Tapas, Beer and a Watermelon Honey Sangria in North Carolina
Saturday, because we had spent 11 hours in the car the previous day, was mostly dedicated to sitting on the couch and reading blogs. We all finally got up and moving around 4pm so we could go watch the Carolina Rollergirls’ roller derby game. At the arena, which was on the North Carolina State Fairgrounds, I had chili cheese nachos. (What diet?)
After the game, we headed to dinner at the Red Room, a tapas restaurant. Mike and I are big fans of our local tapas restaurant in the Tampa Bay area called Ceviche and we pretty much hold all tapas restaurants to a high standard. Red Room did not disappoint.
What did we have, you ask?
- A Watermelon Honey sangria, to start. Made with white grape & apple juices, watermelon vodka, melon liquer and champagne, I couldn’t get enough of it. So refreshing and one of the best sangrias I’ve ever had. Ever.
- Papas Bravas- potatoes fries and tossed in sherry barbeque, then topped with garlic aioli. Wonderful flavor and just the right amount of crisp.
- Grilled Marinated Steak Paella- rice with julienne tomatoes, artichoke hearts, piquillo peppers, red bliss potatoes, asparagus and sofrito. This dish was the highlight. It came in either a half- or full-pan size and the half was big enough to eat and have leftovers on. (And let me tell you, the left overs were amazing).
Our friends and hosts, Elliot and Sara, had:
- Wild Mushroom Empanada- topped with sofrito.
- Duck Confit Tartine- with mango endive marmalade.
- Traditional Chicken and Mushroom Paella- rice with chorizo, roasted peppers, sofrito, green beans and pure saffron de la Mancha.
- Raspberry Green Tea Sangria- white wine blended with Absolut Raspberri, fresh raspberries and in-house brewed green tea.
I didn’t try any of theirs, but it looked great and they were happy! Red Room also has 1/2 off sangria and free Salsa, Merengue, and Bachata dance lessons every Thursday for Latin Night, and 1/2 price tapas Sundays and Mondays.
With our tummies stuffed and a little dizzy (in a good way) on sangria, we headed to Busy Bee Cafe to drink some beers and munch on some loaded tots. Primarily a beer bar, Busy Bee had a relaxed and quiet atmosphere. They don’t offer flights of beer, which we found a little odd, but they let you try any beer you want so perhaps we are the winners in that. I opted for one of my favorites- Delirium Tremens.
After we had a mix of beers, tots, and cocktails, we decided to head to the local Applebee’s to continue. Applebee’s (lovingly called CRAPplebees in my household) is only good when you want to spend little money. Otherwise, yuck. We still got wings, mozzarella sticks, and a Maple Blondie dessert, along with beer and chocolate cake shots, but basically, it’ll never add up to the local joints.
And that concludes our Saturday in North Carolina! Leaving the bar at midnight, exhausted, I felt a little old, but I chalked it up to the drive (again) and crashed when we got back to the apartment.