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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Sampling Charlotte's finest foods at Taste of the Nation

Posted By on Thu, Apr 17, 2014 at 2:23 PM

After an evening filled by visiting 18 local restaurants, a massive silent auction and a trip to the mixology station, my night was now complete - and quite satisfying... OK, there were several trips to the mixology station.

Executive chef Mike Suppa of Uptown Kitchen and Bar.
  • Photo by Nikki Wilson
  • Executive chef Mike Suppa of Uptown Kitchen and Bar.

At last night's Taste of the Nation event, guests took over Uptown's Wells Fargo Atrium and indulged in food including the bruschetta trio from Mama Ricotta's, roast baby beet skewers topped with robiola and chervil from Ilios Noche, and pulled pork sliders - literally pulled right off the roast pig laying tableside - from the new Uptown Bar and Kitchen set to open this spring.

The food and drink serves as the main entertainment for the event, rightfully so as I was wristbanded and dived into the first restaurant, with drink in hand, within 15 minutes. But the jazz band was a delightful touch to the evening and the photo booth is always a good time. Each of the featured eateries offered a variety of flavors - a quick way to obtain a true taste of Charlotte cuisine in one easy stop. And yes, I visited all 18 stations.

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Upcoming: Creative Loafing's 27th Birthday Bash (w/ our own beer!)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 3:54 PM

A note of shameless self-promotion here, folks.

WE'RE HAVING A BIRTHDAY PARTY.

(Sorry for the caps there. Marketing made me do it.)

On Saturday, April 26, come hang out with the CL crew as we celebrate 27 years in the Charlotte market. Our friends at Birdsong Brewing have created us a special beer on tap - a Rye Pale Ale (ABV 4.9 percent) - which we've named Loafy's Rye-venge.

Heres the description of the beer: On the nose, it has light floral and grassy aroma with a slight hint of lemon. Its delicate pepper flavors mingle nicely with a citrus undertone and it has just enough toastiness to delight your senses. Its light in taste and ABV with a well-balanced flavor that warrants another pint.
  • Here's the description of the beer: "On the nose, it has light floral and grassy aroma with a slight hint of lemon. Its delicate pepper flavors mingle nicely with a citrus undertone and it has just enough toastiness to delight your senses. It's light in taste and ABV with a well-balanced flavor that warrants another pint."

In addition, the TIN Kitchen food truck will create a Loafy's Rye-venge dish just for the evening, using CL's beer, and King of Pops will offer beer pops, also made with our brew. And yes ... there will be cake.

If you can make it out - we'll be there 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. - let's all raise a glass. Or four.

Check out the birthday details, and be sure to invite all your friends, here.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

March Matchness will help double the benefits for SNAP recipients

Posted By on Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 2:46 PM

The most recent passage of the farm bill earlier this year cut supplemental nutrition assistance program (or, SNAP benefits) in half for individuals in need of food assistance. This means that low-income families that were already struggling to make ends meet will have to endure another reduction in funds to purchase food for their families.

Across the country, there are programs to assist with this disparity. Most notably, the Double Value Coupon Program (DVCP) from Wholesome Wave that matches the value of federal nutrition benefits for individuals to purchase fresh produce from participating farm-to-retail venues. The initiative acts as both an incentive for individuals to eat healthy, sustainable foods and as food assistance.

Lynn Caldwell, manager of Atherton Market, along with Friendship Gardens contacted Wholesome Wave (WW) last year to bring the program to North Carolina, but efforts by WW have not come to fruition yet. Since 2013, Wholesome Wave has been working closely with RAFI USA in hopes of implementing a DVCP program in the state.

"Wholesome Wave is not ready, but we're ready," says Kathy Metzo, Garden Director for Friendship Gardens who partnered with Caldwell and Queen City Mobile Market to create a similar initiative here.

Enter March Matchness, a fundraising kickoff event inside the Atherton Market to raise money for a matching fund to assist individuals receiving nutrition assistance. The local foods event will begin an Indiegogo campaign that will run through April to create a fund for SNAP recipients. The money raised will go toward doubling the SNAP benefits for individuals who shop at Atherton Market and Queen City Mobile Market.

"The goals are simple," says Metzo. "People stay healthy and farmers stay in business."

For five bucks, guests are treated to a smorgasbord of local appetizers provided by 17 area chefs. There will be plenty of Triple C beer on hand, music and more opportunities to donate to the cause.

March Matchness is this Saturday, March 15 from 5 p.m.-8 p.m. inside the Atherton Market, 2104 South Blvd.

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Your CIAA source for Southern comfort food

Posted By on Wed, Feb 26, 2014 at 2:23 PM

Charlotte's own eclectic boutique, dupp&swat, is playing host to chef Barry Francois during CIAA. Francois' signature Kluck 'N' Moo is a menu offering all your favorites in Southern comfort food - fried chicken, mac & cheese, collard greens and burgers of your choice.

It's hard to find good food Uptown when you walk out of a party at 3 a.m. - unless you love hot dogs. What can you do when you finally collapse on the bed in your hotel room, and then your stomach growls?

Here's the answer to all your late-night munchie needs: Kluck 'N' Moo offers delivery to hotels from 8 p.m. - 4 a.m. during tournament week. That's right, after a night of sports and kick-ass parties, you can lie in bed and eat chicken wings. Could this possibly get any better?

Yep, it did. For all you animal friends out there, Kluck 'N' Moo also offers vegetarian-friendly options, including veggie burgers and pork-free collard greens. Now you can enjoy soul food without harm to our furry and feathery friends.

Barry Francois started Food by Francois, a catering company that serves people who live and work in Uptown Charlotte. Food by Francois offers a range of menus, which you can check out on the website.

"Charlotte didn't have any late-night options," Francois said. "It gets intoxicated people off the street, because we deliver. I wish it was something we offered year-round. It's definitely something Charlotte needs."

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Friday, January 31, 2014

5 places to spend Super Bowl Sunday

Posted By on Fri, Jan 31, 2014 at 9:28 AM

We all know that Feb. 2 is going to be crazy. It's the one night a year when public hysteria is socially acceptable - Super Bowl Sunday. Football fans nationwide will be tuning in to watch, cheer, shout and curse as the Seattle Seahawks take on the Denver Broncos for this season's championship. Even if you don't care about the game itself, Super Bowl Sunday is a day of electric atmosphere and contagious excitement. So where are you planning to spend this day of days? Charlotte has sports bars aplenty - so many that it may be challenging to choose. Here are some suggestions that might help you decide on a venue worthy of this oh-so-American occasion.

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  • Pint Central Facebook

Pint Central
This brand-spanking-new spot in Plaza Midwood is squeaky clean and ready to be corrupted - after all, what makes a bar interesting is its dirt. Pint Central offers 28 beers on tap and cuisine promised to satisfy any foodie. So go, and leave your mark on virgin turf. (Editor's note: per the Pint Central Facebook page, their opening has been delayed, but we look forward to it anyway!) 1226 Central Ave.

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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Upcoming: Whisky River's Who's Hotter? wing challenge

Posted By on Tue, Jan 28, 2014 at 2:47 PM

On Jan. 31, the popular EpiCentre venue Whisky River is offering Charlotteans a challenge made up of fiery proportions: to consume six of its famous Atomic Wings. Yes, they are worthy of the name - these wings will melt your face off. They're made with Whisky River's specialty sauce, infused with Smokin' Ed's Carolina Reaper Pepper, from Fort Mill, S.C. - the world's hottest pepper, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

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If you pride yourself on your ability to handle explosively spicy tastes, this might be the challenge for you. You have to be brave (or at least a little cocky) to take on a food challenge that threatens nuclear fallout in your mouth. But the reward is worth the risk; contestants enter to win the grand prize of $500 and a Whisky River T-shirt and hat. Not to mention, you get to say that you faced the Atomic menace and came out victorious.

But for those of us who can't stand a burning mouth, spectator tickets are also available with the added bonus of 15 percent off any regular food purchase. It could be fun to watch the contestants wiping tears and burning sauce from their faces while you're munching on Whisky River's less confrontational menu items. (The Tiny Baby Corn Dogs are my personal favorite.)

And of course, if you'd rather consume something a little less nourishing and a little more fun, the bar will be open. Who knows, maybe you'll end up on Whisky's famous mechanical bull by the end of the night.

Register to be a contestant or spectator at whiskyriverkillerwingchallenge.eventbrite.com by 4 p.m. on Jan. 31. Competition tickets are first come, first serve, so if you're up for the challenge, don't hesitate. $25 to enter. 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Whisky River, 210 E. Trade St.

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Thursday, January 23, 2014

Charlotte Super Food Bowl benefits Loaves & Fishes

Posted By on Thu, Jan 23, 2014 at 1:47 PM

The Charlotte Former Players Foundation is teaming up with AT-NET Services to put on the Charlotte Super Food Bowl tonight at the Levine Museum of the New South as a benefit for Loaves & Fishes food pantries.

Former NFL players at Charlotte Super Food Bowl 2013
  • Former NFL players at Charlotte Super Food Bowl 2013

If you're a football fan, this event is a must. Attendees will experience a live pre-Super Bowl discussion panel featuring former NFL athletes and have the chance to meet the players and get autographs. Or, if you're like me and couldn't give a flying flip about sports, just enjoy the live music, drinks and heavy hors d'oeuvres provided by Plate Perfect.

The Charlotte Super Food Bowl will take place tonight, Jan. 23, at 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door (credit card only). Admission to the museum and two drink tickets are included in the ticket price.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Latkes! Latkes! Latkes!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 at 10:12 AM

Potato Latke
  • Smitten Kitchen
  • Potato Latke

Thanksgivukkah is just around the corner and with that comes all sorts of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah hybrids in the kitchen. There's manischewitz brined turkey, challah stuffing and sweet potato noodle kugel.

In Charlotte, we've got pickles and latkes. How's that for a mashup? Thanks to Bill Averbach, also known as the Pickleville Pickle Man., the fourth annual Latke Festival returns Tuesday afternoon inside the Atherton Market. Every year, Averbach celebrates the beloved potato and onion pancake with a free festival where he makes hundreds of latkes served up with traditional and non-traditional accompaniments and maybe a few jokes.

This year, Averbach wants to break his previous latke-making record of 650 for what would be one hell of a Thanksgivukkah miracle. Come out and show your support, if not for the Pickle man then for the sacred fried potato.

The Latke Festival is on Nov. 26, 3 p.m.-6 p.m. inside Atherton Market at 2104 South Blvd.

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Upcoming: Common Grounds Cornucopia

Posted By on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 at 4:22 PM

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This 5th Annual Cornucopia event, hosted by the Common Grounds Farm Stand, pops up in Myers Park this Saturday to rally for Charlotte's poor and homeless through a food-centric fundraiser for the Urban Ministry Center.

Common Grounds is a seasonal farm stand that provides locally sourced produce and artisan goods to the public with an aim toward the common good. Every penny collected at the Common Grounds farm stand goes directly to the Urban Ministry Center to help support the multitude of services and programs for one of Charlotte's most vulnerable populations.

This year, Cornucopia has recruited a number of tasty participants for an expanded take on the annual event. The food festivus will feature a vendor village including Lenny Boy Kombucha, The Naked Pig, Your Mom's Donuts, and The Scone Shop. Joining the fundraiser will be artists David French, Liz Saintsing, & The Painted Elephant.

No event would be complete without a food truck, right? The Maryland Crab & Co food truck will be on site serving up traditional Maryland style seafood and the band The Wicked Powers will provide the soundtrack.

There's more. Guests can bid on a live auction featuring a killer lineup of restaurants and food businesses including Barringtons, Block & Grinder, Chef Alyssa's Kitchen, Mimosa Grill, The Tin Kitchen, Harvest Moon & Grille, Upstream, Passion8 Bistro, Reid's Fine Foods, Heritage Food & Drink, and The Wine Bar at Foxcroft.

The farm stand cup overfloweth. In this case, eating is caring. The Common Grounds Farm Stand is located at 119 Huntley Place Charlotte, NC 28209 in Myers Park. Admission is free this Saturday, Nov. 23, 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Smoke 'em if you got 'em: Legendary pitmaster to cook in Charlotte

Posted By on Thu, Nov 14, 2013 at 12:12 PM

Third generation pitmaster Samuel Jones of The Skylight Inn is headed west next week to cook some of his legendary Eastern Carolina barbecue for a special dinner at Midwood Smokehouse alongside Midwood's pit master, Matthew Barry.

Jones captains the acclaimed Ayden, N.C., barbecue joint, started by his granddaddy Pete Jones, whom many consider the "King of Barbecue." Jones comes from a long line of smoke aficionados, seven to be exact, and cooks whole hogs the same way his family did - slow over wood charcoals. The sign on the front of the theatrical capitol dome in Ayden says, "Barbecue Capitol of the World" and many who've made the pilgrimage, including me, genuflect there for the whole hog, hand-chopped with bits of crispy skin doused with vinegar sauce.

On Wednesday, Nov. 20, Midwood Smokehouse is hosting a throwback three-course meal featuring Southern hors d'oeuvres of smoked pimiento cheese and jalapeño dip, whole hog prepared by Sam Jones and warm apple cobbler for dessert. NoDa Brewing Company will provide beer pairings. A portion of the proceeds will go to benefit The Southern Foodways Alliance

Tickets are $35 (plus tax and gratuity) and guests can reserve seats by calling 704-295-4BBQ. Midwood Smokehouse is located at 1401 Central Ave.

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