Thai Cooking! (Chiang Mai, Thailand)

Experiencing local cuisine is key to learning about the culture of the place you are visiting whether you find yourself in North Carolina or Thailand.  While exploring the Sunday evening market in Chiang Mai, I met Yui and learned about her cooking classes.  One of the best spontaneous decisions I have ever made was deciding to enroll in her course the next day.  I took her full day course, but there are also half-day options.

Scan 5My classmates for the day were a group of Australian tourists.  In addition to learning Thai cooking and appreciating Yui’s humor I got to see Thailand from the Australian perspective as they shared their travel stories.  The cooking classes are held at Yui’s home on the side porch where she has individual cooking stations for each student and a large dining area where everyone gathered to try out each dish as it was finished.

A highlight of the day was a field trip to the market for a guided tour with Yui.  She gave us tips for shopping in a Thai market and offered suggestions for alternative ingredients that would work well if we could not find something in American or Australian grocery stores.

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Good Eats: Queen City Style (Charlotte, NC)

I managed to try a good number of new eateries during the month and some change I called Charlotte home.  Hazelnuts Creperie was so yummy I blogged about it about five minutes after I ate there, check out that post here.

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I was fortunate enough to try many other great places, often times thanks to recommendations from locals.  In no particular order, some of my favorites:

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Human Rights Advocate: Andrea Gittleman of Physicians for Human Rights

Proud to call her a friend, Andrea Gittleman is doing amazing work in the D.C. Office of Physicians for Human Rights as their Senior Legislative Counsel.  Before joining PHR, Andrea worked as an Arthur Helton Global Human Rights Fellow with the Burma Lawyers’ Council in Mae Sot, Thailand, where she coordinated an international advocacy campaign for criminal accountability in Burma.  As a law student, Andrea spent time interning and giving pro bono service through New York University’s Immigrant Rights Clinic, Legal Momentum (the Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund), the New York Civil Liberties Union, and Human Rights Watch.  She also served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Mauritania, West Africa.  Learn more about her work and PHR here.
Andrea recently published an article exploring the impact of foreign investments on Burmese communities.  Read the full article here.  She agreed to share her insights and advice with others considering human rights work.

Kayaking in Big Canoe! (Big Canoe, Georgia)

Special welcome to my first readers from the Russian Federation and the United Arab Emirates!   Hope you keep reading!

To begin, YES there is an actual town in Georgia called Big Canoe.  Several years back, I took a road trip down to Big Canoe from Chapel Hill, North Carolina with several friends from school.  Many of the group were transplants from New York and New Jersey and one particular friend, N., referred to the trees surrounding Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill as a “forest” so I should have known this would be more of an adventure for them than myself.  To give you an idea of their comfort level traveling outside Chapel Hill/Durham/Raleigh, I took them to Hillsborough for dinner one time and that was too many country roads and trees for them!

We had a great time kayaking that weekend.  It was a low impact kayak trip, perfect for first time kayakers with lots of spots along the way to get out and stretch your legs and nothing more than Class 1 rapids on the Chestatee River.  Great experience  renting our kayaks from Appalachian Outfitters – Canoe and Kayak Trips.  Highly recommend you check them out for kayak or canoe rentals if you find yourself in the greater Big Canoe metropolitan area.

Want more kayaking options, right here in North Carolina?  Check out my earlier post on kayaking in Eastern North Carolina here.

Happy Halloween! Trunk or Treat?

Thanks to a good friend of mine, a Tarheel transplant to Alabama, I learned about “Trunk or Treat” this week.  Trunk or Treat is a Halloween event, usually organized by community or church groups, to provide a safe family environment for trick-or-treaters.

Participants decorate the trunks of their cars and then gather in a large parking lot and pass out candy as children visit each car at the event.  Pictures are always worth a thousand words, so here courtesy of my friend is her Wizard of Oz themed trunk!  Happy Halloween!


Good Eats: Boston Style (Boston, MA)

Last weekend I visited friends in Boston (Tarheel transplants by way of Philly) and being the foodies they are I was taken to fabulous eatery after even more amazing eatery. Impossible to choose my favorite, I would recommend them all the next time you find yourself in Beantown.

The Helmand – 143 First Street, Cambridge, MA

My first Afghan cuisine experience and it was tre yummy! I highly recommend trying any lamb dish, but their veggie dishes of eggplant and pumpkin are delicious as well. Read menu here. The Helmand also has a location in San Francisco at 430 Broadway, San Francisco, CA  94133.

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Experiencing Fall in Boston’s South End (Boston, MA)

I love a walk on a crisp fall day.  Yesterday’s urban hike through Boston’s South End was a treat, complete with pumpkins decorating front stoops and the leaves starting to turn to beautiful yellows, oranges, and reds.

Enjoy the photos and get ready for reflections on this weekend’s food tour of Boston with my friends Q and Y.  A visit with them always means trying lots of great new restaurants!

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In case you missed it, photos from my walk through Washington, D.C. in September here.

Hazelnuts Creperie in Uptown (Charlotte, NC)

Crepes! Crepes! Crepes!  Discovering Hazelnuts Creperie in Uptown Charlotte last week was a yummy find!  Asi Agajan opened Hazelnuts Creperie in March 2012 after moving his family from New York to North Carolina.  Formerly in retail, Asi followed his passions and took a risk with opening up his own creperie here in Charlotte.

His love of good food and great service comes through with the delicious variety of savory, vegetarian, breakfast, and sweet crepes options.  You can also create your own breakfast crepe with 20+ ingredient options including cheeses, meats, veggies, and eggs or egg whites.  I came in at lunch and was going to order the Turkey Bacon Avocado Crepe, but after Asi’s suggestions went for the Chicken Curry Crepe extra spicy.

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You can enjoy Hazelnuts Creperie at 200 South Tryon Street in the Lobby between 3rd and 4th Street.  When you enter 200 South Tryon, just take a right and walk back along the hall and you will find Hazelnuts.  Check them out on Facebook here.

Happy International Day of the Girl! (One Day Late . . . )

International Day of the Girl is a movement . . . to speak out against gender bias and advocate for girls’ rights everywhere.  Shatter stereotypes.  End injustices.  Demand equality.  Change the world!  Learn more here.

Amazing photo thanks to Being Feminist.  Check out Being Feminist’s amazing blog here and Facebook.

Happy One Month Birthday NC and Beyond!

So today is a very exciting day. NC & Beyond turns the ripe old age of one month!  In only one month of life on the internets, NC & Beyond has:

  • Greeted 960 visitors from all over the world – including readers from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Costa Rica, Columbia, France, Japan, Romania, Singapore, Switzerland, Turkey, and the United States
  • Visited with 199 readers on NC & Beyond’s birthday, September 11, 2012
  • Had lovely guest posts from a Peace Corps Alumna that served in Africa and a promising Vietnamese poet.  If you missed them make sure to check them out today

In reflecting on the first month, favorite posts would have to be (drum roll please . . . ):

NC & Beyond looks forward to continuing to share travel adventures from around North Carolina and the world! Don’t want to miss anything? Stay connected on FacebookTwitter, or sign up for email updates (look to your right under “Stay in Touch”) to receive posts directly to your email inbox daily or weekly.  Grazie mille for reading!!!