Fern Fresh

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We ventured out to a restaurant with the baby – and it went quite well!  Babies are just so portable at this age.  We decided to hit up Fern, Charlotte’s nicest vegetarian restaurant (as cool as Charlotte is for mid-sized Southern city, there are only three vegetarian restaurants that I know of – a takeout place, a lunch place, and Fern, which is the fancypants veggie spot). 


Date night for the three of us, whoop whoop!

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We were excited to see they had a new summer menu. SO. MANY. CHOICES. 


Truthfully, with my gluten sensitivity and the fact that I’m avoiding dairy because of breastfeeding, it is not usually very fun for me to eat out.  But there were a grand total of EIGHT menu items that were both vegan and gluten free.  BRING. ON. THE. NOM. NOMS.


We started off with this gluten-free beer.  We planned to split it, but I took one sip and said no thanks (for what it’s worth, Kristien liked it).  In my opinion, there are some things that should not be made gluten-free… beer is one of them.


That’s what wine is for, silly.


We started off with the hush puppies, which were made of squash and vegan cheese.  By far the tastiest part of the meal.


And we ordered the baby cakes, which were latkes made from a variety of squashes and zucchini.


For the entrée, we split the Dashi Ramen, which included zucchini noodles, coconut broth, mushrooms, tofu, and fried seaweed.


Never had fried seaweed before.  It was fishy (not necessarily a bad thing when used in moderation).


A very nice date night, indeed.  Henry was happy, too.  He napped and didn’t make a peep the entire time!


In other news, my shoulders are killing me thanks to a wonderful 1,000 yard swim.  Instead of rushing to and from the pool, I carved out some time to some swim quality laps.  I thought I’d max out at 750, but I took a nice, long break and then restarted.  It felt good to swim my pregnancy distance again… hopefully I’ll work back up to my pre-pregnancy distance (1,500) again soon!


What are you all up to this lovely Saturday?  Any date nights?  Killer workouts? Both at the same time?!



  • luv what you do July 21, 2012, 8:15 pm

    My Saturday is lacking a killer workout and a date night. Total bummer! I was in class all day and just needed to crash when I got home so the BOY and I opened some wine and picked up a rotisserie chicken. I guess that is kind of like a date night!

  • Lindsay July 21, 2012, 8:34 pm

    My husband and I tried that beer the other day- not a fan!

  • Erin @ erinberries July 21, 2012, 8:45 pm

    My boyfriend has been all about the gluten-free beer recently. He loves it! I’m not a beer person, so I haven’t tried it.

    Today I went to a Queso Competition. It was pretty fun. Got to try lots of cheese! Not vegan though unfortunately. But it was delicious! 🙂

    • Caitlin July 21, 2012, 10:09 pm

      Queso competition?!?!? Yes please

  • Sana July 21, 2012, 8:53 pm

    Those hush puppies look so good!

  • Caralyn @ glutenfreehappytummy July 21, 2012, 8:57 pm

    yay for date night! and yay for GF beer! 🙂

  • Army Amy* July 21, 2012, 10:07 pm

    It’s so cute that y’all share an entree. I try to get my husband to do that, but he’s a big eater and likes different food from me. Ah, well.*

  • Christine @ BookishlyB July 21, 2012, 10:13 pm

    A killer workout and a date night at the same time? That sounds fun 😉

  • Allie July 21, 2012, 10:16 pm

    The best GF beer I’ve had is Green’s Tripel Blonde Ale (found it at Earth Fare), I was really surprised by how good it was! Even my (beer snob) father was impressed ;).

  • Lsandoe July 21, 2012, 10:35 pm

    Your bangs look so good! I’m so glad you got to have a date night.

  • Michelle @ Eat Move Balance July 21, 2012, 10:51 pm

    Hi Caitlyn,
    Your photo with the glass on top of the menu is really cool! Also, according to my husband (I don’t like/drink beer), he has a recommendation for a beer you might like: http://www.twobrosbrew.com
    Have a great weekend!

  • Eve July 21, 2012, 10:57 pm

    Ooo, I’ve had some bad GF beers, BUT was recommended two brands that are actually really tasty – New Grist and Bard’s (my fav!). Hopefully those aren’t just available in Canada, because they are super! 🙂

  • Lea @ Greens and Coffee Beans July 21, 2012, 11:23 pm

    The vegetarian options in Raleigh aren’t much better. Come on NC. Those dishes do look amazing though!

    Redbridge makes a pretty good gluten-free beer, if you’re looking for one.

  • Whitney July 21, 2012, 11:48 pm

    Charlotte Restaurant Week with hubs at The Melting Pot! Yummy 🙂

  • Leighann July 21, 2012, 11:55 pm

    We went to the Pittsburgh Pirates game and found an entire vendor stand of all GF food- grilled cheeses, grilled veggie sandwiches, hot dogs, beer. So yummy!

  • Sarah July 22, 2012, 12:17 am

    Lovin’ the bangs. No joke. (I know, weird, right?)

  • j3nn July 22, 2012, 12:21 am

    So glad you guys got out and it went well! I know it’s harder with a baby. And I LOVE when menus have options for all the things you are trying to avoid. You can try looking on Yelp or Urban Spoon for authentic Indian and Mexican places; many will have gluten-free and vegan options by default. 🙂

  • TiffanyS July 22, 2012, 12:37 am

    Gluten free cider beers are actually pretty tasty. My favorite I believe is called Fox Hollow. There is an Apricot Pear flavor and a Blackberry Pear. Yum! I think the Angry Orchard brand is GF too.

  • Sonia the mexigarian July 22, 2012, 12:42 am

    Did my first seven mile run today 🙂 glad you had an awesome date night. 🙂

  • Christina @ thebeautifulbalance July 22, 2012, 4:30 am

    Those hush puppies look delicious! I love seaweed in any form, especially fresh. It is absolutely an acquired taste.

  • LJ July 22, 2012, 6:48 am

    There are a few other veggie places in Charlotte, but Woodlands, ZiZi’s and Bean are the only ones I can think of other than Fern, Luna’s and Berrybrook. Fern definitely has zero competition for fancy veggie though!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin July 22, 2012, 7:55 am

    I know what you mean – my city is lacking in vegetarian restaurants too! But that place looks great. I’m glad you guys enjoyed your date night!

    I went for an 18 mile bike ride yesterday, but no dates. Just an evening shift at work. 😛

  • Amy July 22, 2012, 9:12 am

    Good for you guys! I’m so glad it worked out for you! Question: how did you know you were gluten-sensitive? I see it on pretty much every blog now, but it’s confusing. Thank you!

    • Caitlin July 22, 2012, 9:17 am

      I did a stool analysis. (gross!)

      • Amy July 22, 2012, 12:29 pm

        Haha, ok! What made you go and do that though, assuming that wasn’t part of your regular physical?!

        • Caitlin July 22, 2012, 1:07 pm

          It was part of another test that I was getting run because I suspected I had adrenal fatigue. I think the best way to tell if you’re sensitive is to do an elimination diet, although I do not have symptoms when I eat gluten (and many others don’t either! It’s a confusing issue for sure).

  • Vikki July 22, 2012, 9:57 am

    Those fried squash and cheese thingies look and sound amazing. Granted, I would feel deceived to order a hush puppy that wasn’t a blob deliciously fried cornmeal. (Suddenly feeling the urge to go to a fish fry and have hush puppies, fried brim or bass, and coleslaw. It has been far too long.)

  • Carrie July 22, 2012, 10:56 am

    I’m so glad you posted your swim distances. I’m 35 weeks and having been swimming 1000 yards 2-3 times a week for about a month and it feels like a good workout but I can’t find anywhere to compare it to what I was doing. 1500 sounds like a great post pregnancy goal because I’m definitely planning to incorporate it into my fitness plan post baby. I’m enjoying it so much! Do you swim straight freestyle. Do you use the kickboard? Not trying to compare just looking for training tips – thanks!

    • Caitlin July 22, 2012, 11:29 am

      I just swim freestyle but occccasionally I use a kickboard to mix it up. 1000 yards at 35 weeks is awesome, keep it up!

  • Katie @ Peace Love & Oats July 22, 2012, 11:23 am

    Ooooo all that food looks delicious! I’ve thought about what it would be like for me to go vegan, and I’m pretty sure I would be eating beans and nuts and that’s about it… Haha I’m gluten and soy intolerant which makes things pretty difficult!

  • Katie @ Soulshine and Sassafras July 22, 2012, 11:33 am

    I visited Charlotte about a month ago, and I went to Fern and LOVED it! This made me miss Charlotte and your delicious restaurants.

  • Brittney July 22, 2012, 11:34 am

    I STILL haven’t been to Fern! Greg and I really need to go there, looks so good!!

  • KristinP July 22, 2012, 11:51 am

    I saw this was addressed above, but just to throw my .02 in: There actually are some gluten-free beers that taste like beer – New Planet is sadly not among them. As someone said above, Green’s from Belgium is amazing. They have six different varieties and they all actually taste like beer – my non-GF friends will drink them happily. Unfortunately, they are also insanely expensive (like $6 a bottle). The other one that I personally adore is Estrella Damm Daura from Spain. It’s actually brewed with barley and then the gluten proteins are removed through some fancy pants process to render it gluten free (just make sure that you don’t get the Estrella Damm – looks very similar, but is regular ol’ gluten beer).

    In my experience, all of the sorghum based GF beers (Grist, Redbrige, Bard’s etc) have the same weird sour taste that I get from New Planet. Green’s and Estrella are non-sorghum based, so they taste beerier 🙂

    And that is my monologue on GF beer.

    • Caitlin July 22, 2012, 1:08 pm

      Must find these!!!

  • Dominique July 22, 2012, 1:26 pm

    Sounds like a nice date night. We hardly ever have time for a date night because of Sean’s work schedule (weekend nights) and his school work. He’s always reading something or other. Our date nights usually involve a weekday (Monday to Thursday) and grabbing some sushi and watching some Futurama or Degrassi Junior High on Netflix.

  • Kt July 22, 2012, 1:55 pm

    New Planet is made in Colorado, where I’m from, and I agree that all gluten free beer is gross (beer is the ONE thing I miss the most since having to go gf!) and that raspberry one isn’t very good, but New Planet’s Tread Lightly ale actually is good. It’s the best gf beer I’ve ever found actually. Not the real thing but it squeeze a ton of lemon or lime juice into it, it’s good. 🙂

    • Kt July 22, 2012, 1:56 pm

      if you squeeze* sorry!

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles July 22, 2012, 2:31 pm

    Squash hush puppies!! That sounds so good…I remember when I went to South Carolina for a family vacation when I was about 12 and I discovered hush puppies, I’m pretty sure I had them at every meal for that entire week.

  • Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See July 22, 2012, 3:56 pm

    That dinner looks fantastic, and that workout? Oh boy. Way to go!

  • Lesley July 23, 2012, 5:43 am

    I always want to smile and say hi to others who are working out and I seem to be saddened when they don’t respond back. It is kinda silly because they don’t NEED to do anything, but I find it more of a common courtesy thing. Fern looks awesome!

  • Lindsay Simone July 23, 2012, 7:45 am

    Still obsessed with the new bangs!

    They’re “bangin”

  • Julia H. @ Going Gulia July 23, 2012, 9:33 am

    Those hush puppies sound great. What was that dipping sauce on the side of them?

    • Caitlin July 23, 2012, 9:45 am

      Some sort of faux butter. Tasty!

  • Jennifer G. July 23, 2012, 10:13 am

    Dogfish Head makes an awesome beer! Called T’weason Ale. It is delicious! http://www.glutenfreejacksonville.com

  • Sara July 23, 2012, 3:09 pm

    You’re bangs look great!!!
    looks like a nice night out 🙂

  • Ashley @ Cooking for John July 23, 2012, 4:28 pm

    I tried that type of beer and didn’t like it either. The “Tread Lightly” brew by the same company is good though! I would love to eat there- gluten free and vegan! Woo!

  • AmandaonMaui July 23, 2012, 4:32 pm

    I actually enjoy gluten free beers. If you’d like to read some great reviews on gluten free beers, to pick out one that might work for you, check out http://www.noglutennoproblem.blogspot.com Peter and Kelli Bronski have done their research! Hehe.

    There aren’t a lot of vegetarian restaurants here either, and there is no upscale vegetarian restaurant. The health food store has a hot bar and salad bar, there’s a small Vietnamese vegetarian restaurant that is low end, and that’s pretty much it. You can usually get something vegetarian or vegan on any menu here though, but not necessarily something that is both vegan and gluten free. However, chefs in the upscale restaurants are usually willing to make up something for a customer if they have enough notice.

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