Better weather and patio dining blog

Better Weather and Patio Dining

Here in Charleston we had a recent stretch of time with little to no good weather days. It rained(poured), was cold or simply dreary and overcast for what felt like a solid few weeks. I know for people who live in other climates or parts of the country where there are snow and negative temps for weeks on end, this may seem like an eye-roll worthy complaint. But especially during covid when we’ve been trying to stick to outdoor activities and get-togethers, this unusually long string of terrible weather days really wore me down.

Water painting in PJs

In celebration of sunny days, I’m sharing our recent date night meal from the patio of Le Farfalle in Downtown Charleston as well as a few meals we’ve cooked at home recently. I will have a separate blog post coming out soon reviewing our current favorite cookbooks, so keep an eye out for that if you’re in the market for some new (easy) dinner recipes to try out.

Penne Alla Vodka

I recently tried this penne alla vodka recipe for the first time, from Half Baked Harvest’s Super Simple cookbook. We all agreed it turned out pretty well (Ok, I was raving about it the night we had it). I found out later my hubs has never loved penne alla vodka (had it too many times at Catholic boarding school in Italy growing up) but my kids both scarfed it down, even though it had a bit of a kick to it. Peter kept saying, “It’s spicy mama.” But then he would put another bite in and keep eating. I was admittedly extra ecstatic about this recipe because it seemed like it would make such a great dish to serve to guests or to double and serve to a crowd (not these days thank you very much, covid). Super easy to make and- IMO- super delicious.

Bai bottle, empty bowl of pasta and letter
lunch on the front porch

I enjoyed some of the pasta leftovers from our sunny front porch the next day. Forgot to snap a pic until after, but it was just such a glorious day that it seemed worth documenting, even the empty bowl. I also received a piece of snail mail (my favorite) from a friend in Alaska and drank a “fun beverage” and the whole scene was an encapsulation of a perfect afternoon.

Savannah on porch with air pods in
Front porch rocking
view from the front porch
Go Dawgs! We love our little cul-de-sac

Lately, it has seemed hard to remember to buy food (let alone make a plan) for lunches, at least for the adults in the house. I like keeping some microwavable lentils on hand and with how easy it is to make rice in the InstantPot, I don’t mind making a quick batch of fresh cooked rice to go with it. I’m currently working my way through a Costco sized box of Channa Masala made by Tasty Bite. I like their lentils a bit better, but there’s something to be said for variety. I like their lentils with some cheese melted over the top and eaten with tortilla chips, but the channa masala I mixed with rice and paired with a simple grilled cheese and it was perfect.

chana masala and grilled cheese
Easiest work from home lunch

Once the weather improved, we were finally able to schedule a dinner date at one of our favorite outdoor patios- Le Farfalle. It was actually still a chilly night, but we got there soon after they opened and snagged one of the first tables on the patio, as well as one of the space heating lamps that we had all to ourselves. It was perfect! Simon started out with some oysters:

oysters
Le Farfalle Oysters

And I ordered their meatballs. I was really jealous of the oysters, but adhere to the “no raw seafood” rule during pregnancy, so I had to regretfully pass.

meatballs
Le Farfalle meatball appetizer

I didn’t get a pic of our entrees, it was dark by then anyway, but we also ordered this mushroom/brussels sprouts appetizer and it was awesome.

fried mushrooms and brussels sprouts

We had their whipped cheesecake (it was banana pudding flavored/themed) and can highly recommend it. Very unique but still adequate banana pudding flavor to make a southern girl happy.

Compared to blog post #1, this one has been much more a documentation of recent eats and much less ramblings about deeper things, but that’s kind of what I anticipated this blog space being for. My therapist was asking me lots of questions about my intentions for the blog; I know that I want it to be a creative and processing outlet, not a source of pressure, stress or an item on a to-do list. I may talk about a variety of topics, I may post without any regular schedule, I may be serious sometimes and lighthearted others. As I said before, it’s an experiment. I’m practicing sitting with imperfection (I don’t plan to re-read the posts a million times before publishing for typos) and I’m OK with the not-knowing how exactly it will unfold or develop.

Cheers to better weather for Charleston, prayers for everyone devastated by recent storms elsewhere, and wishes for a great weekend for all of you lovely people.

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