Always ready to go brunching, I'm happy to announce there is a new brunch spot for you to check out.
Bask on Seaboard at the N.C. Music Factory is now open for Sunday brunch service. With an outdoor patio, it's a great place to catch some rays and grab a casual bite with friends.
From 11 am to 3 pm, they are serving up omlettes, an assortment of benedicts on brioche toast, smoked salmon on potato pancakes, orange french toast, and more. All brunch entrees come with your choice of side (homefries, baked muffin, grits, bacon, sausage or fresh fruit).
For my entree, I tried the potato pancakes ($8). The dish consisted of three mashed potato-like fried cakes topped with smoked salmon and a chive, dill cream. They don't skimp on the fruit the side of fruit I was served consisted of a nice mix of melon, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.
As for the other brunch dishes at the table, they were well presented and pretty tasty. While you're there try one of their sanguine hand-squeezed blood orange mimosas.
Bask Brunch, 2/2/7/11
Bask on Seaboard
1000 Seaboard Street
Suite S 1
Sharlotte, NC 28206
East Boulevard Bar & Grill is hosting a four-course beer dinner at 6 pm on Tuesday, March 1, to benefit National Multiple Sclerosis Society. The cost is $40 per person.
First course: Barbecued Popcorn Shrimp over a stone ground grit cake with crisp sweet onions. Paired with Bell's Two-Hearted Ale.
Second course: Lemon Chicken Velouté with jalapeño cornbread croutons. Paired with Victory Prima Pilsner.
Third course: Beer Braised (Founder's Porter) Short Ribs with roasted root vegetables and new potatoes finished with a fresh sage demi-glace. Paired with Highland Gaelic Ale.
Fourth course: Caramel Walnut Banana Pudding with homemade vanilla wafers. Paired with New Holland Dragon's Milk Oak Barrel Ale.
Advanced Reservations Required. To make reservations: In person at the bar or call 704-332-2414.
East Boulevard Bar & Grill
1315 East Boulevard, Suite 130
Charlotte, NC 28203
This roast chicken recipe is the easiest thing I've probably ever made, and it's probably one of the tastiest dinners to have ever come out of my oven.
Thomas Keller of the famous restaurant French Laundry in Yountville, CA choses his own roast chicken to be included as part of his "last meal" in the book "My Last Supper: 50 Great Chefs And Their Final Meals: Portraits, Interviews, And Recipes."
I can understand why. The chicken comes out with perfectly crisped skin and juicy, flavorful meat.
What's ridiculous is that this roast chicken recipe can't possibly be any easier. You take the chicken, wash it, dry it, truss it (if it's not already trussed), sprinkle it with salt and pepper, throw it in the oven, add some thyme, and voila. Done.
I served it with some sauteed green beans and roasted red potatoes.
Side note: While washing the dishes after dinner, I found my dining companion licking (yes, licking) the chicken-juice-covered cutting board when he thought no one was looking ... I guess the chicken is that good.
Chipotle Mexican Grill is offering a special coupon of Buy 1, Get 1 Free Burrito, Burrito Bowl, Taco, or Salad.
To get the coupon, just click through and watch the 90 second video. The coupon is valid through 3/4/2011. One offer per customer.
Chick-fil-A and Heinz want to know: Do you dip or do you squeeze?
... your ketchup, that is.
In celebration of Heinz's new "Dip & Squeeze" ketchup packaging, which allows people to either dip into it or squeeze it out, the two companies are partnering together to create a national FREE FryDay on Friday, March 4, at Chick-Fil-A restaurants.
Get a free medium order of waffle fries, by just asking for Heinz Dip & Squeeze and the Free FryDay promotion between the hours of 2 and 4 pm. Limit one per customer.
The Diamond in Plaza-Midwood opened last Friday, Feb. 18, and it's drawing in big crowds. When I stopped by Wednesday evening, there was a 30 minute wait at 5:50 pm. By the time I left at 7:30, the line of people waiting had grown even longer.
The look: Walls are lined with kitchy blue wallpaper with a kitchen utensils print, a jukebox sits in a little nook near the back, and a 70s-style starburst chandelier hangs in the middle of the restaurant. The blue plastic booths were tightly packed with both older folks and families with kids alike.
On the menu: Salads, lots of Southern veggies and sides, burgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, Spanakopita, meatloaf, fried chicken, sandwiches, pulled pork, breakfast all day, and more.
Items I'd order again: The deep-fried pork shanks know as "Pig Wings," served with BBQ sauce and honey mustard, were winners at the table. Hushpuppies were nice and crunchy and the serving size was generous. The fried corn was juicy, and the mac and cheese was, well, cheesy.
Things I'd avoid next time: The vegan Meatless Loaf. The vegetable-filled "meatloaf" was strangely sour-tasting. The waitress confirmed that the recipe wasn't made quite right that night and was too heavy on the vinegar. The cornbread was dry and flavorless, and the biscuits were disappointingly dry as well.
By 6 pm, many menu items were already sold out, so be prepared with backup options when you place your order. The restaurant is new though, so they're still working out the kinks.
Here are a few photos of my dinner at The Diamond:
The Diamond, 2/23/11
This Roasted Red Pepper and Eggplant Soup recipe comes from Epicurious.com. It's meat-free and healthy.
I omitted the butter and the soup turned out just fine. To make it a meal, I added a package of whole wheat cheese tortellini for some protein.
The only inconvenience in making this soup was the prep work involved roasting eggplants, which takes 45 minutes, and char-grilling and peeling red peppers... I suck at peeling those peppers.
To roast and peel red peppers, you are supposed to char them over a gas burner, then place them in a brown bag for 10 minutes to steam, which causes the skin come right off. That didn't work so well for me ... by the time I was finished, I had little black pieces of charred pepper under every fingernail from picking off the skin bit by bit. Awesome.
I guess I'll try charring my peppers so they are completely black next time I read online that you gotta get them really charred and then place them on a cutting board with a glass bowl inverted over them for a few minutes. If you want to avoid roasting your own peppers, you can always buy them jarred at the grocery store (they're not cheap though).
Despite the pepper incident, I'd definitely make this soup again. It's creamy, slightly sweet, nutty, and with the tortellini, it's a perfect lunch or light dinner.
Looks like March is going to be one boozy month. Between all the beer dinners and St. Patrick's Day, people are going to be in a perpetual hangover state.
Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina at the EpiCentre just announced they will be hosting their first seasonal beer dinner on Wednesday, March 9 at 6:30 pm. The cost is $40 per person.
The beer dinner will feature five courses paired with five different imported Mexican beers from Crown Imports.
First course - Passed hors doeuvres: mango guacamole with fresh corn tortilla chips, red chile garlic popcorn, lamb and queso fresco empanadas with cherry chipotle BBQ, green chile lime peanuts and poblano pesto jumbo shrimp with cilantro dipping sauce. Paired with Corona Extra and Corona Light.
Second course - A roasted beet and avocado salad, paired with Modelo Especial.
Third course - Shrimp and coconut ceviche, paired with Pacifico.
Fourth course - Red chile mole braised chicken, paired with Victoria.
Fifth course - Specialty churros with two dipping sauces, ancho chocolate and dulche de leche, paired with Negra Modelo.
Call Vida at 704-971-VIDA (8432) to make reservations.
Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina
210 East Trade Street, Suite 104A
Charlotte, NC 28202
The Cotswold restaurant will be hosting three special events for Beer Week:
Sunday, March 13: Collaboration Beer Dinner with Heavy Seas Brewery and Terripan Brewery.
The event will feature a full dinner, ten beers and reception starting at 6 p.m. Service industry professionals that make a reservation by Tuesday, March 1 will receive 10% off the $45 dinner. The menu is as follows:
First course - Mushrooms Bisque
Second course - B.L.T. salad with hot bacon dressing
Third course - Roast with veggies and wild rice
Fourth course - Key Lime Crème Brulee
Thursday, March 17: St. Patrick's Day corned beef and cabbage and with Catawba Valley Brewing.
Saturday, March 19: New Belgium Release Party starting at 4 p.m.
The Pizza Peel & Tap Room
4422 Colwick Road
Charlotte, NC 28211-2312
The N.C. Music Factory has been busy lately churning out new restaurants.
Within the past year they've opened Bask on Seaboard, a "Charleston-like" restaurant serving up food with Southern flare, The Saloon (previously Black Bear Saloon), and Mattie's Diner with burgers, shakes, and breakfast.
If you're looking for some live music to go with your food, The Saloon has been upgraded with a new stage, a new sound and light system and has a long line-up of bands coming. Blue Dogs will be playing this Friday, the Belmont Playboys CD Release party is March 12, and Drivin n Cryin is coming March 25.
There's a lot more coming too. Look forward to VBGB Beer Hall and Garden, scheduled to open this spring, and word on the street is that an upscale restaurant is scheduled to open this summer in the spot across from Bask.
In non-restaurant news, The Comedy Zone will be opening this spring at the Factory, too.
As always, parking at the Factory is free. While you're here, come say hello... the Factory is also home to Creative Loafing's office.
Follow the commotion at the Factory on Twitter:
N.C. Music Factory: @ncmusicfactory
Bask on Seaboard: @baskonseaboard
Mattie's Diner: @mattiesdiner
Where can we find more information on next years event?
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