Eat My Charlotte | Creative Loafing Charlotte

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Featured Cocktail: Barrel-Aged, Rosemary, Maple Duck Manhattan

Posted By on Thu, Dec 26, 2013 at 1:31 PM

Found: Pisces Sushi Bar & Lounge (1100 Metropolitan Ave.)
Ingredients: Ridgemont Reserve 1792 bourbon "washed" in rosemary duck fat, six-week barrel-aged Madeira, Angostura bitters and organic maple syrup.

Bob Peters, head mixologist at Pisces, doesn't just make drinks, he creates them. His latest, which involves succulent duck fat and herbaceous rosemary, is a culinary-inspired cocktail that may be the most inventive one to date. A year in the process from conception to execution, Peters recently unveiled the result of his beverage experiment at the Manhattan Project Tasting Party held at Pisces.
Peters began by barrel-aging Madeira wine for six weeks, then washing bourbon with rosemary duck fat. (Fat-washing is a technique that mixes melted fat with a spirit and, once the mixture cools, skimming the fat off, resulting in a flavored spirit.) The crafty technique creates a tasteful consistency, eliminating any fatty residue. Peters builds the Manhattan by adding maple syrup, the last ingredient, and finally, putting the mixture back into the barrel to age an additional six weeks.
"I started thinking of possibilities and put technique on top of technique and this is what I came up with," Peters says. The finished product is a silky-smooth, smoky cocktail with luscious undertones of duck and herbs.

This cocktail is only available for a limited time.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Recipe: Peppermint Chocolate Granola

Posted By on Wed, Dec 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM


Granola has a reputation. You know this. I know this.

Hell, it's even corrupted the word "crunchy," a word that's gone from making me think of delicious over-battered fried chicken and candy bars to a sad-looking man who hand-picks his own flax seeds and complains about people who don't hand-pick their own flax seeds.

And that makes me sad, dammit! Granola doesn't have to be just seeds and fruits and non-GMO organic nature things some guy named Ampersand found in a field. Granola doesn't have to be moral. It can just be some oats and sugar and maybe a few pecans. It should be about tasting good, not about feeling superior to someone just because they want to have a waffle for breakfast and not a giant bowl of antioxidants.

That's why I'm keeping things simple and making Peppermint-Chocolate Granola this week. No dried bee extract, no non-conflict dried raspberry pollen, just flavor. Simple.

Also, I love the shit out of peppermint.

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Friday, December 13, 2013

Cowfish expands to Universal Studios

Posted By on Fri, Dec 13, 2013 at 10:43 AM

A place known for thrill rides, explosions and excitement, Universal Studios announced on Thursday that it's bringing Charlotte-based Cowfish to its University CityWalk next year.

It'll probably be a good fit. Many of us know Cowfish for its own kind of explosions - the flavorful kind found in its burgushi.

Check out this video of co-founders Alan Springate and Marcus Hall chatting with the folks at the Orlando Sentinel.

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel)

Cowfish is located in SouthPark and opened a second location in Raleigh earlier this year.

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Friday, December 6, 2013

Featured Dish: Scotch Egg at Block and Grinder

Posted By on Fri, Dec 6, 2013 at 10:04 AM

We all knew it would come to this, didn't we? Surely it was just a matter of time before Creative Loafing capitalized on my rather obscene appetite to inform the greater good. In this new monthly column, we'll traipse around Charlotte exploring the city's most notable dishes, from the best damn bites you can eat with the change in your purse to highfalutin' masterpieces.

My first adventure took me to Block and Grinder (2935 Providence Road), where executive chef Ben Philpot recently launched a new bar bites menu for civilized noshers. On the menu is the scotch egg, a popular British snack food that could quite possibly be the most portable meal next to the Hot Pocket. I know what you're thinking: Why is this British staple called a "scotch" egg? Well, why do we call downtown Uptown? Some things just can't be explained.

Traditional scotch eggs are composed of a hard-boiled egg wrapped with ground meat, which is then deep-fried to a golden crisp. Scotch eggs were typically a working-class meal, portable and served cold, but B+G classes it up with a few twists. First, the pork is slow-cooked, confit-style, in its own fat and then whipped into a rillette-like frenzy before being wrapped around a soft-boiled egg and flash-fried. For the perfect external crisp, the scotch egg is baked off and served with a red bell pepper jelly and a flurry of microgreens over top. The confit pork makes all the difference. The first bite offers a tender crunch, and the pork, flavored with glorious fat, doesn't stand a chance of drying out. The encased egg, with the gooey (but not runny) golden center, paired with the bright acidity of the red pepper jelly takes this $10 bite straight from working class to high class.

Got a favorite dish in Charlotte? Share it with me at

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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Recipe: Latkes and Applesauce

Posted By on Thu, Dec 5, 2013 at 11:47 AM


People seem to have this great big misconception that because a food has history, that must mean it's automatically healthy. "They've been eating it for 500 years! It MUST be good for me if people ate it before telegraphs were invented, right?"

No. No is the answer to that question.

You know why people ate dumplings, cornbread and anything else fried or cakey? Because it was all they had. They didn't eat those things because it was a "treat" for managing to stay conscious on a treadmill for 15 minutes before run-walking to the nearest open food court. They ate them because they were the only accessible things they could get their hands on that would let them keep farming for 18 hours a day, not because they "deserved" it. It was about survival, people.

So when the Israelites holed themselves up in a temple for eight days with only a single menorah to rely on, they ate latkes because it was all they had access to. Potatoes, oil and a few eggs. That's it. The applesauce came later, I'd imagine.

The author kindly requests you ignore his last name after reading the preceding paragraph. Seriously, just ... pretend it's not there or something.

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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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