Saturday, April 30, 2005

Getting saucy on Seventh

Just got back from a class at Cooking Uptown, and I'm still buzzing. Maybe the wine contributed. But when the executive chef of the Meeting House (I know, it's in another neighborhood) is telling me that the cure for excess tannins in a red wine reduction is carrots, I'm paying attention. Or when Christopher Zion says if your Bearnaise sauce tastes eggy add a little butter, I'm all ears. Or when he says a leak helps keep your vegetable stock clear, this is stuff I have to know. The class was called "Sauces, Sauces, Sauces..." and lasted a little over two hours. Afterward the class of about 23 ate halibut, chicken breast and culotte (or tri-tip) steak with about six different sauces. And some wine. Did I mention the wine? The best part: Every last penny of the $50 registration fee goes to the Council For Children.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Kotopoulo stin skara me skordalia

The scent you'll be smelling wafting from Elizabethan backyards this Saturday will be grilled chicken with almond garlic sauce, the main course for the annual progressive dinner. Or, as we say in Greece, Kotopoulo stin skara me skordalia. They say the sauce was one of the first the Greeks made and can be traced back 2,500 years. That may be. But I'm making a fresh batch. See you at the appetizer house at 6.

What grows in Elizabeth?

One of the nation's leading health-care technology consulting businesses. Ok, so Healthlink no longer has an Elizabeth presence. But it was born here. It grew up and moved to Houston, where it was bought by IBM. Know of another Healthlink in the making in Elizabeth? Email me.

He's everywhere

At the risk of this becoming all Winn all the time, there he is again on the Observer's Business front, touting his favorite restaurant (our very own Ethan's, natch). And again on Page 2D. Welcome to Under the Water Tower, Winn. We embrace celebrity. Now on to more important issues.

Tuesday, April 26, 2005


And I thought I lived on John McBride's street? Seriously, Elizabeth and I love living here in the Elizabeth neighborhood and appreciate the neighborhood, its walkability, wonderful people and the general ethos. While I am flattered by John McBride's comments, aka Justin McBride (see, I am more honored to see him and family here on our little piece of Charlotte, just north of the roundabout. We have been fortunate to both discover and inhabit a great area and we plan to reseide here for some time.

In actuality, cool is not something that describes me. Yet, about a year ago a group of us got together and thought that this effort - the Hot Jobs/Cool Communities project - might provide a good, solid foundation for Charlotte, especially with the upcoming Boomer retirement challenge. Projections are for a four-year trend of two workers exiting the workforce for every one entering. Charlotte needs at least its fair shake of the thinkers, the artists, the creatives, the innovators to have a thriving, exciting environment to continue to make this such a great place to live.


Monday, April 25, 2005

Winn's cool community

If you're involved with something called "Hot Jobs/Cool Communities" you better live in coolsville. So where does Winn Maddrey live? On my street in Elizabeth -- where else? Now that we're officially cool, I'm hoping some of it will rub off on me. (I'm also figuring I don't have to fix the front porch. Why mess with success?) Winn has been all over the place with the HJ/CC thing. His latest apperance was today on The Charlotte Observer's editorial page sort of taking issue with this article by Tonya Jameson. Maybe Winn can take some time out from all his work and join Under the Water Tower!

Sunday, April 24, 2005


Maya Packard writes:
"I visited the temporary location of Nofo several times, and liked it a lot. It is an eclectic, Paper Skyscraper-type store, with lots of different little areas: kitchen & home, bath products, gourmet foods and cookbooks, jewelry & accessories, baby & kid stuff, bedding, pet treats and accessories, etc. There was no cafe in that location, but I'm really looking forward to the opening of the new store. The manager told me that they will do "shopping parties," for which they'll keep the store open just for a group of friends or coworkers or whatever, serving wine and nibbles, and giving the whole group a discount on purchases. Eating, drinking, and shopping? Sounds good to me."

Sounds good to me too, Maya. Thanks. Paper Skyscraper is one of my all-time favorites, so I'm looking forward to Nofo At The Liz opening, all the while feeling chagrined I never stopped into the temporary spot on Hawthorne. I have no excuse.

Friday, April 22, 2005

"At the Liz"?

"NOFO at the Liz" is the name of the new restaurant -- no, deli -- no, bar -- no, gift shop -- rising next to the Visulite on Elizabeth Avenue. Charlotte magazine says it's also a "doggie deli" and is kid-friendly.

"NOFO?" "The Liz?" "Doggie deli"? What's with the name and what kind of store are you?

I'm all for serendipity, but focus won't hurt a business. Especially on a pass-through street. Just ask the dearly departed Great Stuff and Seed on 7th. Wonderful place. No focus. No walk-up business.

But hey, the NOFO people know what they're doing. They've got an online store, a Raleigh shop and a Wilmington shop.

I'll bet there's an Elizabethan out there who's visited one of the NOFO shops. Tell me about it.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Party. Meet neighbors. Party more.

Look, if it's one thing we know how to do in this neighborhood, it's party. Maybe we're not so good getting people to join the Elizabeth Community Association. So let's throw a party and change that.

All Elizabeth residents are invited to a block party on June 26th from 3 to 6 p.m. As the ECA board points out: It's the perfect time of year to come out and meet your neighbors. And party.

The Elizabeth Community Association will divide up the neighborhood and assign everyone a specific location. To party. More on that later. At the block party, a signup table will be available for anyone who would like to become a member of the Elizabeth Community Association, renew a membership or volunteer for any of the fun committees.

Bring an appetizer and your own beverage.

If you have a yard ideal for a gathering and wouldn't mind your neighbors dropping by, please call Dianna Desaulniers at 704-236-4286 or email print_itATbellsouthDOTnet.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Big fat Greek Progressive Dinner

The deadline to sign up for the annual Elizabeth Progressive Dinner is April 20. You don't want to miss this because if you do we'll talk about you during dinner and laugh.
From the official flyer: "Anyone who lives or has a business in the neighborhood is welcome. ECA membership is not required. Single folks are welcome solo, or can bring a guest (from Elizabeth or not)."

"Over 200 Elizabethans had a fantastic time last year. It’s a great way to meet neighbors, see some beautiful homes in our community, and enjoy delicious home-cooked food." To sign up, email mpackardATcarolinaDOTrrDOTcom.

Fig Tree review

The Charlotte Observer's Helen Schwab tries the Fig Tree and loves the marrow fork, among others. Check out the mini-review here.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Poetry tree

Since last July Elizabethan Kevin Keck has been posting poems on a tree in his front yard, in the shadow of The Water Tower. This is really cool. But I hate that I'm just finding out about it now -- after some 50 poems have been posted and removed. Not only that, I had to read about it in The Charlotte Observer (registration required). Hardin, Babak -- you guys live right next to this guy! When somebody does something cool like this -- you HAVE to let me know. Kudos to columnist Dannye Romine Powell for breaking the story. I'm going to have to go over there and take a picture at least.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Stealing from porches

Someone has been stealing FedEx and UPS packages off people's porches in Elizabeth. According to Brad Miller, the ECA's crime committe chairman, "The police caught him late last week (3/31 or 4/1) trying to grab a package off a porch. They predicted he'd be out of jail in a jiffy and back to his old tricks, despite his arrest." Brad recommends telling the FedEx/UPS people to leave packages out-of-sight.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Meet Eric Salley

According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Eric Salley likes our neighborhood almost as much as we do. Police have charged him with eight felonies, mostly breaking and entering. Officer Laura Nelson said in a recent ECA board meeting that if you see Mr. Salley in the neighborhood, call 911. That sounds extreme to me since it's a free country. But Mr. Salley has demonstrated his untrustworthiness repeatedly. Be aware.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

Wouldn't YOU like to post?

Today I invited a number of Elizabeth neighbors to join this blog, which I've named "Under the Water Tower" for no good reason. You need to be a member to write posts to the blog. As a member, you can also invite others to join. It doesn't cost anything and it's easy to join. Everyone can play, from the comfort of your own home. Or Starbucks. Whatever.

I'm told the directions sends in the invitation are fairly simple to follow. But if you have problems or questions, send me a mail.

For those of you I've invited, I'm posting the approximate wording of my invitation so you won't dismiss it as normal spam. Apparently I can only invite three people at a time, so some of you may have gotten different wording. Otherwise, it should look something like this:

"This is an invitation to become a member of "Under the Water Tower," a web log dedicated to the Elizabeth neighborhood. There is no cost and no obligation. By becoming a member you can post news, thoughts, ideas -- whatever -- and share them with the rest of the neighborhood. If you don't want to join, that's fine. You can read what your neighbors are thinking at Eliza-blog. Bookmark it today!
John McBride"