North Carolina Art Museum, which is only going to be open for a few more days until it closes for the big move into its amazing new space.
I started with lunch at the Blue Ridge, where chef Andy Hicks prepares imaginative and beautiful dishes from luscious fresh produce he gets from Ford's Produce. You can find Ford's in its own building at the rear of the North Carolina Farmers' Market. I have always loved the restaurant at the Art Museum, and was delighted to discover that the Hicks' (Andy and his wife Jennifer, dessert-magician) are staying on. We will be able to dine with them again in April in the new building.
I have been experimenting with vegetarian cuisine, so I ordered the Southern Falafel Sandwich - made with black-eye peas - accompanied by a side of quinoa salad. I was impressed with the falafel, as I have tried twice to make it at home, also using fresh local peas instead of the usual garbanzos. My first batch was dry (baked) and my second batch was heavy (fried). Mr. Hicks' falafel was crispy on the outside, and moist but not heavy on the inside. The quinoa salad had yellow bell peppers and green onions, an herb I think was flat leaf parsley, and was dressed with a light lemony vinaigrette - delicious. I am inspired to try to make my own southern falafel and quinoa salad. I will keep you posted!
After lunch, I walked in Museum Park, taking my time and snapping these pictures of nature and art along the way. I walked the very easy, 4/10 mile paved Museum trail. Today, as I was researching the Museum Park page for this blog, I discovered these teasers that make me want to go back and explore more: (1) the footbridge that crosses I-440 is only a mile away, and (2) Cloud Chamber for the Trees and Sky by Chris Drury is on the Woodland Trail, that I have never walked. Must go back and see that!