Excited about Eating by Ernie & Dora Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to a local Charlotte eatery that cooks their meats on the Big Green Egg using hickory wood and lump charcoal. Welcome to Urban Cookhouse. This “Farm to Fire to Table” restaurant offers a variety of salads, wraps, sandwiches and entrees to meet the taste buds of anyone in your family.

Urban Cookhouse Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers
Sorry for the light streak!

Dora here. With a beautiful shady patio, we debated sitting inside or out, but opted for inside. Spacious and roomy, and we had the place practically to ourselves since everybody else chose outside. lol. This is an order-from-the-counter restaurant, but they bring your food to the table and refill your drinks.

Urban Cookhouse Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers
Spacious and roomy, order from the counter and they bring the food out to your table. 

For my lunch, I chose the Wood-Fired Shrimp Kebab. Instead of the rice that comes with the kebab, I opted for roasted veggies. The perfectly grilled shrimp had a strong smoky flavor and a touch of spicy heat which also transferred to the veg’s on the kebab. The housemade ranch dressing raised a standard salad to great.

Urban Cookhouse Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Wood-Fired Shrimp Kebab with grilled veggies instead of rice pilaf. Perfectly grilled shrimp with a strong smoky flavor and a touch of heat!

Dora here. Doesn’t this Chicken Salad and Fruit Plate look like a perfect summer dish? Believe me, it was exactly what I was looking for on this blazing hot afternoon. Wowza, that’s a ton of fresh fruit, and miracle of miracles, not a single honeydew. Yay! And there’s a good-sized mound of lettuce under the chicken salad, which was good and creamy, too smooth for me if not for the added texture of all the fruit. The citrus vinaigrette paired well with this dish, so light and fresh and not overly citrusy. I wanted to bottle it up and bring it home. But the star on this plate was definitely the warm orange roll. Oh. My. Word! Firmer than what I expected, with a hint of citrus, and not overly sweet. Happy sigh…Next time here I might have to convince Ernie to buy a bag of these goodies to bring home. And with so many appealing menu options, we’ll definitely be back!

Urban Cookhouse Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers
Chicken Salad and Fruit Plate. Wowza, look at all that fresh fruit! And there’s lettuce down there somewhere. Happy sigh…

 

What about you? What dish jazzed up your taste buds this week?

We rate this order-from-the-counter restaurant 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving outstanding food.

Excited about Eating by Ernie & Dora Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes a step in a different direction as we visit a hot spot in Blowing Rock, NC, for a cold treat, Kilwins. “Sweet in every Sense since 1947” Kilwins serves just about everything to satisfy your sweet tooth, chocolates, caramel apples, brittle, fudge, and ice cream. Dora here. There’s ALWAYS a crowd around Kilwins! Even in winter.

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers
There’s ALWAYS a crowd around Kilwins!

Usually, there’s a line inside the store and out.

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

The line backs up outside the store.

You have to pass the fudge counter to get to the ice cream. Torture!

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

To get to the ice cream counter, you have to pass the fudge counter first. Torture!

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Fudge made in-house

Finally! The ice cream!!

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Lots and lots of flavors to choose from!

On this trip, I chose ice cream, chocolate chip topped with caramel sauce. The ice cream is smooth, silky, and full of huge chocolate chunks. I can’t call them chips because they were like pieces of chocolate incorporated in the ice cream. It was a great ending to a long day of work.

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers
Chocolate Chip with Caramel Sauce

Dora here. From day one of trying Kilwin’s, I have only ever ordered the Toasted Coconut ice cream. That’s how good it is. None of the other flavors have even tempted me to stray from the Toasted Coconut. Creamy. Decadent. Rich. But not in a way that stops you from digging that spoon to the very bottom of the bowl. And those coconut flakes? Dipped in chocolate, people! 

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Toasted Coconut, and yes, those flakes are toasted in CHOCOLATE, people!

It’s obvious from the first bite that they use quality ingredients, so for two one-scoop cups, we forked over $10. But, as an ice cream lover, this treat is worth every penny. 

Street parking is free in Blowing Rock, but you might have to circle a few times to find a spot. There’s a two-story parking garage a couple blocks away, also free, but it’s full sometimes too. Maybe, if you’re lucky like we were on this particular occasion, you can snag a spot here. Or, better yet, a bench. 🙂

Kilwin's Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Maybe, if you’re lucky as we were on this occasion, you can snag a parking spot here. 🙂

Are you an ice cream lover? How much will you pay for ice cream?

We rate this ice cream place 5 spoons out of 5 for a family friendly place serving outstanding ice cream.

Kilwins Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Excited about Eating by Ernie & Dora Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to Cha Da Thai, an authentic Thai restaurant that incorporates a “balance of textures, colors and flavors” in Boone, NC.

Cha Da Thai Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Rather unassuming building, but free parking lot across the street!

Dora here. We’ve been frequenting The Local, right next door to Cha Da Thai, for years, but the exterior of the restaurant never really invited us in. But after our son returned from his year-long journey and cooked a Thai meal for us, we knew we had to try this place. The interior was huge and clean, and the server friendly and helpful with suggestions. Oh, and a FREE parking lot across the street is always a bonus!

Cha Da Thai Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Huge interior and CLEAN! Servers friendly and offered suggestions.

For my lunch, I chose the Sweet & Sour Pork. The pork was breaded and deep-fried, and the plate was loaded with onion, pineapples, cucumbers, carrots, tomatoes, bell peppers, and rice on the side. Different than other sweet & sour dishes I’ve tasted, more of a stir-fry. They lived up to their philosophy with vivid colors, crunchy texture, and perfectly balanced flavors.

Cha Da Thai Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Sweet & Sour Pork

Dora here. Our son suggested we try the Tom Kha soup, and ya’ll know how much I love dumplings. So, I opted for two appetizers. Win, win, right? Oh, yeah.

According to their menu, the Tom Kha soup is “pure Thai comfort food.” The flavors were vibrant, wake-you-up intense, with every dip of my spoon. Huge slivers of chicken, chunks of tomatoes, and mushrooms all mingled in a coconut cream soup infused with lemon grass and chili paste. Deep, complex, and wowza! I can’t say that I would consider it comfort food, but I would definitely order it again. And again. 🙂

Cha Da Thai Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers

Tom Kha Soup with Chicken, wowza!

And the dumplings were unlike any I’ve sampled before. You have a choice between fried or steamed, and I went with steamed. Pork and chicken and other tiny goodies packed into thin wrappers and served with a sweet (honey?) sesame sauce with a hint of citrus. Oh. Yes! Come to mama! lol.

Cha Da Thai Fiction Faith & Foodies Ernie & Dora Hiers
Steamed Dumplings…oh yes! Come to mama!

We will be back. And I’ll probably order the exact same thing. lol.

What about you? When you find a certain dish on the menu that you enjoy, do you order it every time you visit that restaurant?

We rate this restaurant 5 forks out of 5 for a family friendly restaurant serving outstanding food.

Cha Da Thai Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato