After teasing Charlotte for what feels like forever, the champagne bar Bubble Lounge finally opened this past weekend.
In addition to serving Dom Perignon by the glass, getting all mad scientist on us by steaming martinis with liquid nitrogen and creating "spherical flavor pearls" that add a "touch of color" to the drinks on the Slim List (that would be your low-calorie cocktails), Bubble will offer a "small but challenging and approachable menu," says operating partner Bourke Floyd. In the kitchen is chef Jason Kerton, an alum of the Culinary Institute of America.
"Challenging and approachable"? I'll say. On Media Day, we sampled a Caprese Napoleon, tomato, mozzarella and basil stacked like the strawberry, vanilla and chocolate ice cream; and a Foie Gras PB&J, foie gras with Muscat grape jelly and almond butter atop toasted brioche; amongst other dishes.
Bubble Lounge is located on the second floor of the EpiCentre, near Suite, and is open daily at 4 p.m.
Oh, and don't be surprised to see a familiar face adorning the walls in decor.
I knew it was only a matter of time before my dad and stepmother, both recent transplants to Charlotte from the Gulf, would drag me out to my first crawfish boil. I could already anticipate the scene - shells flying in the humid outdoor air, sweaty red plastic cups, rolls of paper towel littered about and people with savory debris all over their clothes and faces.
This month, e2 emeril's eatery is hosting all-you-can-eat crawfish boils every Friday for $5 a person. For those of you unaware of what a crawfish boil is, imagine the Southern version of a clam bake - a ton of people get together and boil a combination of heavily seasoned crawfish and other vittles, drink lots of cold beer, gab and enjoy gorging themselves in the Southern outdoors. It's a staple of Gulf and bayou culture.
Funds to Farms, a grant program to fund local food programs that began last January in Durham, will hold its first event in Charlotte this Sunday.
Funds to Farms is the brainchild of Slow Money, a nonprofit that focuses on alternative financing for local food and agriculture projects. Organizations that focus on local food (like farms, restaurants and meal delivery services) are encouraged to apply for the grant to fund their "big idea." Judges then narrow down the eligible farms, ranking each "big idea" on the impact to the business (farm, restaurant, etc.), as well as their commitment to sustainability and sustainable agriculture.
"For $20, you get a great dinner, support these awesome farmers, and learn about all the innovative things they are doing in farming," says Amy Campbell of Slow Money. "We started this event series in conjunction with the Carolina Farm Steward Association, and it went so well that we started getting calls from people all over the state to know how they can get involved."
Three farms were selected to present their ideas at the May 12 event, which will be held at Triple C Brewing Company and catered by Roots Farm Food. These farms are:
- Birdsong Farms
- Cold Water Creek Farms
- Bountiful Harvest Farm
You can read more about the farms and their proposals here.
The farms' proposals are voted on by the event attendees and ranked first through third place. First place will receive the largest winnings. However, the winnings will be determined the night of the event based on the amount of money raised through ticket sales and donations. The first place winner of the Funds to Farm held in Durham last January took home $1,000 in winnings to purchase a a Komo small grain mill, seed cleaner, and seed sorting screens.
What: Funds to Farms Dinner
When: Sunday, May 12, 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
Where: Triple C Brewing Company, 2900 Griffith St.
Cost: $20 for the public, $15 for farmers (limited amount)
When I think of Asheville's culture, I think of my grandmother using such eloquent phrases as, "He hasn't got a pot to piss in." It goes without saying that there are better ways to capture the best of my hometown's multiple worlds from its hippies to its country folk, and a new restaurant coming to Charlotte does just that.
According to WCNC, the popular Asheville restaurant Tupelo Honey Cafe plans to open a new store in Charlotte's South End. The restaurant will be moving into the location where Pewter Rose resided for 25 years before it closed in January.
Tupelo is straight out of the Blue Ridge Mountains and comes with a menu so much country twang and Southern hospitality that you might slip in a few "have mercy's" and "bless your hearts" before the meal is ordered. With its New South approach and mountain roots, it appears that Tupelo embraces the quintessential elements that Asheville has to offer: locally grown food, good old-fashioned Southern grease and a menu with more country clichés than even my grandmother could throw out.
And it's not an Asheville-inspired restaurant without the moonshine, and that they have (the legal kind, of course). Tupelo also offers the best from the other side of Asheville - think hippie-inspired: a menu with a range of gluten-free, soy-free and vegan options.
With six locations (Charlotte will make seven), Tupelo's "fluent in flavor" approach has garnered a lot of popularity for itself. So far, there is no date set for the open yet, other than "the near future," proprietor Steve Frabitore told NBC Charlotte a month ago.
If you're feeling particularly Southern today or just want to see what the buzz is all about, check out Tupelo's website. Just try to read it without a Southern drawl.
*Editor's Note: This event was originally slated for April 27 but has been rescheduled to May 18.
The folks at JJ's Red Hots (located at 1514 East Blvd.) know what makes a good hotdog. During March and April, though, they let a few beer connoisseurs come up with their own creative takes on the classic dog. These creations have alternated being featured on JJ's menu for the past few weeks. On May 18, from 4 p.m.-8 p.m., JJ's customers will choose the best dog at their SpringFest 2013.
The top three selling hot dogs from the past two months will compete against two surprise hotdogs created by JJ's. Customers can purchase tickets to judge the hotdogs and will be granted as many samples as they like to make their choice for best dog.
So far, the three dogs in the lead are:
* The Chips On Your Shoulder Dog, created by Jason Glunt from Salud Beer Shop, featuring pulled pork, slaw, crumbled chips.
* The Put That in Your Pipe Dog, created by Daniel Hartis from Charlotte Beer , featuring smoked cheddar, bacon, chipotle ketchup and red onion.
Sometimes I treat pancakes like a blank canvas. I dump in all kind of things from my pantry and fridge: rolled oats, almond flour, blueberries, nuts, peanut butter. Everything but the kitchen sink ...
But there's something to be said for plain ol' classic pancakes.
Found: Bistro La Bon (1322 Central Ave.)
Ingredients: Tito's vodka, Lillet Rouge, lavender simple syrup, muddled strawberry
Keeping it seasonal is the general ideology behind the craftsmanship of cuisine and cocktails at Bistro La Bon. If a particular fruit isn't available at the farmers market, the bar will whip up a cocktail with what ingredients are available. "If you can't find good strawberries, then you can't have a good strawberry drink," Chef Majid Amoorpour says. Luckily for us, markets are overflowing with berries come the warmer months, and Bistro is seeking them out for its most current featured drink, the Austin Strawberry.
"We definitely wanted to do something that was very much spring, to remind people to come out and enjoy the different side of cocktails again. Fresh fruits and flowers and all that. We've incorporated both into this drink with the fresh strawberries and the lavender," Amoorpour says. Like the cocktail list, the dishes at Bistro La Bon are also ever-evolving, relying on the goods of the season. Amoorpour recommends pairing the Austin Strawberry with the crispy avocado and asparagus appetizer. "The sweet and the spicy play off of each other really well."
Both experienced and aspiring home brewers as well as beer aficionados will gather at NoDa Brewing Company (2229 N. Davidson St.) on Saturday, April 27 for its inaugural Top of the Hop Pro-Am Competition.
(Sure, it's another NoDa Brewing event, but what can we say? They're doing good stuff over there.)
Happening from noon to 10 p.m., Top of the Hop is a home brewers competition. The Best in Show winning beer will be recreated with NoDa Brewing's brewery system and entered into the Great American Beer Festival Pro-Am Competition.
Other awards will be given to:
- King or Queen of Wort
- Steward's Choice
- Most Creative Recipe
- Most Creative Name
- Most Creative Ingredient
Members of Carolina Brewmasters, the Cabarrus Homebrewers Society (Cabrew), and the Iredell Brewers United (IBU) will act as judges and hosts for the event.
This is a great educational opportunity for both aspiring and seasoned homebrewers because of the wealth of homebrewing knowledge that will be shared during the event. Entrance into the competition is currently closed with over 90 brews entered, but the public is welcome to attend.
For more information, call 704-451-1394 or email Todd@NoDaBrewing.com.
If you're trying to find comfort or a glimmer of hope after seeing the tragedy that took place at the Boston Marathon last week, you can look to businesses like NoDa Brewing that pull the community together to offer their support. On the evening of Wednesday, April 24, NoDa Brewing Company, located at 2229 N. Davidson St., will host Beers for Boston to benefit the Be Strong Stay Strong Fund, which was set up to benefit two local runners who were seriously injured by the bomb explosions in Boston.
The event will kick off with the weekly Wednesday run by the NoDa Brewing Run Club, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Putney's End will provide live music, and food will be available from Auto Burger and Fry Guys and King of Pops. "People really like to eat a cheeseburger after they run," says Brian Mister, director of community optimism at NoDa Brewing.
You can support the Be Strong Stay Strong Fund by just showing up for the event and purchasing food and beverages. The following donations will be contributed from the attending vendors:
- 10% of all sales from NoDa Brewing
- 10% of all sales + all tips from Auto Burger and Fry Guys
- 50 cents from each popsicle sold from King of Pops
The fund will also accept cash donations at the event.
The event will be held in the NoDa Brewing parking lot and the band will be on the patio, weather permitting. More than 100 people RSVP'd through the Facebook event page on the first day that the event was announced, so Mister expects to have a huge turnout to support the cause.
The weather is getting more beautiful every single day in Charlotte. And if you're like me, you don't want to spend every warm evening standing over a hot stove preparing dinner. That's where my crockpot comes in. It's probably my very favorite appliance because it practically does all the work of cooking for me.
Here's a delicious and easy recipe I make on evenings when I'd rather be walking my dog or sipping a beer in my backyard. Just start this easy recipe in the morning or on your lunch break (instructions are provided for both) and you can spend the evening doing whatever you want.
I use a Vitamix to blend my veggies. It does a fantastic job making a…
There is also Kai's Kookies and More which has some of the best cakes, cupcakes…
This recipe actually calls for 2 whole sticks of butter, not half sticks. Cooking times…
Thanks for including NoDa Brewing's Woody and Wilcox IPA! I might also mention that brewery's…
I tried this today but accidentally used all-purpose flour, rather than cake. I'm no baking…