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Friday, April 29, 2011

VBGB beer garden now open

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 11:18 AM

Located in the the NC Music Factory (in the back, across from the big parking lot and next to the amphitheater) is Charlotte's new beer garden VBGB, which had a soft opening last weekend.

The bar inside has a neat ice rail to keep your beers cold, both the interior and outside areas are full of long communal-style picnic tables, beers come in four sizes, and both food and beer are ordered and paid for at the bars/windows.

With a multitude of beers on tap, you could get dizzy from reading the beer menu they have posted above the bar. They also offer wine, too.

The food items offered at the food window include pretzels with beer cheese sauce, thick hot dogs with sauerkraut, brats on pretzel rolls, sweet potato fries and honey mustard sauce, chicken wings in Dinosaur sauce, and more. My favorites were the sweet potato fries (the crunchiest I've had in town) with the sweet stone-ground honey mustard sauce, and the pretzel (a bit less dense than traditional German pretzels, but not your street vendor style  pretzel either).

Take a look around:

VBGB, 4/28/11
VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11 VBGB, 4/28/11

VBGB, 4/28/11

By Priscilla Tsai

Click to View 22 slides

In other beer garden news, the Biergarten at the EpiCentre is hosting a grand opening party today and tomorrow (April 29 and 30). For more info, visit

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Photos: Energy Cafe

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2011 at 3:04 PM

Health-conscious people who like check out the fat and calorie content of their food will appreciate the fact that Energy Cafe lists nutrition facts for all their items.

I stopped by Energy Cafe for lunch the other day and was greeted by the glow of green lights embedded in the walls and semi-translucent tables. The cafe, with two locations in Uptown Charlotte, offers "healthy fast food."

Items on the menu include smoothies, fuel bars, breakfast wraps, salads, sandwiches and soups. According to their menu, all their sandwiches are made from as many organic and local ingredients as possible.

My Towering Turkey & Cheddar sandwich on honey oat bran bread was filled with low-sodium turkey, low-fat cheddar, spinach, tomato, cucumbers, and carrots. The sandwich was big and filling, and while not all that exciting, it was a healthier lunch than I could probably find at other lunch spots. Price tag: $6.95. Calories: 338 grams.

The Blueberry Almond fuel bar was just eh. It had the texture of a muffin, but the shape of a flattened brownie. The flavor wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. I tossed it after a couple bites. Price tag: $2.50. Calories: 186 grams.

Energy Cafe, 4/27/11
Energy Cafe, 4/27/11 Energy Cafe, 4/27/11 Energy Cafe, 4/27/11 Energy Cafe, 4/27/11 Energy Cafe, 4/27/11 Energy Cafe, 4/27/11

Energy Cafe, 4/27/11

By Priscilla Tsai

Click to View 7 slides

Energy Cafe Charlotte

Bank of America Plaza

101. S. Tryon St.

Suite 1

Charlotte, NC 28280


Energy Cafe Charlotte

Duke Energy Center

550 S. Tryon Ste 120

Charlotte, NC 28202


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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

BeerAdvocate in Charlotte May 11

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 2:50 PM


Brothers Jason and Todd Alström, the founders of BeerAdvocate, are making a stop in Charlotte on May 11 and 12 to sample local beers and attend Olde Mecklenburg Brewery's Captain James Jack Pilsner Release Party (read more about the party here).

The tentative schedule for their Charlotte visit is as follows. Drop in at any of the locations to have a chat with them.

Wednesday, May 11:



Quick stop at Brawley's

Mac's (South Blvd)

2:00 - 3:30pm



Revolution Pizza


Late night will probably be Dandelion Market & Rock Bottom.

Thursday May 12:

Taco Mac




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Rice Peepsie Treats

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 2:04 PM

... Or is it Peeps Krispie Treats? Or Rice Krispie Peeps?

Anyway, I murdered some Peeps to make this recipe.


I creamated Peeps marshmallows left over from Easter and reincarnated them as Rice Peepsie Treats. I followed the original Rice Krispie Treats recipe on the back of the cereal box, but subbed in my yellow friends for some of the marshmallows. (Since I only had two packages of Peeps (10 total), I had to use some plain marshmallows, too.)


I had originally wanted different colored Peeps to make a rainbow-colored mish-mash, but since I only had yellow ones, I added some drops of food coloring to the marshmallows to make my technicolored Rice Peepsie Treats.

These are definitely better than plain Rice Krispie Treats. Anything rainbow-colored tastes better, right?


Continue reading »

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April 28: Taste of Time @ Levine Museum of the New South

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Always a good time filled with spectacular food displays and tasty fare, the Levine Museum of the New South's annual "Taste" event will be held tomorrow, April 28. This year the event is called "Taste of Time."

To see photos from the event from previous years, click here and here.

Tickets are $125 for non-members and $100 for members. See the flyer below for more info.


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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

TGIF party with wine tastings and tapas

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 2:46 PM

Newcomer's group Staying Ahead Carolina is hosting a complimentary wine tasting, tapas, and a TGIF party at The Wooden Vine uptown this Friday, April, 29.

Stop by between 6 and 8:30 pm to get in on the fun.

RSVP via email to

The Wooden Vine

231 North Tryon St.

Charlotte, NC 28202

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Friday, April 22, 2011

Photos from Petit Philippe

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 2:04 PM

Petit Philippe offers two of a woman's favorite things – wine and chocolate. (It's BYOMan and Diamonds, I guess.) The Myers Park store is both a wine tasting room and a confections store – great for sampling flights of wine paired with chocolate, and also for hosting private events and parties.

Opened by a husband-wife team, the shop has a nice wine selection overseen by Mark Meissner, and a line of in-house produced artisan chocolates and confections created by Casey Hickey.

New items offered right now include some special Easter confections like Rice Krispie treats shaped as eggs and bunnies, homemade marshmallow Peeps, and beautiful Easter-egg shaped chocolates. Hop to it before they're all gone. I've heard they are flying off shelves.

Their new sophisticated fruit jelly candies "pate du fruits" are delicious as well. You should try those, too, while you are there.

Also, right now they have a 30 pound chocolate egg on display as well as other chocolate sculptures.

Petit Philippe, 4/21/11
Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11 Petit Philippe, 4/21/11

Petit Philippe, 4/21/11

By Priscilla Tsai

Click to View 20 slides

Petit Philippe

2820 Selwyn Avenue #160

Monday - Thursday 11 am - 8 pm

Friday - Saturday 11 am - 9 pm

Sunday 1 - 6 pm


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Easter Caramel Popcorn

Posted By on Fri, Apr 22, 2011 at 10:18 AM

I've really overdone it this time. Oopsie daisy.

I've created a giant pastel-colored sugar monstrosity that contains ingredients that should probably be kept a secret. This crackcorn, I mean popcorn, needs to be pawned off ASAP. (Thanks, co-workers, for sharing this guilty pleasure with me.)

I first laid eyes on this caramel popcorn recipe while perusing It was just so cute with the pretty colors, the sprinkles, the white chocolate drizzle, I couldn't stop thinking about it for days.

So I just gave it and made the darn thing ... with one cup of butter, two cups of brown sugar and everything else.



The recipe comes from the blog "Heather Cristo Cooks." She does a great job photographing the entire process. Check out her blog for step-by-step photos.

You could wrap the Easter Caramel Popcorn in little cellophane bags and tie them up with ribbons to make cute Easter treats for kids. (Hey, a little popcorn is a lot healthier than a giant chocolate rabbit, right?)

Tips: I used a bag of microwave popcorn instead of popping my own from scratch, which made it a snap to make. Also, you might want to use a large rimmed cookie sheet or perhaps two sheets because the caramel tends to bubble up and overflow over the edges while baking. To get my finished popcorn to crisp up, I stored it in the fridge.

Continue reading »

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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Photos: Luna's Living Kitchen

Posted By on Thu, Apr 21, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Totally crunchy granola, but totally delicious is Luna's Living Kitchen, located in Atherton Mills in South End.

As an eat-everything omnivore who is wary of anything labeled "vegetarian," "vegan" or "raw," I was pleasantly surprised by Luna, which specializes in vegan and raw foods (all foods served are not necessarily both vegan and raw – some are baked). How could anything without meat, warmth, or butter/milk/cheese be delicious? Luna's showed me how.

I was expecting bird-like food of dried fruits and crunchy nuts and seeds, perhaps some bland salsa-like creations. What I got was hearty fare with complex flavors and textures.

Upon entering, savory scents of tomatoes and herbs welcome you in. The restaurant is casual, you order and pay at the counter, and the food is brought to you at your table. On the menu are smoothies, juices, salads of local greens and veggies, and entrees like the Sprouted Quinoa-Kamut Veggie Burger, Lunasagna (layers of zucchini noodles served with sun-dried tomato sauce, spinach, Crimini mushrooms and green cashew cheese), and Mystical Mushroom Spaghetti.

The bread slices served with the hummus plate were warm and studded with cranberries and walnuts. The two entrees I tasted at dinner were both beautifully presented and served with a fresh butter lettuce salad. The quinoa veggie burger was not raw, but baked. Well-spiced, the burger was held between two slices of whole-grain bread with a spread of hummus and a slice of tomato. Not sure what the green sauce dolloped atop the burger consisted of, but it was bright and flavorful.

The Lunasagna made with zucchini noodles and no cheese was also a tasty surprise. Who new non-dairy "cheese" made of green cashews could taste so flavorful and smooth? I didn't miss the traditional cheese or pasta noodles at all. Since the entree was raw (not cooked in any way), it came out cold/room temperature, which didn't seem to affect the lasagna experience any.

Unsure how satisfied I would be after eating a veggie-only meal, I was still a happy, and full, camper many hours after dinner.

Luna, 4/20/11
Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11 Luna, 4/20/11

Luna, 4/20/11

By Priscilla Tsai

Click to View 13 slides

Luna's Living Kitchen

2102 South Boulevard., Suite 150

Charlotte, NC 28203

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Monday, April 18, 2011

Have a Mexican Easter at Vida

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2011 at 11:05 AM

Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina will be offering an Easter buffet from 11 am to 7 pm on Sunday, April 24.

The Mexican-inspired spread will feature over two dozen items, including breakfast items (smoked salmon eggs benedict with poblano hollandaise and egg taco with pico de gallo), as well as entree-type items (chipotle rubbed prime rib, mole chicken breast, tamarind glazed pork loin with apple pico, horseradish crusted salmon, mac & cheese with jalapeno bacon and home fries with green chiles).

The buffet is $22.95 per person, kids ages 4 - 12 eat for half price, kids 3 and under eat free.

Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina

EpiCentre @ 210 E Trade Street

Charlotte, NC 28202

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