Synchronized Okra

August 9, 2012


Good evening!! I had a long and productive afternoon. A conference call , writing and a coffee meeting with the head of marketing in charge of Cville’s new Shops at Stonefield. We are getting a Pottery Barn, Williams-Sonoma, IMAX and TRADER JOE’S (!!!!) in the next few months at this new shopping center pretty close to town that’s been a long-time coming!! My meeting today was to discuss the project and see how I might be able to work with them as a local blogger on the opening ceremonies. Trader Joe’s sneak peak tour? Yes please! There was also talk of a nice wine bar, which I’m excited about too. (And I put in a big request for a hot vinyasa yoga studio if they are seeking a fitness tenant! Cville’s most needed missing puzzle piece, in my opinion!)

I sipped on an iced decaf coffee while we chatted away.

Afterwards, I crossed the mall to head into Bend for some prenatal yoga. It’s Bend’s two-year anniversary and the class was free tonight! Bend is a parent-focused yoga studio with yoga for babies, toddlers, kids and prenatal. I hope to become a regular when I have an inchworm someday! The class was great. I really love  how good low squats feel and hope they work out for me during labor!

After class I walked home for a delicious dinner –


Matt’s famous pizza topped with shitakes, tomatoes and peppers – and lots of cheese!


And a pile of grilled okra fries. Okra fries just means you eat okra like a french fry – cook it however you want to get it tender! The grill was an excellent choice tonight.


Then we watched synchronized swimming – don’t the okra remind you of the teams!?


We have enjoyed watching the Olympics together SO MUCH. Much more than I have ever watched in the past, and much more than I ever would have thought during the opening games. I had never seen synchronized swimming, rhythmic gymnastics or the marathon swim before. All very neat!


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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Sana August 9, 2012 at 8:28 pm

You are going to fall in love with TJ’s :)


2 KathEats August 9, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Already did! And then had to move away : )


3 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats August 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Yay for trader joe’s!!! I do the majority of my grocery shopping at the one near me, it’s so inexpensive but great stuff!


4 Brie @ Coxswain's Dilemma August 9, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I am making pizza the minute I move back into my Ohio home on Sunday. No joke.


5 Emily August 9, 2012 at 8:36 pm

No! Now I have to move back to Charlottesville! My husband and I went to school there and keep talking about how we eventually want to end up back in the town, but if a TJ’s is coming, that seals the deal!


6 marnie August 9, 2012 at 8:41 pm

we just got our first hot yoga studio..i LOVE dropping in every now and then~and great change up from my normal yoga practice!


7 Mary August 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Tell them to contact CorePower Yoga studios!!! They are a decent sized chain of hot, power vinyasa studios, mostly out west/midwest, but they are opening a Washington D.C. studio soon so they are moving east too. We have CorePower in Colorado and they are awesome!


8 KathEats August 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

I did!!! I know they are a franchise and I think I’ve even emailed them before to tell them to come to Cville. I mentioned them at the meeting.


9 Mary August 9, 2012 at 9:01 pm

They have a class called Yoga Sculpt that I bet you would LOVE, since you like Body Pump so much. Its power yoga that incorporates weights and cardio bursts. It is so fun! If you are ever near one definitely drop in and try a class.


10 Lara August 9, 2012 at 8:56 pm

yes, can’t wait for tj’s! my twin sister and i did synchronized swimming competitively from ages 8-12 so we always love watching it. it is so much harder than it looks (it did not help that SNL made fun of it….). a bit too much bling and makeup nowadays on the synchro swimmers but i guess that is the trend now (like in gymnastics too).


11 KathEats August 9, 2012 at 8:58 pm

Oh cool!! It sure looks hard!


12 Justeen @ Blissful Baking August 9, 2012 at 9:22 pm

YAY for TJ’s!!! But sadly I will be moving away from Cville before it opens :(

We had pizza for dinner tonight too – but your homemade one looks so much better!


13 Krissy - Shiawase Life August 9, 2012 at 9:30 pm

I’m stoked about Fresh Market coming here too, though who knows how long that will take, lol!!


14 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 6:34 am

and wegmans!


15 Krissy @ Shiawase Life August 10, 2012 at 6:56 am

I was excited about Wegmans, but heard they’re not breaking ground until 2015….so I am not holding my breath…


16 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 7:22 am

Oh dear! Didn’t realize it was that far out


17 Averie @ Averie Cooks August 9, 2012 at 9:47 pm

okra is in the air because I’ve been to two other blogs today with okra recipes and there’s no okra in sight here! pineapples but no okra :)


18 Liz August 9, 2012 at 9:58 pm

I will definitely miss watching the Olympics! I’ve watched a little of almost every event & especially enjoyed gymnastics, swimming & diving, track & field, beach volleyball and soccer. :)


19 Amy August 9, 2012 at 10:03 pm

I have been afraid to venture into Okra. Does it have a slimy texture? I love my veggies grilled though and those look mouth watering!


20 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 6:34 am

yes inside it does, but it’s part of the charm


21 Sarah @ Learning to Feed Yourself August 9, 2012 at 10:05 pm

That is so exciting to get a Trader Joes!!


22 Mary August 9, 2012 at 11:05 pm

Have you tried bikram yoga yet? If you like hot yoga it’s worth a try. They do the same 26 postures every class, but it’s a nice routine because the focus is more on the spiritual side of yoga. And you’ll sweat more than you thought possible. And the last half of the class is lying down :-).


23 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 6:36 am

yes and I really want to like it but I just really don’t like the style at all. the barking, rigid structure, some of the poses : (


24 Mary August 10, 2012 at 12:07 pm

Yah I get that.


25 Jacqueline August 9, 2012 at 11:18 pm

Great meal, Kath. Can you give some tips on making okra come out tasty? Never had any luck.


26 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 6:37 am

I’d try the fry method… seasoned with spices and dipped in ketchup. or perhaps my better than fried okra recipe!


27 Jacqueline August 10, 2012 at 1:25 pm

Thanks Kath!


28 Jessica August 9, 2012 at 11:25 pm

I love TJ’s and all but those monstrous strip-style shopping centers always make me a sad. They lack the character and thriving entrepreneurial spirit of real local businesses, especially when it comes to food, and they all look so homogenous. It’s so funny/ironic, my dad was actually just in Charlottesville on business and came home raving about the picturesque scenery and all the wonderful locals spots he explored!


29 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

Totally agree, but I don’t think the vision for this one is a monstrous strip-style center. Just wrote a comment to M below that explains more :)


30 Becky August 10, 2012 at 9:35 am

Driving by it, it looks like a monstrous shopping center. Huge windowless buildings built smack up against the side of the road? Horrible. They clear cut a huge and I do mean HUGE piece of property. It’s an eyesore and a behemoth.


31 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 9:53 am

True, but I bet it will look nicer when it’s done. Hoping a village style. I don’t hate shopping centers in general.


32 Rachel August 9, 2012 at 11:46 pm

I’ve never tried okra! My nana used to loooove them.. she had it all the time in Tennessee


33 Lauren August 10, 2012 at 6:32 am

WOW that is incredible news!!!! Just when I thought C-Ville couldn’t get any better! 😉


34 Leslie August 10, 2012 at 6:38 am

I LOVE okra fries. I was a member of a CSA here and okra kept coming. I finally told the farmer, I have no clue what to do with all this okra. He gave me that suggestions, and it’s wonderfully addicting 😉


35 Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin August 10, 2012 at 6:42 am

That’s so awesome that you get to be involved with the opening of this new shopping center! And yay for getting a Trader Joe’s!


36 Leslie Fisher August 10, 2012 at 7:04 am

Isn’t rhythmic gymnastics the strangest sport you have ever seen?!
Seeing those girls dancing with the ball, whe amazing, I couldn’t help but think they looked like a girl at the prom. Without a date. And they brought a ball to dance with instead.


37 Laura August 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

My husband and I have made Matt’s pizza recipe before and love it; however, we don’t know how to transfer it from where we knead it into the oven without it getting too warm and sticking to everything. Can you explain Matt’s process so that we can enjoy this pizza more often? Thank you!


38 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 8:02 am

He puts a sprinkling of cornmeal on our pizza peel so it will slide off (roll off the grains!) onto the stone. Before we invested in a peel, he used a piece of cardboard the same way!


39 lindsay August 10, 2012 at 8:36 am

This is a great tip!!! I don’t have a peel, and my last pizza on my new stone was a disaster. stuck to everything even with cornmeal on the stone. Am going to try the cardboard method!!


40 Hope @ With A Side Of Hope August 10, 2012 at 7:23 am

Dinner looks perfect! :) That new shopping center sounds like it’s going to be great! I wish I had a TJ close to me. The closest one is a half hour away.


41 Kiki August 10, 2012 at 7:31 am

Hot Vinyasa would be amazing! I have such a love/hate with bikram.


42 M August 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

With all due respect, your post was very upsetting and I feel compelled to respond.

I grew up in VA around Fredericksburg and then Hampton Roads. It’s a beautiful state with beautiful people and I am infinitely proud to call myself a native. However, one of VA’s biggest problems is allowing developers to come into a city and do almost whatever they wish. You see this in the cookie cutter homes out in the suburbs and the same box shopping centers every 10 miles. I remember when they built ‘Central Park’ in Fredericksburg. A lot of small businesses closed up. Now, I can count at least 3 more of the exact same shopping center on 95 between Spotsy and Prince William. Those areas are traffic ridden and ugly now. If you tried to walk those centers you’d die from the exhaust fumes.

Riding bikes at the state park in VA Beach, you’ll see the most beautiful Spanish moss. The coastal beauty is astounding. You’d never know it anywhere else at the beach though because they’ve bulldozed most of the natural habitat and built ugly, ill-planned shopping centers.

Now that my husband and I live in Boston we’re able to bike more, walk more, enjoy parks more, and patronize local businesses more. You know why? Bostonians are passionate about their city. In my area alone they fought to keep Whole Foods out and allow a mom and pop in. They also just won a fight to rezone a beautiful piece of treed land into a park so developers couldn’t buy it. Local businesses thrive here and it creates a pride and love for the city that is hard to duplicate.

Please reconsider your support of these developers. Don’t get me wrong, I love Trader Joe’s too, but I’m not running a popular blog based on buying local food and owning a local business. Your support may send the message that as long as you like the chain coming in, it’s ok to push local businesses out.

Lastly, I hope you see that this is in no way an attack on you. Though I disagree with this post, the above is said out of respect and concern for beautiful Charlottesville. Please don’t help make it just another cookie cutter city.


43 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 8:01 am

M, I totally hear you. I think creating new developments always have the potential to take away from a city. At my meeting yesterday I learned that despite the big names that have signed up, these developers are trying to bring on as many smaller, creative, local businesses as they can – it’s just hard to get them to sign on so early. (The wine bar is going to be locally owned). The buildings may be new, but that doesn’t mean mom and pops can’t fill them in. They are seeking non-chain restaurants. They have done other projects in DC and Charlotte that reminded me of the Ferry Building in San Francisco – a collection of boutique food shops. I don’t think I would be as excited if it was just going to be another Walmart, Petco, Subway kind of place – not something I would even really care about. But that’s not the vibe they are going for at all. In fact, part of the purpose of the meeting was to see how they could make it more local and community based. What do the locals want to see more of? I definitely stressed unique and locally-owned places, and I’m sure others they are consulting will have similar feedback like yours. [I’m not getting paid by them or anything – just excited to see what is going on.]


44 Ellen August 10, 2012 at 9:11 am

Do remember, that new business brings jobs, although we need to be careful how development is executed.


45 Radha Cole August 10, 2012 at 10:06 am

You say, ” I don’t think I would be as excited if it was just going to be another Walmart, Petco, Subway kind of place – not something I would even really care about,” but what is the difference between Walmart/Petco/Subway and Pottery Barn/IMAX/Trader Joe’s/Pier One/Hyatt complex you’re talking about? They are all chain stores that dominate any “mixed-use” development. Did you know that your community is questioning the planning of this development when it comes to water runoff? ( I just don’t understand how you can split hairs like “Walmart bad, but this development would be great” when you always talk about local products and make fresh/local/real the theme of your website and even your home. And to expand beyond foodl…Pier One’s furniture isn’t made by a Virginia artisan…it’s all made in China.


46 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 10:40 am

Fair enough. My ONLY point here (and guys, I am not promoting this thing like it’s the best project ever to be developed and is the best thing Cville could have happen to it) is that I’m excited for the anchor stores because they are stores I shop at IN ADDITION TO the local stores I love. And from what I have heard, other than the bigger ticket stores already mentioned, they are working as hard as possible to get local ones, which I commend. Blue Ridge Mountain Sports being one, a local wine bar being another.

I’m not working for them or trying to promote this – I just met with him to get some info and offer my opinion.


47 Radha Cole August 10, 2012 at 10:13 am

This development you’re talking about is NOTHING like the SF Ferry Building, which is comprised of food stalls, shops, restaurants and a wine bar run by Bay Area people/farms/etc. There are no chain or big box stores at the San Francisco Ferry Building, so in no way can you compare this Charlottesville, VA shopping center that contains chain anchor tenants, an IMAX movie theatre and a hotel to the Ferry Building, which is a truly unique re-development of a historic building. I lived a 10-minute walk from the Ferry Building for years and saw every day, before re-development and after re-development, so I know what I’m talking about.


48 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 10:36 am

No, no, no I’m not saying this Cville project is at ALL like the Ferry Building, which I have spent many hours in myself. I just said this company has done cool projects like this one I just had to search for: It reminded me of the FB just from the focus on artisan food. My only point is that they are looking for similar gourmet non-chain tenants.


49 M August 10, 2012 at 7:13 pm

Thanks for responding and providing a bit more info.

I didn’t include this in my last comment, because I thought it was getting too long. Now that I think about it, it was silly to leave it out since it’s important to the conversation: our neighborhood fought to keep Whole Foods out and let a local store in, but they lost. However, because of the fight, Whole Foods agreed to some “conditions” that addressed the community’s concerns. Chain’s aren’t all bad, but it’s important to walk the fine line between letting too many in and keeping so many out that an area doesn’t thrive at all.

Charlottesville is a great place with many passionate residents, I hope you all allow in businesses, but on your terms not the developers’. If you ever need inspiration for keeping Charlottesville local-friendly, go take a drive up 95 between Spotsy and Prince William or head down 64 to the beach :)

Thanks again for responding. I appreciated the opportunity to have this discussion.


50 Kiki August 10, 2012 at 7:33 am

p.s. Cannot wait for the new movie theatre!


51 Courtney @ Brussel Sprouts and Beer August 10, 2012 at 8:17 am

Is the okra from your garden? We have some coming up too but don’t ever pick it at the right time. It’s either too firm or too soft. How do you know when it’s just right to pick and eat?


52 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 8:19 am

I have been worried it would be too stalky, but ours has been surprisingly tender. Matt has been picking them on the bigger side, which I would have thought would be harder, but maybe they get more tender with length? That’s my best guess. I don’t know if there’s any other way to tell. Could just be the plants too :(


53 Erin August 22, 2012 at 4:13 pm

You must be lucky! The bigger the okra gets the tougher it usually is.


54 Spice Chicken August 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

Okra + grill = awesome. Did you eat it with ketchup? This never occurred to me, even though I often saute okra with fresh tomatoes and onions. Sometimes I add veggie or turkey sausage, too. And OMG, Ted Allen’s recipe for refrigerator pickles is amazing with okra (and everything else).


55 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

Yep – just like french fries!


56 Wendy August 10, 2012 at 8:31 am

I’m super excited for TJ’s but not so much all the horrible traffic that will result in the area, 29 is already a mess of traffic lights and sopping centers,. Have you tried ashtanga? Its over mas and it’s warm but not as warm as bikram, some awesome instructors too.


57 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 8:34 am

Yeah, hoping the traffic flow is well thought out.

I did a month-long intro to Ashtanga when I first moved here. I liked the studio a lot, but it wasn’t different enough from ACAC to warrant paying for both. I really wish ACAC would just offer a few hot power classes. I’m always shivering in there! (Although I haven’t been in ages other than prenatal… maybe they have changed it). How is Pure Barre going? I hope to go to that whenever the time comes!


58 Diane August 10, 2012 at 11:19 am

I’m stalking the comments here, because I’m really hoping today’s announcement is Trader Joe’s related. (I know I should hope it’s about Baby KERF, but I need some TJs! ;)) I’ve been meaning to try Pure Barre, but was going to wait to do the new client special for an unlimited month when I have more time in September. Have you seen the new Moms stuff at PB? I thought of you when I saw it, but I’m not sure if our local studio does it or how far postpartum would still count as new mom.


59 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 11:49 am

It’s not about TJs or BERF!

And thanks for the PB info!


60 Wendy August 10, 2012 at 5:33 pm

I know, it’s pricey to add an outside member. I’m a member at acac now too, I left UVA and thus my cheap membership! Pure barre is going well so far, my abs are improving and teaching is fun! Come take a class in a few months!


61 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm

Fun! Hope I can soon!


62 KathEats August 10, 2012 at 5:41 pm

[Because I have ZERO abs at the moment :) ]


63 Cait's Plate August 10, 2012 at 10:48 am

I’ve really enjoyed the Olympics this summer too. I don’t know why so much this summer, but it’s definitely more than I have in the past!

And that pizza really is famous. I dream about it!


64 Kristi August 10, 2012 at 11:22 am

We just got a Whole Foods where I live and Trader Joe’s is coming in the months ahead. Only problem is they’re both in very congested commercial areas and the traffic is ridic. My old TJ’s was crowded any time of the day, all week long. Good for them, bad for me!

My husband went to Va. Tech so we’ve spent a lot of time in SW VA. Both Blacksburg and Charlottesville have a similar feel. Bburg got a shopping center like you’re describing and people were up in arms for a while. But in the end it was on the small side, had the village feel with side streets that promoted walking, and had a mix of local and national vendors. Although there was a movie theater, Coldwater Creek, etc. the main draws to the center were a local gift shop, outdoor shop, and several local restaurants. Cville has other awesome examples of development, ie downtown mall, and I doubt the city planners would allow something that didn’t fit with the city’s general feel.


65 TinaD August 20, 2012 at 8:46 am

This development is technically in the county. I live in the county, and the Board of Supervisors is notoriously bad about allowing poorly thought out developments (horrible parking lot design, not enforcing environmental rules, and not having infrastructure in place, resulting in more traffic than the area can handle). As much as like the stores that are coming in, the corner of 29 and Hydraulic is pretty much the worst place this could go.


66 Jenn August 10, 2012 at 2:45 pm

no way! a pottery barn! do not tell my husband ;P


67 Angel7 August 10, 2012 at 5:56 pm

We sooo wish there was a Trader Joe’s near us!!! It is too far from us, but not too frequently we will travel over an hour to get there.


68 Lexi @ You, Me, & A World to See August 10, 2012 at 7:02 pm

Love okra! I can never understand why it gets such a bad rap


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