Tuesday, November 30, 2010

PHOTOS: Halcyon

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:26 PM

Named after a Greek goddess, Halcyon restaurant opened after Thanksgiving at the new Mint Museum on Tryon Street Uptown.

The restaurant is owned by the same people who bring you Something Classic Catering and Cafes. With Marc Jacksina as executive chef, the restaurant offers "flavors from the earth," featuring food from local farms, wineries, and cheese makers.

The restaurant's decor follows suit with the earthy theme. They have menus displayed on wooden cheese boards, tables made from cross-sections of trees, chandeliers made from nests of branches, utensils designed with organic twists, and a trickling fountain in the middle of the dining area. The restaurant is simple, elegant and classy, using calm brown and pale teal colors throughout.

Everything I ate was delicious – from the Nested Wedge salad, to the creme brulee for dessert. The roasted chicken was juicy and slightly sweet with the tender spaghetti squash. The scallops were nicely seared and then halved, served over sauteed brussel sprouts. The creme brulee had the perfect characteristic crunch to the burnt sugar coating.

Here's what you have awaiting you:

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Sweet potato muffins

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 5:25 PM

If you end up with some leftover sweet potato casserole after Thanksgiving, turn it into muffins.

This recipe for sweet potato muffins was converted from a pumpkin bread recipe I have.  I subbed the pumpkin for sweet potato mash and added some other good stuff. Instead of buying canned mashed sweet potatoes, you can easily just use your leftover casserole. Just remember to cut down on the amount of sugar in the recipe. If your leftover sweet potatoes have streusel or marshmallows mixed in, even better!

sweetpotato muffin

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PHOTOS: Harvest Moon Grille

Posted By on Tue, Nov 23, 2010 at 5:00 PM

Harvest Moon Grille, the restaurant, not the food cart, is now open in the Dunhill Hotel Uptown, where Monticello used to be.

The restaurant specializes in "farm to table" dining. The Executive Chef and Proprietor Cassie Parsons is also the owner of Grateful Growers farm in Lincoln County. All of the restaurant's ingredients come from local farms within a 100-mile radius, with a few exceptions (olive oil, fish, spices, etc).

The restaurant is one of the more casual fine dining establishments. Big stretched canvas photos of the farm line the walls, along with a prominent chalk board featuring the daily specials. Fellow diners dressed casually in jeans and sweaters.

The cheese and salumi plate was delicious. The highlight was the African cheese with hints of spice. The house-made ravioli was also a winner. Try the fallafels served with baba and tziki, which were more like little crispy croquettes. Skip the brisket and gravy – the meat was a bit tough and the gravy was on the salty side.

Regarding desserts, I didn't enjoy the sweet potato bread pudding with homemade marshmallows as much as others I guess. Per the waitress' raving recommendation, I ordered it with high hopes. The marshmallows tasted flour-y on my tongue and I didn't find the mushy layer of sweet potatoes on the bottom too appetizing. I heard the chocolate ganache and peanut butter cake is delicious, so I'd say try that instead.

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Free milkshakes are all gone

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 4:29 PM

Thanks, everyone, for participating in the Eat My Charlotte Chick-fil-A milkshake giveaway. Winners have been notified by email this afternoon.

I enjoyed reading all your emails and learning what fatties y'all are (ahem ... 8-count chicken nuggets with five+ containers of sauce). Just kidding!

Thanks for including Christmas present ideas for my mom, too!

Hope you enjoy your milkshakes.

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3 questions with Chris Spotts, catering chef

Posted By on Mon, Nov 22, 2010 at 12:00 PM

Let’s talk turkey. Are you the one with the daunting task of preparing the gobbler this Thanksgiving? Worried your bird will come out dry and dissatisfying? Why go through all of the holiday hassle when you could have a satisfying Thanksgiving dinner prepared for you — and the best part is? No one has to know. Chris Spotts, catering chef for Good Gracious! Events— associated with both, the Morehead Inn and The VanLandingham Estate — will be spending his Thanksgiving Day preparing meals for Good Gracious patrons and for the children at Alexander Children’s Home, before spending the holiday with his own family.

Creative Loafing: I read in a local blog that you have been in the kitchen, professionally, since you were 13 years old. What were your responsibilities at such a young age?

Chris Spotts: When I was 13 I worked as a scraper — yes a scraper. I stood at a large trash can and scraped the plates, as the servers brought them back, and handed [the plates] to the dishwasher. I made $2.50 an hour and was tipped out by the servers, often making $100 or more on busy nights. I was only 13 and my high school sweetheart was a bit older and also had to drive me to and from work.

What is the greatest reaction or compliment you have received from someone you have cooked for?

Recently a wedding took place and I found out that the bride loved Pimento Cheese. So I made her pimento cheese grilled cheese sandwiches and she was overly appreciative. The couple sent an e-mail explaining their joy and appreciation for the wonderful food and experience, and wrote thank you for fulfilling her wish of Pimento Cheese.

What do you have on the menu for Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving meals for Good Gracious are fabulous but are only available through pick-up or drop-off. We are in the business of making people happy, so the food is a great start. We feature the classic dishes such as roasted turkey, apricot-glazed turkey breast, cheesy potato casserole, and all the sides you can think of. Then [we top it off with desserts such as] a Chocolate Chocolate Wonder Cake, Apple Spiced Cake, and a Bourbon Pumpkin Bread Pudding.

I will be preparing Thanksgiving Day food for the children at Alexander Children’s Home, as they do not have many of the luxuries and family ties that we often take for granted. Following that daytime feast I will be home preparing the remainder of the food with my mother and sisters who will be in Charlotte visiting me for the weekend from Florida. When I was younger, my favorite part of Thanksgiving was eating and watching the games on television. Also eating the cheesy potato casserole is one of my many favorites and finishing that with an overload of Chocolate Chocolate Wonder Cake and Egg Nog.

— Nicole Pietrantonio


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Free shakes from Chick-fil-A

Posted By on Thu, Nov 18, 2010 at 3:17 PM


Hurray for CFA!

They gave me some delicious coupons to give away to you readers. Each coupon is good for a free small hand-spun milkshake from Chick-fil-A stores. (You guys sure are lucky I'm not hoarding these coupons to myself.)

Now's your chance to try their seasonal Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake. But if you wanna be a grinch, you can get the Cookies & Cream, Chocolate, Vanilla, or Strawberry shake instead.

To win a coupon, email me at priscilla.tsai@cln.com with:

1. Your name and mailing address.

2. What your usual order at Chick-fil-A is.

3. A Christmas present idea for my mom. Thanks!

(Just kidding on item #3.)

I'll pick winners randomly on Monday, Nov. 22. Hope you win!

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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Murder Mystery Dinner Nov. 18

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 4:43 PM

Good Eats and Meets Charlotte is teaming up with The VanLandingham Estate and About Town Tours to present their first Murder Mystery Dinner.

Use your sleuthing skills and help investigate the "Gobble, Gobble, Death and Trouble" mystery. The investigation goes down this Thursday, Nov. 18, at 7:30 pm.

The cost is $58.00 per person, which will include a full turkey dinner, including dessert, tea and coffee, and the a PayPal fee. Tickets can be purchased at www.bandtastic.com/murderdinner.

Find more details here.

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Free samples of ice cream cake

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 4:16 PM

It's gloomy and drab outside. Go eat some ice cream. You will feel much happier.

Today between 5 and 8 pm, Cold Stone Creamery will be giving out free 3 oz. samples of Eight Layer Cake.

Picture 2

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Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce

Posted By on Tue, Nov 16, 2010 at 10:48 AM

For some reason, I always crave the same foods at any given time. It's always either ice cream, spaghetti with red sauce, pizza, or pad thai. Weird, right?

Well if you love yourself some pasta with red sauce too, you should try this Ultimate Spaghetti Sauce, from the blog Bell'alimento.

The sauce is kind of ridiculous because you simmer four (or five, in my case) whole links of Italian sausage in tomato sauce for four hours before chopping them up and throwing them back into the sauce. All the sausage juices, or as some like to call it, fat, simmer right into the sauce.

My only deviations from the original recipe were using one extra sausage (hey, it comes five to a pack at Harris Teeter), and pureeing some of the onions and carrots post simmering to make the sauce thicker and less chunky.

This stuff is so comforting on a cold, dark night.


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Monday, November 15, 2010

New York Butcher Shoppe is now open

Posted By on Mon, Nov 15, 2010 at 3:20 PM

New York Butcher Shoppe opened on Selwyn Avenue in Myers Park Monday, Nov. 15.

The meat market franchise is known for its line of hand cut steaks using the Certified Angus Beef brand, prepared entrees, side dishes, salads and dips.

In addition to moo meat, you can get all your other animals there too. They have pork, veal, lamb, homemade sausage, and deli meat.

The New York Butcher Shoppe

2904 Selwyn Ave.

(980) 270-1810

Mon-Sat: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Sunday: Noon to 5 p.m.

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