I'm Amped! Amped for a Cure that is.
And so is Lil' Kim. The self proclaimed Queen Bee of rap will be in the Queen City this weekend for the grand opening of Salon Se Swa and the "Purple Reign" official after party for Charlotte NC Fashion Week at 5th Element nightclub (you know, the place where Cans used to be).
And I'm giving away VIP access for two to get down and amped up with Lil' Kim, as well as Katrise Jones this Saturday, Sept. 25 for both the grand opening celebration and after party.
Want them? Well the first person to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org gets them.
And you can also join Katrise Jones and Lil Kim again at the 5th Element for a gourmet charity dinner specially prepared by Chef Jay Jones, Executive Chef of Chateau Noir benefiting Amped 4-A-Cure, Inc. (supporting cancer research through music) and Yéle Haiti Foundation (to support the Haitian rebuilding efforts)
Find out more about Lil' Kim's big weekend plans in Charlotte here
Paco's Tacos and Tequila opened Monday, south of the Uptown border in SouthPark.
And unlike Taco Macs, which also recently opened in SouthPark, the place actually serve tacos ... along with 60 different kinds of tequila — 100 percent agave tequila at that. There is no "other" as you'll see in a lot of bar brand tequilas, and "other" is mixtos — that's the stuff that makes your clothes come off and gives you a hangover.
The place has tequila-marinated in mango, prickly pear, and jalepeno, and its specialty drink is this little diddy ...
The Blackberry Pomegrante frozen margarita. It's like a margarita popsicle. Then there's the Durango Mango, that has the Cock and Bull Ginger Beer with Mango tequila, fresh squeezed OJ, and a splash of lime. (Leave it to me to accidentally type "Ball" instead of "Bull" on my first draft of this blog.) Anyway, this Cock and Bull non-alcoholic ginger beer concoction (pun intended) plays a role in the invention of vodka, and is randomly manufactured in West Jefferson, North Carolina at the Dr. Pepper plant. And is now served at Paco's Tacos in SouthPark.
They have a build your own margarita menu, which was somewhat overwhelming, like a chemistry lab project.
1. Pick your tequila. You choose between Blanco (white, for lightweights like myself), Reposado (golden and aged in wood for two to 11 months), and Anejo (aged a minimum of one year).
2. Chose your mixer between fresh-squeezed juices and low-sugar-house made sour mix
3. Select your seasoning — as in form of liquor. Since I like Amaretto Sours. I used their sour mix and seasoned mine with Amaretto.
So many decisions ...
You then decide whether you want to rim it with salt, sugar, chili powder, or naked. And last but not least, on the rocks or frozen.
Meanwhile their skinny margarita is basically just tequila and lime juice, definitely no sour mix or Amaretto like I had.
Speaking of which, Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina is opening grandly Sept. 30, but they're having a private unveiling of their signature skinny margarita this Saturday, Sept. 18 at their VIP First Look party. And I'm inviting two people to go as my personal guests.
All you have to do is be a guest to my new personal website, BrittneyCason.com and drop me a line via the contact form. I'm easy like that ... but not like that.
More pics of Paco's Tacos ...
The inaugural Lake Norman Beer Festival is next weekend, Saturday and Sunday Sept 18-19 from 1 p.m.- 8 p.m. at the Galway Hooker ... and surrounding parking lot.
It's going to require a lot of space to host 16 different breweries, two bands and hundreds of people carrying beer sampling mugs. They'll have brews to sample from Brooklyn (Brewery) to Carolina (Beer Company) with Dave Kellan and Jay Mathey performing live. It's the lake's version of Oktoberfest, and much like Uptown's Oktoberfest, is held in September.
See you in Lake Norman next weekend for hookers and beer. I mean, beer at the Hooker. You can get tickets here
Beer doesn't get enough credit. It's as classy of a drink as wine — and there are connoisseurs who like to study the process of making beer and sample and savor it. And now, there's a place for the beer connoisseur to go ... Growlers PourHouse.
It opened last Wednesday in NoDa next to Crepe Cellar, which is its neighboring and sister venue, as it shares space and ownership. Growlers is essentially the beer cellar to the that of the crepes — like a wine vault for beer. They even have cheese plates with beer flights, along with organic truffled popcorn and a meaty menu. They have American craft style beer with 19 locally brewed beers on tap that alternate every three weeks.
Cans is re-opening this Wednesday, Sept. 1 ... as something else: The 5th Element nightclub.
When I went in to check it out, they were all secretive, treating me as though I was some sort of investigative reporter trying to uncover some scandal; I just want to know about your club. And check out their website — it's essentially just a PayPal site to become a member to avoid cover charges.
So I can't really tell you a whole lot about 5th Element Nightclub, except that it is softly opening this Wednesday as an after party for Budweiser Superfest, featuring Charlotte's own Anthony Hamilton, with Kem Jaheim and Raheem Devaughn.
The space looks pretty much the same, with the addition of black and white curtains (that I wasn't allowed to take a picture of), that make it really dark inside.
Though a nightclub, they're keeping the football bar element Cans had. They have indoor tailgating parties before Panthers games, and every Saturday, Sunday, and Monday they'll be showing NFL and NCAA football — according to the flyer I yanked as the door was hitting my ass on the way out.
In this week's print edition of CL my column covers tailgating, and the fact we do it for just about every occasion in Charlotte ... except church maybe.
But after attending a tailgate for the Panthers game against the Titans last Saturday, I have something I'd like to add ... because at said tailgate, I discovered one of the most genius tailgating tools ever invented. Well, that is since my friend told me she used to fill her silicone bra padding with liquor.
... The Booze Belly. You fill it with liquor and strap it around your waist like a flask fanny pack. And just like that, you have a beer belly full of liquor (in disguise). And this beer booze belly is so handy, you can then refill your cup by unzipping your pants, like this guy here ...
If you're interested in getting one, the cost is $12.95, plus shipping and handling. Isn't it spiffy?
In 2001, someone had the audacity to write that Charlotte would never be considered a "real" metropolitan city until it got a 24-hour restaurant. At least said writer understood the importance of late-night eating, as it is a major factor in the quality of nightlife for a city. A 24-hour restaurant is typically the universal after party for a night out. There's nothing like going for an edible night cap at a diner after a night out to prolong the night ... and coat your stomach from a hangover the next morning.
Luckily, Matt King and Steve Estes read said article and decided to open a 24-hour diner in Charlotte, right in the middle of the N.C. Music (and nightlife) Factory.
Because surely the Waffle House and Skyland restaurant (all the way down) South Boulevard don't really count in regard to 24-hour-nightlife. And they tore down Athens, which was like taking a trip to Narnia late at night.
Speaking of Skyland, I'm not exactly welcome there anymore. A bunch of my friends went after karaoke night at Gin Mill, and we were apparently still drunk off the performance because we were still singing — and getting others in the restaurant to sing with us. We broke out into a real-life scene from a musical in a classical rendition of "Baby Got Back." And this apparently warrants eviction from a diner.
But we are a big city now with Mattie's Diner, which is literally out of the big city. Mattie's is a 1948 diner from New Jersey rescued after Hurricane Floyd ... and it rescued me one early morning when I found myself with a broken down car in the parking lot of Reel Works studio behind the N.C. Music Factory waiting for a tow truck.
Stone cold sober, I went in and ate so much I could've skipped the tow truck and rolled home. You can't pay me, or even dare me, to go to the Waffle House before 2 a.m. But Mattie's is a 24-hour diner with food that's good 24 hours ... making it even better at 2:30 a.m. after a night out at the factory!
I used to refer to Montford Drive as Dive Drive between Moosehead Grill, George Pappas Lanes, Angry Ale's, the Press Box, and Jeff's Bucket Shop.
But now that Brazwell's has taken over the Press Box and Andrew Blair's and Good Food on Montford have taken residence in this nightlife corridor of Charlotte, Montford is more jive than dive.
And now ... 15 North Roadside Kitchen has opened up, adding another upscale yet casual venue to the Montford menu. The kitchen is not actually road side, but the bar is — with garage doors that open up and give the bar area a patio feel.
The restaurant is an upscale spin on Southern food, with a bar that's designed for watching games in a living room vs. a bar setting. Their specialty drinks include Tank Tyler's Cuban strawberry mojito 93 and the Roadside Tea ... that actually reminds me an awful lot of the Brittney Cason Sweet Tea Mojito at Red Rocks ... perhaps because it has all the same ingredients. I feel a little less original now. But don't tell the bartenders I said that ... their arms are getting buffed from muddling all those mojitos.
The official grand opening is this Thursday, Aug. 26 — start there, then crawl on down Montford and take a gander at the renovated Jive Drive. Just be sure to utilize the complimentary valet at 15 North ... 'cause they'll tow your ass from the Roasting Company.
Photo compliments of Catch Light Studios
No, it's not a taco or macaroni place, but rather a wing place. Their specialties are wings, beer and sports. This made me plum giddy ... that is, until I opened the nutritional information on their virtual menu. Did you know that one wing is 160 calories and 12 grams of fat, without the sauce ... one wing! Nutritional labels should just tell us how many minutes we have to exercise to burn the calories: One dozen wings = 2 hours of cardio.
Taco Mac has 140 different beers on tap, including local brews and 200 bottle beers. They even have their own Brewniversity— a beer education with graduate credits that equate to frequent shopper rewards, kinda like a Harris Teeter card for beer.
With locations throughout Georgia and Tennessee, Taco Mac promises to be one of the premiere sports bars in Charlotte. Because Taco Mac has one of the largest HD televisions in the country, and over 70 HDTVs on top of that ... thus, a new place to watch Panther's games.
The grand opening party is Tuesday, Aug. 31 — so plan to go for a long run after work so you can divulge on a few wings and 140 different kinds of beer that night. Taco Mac is located in Piedmont Town Center next to Del Friscos — but according to a representative in its corporate office in Atlanta, this is only the first location in Charlotte and will be opening several others in the future. Touchdown.
After 12 years, Tutto Mondo in South End is closing its doors ... but don't worry, Pewter Rose is keeping its doors open. And you know what they say, when one door closes another one opens ... and re-opens. The new place opening soon after Tutto Mondo closes will be very similar. Stay tuned for details.
In the meantime, Tutto Mondo is going out with a bang, bringing back its roster of DJs and bartenders to celebrate until the establishment closes its doors Aug. 13.
Blue Mix Tape — Julio “The Mexican” with Dave Dirty (YDH) host one of the longest running Monday nights in Charlotte.
Bums Lie w/ Tech Support
DJs Joe Sweeney, Chad McNeely, Sean McClellan, Rob Reeves and NVS
Social Club — Steve Tuohy hosts some area talent including Alex Anderson John Grond, Spencer Sapian, Josh Platinum,
Brandon Higgons, Sol Collins, and other local favs.
The Final Night — The infamous “That Guy Smitty” starts the night, with TRIFECTA (Suspence . Sasha Taylor . Levi Brown) shutting the place down. Literally.