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Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Charlotte chefs hit the road to help flood victims

Posted By on Tue, Oct 6, 2015 at 8:16 AM

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Following the devastating floods wreaking havoc on our neighbors to the south, the Piedmont Culinary Guild (PCG) is doing what they do best—feeding people. The local nonprofit collaboration of chefs, farmers and other food artisans is sending Passion8's Luca Annunziata, along with Gregory Collier of Rock Hill's The Yolk Cafe and Tapas 51's Aaron Rivera to South Carolina with hundreds of pounds of food and supplies donated by area farmers and chefs. While the bus is already loaded and ready to roll, you can still lend a helping hand by donating through the PCG's website.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Eat this: Korean Fried Chicken at Kindred Restaurant

Posted By on Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 8:00 AM

There are a good number of reasons why Kindred Restaurant in Davidson was recently named to Bon Appetit’s 2015 list of 50 Best New Restaurants in America.

Korean Fried Chicken
  • Korean Fried Chicken

The ambience and warmth of the interior, reflective of its history as a century-old pharmacy, is one. The attentive servers and expert bar staff are another.

Chef Joe Kindred’s intense focus and attention to detail are notable while Katy Kindred’s front of house wizardry and wine expertise add to the magic, too.

Yet, there is something else at hand, a key element that registers almost completely in the subconscious– nostalgia, that thing that stirs the memory and transports one to their happy place. In this case, the McDonald’s drive-thru window.
Yes, Joe Kindred has found a way to make his Korean Fried Chicken taste like a McNugget. Of course, with a few flourishes. The dish, which can be found on Kindred’s dinner menu, is made with chicken thighs that are dredged and fried to an uncanny science.


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Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Eat This: Border springs lamb ribs at Bonterra

Posted By on Tue, Jun 23, 2015 at 12:55 PM

In the land where pork barbecue is practically a birth rite and hamburgers come a dime a dozen, it’s refreshing to see other proteins earn space on local menus. At Bonterra, Chef Blake Hartwick and team are delighting diners with a not-often-seen cut of lamb. Ribs. Not racks, ribs.
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Inside this church turned restaurant off East Boulevard, the lamb rib appetizer might just make you see God.

Hartwick isn’t peddling your average Colorado lamb or even Australian racks. He’s working with Border Springs Farm, a small scale operation just across the North Carolina border in Patrick Springs, Virginia.

Craig Rogers, known to his devout followers as “The Shepherd” is producing some of the finest pasture-raised lamb on the market thanks to his keen understanding of grass and his hard working border collies.

Border Springs lamb feasts on a diet of high sugar grasses, perennial rye and red and white clover grass. The animals possess a much milder flavor than the average lamb product which can often hijack the palate with the taste of harsh mutton.

Hartwick takes a quarter rack of ribs and coats them in a dry rub (brown sugar, smoked paprika, cinnamon, red pepper, thyme, oregano, garlic and smoked sea salt) for 24 hours, which produces a sweet heat that’s down to caramelize when it hits a hot wood-fired grill.

Next, the ribs are smoked over oak and hickory wood before hitting the grill to seal the deal.

Hartwick brushes a fortified Cheerwine barbecue sauce on each rib and adds a schmear of tangy Alabama white sauce along with pickled onions and cucumbers to finish the dish.

Disregard the white tablecloths, tuck your napkin ‘round your neck and throw caution to the wind.

These ribs can only be eaten with your hands and reckless abandon. The rib is a layered mix of succulent, flavorful fat and tender meat with enough chew to invoke your primal tendencies.

You will want to tear every last morsel from the bone, caveman style, while chasing the richness of each bite with the cutting acidity of the pickle.

Don’t worry what that table next you is thinking as you sit in contentment with a glossy sheen lingering on your lips.
If they didn’t order the lamb ribs this time, they’ll wish they had.

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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Checking in at Heist Brewery

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2015 at 1:06 PM

Editor's Note: Our beer writer is embarking on a self-imposed Charlotte-area brewery tour, visiting one a month. Here's his latest report.

Some people enjoy their Sunday Funday on a lake, by the pool or simply escaping the heat in an air­conditioned refuge. I opted for a fourth, dumber option —­ bike ride. At the end of that mistake, I needed a pick­-me-­up that brewery visits often provide. Sounds like a Heist kind of night.

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Heist Brewery (2909 N. Davidson Street) opened in September of 2012 in the NoDa neighborhood, just blocks from brewing compatriots Birdsong & NoDa. It’s a brewpub, meaning there’s a full food menu accompanying their beer & cocktail offerings.


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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Phat Burrito expand hours; Amelie's opens new shop

Posted By on Tue, Jun 2, 2015 at 1:19 PM

Everyone always has something to bitch and moan about. One place isn't open "early enough," while others are "too far" to drive to. So, here's to hoping this news inspires you to appreciate the little things (which can also be big things - especially if you're a fan of burritos and pastries!).

Forget Taco Bell, because Phat Burrito is now open for breakfast. The long time South End location is opening shop at 7 a.m. to serve its giant burritos - now with optional stuffings of scrambled eggs, sausage and more. Set your alarms and do what you need to do to make this an extra morning stop. Phat Burrito, 1537 Camden Road. 704-332-7428. 

Amelie's opened its newest location in Carmel Commons on Saturday. This comes after expansions to Rock Hill, SC and Atlanta, GA. If NoDa and Uptown aren't in the territory you frequent, here's to hoping this sweet new spot at the intersection of Pineville-Matthews Road and Carmel Road is. And remember to say "Merci!"Amelie's Carmel Commons, 7715 Pineville-Matthews Road, Suite 34B. 704-376-1782.

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Thursday, May 21, 2015

Eat This: Poppy’s Bagel with Lox and Cream Cheese

Posted on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 3:30 PM

Word travels fast about good food. When it comes to bagels in Charlotte, the name that kept coming up was Poppy’s. Located at the harried intersection of Providence Road and South Sharon Amity Road, Poppy’s Bagels and More is doing true New York-style bagels, sandwiches, soups and deli-style sides.

It’s owned by Long Island native Ron Rippner, who named the place after his father. Well, his father’s nickname. Like many New Yorkers, Rippner couldn’t find a “proper” bagel when he first moved here, so he took to replicating it himself.

Of course, if I’m hitting up the bagel shop, there’s only one thing to order — an everything bagel with lox and cream cheese all the way ($6.99). That is, with lettuce, tomato, onion and capers.

KEIA MASTRIANNI
  • Keia Mastrianni

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HB-625 rides again - sorta

Posted By on Thu, May 21, 2015 at 1:26 PM

Oh Politics, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Just last month, there was a flurry of activity from craft brewers across the state, struggling to keep two bills on life support. Those two bills died in committee along with eight others; they weren’t even read.

The more contentious of the two, House Bill 278, was to raise the self-distribution limit for local breweries. It found itself square in the crosshairs of a campaign fronted by the North Carolina Beer & Wine Wholesalers Association, which has long contended that raising the limit was “a no-fly zone.”

HB-625 was also drawn into this crusade; while auspiciously a bill that would allow for Contract Brewing to occur at a North Carolina-based brewery, it did contain language that addressed the self-distribution cap. Ultimately, the passage that exempted a brewery’s tap room sales from the self-distribution limit led directly to its demise.

Really quick Contract Brewer definition, straight from the Brewers Association: “a business that hires another brewery to produce its beer. The contract brewing company is often responsible for recipe development and handles the marketing, sales and distribution of the beer.”

Today, the language of HB-625 that didn’t ruffle the feathers of wholesalers is finding new life: inserted as part of HB-909 as that bill moved through the Senate’s Commerce committee. HB-909 originated as a bill that would allow for sales of “antique spirituous liquor,” products that have not been in production in the last 20 years. Now, original 2-pages-and-change bill has grown to a solid 12, chock full of other goodies.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

What's hoppening at Unknown?

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2015 at 2:16 PM

Editor's Note: Our beer writer is embarking on a self-imposed Charlotte-area brewery tour, visiting one a month. Here's his latest report.

Most of the time when I plan visit a brewery for these reports, it's either at the end of the month and I'm running out of time, or it's just a regular day and I felt like going. There's never a raison d'etre for my field trips until now: Unknown Brewing (1327 S. Mint St. in South End) was to hold its inaugural Improper Glassware Night today, and I just couldn't pass up the opportunity.

A bit about the theme, before I jump headfirst into the operation and the offerings: Bring in the craziest thing you can come up with that will hold liquid, and they'll fill it (up to 24 ounces), with a free growler prize going to the contest's winner. Entries so far have ranged broadly, from the pedestrian (liquid measuring cup), nerdy (erlenmeyer flask), sacrilegious (OMB stein) and stomach­-turning (a Fleshlight: "I swear it's been bleached first").

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Friday, April 24, 2015

Craft brewers in the crosshairs of regional distributors

Posted By on Fri, Apr 24, 2015 at 11:44 AM

As detailed in my previous writing, a “grassroots” campaign of lies and deceit has begun, and North Carolina’s homegrown craft brewers are in its crosshairs. A regional distributor has launched a fight against two bills working through the N.C. General Assembly (H278 and H625) that would allow for continued expansion and success for homegrown brewing operations.

If you’re fuzzy on the background of this dire situation, please take a moment to get caught up. Once you have the appropriate amount of outrage over this smear campaign, I’ll tell you why they’re doing it.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

This petition against brewery law/distribution revisions is misleading

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 2:27 PM

“North Carolina beer jobs are under attack! Now, if you’ll just sign this petition, we promise to continue misleading you.”

That’s a fair summation of a website I was recently steered toward, the proactive-sounding NCBeerJobs.com. Look, the domain even contains things I’m for: North Carolina, beer and jobs! How could this possibly be a bad thing? It warns about two bills moving through the N.C. General Assembly that are “threatening the livelihood of 1000’s of North Carolina workers.” When I view this site on a mobile device, the petition is conveniently at the top, so I don’t even have to read through a bunch of troublesome words to blindly commit to a cause.

Seriously, go check this website out; I’ll wait. All I ask is that you finish this piece before you sign. I’ll try to entertain you with the truth as I expose this website for the deceitful, misleading, fear-mongering piece of skewed garbage that it is.

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