Paco's Tacos and Tequila is now open in SouthPark where Manzetti's used to be.
The Tex-Mex restaurant, brought to you by the same group that runs Mama Ricotta's, Big Daddy's Burger Bar, Cantina 1511, has a western feel with bullet-hole studded stools, embossed metal tiles, wood furniture, and bull heads mounted on the wall.
Service was slightly sloppy with a server who greeted our table with a too-cool-for-you "wassup." Getting a salad without the dressing added took a few frustrating attempts. The same dressed salad was brought back to me and tried to be passed off as a new undressed salad. Seeing as the restaurant just opened though, I should give them some leeway.
Skip it: Tortilla Soup. Thin, watery soup was chock full of soggy tortilla strips ... and only one piece of chicken.
Get it: Paco's Taco with beef brisket. All the tacos seemed to be great. Also, the Tres Leches cake. It was a huge honking piece of cake topped with warm, toasted meringue frosting piped on top.
All Dilworth Coffee shop locations will be selling cups of coffee for 8 cents on Friday morning (Oct. 1).
Also, if you donate $5 to help fund local mammograms, Dilworth Coffee will give you a free latte in all shops Oct. 1 - Oct. 8.
Don't forget that Noodles & Company is hosting an all-day 25% benefit fundraiser today (Tuesday, Sept. 28) for Slow Food Charlotte at The Arboretum and South End restaurants.
Funds raised at the benefit will help create and support school garden programs in Mecklenburg County.
In continuation of the celebration of Slow Food, Noodles & Company has given me a few packets of seeds to give away to you guys. I also have some coupons good for a free bowl of noodles to give away.
Email me at email@example.com to win. Include:
1. In the subject line, either put "seeds" or "noodles," depending on which goody you'd like to win. Only one email per person please.
2. Your address (so I can mail you your prize).
3. Your promise to deliver fresh goodies to my doorstep once your grow your seeds. *
Winners will be selected randomly. Thanks!
* Just kidding.
There's nothing better than receiving some guilty tidbit treat after just spending a lunch hour at the gym. Yes!
Look what CL sales exec Jan Caldwell just gave me:
It's a Peanut Butter Fudge Brownie with White Chocolate Chips from Davidson Chocolate Co.
Davidson Chocolate Co. just opened a store in Dilworth, next to Dilworth Coffee in the Harris Teeter shopping area off of East Boulevard and Kenilworth. I've been meaning to go check it out for awhile.
I'll go soon, but in the meantime, it's pretty awesome that it gets delivered to me.
Have you been yet?
My donut pan arrived!
Be ready for some baked donut recipes to come ...
Our CL Operations Editor Kim Lawson celebrated her birthday yesterday sans cake. Whaaaaaaat? That's unacceptable!
Today we are celebrating with cupcakes in the office. The birthday girl requested chocolate cupcakes, so here we have chocolate cupcakes filled with creamy ganache, and topped with a girly pink buttercream frosting. The chocolate cupcake recipe is the same one I used for the Mint Oreo Cupcakes I made back in June.
To pipe the flower-like pattern of frosting, I used a Wilton teardrop tip.
* Warning: This may be the ugliest food I've ever made for this blog.
After discovering Lara Bars a few days ago, I've been obsessed. Most of the Lara Bars only have three ingredients or so and contain no preservatives. And they are gluten free. It's amazing!
Unlike other energy bars that try to pass themselves off as "all natural" and "healthy," these don't contain those ingredients that you can't pronounce, added sugar, or grain fillers. They definitely have that "healthy" taste, but if you like that kind of food, you'll like these bars. Each has roughly 200 calories.
The only ingredients listed for the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Lara Bar are dates, cashews, and chocolate chips (yes, I know, chocolate chips do contain more ingredients within).
At $1.29 a pop from Trader Joe's, these bars aren't cheap. But with only 3 ingredients, how hard could it be to make yourself? I went on a mission to make my own.
I researched homemade Lara Bars on other blogs and came up with my own conglomeration. It took me two tries though. Who knew dates would be so hard to find? On my first attempt, I tried using prunes instead of dates because I was too lazy to search for dates. Big mistake. The bars turned out pretty nasty. Think prune juice. (See photo below)
For my second attempt, off to Trader Joe's I went in search of dates. Their Medjool dates cost $4.49 per 16 oz. package and can be found in the "wet grocery" section.
Here's my second attempt:
Much better! I split the dough into two batches and added two blocks of chopped dark chocolate to one, to make the Chocolate Chip Cooke Dough flavor bar. The plain dough tastes like the Cashew Cookie bar.
To form each bar, I weighed out 1.75 oz of dough and patted it between plastic wrap.
I've crunched the numbers and figured out each bar has about 224 calories (without chocolate). It's not low cal, but it's it's got healthy fats and will give you energy. Now I've got a stash of bars in my fridge ready to go whenever I am.
Zoë's Kitchen, located in Metropolitan shopping area, has been open for 10 months now and I was finally able to stop in recently and sample a smorgasbord of all their food.
The casual restaurant chain from Birmingham, AL, offers fresh foods with Mediterranean flair which are delivered to your table fast. It's definitely not fast food though.
You'll find lots of healthy options including grilled shrimp, greek salads, salmon kabobs, and lean turkey pita.
One of my favorite dishes was the Chicken Salad and Fruit Plate. Their chicken salad doesn't taste mayo heavy and the fruit salad with red grapes, oranges, Granny Smith apples, cantaloupe and watermelon compliments it well. Placed on a bed of lettuce and with few pita points, it makes a refreshing meal.
For dessert, try their Yaya's Hand Made Chocolate Cake. It probably doesn't fall into the "healthy" category, but it's delicious.
Take a look at what they've got:
The funky paintings? Those were done by children. Zoë's Kitchen is currently working on a seasonal artwork program that invites children to create works of art that are displayed in the restaurant. The artwork is available to the public with a minimum donation of $20. Zoë's contributes 100% of the proceeds from sale of the artwork to the school or organization.
1055 Metropolitan Ave
Charlotte, NC 28204
Visit a Noodles & Company restaurant next Tuesday to help out school gardens. See the press release below.
Noodles & Company is hosting an all-day 25% benefit fundraiser on Tuesday, Sept. 28 for Slow Food Charlotte at The Arboretum and South End restaurants.
Funds raised at the benefit will help create and support school garden programs in Mecklenburg County. The schools receiving these funds include Shamrock Elementary, Sterling Elementary, and Friendship Trays Garden (maintained by the Community Culinary School of Charlotte).
As part of the 15 North Roadside Kitchen mission, the restaurant is constantly looking for inspiration from guests in order to create new dishes.
"Tell us your favorite dish, give us your story and we'll make it better than you remember," says Executive Chef and Owner Brett McKee.
The restaurant is now taking this idea and running a "Food Memory Contest." Winners will win a free dinner for four, and get their dishes recreated by 15 North's chef. The dish will also be the featured special for the weekend. To enter the contest, submit your food memories to 15 North's facebook page. Each week a winner will be chosen on Wednesday. Good luck!
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