dish ng FA L L / W I N T E R
Try Sea Level NC' s Fried Chicken Stea m Bun, featuring ja lapeño pimento cheese.
ISSUE NO. 1
Pimento Cheese A PEEK INSIDE THE + GET HOME KITCHEN OF KATY AND JOE KINDRED
A FOOD LOVER’S GUIDE TO GREAT DINING AROUND CHARLOTTE
The kind of good that brightens up your holiday Add some sunshine to your holiday turkey this year with a Floridian citrus brine. You’ll love the tanginess of oranges and lemons and the sweetness of brown sugar and honey, all tied together with a little kick from garlic and ginger. It’s a perfect change of holiday pace from the Sunshine State. WHAT YOU’LL NEED Onions, garlic, ginger, oranges, lemons, lime, black peppercorns, thyme, bay leaves, salt, brown sugar, honey, water HOW YOU'LL DO IT 1. Brine turkey 2. Roast turkey 3. Carve turkey 4. Enjoy turkey For a more detailed recipe, visit butterball.com/recipes and search Floridian Citrus.
©2019 Butterball, LLC. BUTTERBALL is a trademark of Butterball, LLC.
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CHARLOTTE’S FAVORITE SPECIALTY FOOD SINCE 1928
BUTCHER • CHEESE • PASTRIES • WINE • GIFT BASKETS CATERING • BREAKFAST • LUNCH • DINNER Locations in SouthPark, Uptown and Myers Park Find us on social @reidsfinefoods • www.reids.com
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A new spin ON A GREAT AMERICAN PASTIME
704.523.7633 1700 MONTFORD DRIVE CHARLOTTE, NC 28209 ROLLTEN.COM
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10 Park Lanes is an exciting new concept that combines the fun of a classic bowling alley with the sophistication of a chef-driven restaurant, a full-service bar and live music venue.
Shain Gallery 2823 Selwyn Avenue, Suite K Charlotte NC 28209 704-334-7744 www.shaingallery.com
NO.1 FA L L / W I N T E R
Q: WHO ELSE IS EXCITED TO EAT PASTA THIS WINTER? EDITOR firstname.lastname@example.org Graye Todd
I can’t resist pizza and red wine when the weather gets cold. While we frequently host pizza night on the Big Green Egg at home, I also love to take the kids to Capishe for an early dinner; the San Lorenzo Pizza pairs perfectly with a good glass of red wine.
ART DIRECTOR Kristen Hartnett ART ASSOCIATE Katie Cline CONTRIBUTORS Allison Arthur Alex Cason Amber Day Michelle DeLong Chris Edwards Jess Gaddy
When there is no time to make fresh pasta at home or on days when I need a cozy night in, I stop by Pasta & Provisions for one of their daily take-home specials. A heavenly combination of fresh-cut pasta or entrée, baby greens and focaccia bread baked that morning. A winning meal deal for $20 or less.
Allie Papajohn Cara Rank Sam Simma Katie Toussaint Laura Tully
“ Be Sweet” Optimist Hall
CUSTOMER SERVICE SPECIALIST Stephanie Miner
Few things in life induce the same level of comfort and happiness that I get from a big dish of our own Cajun Queen’s special Cajun pasta. Between the ambiance and amazing food, it will always be solidified as one of my favorite places in Charlotte.
SOCIAL MEDIA INTERN Shadi Bakhtiyari I am obsessed with the Fusilli Ala Vodka at Vivace Charlotte. This is decadent, dreamy pasta that is sure to satisfy anyone’s pasta cravings.
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Dishing Charlotte is a part of Dishing LLC, based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. For information on licensing rights, contact email@example.com.
Corkbuzz Restaurant & Wine Bar offers an extensive international wine list, including over 40 wines by the glass. Our full menu is inspired by food served in the great wine regions of the world. Our sommeliers host fun, informative wine classes each month, with topics ranging from Wine 101 to Blind Tasting to Tours of France and Italy.
4905 Ashley Park Ln., Suite J | Charlotte, NC 28210 704.625.1328 | www.corkbuzz.com
Cheese & Wine boutique European-style Fromagerie
2400 Park Rd. Suite H Charlotte, NC 704.472.5513 www.meresclt.com
Allie Papajohn WRITER
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hen Allie Papajohn created her foodie Instagram account @eatdrinkclt after moving to the Queen City five years ago, she never expected it to be one of Charlotte’s most popular food and drink handles. Yet here she is having passed the 50K followers mark this past summer and showing no signs of slowing down. We were thankful that, between her full-time corporate job and her busy dining schedule, she could write our “In the Kitchen With” Chef Greg Collier. Before we could let her take pen to paper, we had to turn the lens around to get her rundown on eating out in the Queen City. What do you love most about the Charlotte food scene? I love interacting with people who also love to eat and meeting chefs/managers/marketing folks who make the magic happen. It’s fascinating to hear their stories (and share them when I can). I also enjoy trying new, creative dishes/concepts but have tons of love and respect for restaurants that have been around CLT for years and years. We do a travel piece in every issue. Where would you travel for a specific food experience? Locally? Definitely Charleston, Greenville, Asheville... globally, if I had the funds, Italy or Greece! What’s your favorite date-night spot in Charlotte? (You can have more than one.) The Dunavant for soup/salad, bottomless truffle fries and steak for $25! And Mama Ricotta’s (a day-one favorite). You wrote an article about chef Greg Collier; do you remember when you first met Greg and how the encounter came about? I had seen him at multiple events, but I think I finally introduced myself at Loft & Cellar at a tasting event. We had previously interacted on Instagram, so I figured I should say hi! What restaurant opening are you most anticipating for 2019? That’s tough! Probably The Goodyear House (big chef Coleman fan) or KiKi (huge Soul Gastrolounge fan).
Carolina Food & Wine Tours Hosted By
Weekly & Private Tours Book Today! www.ncwinegals.com megANDjess@ncwinegals.com
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TOC F E AT U R E S 19 NEW & NOTABLE
Here’s our rundown of some of the most noteworthy restaurants that have opened in the last 18 months.
46 BREWERIES BEST FOR…
A local’s guide to navigating the booming brewing scene in the Queen City.
62 LOCAL LOAVES
A quick hit list for great bread and other delectable pastries in and around Charlotte.
68 A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND LIKES Experts share tips on how to get Insta-worthy food photography.
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D E PA R T M E N T S 12 WHAT WE CRAVE 13 ASK FOR IT 25 FIVE WAYS: Pimento cheese
31 KITCHEN VIEWS
43 ATHLETES’ EATS
How Panthers players use food as weapons on the field
53 CHARLOTTE CLASSIC: Diamond Restaurant
A kitchen built with love serves multiple purposes in the home of Katy and Joe Kindred.
58 FROM A TO Z
37 IN THE KITCHEN WITH:
74 WILL TRAVEL FOR FOOD
Here’s our handy guide to expand your knowledge of food and cooking terms. Santa Ynez Valley
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P H O T O B Y L A U R A T U L LY
What We Crave
FALL IN THE CAROLINAS IS NOT TO BE MISSED, and especially in the Queen City with Panthers football in full swing. While we had to hang out a little longer than usual to feel the chill air, it’s arrived and we are glad it coincided with the end of us putting this inaugural issue of Dishing together. Over the summer we introduced ourselves to restaurateurs, public relations personnel, marketing teams and influencers within this cultivated hospitality industry, and we have been so grateful for the welcoming reception. While we were out in the blazing 90-degree temperatures, we couldn’t help anticipating the launch of Issue 1 and then cozying up to our cold-weather cravings. We look forward to winter for heartier breakfasts and lunches. Grab a breakfast biscuit from Reid’s or Uptown Yolk on your way to work. We love, too, the healthy but satisfying options like avocado toast from Living Kitchen. For lunch, we love a sandwich from Bedder Bedder & Moore, soup and salad from Amélie’s or a burger from Pinky’s Westside Grill. For dinner, we seek out comfort food, and some of our favorites include pizza from Capishe, pasta from Stagioni and eggplant Parmesan from Aria Tuscan Grill. We don’t forget about happy hour either, with so many great options like Sea Level NC for oysters, wine at Corkbuzz or hanging at the bar at Bardo. Make sure to spend an evening checking out all the amazing fare at Optimist Hall too. You can’t go wrong with dumplings from The Dumpling Lady, tacos from El Thrifty Social or ramen from Bao and Broth. So, there you have it. Lots of good reasons to love winter. And hey, if you are really that cold or just need to work off the extra calories, go warm up with a workout at Flywheel.
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Ask For It!
Readers’ favorite recipes from Charlotte restaurants I can’t get enough of Superica’s salsas, especially the green one. I don’t know if I can make it as well as they do, but I’d like to give it a try. Could you get the recipe for me? — KIRK DONALDSON, CHARLOTTE
PHOTO BY ANDREW THOMAS LEE
Superica’s Green Table Salsa 1 pound tomatillos, husks removed, cut in half 1 avocado, pitted and peeled 2 or 3 serrano peppers, stemmed 1/2 small onion, coarsely chopped 2 garlic cloves 1 large bunch cilantro, tough stems removed 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
> Combine all ingredients in a blender and puree until smooth, about 1 minute. Taste and add more salt as needed.
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Ask For It!
My husband and I love to sit at the bar at Bardo and watch the amazing mixologist make cocktails. This summer we couldn’t get enough of the Silence Is Joven cocktail. We would love to make it at home sometime. — LYNN SIEGLER, CHARLOTTE
PROVIDED BY BARDO
Bardo’s Silence Is Joven Cocktail
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1 1/2 ounces Ilegal Mezcal 1/2 ounce Yellow Chartreuse 1/4 ounce Aperol 1/4 ounce Licor 43 3/4 ounce lime juice 1/2 ounce lemon juice 2 dashes Peychaud’s Bitters
> Add all ingredients to a
shaker along with ice and shake well. Double strain into an absinthe-rinsed old-fashioned glass and garnish with a dehydrated orange wheel.
My daughter and I always go to Napa on Providence when I come visit her in town. I always order the gnocchi that changes seasonally. Since I don’t live in Charlotte, I’d love to re-create this dish at home when I can’t get to visit. — CARLY MOSS, STATESVILLE, NC
Napa at Kingsley’s Duck Confit & Sage Gnocchi Appetizer
P H O T O P R O V I D E D B Y N A P A AT K I N G S L E Y
3 tablespoons unsalted butter 1 teaspoon raw garlic, chopped 1 teaspoon raw shallots, chopped 1 cup gnocchi 1/4 cup caramelized onions 1/4 cup roasted butternut squash, diced 1/4 cup pulled duck confit 1/4 cup white wine
1/4 cup chicken stock 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped Salt and pepper to taste > Heat sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add butter to hot pan, then let it melt and brown slightly. Add chopped garlic and shallots, and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Add gnocchi, caramelized onions, roasted butternut squash and duck confit. Sauté until gnocchi are golden brown. Deglaze pan with white wine and let reduce for 1-2 minutes. Add chicken stock and simmer for 1-2 minutes. Fold in fresh chopped sage, season to taste and serve.
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Ask For It! Kindred is such a special treat for us and every time we have had a baby, I’ve driven up there for date night while we were expecting. Of course we had to have the Grandfather’s Pickles each time. Now that I’m a little occupied at home, it would be great to have the recipe to have these handy in our fridge. — LISA BARTON, CHARLOTTE
Kindred’s Grandfather’s Pickles
PROVIDED BY KINDRED
4 English cucumbers 1/2 yellow onion, sliced 4 Calabrian chiles 1/2 cup salt 3 cups water 3 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
PRO TIP: ONCE ALL PICKLES ARE GONE, USE THE LEFTOVER LIQUID (THE “MOTHER”) AS A BASE FOR THE NEXT BATCH OF PICKLES.
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> Using a mandolin, cut cucumbers 1/4-inch thick. Place the cucumbers into a non-metallic 1 gallon container with a lid. Julienne onion and add to cucumbers. Slice Calabrian chiles 1/8-inch thick; add to onions and cucumbers. Set aside. In a separate medium bowl, whisk vinegar and salt together until salt dissolves. Add water. Pour vinegar mixture over cucumber mix. Seal the container and refrigerate overnight. Pickles will last up to 7 days.
901 BE RR YHI LL RD ., S TE. A CHA RLOT TE, NC 2 8 2 0 8
D E LE CTA B L ESB Y HOL LY.C OM 70 4 .3 4 2 .4 8 0 0
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MAKING MEMORIES OF LIFE CELEBRATIONS
Exceptional Service 704.849.7646 thesoutherngourmet.net 9101 Monroe, Ste. 110 & 120 Charlotte, NC 28270
Cafe Hours Monday–Friday 11 a.m.–3 p.m.
STORY AND PHOTOS BY JESS GADDY
TAKE A LOOK AT THE HOTTEST NEW RESTAURANTS, WHY THEY MADE THE CUT AND THE DISHES WE LOVE.
Charlotteâ€™s culinary scene has grown so fast recently that it seems as though a new restaurant is opening every month. Over the past couple of years, the Queen City has expanded so much in population that commercial and residential development companies have been working hard to keep up. Our city has become a landing strip for the newest and hippest restaurants.
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ews of restaurant expansions from cities like Atlanta, Denver, Orlando, even New York choosing Charlotte as their next destination puts us even higher on the list of top cities to visit in the country. Snooze, an A.M. Eatery from Denver, opened its doors in Plaza Midwood, and popular healthy superfood restaurant Flower Child from Phoenix opened in South End — these are two of the hottest neighborhoods for new restaurants. A few more hot spots have come to Charlotte in just the last 12 months and have gained a lot of popularity: Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams (now with three locations), Hawkers Asian Street Fare, Superica and Barcelona Wine Bar. Finally, with more than 22,000 square feet of tenant space and 20 new restaurants open or opening soon, Charlotte’s largest food hall, Optimist Hall, has helped make 2019 the year of restaurant openings. The dining culture in Charlotte is becoming a roller-coaster ride of new and exciting restaurants that will keep your calendar full for months on end. Dinner parties, birthday celebrations and reasons of most any kind will keep us trying one new dish after another. Having given restaurants that opened over the past 18 months some time to find their feet, we’ve rounded up our top picks for new culinary destinations that can stand against our old favorites. These Charlotte restaurants are pouring out heart and soul onto their plates, and we are here to help you navigate the new and notable ones. Don’t miss our short list of new places open or opening up soon too.
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HIGH-QUALITY, SOPHISTICATED DISHES THAT ARE MOSTLY SMALL, SHAREABLE PLATES.
At almost 8,000 square feet, this dining space is stunning with high ceilings and seating for over 250 guests. With the same owners of the highly acclaimed Artisanal restaurant in Banner Elk, North Carolina, Peppervine serves up top-notch American cuisine that rotates seasonally to showcase the best ingredients with unparalleled flavor. A unique partnership with Shain Gallery adds to the beauty of the restaurant space by showcasing art from rotating artists. Open for dinner service only.
doughnuts. Now, with their first brick-andmortar storefront, Pepperbox offers Counter Culture Coffee, specialty teas, kombucha, and homemade sodas and lemonade alongside their signature doughnuts, with new features on the menu each week.
ALL-YOU-CAN-EAT FRIES WITH BLACK ANGUS STEAK.
Owner-chef Travis Hearne is a Charlotte native and former chef at Vivace. He has created a new date-night spot in the South End. The signature steak-and-fries dinner, priced at $25, features an 11-ounce butter-seared Black Angus culotte steak with your choice of three sauces, plus bottomless truffle fries and an additional
UNIQUE DOUGHNUTS IN THE HEART OF SOUTH END.
Owned and operated by native Charlotteans Alex Beebe and Nate DeVillers, Pepperbox Doughnuts started two years ago as a popup and special events vendor. Using a yeastraised vegan base for their doughnuts, Pepperbox incorporates unique ingredients such as black miso caramel, strawberry poppyseed and peanut butter Oreo into their THE DUNAVANT
THE WATERMAN FISH BAR
A LAID-BACK DINING ATMOSPHERE AND ROOFTOP BAR LOCATED IN SOUTH END.
The “kid cousin” restaurant of Sea Level NC, the Waterman is a laid-back seafood joint that features several seafood favorites paired with Southern flair, such as BBQ Brisket Po Boy, Crawdaddy Dippers, raw bar items, Bourbon Cheese Fondue, Southern Pecan Bar, Low Country Boil, Bayou Burger, and seven different tacos to choose from on either house-made corn or scallion pancake. The South End location makes for a fun outing, and the rooftop bar, Topside, is the perfect place to catch all the action on the weekends.
NORTHEASTERN SHORE FOOD AND SOUTHEASTERN STAPLES.
NC Red is the latest installation from the beloved Moffett Restaurant Group. Executive Chef Andrew Dodd has moved into the spotlight from Stagioni to head up the new seafood-centric menu in the iconic building once occupied by The Penguin in Plaza Midwood. Preparing Northern seafood dishes like Lobsta Rolls and Stuffies, alongside Southern staples like Nashville Hot Chicken,
Braised Collard Greens and Hot Water Corn Bread, Dodd has expertly balanced the intersection of classic Southern cuisine with Northeastern fare. This hot spot is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
FAST-CASUAL SUSHI CONCEPT BROUGHT TO US BY THE INDIGO ROAD RESTAURANT GROUP.
With two other successful Charlotte concepts, O-Ku Sushi and Oak Steakhouse, Sukoshi is a more relaxed sushi joint where happy-hour specials, takeout deals and a quick in-andout lunch menu make this a huge success in Uptown. The menu includes classics like dim sum, specialty rolls, and rice bowls of steak, chicken and fish. We recommend topping your meal off with their signature Miso Caramel Soft Serve.
A SEASONALLY DRIVEN, LOCALLY SOURCED, FINE DINING SPOT IN THE HEART OF ELIZABETH NEIGHBORHOOD.
NC RED’S CORNBREAD RECIPE 1 cup cornmeal 3 tablespoons honey 1 egg 1 cup cheddar, shredded 1 tablespoon baking powder 1 cup all-purpose flour 2 tablespoons chives 1/4 cup pickled cherry peppers 1 tablespoon salt 1 cup buttermilk 2 cups sweet corn 1 ounce butter > Heat oven to 350 F. Mix all ingredients but fresh corn and butter. Put corn in food processor for about 45 seconds then incorporate into batter. Heat the skillet for 3 minutes. Put butter in skillet. Immediately add mixture to skillet and bake for 20 minutes.
After James Beard Award semifinalist chef Paul Verica closed Heritage in Waxhaw, it didn’t take him long to come up with a new restaurant concept. At just under 3,000 square feet, The Stanley seats 63 in an intimate dining room and boasts a large bar and private dining room in the back. The menu changes daily with seasonal influences, and reservations are highly recommended. The burger, featuring New York strip, foie gras and white truffle, is available at the bar and Sunday brunch — and it’s a must.
PHOTO COURTESY OF NC RED
choice of locally sourced seasonal soup or salad. The restaurant has expanded into offering nightly specials, small plates, large shareable plates and weekend brunch.
CASUAL PIZZA IN AN OPEN URBAN ENVIRONMENT.
PROSCIUTTO FROM CAPISHE
Located just outside Center City, Capishe has quickly become a top pizzeria of even the most gourmet foodies in Charlotte. Spawned from the creative minds of Salsarita’s founder Bruce Willette and his partners Servet Guvenc, Alberto Moreno and Jayson Poluka, as well as former pasta chef
at Kindred, David Cavalier, it’s no wonder that Capishe already plans to open a second location in SouthPark. Expect fresh-made pasta and pizza dough alongside big salads, drool-worthy Puccia bread sandwiches, meatballs, and of course the Italian dessert favorites gelato and cannolis.
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LEWIS DONALD OF SWEET LEW’S BBQ
LA BELLE HELENE UPSCALE FRENCH BISTRO IN THE HEART OF UPTOWN.
Famous not only for its stunning interior design but also for the carefully plated classic French dishes, La Belle Helene has quickly become one of the most anticipated dining destinations in Uptown Charlotte. Executive Chef Jim Stouffer, previously from Halcyon, Flavors From the Earth, works tirelessly with pastry chef McKinzie Spence to create more savory desserts and sweet varieties on some of their entrée plates.
SWEET LEW’S BBQ
NO-FRILLS BARBECUE IN THE UP-AND-COMING NEIGHBORHOOD OF BELMONT.
Owner-operator Lewis Donald is originally from Cleveland and landed in Charlotte by way of jobs at Charlotte Country Club and Reid’s Fine Foods. Appropriately named after himself, Sweet Lew’s BBQ features his own recipes and has become a neighborhood favorite. His plan was simple: Offer a super-flavorful menu packed with plenty of meats and sides. He has succeeded and has been known to sell out. There are three cocktails on tap: Margarita, Sangria and Bourbon Peach Tea.
MEANING “FORK” IN ITALIAN.
Created by the esteemed chef Luca Annunziata of Passion8 and Luca, Forchetta opened in the space formerly occupied by Caffe Sienna in Uptown Charlotte. The menu is full of authentic Italian dishes like fresh handcrafted pasta, charcuterie and cheese plates, caprese salad, and daily specials plus an impressive wine list.
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CHEF-DRIVEN, ECLECTIC SMALL PLATES.
Already with another concept on the horizon, Bardo is holding strong in popularity after being open just over a year. The high-
TUNA TARTARE FROM LA BELLE HELENE
quality ingredients and modern plating set this restaurant high on special-event and date-night agendas. Chef Michael Noll plus mixologist Amanda Britton makes for a killer combo for your dining experience. An openkitchen floor plan shows every seat in the house a view into the focus and attention behind each dish. Britton creates and pairs cocktails that perfectly match Noll’s menu.
HIGH-CLASS COCKTAIL BAR IN ELIZABETH.
Gary Crunkleton, owner of The Crunkleton in Chapel Hill, brought his Prohibition-style cocktail bar to Charlotte with an added bonus: a full kitchen. Located in the heart of the Elizabeth neighborhood in an old brick building with exposed brick on the interior, The Crunkleton features tables with a view of the kitchen, plus a three-seat chef’s table at the far corner. They also have an ice block maker, one of only two in the United States, that churns out 50-pound slabs of ice that are cut and shaved to order.
PHOTO COURTE SY OF OPTI MI ST HALL
HANDCRAFTED COCKTAILS FROM THE CRUNKLETON
EUROPEAN FOOD IN A COZY SOUTHPARK SETTING.
Kevin Jennings and his wife, Stacey, owners of Vivace, saw space available in SouthPark and it became a dream come true. Offering European dishes heavily inspired by Spanish and French cuisines, Bar Marcel brings diners authentic cuisine in a beautiful setting. Tucked away from the busy streets in SouthPark, you can relax and dine on dishes like wagyu carpaccio, beet and burrata salad, paella, vermicelli, and octopus.
CLASSIC BARBECUE AND SIDES WITH A MODERN, URBAN BACKDROP.
Chef and restaurateur Jim Noble, of Rooster’s and The King’s Kitchen, brings a passion project to his portfolio. The restaurant concept and structure was built around the simple joy and love of smoking meats. Noble Smoke has all of the bells and whistles of a Southern
barbecue joint, from creamy macaroni and cheese to collard greens, hush puppies and fried onion straws. Be sure to save room for dessert and choose from a Heath bar banana pudding, pie of the day, or deep-fried seasonal fruit hand pies from Copain, Noble’s catering and bakery concept.
CHARLOTTE’S LARGEST FOOD HALL AT OVER 150,000 SQUARE FEET.
Developed from a historic textile mill, Optimist Hall is a new mixed-use retail space that offers some of the best food and beverage in Charlotte. With current tenants including Undercurrent Coffee, Zukku Sushi, Bao and Broth, Pet Wants, Honeysuckle Gelato, The Spindle Bar, The Dumpling Lady, Papi Queso, Village Juice Co. and El Thrifty Social, Optimist Hall has quickly become the destination for Charlotte foodies and still has new tenant openings happening later this fall.
NEW LOCAL RESTAURANTS > SUPPERLAND // SPRING 2020 Owners of Haberdish, Crepe Cellar, Growlers Pourhouse > LINK & PIN // FALL 2019 Owners of Duckworth’s > BOSSY BEULAH’S CHICKEN SHACK // FALL 2019 Noble Food & Pursuits > INDACO // FALL 2019 The Indigo Road > VANA // FALL 2019 Owners of Bardo > ACE NO. 3 // FALL 2019 Owners of Sea Level NC, The Waterman > CICCHETTI // FALL 2019 Owners of Aria Tuscan Grill > LEAH & LOUISE // FALL 2019 Owners of Uptown Yolk > CALLIE’S HOT LITTLE BISCUIT // WINTER 2019/20
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FUELED WITH FUN. DRIVEN BY COMMUNITY. ROOTED IN RESULTS.
2907 Providence Rd. in the heart of Charlotte sign up online.
Visit flywheelsports.com to learn more.
Ways Pimento Cheese
P H O T O B Y L A U R A T U L LY
Anyone who’s been in the South long enough has an opinion on pimento cheese. Maybe it’s a family recipe or a favorite brand at Reid’s, but this cheese spread that is typically made with mayo, pimentos and cheddar cheese is close to many Southern hearts. Recently, we’ve seen this simple picnic snack become elevated on menus throughout town. by Graye Todd
R EI D’ S BACON-WRAPPED PORK CHOP STUFFED WITH PIMENTO CHEESE
The Breakdown: The name says it all. This pork chop is prepared (uncooked) by the team at Reid’s and is ready to put in the oven for 30-40 minutes. We broiled it at the very end to caramelize the bacon, and it was perfect. Why We Love It: Reid’s is great for a quick grab-and-go meal that’s versatile enough for a weekday dinner or a multi-course supper club spread. This dish is perfect for any occasion, and the pimento cheese is a welcome surprise.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY MIDWOOD SMOKEHOUSE
MIDWOOD SMOKEHOU S E PIMENTO CHEESE FRIES The Breakdown: Midwood Smokehouseâ€™s superindulgent crinkle-cut fries are topped with homemade pimento cheese and your choice of chopped pork or beef brisket. Why We Love It: This dish is made for fall football watching and hanging with friends. Every detail is carefully considered and executed to perfection. A friendly warning: You will not be able to eat just one.
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P EPPERVI N E PIMENTO CHEESE SCONES
P H OTO BY J E S S G A D DY
The Breakdown: These scones made with pimento cheese and baked to order come out piping hot and served with sorghum butter and pepper jelly. Why We Love It: They are perfect for sharing and go great with that first cocktail at this beautiful SouthPark restaurant. We canâ€™t resist ordering these (and the homemade yeast rolls) to kick-start our feast.
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MER E’ S PIMENTO CHEESE
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P H O T O B Y L A U R A T U L LY
The Breakdown: This pimento cheese spread is made with a variety of aged cheeses, which gives it a new level of depth and flavor. It also has the perfect amount of spice (if you like spicy). Why We Love It: Owner Meredith Mullins’ sophisticated take on the classic is a nice way to wow your guests. With so many great home recipes, this one stands out.
PHOTO PROVIDED BY SEA LEVEL NC
S EA L E VE L N C FRIED CHICKEN STEAM BUN The Breakdown: This fun fusion appetizer combines juicy fried chicken, jalapeÃ±o pimento cheese, green tomato relish and greens. Why We Love It: This steam bun is a fun accompaniment to the excellent raw starters at this seafood restaurant and keeps everyone at the table happy. The bun is served warm, and the pimento cheese has the right amount of spice that pairs wonderfully with the green tomato relish.
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DECORATION & DESIGN (919) 396-2027 AG@AGINTERIORS.COM
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by Graye Todd photos by Chris Edwards
A kitchen built with love serves multiple purposes in the home of Katy and Joe Kindred.
Katy and Joe Kindred moved into their home in downtown Davidson nearly a decade ago, a restaurant within walking distance on Main Street was just a dream. Now the beloved couple has two successful restaurants — Kindred and Hello, Sailor — and they’ve helped put Davidson on the map for foodies all across the country. We couldn’t wait to hear more about how the Kindreds managed to start their restaurant empire, so we sat down with Katy where it all started: their home kitchen.
KATY, LET’S START WITH THIS HOUSE. WHEN DID YOU MOVE IN, AND HOW DID YOU PICK THE LOCATION?
We moved into this house nine years ago. It was 2009 and the economy was in a tailspin. We bought the house for next to nothing — I think $87,000. We really wanted to be in Davidson and walking distance to Main Street. It was bare bones. We had to put in an HVAC system; there was just a furnace in one closet, which was a chimney. We loved the location and we were ready to take on a renovation. Of course, the week we closed on the house, I found out I was pregnant with my oldest child. DISHIN GCLT.C OM
WHAT TYPE OF RENOVATIONS DID YOU HAVE TO DO TO THE KITCHEN?
We gutted it ourselves with a sledgehammer and also invited over friends who wanted to get their anger out. We took a wall out in the middle of the kitchen. We also put a back door on the house because the only way to get to the backyard was the front door. We took it down to the studs. We put the cabinets in ourselves. We bought the sixburner range on Craigslist. Our friend made the woodwork for the shelf in the kitchen. We did hire someone to install the windows and countertop. The farmhouse sink was probably an unusual choice, but it is so functional and we used it as a baby bath for all three children.
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The floors are solid white oak. We didn’t want the typical polyurethane finish, so we went with an oil finish. Shiny and polished just isn’t who we are in life, and we didn’t want our floors that way either. The oil finish looked a bit odd at first, but once it sets, it looks great. WHAT WAS THE INSPIRATION FOR THE KITCHEN?
We knew we wanted an open concept since the space is so small. Before we lived here, we were in a small apartment in San Francisco and then a tiny house in Chantilly, so we realized we were always in one room of the house and that was the kitchen. The dream, when we bought the house, was
THE BUTCHER BLOCK
island cover provides additional prep space that is well-utilized.
what if one day we opened a restaurant on Main Street, and then it happened. DO YOU USE YOUR HOME KITCHEN TO EXPERIMENT FOR THE RESTAURANTS?
Oh yes. We do experiment a lot. This was the test kitchen when we opened Kindred, and it still is. Both Kindred and Hello, Sailor are super busy, and we would get in the way of the kitchen staff if we tested recipes there. WHAT’S THE STORY OF YOU MEETING, AND HOW DO YOU MANAGE THE WORK/ MARRIAGE BALANCE?
Our marriage started with us cooking. We worked together when we met. He was a sous chef, and I was running the wine program. We started dating that summer before I went to Italy and literally spent every day together. I had a ton of wine, and we’d stay up drinking the most incredible wine and chatting. When I went to Italy it was difficult being away; so we decided Joe would come over to visit. And when he did, he proposed in Alba, which is now my oldest daughter’s name. TELL US MORE ABOUT THE ITALY TRIP YOU AND JOE ARE HOSTING. WE HEARD IT SOLD OUT IMMEDIATELY; WILL YOU BE DOING MORE?
Yes, we are super excited. While I had traveled a lot in the north of Italy, I haven’t been to the southern region so I’m really excited for that. Basically the travel company reached out and asked if we wanted to be tastemakers for a trip. We threw out a few ideas including Spain, but when they heard our story they wanted to put us back in Italy. We have some awesome customers who are going and are definitely looking forward to it. WHAT DO YOU LOVE TO COOK AT HOME, AND WHO DOES MOST OF THE COOKING?
It’s definitely a 50/50 mix as to who is cooking. We love to cook together. Our favorite thing to do is grill all kinds of meat in the summer because the ingredients and
THE GLASS STORAGE JARS provide
a pleasing aesthetic with built-in storage and easy access.
the weather are perfect. We have a Big Green Egg and a Weber, so we grill vegetables and a lot of meat. We love taco night with the kids. We do it right and go all out with the toppings. We also love cooking seafood, and we use our flat-top grill for everything. THAT BRINGS ME TO KITCHEN TOOLS AND THE SPACE. WHAT DO YOU CONSIDER YOUR MOST VITAL TOOL IN THE KITCHEN?
For Joe, it’s a sharp chef ’s knife. No doubt. For me, I love the mandolin and our Vitamix. We hide spinach and avocado in smoothies we make for the kids, and it’s great. Oh, and our most utilized kitchen space is the island with the butcher block top. We had to splurge for it, but it’s been, by far, the best investment. We couldn’t live without it. SO LET’S TALK ABOUT THE MUSSELS RECIPE. WE CAN’T WAIT TO TRY THIS AT HOME.
Mussels are a healthy and easy protein, plus they are shelf stable for a while and
inexpensive. You could also substitute clams or fish and just do a little Provençal sauce. There’s no waste. WE HAVE TO HEAR A LITTLE MORE ABOUT YOUR WINE STUDIES AND PICK YOUR BRAIN ON SOME EASY DRINKING FOR WINTER.
So I took a sommelier test when I was 21. The process is much more standardized now but back then, the best way to do it was to ask someone to mentor you and work around wine.
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HELLO, SAILOR MUSSELS 1/4 CUP OLIVE OIL 2 TABLESPOONS SHALLOT, MINCED 1 TABLESPOON GARLIC, MINCED 1 TEASPOON KOSHER SALT 1 TEASPOON RED PEPPER FLAKES 1 POUND P.E.I. MUSSELS, WASHED 1 CUP DICED TOMATO 1 CUP WHITE WINE 16 OUNCES BUTTER, ROOM TEMPERATURE 1 TABLESPOON CHOPPED PARSLEY > PLACE A LARGE SAUTÉ PAN OVER MEDIUMHIGH HEAT. ONCE THE PAN IS HOT ADD THE OLIVE OIL, SHALLOTS, GARLIC, SALT AND RED PEPPER FLAKES. SWEAT EVERYTHING DOWN FOR 1-2 MINUTES OR UNTIL SHALLOTS AND GARLIC HAVE SOFTENED. ADD THE MUSSELS, COVER AND STEAM FOR 2-3 MINUTES. ADD THE TOMATOES TO THE MUSSELS AND COOK FOR 3-4 MINUTES. DEGLAZE THE PAN WITH THE WHITE WINE AND REDUCE BY HALF. ADD THE BUTTER AND STIR UNTIL BUTTER IS MELTED AND INCORPORATED WELL. FINISH WITH THE CHOPPED PARSLEY AND SERVE WITH CRUSTY BREAD.
WHAT DO YOU TELL PEOPLE ABOUT BUYING WINE FOR HOME DRINKING?
I love to tell people about unexpected wines they never considered including — new regions and new grapes they probably haven’t heard of but taste really similar to the more popular and expensive varieties. Cabernet is a great example; it’s expensive to grow because the land is worth so much and it’s not realistic for everyday drinking. However, there’s a lot of full-bodied wines that are $8 to $10 that pack just as much flavor. Spain is a great place to go for cabernet-like wines. They have really smoky rich wines in the southeastern region of Spain where you pay a quarter
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of what you would pay for a California cab because the land is so much cheaper. CAN YOU GIVE US SOME OF YOUR TOP PICKS FOR CABERNET-LIKE WINES?
I love reds out of the south of France, instead of Bordeaux or Napa that you otherwise wouldn’t gravitate toward. I also like to turn people onto Syrah. The Rhone varieties are really good and have that peppery smoky flavor that cab drinkers like. These are a good bang for the buck. In general, there are so many great regions for reds; in the Loire Valley cabernet franc, a relative of cabernet sauvignon, is herbal and goes great with food.
JOE KINDRED prepares mussels in a simple Provenรงal sauce.
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Located in the heart of Uptown Open 7 days a week
224 E. 7th St. | Charlotte, NC 7thstreetpublicmarket.com
In the Kitchen with Greg Collier chef Greg Collier and wife, Subrina, moved to Charlotte in 2012, the dream wasnâ€™t exactly to serve breakfast in small-town Rock Hill, South Carolina. Born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, Collier is no stranger to the South. But that did not stop him from making moves and heading to Scottsdale, Arizona, to attend Scottsdale Community College Culinary Program. Postgraduation, he opened a restaurant and worked in various kitchens, but the South eventually called him home. In 2010, he and Subrina were married and moved to Charleston, South Carolina. Less than two years later, they made the move to the Queen City, and The Yolk was born.
Trading in fine dining in Arizona for breakfast soul food in the South by Allie Papajohn photos by Laura Tully
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Chef Greg Collier effortlessly flips an egg in the small kitchen at Uptown Yolk.
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Why breakfast? “More than anything, we walked into the space [and] I was like, ‘There’s no way I’m gonna be able to come to Rock Hill, South Carolina, from Arizona and do anything high-end,’” said Collier. They borrowed cash from their parents, put down deposits, obtained necessary permits and bought the equipment that someone had left behind. “We really wanted to do fine dining, but I knew I wasn’t gonna be able to touch as many people as I wanted with a price point that high,” said Collier. “And nobody knew me. So I felt like breakfast would be the easiest way to get that point across.” And get the point across he did. After much success during their six years in South Carolina, the Colliers made the move to Uptown Charlotte. “We knew we needed to change our business model and space to be able to reach a different type of audience…to be included in different stuff going on in Charlotte,” said Collier. While he and Subrina plan to one day move back to Tennessee, they certainly aren’t slowing down anytime soon — as Dishing learned during our interview with Collier this past summer. WHAT’S THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE MENU AT THE YOLK?
I use my folks as an identifier. My Mom’s a little more out there, and she’ll eat turkey sausage. My Pops, every single time he comes to the restaurant, he gets chicken and waffles. Period. I was always trying to think about my context as an African American chef from the South. How would I get younger me or my parents to look at food a little differently? YOU’VE SIGNED A THREE-YEAR LEASE AT 7TH STREET PUBLIC MARKET. WHAT MAKES THIS SPACE IMPORTANT TO YOU?
The beauty of 7th Street is the incubation program in the evenings. We’re mentoring and bringing in young cooks and chefs or business people…. I think we’ll end up being there a long time because the ability to do the incubation space is really important. We
get to add residual income, but we also get to help people who need assistance. Even if it’s just, “Hey, one Monday, a vegan chef wants to come in and do a pop-up.” The kitchen is there, the space is there, the seats are there. All they gotta do is bring in the people. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE DISH AT THE YOLK?
Grits. The original recipe was with country ham bone. And that was a nod to my Mom and Grandma because she put country ham in her grits…paying homage to my roots and where I came from. Now instead of ham bone, we used smoked corn husk, make it more corn-forward…. We work with a miller out of Asheville. The first thing I tell people when I interview is when you make the grits, don’t be doing anything else. If you can’t take 15-20 minutes to make my grits right, you don’t care about the whole restaurant. Pause. Fifteen minutes. Grits. YOU SPENT SOME TIME AS EXECUTIVE CHEF OF LOFT & CELLAR. HOW DID THAT COME TO BE?
I reached out to the owner [when chef Nicolas Daniels left] and said I think we have an opportunity here…. He was like, “All right, let’s do it.” I just wanted to be able to cook Afro-Southern food. When I’m putting flavors together, I like to pull from not just my history but my ancestors’ history. The goal was to put another chef in who could keep the Loft & Cellar mission going forward. THE GIG WAS MEANT TO BE TEMPORARY. HOW DID YOU SET THINGS UP FOR THE NEXT CHEF?
For me, if I’m not training my replacement, if I’m not creating an environment where specifically black chefs can thrive in Charlotte, I’m not doing my job…. I got the stage, but you know who else is great? Let me bring in this young kid who’s a sous chef. That was the biggest thing at Loft & Cellar for me.… I wanted to come out and be like, “Look, everybody in Charlotte, I wanna show y’all what I can really, really do.” But it was also about giving someone the opportunity to lead the
UPTOWN YOLK’S BASIC MILK GRAVY 16 ounces butter 1 cup onions, diced 15 garlic cloves 2 cups all-purpose flour 1 gallon milk 2 tablespoons kosher salt 1 teaspoon nutmeg > Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and sauté until lightly browned. Once browned, stir in the flour until smooth. Continue stirring as the flour cooks to a light, golden, sandy color, about 7 minutes. Heat milk in separate pot to mediumhigh and slowly whisk in roux until thickened. Bring to a gentle simmer, then reduce heat to medium-low and continue simmering until the flour has softened and no longer tastes gritty, 10-20 minutes, then season with salt and nutmeg. For coffee gravy, use the same method but substitute coffee for half the milk.
kitchen and have their voice after I got done. YOU’RE ALSO A FOUNDING MEMBER OF SOUL FOOD SESSIONS. TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT.
The mission is to increase diversity in the hospitality industry first and foremost by making sure chefs of a high caliber who are also African American are visible to people. A lot of people just don’t know.… We called it Soul Food Sessions to play on the moniker that black chefs only cook soul food. We had never been in a kitchen with all black chefs.… Because of Soul Food Sessions, [other chefs] are being conscious because we’ve shared our stories with them. THIS YEAR, YOU RECEIVED A JAMES BEARD AWARD NOMINATION FOR BEST CHEF SOUTHEAST. HOW HAS THAT AFFECTED YOUR CAREER?
“It’s still weird. I kinda resolved myself to DISHIN GCLT.C OM
BREAKFAST IS SERVED:
Takeout containers make this breakfast an easy on-thego meal or great for the casual, communal tables at 7th Street Market.
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UPTOWN YOLK’S SWEET POTATO BISCUITS 1 cup cooked sweet potato puree 1/3 to 1/2 cup buttermilk, as needed 2 cups self-rising flour, plus more for dusting 2 tablespoons sugar 1 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into small bits > Place a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 425 F. Grease a baking sheet with butter, oil or cooking spray. In a small bowl, whisk together the sweet potato puree and 1/3 cup of buttermilk. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg. Cut in the butter with your hands, a pastry blender or two knives until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the sweet potato mixture and fold gently to combine. Add the remaining milk a little at a time until all the flour is moistened. The amount of milk you will need will depend on the moisture of the sweet potato. Sprinkle a small handful of flour on a work surface. Turn the dough out onto the surface and knead lightly 2-3 times with the palm of your hand until the mixture comes together. Pat the dough out into a 1/2-inch-thick round. Use a 2 1/2-inch-round biscuit cutter and cut the dough into biscuits. Gently reroll the scraps and cut out more biscuits. Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and bake until light golden brown and firm to the touch, 12-14 minutes. Serve these fluffy biscuits warm or at room temperature.
the fact that opening a breakfast restaurant wasn’t gonna get me a James Beard Award. I’d had a conversation with Subrina two weeks before…. I said, “I’m really to the point where I’m more excited about the young chefs I mentor winning a James Beard Award than I am about possibly winning one myself.” It’s not that I don’t want to have it or I don’t want to take it. I just don’t know that I focused on what they want. Now I’m gonna do it.… If we win, we win. If we don’t, we don’t. YOU AND SUBRINA PLAN TO OPEN A NEW CONCEPT WITH SMALL PLATES AND CRAFT COCKTAILS LATER THIS YEAR. WHAT WILL THIS BRING TO CHARLOTTE?
When we are able to have a space with the
bartender we’re gonna bring in and people see the things we’re doing, I think people are gonna look at it like what Southern restaurants are supposed to look like. I feel really strongly about everything we’re gonna do. AND OF COURSE, WE HAVE TO ASK: WHAT’S IT LIKE WORKING SIDE-BY-SIDE WITH YOUR WIFE?
She’s an extremely kind, loving, intelligent, gentle person. She’s also an Aries, and I’m a Leo. My need to be in the center versus her need to make sure her POV is heard lends itself to clashes.… I know she would kill somebody for me, and nothing’s bigger than that. The knowledge that she would do that allows me to do anything in the world.
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Fine Art and Custom Cards clarence-mills.com
Athletes’ Eats: Fuel Up
How Panthers players use food as weapons on the field by Alex Cason
Kawann Short or Christian McCaffrey eats in a typical day? Jennifer Brunelli is the one to ask. The director of sports nutrition at the United States Performance Center and the owner of RDpro, Brunelli is the official nutritionist for the Carolina Panthers. She is an athlete herself: a seventime all-American swimmer from the University of South Carolina. She is a former Roush Racing team dietitian. She has a master’s in nutrition from Winthrop University. Dishing sat down with her to ask what exactly she feeds the Carolina Panthers and how she got to this unique position.
PHOTOS PROVIDED BY JENNIFER BRUNELLI
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PHOTO BY SUSIE THEIS
HOW DID YOU TRANSITION FROM OWNING YOUR OWN SCIENCE-BASED NUTRITION BUSINESS INTO BEING THE PANTHERS’ FULL-TIME NUTRITIONIST?
Our head strength coach Joe Kenn came looking [for a diet specialist]. He had been in a college environment before, so he really understood the development of an athlete over time. He brought me in and said, “Hey, we want you to work with an athlete here and an athlete there.” With that strength coach, we really developed a great relationship. I can’t do my job if I don’t have athletic trainers and strength coaches saying we need to target explosiveness in this guy. It’s been huge to have those relationships that support the athlete together, because otherwise if somebody gets hurt, athletic trainers and team doctors are dealing with that. We need them to lose as little strength and have as little
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change in body composition as possible, so they can get right back on the field. DO YOU TRACK WHAT THE ATHLETES EAT ON THEIR DAYS OFF?
A lot of our athletes have individualized plans. We educate to the point where I shouldn’t have to — and they shouldn’t have to — track [nutrients] every single day. They should know that they’re not going to blow it out of the water at any one given time, to the point where one meal will make a difference. I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes we make around food: One meal is not making or breaking anything unless you do it right before game, potentially. DESCRIBE A STRUCTURED DAY FOR A PANTHERS PLAYER AT BANK OF AMERICA STADIUM.
We have breakfast from 6:30 to 8 a.m. We have
a pre-practice table [of food] that goes out at 10:30 to 11:30 on our way out to the field. We have on-field fueling; we have postgame handmade shakes and a bunch of other things that go on there. And 30 minutes later, they go into lunch and then there’s constantly snacks out there until they leave the building. So pretty much, they just do dinner and beforebed [snacks] on their own. Some are very game for cooking and are capable of that or have asked and we help them learn to cook a chicken breast — and then there are some that are like, “I don’t have the time or the effort or the energy to put into that. You tell me what I need to do to make it happen at my house, and I’ll tell you what I like, and we’ll make it happen.” Then of course, you have those athletes that don’t necessarily realize the value of it, so you’re still working on prompting them to see the value.
YOU WERE A MARKETING MAJOR BEFORE YOU WERE A NUTRITIONIST. DO YOU THINK THAT’S HELPED YOU?
I really think it helps because the other part of my role, that is not necessarily forward-facing, is managing a whole lot of personalities. So the business background and how you would work and potentially run a business helps me because I need to help people understand what they need to do, but I need them to want to do it right. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE PLAYERS’ VARIOUS DIETS AND WHAT THEY EAT ON A TYPICAL DAY?
We have a number of athletes that have promoted a vegan diet and are living on a vegan diet. That’s not an easy diet for a 250-plus-pound individual to maintain and feel good off of, so we have to do a lot of education around that. You have a lot of variability in people. We will run body composition assessments to give us what potential calorie demand looks like, and then we’ll work with coaches and with athletic trainers and weight coaches and strength coaches on the volume for that individual in a day-to-day practice. Obviously a KK [Kawann Short] is going to have a heavier calorie intake because he’s just a bigger dude, but at the same time, you take that into consideration. There’s a huge variability in calories, there’s a huge variability in nutrient needs — how much protein compared to how many carbs compared to how much fat; [and] those athletes that are doing a lot of explosive movement, as opposed to a lot of long-distance running. WHEN IT COMES TO VEGAN DIETS, IS IT POSSIBLE TO GET ALL THE NUTRIENTS THAT YOUR BODY NEEDS?
I think for the general population, as long as you’re educated well, heck yes, you can be a vegan athlete, absolutely. Can a 300-pluspound individual be a vegan and expect to be explosive off the line, day after day, week
after week and hopefully year after year? No, I’m not seeing it. I have one that literally took about five months and it was not working, so we added a little bit of that animal protein back in and kept the volume of what was giving him the benefits: the anti-inflammatory things, the fruits, the veggies, the cherries, the beans, the things that were actually improving recovery. We added the animal protein back in — not as much as he was doing before — and all of a sudden, that explosiveness is back within a week. SO YOU BASICALLY HAVE TO TELL THEM BEING VEGAN IS NOT GOOD FOR AN OFFENSIVE LINEMAN?
I said this: “You will get to a point where it’s not working, and when it’s not working and you feel it, I need you to tell me, and then we will fix it.” You have to wait sometimes because you have to have buy-in. When a massage therapist is working on an athlete, they feel it out and they fix it, right? I can’t do that with their food. They have to put it in their mouth. I’m not force-feeding anybody.
GREEN SMOOTHIE 1/2 cup Greek yogurt 2 cups kale, chopped 1 banana 1 cup pineapple, chopped 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds 1 cup milk Up to 20 grams whey isolate protein powder Honey to taste, optional
LET’S TALK ABOUT WHAT THEY WERE DOING HERE FOR PLAYERS’ FOOD AT THE STADIUM BEFORE YOU GOT HERE, VERSUS WHAT YOU’VE GOT THEM EATING NOW.
We have come a long way, my friend. Oh my goodness, I remember walking in and Luke [Kuechly] and Greg [Olsen] came running over — legit running over at 6:30 in the morning. “We’re so excited somebody’s here; we’re so ready for change.” We had basically two tables with hot trays of Stouffer’s-style lasagna and some bagged lettuce that got dumped in. I walked in and couldn’t believe it. This is an NFL program? I have been an Olympic-sport athlete, so I expected to walk into a pro setting and that was not here. A lot of the league has come a long way in how much fueling is going to impact the athlete, not only their day to day and week to week, but how long we get to keep them on board from an injury-prevention standpoint. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT A PLAYER’S LIFE THAT YOU’VE IMPACTED OR SOMEONE WHO HAS IMPACTED YOU?
I don’t know that I can claim to have changed somebody’s life. One thing that I will say is that I feel very thankful for the opportunity to impact changing culture around the mindset that an athlete has to be a certain way for their role.
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Brew W 46 D I S H I N C L T . C O M
HETHER ITâ€™S A PRETTY VIEW OF THE CITY, BIG PATIOS, A SPECIFIC BEER STYLE OR A NEW RUN CLUB, WE HAVE A COMPLETE LIST OF WHICH BREWERIES FIT YOUR INTERESTS.
story and photos by JESS GADDY
Over the past few years, Charlotte’s brewery scene has exploded. We have become one of the fastest-growing cities for craft beer in the country with close to 50 breweries in the greater Charlotte area, which includes the surrounding cities of Mooresville, Rock Hill, Waxhaw and Shelby. For our bracket, we have focused on the inner-city limits of the Queen City to show you where to go. So many of our local breweries are making stellar beers, from IPAs to sours and barrelaged beers to classic lagers. Several breweries host rare bottle releases and small-batch brews or “test” batches to keep us coming back for more. There’s a beer style for just about everyone, and to work it off most of our breweries offer weekly fitness clubs featuring yoga, running, cycling or hiking. Explore our list and make plans with your friends. Be sure to check out each brewery for more information on tour times and fitness clubs.
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Large Outdoor Space
OLDE MECKLENBURG BREWERY
BREWERS AT 4001 YANCEY
OLDE MECKLENBURG BREWERY
LENNY BOY BREWING
RESIDENT CULTURE BREWING
WOODEN ROBOT BREWERY
FREE RANGE BREWING
ARMORED COW BREWING
THE SUFFOLK PUNCH
BLUE BLAZE BREWING
HEIST BREWERY AND BARREL ARTS
DIVINE BARREL BREWING
THE CHAMBER BY WOODEN ROBOT, NODA BLUE BLAZE BREWING LENNY BOY BREWING
Clubhouse Vibe BLUE BLAZE BREWING PROTAGONIST CLUBHOUSE
DIVINE BARREL BREWING
THIRSTY NOMAD BREWING
FREE RANGE BREWING
TRIPLE C BREWING
THIRSTY NOMAD BREWING
Specialty LENNY BOY BREWING
USDA organic certified, kombucha
WOODEN ROBOT BREWERY gluten-reduced beer
TRIPLE C BREWING
ARMORED COW BREWING
DIVINE BARREL BREWING
FREE RANGE BREWING
THE UNKNOWN BREWING
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farm-focused and locally sourced
LENNY BOY BREWING
LENNY BOY BREWING
WOODEN ROBOT BREWERY
THE SUFFOLK PUNCH
THE UNKNOWN BREWING
LEGION BREWING PLAZA MIDWOOD
THE SUFFOLK PUNCH
WOODEN ROBOT BREWERY
coffee & craft soda
LEGION BREWING SOUTHPARK
BREWERS AT 4001 YANCEY
coffee & craft soda
OLDE MECKLENBURG BREWERY
FREE RANGE BREWING craft soda
SUGAR CREEK BREWING
THE UNKNOWN BREWING craft ginger ale
BREW E R I ES
IN AND AROU ND THE CHARLOTTE, NC AREA Highway
Bank of America
Event Rooms OLDE MECKLENBURG BREWERY
Duke Energy Building
M Atherton Mill
DIVINE BARREL BREWING
FREE RANGE BREWING Douglas International Airport
THE UNKNOWN BREWING LENNY BOY BREWING
RESIDENT CULTURE BREWING
TRIPLE C BREWING
SOUTH END B E C G D
NASCAR Hall of FAME
Cheers A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Thirsty Nomad Brewing Olde Mecklenburg Brewery Sugar Creek Brewing Lower Left Brewing Southern Tier Brewing Legion Brewing SouthPark Brewers at 4001 Yancey Triple C Brewing Lenny Boy Brewing The Suffolk Punch Sycamore Brewing Heist Brewery Wooden Robot Brewery The Unknown Brewery Town Brewing Blue Blaze Brewery Birdsong Brewing Catawba Brewing Pilot Brewing Legion Brewing Resident Culture Brewing Bold Missy Brewery NoDa Brewing Salud Cerveceria Free Range Brewing Divine Barrel Brewing
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FALL / WINTER
RESIDENT CULTURE BREWING
BLUE BLAZE BREWING
HEIST BREWERY NODA BREWING DIVINE BARREL BREWING
WOODEN ROBOT BREWERY RunBots
NODA BREWING running
TRIPLE C BREWING running, cycle, yoga
Food Truck Fridays SYCAMORE BREWING RESIDENT CULTURE BREWING ARMORED COW BREWING
THE UNKNOWN BREWING cycle club
SYCAMORE BREWING running, yoga
DIVINE BARREL BREWING yoga, running
LEGION BREWING PLAZA MIDWOOD running, yoga
LENNY BOY BREWING yoga, running
TOWN BREWING running
Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
CHARLOTTE OKTOBERFEST Bojangles’ Coliseum
WOOFSTOCK NODA BREWING Chili Cook-Off
BREWER’S BALL Warehouse 242
The Unknown Brewing
8TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY Birdsong Brewing
QUEEN CITY BREWERS FESTIVAL The Fillmore & Underground Feb. 1, 2020
BRAWLEY’S BLACK & BLUE 11TH ANNIVERSARY
Casual Feel SUGAR CREEK BREWING CATAWBA BREWING LEGION BREWING PLAZA MIDWOOD TRIPLE C BREWING FREE RANGE BREWING TOWN BREWING THE UNKNOWN BREWING BIRDSONG BREWING BOLD MISSY BREWERY
LEGION’S BARBECUE SAUCE 10 cups Path to the Dark Side (or other dark Legion beer) 2 1/2 cups ketchup 2 1/2 cups brown sugar 10 tablespoons red wine vinegar 5 tablespoons Worcestershire 5 tablespoons hot sauce 5 tablespoons honey 5 teaspoons garlic salt > Mix all ingredients. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Reduce by half or until the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Cool and serve.
LEGION’S HALF BARREL BURGER
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A three-meat house grind, char-grilled with Legion barbecue sauce and topped with jalapeño bacon, applewood bacon jam, Hook’s cheddar, tomato marmalade, lettuce, red onion and Citra-hopped pickles on a brioche roll.
Visulite Theatre March 2020
BEER, BOURBON & BBQ
AvidXchange Music Factory March 2020
to look out for D9 BREWING’S THE PAVILION AT UPTOWN
Plans to open in early 2020. They will be offering their most popular beers plus a range of exclusive beers brewed just for the Uptown location.
LOWER LEFT BREWING
Not-yet-named brewery to open in Midtown in the historical American Billiard Company building near a CPCC parking deck, with plans to have an elevated patio for great city views.
MIDDLE JAMES BREWING
In addition to their nano-brewery Clubhouse in NoDa, they will have a full-scale brewery and taproom located just down North Davidson Street at LYNX 36th Street Station.
D9 BREWING’S THE FERMENTERIA
Set to open in spring 2020 focusing on all things fermented, from open-air beer fermentation rooms to creative fermented foods.
TROLLEY BARN FERMENTORY
From the owner of Legion Brewing, Phil Buchy, in Atherton Mill’s old trolley barn. Aims for a spring 2020 opening date, offering a unique menu similar to what you might find in an actual train station food court in honor of the space it occupies, as well as a large interior space and upper-level mezzanine and patio.
Near Sugar Creek Brewing and Olde Mecklenburg Brewery comes Lower Left, featuring award-winning home brew recipes in a range of styles, from sour ales and IPAs to farmhouse, experimental and much more.
Located south of Charlotte in Pineville, North Carolina comes that city’s first brewery. It will offer a wide range of brewing styles as well as wine, prosecco, cider and kombucha on tap in a social-centric atmosphere for sports fans, plus a decent-sized food menu.
SOUTHERN SOLSTICE BREWING
Opening in the Gold District down the street from The Unknown Brewing, they will be crafting English-style beers, pale ales and IPAs.
A Nordic-style brewery set to open in fall 2019, using a variety of Scandinavian yeast and hop strains in the Wesley Heights neighborhood. With over 10,000 square feet, it is large enough for a private barrel event room, beer terrace and full kitchen.
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T h e M eg Wi l k i n s o n T e am “Dishing up the best Charlotte real estate!” Working together to provide you with the highest-quality service for all your real estate needs. Licensed in NC and SC
MEG WILKINSON & TIERNAN ROSE Brokers | Realtors® 704-906-5747 | 561-706-5450
Interior Design: Leslie Cooper Interiors
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O R C AT E
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The Diamond quietly thrives in the midst of neighborhood development. story and photos by Alex Cason
Charlotte likes its new, shiny toys. Every day, there’s another news story telling people where to go to get that Instagram post that proves they are in the know. And yet, under the radar, there are the old standbys. The ones that quietly survive and thrive through the decades, with very little media attention, very little drama. These are places with regulars, with history, with “if these walls could talk” tales floating around. Located in the heart of the gritty neighborhood of Plaza Midwood that houses working and business class alike, just a mile or so away from the skyscrapers of Uptown Charlotte is the indelible Diamond Restaurant.
Charlotte Classic: Diamond Restaurant
it comes to restaurants,
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THE DIAMONDâ€™S MACARONI AND CHEESE
1/2 tablespoon dry mustard 1 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon pepper
1 pound elbow macaroni 1 pound Velveeta cheese, cubed 1 pound sharp cheddar cheese, shredded 1 stick unsalted butter, cubed 1/2 pound sour cream 1 1/2 cups half and half 2 eggs
> Cook macaroni until al dente, 8-10 minutes. Drain. Add all ingredients except 1/2 pound cheddar cheese. Mix together and place in oven-safe pan. Top pan with remaining cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 F for about 45 minutes or until brown on top.
Known for its cozy diner-style meat-andthrees dishes and excellent sweet tea, the Diamond has persevered through myriad generational shifts and recessions. With offerings ranging from Mediterranean platters to breakfast combinations to pork shanks to veggie dogs, it’s not uncommon to see the full smorgasbord at any given table with stacked to-go boxes for the eventual continuation of the tasty feast. The Diamond has a laid-back vibe and is doused in neighborhood loyalty, which is why so much of the charm can be found in the people who choose to eat there. From the mayor to famous actors and local celebrities, it is a melting pot of sorts for a city that has been embattled in a variety of controversial issues. All potential political drama seems to go out the window when you walk through the hallowed double doors. Opened 74 years ago in 1945 as the Diamond Soda Grill, the evolution of the establishment has been somewhat of a leisurely stroll into the modern era. The soda varietals have slowly transformed into local craft beer options these days as the third and newest owner, Andy Kastanas, has
added a bar, yet the focus of the food has not shifted far from the meat-and-vegetables days to what it is now. Loyal clientele either pop in for a quick bite or stay for hours. This is an ideal place for casual business meetings and unofficial neighborhood discussions. “There’s a bar now — we didn’t have a bar,” says Kastanas. Before he owned the place, he would often cruise by it, admiring it. He says he always loved the Diamond’s vibe. “I casually met the owner. I always like this place. I approached him. It was really very simple,” Kastanas says of his purchase of the restaurant. “The changes we made are not as visible as you think they are. They are
Andy Kastanas in front of Diamond Restaurant in Plaza Midwood.
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ICONIC SIGNAGE out front makes the Diamond hard to miss.
more in the infrastructure of the building. We had to modernize the equipment. We redid the booths and the tile and the floor.” “The original incarnation — literally everything — was appliance-avocado green,” says longtime customer Brent Barinofski. Now a darker shade of teal fills the restaurant’s décor alongside the familiar bench and table seats. “Everybody tries to solve world peace here at this bar at all times of the day. I see all sorts of familiar faces every day,” Kastanas says. “They just come here to talk to their friends and hang out. If you’ve got nothing else to do, you just come with them and hopefully you’ll find somebody you know without really making plans. I mean anybody.”
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From A to Z A Handy Guide to Expand Your Knowledge of Food and Cooking Terms. BY SAM SIMMA / ILLUSTRATIONS BY AMBER DAY
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Aioli: a mayonnaise-like emulsion that must contain olive oil and garlic. Antipasto: refers to the first course of a formal Italian meal. These platters, much like charcuterie, can consist of a range of cured meats, cheese and marinated or pickled vegetables.
Béarnaise: emulsified sauce of egg yolks, white wine vinegar and herbs. Similar to hollandaise. Bisque: a rich, creamy soup generally made from crustaceans.
Canapé: an hors d’oeuvre that consists of a piece of bread, pastry or a cracker that has been topped with something savory. Compote: fruit that has been stewed or cooked in a syrup.
Devils on horseback: a variation of angels on horseback (bacon-wrapped oysters) where the oysters are replaced with dried fruit or dates. Digestif: a drink served after a meal to aid digestion, typically alcoholic, such as chartreuse or aquavit.
Try th at O-Kue edamame with p Him k trufflealayan saltin and oil or sp iced chil e.
Edamame: immature soybeans prepared in the pod, either boiled or steamed. Escargot: a delicacy of cooked snails. Escarole: a variety of endive lettuce with a slightly bitter flavor.
Foie gras: a rich, buttery French delicacy made from specially fattened duck or goose liver. Frisée: a variety of endive lettuce.
The d oney’s ble n u l Fo tan vaila d S r, a an rge bar ly. Gazpacho: Spanish-style tomato buat thench on bru and vegetable soup served cold.
Ghee: clarified butter. Gnocchi: small, soft dumplings made from potatoes.
Hominy: dried kernels of corn that have been treated with alkali, causing the grain to double in size, often found in pozole soup. Hops: green, cone-shaped flowers used in brewing beer, giving it flavor and bitterness and helping to preserve the product. Hors d’oeuvres: appetizers served before the meal. DISHIN GCLT.C OM
EVER HAVE TROUBLE DECODING A RECIPE? HERE WE BREAK DOWN SOME BASIC TERMS THAT CAN HELP WITH RECIPE INSTRUCTIONS.
COOKING DIRECTION BASICS 101:
Insalata: Italian term for salad.
Jambalaya: a dish with Louisiana origins often featuring spices, meat and veggies, served over rice and influenced by Spanish and French cuisines.
Kobe beef: meat from the Tajima breed of Japanese cattle, raised under strict rules set by the Kobe Beef Marketing and Distribution Promotion Association to result in superior flavor, tenderness and optimum marbling.
c enti auth the y l m u fro s at a tr Get acaron baker m ented lie’s. tal Amé
Ladyfingers: dry Italian sponge biscuits most commonly found in tiramisu. Lox: brined salmon fillet most commonly served on a bagel with cream cheese.
Macaron: two light, airy meringue cookies that are sandwiched together with a buttercream interior. Miso: a Japanese seasoning paste made from the fermentation of soybeans.
Nori: dried edible seaweed.
Okra: seedpods from the okra plant that can be eaten as a vegetable or used to thicken soups and stews. Orzo: pasta shaped like long grains of rice.
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BASTE : COVER THE SURFACE OF A MEAT THAT IS BEING GRILLED OR ROASTED WITH COOKING JUICES, BUTTER OR SAUCES.
BLANCH: BRIEFLY SUBMERGE FOOD ITEM IN BOILING WATER, THEN STOP THE COOKING BY PLACING IT IN COLD WATER.
DEGLAZE: REMOVE BITS OF FOOD FROM A PAN BY ADDING LIQUID, STIRRING AND SCRAPING THE PAN (THIS SAUCE IS OFTEN SAVED AND USED). EMULSIFY: ATTEMPTING TO THOROUGHLY MIX TWO LIQUIDS THAT DO NOT COMPLETELY BLEND TOGETHER. JULIENNED: FOOD THAT HAS BEEN CUT INTO SHORT, THIN STRIPS.
PARE: REMOVE THE SKIN OR OUTER LAYER OF A FRUIT OR VEGETABLE.
ROUX: COOKING TOGETHER EQUAL PARTS FLOUR AND FAT (BUTTER OR OILS).
SEAR: RETAIN JUICES IN MEAT BY QUICKLY BROWNING THE SURFACE OF THE MEAT OVER HIGH HEAT.
TEMPER: GRADUALLY RAISING THE TEMPERATURE OF AN INGREDIENT OR FOOD ITEM BY ADDING HEAT IN SMALL AMOUNTS.
ZEST: GRATE THE SURFACE OF THE OUTER PEEL OF CITRUS FRUIT.
Phyllo: thin sheets of dough used in layers for pastries. Polenta: cornmeal that is boiled in water, milk or broth. Praline: a smooth, sweet candy made from boiling nuts in sugar. Profiterole: a hollow cream puff, often filled with cream or custard and covered with chocolate sauce.
Quiche: an egg custard that has been baked into a pie crust, often with vegetables, cheese or meat added. Quinoa: a gluten-free whole grain that is packed with protein.
Wasabi: a green powder or paste that tastes like strong horseradish and is made from a Japanese plant. Whey: the liquid byproduct after milk has been made into curds.
XXX, XXXX, 10X: these numerals denote how many times a box of confectioners’ sugar has been ground. More X’s mean a finer grind.
Ragout: a dish of small cuts of meat stewed with vegetables. Ratatouille: a French vegetable stew, often served in a beautiful arrangement of thinly sliced vegetables of various colors. Rillettes: pâté made from light meat that has been seasoned and combined with fat.
Try smokthe ed salm rillet on Belletes at La Helen e
Scampi: small crustaceans belonging to the lobster family. w Semifreddo: a class of semi frozen le Ne h a littavor witpi Italian desserts. Get n fl scam a s
Orle shrimp Queen. the Cajun at
Tahini: sesame seed paste or sauce. Tannins: natural compounds found in the skins, seeds or stems of wine grapes; tannin levels reflect the wine’s dryness. Tempura: a Japanese dish of battered and deep-fried seafood or vegetables.
Try the tempu ra vegetables at Yu me.
Yerba mate: bitter leaves from a South American shrub that are high in caffeine. Yuzu: a fragrant, sour and tart citrus fruit mainly found in Japan, Korea and China.
Zabaglione: a light and fluffy Italian dessert consisting of egg yolks, wine and sugar. Zest: citrus flavor added to a dish by scraping, grating or cutting the outer skin of a citrus fruit. This can also mean to grate the peel of the fruit.
Udon: a thick wheat pasta mostly used in Japanese cuisine.
Vinaigrette: a salad dressing or marinade made from oil mixed with vinegar or lemon juice and then seasoned. Vindaloo: an Indian curry packed with spices. DISHIN GCLT.C OM
Local Loaves 5 of the best places to get local bread loaves in Charlotte
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PLAID PENGUIN
by KATIE TOUSSAINT
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BREAD BY COPAIN
SERVE ONE CHEESE BOARD WITH MUNDANE, STORE-BOUGHT CRACKERS AND YOU’LL REALIZE WHAT YOU’RE MISSING: BREAD BAKED RIGHT HERE IN CHARLOTTE. Makers of fresh loaves are gaining visibility on our city’s culinary scene, with a focus on homemade sourdough (it’s easier to digest) and with modern twists like online ordering and subscription services. Whether bread is baked to create community, or to communicate value, or out of commitment to virtue, every local loaf carries meaning. Here are five of our favorite sources for loaves in Charlotte.
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MADE FRESH DAILY:
Loaves from start to finish at Verdant Bread.
Loaves baked daily are displayed at the counter of this South End sandwich cafe owned by Courtney Estes and Executive Chef Michael Shortino. Not visible: the natural, two-tothree-day fermentation process using a starter that Shortino created with yeast from the indigenous environment. All crusty country loaves made by Executive Pastry Chef Elena Shchepalina and baker Aroldo Quich begin with that starter, and all sandwiches on the menu are served on the resulting sourdough. Bonus: The bakers recently introduced loaves of milk bread, soft and topped with sea salt. As for why Lincoln’s meticulously focuses on bread making? “Integrity,” Shortino said. “You can’t have a sandwich shop without making your own bread.”
PHOTOS COURTESY OF VERDANT BREAD
Verdant owners and bakers Jaymin McAffrey, Ryan Faircloth and Tanner Fink believe baking bread contributes to the quality of our community. That begins with their doughs, started with the same sourdough mother
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that they feed regularly. As McAffrey puts it, “She’s needy, but she’s good to us.” And the loaves she produces, including pain de campagne, a demi-ciabatta and a brioche, are available online. Take it up a notch by becoming a subscriber and receive fresh bread weekly. Pickup locations span from South End to Davidson, all an adventure in themselves. After all, you’re picking up conversation starters. “We wanted to create something that would be taken home and be a vehicle for conversation around the dinner table,” McAffrey said.
Seeking a taste of France? Look for the cafe tables with French flags flying at the specialty shops at SouthPark to find Renaissance Patisserie, owned by chef Sylvain Rivet. Browse the patisserie menu of sweets, savor the cafe menu filled with sandwiches, and leave with an item from the boulangerie menu that features fresh loaves. While the bakery’s focus is exquisite French pastries, the loaves cannot be overlooked. Choose from baguettes, French country loaves, raisin pecan loaves and Provençal rosemary loaves.
PHOTO COURTESY OF REMY THURSTON
Grilled Cheese by Lincoln’s Haberdashery 1 LINCOLN’S COUNTRY LOAF BUTTER, ROOM TEMPERATURE KOSHER SALT, TO TASTE 1 SHALLOT, SLICED THINLY FRESH THYME, DESTEMMED, TO TASTE JARLSBERG OR GRUYÈRE CHEESE
> CUT 2 SLICES OF LINCOLN’S SOURDOUGH AND SLATHER EACH SIDE WITH BUTTER. SALT BOTH SIDES AS WELL. HEAT A GRIDDLE, SKILLET OR OTHER FLAT HEAT SOURCE TO MEDIUM. SAUTÉ SHALLOT IN BUTTER UNTIL TRANSLUCENT. TOSS IN THYME AND PLACE 1 SLICE OF BREAD ON TOP TO START TOASTING. TOAST THAT SIDE FIRST, THEN FLIP. ADD SLICES OF JARLSBERG OR GRUYÈRE CHEESE TO THE TOASTED SIDE OF THE BREAD SLICE
IN THE PAN. REPEAT WITH THE SECOND SLICE OF BREAD. FIT THE 2 TOASTED BREAD SLICES TOGETHER ONCE THE BREAD AND CHEESE REACH CRUNCHY AND MELTY STATUS. SLICE ON THE DIAGONAL. “IT’S JUST A PERFECT COMBINATION OF ALL THINGS THAT ARE RIGHT IN LIFE,” SAYS SHORTINO OF THE FUNKINESS OF THE CHEESE, THE EARTHINESS OF THE THYME, THE CRUNCH OF THE BREAD AND THE SWEETNESS OF THE BUTTER.
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PHOTO COURTESY OF THE PLAID PENGUIN
Noble Food & Pursuits by chef Jim Noble strives to take care of people by reviving their spirits. Copain Gatherings, the brand’s collective that crafts bakery and savory options, is no different. “When you ‘break bread’ with someone, you communicate so much: that they are welcome at your table, they are valued, important and seen,” said Maris Ochoa, executive pastry chef. Copain’s loaves can be ordered online or picked up daily at Rooster’s in SouthPark and Uptown, and at The King’s Kitchen. Try the brioche, the Copain (a two-day fermented sourdough), the Cranberry Copain or the baguette.
Sunflour Baking Company
Owned by the Parrish family, Sunflour has been a Charlotte staple since 2009 with a focus on small-batch freshness. The bakery has expanded to four cafe locations. “Even as Sunflour has grown, we have remained committed to being a scratch bakery that never takes shortcuts,” said owner Jack Parrish. Leavened with a sourdough starter, the breads are baked on a stone hearth from France. Daily loaves on sale at the Harrisburg and Elizabeth locations include multigrain, rosemary olive oil and sourdough. Weekly specials are also on rotation. Bite into a bakery sandwich (like the avocado melt) to boost your decisionmaking capabilities.
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GRAB AND GO:
French bread from Copain makes dinner plans quick and easy. Order online for seamless holiday preparation.
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A Picture Is Worth a Thousand Likes
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Experts share tips on how to get Insta-worthy food photography.
by Michelle DeLong illustrations by Cal Brackin
It’s no secret
that the advent of social media has revolutionized food photography — the upside being drool-worthy #foodporn pages that you can scroll relentlessly from the comfort of your couch, and the downside being a feed that is crammed with random high school acquaintances’ poorly lit dim sum dinners. But did you know that food photography on social media is changing the food we eat and the way we dine? Bellota, a Spanish restaurant in San Francisco, is the first restaurant to feature custom lamps with “perfect” Instagram lighting. You can even position your phone on the lamp’s neck to snap a selfie. It’s no wonder restaurants like Bellota are pandering to amateur photographers and Instagram influencers — social media platforms can bring patrons in the door. “Restaurants are trying to have the next viral, crazy thing. Fifty percent are concerned with taste, and 50% are more concerned with making something over the top,” Dishing photographer Angela Howard muses while discussing photos of bloody marys adorned with tiny cheeseburgers on toothpicks. Food trends like black charcoal ice cream, rainbow-colored “unicorn” Frappuccinos and doughnuts sporting icing mustaches all elicit the same irresistible urge to share on social media.
Restaurants are even decorating differently in an effort to utilize Instagram’s extended marketing arm. Vibrant places like Flower Child, whose décor features a yellow cuckoo clock and a rose-wallpapered accent wall — perfect for Instagrammable moments — have seen an uptick in popularity over eateries with dark décor and soft lighting. A quick search for Alfred Tea Room in Los Angeles renders hundreds of Instagram photos in front of a strategically placed neon sign that reads, “Tea, Yes. You, Maybe.” We have plenty of examples of this in Charlotte too — The Imperial’s 166-ounce Moscow Mule makes it a social media must. Moo & Brew’s Large Marge — a bloody mary topped with a jalapeño firecracker, Wisconsin cheese curds, two grilled cheese sandwiches, an Angus burger, fried green tomatoes, applewood smoked bacon and a shot of Miller High Life on the side — is clearly Instagram gold material. Local industry veteran Tim Buchanan, general manager at Fin & Fino, highlights both the negatives and positives by pointing out that while the photos and social media shares are great, he also wishes folks would use their phones a little less and enjoy the experience more. “We appreciate when our guests feel good enough about the vibe, are impressed by the flavors or are amused by the server’s quips enough to broadcast into the interwebs.” Buchanan admits that “despite all of those great aspects, I still wish people would use their phones less at the table — myself included — and talk more. Truth is that food and wine taste better shared with great people.” Of course, there are other downsides to the sudden explosion of food photography on the internet, like poorly taken photos that hardly do delicious dishes justice. All hell broke loose on the Twittersphere in 2013 when Martha Stewart tweeted a shot of an iceberg wedge salad with Russian dressing that looked about as appetizing as a wet newspaper. Food photography can be tricky no matter who you are, and it is important to remember that eating with the eyes is only part of the equation. Dishing sat down with Howard and another photographer, Jay NelMcIntosh, to make sure bad food photos never happen to you. Sit back and count the likes — just don’t forget to clear your plate. DISHIN GCLT.C OM
#FOODPORN INSTAGRAMS TO FOLLOW RIGHT NOW LOCAL FOODIE STARS @eatdrinkclt Allie Papajohn crushes the restaurant Instagram game with thoughtfully colored photos of her favorite eats. After five years, Allie’s following continues to grow (over 50K followers) and remains loyal to her fun food picks.
TIPS AND TRICKS FOR
NAILING THE MUNCHIE SHOT
Sarah Chatham knows how to get a mouthwatering food shot. Photographer by day, Sarah works hard to find great spots with the ultimate goal of saving her followers a bad meal or experience.
1. Make good lighting your BFF. Use natural light whenever possible (hello, window seat) and be wary of accent lighting. That cute pendant light above your table could create weird red and yellow tones, so avoid it or ask to turn it off. If you find yourself in unavoidable low light, backlight your shot with a friend’s iPhone or go old school and use an actual flashlight.
2. Clean it up, dress it up. Howard assures us that the best food photos don’t always 100% represent what the dish always looks like. Don’t be afraid to add things in or take things out. Pay attention to things like crumbs or grease stains that might ruin your shot, and “sit down and style things. Bring in materials like a garnish, fun napkin, cutlery, some coarse ground salt and peppercorns strewn about…to get an editorial look.” 3. Check your settings. If using an iPhone or other smartphone camera, adjust the exposure by clicking on the object and sliding your finger up to increase and down to decrease. Always turn on HDR for the best-quality image. 4. Forget about perfection. Nel-McIntosh tells us, “Don’t be afraid to mess the dish up a little bit. Photos look good when there are hands in there, when there are bites taken out, when it doesn’t look so perfect. Don’t be afraid to make it look like it’s being enjoyed.”
5. Embrace the edits. A lot can be done to enhance your
photo beyond standard Instagram filters. We love the Foodie app — this nifty download automatically brightens your photos and has different settings for cocktails, desserts, fruit, pasta and more.
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@wheretoeatcharlotte An Ohio native, Miranda Mounts got into the Instagram game just over a year ago and has since amassed a following of over 10K followers. Her account is one to keep an eye on.
Queen of Beer
@finickylady Jess Gaddy knows great beer and where to find it in Charlotte. She can tell you everything you want to know about the brewery (and food scene) here in the QC.
Sister, Sister Action
@always.aya @always.dania @cltbests The Alshafei sisters, Dania and Aya, and Best sister duo, Haley and Carly, all have a lot to say when it comes to food, fashion and anything in between. Follow their accounts for their unique takes on life in the QC.
Out of This World
@spacekaseclt Giving her audience the millennial view of Charlotte, Kasee makes our mouths water as she digs into the latest delicious bites around the QC.
MODEL BEHAVIOR LET’S BREAK DOWN A FEW OF THE MOST COMMONLY PHOTOGRAPHED FOODS.
Pizza is a tricky food to photograph. To
dial in mouthwatering melted cheese, take your photo as soon as the pie gets to your table. Large dishes like pizza call for creative composition — try taking out a slice to add negative space. Wipe up excess grease and add a garnish of parsley or oregano.
Hamburgers are fun to photograph because they feature playful details like height and layers. If your burger comes in a basket, try replating it. Shoot a perpendicular photo to showcase the burger’s layers, and try asking for an extra ramekin of sauce to add to the shot.
Colorful tacos are pretty hip right now and can make a great photograph. If your taco has a soft shell, reposition it by propping it up with an extra slice of lime. Try photographing tacos from above, and add garnishes like purple cabbage slaw or pico de gallo. PRO TIP:
Expose your photos for the white areas in flour shells or queso fresco to avoid an overexposed shot.
Ice cream photographs are all about prep.
MOST PHOTOGENIC DISHES IF YOU’RE LOOKING TO IMPROVE YOUR FOOD PHOTOGRAPHY SKILLS, THESE ITEMS WILL MAKE PERFECTION LOOK EASY.
1. Specialty cocktails 2. Stacked sandwiches 3. Sushi 4. Fruit 5. Colorful desserts
FOODS TO LEAVE OFF YOUR FEED WHAT THESE FOODS LACK IN STYLE THEY MAKE UP FOR IN TASTE.
1. Chili 2. Chicken potpie 3. Steak 4. Chicken wings 5. Lasagna
Figure out where and how you’re going to shoot beforehand, and ask for ice cream in a chilled glass to buy yourself a little extra time. You have two to three minutes to get the perfect shot before melting ice cream becomes a problem. Keep the backdrop simple: Find blank walls to make bright, playful ice cream really pop.
Play up the garnishes on cocktails by adding a citrus twist to a Bellini or a stick of cinnamon to a white Russian. Remove plastic bar straws and be mindful of glasses sweating in the summer heat — a little bit of sweat can look cool, but too much comes across as messy. DISHIN GCLT.C OM
PUT YOUR DENTIST ON SPEED DIAL 1. Yes, @mattadlard (formerly @toplessbaker), we WILL
follow you. The cute cakes and colorful treats on this page have no shame.
2. @dominiqueansel created the Cronut and this beautiful account.
3. @naturally.jo is only 18 years old and has 1.6 million more followers than you do, give or take. For good reason — this page features daily posts of adorable vegan treats.
WHEN WANDERLUST AND WAFFLE-LUST GO HAND IN HAND 1. @davehagerman has our dream job — he travels the world and leaves no curry or paella untouched.
2. Do you like food? Do you like air? @foodintheair makes
it all happen with shots of burgers, waffles and more in front of famous landmarks and gorgeous landscapes.
3. @girleatworld is giving Topanga (Boy Meets World) a run
for her money in terms of girl crushes. This feed features a variety of exotic locales and treats that tell each place’s story.
MIGHT NEED ANOTHER VISION BOARD 1. @julieskitchen is serious styling inspo. She seamlessly blends the world of food with the world of fine art, and you can even buy her posts as prints.
2. @leefromamerica knows a good matcha latte
or avocado toast when she sees one. Guaranteed to inspire you to make a colorful salad, blend a smoothie or buy 20 succulents.
3. Each post on @hautescuisines tells a culinary story, and this feed nails every tip and trick in the book for excellent food photography and styling.
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Will Travel For Food California Calling YOU’VE
Sip your way through Santa Ynez Valley. by Cara Rank photos by Allison Arthur tasted chardonnay in
Napa Valley and sipped on Sonoma’s best pinots. So, if you’re looking for your next wine-tasting vacation, perhaps one that’s a little more mellow with fewer crowds, head south to the Santa Ynez Valley. The six small towns that make up this region offer some of the most diverse wines in California. The weather will transport you to southern France, and the vineyards and wineries are nothing short of Insta-worthy. Located in northern Santa Barbara County, the area is just 35 miles from the beaches and a two-hour drive from Los Angeles. From the Scandinavian village of Solvang to the old western town of Los Alamos, it’s got to-die-for restaurants and sweeping views. An added bonus? The area is still small and emerging enough that wherever you go you will probably meet the maker of the wine
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you are tasting and the chefs who’ve prepared your food. Welcome to the Napa of many years ago.
FESS PARKER WINE AND COUNTRY INN This charming 19-room boutique hotel was purchased in 1998 by the accomplished winemaker Fess Parker. Located right off the Santa Ynez Valley vineyard-loop highway, the hotel offers a luxurious retreat in a tranquil environment, plus a fireplace in each room. Renovated in 2012, this Inn and Spa is the perfect spot for a relaxing weekend away.
sausage and toasted pain de mie. Return at lunch for the Line Cook’s Pâté — grilled pain au levain served with brandy-infused chicken liver pâté, onion-bacon marmalade and cornichons.
CASA DUMETZ WINES AND BABI’S BEER EMPORIUM Before she was a winemaker, Sonja Magdevski studied political science and journalism, even earning a Fulbright in Macedonia. In 2004 she
SKYVIEW LOS ALAMOS Formerly a midcentury roadside motel, one of the Santa Ynez Valley’s newest lodging options was transformed into a hip, boutique property, perched high on a hillside overlooking wine country. While the current owners kept some of the motel’s original elements — like its yellow-and-black neon “Motel” sign — the update gave the 33 guest rooms a rustic, desert, bespoke vibe.
BOB’S WELL BREAD BAKERY Founded in 2014 by Bob Oswaks — the former president of worldwide marketing for Sony Pictures — Bob’s Well Bread is a local landmark that was founded in, you guessed it, a renovated gas station. Meticulous about everything he creates, Oswaks crafts all the bread and pastries from the finest ingredients and natural starters. Baked in a stone-deck oven, his artisan breads are a labor of love, but he may be best known for his canelés, available only on weekends and often selling out quickly. Oswaks’ inventive breakfast includes Beans on Toast — house-made baked beans, fried farm egg, roasted tomatoes, Toulouse
launched her label, Casa Dumetz, to focus on Rhône varieties. These days, she produces a tiny amount of wine, which is primarily sold through her eclectic, bright tasting room. Sample her
PHOTO PROVIDED BY FOLDED HILLS WINERY
FUN ON THE FARM:
Folded Hills Winery is owned and operated by Andy and Kim Busch. Look out for the coupleâ€™s belovedDanimals, the I S H I N G Cwhich L T . C Oinclude M iconic Clydesdales.
RELAX ALFRESCO in the outdoor
courtyard at The Landsby.
Casa Dumetz grenache and her Clementine Carter mourvèdre cider, which she calls “love potion in a bottle.” It also happens to make a delicious sangria recipe. Her label Feminist Party is a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvèdre. If your palate is a little shot from so much wine, head next door to Magdevski’s
other enterprise, Babi’s, which is all about craft beer and cider. Find six beers on tap and bottles of regional, national and international brews. There’s even a taco counter.
BALLARD INN This cozy inn is tucked away behind a white picket fence, dripping with greenery and roses. Inside, antique furnishings give this place a bed-and-breakfast meets Restoration Hardware vibe. Think modern farmhouse. The inn is charming, comfortable and romantic, and perfectly located for exploring the tiny towns of Ballard and Los Olivos and nearby family-owned wineries on the property’s bikes. Make sure to return in the afternoon for the wine and cheese cocktail hour, and take your glass of local red wine outside to one of the wicker rocking chairs on the wraparound porch. Each of the inn’s rooms carries a different theme and décor, with names such as The Farmhouse, The Davy Brown and The Equestrian. Each room also has a wood-burning fireplace for those chilly wine country nights.
THE GATHERING TABLE If you’re staying at the Ballard Inn, you don’t have to walk far for an exceptional meal. Downstairs you can find The Gathering Table, which melds Asian and French cuisine crafted from seasonal, locally sourced produce, seafood and meats. It’s easy to see why this area favorite was named after the long communal table in the middle of its dining room. Chances are you’ll be seated next to some locals who frequent the 12-table restaurant for owner and chef Budi Kazali’s award-winning cuisine. And they won’t hesitate to lean over and tell you all about their friend Budi and what you should order. It’s just that kind of place. While the menu changes seasonally, don’t miss the sesame Caesar salad.
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THE BEAR AND STAR One of the area’s newer and most anticipated restaurants, The Bear and Star serves up “refined ranch cuisine,” food that’s inspired by Texas with a distinctly Californian approach. The restaurant is part of the Fess Parker empire (Parker grew up in the Lone Star State and played Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone on TV before turning to winemaking). The late Parker’s 714-acre ranch is 7 miles away from the restaurant,
which means The Bear and Star is in a unique position of producing much of its own product. The ranch is home to a wagyu cattle herd raised and finished with the spent grains and pomace from the family brewery and winery. Also raised/grown on the ranch are chickens, quail, rabbits, pigs, bees and a number of heirloom fruits and organic vegetables. Chef and partner Jon Cox (also a Texas native) uses a custom reverse-flow Texas smoker housed on the property for slow smoking and barbecuing many of the dishes. Don’t miss the smoked meatloaf.
LOS OLIVOS WINE MERCHANT CAFE Once you’ve strolled the two blocks of art galleries and antique shops of Los Olivos, walk through the wisteria-laden front porch of the Wine Merchant Cafe for a long lunch. You’ll want to linger over the Mediterraneaninspired cuisine at this truly farm-to-table experience. In addition to sourcing ingredients from its own farm, the cafe has developed lasting relationships with many local organic farmers. It’s no wonder the restaurant has won Wine Spectator’s “Best Restaurants for DISHIN GCLT.C OM
Wine” Award of Excellence. The walls are lined with more than 500 fabulous bottles of local and international vintages as well as owner Sam Marmorstein’s Bernat wines. Keep an eye out for the best produce of the season, and order that.
DEMETRIA WINERY AND VINEYARD Some of the most picturesque wineries and vineyards line Foxen Canyon road, and Demetria is no exception. This stunning property biodynamically farms 56 acres of mostly Rhône varietals. Founded in 2005 by John Zahoudanis — who grew up on a farm near Mount Olympus in Greece where
SONJA’S SANGRIA 1 bottle Casa Dumetz Mourvèdre Cider 2 oranges, sliced 2 lemons, sliced 2 peaches, diced 2 splashes gin 1 cup lemon soda > Pour everything except the lemon soda into a pitcher and stir well. Cover and chill for 2 hours. When ready to enjoy, pour into glasses with ice, top with a splash of lemon soda and extra sliced peaches. This recipe serves 4.
— grenache rosé, syrah or a grenache, syrah, mourvèdre blend — all afternoon while you look at rolling hills dotted with vines. There’s little formality, which makes it feel like a truly authentic experience.
his family cultivated olives, citrus and a small plot of grapes — the winery has a very Mediterranean feel. Tastings occur in a shady, pebbled courtyard with long farm tables. Bring your own lunch and sip from their many wines
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FESS PARKER WINERY AND VINEYARD Just down Foxen Canyon road is Fess Parker, the sprawling, lavish winery and vineyard that is known for some of the valley’s best wines. The late Parker purchased the 714-acre Foxen
Canyon Ranch in 1988 to run cattle, plant a few acres of vineyard and someday establish a small winery. His dream was to start a family business that he could pass on to future generations. Today, his wines have helped make Los Olivos a central hub for Santa Ynez Valley’s winemakers, and the winery is likely one of the most beautiful wineries in the area. Book the Enhanced Wine Tasting, themed and conducted on the private terrace. Make sure to try Marcella’s, a white wine referred to as the “party girl” and “breakfast juice.”
Enjoy spending time with winemaker Sonja Magdevski at Casa Sumetz (left). Enjoy seasonal cuisine at Mad & Vin (above).
STORY OF SOIL Once you’ve tasted at some of the larger wineries, head to the charming downtown Los Olivos area, lined with tasting rooms and breweries. There, winemaker Jessica Gasca is pouring Story of Soil, natural wines she carefully crafts from grapes sourced across the
valley. Gasca is making just 1,000 cases a year from grape clusters she handpicks. She focuses on minimal intervention, single varietals and single vineyards, which allows her to focus on “the place” the grapes are farmed and how each varietal is affected by the soil and microclimate of that place. Thus, the story of soil. Book a tasting with Gasca herself if you can grab her while she’s not busy working grapes. Her relaxed approach will make you feel like you are instant friends, all while she imparts her knowledge without being overwhelming. BARBIERI WINE COMPANY Across the street is the tasting room for Barbieri Wines and Kempe Wines, produced by husbandand-wife team Paolo Barbieri and Erin Kempe. Barbieri, a master sommelier, founded Barbieri Wines in 2005 after getting his start making small lots in his Las Vegas garage. Before that, he was in charge of buying millions of dollars in wine for Las Vegas restaurants (he helped open the Bellagio, Wynn and Cosmopolitan hotels). Kempe joined the Italian-born Barbieri in 2007 after meeting in Vegas (she worked with the likes of Hubert Keller, Rick Moonen and Wolfgang Puck). Today they work with local growers and use minimalistic techniques, without a heavy oak influence, to make their wines. GLOBAL GARDENS Take a break from the grape and book an olive oil tasting at Global Gardens. This family-run farm stand is known for its olive oils and natural fruit vinegars. Burned out from her graphic design career, owner Theo Stephan started her business more than 20 years ago with trees she imported from Crete. With the trees in her backyard, most of the olive harvest is grown on a three-acre plot of 5,000 trees in Los Alamos. Tasting tours will walk you through her varieties, from the peppery flavor of the hyperlocal Tuscan to the fruity taste of arbequina. Did you know you can use certain olive oils in pie crusts? You’ll leave the tasting with an expanded knowledge of how to cook with these oils, and probably a few bottles too.
While you may be tempted to fill up on wine tastings, spots like S.Y. Kitchen offer creative cocktails and not-to-miss pasta dishes.
SANTA YNEZ Do THE JUICY LIFE YOGA STUDIO Founder Kimberly Zimmerman leads a heated power yoga that will loosen you up and get your blood flowing after days of tastings. Set in a dimly lit studio, the classes offer great music and just the right amount of heat (read: it’s not too hot). Afterward, cool off with a freshpressed juice Zimmerman has made herself.
S.Y. KITCHEN You might walk into your lunch fully expecting to have just one pineapple basil margarita at this breezy farmhouse-style restaurant. But then you get to talking to chef Luca Crestanelli about his passion for local produce, and then he brings over a winemaker friend, and you end up tasting a bunch of obscure wines from someone named Paul Lato and arrive late to your afternoon vineyard visit. This is the DISHIN GCLT.C OM
charm of S.Y. Kitchen, a staple in town where you’ll want to linger all afternoon or evening. Crestanelli offers modern Italian dishes that are almost entirely locally sourced. The Verona-born chef buys directly from growers like Finley Farms for the seasonal menu. Dishes are simple yet sophisticated, like spaghetti with saffron, clams and asparagus or a fresh-shucked pea and arugula salad.
SUNSTONE VINEYARDS AND WINERY This beautiful family-owned boutique winery will transport you to the French countryside. Pack your lunch and enjoy a glass of wine in their stone courtyards as the fragrance of lavender and rosemary fills the air. Or, book a private tasting with one of their experts in their stone barrel-aging caves. Sunstone was founded in 1989 as one of the first organic vineyard estates in Santa Barbara County. Today, they still grow grapes without the use of herbicides, pesticides or synthetic fungicides. Situated on the edge of the Santa Ynez River, this sun-dappled vineyard will temporarily make you forget you’re in California.
SOLVANG AND BUELLTON
THE LANDSBY SOLVANG There’s no roughing it at the Landsby, a beautiful boutique hotel with 51 rooms nestled in the heart of downtown Solvang. The Landsby offers elegant accommodations with a contemporary design and a hint of Scandinavian aesthetic that mirrors the quaint town. The hotel’s signature restaurant, Mad & Vin, specializes in delicious winecountry inspired cuisine crafted by chef Beto Huizar. HOTEL CORQUE Operated by the local Santa Ynez band of
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LOS OLIVOS WINE MERCHANT & CAFE SEED AND OAT GR ANOL A 1⁄2 cup maple syrup 1 tablespoon olive oil 1 cup oats 1⁄2 cup flax 1⁄4 cup sesame 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds 1 egg white 1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt > Heat oven to 350 F. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly. Spread the mixture out on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and scrape and toss the mixture around. Continue to bake until golden and still slightly sticky, 10-12 minutes more. Let cool.
ALISAL ROASTED TOMATO SALSA 4 medium tomatoes, halved 1 white onion, peeled and quartered 2 jalapeños, halved 4 garlic cloves, peeled 1 tablespoon olive oil, or more for cooking 1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce 1 tablespoon ground cumin 1 tablespoon dried oregano Juice of 1 lemon 1/2 cup water 1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped Kosher salt and pepper, to taste > Set oven to broil. Toss tomatoes, onions, jalapeños and garlic in olive oil and place on a metal baking pan. Broil until ingredients are blackened or deep golden brown in color. Transfer to a medium saucepan and add chipotle pepper, cumin, oregano, lemon juice and water. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Transfer to a blender, adding cilantro, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth. Cool and refrigerate.
Chumash Indians, this premier boutique hotel features large, modern guest rooms. One of our favorite perks is their room service, which comes from the hotels’ fine-dining restaurant, Root 246. The Impossible Burger is one you don’t want to miss. We also recommend reserving one of the Mission View rooms to catch the full scenery.
THE HITCHING POST For a taste of western barbecue and California pinot noir, head to the Hitching Post, made famous by the movie Sideways. This family restaurant pioneered California Central Coast barbecue — often referred to as Santa Maria-style barbecue. The Ostini family has been grilling over an open fire of red oak since 1952. The Buellton Hitching Post (there are two locations) offers an indoor barbecue, staged behind glass, where guests can watch massive quantities of steaks and chops pass through the fire all night. Don’t forget to taste the Hitching Post wines, made by owner Frank Ostini and his winery partner Gray Hartley.
FOLDED HILLS WINERY Kim and Andy Busch launched Folded Hills in April 2017 and opened their first brickand-mortar tasting room earlier this year. Focusing on Rhône varietals like grenache and syrah, the Busches farm the grapes organically following the biodynamic calendar. Already, their wines have all been met with high regard by critics such as Robert Parker, Jeb Dunnuck and Antonio Galloni. While visiting, don’t miss the couple’s beloved animals that reside on the property, including Sicilian donkeys, llamas, small kunekune pigs, chickens, peacocks, and even Clydesdales (a nod to Andy’s father, August A. Busch Jr.). PENCE WINERY Blair Pence, a real estate developer by trade, always had a passion for wine. Having joined multiple wine societies and traveled the world tasting exquisite wines, he decided to bring his knowledge home to start his own winery. Utilizing the newest technology and a talented staff, Pence creates some of the best wines in the area. Be sure to make a reservation in advance!
SWEET LEWâ€™S BBQ
DISHING RES TAUR ANT LIS TINGS A GUIDE TO SOME OF THE BEST PLACES TO DINE IN AND AROUND CHARLOTTE
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ARIA TUSCAN GRILL Old-world cuisine reimagined in a modern setting Lunch Mon.–Fri. 11:30 a.m., dinner Mon.–Sat. 5 p.m. | 100 N. Tryon St. 704.376.8880 | ariacharlotte.com | @ariatuscangrill Bringing the best of Italy to Charlotte since 2010, Aria captures the flavors of Tuscany, serving old-world cuisine reimagined in a modern setting. Chef Alex Piatt presents a taste of the seasons with a regional menu focused on local ingredients, handmade pastas, wood-fired pizzas, braised meats, fresh seafood and family-style pasta dinners, as well as multicourse tastings at the semi-private Chef’s Table. Aria also offers handcrafted cocktails, a well-curated wine list, draft and bottled beers, and a $5 Bar Bites menu beginning at 5 p.m. in the bi-level restaurant’s two bar areas. Complimentary valet parking after 6 p.m. as well as validated parking in the Bank of America Corporate Center garage is available. Those attending a show at the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center receive 10% off dinner with their ticket for that night’s performance.
MENU SAMPLING CARAMELIZED GNOCCHI: PROSCIUTTO DI PARMA, SHAVED PEAR, GORGONZOLA CREMA, TRUFFLE OIL HAND-TOSSED WOOD-FIRED WILD MUSHROOM PIZZA: GOAT CHEESE, CARAMELIZED ONION, ARUGULA, TRUFFLE OIL PASTA AL NERO: LUMP CRAB, HANDMADE LINGUINE, MELTED LEEKS, PICKLED FRESNO CHILE, PRESERVED LEMON PAN-ROASTED NANTUCKET SCALLOPS: WHIPPED BUTTERNUT SQUASH, FORBIDDEN RICE, CRISPY PROSCIUTTO PRESTIGE FARMS SICILIAN CHICKEN CACCIATORE: OLIVES, CAPERS, CREMINI MUSHROOMS, MASCARPONE POLENTA GRILLED BEELER’S 12-OUNCE TOMAHAWK PORK CHOP: FINGERLING POTATO CONFIT, SWEETY DROP PEPPER HASH, CIPOLLINI ONION PAN SAUCE
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BARDO Chef-driven, eclectic, American small-plate restaurant Mon.–Thurs. 5–10 p.m., Fri. & Sat. 5 p.m.–11 p.m. | 1508 South Mint St. 980.585.2433 | bardorestaurant.com Located in South End, Charlotte, Bardo is a chef-driven, small-plate concept from chef Mike Noll and managing partner Jayson Whiteside. The menu is made up of innovative shared plates with bold and unique global flavors. Led by expert mixologist Amanda Britton, Bardo’s thoughtful cocktail program is curated with a creative list of beverages featuring exciting flavor combinations. Try the Cooling Effect, a spin on a spicy margarita with aloe, arbol and guajillo peppers, or No Fig Deal, made with balsamic-glazed figs. The restaurant features an open kitchen and an intimate setting that is ideal for date night or gathering with friends for shared bites and drinks.
MENU SAMPLING BEEF TARTARE: GREEN TOMATO, SVANURI, FINGERLING CRUDO: COCONUT, CUCUMBER, CARROT EGGS & GRAIN: CONFIT YOLK, KALE, ESCABECHE WHITE ASPARAGUS: TEMPURA, SCAPES, ANCHOVY AGED RIBEYE: KIMCHI, CAROLINA GOLD, WAKAME PASSIONFRUIT: WHITE CHOCOLATE, FEUILLETINE, MACADAMIA NUT
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BEDDER BEDDER & MOORE New York-style deli with a Southern twist Mon.–Sat. 7 a.m.–3 p.m. | 3501 S. Tryon St. 704.527.0107 | bb-m.com | @bbmclt Established in 1991, Bedder Bedder & Moore, located at the tip of South End, is one of the Queen City’s many original hidden gems. Offering a variety of made-to-order fresh salads with homemade dressings and delicious sandwiches on fresh-baked bread, including Reubens, panini and hand-pattied burgers. Bedder Bedder & Moore is locally owned and operated by Andrew and Lisa Drayton, who are both committed to keeping the favorites locals love while introducing new, creative menu options, including an all-new country-style breakfast that offers buttermilk-brined chicken and waffles, Southern-style biscuits and gravy, and breakfast sandwiches on buttered croissants. Make sure to give the creamy cheddar grits a try — they are to die for!
MENU SAMPLING NEW YORK-STYLE REUBEN: THINLY SLICED CORNED BEEF MELTED WITH SWISS, SAUERKRAUT AND 1000 ISLAND ON GRILLED MARBLE RYE CHICKEN CAESAR SALAD: CRISP ROMAINE TOSSED IN HOUSE-MADE CAESAR WITH TOMATO, ONION, BACON, PARMESAN, TOPPED WITH SEASONED CROUTONS AND SERVED IN A BAKED TORTILLA SHELL ROSEMARY ROAST BEEF: ROSEMARY-ENCRUSTED ROAST BEEF ON A TOASTED GARLIC HOAGIE WITH MELTED PROVOLONE AND MAYO SERVED WITH AU JUS FOR DIPPING FARMHOUSE BREAKFAST SAMMY: FRESH EGGS, SHARP CHEDDAR, BACON, HERB MAYO, SPINACH, AVOCADO AND TOMATO ON GRILLED CIABATTA
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CAJUN QUEEN A New Orleans restaurant and bar Mon.–Fri. at 5 p.m., Sat. at 4:30 p.m, Sun. at 11 a.m. | 1800 E. 7th St. 704.377.9017 | cajunqueen.net | @cqclt The Cajun Queen has been proudly serving Charlotte since 1985. Nestled in historic Elizabeth, this 100-year-old house is a warm, friendly place for business and fun. With live music in the upstairs dining room and quieter dining downstairs, there is something for everyone. The fresh fish specials that run nightly have made this restaurant a Charlotte landmark. Serving up distinctive and delectable dinners and hot jazz seven nights a week, the Queen is the place where every day is Mardi Gras.
MENU SAMPLING FRIED GREEN TOMATOES: SERVED WITH TOMATO REMOULADE SEAFOOD GUMBO: A CAJUN OR CREOLE CREATION MADE WITH FRESH VEGETABLES, FILE SPICES, SHRIMP AND CRAB MEAT SHRIMP SCAMPI: SAUTÉED WITH BUTTER, GARLIC, SCALLIONS AND PARSLEY, SERVED WITH RICE AND STEAMED BROCCOLI BLACKENED CATFISH: FARM-RAISED CATFISH SERVED WITH GARLIC MASHED POTATOES AND STEAMED BROCCOLI FRIED OYSTERS: SERVED WITH STEAMED BROCCOLI AND YOUR CHOICE OF GARLIC MASHED POTATOES OR COLESLAW BOURBON BREAD PUDDING: FRENCH BREAD, PEACHES, RAISINS AND CINNAMON TOPPED WITH CARAMEL
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CAPISHE: REAL ITALIAN KITCHEN Neapolitan-inspired pizza and house-made pastas Sun.–Thurs. 11 a.m.–9 p.m., Fri.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. | 500 E. Morehead St., Ste. 100
980.819.9494 | capishekitchen.com | @CapisheKitchen Much like its fun and Italian-inspired name, Capishe offers a lively dining experience with authentic Italian dishes, including wood-fired pizzas and housemade pastas that are both delicious and affordable. Capishe pizzas are made with 00 flour, creating a tender crust with a crisp bottom, topped with simple and pure ingredients. The fresh pastas are equally as showstopping and prepared with flavorful, customized sauces. Other must-try dishes include the Italian sandwiches and savory meatballs. The bar has a carefully curated Italian wine menu and a unique beer selection. Capishe is a versatile, fast-casual restaurant that is perfect for both a date night or dinner with family. It is located on the border of the hip Dilworth neighborhood and Charlotte’s Uptown, boasting breathtaking views of the Queen City.
MENU SAMPLING ANGELINA: MOZZARELLA, BUFALA MOZZARELLA, CARAMELIZED CIPOLLINI ONIONS, ROASTED MUSHROOMS, TRUFFLE OIL SAN LORENZO PIZZA: CAPISHE RED SAUCE, BUFALA MOZZARELLA, PEPPADEW PEPPERS, CIPOLLINI ONION, ITALIAN SAUSAGE, GARLIC, OLIVE OIL RIGATONI WITH CHICKEN: HOUSE-MADE RIGATONI, ONION, MUSHROOM, MARSALA CREAM SAUCE LINGUINE AND LEMON CHICKEN: HOUSE-MADE LINGUINE, PAN-SEARED CHICKEN BREAST, LEMON, ITALIAN HERBS, PECORINO, WHITE WINE CHICKEN PARMIGGIANO SANDWICH: PUCCIA BREAD, CHICKEN, RICOTTA, BASIL-PARMIGIANO REGGIANO, NONA SAUCE AND SIDE SALAD VARIETY OF GELATO & CANOLI
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CICCHETTI Venetian-style wine bar and extensive small bites | Retail wine shop Mon.-Thurs. 2–10:30 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 2 p.m.–12 a.m. | 100 N. Tryon St. 980.299.0039 | cicchetticlt.com | @cicchetticlt Cicchetti (“chee-KEH-tee”), a wine bar and retail wine shop featuring authentic Italian small dishes, interprets the classic Venetian bacaro. At these casual and convivial spots, locals gather in the late afternoon to enjoy glasses of wine alongside savory small bites, or cicchetti, Venice’s version of tapas. The experience here can range from after-work or pre-dinner bites and drinks to a leisurely meal of small plates and shareable entrées over wine with friends, or a late-evening nightcap and snacks. The impressive all-world wine selection is priced at retail by the bottle or case for carryout, enjoying in-house for a small corkage fee or pre-ordering for curbside pickup or delivery. Cicchetti also offers a full bar with wine by the glass or bottle, an international selection of bottled beers and a curated cocktail list. Complimentary valet parking available.
MENU SAMPLING POLPETTE (MEATBALLS), INCLUDING BEEF, SALTED COD, FRESH CRAB, CHICKEN, PROSCIUTTO AND LAMB BRUSCHETTA WITH OLIVE OIL CROSTINI AND TOPPINGS SUCH AS PISELLO (FRESH PEAS, SHALLOT, ROBIOLINA) AND CARCIOFO (ARTICHOKE SALAD, FRESH MINT, ASIAGO, LEMON) BOCCONCINI: AN EXTENSIVE SELECTION OF SEAFOOD, MEAT AND VEGETABLE SMALL BITES SHAREABLE ENTREES FOR 2+, INCLUDING RIBEYE WITH CHIMICHURRI ROSSI AND GRILLED RACK OF LAMB WITH FETA, POMEGRANATE AND MINT DESSERTS, INCLUDING ZEPPOLE (DOUGHNUTS) WITH CINNAMON AND VANILLA, AND FIOR DI LATTE (“FLOWER OF MILK” CREAM GELATO)
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CRÊPE CELL AR KITCHEN & PUB European gastropub Open Tues.–Sat. at 11:30 a.m., Sun. at 11 a.m. | 3116 N. Davidson St. 704.910.6543 | crepecellar.com | @crepecellar Cozy up in a classic local Charlotte spot: Crêpe Cellar Kitchen & Pub. This lowceilinged, candlelit, intimate space serves up your favorite European dishes. With a mainstay of hearty crêpes, the local joint also offers an award-winning burger, a homemade burrata and seafood specials every night. At the bar you’ll find a stellar list of creative cocktails by mixologist Colleen Hughes and a wine list comprising house carafes and reserve bottles too. Owned and operated by Jeff Tonidandel and Jamie Brown, Crêpe Cellar is the result of the couple’s European travels over a decade ago. Find Crêpe Cellar just two miles northeast of Uptown, Charlotte, situated in the heart of the eclectic NoDa neighborhood.
MENU SAMPLING STEAK & FRITES: HANGER STEAK TOPPED WITH CABERNET REDUCTION, SERVED WITH FRIES BURRATA: HOUSE-MADE BURRATA WITH OLIVE OIL, SMOKED SALT, BRULÉED LEMON, LEMON ZEST AND GRILLED BREAD PESTO BRIE FRIES: HAND-CUT, TWICE-FRIED WITH PINE NUT BASIL PESTO, MELTED BRIE, TOMATOES FISH & CHIPS: BATTERED AND FRIED, SERVED WITH FRIES AND PURPLE SLAW FRENCH ONION SOUP: WITH MELTED GRUYÈRE AND CROSTINI BROWNIE IN A BLANKET: HOMEMADE BROWNIE WRAPPED IN A CRÊPE WITH NUTELLA, SERVED WITH VANILLA ICE CREAM, NUTS AND WHIP
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DISH Southern hospitality in the heart of Plaza Midwood Mon.–Sat. 11 a.m.–10 p.m. & Sun. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. | 1220 Thomas Ave. 704.344.0343 | eatatdish.com Nestled in the heart of Plaza Midwood in Charlotte, Dish serves up wonderful Southern comfort food in a setting so comfortable that it will have you thinking you’re in your grandmother’s kitchen! Deviled eggs, fried green tomatoes, meatloaf and more await you at this local joint that’s fed everyone from the locals to Guy Fieri from Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives! Want to enjoy the weather outside while you eat? Go ahead and take the experience outdoors and dine alfresco on the back patio. Don’t forget the newly renovated full bar in the back with a window that serves the patio crowd as well. Stop in today for breakfast, lunch or dinner and see what this treasure of Plaza Midwood is all about!
MENU SAMPLING FRIED GREEN TOMATOES: ONE OF THEIR SIGNATURE DISHES, SERVED WITH HORSERADISH DILL SAUCE POT ROAST SLIDERS: ALWAYS-TENDER POT ROAST WITH HORSERADISH DILL SAUCE AND SWISS CHEESE ON HAWAIIAN SLIDER BUNS, SERVED WITH A SIDE OF AU JUS FOR DIPPING SALMON PATTIES: TWO GRILLED PATTIES TOPPED WITH ORANGE HONEY BUTTER, SERVED WITH YOUR CHOICE OF TWO SIDES CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS: HOMEMADE RECIPE SERVED WITH CHOICE OF SIDE CAJUN MEATLOAF AND MASHED POTATOES: A SPICY CHUCK LOAF OVER MASHED POTATOES WITH BROWN GRAVY AND CHOICE OF SIDE
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EL THRIFT Y SOCIAL Mexican-inspired cantina, bar and gaming venue Open daily at 11 a.m. | 1115 N. Brevard St., Ste. 202 980.949.7837 | elthriftysocial.com/charlotte | @elthriftysocial El Thrifty Social began in 2018 in Greenville, South Carolina as an authentic Mexican-inspired cantina and an experience-driven entertainment destination. El Thrifty Social features fresh and locally sourced ingredients highlighting authentic Mexican dishes such as al pastor with braised pork in guajillo chile broth, pineapple, sweet onion, tortillas, rice and beans. El Thrifty’s bar offerings include a large library of agave-based spirits, mezcal and tequila for craft cocktails, as well as an assortment of local craft beer and wine. The gaming lounge features shuffleboard, fúsbol, snookball, billiards, ping-pong and more. The upscale indoor/outdoor space is the perfect spot to gather with friends, family, neighbors and co-workers. The second El Thrifty Social location opened in Charlotte’s Optimist Hall in fall 2019. For more information, follow along on Facebook and Instagram.
MENU SAMPLING QUESO: MELTED CHEESE WITH CHILES, WARM TORTILLAS (OPTION TO ADD CHORIZO) GUACAMOLE: SALSA ROJA, CHIPS CHICKEN TORTA: FRIED CHICKEN SANDWICH WITH FRESNO CHILES, OAXACA CHEESE, JALAPEÑO SLAW, GUACAMOLE, CHIPOTLE MAYO, FRIED POTATOES CARNE ASADA: BUTCHER’S STEAK, RANCHERO, APPLE, POBLANO AL PASTOR: BRAISED PORK IN GUAJILLO CHILE BROTH, PINEAPPLE, SWEET ONION, TORTILLAS BRAISED SHORT RIBS: MOLE JUS, OYSTER MUSHROOMS, TORTILLAS
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FIAMMA Rustic Italian cuisine in Dilworth Lunch Mon.–Sat. at 11:30 a.m., dinner Tues.–Sun. at 5 | 2418 Park Rd. 704.333.3062 | fiammacharlotte.com | @fiammaitaliancharlotte In the heart of Dilworth, Fiamma is a little piece of Italy in the Carolinas. The restaurant’s cozy, European feel encourages you to enjoy a multicourse menu. Executive Chef and owner Fernando Campo takes care to prepare the freshest ingredients with love to make sure everyone leaves happy. Their pasta is always made by hand with superior ingredients, like the linguini neri, which is made with squid ink, or the saffron pasta, in which they use the world’s most expensive spice, saffron. They also use the best flours they can find, fine imported cheeses and the best extra virgin olive oil, which is always imported from Italy. You will leave having had an experience, not just a meal.
MENU SAMPLING INSALATA FIAMMA: GRILLED SHRIMP, CRABMEAT, TOMATOES, AVOCADO, BOSTON LETTUCE AND RADICCHIO TOSSED IN A LIGHT LEMON WITH OLIVE OIL DRESSING ZUCCHINI CON GAMBERI: GRILLED SHRIMP AND ZUCCHINI SERVED WITH FRESHLY MADE MIXED SALAD TILAPIA PICATTA: TILAPIA FILET SAUTÉED IN A LEMON BUTTER AND CAPER SAUCE, SERVED WITH SAUTÉED SPINACH CHICKEN PARMIGIANA: LIGHTLY BREADED CHICKEN BREAST TOPPED WITH TOMATO SAUCE AND MOZZARELLA, SERVED WITH GRILLED ZUCCHINI GNOCCHI BIZANZIO: HOUSE-MADE POTATO DUMPLINGS SERVED IN A FRESH TOMATO, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL SAUCE
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FIN & FINO A social seafood house Open Mon.–Fri. at 11 a.m., Sat. at 4:30 p.m. | 135 Levine Ave. of the Arts, #100
704.800.5680 | finandfino.com Fin & Fino celebrates the explorer’s mindset and the sailor’s heart with a menu that draws inspiration from seafaring cultures on both sides of the Atlantic. Fish and shellfish are delivered daily and are all sustainably caught or raised. The raw bar boasts a minimum of 12 types of oysters at all times. The menu features seasonal ingredients from nearby farms (because they like to keep things fresh). The wine list has charm and intrigue and is selected personally by the sommelier. Last — but definitely not least — the cocktails are whimsical creations inspired by coastal destinations and “things that make us happy.” Fin & Fino is open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Monday-Saturday. Oyster and beverage specials are available weekdays at Happy Time, otherwise known as 4-6 p.m. So belly up, sailors!
MENU SAMPLING ●TOWER OF POWER: 10 OYSTERS, 10 SHRIMP, BLUE CRAB, MUSSELS, 2 LOBSTER TAILS, TUNA-SALMON POKE ●SCALLOPS: BOTARGA-CAULIFLOWER PUREE, LOCAL FARMER SUCCOTASH ●TUNA & SALMON BELLY POKE: SUSHI RICE, FURIKAKE, PICKLED JALAPEÑOS, SCALLIONS ●8-OUNCE FILET MIGNON: ROASTED POTATOES, EPAZOTE CHIMICHURRI ●LOBSTER & TRUFFLES: CELERY ROOT BRANDADE, LOBSTER, BASIL SHELLS, SHAVED TRUFFLES ●THE TREATMENT: LET YOUR SERVER AND CHEF TAKE YOU ON A TOUR OF THE F&F MENU AND THEY DONATE $5 TOWARD CHARITY OF YOUR CHOICE
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N APA AT KINGSLEY A taste of Napa Valley Open daily at 11 | 1310 Broadcloth St., Ste. 101, Fort Mill, SC 803.548.6335 | napakingsley.com Napa Valley is known for its unique culinary style and personality â€” local fresh ingredients prepared simply with a passion for scratch cooking, bold wines and a vineyard aesthetic influenced by the rustic natural surroundings. The Napa restaurant concept is excited to bring a relaxed, comfortable style of dining to the vibrant Kingsley and Myers Park communities of Fort Mill, South Carolina and Charlotte, North Carolina! Enjoy fresh dishes made with locally sourced ingredients, cocktails and Napa Valley wines on tap.
MENU SAMPLING SHRIMP WITH LEMON GNOCCHI: BABY HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, ARUGULA, PRESERVED LEMON BUTTER, WHITE WINE PAN-SEARED U-10 SCALLOPS: SPICED CHARRED CORN POLENTA, ROASTED CALABRIAN CHILES, GRILLED OKRA, SWEET CORN RELISH LOBSTER FETTUCCINE: LOBSTER RAGOUT, HARICOTS VERTS, ROASTED FENNEL, GRILLED HALF LOBSTER TAIL, CHARRED CORN, POPCORN SHOOTS PERIGORD TRUFFLE AGNOLOTTI: PARMESAN, GOUDA AND TRUFFLE-FILLED PASTA, FINES HERBS, WHITE WINE CREAM SAUCE VEAL PICCATA: LEMON, CHIVE AND FONTINA RAVIOLI, CAPERS, ARTICHOKES, WHITE WINE BUTTER, WATERCRESS, PICKLED ONION DUCK DUO: OVEN-ROASTED BREAST AND CONFIT LEG, RED CURRANT RISOTTO, GLAZED CARROTS, FENNEL, ARUGULA, RASPBERRY DUCK DEMI
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OAK S TEAKHOUSE A modern take on the classic American steakhouse Open daily at 4:30 p.m., Sun. brunch seasonally | 4777 Sharon Rd., Ste. 125
704.954.8900 | oaksteakhousecharlotte.com | @oakcharlotte Located in Charlotte’s established SouthPark neighborhood, Oak Steakhouse offers a modern take on the classic American steakhouse. The contemporary, chef-driven menu showcases a variety of Prime Certified Angus Beef® selections, small plates and entrées that celebrate seasonal North Carolina ingredients. To complement the food, Oak offers an expansive wine list as well as seasonal cocktails and local brews. Whether pulling up a seat for happy hour with friends, a special occasion or hosting a private dinner, Oak Steakhouse offers a memorable dining experience.
MENU SAMPLING CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF® STEAK SLIDERS WITH WHITE CHEDDAR, PICKLE, ONION AND TRUFFLE FRITES (AVAILABLE DURING HAPPY HOUR DAILY FROM 4:30 TO 7 P.M. AT THE BAR) OYSTERS ROCKEFELLER WITH BENTON’S BACON, PARMESAN REGGIANO, HOLLANDAISE, SPINACH, BREADCRUMBS GRILLED OCTOPUS WITH CONFIT POTATO AND TOMATO SALAD, CHARRED RED ONION AND SORGHUM SHERRY VINAIGRETTE SMOKED SCALLOPS WITH LEEKS, TOMATO, SWEET POTATO AND KALE 8-OUNCE CERTIFIED ANGUS BEEF® FILET MIGNON
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RURU’S TACOS Charlotte’s Place for hot swanky tacos Open at 11 a.m. Mon.–Sat. and 12 p.m. Sundays | 715 Providence Rd. 704.332.7933 | rurustacosandtequila.com At RuRu’s, we strive to provide fresh, quality dishes in a fun and festive atmosphere. Although it’s Mexican on the menu, RuRu’s draws inspiration from Latin, Korean, American and Greek fare. Whether you want to enjoy our famous handcrafted cocktails on the patio, dig into a plate of sizzling fajitas or are in need of catering for your next event, the Ru is always the place to go!
MENU SAMPLING THREE AMIGOS: QUESO BLANCO, FRESH CHUNKY GUACAMOLE AND RURU’S SMOKEY HOUSE SALSA SERVED WITH WARM TORTILLA CHIPS DEATH BY RURU (CARNITAS BURRITO): PORK BELLY CARNITAS, JASMINE RED RICE, BLACK BEANS, PEPPER JACK CHEESE, CREMA, TOPPED WITH QUESO BLANCO AND RURU’S HOT SAUCE REUBEN FEFFER (STEAK BOWL): STEAK, BLACK BEANS, JASMINE RED RICE, PEPPER JACK CHEESE, CREMA, LETTUCE, SMOKEY HOUSE SALSA I’LL HAVE WHAT SHE’S HAVING (GRILLED MAHI MAHI TACO): GRILLED MAHI MAHI, LETTUCE, AVOCADO, CILANTRO AND HOMEMADE PINEAPPLE SALSA SERVED ON A WARM CORN OR FLOUR TORTILLA
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SEA LEVEL NC A Carolina-centric oyster bar and seafood restaurant Open Mon.–Sat. at 11:30 a.m. | 129 East 5th St. 704.412.2616 | sealevelnc.com | @sealevelnc Located in the heart of Uptown, Sea Level NC is committed to sourcing and serving only non-threatened species. Their core offerings, including their signature oyster, are harvested from North Carolina farms and in partnership with Carolina fishermen. Indulge in classics like a lobster roll or North Carolina shrimp and grits. Or try an unexpected dish, like the Catfish Reuben. Don’t forget to check out “Happy Afternoon” either, when their signature oyster is just $1! Alongside a thoughtfully designed, craft cocktail program and a coastal-chic atmosphere, it’s the perfect spot for a business lunch, celebratory dinner or date night with that special someone.
MENU SAMPLING SEA LEVEL SALTS (HOUSE OYSTER): HARVESTED IN SEA LEVEL NC, SERVED WITH HOUSE-MADE COCKTAIL AND HORSERADISH, RED WINE MIGNONETTE AND WHITE FENNEL BALSAMIC MIGNONETTE CLASSIC LOBSTER ROLL: MADE WITH CLAW AND TAIL MEAT FROM LIVE MAINE LOBSTERS; CHOOSE MAINE OR CONNECTICUT-STYLE CATFISH REUBEN: A SEA LEVEL CLASSIC MADE WITH CAROLINA BLACKENED CATFISH, SWISS, HOUSE SLAW, TOASTED RYE AND CAPER AIOLI DAILY FRESH CATCH (CHANGES DAILY): CHEF’S PRESENTATION OF LINE-CAUGHT CAROLINA FISH WITH LOCAL ACCOMPANIMENTS NC PAELLA: DAILY NC CATCH, NC SHRIMP, MUSSELS, ANSON MILLS CAROLINA GOLD RICE, COMEAUX ANDOUILLE, CRÈME FRAICHE
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SOUTHPARK GRILL Classic American cuisine meets modern sophisticated ambiance Mon.–Fri. 7 a.m.–10 p.m., Sat. 5–10 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.–3 p.m. | 4300 Congress St.
704.900.6945 | southparkgrill.com SouthPark Grill is a modern American restaurant in the heart of South Charlotte’s bustling business and shopping district. A warm, sophisticated ambience sets the stage for a menu featuring classic American dishes. SouthPark Grill is the perfect spot for a weekday business lunch or a lively dinner with friends. Here, casual means ingredients you can pronounce, and upscale means an unparalleled quality of service. At SouthPark Grill, we hope to excite the senses through an inspired setting, graceful service and cuisine that simply tastes delicious.
MENU SAMPLING CRAB CAKE BEIGNETS: A MARRIAGE BETWEEN CRAB CAKES AND FRITTERS, CREOLE REMOULADE COBB SALAD: BIBB LETTUCE, ROTISSERIE CHICKEN, BACON, NC EGG, AVOCADO, TOMATO, BLUE CHEESE CRUMBLES, ROQUEFORT DRESSING NORTH ATLANTIC SALMON: SWISS CHARD, WHITE BEANS, TOMATO, PANCETTA, WHITE WINE SCALLOPS: SEASONAL SUCCOTASH CLASSIC BURGER: 8-OUNCE BLEND OF BRISKET, CHUCK AND SHORT RIB TOPPED WITH NY CHEDDAR ROTISSERIE CHICKEN: BUTTERNUT SQUASH PUREE, BACON-BRAISED BRUSSELS SPROUTS, NATURAL JUS
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SWEET LEW’S BBQ Authentic wood-smoked North Carolina barbecue Open Tues.–Sun. at 10:30 a.m. | 923 Belmont Ave. 980.224.7584 | sweetlewsbbq.com | @sweetlewsbbq Sweet Lew’s is the answer to a question that’s plagued Charlotte: Where can you go around here for a real North Carolina barbecue experience? Close to Uptown, in the east Charlotte blue-collar neighborhood of Belmont, Lewis Donald and Laura Furman Grice have flipped an old service station into a no-frills, go-tell-yo-mama, smoke shack. Although new to the neighborhood, the flagship location echoes memories of distant backcountry roadside barbecue joints that made this state famous. Without the fallback option of an electric or gas assist, Sweet Lew’s 450-square-foot smokehouse is home to the only true smoker in all of Charlotte. A blend of hickory, pecan and peach woods is all that drives the fire that smokes Sweet Lew’s awardwinning recipes. It also serves as the basis for Sweet Lew’s motto: “Cooked With Wood.”
MENU SAMPLING SMOKED BEEF BRISKET: CREEKSTONE FARMS BEEF BRISKET IS WHAT STARTED LEWIS’ PASSION FOR PERFECT BBQ. THEY’LL SLICE IT FOR YOU AND YOU CAN DECIDE WHAT’S THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF THEIR MUSTARD SAUCE BRUNSWICK STEW: THIS VERSION OF THE SOUTHERN CLASSIC DOESN’T INCLUDE SQUIRREL, BUT YOU CAN BE SURE TO FIND PLENTY OF CHICKEN, PORK, CORN, LIMA BEANS AND TOMATOES IN THIS HEARTY SOUP DRY-RUBBED PORK SPARE RIBS: SMOKED FOR SIX HOURS ON THE ALL-WOOD SMOKER AND SERVED WITH SWEET LEW’S BBQ SAUCE NC CHOPPED PORK: SALT AND PEPPER SEASONED PORK SHOULDER, TENDED OVER A 250-DEGREE, ALL-WOOD SMOKER FOR 12 HOURS
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THE WATERMAN FISH BAR Southend’s neighborhood seafood joint Open daily at 11:30 a.m. | 2729 South Blvd., Suite D 704.275.5558 | watermanclt.com | @watermanclt The Waterman Fish Bar is an approachable seafood restaurant that features a raw bar, boat drinks and a rooftop patio. The Waterman, which shares the same seafood DNA as Sea Level NC, is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Crowd favorites include the Fisherman’s Pick, Boo Fries and Frozen Boozees. The main level features authentic pieces from old boats, retired fishing equipment, lobster baskets, nautical maps and more. A giant Waterman mural overlooks the dining room, presiding over food and fun. Head upstairs to the rooftop patio, dubbed “Topside,” for unbeatable views of the Uptown skyline. Topside is open Thursday through Sunday (weather permitting) and available for private parties year-round.
MENU SAMPLING CRAWDADDY DIPPERS: A SHAREABLE APPETIZER FEATURING FRIED DIPPERS MADE WITH CAJUN-STYLE RICE, CRAWFISH, CREAM CHEESE, ROASTED CORN AND SERVED WITH TARTAR SAUCE LOW COUNTRY BOIL: A BUCKET OF SHRIMP, SMOKED SAUSAGE, CORN, AND RED POTATOES WITH RED BAY SEASONING AND LEMON BUTTER; STEAMED OYSTERS OPTIONAL SHRIMP ROLL: A NEW ENGLAND STAPLE MADE WITH CREAMY DRESSING, CELERY, CHIVES AND ROMAINE LETTUCE WITH FRIES OR COLESLAW CHARGRILLED OYSTERS: CHOOSE FROM CREAMED SPINACH AND BACON OR CHARRED ONION BUTTER; A GREAT START TO ANY MEAL
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Loaves & Fishes fights hunger in our community by providing a weekâ€™s worth of nutritionally balanced groceries for families and individuals in need through a network of food pantries in Mecklenburg County. Last year, Loaves & Fishes fed enough people to fill Bank of America stadium. 46% were children.
To donate or volunteer loavesandfishes.org
A food lover's guide to great dining around Charlotte, North Carolina