Hyatt at Sydney Harbour had a fantastic degustation menu with the option of Australian wine pairing.  We submitted our idea, but unfortunately didn’t get selected.  However, we had already made a reservation just in case and decided we couldn’t pass up the opportunity and took the Husband’s brother out for his birthday instead.

After enjoying the weekend markets at the Rocks on what was supposed to be our last day in Australia, the Husband and I headed to the hotel and got dressed up for the first time in weeks 🙂 The Husband’s brother met us there and we walked the few blocks down to the water to the Park Hyatt.  We entered the lobby and were shown the direction to the restaurant.

IMG_2341 Our reservation was for 6:30pm, I believe when the restaurant opened for the dinner, so it was generally empty when we arrived.  As the night went on, the restaurant was full!

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The restaurant’s main wall was all glass and overlooked the harbour and opera house.  We were seated directly next to the window and had a wonderful view. IMG_2344

IMG_2345 Harbour Kitchen’s menu offered a variety of options to choose from, but the three of us had our eyes and stomachs set on the Degustation Menu plus wine pairings.  The waiter left our menu propped up on the table so we could refer to it if we forgot what we were tasting 🙂

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While waiting for our wine and courses, we were brought individual rolls and butter.  I enjoyed the view behind my roll 😉

IMG_2350 Although we were doing the wine pairings, we decided to start with a bottle of wine to enjoy throughout the meal.  The Husband chose the 2006 Yering Station Chardonnay from Yarra Valley, Victoria.  He knows how much I love chardonnays and since we didn’t get a chance to get to the wineries in Yarra Valley, this would be a substitute till we could get back.  It was light yet flavorful and a perfect match throughout our meal.IMG_2351

Up first, we had the Lightly grilled tuna with green beans, olives, and crisp potato.  The plate seemed to be dressed with a mayo (or something similar) and some oil and there was also an egg (quail?) and some greens garnishing the dish.  The flavors melded well together and we enjoyed the different textures of the various ingredients. IMG_2352 It was paired with the 2009 Charles Melton “Rose of Virginia,” a Shiraz Grenache from Barossa Valley, South Australia.  During our visit to Hunter Valley, I learned that I really like the Grenache grape, particularly in a Rose, and this one was no different.  It went very well with this first course and we were looking forward to the other three.

IMG_2354The sommelier Nicolas Deradin was incredibly informative and friendly.  With each course, he brought us out our matching wine and explained to us the different flavors of the wine as well as additional information regarding how they matched the food and the wineries themselves.  We asked a handful of questions throughout the evening and he answered each one for us.  I attempted to take some notes and share those here where I can.

The second course of the degustation menu was Toasted fregola cooked as risotto with Western Australian yabbies and puffed pork.  (Typing that up, I realized that I have no idea what a yabbie is.  According to a quick Google search, it’s an Australian fresh water crustacean.  Fregola is a pasta similar to couscous.)  This dish was much larger than a lot of tasting menu courses.  It was savory and flavorful.  We could taste the toasted flavor like a risotto (as described).

IMG_2357 This dish was matched with the 2007 Stonier Reserve Chardonnay from Mornington Peninsula, Victoria (the one on the left).  Since we were enjoying a bottle of chardonnay as well, it was a fun opportunity to try the two.  Nicolas advised us that this wine is oaked with some French oak and some New oak.  We could certainly taste the difference between the two chardonnays (the other one is unoaked).

IMG_2358 Our third course was Free range chicken with celeriac cream, pumpkin, and carrot.  The chicken was very tender.  This was the Husband’s favorite course 🙂 The picture didn’t do it justice!

IMG_2360The wine pairing with this course was the 2008 La Linea Tempranillo from Adelaide Hills, South Australia.  This wine was juicy with plum and licorice flavors.

IMG_2362 A quick break here in the food and wine porn… the night of this meal, March 27th, was the celebration of Earth Hour.  The restaurant was adorned with candlelight in anticipation of their participation in Earth Hour at 8:30pm.  As the sun went down, my picture quality was limited with my photography skills.  We enjoyed a couple photo though while it was still light enough in the restaurant 🙂  Earth Hour did afford us a wonderful view of the Harbour and Opera House as the lights slowly dimmed to a nearly-imperceptible  glow, adding further to the backdrop of our fantastic meal.  As the lights were off, I didn’t get any pictures.IMG_2363

Our fourth and final course was the Vanilla creme brulee with rosemary sorbet and strawberries.  This was my favorite creme brulee ever! The rosemary sorbet and strawberries went so well with it.  It was a great final taste to this meal.

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Our final wine pairing of the night was the 2009 Mr. Riggs “Sticky End” Late Harvest Viognier from McLaren Vale, South Australia.  Its name says it all.  As a dessert wine, it was very sweet and sticky.  If you like dessert wines, you would likely enjoy this one. IMG_2366

To end the meal, I had a pot of tea while the boys had long black coffees.  We were also served chocolate truffles. IMG_2367 Overall, this meal exceeded our expectations.  We were very happy that we decided to go with both the degustation menu and the wine pairings.  This restaurant can be quite expensive but is great for a special occasion.  The atmosphere, service, food, and view are all wonderful.  Although we were disappointed to not be selected for Foodbuzz’s March 24, 24, 24, we wouldn’t have found this restaurant without the research done for our proposal and we are glad for that.

(This is the last of our food and travel posts for our vacation to Australia.  If you missed any posts, be sure to check our “Where We’ve Been” tab above to check out other restaurants, hotels, and cities throughout eastern Australia!)

Harbour Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon

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Swan Reach, Metung, and Dinner In at the Chestnut Hill Country Retreat

Posted by gingerbreadpirate on March 26, 2010

After a lovely brekky in Mornington, we headed off to Swan Reach.  We really weren’t sure what to expect with Swan Reach.  What would be there?  Another resort?  Beach town?  Surfing town?  A fishing town?

Once our GPS guided us successfully to our accommodations, we knew where we were.

IMG_7311We had arrived at the Chestnut Hill Country Retreat.  It was a cute little bed and breakfast on the outskirts of Swan Reach.

IMG_7129 We were met at the door before getting out of the car, by the B&B’s proprietress, Pearl Findlay-James.  She invited us in as if we were swinging by for an afternoon tea, and asked us how our trip was.  She had a cat in her arms, which made both the Wife and I miss our cats at home.

We had booked a room in the main house, but since we were visiting Australia for our anniversary, and they had availability that night, we were offered a studio suite.  We were excited for the upgrade, and expected some kind of in-law suite at the house.  Not so!  Elsewhere on the property was a standalone bungalow, just waiting for us.

IMG_7123 It even had a carport!

We went inside, and were ecstatic with all the amenities.

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A spacious living area.

IMG_7106 A full kitchen, with a gas stove.  We don’t even have a gas stove back in Charlotte!

IMG_7108That little item between the microwave and the refrigerator… a clothes washer!!!

When packing for a five-week trip, you can’t pack separate clothes for every day.  Compound that with packing for nearly every major climate (coast, mountain, desert, tropical rain forest, temperate rain forest, and tropical island, keeping in mind we’re in both summer and winter climates, since we’re crossing the equator), it’s hard to “pack light.”  Getting laundry done has been a challenge at best.  We haven’t had full access to a clothes washer since we were in Sydney at my brother’s house.  With a clothesline outside, and laundry detergent in the cupboard, we were VERY excited.

IMG_7112 The studio also included a complete, but remarkably narrow bathroom.

IMG_7109A two-person spa with a look over the lawn.

IMG_7115 A wonderful, quiet deck with BBQ.

IMG_7116 And an amazing view of the river and a distant pasture.  The building on the left is another studio apartment.

We even had a nice bottle of sparkling wine from the region waiting for us.

IMG_7231 The stage was set for a wonderful evening.  We couldn’t wait.  We popped down into Metung, which was just down the road, to see what was happening.  Pearl had recommended a couple restaurants for us, but the Wife and I were so excited to have a full kitchen, we thought we’d take a look, but would probably end up seeing if we could find a grocery store.

Metung was a nice little community.  It was quiet on a river peninsula.  We took a couple pictures.

IMG_7215 Metung was pleasant and small, but it did have a little grocery store and four small restaurants.  Pearl told us that two of the restaurants coordinate with one another to make sure that something is open after 6 pm for visitors.   The restaurants closed during the afternoon.  Relatively speaking, Metung was a bustling metropolis to many of the towns we’ve been to.

I don’t know that it’s easy to articulate exactly how small some of these towns are.  As an example, though, on our way up to Cairns, we passed through a town that had about 350 people in it.  It had two servos (gas stations), and a couple houses, and that was it.  The thing is, it had been on the highway signs for over 70 kilometers as the next “town.”  These towns aren’t much bigger than the tiny dot they occupy on the regional map.

IMG_7216 We did manage to get a picture of us out by the water, though.

IMG_7171 We found a grocery store, which closed at 6 pm, so we popped in and shopped quickly (we got there around 5:40 pm).

IMG_7223 We looked around, and talked about what to have.  We decided on some pasta with “Bolognese” (not really, just ground beef poured into mushroom and tomato sauce).  I also bought a bottle of Shiraz, as I’m not a sparkling wine fan, but wanted to have something for the evening together.

IMG_7227 Once we got back to the B&B, we were ready to make some dinner.

IMG_7231 Thanks to Pearl for providing us with some locally-made sparking wine!

IMG_7233 We started with some cheese and water crackers.

IMG_7240 Then dinner was ready, and the Wife insisted we take another picture… or something like that.  =)

Dinner was good, but not great.  It was a nice change, though, because we made it together, it didn’t cost us too much, and it was nice fresh pasta.

After dinner, we cuddled up and enjoyed the sunset.

IMG_7277 After the sunset, we eventually had some dessert; vanilla ice cream and Tim Tams.  THAT was spectacular, and a wonderful ending to the evening.

In the morning, the refrigerator had all the accoutrements for a complete breakfast.  We made eggs, toast, and Australian bacon (different from American bacon).  I collected my drying clothes, and we headed out for Gipsy Point.

We had a wonderful time.  The Chestnut Hill Country Retreat, lead by Pearl, showed us wonderful hospitality.  It was a great waypoint on our journey up to Sydney.

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