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If We’re Only As Good As The Company We Keep, Then I Am Now Officially Awesome.


If there’s one really great thing about where I live, it’s its proximity to other really great places.

The beach is only a couple of hours east, and the mountains just a few hours west. We have the Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill triangle to the north, and Charleston to the south. Any number of day and weekend trips are just a short drive away, and I’m ashamed to admit that we don’t take advantage of our strategic middle-of-everywhere locale nearly often enough.

So when the opportunity arose for me to meet one of my favorite travel bloggers, Andi Perullo of My Beautiful Adventures in her hometown of Charlotte, NC, I honed my crazy internet stalker tendencies, hopped in the car, and made the 2 1/2 hour voyage west to arrive in time for lunch.

You drove 2 1/2 hours just to meet a total stranger?


I drove 2 1/2 hours each way. Actually, it was more like 3 1/2 hours on the way back due to some horrible city traffic, but I’d rather not focus on that.

And we’re not total strangers. I mean, I’ve been reading her blog for over a year now. And we’re Facebook friends. And she totally got my reference to Salt -n-Pepa the hip hop trio when she mentioned salt and pepper the table seasonings.

Can I get some fries, with that shake-shake boobie?
If looks could kill, you would be an uzi
You’re a shotgun – BANG! What’s up with that thang?
I wanna know – how does it hang?

So… yeah.

Due to my intense level of weirdness, it’s probably Andi who was a little freaked out.

But probably not really, since she’s used to the pro blogging scene and has met quite a few.

Not that I’m a pro, but you know what I mean.


She picked an incredible place for lunch.

Located in the Mint Museum in downtown — or rather uptown — Charlotte, the dining room of Halcyon Flavors from the Earth is a marvel in itself with its soaring windows, intricate chandeliers, and gorgeous carved wood tables.


I tried to be all covert when taking photos of the room which resulted in a less-than-stellar representation of the place, but hey. I think you get the idea.


And this was the view from our table:


Not too shabby!

I was afraid the gorgeous blonde I was meeting for lunch would be intimidating, but it’s true — she’s just as warm and friendly in person as her online personality.


Can you believe the only photo I took of a photojournalist was with my iPhone?

Professional fail.

And I was completely envious of her glass.


Hey, I said GLASS — as in camera lens.

Get your minds out of the gutter.

Seriously — it was beautiful.

We started with a couple of mimosas.


But the food menu required quite a bit of further study. See, a random man in the elevator on my way up from the parking garage told me that Halcyon had the best burger he’s ever eaten.

And we all know I like my burgers.

But, in all honesty, I’m pretty sure I’m still digesting the best burger I’ve eaten to-date, so I decided to order brunch to go along with my mimosa.


Friends, meet the Shepard’s Benedict. The online menu describes it as poached WTF eggs, house-crafted lamb sausage, overnight roma tomatoes, warm chèvre  (also known as ‘goat cheese’ to us average folk), toasted fresh-made baguette, hollandaise, and duck fat hash.

It was incredibly rich and delicious, though the baguette was pretty tough to cut through — even with a knife!


Mmm. Is there anything better than a poached egg?

And the Spanish Rioja our knowledgeable server recommended went perfectly.

Andi is a vegetarian and the restaurant was more than accommodating when it came to specializing her pimento cheese and mushroom omelette.


Her NC cider house doughnut with local apple compote didn’t look half bad, either:


Unfortunately I didn’t know her well enough to snag a bite.

At one point I ordered a specialty drink called the Amaro Amore —


— with house-made cranberry sage “Amaro,” St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, blood orange puree, and sparkling wine. It was delicious!

And finally, the coffee.


Oh, the coffee.

I have dreamt about a cup of coffee like this but never experienced it for myself until that day.

Not even during our Carrboro Food Tour.

It was velvety, smooth, and delicate without a hint of aftertaste.


Coffee breath doesn’t exist with a cup like this.

It needed nothing. No cream. No sugar. Just the occasional dip of a crumbly scone, and it was perfection layered on perfection.


I would come back to Halcyon just for another taste of this coffee.

I didn’t see any more of Charlotte that day because we spent five hours at the restaurant.


Our server left his day shift, went home, and came back for his dinner shift to close us out.

But sincerely, it’s not our fault.

When you find yourself with perfect food in a perfect atmosphere in perfect company, time passes unnoticed.

And while Andi and I share a passion for travel and experiencing the unknown, I think we could both agree — that day, local “travel” was all we needed to have an exquisite time.

Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth on Urbanspoon


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Andi of My Beautiful Adventures

Hahaha I so adore you!!! I can’t believe we spent five hours together and it felt like five minutes. You so should have stolen some of my doughnut. Love the pics! Please come back to CLT soon. We’re totally salt & pepper. :)


I know!! And I seriously regret not stealing some of that pastry. Next time!!

P.S. I added the link to your blog – I can’t believe I forgot that before I hit “publish!” doh.


Sounds like a fabulous meal! I love successful meet-ups. The anticipation is the hardest part!


It was! But five minutes in, it felt like I’d known her for years. I love that about blogging. :)

Dennis Hong (@DennisHHong)

Pft, not impressed. What about the time you flew across the country for the sole purpose (or so he would like to believe) of meeting a blogger friend on the west coast? Eh?


Haha, that experience totally still holds a very dear place in my heart. I gotta have my blogger connections coast-to-coast! ;)

Melissa ~ Life on Prairie Creek

I don’t think it sounds crazy at all. I am flying to Chicago next month to meet up with a friend I “met” through message boards and then we are driving to Nashville to celebrate the wedding of another of message board buddy. Some of the other ladies attending have met each other in person but I haven’t.


That sounds like a blast! Of course there are always exceptions, but for the most part people online are just normal people we wouldn’t have been lucky enough to meet if the internet didn’t exist. Have fun on your trip!! :)


That Amaro Amore sounds great. I’ve been really anxious to try some more drinks with St. Germain. Kind of makes me want to build out a wet bar.


It was SO good. Do it! But make it portable and then bring it here. ;)


I married the dude I met on a message board ~ twice. Anyhow…that coffee looks awesome. The food was prob as good as you say but I’d only drive 5 hours for great coffee. And are those pics from your phone????


Ha, love it! I only drove 2 1/2 hours to get to the coffee, so that falls within bounds. And seriously – I have never had a cup of black coffee that GOOD. Usually it’s tolerable and I drink for the caffeine, but this was awesome.

No I only took that photo of Andi with my phone – everything else was my DSLR. :)


You didn’t mention the beautifully upholstered dining chairs! I’ve never seen anything like that in a restaurant!


I can’t remember if the chair I sat on was upholstered. Seems like the tables by the windows (where we sat) were less intricate. I wish I could have gotten a closer shot of those carved wood tables – you would have loved them!


I have had the honor and the pleasure of meeting Andi in person and I completely understand how you spent 5 hours in the restaurant and drove 5 and 1/2 to do it – I would do the same, any time anywhere to see Andi again – she is a truly wonderful person!


Agreed! Though I have to say – if I make it out to San Francisco anytime soon, we may have to arrange a lunch date as well! (Justin and I are actually talking about heading there for our anniversary in May…)

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