Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Game on.

I spent a week in Western North Carolina recently. Yes, I was there to celebrate my 45th Birthday belatedly and to relax, but it was also a business trip. I had an appointment at The Westin Charlotte at 3 pm on May 1st for a Jeopardy! final audition.

Drove over from Junaluska Thursday stopping in Morganton at Judge's Riverside Resaturant on the banks of the Catawba for lunch.

I had a half slab of Ribs. Yum Yum!

We continued on out of the Piedmont and into the Queen City right by the Bank of America nee Ericsson Stadium to the Westin located in the Uptown financial district and overlooking the Convention Center.

The Duke Energy Center lacks only it's 150,000 lb. steel truss capstone. When it was the Wachovia Tower, they discovered they couldn't afford that architectural feature!

Thursday night I had booked a table at Toscana. We even got a primo outdoor table next to the fountain. When I booked the restaurant, I had no idea how close it was to Quail Hollow. Ironically, we walked in and the first person I saw regaling a big table was Jim Nantz.

We shared paesano-style: 2 starters (Insalata Greeca and Portobello Grigliato) and 2 paste (Gnocchi al Telefono and Linguini alla Sinfonia del Mare). With the big interview the next day, I stuck with 1 litre of San Pellegrino. The fact that they didn't offer Barolo by the glass didn't hurt either. They did offer two fine bottles of Barolo: Bruna Grimaldi 2000 ($110) and Alessandria 2003 ($90). Thanks, but no thanks. Still I would eat here again in an instant the next time I'm in Charlotte.

For Left Coast followers, it was located in an interior shopping courtyard reminiscent of The Stanford Shopping Center, Paseo Nuevo (Santa Barbara) or even La Arcada, or finally and most famously the Fashion Island (Newport Beach).

I can't give details about my Friday meeting. Just suffice it to say that I will remain in the Jeopardy! contestant pool through November 2010.

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