A Winter Food Guide for Charlotteans

A Winter Food Guide for Charlotteans

From chili to bread pudding

December 16, 2020

LOGAN CYRUS
Even if it doesn’t feel like winter outside, “fake it until you make it” is a popular phrase that carries over to dining. We have already started ordering some of our winter favorites in Charlotte, and we’re sharing that list below:
LUNCH/DINNER
GRILLED CHEESE SANDWICH (top)The Workman’s FriendThe Workman’s Friend is intimate, warm, and cozy—just the kind of atmosphere that begs for a grilled cheese on sourdough, served alongside a tomato basil bisque. (Note to self: best enjoyed while sitting beside the crackling fireplace.) 1531 Central Ave.BURGERThe Diamond RestaurantWith two 1/3-lb. patties, the Big Block Burger is hearty. (There’s also a Full Blown Hemi option, with three patties for a full pound of beef.) You can get it “All the Way,” with the standard lettuce, tomatoes, onions, mayos, and pickles, or “Southern Style”: chili, mustard, onions, and coleslaw. 1901 Commonwealth Ave.
CHILILupie’s CafeLupie’s doesn’t mess around. Texas is the hottest, Southern style the mildest, Cincinnati all Skyline and cinnamon-infused, vegetarian the veggiest. All come with pintos, cheese, onions, and cornbread. Get it in a cup, bowl, atop spaghetti, or with mac and cheese. When the weather is cold and the sky overcast, you want nothing else. 2718 Monroe Rd.

(VEGETARIAN) MEATLOAFDishVegetarian meatloaf might sound like an oxymoron, and, mostly, it is. But the competition for who makes the best loaf of “meat” in Charlotte is surprisingly stiff. We give a slight edge to Dish for its Cajun-seasoned veggie loaf, which comes in three forms: sliders, sandwich, and regular loaf. Crafted from lentils, the spicy loaf comes with mashed potatoes and gravy and another side. Go with the vegan slaw or collard greens to complete the improper Southern meal. 1220 Thomas Ave. (Ed.: The meat meatloaf is also wonderful.)ALSO AT DISH: CHICKEN & DUMPLINGSLASAGNAPasta & ProvisionsWhen a friend has a baby or a new neighbor moves in down the street, the 16-layer lasagna from Pasta & Provisions is the easiest way to say, “I’ve got your dinner covered tonight.” A large order feeds nine to 12 people, and it’s flash frozen so they can pop it in the oven whenever they’re ready. It’s not homemade, but it certainly tastes like it. Multiple locations.

MEATBALLSOsteria LucaThe TRUE Meatballs, complete with marinara, parmesan cheese, and grilled bread, are a hefty option to scratch that wintry Italian itch. The casual spot opened this year in Park Road, from the team behind TRUE Crafted Pizza. As you can tell by the name of this dish, some of the favorites of the brand carried over. 4127 Park Rd.BREAD PUDDINGMama Ricotta’sWe had to get a dessert in there, too: The Warm Bread Pudding at Mama Ricotta’s is studded with marsala-soaked raisins and vanilla bean—and accompanied by housemade gelato with dulce de leche. 601 S. Kings Dr., AA.

BREAKFAST/BRUNCH
PANCAKESEddie’s PlaceEddie’s Place does so many breakfast favorites right, but its Big Fluffy Pancakes deserve the spotlight on this list. Add blueberries, cranberries, raisins, pecans, almonds, or chocolate chips to customize your rich breakfast. It comes with a choice of meat and side, for some extra joy to start the day. 617 S. Sharon Amity Rd.BACON, EGG, & CHEESE SANDWICHSunflour BakeryHere’s a brunch classic that rises above the rest with an integral choice of bread: the cheddar biscuit. The seasonal menu here also has peppermint swirl and red velvet treats, tiramisu, and sweet potato pie bars. Multiple locations.

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Restaurant Inspired by Indian Street Food Opens at Optimist Hall

Restaurant Inspired by Indian Street Food Opens at Optimist Hall

Botiwalla comes from James Beard Award-nominee Meherwan Irani

December 15, 2020

Photo by Night Watch Crew

Botiwalla, a full-service restaurant serving Indian street food, opens this week at Optimist Hall. The first tenant in the hall’s upstairs restaurant wing, the spot comes from five-time James Beard Award-nominee Meherwan Irani. This is the third location for the concept, with prior locations in Atlanta’s Ponce City Market and Alpharetta City Center.

SPDP And Lamb Burgers. Photo by Night Watch Crew.

This 2,727-square-foot restaurant is currently in a soft open until Thursday’s grand opening. Per a release, the menu has “grilled chicken, lamb, and paneer wrapped in hot naan with fresh herbs, smoky Lamb Burgers, finger lickin’ chaat such as SPDP (Sev Potato Dahi Puri) and Masala Smashed Potatoes, and the cult-followed Desi Salad,” as well as “snacks and grilled meats, the restaurant features boozy slushies, afternoon high tea, and retail items including Irani’s own Spicewalla spices, roasted and packed by hand in Asheville, NC.”

Photo by Night Watch Crew

This is the first Indian restaurant for the hall, which has been building its roster of international options since opening last year. Soft opening hours for Botiwalla are 11 a.m.-4 p.m.; regular hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Chicken Tikka Roll. Photo by Night Watch Crew.

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Zafron Restaurant Sandy Springs

Zafron Restaurant Sandy Springs

From the moment you walk in and see the lavish and gorgeous garden room adorned with a chandelier and notice the dynamic food, Zafron Restaurant turns out to be a true Persian gem in Sandy Springs that has style. From dips and starters for every taste, an extensive wine list, to tender sea bass, and the fantastic and unique experience of the Rhubarb Lamb Shank, we sipped and tasted our way around the menu. We can’t wait to share our experience any longer, let’s dive in.
The post Zafron Restaurant Sandy Springs appeared first on Adventures in Atlanta.

Top 11 Hotel Bars in Charleston

Top 11 Hotel Bars in Charleston

The stunning skyline views, cozy corners and crave-worthy cocktails at these bars will make leaving your hotel an uneasy task! While many cocktail bars are often pit-stops to your final destination, these unique hotel bars are destinations in themselves. Scroll on to check out where we love to sip specialty cocktails, including The Living Room and The Citrus Club at The Dewberry, Élevé at the Grand Bohemian Hotel, Camellias and Fiat Lux at Hotel Bennett, Thoroughbred Club at Belmond Charleston Place, The Bar at The Spectator, The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue, the Pavilion Bar at Market Pavilion, Frannie & The Fox at Hotel Emeline and The Watch at The Restoration.
The Living Room at The Dewberry The Citrus Club at The Dewberry Élevé at The Grand Bohemian Hotel Camellias at Hotel Bennett Fiat Lux at Hotel Bennett Thoroughbred Club at Belmond Charleston Place The Bar at The Spectator The Rooftop Bar at The Vendue Pavilion Bar at Market Pavilion The Watch at The Restoration Frannie & The Fox

McCray’s Tavern East Cobb

McCray’s Tavern East Cobb

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/30/20
Just as the sun sets in the sky, the lights start to glow inside McCray’s Tavern East Cobb, while the hustle and bustle of the guests, bartenders, and staff picks up. The energy permeates the air and entices you to enjoy a light appetizer, try the latest chef’s special, and maybe a cocktail or two. We also have to admit, McCray’s Tavern is more eatery than the Tavern name suggests with dynamic and diverse dishes that Chef Mo continues to knock out of the park. Yes, McCray’s Tavern East Cobb may have traditional tavern fare like wings and burgers, but when you see the extensive menu and specials, all you know is you’re in for a treat. From feisty, spicy tuna tartare, delectable duck, divine butternut squash agnolotti, hearty pork chop, to the lemony East Meets West cocktail, McCray’s Tavern East Cobb turns tavern into culinary adventure. Who’s ready to eat?
While waiting for our food, we sipped on two frisky cocktails, the East Meets West and the Mayan Copa. East Meets West does a balancing act between the smooth gin, lemon, and tiki bitters. Light, lemony, and refreshing, this patio sipper, has so much flavor! This ended up being the favorite because it’s one of those drinks you could have a few of and really enjoy! The other cocktail was Mayan Copa. This margarita-like number takes it up a notch with a little bit of grapefruit and dark colored salt on the rim to give it some sass. It’s a beautiful cocktail with the dark salt contrasting the pink of the drink.
When the food arrived, we couldn’t wait to dive into our first course, which started with the spicy tuna tartare and ended with thai chili wings. This is not your regular tuna tartare, it’s a fun take on this dish with a perfect mixture of tender, spicy, tuna, plus ginger, lime, and garlic. Not too spicy and with a ton of flavor, it’s topped with a dreamy avocado mousse that gives it that right amount of creaminess. Don’t forget to eat it with the wonton chips, those give it that crunch. Our pro tip is to make sure to mix it all together well and eat with those chips. Flavor time! Something McCray’s does well are wings. From the crispiness of the skin, mighty meaty flats, and spicy, sweet thai chili glaze, we were definitely treated to a plate of goodness. No ranch or blue cheese required.

Something we didn’t expect was that amazing specials that McCray’s Tavern East Cobb offers daily! We sampled both the Tea-Brined Duck and the Pasta of the Day, Butternut Squash Agnolotti. Starting with the pasta, this to-die-for dish marries hearty, sweet pasta stuffed with creamy butternut squash with a phenomenal truffle vinegar and butter pecan glaze. With hints of lemon, butter, and the bite of hard cheese, it’s rich, cheesy, hearty, creamy, earthy, sweet, with the perfect amount of sauce. Are you hungry yet? We’re not done, either. Next, the Tea-Brined Duck started with a tender piece of meat with a little crisp on the skin. Paired with a delectable, slightly crunchy jasmine rice cake and a citrus-forward, orange miso glaze, this was a match made in heaven. The richness of the duck works so well with the orange of the glaze and the crunchiness of the rice and skin. We’re thinking just like pork and peaches is a winning combo, let’s add duck and orange to your dynamic duo list.

Finally, we couldn’t resist a crack at trying the Wood Grilled Pork Chop. Boy, we weren’t disappointed as the pork chop was just as tender and juicy as advertised. Simply seasoned and thick pork chop gives off a slightly charred flavor followed by a deep and rich pork flavor that is so basic, but is just one of the best flavors in the world. Must try. We got it with crunchy, earthy, and garlicy green beans that really brightened the dish! Yum.
Something we love about McCray’s Tavern East Cobb is the energy of the manager and how it permeates his team. His love for food, fine dining, seafood, and the customer experience really made this dinner special and not just for us, but for everyone that goes and eats there. Plus, we can’t wait to see what Chef Mo comes up with next, just watching their Instagram makes us hungry, and a little jealous. We’d love to try ALL of those amazing specials they show!

Woodward & Park Brunch

Woodward & Park Brunch

Posted by Liz and John Attaway, 11/19/20
Across from Oakland Cemetery in Grant Park, restaurants, bars, and housing are popping up like wildfire and adding to the appeal of the area.  Joining long standing staple Six Feet Under, Woodward & Park like newbies Full Commission and Firepit, have infiltrated and elevated Grant Park into a must-go destination in Atlanta for both food and site seeing. At Woodward & Park everything from the fabulous cocktails to the amazingly staple breakfast fare to the divine Croque Madame Burger to unique dishes like the Shakshuka and Grits, they have to have one of the best brunches in Atlanta right now. You’ll want to write this down and save it for later. Here we go.
Sipping on a few cocktails with brunch is one of the best ways to start your weekend and depending on what you like, you can either go classic Butterfly cocktail or brunchy Roc N Rec Shooter. Starting with the Butterfly, this one had a ton of sass with a melding of gin, tonic, elderflower, lime, and butterfly pea flower. She’s a floral based cocktail that balances between the sweet and tart of the ingredients. This one we’d argue is a great summer sipper for almost any occasion, not just brunch. On the other hand, the Roc N Rec Shooter is perfect for brunching because it reminds us of breakfast itself. You can just think of it as a PBJ milkshake or even reminiscent of the childhood sandwich with a glass of milk. One part peanut butter whiskey, one part blackberry, and a splash of cream, this drink is nutty, creamy, and sweet.  And since we love unique sips, this one is a must sample on our list.
Two of the brunch dishes we chose turned out to be so dynamic and delicious, we wanted to rave about them. The most unique had to be one that we’d never seen on another brunch menu, the Mediterranean inspired Shakshuka and grits. It has so many flavors and textures with the harissa spices, tender tomatoes, eggs, and grainy yet creamy grits. It’s a plethora of spicy, sweet, creamy, crunchy, and ends savory with the runny egg.  One simple, yet amazing bowl, but make sure to mix it up well and get all the ingredients in one bite. Perfect. Something even better than this is imaginable, but we found it, the Croque Madame Burger. Starting with tender and rich meat in the middle and expanding into crunchy and crusty toast and surrounded by tons of cheese and runny egg, this burger wasn’t much to look at really. One bite and you’re in love with the meatiness, richness of the bone marrow, creamy of the cheeses, and savory gooeyness of the egg. It begins with a crunch and ends with so much savor. Our tip is to get the egg all runny and let it sink in a little to the bread. Cannot stop thinking about it!
If you go with more traditional breakfast fare, say the English Muffin Sandwich, you have to get it with the fried chicken! The English muffin made in-house had the right amount of crunch on the outside and warm bread inside! Then, the fried chicken was tender and juicy, while the breading was crispy with a slight spice. You can get it plain or with cheese and eggs. Either way, you’re in for a treat. Why don’t we finishing this off a classic mimosa?
Remember when we said to write this down? If you could have anything at Woodward & Park, what would you have? Next time for us, brisket hash for brunch and at dinner, bone marrow!

Steak 48 Opens in South Park Next Month. Here’s a Look Inside

Steak 48 Opens in South Park Next Month. Here’s a Look Inside

November 17, 2020

Steak 48, an upscale steakhouse with locations in Phoenix, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Houston, opens at Apex SouthPark on December 18. The 11,500-square-foot space has an in-house butcher shop, raw bar, and 6,000 bottle wine vault. Chief Brand Officer Oliver Badgio calls it a “very sexy steakhouse,” with multiple dining rooms, outdoor seating, and six private dining suites with a view of the open kitchen. “It’s an honest kitchen,” he says. “You get dinner and a show here.”

Executive chef Heather King comes from Bern’s Steakhouse in Tampa, and general manager Chad Tucker was previously at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Steak is the main attraction, but other menu highlights include crispy shrimp deviled eggs, corn crème brule, and a seafood tower. Badgio calls the seafood tower a must-try dish for first-timers, and says the meatballs are unbelievable. “We butcher everything in-house,” he says. “You can get a traditional steak and baked potato, or top it with black truffle Maine lobster.” He says the Charlotte location will also introduce a new signature cocktail called the Botanist.
To allow for social distancing, tables are six feet apart, and unused tables are marked with flowers and candles. The restaurant will open at 50 percent capacity and reservations are required. “Come here to celebrate a special occasion, or come on a Tuesday night,” Badgio says. “It’s approachable and unpretentious, like a newer version of a great American steakhouse.”

Steak 48 is located at 4425 Sharon Road in SouthPark.

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6 Must-Try French Toast Plates in Charleston

6 Must-Try French Toast Plates in Charleston

From lavender scented brioche to hand-cut currant bread stuffed with cinnamon apples to challah topped with blackberry maple syrup and mint, the Lowcountry’s skillful chefs put innovative (and scrumptious) twists on this brunch classic. Scroll on for our must-visit spots for french toast including Butcher & Bee, Félix, FIG, Halls Chophouse, Lowlife Bar and TOAST.
Hungry for more? Discover the 21 Best Brunch Spots in Charleston.
Butcher & Bee Félix FIG Halls Chophouse Lowlife Bar TOAST

How to Have the Perfect Girls Weekend Getaway in Pigeon Forge

How to Have the Perfect Girls Weekend Getaway in Pigeon Forge

Last updated Oct 22, 2020

If Pigeon Forge, Tennessee isn’t on your radar for your next girls getaway trip, it should be! This family friendly destination is also the perfect spot for a weekend away with just the ladies. Planning a girls weekend getaway to Pigeon Forge may seem overwhelming at first with a virtually endless list of activities and entertainment to choose from, but here are a few of our favorites to help you get started.

A luxurious massage is the perfect way to kick off the weekend, and there is no better place to do it than the St. Somewhere Spa at the Margaritaville Island Hotel. There is a menu of choices from light pressure to deep tissue, and even a volcanic hot massage. If a massage isn’t your thing, go for a facial, body wrap or mani/pedi. Whatever you choose will be a relaxing treat!

If there was ever a time to forget about calories and carbs, this is it! The menu at Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen is served up family style, so everyone gets a taste of everything ordered. Fried Chicken, Mac & Cheese and the Gooey Butter Cake are so good, it feels like Paula herself is in the kitchen.
Soak Up the Sun at the Margaritaville Hotel Pool

A girls weekend getaway just doesn’t feel complete without spending some quality time at the pool. The rooftop pool at the Margaritaville Hotel feels like a resort by the beach in the middle of the Smoky Mountains. With a full bar serving fruity frozen drinks, comfy cabanas with curtains swaying in the breeze, and cool splashes from the pool, you may just forget you AREN’T at a tropical resort somewhere far away.

After wandering in and out of the shops at Old Mill Square, be sure to pop into The Old Forge Distillery for a drink. Old Forge is famous for their small batch Tennessee spirits and award winning moonshine. Tastings inside the distillery always draw a crowd, but it’s the small bar next to the gift shop that’s extra special. The menu is full of fun, inventive cocktails using the moonshine, and spirits from Old Forge.
From relaxing at a luxurious spa and shopping for handmade crafts to sampling some of the best Southern cuisine from local restaurants and enjoying the great amenities found at area accommodations, a girls weekend getaway to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee is the best way to get in a little quality time with the ladies. So start planning your trip today!

About the Author:
Hailey Householder is a travel writer and creator of the blog, America My Beautiful. She has traveled all over the United States searching for the best and most unique experiences to share with her readers.

5 Reasons I Love Visiting Jacksonville

5 Reasons I Love Visiting Jacksonville

My first visit to Jacksonville as an adult was in 2016 and I was not really impressed. At the time I lived on the Florida Panhandle so I already had the beach. And the parts of Jacksonville I saw were kind of...