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Friday, February 20, 2015

5 must-have hot meals to eat in cold Charlotte

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 1:33 PM

Is the big CLT freeze giving you cabin fever? Well, throw on a parka and brave the arctic this weekend to grab a bite at one of these local eats to warm you up. Save the snuggling for later.

Dish, located in Plaza Midwood, recommends (with no hesitation I might add) their homemade Chicken and Dumplings, served with a fluffy biscuit and a deviled egg. Now that’s some Southern comfort.

Halcyon Flavors From the Earth, located inside the Mint Museum Uptown, serves up a meaty winter dish with their Braised Bison paired with potatoes (potato pave to be exact). That’ll get your metabolism pumping and blood flowing.

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Friday, February 13, 2015

SUGAR. Handmade Gourmet Doughnuts brings an iconic sweet treat to the Queen City in a new way

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 2:22 PM

Food Truck Fridays recently got a bit sweeter thanks to the first and only doughnut truck in the Queen City, SUGAR. Handmade Gourmet Doughnuts. (Yes, it does have a period after SUGAR.)

SUGAR. is showing up and showing out at the EpiCentre’s Mardi Gras Celebration this evening with three themed doughnuts — bourbon-glazed, king cake and New Orleans style beignet.

Fair warning though, these homemade sweet treats are first come, first serve starting at 5 p.m., so don’t diddle daddle in traffic too long.

Owners Kathi Alexander and Cassmer Ward kick-started the business in September and have kept the road hot since, catering events all over Charlotte and working almost every weekend.

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Tuesday, February 3, 2015

R is for Rhino Market & Deli

Posted By on Tue, Feb 3, 2015 at 2:17 PM

Since opening just a few months ago, Rhino Market & Deli has experienced three major holidays — Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day — throwing owner Rob Rondolez quite the curve ball.

“If I would have opened in September, I would have had time to keep some steam going before all of the holidays fell on Thursdays, which was a negative for business,” Rondolez says. “There was two weeks where I didn’t even see my regulars.”

Rob Rondolez

Despite the holiday hootenannies, Rondolez, who has been working 60-hour workweeks perfecting the place, says Rhino is off to a good start. “It’s more about where we’re situated than it is about how we’re really different.”

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Thursday, June 5, 2014

The first rule of Atherton Breakfast Club is ...

Posted By on Thu, Jun 5, 2014 at 3:21 PM

Left to Right: Tanner Morita, Chandler Wrenn, John Michael Cord

What do you get when you combine a few 20-somethings, a loaf of bread, a couple dozen eggs and a tilt skillet? Atherton Breakfast Club, that's what.

Atherton Breakfast Club was founded by friends Tanner Morita, barista at Not Just Coffee, John Michael Cord, barista at Central Coffee and Chandler Wrenn, Charlotte native and coffee lover (duh!) who made good on one simple idea.

"We should have breakfast on Wednesdays," said Wrenn of a conversation he had with his friends.

What began with just a few friends has mushroomed into a community gathering upwards of 30 individuals in just six short weeks.

"It's awesome to see how it has spread and become a thing," says Morita. "It all happened very organically."

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Saturday, April 26, 2014

An epic list of places to do brunch in Charlotte

Posted By on Sat, Apr 26, 2014 at 12:11 PM

This list is like your favorite brunch - a smorgasbord of eats to satisfy just about any taste. Whether you like breakfast or lunch, European or Southern, high-falutin' or hangover-soothing, we've got your meal ticket. We scoured our fair city (or maybe we polled a mess of readers on Facebook) to bring you a list of 20 places to brunch in the Queen City. Don't say we never gave you anything.

Breakfast pizza from 300 East

Upstream
6902 Phillips Place Court
704-556-7730
Brunch Hours: Sundays 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Upstream is known for its seafood-centric menu. $24.95 buys you access to the brunch buffet featuring a shellfish station, sushi, omelets, pastries and plenty of salty breakfast meats.

The Liberty
1812 South Blvd.
980-225-9167
Brunch Hours: Sundays 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

The Liberty serves a full brunch menu featuring French scrambled eggs, a proper English breakfast with bangers, shrimp and grits and other composed menu items ranging between $10-$12 on average.

Bistro La Bon
1322 Central Ave.
704-333-4646
Brunch Hours: Saturday & Sunday 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m.

Bistro La Bon switches it up on the weekend. Sit down to a sophisticated menu, live jazz and imbibe from the Bloody Mary bar starting at 10 a.m. on Saturdays. Order off menu and indulge in Pyttipanna, a Swedish hash plate. On Sundays, enjoy a slightly different experience: $20 All You Can Eat brunch buffet. No jazz or Bloody Mary bar, but there's bellinis, mint juleps, Irish coffees and Bloody Marys to drink starting at noon.

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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The argument for afternoon tea

Posted By on Tue, Feb 25, 2014 at 3:29 PM

I arrived in Scotland a little over a month ago, hungry to discover. Pictures of kilted folk eating haggis, people drinking Scotch to the tune of trilling pipers, a salmon dish or two and maybe some mutton danced in my head. That archetypal pop-culture knowledge in hand, I came with small expectations, but still dreamt big, hoping to find something that I could return with and use to wow the folks back home. Something missing from the States' tables and shelves that I felt we should have though we didn't. And, by God, I think I've found it.

With all the pictures I've recently received of the snowstorms that froze over the Queen City a couple of weeks ago, I've become more convinced that afternoon tea is the single most woeful omission from the common American dining scene that I've encountered in Scotland. After all, could you not imagine how well a nice hot "cuppa" and some chocolaty, buttery biscuits would go down after coming in from the nippy ice and snow? How divine a buttered scone and a hot mocha would be to cure the cold in your bones? I know it sounds a little ridiculous to be so enthusiastic about a small ritual, but allow me to explain.

Taken at Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgows city centre, and the dishes in front of me are a cream scone with jam and a cappuccino
  • Taken at Willow Tea Rooms in Glasgow's city centre, and the dishes in front of me are a cream scone with jam and a cappuccino

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Forget Valentine's Day - Happy February 15th!

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 3:19 PM

With the recent winter storm shutting down all of Charlotte this past week, Valentine's Day probably wasn't top priority for many people. (Seriously, how many of you actually bought a gift for your lover before Tuesday? Kudos to you if you did.) But February 15th is just as good a day as any to celebrate your undying love - it'll also probably be safer to drive then, too. Here are just a few restaurant picks for everyone from the seasoned romancer to the couple who couldn't get a babysitter.

Because nothing says, uh, love, like a hot dog from The Diamond.
  • The Diamond's Facebook
  • Because nothing says, uh, love, like a hot dog from The Diamond.

For couples on a budget
The Diamond on Commonwealth Avenue is ideal for those of us without much to spend. An old-fashioned jukebox helps to set the down-to-earth atmosphere of this classic American diner. The fried oyster basket is one shareable dish that will get you both in the mood for lovin'. Or if you're going for a more blatantly suggestive eating experience, the Diamond has a variety of hot dog options, from hand-dipped corn dogs to all-beef to veggie dogs with plenty of topping choices. End your night by sharing one of the diner's Southern-style desserts.

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Charlotte Restaurant Week: Reserve a seat or stay home?

Posted By on Tue, Jan 14, 2014 at 4:16 PM

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The Queen's Feast, otherwise known as Charlotte Restaurant Week, begins this Friday, Jan. 17 and continues through Sunday, Jan. 26. The 10-day semi-annual event features 117 area restaurants that extend from Mooresville down to Fort Mill and everywhere in between. Participating restaurants offer a special three-course (or more) prix fixe menu for $30 (not including tax and gratuity) to Restaurant Week guests.

The event offers diners an opportunity to try new restaurants and brings business to dining establishments during a historically slow time of the year. Last summer, 130,000 diners filled seats at local area restaurants for $6 million in generated revenue.

Yet, with all the excitement from a large portion of Charlotte eaters, there are the naysayers who have created a longstanding debate, in town and across the nation, about whether or not Restaurant Week is a boon or a blemish.

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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What's the value of a sign?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2013 at 5:22 PM

Old sign (left) New sign (right)
  • Old sign (left) New sign (right)

Price's Chicken Coop, Charlotte's holy institution of fried chicken and stalwart of the community since 1962, recently updated the storefront off Camden Road in South End with new signage. I don't know about you, but I'm pretty bummed about the whole thing.

The old sign, which was second to the original, was hand-painted with care and bore just the right amount of patina. The vintage sign, albeit worn, represented the long-term staying power of the coop. For me, the sign at Price's Chicken Coop was part of its charm and nostalgia. It signaled that everything was the same as it ever was, just like the 50-year-old recipe for fried chicken and familiar faces of Price's employees.

The new sign is gleaming white and glossy with a font unlike its predecessor. The lettering is rounded, a tad reminiscent of clip-art. Updated, sure, but charming? Not quite. The sign is missing something - its soul.

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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cooking in Chef Alyssa's Kitchen

Posted By on Tue, Oct 8, 2013 at 12:45 PM

A few weeks back, I was manning a farmers market booth for a friend and just so happened to see Chef Alyssa Gorelick in the market, chatting it up with the local vendors, picking and prodding the produce and loading up her basket with ingredients. Turns out, she was shopping for her cooking classes in Chef Alyssa's Kitchen, her new business inside the Atherton Mill & Market (winner of Best Farmer's Market, by the way).

I recently had the pleasure of attending one of her classes a few Wednesdays ago. The topic? Hearty Italian Dishes. Chef Alyssa spent much of her early culinary years studying in Italy, which made for spot-on recipes. On the menu that evening was a white bean bruschetta, pesto, pasta bolognese, chicken with olives, tomatoes and spinach and for dessert, chocolate-espresso panna cotta. I know, right? The best part is you get to eat the entire menu after cooking it.

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