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FROM THE EDITOR
CATHY MARTIN EDITOR
PHOTOGRAPH BY TIM SAYER
s much as I love good food, I can’t cook. When I was younger, I tried — briefly. After all, I grew up in the South, where creating an ideal home means having beautifully decorated rooms, perfect pots of ferns and flowers by the front door, and lovingly home-cooked meals. I managed to adequately prepare a few simple one-pot recipes, but most of my efforts were failures — even after repeated tries — that left me frustrated and facing a pile of dishes at the end of the night that seemed to underscore the obvious — cooking was not my thing. My husband, on the other hand, can whip up a delightful, perfectly seasoned meal — one that would take me at least two hours to (attempt to) prepare — in about 20 minutes, after a full day of work, on a Tuesday. My mom is in her 80s and still loves to bake. If a friend calls up and asks for one (or several) of her famous coconut or chocolate fudge cakes to bring to a baby shower, church fundraiser, family reunion or whatever occasion, she is thrilled to spend a busy day in the kitchen, never taking a cent for her trouble. Being a good cook or baker, I’ve learned, demands passion. For professional chefs, it’s a career filled with long hours, few breaks and, for many, modest pay. Our nights, weekends and holidays are their prime working hours. What makes it worthwhile for both home cooks and working chefs, I’ve discovered, is the joy they find not only in developing delicious dishes but in sharing their creations with others. This was evident when we gathered a group of eight local chefs to share tips and ideas for a football game day party (Page 68). Some are well-known among Charlotte’s culinary community; others might be less familiar. Their backgrounds and experiences are varied, but when they all get together, reputations and resumes don’t matter. What does matter is the passion for their craft, the sharing of plates and ideas, and the sense of camaraderie among those in the business. That desire to share the results of their labor isn’t exclusive to chefs, but to painters, designers and other creators as well. Cotswold gallery owner Jerald Melberg makes this exact point in a new column on Page 61. His occasional contributions to this magazine will be aimed at demystifying the process of learning about and collecting fine art. An art dealer for more than 35 years, Melberg is still bewildered when passers-by peek in the window of his store or enter with trepidation, afraid of doing or saying something “wrong.” Charlotte is full of galleries that welcome curiosity-seekers and those who just want to learn more about art, Melberg points out. Of course, if the artist and gallery happen to make a sale in the process, that’s great. But patrons shouldn’t feel pressured to buy something every time they walk through the door. It’s OK to just take a look and enjoy the art — isn’t that what the artist would have wanted? What’s your passion — that one thing you can spend hours doing, without notice of time, expense or fatigue? I’m still looking for mine. But it’s definitely not cooking. SP
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October DEPARTMENTS 25 | Blvd. Circa’s new SouthPark home; Y2 Yoga’s Tanner Bazemore’s favorite things; Charlotte region’s newest winery; five essential dates for October.
45 | Simple Life Smoke and memory. Both are easily gone in a puff.
51 | Bookshelf October’s notable new releases.
55 | Omnivorious Reader Making of a marsh girl: praise for a North Carolina tale.
61 | Art Sense Setting foot in an art gallery makes some people feel awkward. A longtime art dealer explains how to make the most of the experience.
63 | Food For Thought
Summer’s carefree days have drawn to a close, but much of the bounty is still with us. Now’s the time to use up the tomato’s every bit of goodness.
67 | True South Kids say, well, whatever pops into their blessedly sweet heads.
121 | Swirl The Queen City’s biggest and best bashes, parties and fundraisers.
SNAPSHOT 128 | Truth in Wine McNinch House’s Anthony Wesley creates an awardwinning wine list at the Fourth Ward landmark.
ABOUT THE COVER Carne asada and all the trimmings by Project 658 Chef Hector Gonzalez. Photo by Justin Driscoll.
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Charlotte and Boone
making it home since 1950
G E N E R A L C O N T R AC TO R
84 FEATURES 68 | Game On by Michael J. Solender
Charlotte chefs huddle up and share tips for a game-day football watch party.
80 | Better Together by Lauren Eberle
Clean Juice founders Landon and Kat Eckles took a hometown juice bar from a leap of faith to explosive expansion in four short years.
84 | Suburban Renewal by Cathy Martin
Designer Brooke Cole brings a modern aesthetic to a ’90s-era home.
92 | Dive In by Page Leggett
Dilworth’s favorite hole-in-the-wall has (arguably) the best fries in town, the friendliest patrons and free live music, six nights a week.
100 | Roaming Through Richmond by Alicia Valenski
History buffs aren’t the only ones drawn to the Virginia capital — now foodies have plenty to savor, too.
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Ben Kinney Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org Cathy Martin Editor email@example.com Whitley Adkins Hamlin Contributing Style Editor Andie Rose Art Director Lauren M. Coffey Graphic Designer Alyssa Rocherolle Graphic Designer Contributing Writers Sally Brewster, Lauren Eberle Vanessa Infanzon, Susan S. Kelly Jane Lear, D.G. Martin Jerald Melberg, Page Leggett, Michael J. Solender, Alicia Valenski Contributing Photographers Daniel Coston, Justin Driscoll Erin Comerford Miller, Peter Taylor ADVERTISING Jane Rodewald Account Executive 704-621-9198 firstname.lastname@example.org Scott Leonard Audience Development Specialist/ Account Executive 704-996-6426 email@example.com Brad Beard Graphic Designer
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It’s always play time in Abingdon. visitabingdonvirginia.com • 888.489.4144
Owners Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff Published by Old North State Magazines LLC. ©Copyright 2019. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. Volume 22, Issue 10
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blvd. People. Places. Things.
Celebrate game day and satisfy your sweet tooth with Carolina Panthers-themed blue macarons from Amelie’s French Bakery & Café. Filled with a mixed-berry marmalade, these gluten- and dairy-free goodies will be available the day before each home game and on game day at Amelie’s four Charlotte and Rock Hill locations. Hosting a party? You can pre-order Panthers macarons — just let the store know at least 48 hours in advance. ameliesfrenchbakery.com
southparkmagazine.com | 25
The CBD trend has arrived in SouthPark, with the opening of Blue Flowers, a CBD boutique, at The Terraces on Sharon Road. Co-owner and pharmacist Joslyn Brown and her husband, Colby, hope to educate customers about the benefits of the hemp-derived substance — and debunk stigmas associated with CBD products. The store’s products are centered around wellness, beauty, recovery and pets. 4717 Sharon Road, Suite 2B. blueflowersnc.com
During October, Hidell Brooks Gallery in South End features paintings by Atlanta contemporary artist Sally King Benedict. The solo exhibition storyboard is inspired by narratives between a mother and son. October 4-26. hidellbrooks.com 26
Blackhawk Hardwareq is expanding its Park Road Shopping Center store, renovating the basement and adding a lower level entrance; Middle James Brewery opened in the Golf Village building in Pineville; former Aix en Provence co-owner Patrick Garrivier has joined Upstream in Phillips Place; Capiche: Real Italian Kitchen is opening its second location in SouthPark next to Rooster’s; Eight + Sand Kitchen, an upscale counter-service bakery and café, opened in South End.
Tiff’s Treats, a dessert delivery business based in Austin, Texas, opened its first Charlotte location at Waverly in August. Expect the basics — chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, peanut butter and oatmeal raisin — along with brownies, ice cream sandwiches and other sweet treats. Special packaging is available for birthdays and other occasions. cookiedelivery.com
From left to right: Jose Cruz, Branch Manager, Ryan Borst, Commercial Banker, Don Lucas, Mortgage Director of Sales, Robin Lyle, Charlotte Regional Executive
New location. Exceptional service. Nice bank. There’s just something special about the Queen City — and we couldn’t be more excited about our newest bank location in the SouthPark area! We truly look forward to serving our fellow community members and delivering financial services that suit your specific needs. After all, it’s nice to know your community bank is here for you in every season of life. Stop by and see us at our new SouthPark location: 6801 Morrison Boulevard
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Something old, something new AFTER NEARLY 40 YEARS IN EASTOVER, CIRCA INTERIORS & ANTIQUES IS MOVING TO SOUTHPARK. BY CATHY MARTIN
nius at that.” Part of Heather’s job is finding lighting and other accessories that complement the carefully selected antiques. “Everyone is using the same lamps, the same formula of what they put on coffee tables and bookcases,” she says. “I spend a lot of my time looking for something unique and different. I get excited about that.” The two buyers’ passion for their work is one of the things that sets Circa apart from competitors, Cindy Smith says. Another is the shop’s ability to provide unique products that surprise its customers each time they visit the store. “That’s why we have a lot of traffic,” she says. “Customers want to see what in the world we have next.” “We really feel like the eclectic mixture and having something old and tangible — whether it’s beautiful wood or a pretty patina — adds a softness to the modern world we live in,” she says. “It gives things a definite personality, a little soul.” SP
PHOTOGRAPH PROVIDED BY CIRCA
n the four decades since opening Circa Interiors & Antiques just off Providence Road in Eastover, owner and designer Cindy Smith has worked with clients across the U.S. What surprises her is how people outside of North Carolina seem more familiar with the retail and design business than those right here in her own city. “We’re tucked away,” she says of Circa’s two quaint wooden buildings set back from the road on Crescent Avenue. “We’ve nurtured these old buildings along, but they’re over 100 years old, and they’re really [in] terrible repair,” Smith says. The off-the-beaten-path location combined with the constant upkeep of the aging property convinced Smith it was time for a change. In October, Circa is moving to The Shops at Morrison, the SouthPark shopping center anchored by Earth Fare and Barnes & Noble that is also home to a growing number of specialty retailers such as B.D. Jeffries, Capitol and Anne Neilson Fine Art. In addition to improving the shop’s visibility, Smith hopes the new 3,000-square-foot space will allow people to see how much the company has evolved from the antiques business she started out of her home back in 1980. Long known for traditional furnishings and European artifacts, Circa has added more design services and contemporary offerings for a balance of old and new. “We’ll be able to show our merchandise and the way we’ve changed over the last few years to a more modern approach to the way people want to live today,” Smith says. A 1,200-square-foot mezzanine will house Circa’s design studio, which currently employs four interior designers. Circa’s hand-selected antiques — Smith travels to Europe several times a year to hunt for new treasures — mix with furnishings by Baker, Verellen, Hickory Chair, Lee Industries and others. In 2015, Circa launched Catbird, its own furniture collection that features the work of five different designers. Driving Circa’s push to add more contemporary pieces is Heather Smith, Cindy’s daughter-in-law. After earning a design degree at Winthrop University, Heather worked in commercial design before joining the family business in 2002. (Cindy’s daughter, Whitney Smith Johnson, runs a second Circa location in Birmingham, Ala.) “Heather has an amazing eye for unique lines, for finding treasures that are more contemporary,” says Amy Flurry, head of communications for Circa who is also helping the business launch a new website and boost its digital presence. “I love the antiques,” Heather Smith says. “Cindy’s the ge-
“ Helping businesses to develop and fuel our thriving economy is exciting every day. Even better? Those businesses are my neighbors and friends.”
Stephanie L. Bryant, Senior Vice President TowneBank Charlotte
6337 Morrison Blvd. (704) 644-4001 | TowneBank.com Art by Susan Grossman / courtesy Jerald Melberg Gallery “Splash”
My favorite things...
anner Bazemore is the founder and owner of Y2 Yoga, the hot yoga studio in Cotswold Shopping Center that focuses on cardio, strength and flexibility. The son of a Navy pilot, Bazemore moved around a lot as a child — 27 times before age 9. His family landed in the Queen City in 1989, and other than a couple of short stints in New Hampshire and New Orleans, he’s lived here ever since. “Charlotte has been the only home I have ever really known, and I don’t see myself ever leaving.” Comments were edited for brevity and clarity.
time when I can actually throw on a pair of pants, I like True Religion. Luckily, both of these places have stores at SouthPark Mall.
PERFECT DAY: I came up with the insane idea of building what amounts to one of the largest yoga studios in the country. Aside from yoga, we have a spa and an on-site restaurant, Bistro La Bon. So, my perfect day is teaching a class, taking a classp, getting a massage in our spa and then popping over to the bistro for wine with friends. I don’t have to leave the building. #blessed FAVORITE PLACES TO SHOP: I teach yoga in a room that makes waterproof mascara retreat down the eyes of women like the river Nile, so I need my clothes to be durable, breathable and comfortable. Lululemon is what I wear 90% of the time. Unlike most other occupations, if I’m wearing a shirt and shoes it’s almost like I am overdressed. For the other 10% of the 30
PLACE TO HAVE A GLASS OF WINE: Less than 100 yards away from my apartment in SouthPark is a new restaurant and bar, Bar Marcelp. I’ll have a malbec and either the charcuterie board or wagyu beef carpaccio. It feels cozy and has a warm but modern feel. HIDEOUT:
Home on the couch, armed with 59 hours (and counting) of Marvel movies, a bottle of Trentatré Rosso (at $5.99, a best-kept secret at Trader Joe’s) and a bag of
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chips. Deadpool is my fave, and Ryan Reynolds is my soul brother. #brocrush PHOTOGRAPHERS: Wanda Koch has taken photos of me doing yoga since before I taught and works tirelessly and creatively to capture the yoga scene in Charlotte. Bryan Bazemore (my brother, I’m biased here), is as meticulous about photography as I am about the formatting of a yoga class and how to properly place the lavender towel on a student’s face during Savasana (hint: crease across the bridge of the nose and not covering the nose). Most of their talent is unseen, because 90% of the work is in post production. FAVORITE COCKTAIL: After a brief getaway to Las Vegas with my girlfriend earlier this year, I was persuaded to order an Old-Fashioned at a bar at The Palazzo. Since then, it has been our staple. New South Kitchen & Baru at the Arboretum is a musttry — casual ambience, and Sue’s OldFashioned only knocks you back $10. (Named after owner and bar manager Sue Edwards, New South’s Old-Fashioned is made with Rittenhouse rye, simple syrup, Regans’ orange bitters and muddled orange slices.) KEY OBJECTIVE: Growth. It is a mantra that I repeat daily: constant and never-ending improvement. Every day, I am constantly re-evaluating and testing systems and procedures. Y2 was forged by countless mistakes and failures. Yoga teaches you to face difficult situations head on, and then just breathe and be OK with the struggle until it passes or ceases to be a struggle. The epic amount of trials that Y2 has faced only prompted me to set my sights on a larger challenge: to expand and proliferate through Charlotte and beyond. PROVERB: “They thought they could bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds.” — author unknown
PHOTOGRAPH (TOP) BY WANDA KOCH
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Wine goals A ‘SOMEDAY’ PLAN BECOMES REALITY AS A SOUTH CHARLOTTE COUPLE OPENS THE REGION’S NEWEST WINERY. BY MICHAEL J. SOLENDER
fter SouthPark couple Monique and Dave Sullivan discovered their first child was on the way in late 2016, their ‘someday’ plan of owning and operating vineyards and a winery went into overdrive. “Having a wine estate is something we’d often talked about, though typically in the context of retirement,” says Monique Sullivan, 32. “Upon learning we were expecting, my husband and I came to the realization that we wanted to have something our daughter could grow up with and experience together with us.” The Sullivans’ rapidly expedited dream, christened Veronét Vineyards & Winery, opens this fall in Kings Mountain, just 30 miles west of Charlotte. The name is an amalgam of their
mothers’ names. Nestled in the North Carolina foothills, the 70-acre tract currently has 5 acres “under vine,” a large California rustic-style tasting room, picnic areas and event space to comfortably accommodate groups of up to 250 for weddings, dinners, reunions and gatherings. “My love for wine evolves from my love of food and an evolution from that,” Sullivan says. “I grew up in a Peruvian family where food and entertaining were the name of the game, and culinary influences are very important. My cultural perspective is [that] food and wine are a celebration of life.” Sullivan said her mother was excited to share her love of wine with her and ignited her passion to explore and learn
PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF AARON BRIDGMAN/VERONÉT VINEYARDS & WINERY
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|blvd. more about the joys of the grape. Connections with wine-industry friends in California and several trips to Napa and Sonoma fueled her interest to learn more. She’s achieved a level 3 (advanced) certification from the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, an internationally recognized wine education organization for industry professionals. Taking one’s passion for wine to executing a three-year plan building a fully operational winery from scratch might strike many as folly, yet Sullivan was undeterred. “I have a business background, and my husband is an aerospace engineer,” says Sullivan, who is co-owner of a language-translation service. “We’ve approached this cautiously and with a great deal of planning and analysis. … We see the popularity of the brewery scene and want to create that same kind of environment with our winery for the Charlotte area.” Sullivan engaged viticulture
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I CAME FOR THE TRAINING. I STAYED FOR THE RESULTS. consultants and other advisers in conducting soil, water and topographic analysis to determine planting areas and which varietals would grow best at the estate. “We feature a young style of easy-drinking wines meant to be consumed upon purchase or within three to five years,” she says. Most bottles will sell in the $20-$30 range. Veronét grows three distinct varietals: chambourcin, a French hybrid that delivers a medium-bodied red table wine; viognier, a French white that produces both sweet and dry wines; and cabernet franc.
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The vines were planted in 2018 and are set to yield their first harvest in the fall of 2021. In the interim, the winery is partnering with winemakers in California and Virginia to produce wines under Sullivan’s direction and in the style Veronét will be making. Initially, eight bottles will be available in the tasting room. “Wine is memory making and always tastes better in the vineyards,” Sullivan says. Veronét plans to offer Food Truck Fridays, special tasting events and a seasonal calendar of activities to encourage frequent visits. “We have a comfortable, family-friendly and casual atmosphere out here where people can picnic, enjoy a nice wine, talk with us about the process and share a great experience. We want people to come and enjoy.” SP veronetwine.com
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Cheer on Megan Rapinoe and the rest of the U.S. Women’s
Gather a team and hit the streets of uptown Charlotte for the annual Race for the Cure, benefiting the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Choose either a 5K run or 1-mile walk or run. Organizers have set a fundraising goal of $1.2 billion for this year’s race. komencharlotte.org
Arguably the reigning master of the violin, Itzhak Perlman joins the Charlotte Symphony in Itzhak
Dozens of local chefs, farmers, brewers and distillers gather for the Piedmont
Leading on Opportunity hosts On the Table CLT, a community-wide effort encouraging Charlotteans to have mealtime conversations on important community issues. The Knight Foundation-funded initiative encourages interested residents to sign up for training sessions to host tables throughout the city. leadingonopportunity. com
team as they take on Korea at Bank of America Stadium. Charlotte is among five cities chosen for the team’s Victory Tour after winning the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. Tickets start at $33. ussoccer.com
Perlman Plays Mendelssohn.
Tickets are selling fast for this musthear performance. charlottesymphony.org
Culinary Guild’s Farm to Fork picnic
at Belmont’s Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden. Tickets are $85; proceeds support beginning farmer programs at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems and farmer grants at Piedmont Culinary Guild. piedmontculinaryguild. com
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Smoke and memory BOTH ARE EASILY GONE IN A PUFF.
BY JIM DODSON
n a cool and misty autumn afternoon not long ago, I found myself taking up a secret pleasure I’d abandoned years ago. While doing book research for the day in Staunton, Va., the lovely Shenandoah Valley town just off the Great Wagon Road that brought thousands of Scots-Irish to the American South, I turned up my coat’s collar and took a stroll though downtown in search of a cup of tea and a bookshop before hitting the road for home. On the corner, I spotted an old-fashioned tobacco shop. Its window display featured a selection of gorgeous, handcarved pipes with names such as Mastro Geppetto and Savinelli Estate. Beyond them, two gents sat in comfortable wing chairs, smoking pipes and having a quiet rainy day conversation. On a lark, I stepped inside. If Marcel Proust’s main character in Swann’s Way associated the taste of a simple madeleine with childhood, my version might well be a whiff of pipe smoke. The scent of aromatic pipe smoke, you see, has a similar effect on me, conjuring up nice family memories and not a little amusement at my own youthful vanity. Walter Dodson, my paternal grandfather, a cabinetmaker whose name I bear, smoked a Dr. Grabow pipe, the inexpensive brand once manufactured in the pretty Carolina mountain town of Sparta. Walter was a man of few words but a rural polymath who could make anything with his hands. He taught me to fish and how to cut a straight line with a handsaw. Some of my fondest memories of him are of fishing together in a Florida bayou or watching my grandfather work in his carpenter’s shop, his pipe clenched in his teeth, fragrant smoke drifting all around us. Walter was the age I am today — mid 60s — but looked positively ancient to me, and a bit
like an old Indian chief. In fact, family lore holds that his mother was a woman of Native American heritage. I was 10 or 12 years old at the time of these encounters, a bookish kid under the influence of adventure tales in which wise forest wizards and noble Indian chiefs smoked pipes. So it all seemed perfectly natural and wildly romantic to me. I never worked up the courage to ask my grandfather if I could try a puff of his Grabow pipe, and he never offered. Ironically, about this same time, heeding the new surgeon general’s warnings about the health hazards of smoking, both my parents ditched their cigarettes, hoping my older brother and I wouldn’t take up the habit. They needn’t have worried. Following the prescribed formula for pulling an “all-nighter” for a geology exam my freshman year at college, like an idiot I drank an entire pot of black coffee and smoked half a pack of Camel, my first cigarettes ever. Somewhere around midnight, after throwing up and peeing myself silly, I fell asleep and managed to miss my 8 a.m. exam. I’ve never touched another cigarette. That same autumn, however, I drove home on a beautiful October afternoon to surprise my father at his office, hoping we might slip out for nine holes of golf before dark. I found him sitting in his office reading Markings, a spiritual classic by Dag Hammarskjöld, the Scandinavian diplomat who’d served as the secretary-general of the United Nations. He was also smoking a handsome wooden pipe. “Oh no! You’ve discovered my secret pleasure,” he said with a sheepish grin. Given my recent unhappy run-in with cigarettes, not to mention his own abandoned habit, I was surprised to see him smoking anything. He explained that pipes were different from cigarettes. For one thing, you didn’t inhale pipe smoke into your lungs but allowed it to circulate in the air around you, “pleasing both southparkmagazine.com | 45
A TrAdiTion of Knowledge And TrusT GAY DILLASHAW 704-564-9393 6700 Fairview Road, Charlotte, NC 28210
the nose and the soul” — one reason, he reckoned, so many writers, poets and philosophers chose to smoke a pipe. “It was either Charles Darwin or James Barrie who said a pipe stimulates noble thoughts” he said. “Maybe it was either Santa Claus or Hugh Hefner,” I suggested. “They smoke pipes, too.” I learned that he’d bought his first pipe in London during the Blitz and brought the habit home with him. “I thought it made me look like an intellectual,” he added with a chuckle. “Truth is, it reminded me of home. Your granddad smoked a pipe. It was pure comfort, a pacifier with smoke and memory.” I wondered how frequently he smoked his pipes. There were three on his desk. Two looked new, one looked very old. “Not very often. A dozen times a year, tops. It’s not a habit — more a simple pleasure.” He laughed, handing me his oldest-looking pipe. It had a cracked stem. “This one belonged to your grandfather. You can have it, if you wish.” “Can I smoke it?” “Better try this one instead. Fits the hand nicely. Not much bite.” It was a handsome thing, burled briarwood, a simple Italian affair with an elegant long stem. He showed me how to pack and light it and watched me puff away, reminding me not to inhale. “So what do you think, college boy?” He asked. I liked it. He smiled. “We won’t tell your mother.” That Christmas, though, he gave me a copy of Markings and a gorgeous handmade-Italian pipe that looked like it had been carved from a knot of mahogany. I loved my new pipe even if my new college girlfriend didn’t. She was a fellow English lit major, a self-described Marxist who had expensive tastes in footwear. She laughed out loud when she saw me pull out my fancy new Italian pipe and fire it up at a party where the guests were smoking a different kind of pipe and something that smelled like burning shag carpet. “My God,” she hooted. “You look like
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an idiot! Next thing you’ll be wearing a corduroy jacket with elbow patches and calling yourself a Republican.” Had I been quicker on my feet, I might have told her that Che Guevara and her personal hero Virginia Woolf both smoked pipes, and that William Wordsworth carried his favorite pipe with him during his famous Lake District rambles. I could just picture the bard sitting on the crumbling wall at Tintern Abbey, dreaming of his lost Lucy as he sent perfect smoke rings into the still summer air. We broke up a short time later — irreconcilable differences over politics and pipes — at which point I went straight out and bought a second-hand corduroy jacket with elbow patches, hoping I might look like John le Carré on the back cover of his latest espionage thriller. By the time I was a married father living in a forest of birch and beech trees near the coast of Maine, I owned several handmade pipes, which I typically only smoked when summer vanished and the weather turned. Our kids, however, always loved watching me smoke my pipe, probably because I could blow smoke rings prettier than either Bilbo Baggins or Gandalf the wizard. Which may explain why, on that recent misty afternoon in western Virginia, realizing it had been many years since I even held a pipe in my hand, I impulsively bought a cheap Missouri Meerschaum pipe and an ounce of mild tobacco and had a fine time making smoke rings as I hoofed around town. Back home, I went searching for a box in the basement that contained items from my office desk in Maine and found a few of my favorite pipes from those days, but not my grandfather’s Grabow or even the handsome Italian number my father gave me once upon a time. They may be waiting somewhere in an unopened box, like artifacts from a carpenter’s workshop or a spy novelist’s corduroy jacket. Or maybe they simply vanished, like smoke and memory. SP Contact Jim Dodson at email@example.com.
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October books NOTABLE NEW RELEASES
COMPILED BY SALLY BREWSTER
Southern Women: More Than 100 Stories of Innovators, Artists, and Icons, by the editors of Garden & Gun
A collection of 100 brilliant women — groundbreakers who have by turns embraced the South’s proud traditions and overcome its equally pervasive barriers and challenges — are featured through interviews, essays, photos and illustrations. These remarkable musicians, actors, writers, artists, chefs, entrepreneurs, designers and public servants offer a dynamic portrait of who the Southern woman is now. The voices of icons such as Sissy Spacek, Leah Chase and Loretta Lynn join those whose stories have been overlooked or underestimated, from pioneering Texas rancher Minnie Lou Bradley to Alabama quilter Mary Margaret Pettway — all visionaries who have left their indelible mark not just on Southern culture but on America itself.
Holding On to Nothing, by Elizabeth Chiles Shelburne Lucy Kilgore has her bags packed for her escape from her rural Tennessee upbringing, but a drunken mistake forever tethers her to the town and one of its least-admired residents, Jeptha Taylor, who becomes the father of her child. Together, these two young people work to form a family — though neither has any idea how to accomplish that, and the odds are against them in a
place with little to offer other than bluegrass music, tobacco fields and a Walmart full of beer and firearms for the hunting season. Their path is harrowing, but Lucy and Jeptha are characters to love, and readers will root for their success. A present-day Appalachian story in the tradition of Lee Smith, Silas House and Ron Rash, cast without sentiment or cliché but with a genuine and profound understanding of the place and its people. A stunning debut of what promises to be one of the South’s finest novelists.
Edison, by Edmund Morris
Pulitzer Prize-winning biographer Edmund Morris spent seven years of research involving more than five million pages of original documents from Thomas Alva Edison’s huge laboratory. His biography brings forth the amazing life of one of history’s most prolific inventors. Though Edison was the most famous American of his time and remains an international name today, he is mostly remembered only for the gift of universal electric light. His invention of the first practical incandescent lamp 140 years ago dazzled the world, already reeling from his invention of the phonograph and dozens of other revolutionary devices. However, it cast a shadow over his later achievements. In all, this near-deaf genius (“I haven’t heard a bird sing since I was 12 years old.”) patented 1,093 inventions, not including others such as the X-ray fluoroscope, which he left unlicensed for the benefit of medicine. This new biography portrays the unknown Edison — the philosopher, the futurist, the chemist, the botanist, the wartime defense adviser, the founder of nearly 250 companies — as fully as it deconstructs the Edison of mythological memory.
Guitar: The World’s Most Seductive Instrument, by David Schiller An obsessive, full-color book presented in an irresist-
southparkmagazine.com | 51
|bookshelf ible slipcase, Guitar features 200 instruments in stunning detail, including icons such as Prince’s Yellow Cloud, Willie Nelson’s Trigger, Muddy Water’s Thunderbird, and Rocky, lovingly hand-painted by its owner, George Harrison. There are historic instruments — Fender’s Broadcaster, Les Paul’s “Log,” and the Gibson Nick Lucas Special, the very first artist model — and hand-carved archtops, pinnacles of the luthier’s art, from John D’Angelico to Ken Parker. Stunning acoustics include a new wave of women builders, like Rosie Heydenrych of England, who’s known to use 5,000-year-old wood retrieved from a peat bog, and quirky one-of-a-kind guitars, like Linda Manzer’s Pikasso II — four necks, 42 strings, and 1,000 pounds of pressure.
Kindness and Wonder: Why Mister Rogers Matters More Now Than Ever, by Gavin Edwards
Charlotte’s own Gavin Edwards is a New York Times bestselling author of seven books — his latest is about America’s beloved Fred Rogers. For more than thirty years Mr. Rogers
was a beloved fixture in American homes. Warm and welcoming, he spoke directly to children — and their parents — about the marvels of the world, the things that worried them, and above all, the importance of being themselves. Kindness and Wonder pays tribute to this cultural icon: the unique, gentle man who embodied the best of what we could be. Gavin reminds us of the lessons and insights that Mister Rogers conveyed — what it means to be a good person, to be open-hearted, to be thoughtful, to be curious, to be compassionate — and why they matter. Beautifully crafted, infused with Mister Rogers’ gentle spirit, and featuring dozens of interviews with people whose lives were touched by Fred Rogers, Kindness and Wonder is a love letter to this unforgettable cultural hero and role model and the beautiful neighborhood he created. SP Sally Brewster is the proprietor of Park Road Books, located at 4139 Park Road. parkroadbooks.com
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Making of a marsh girl PRAISE FOR A NORTH CAROLINA TALE
BY D.G. MARTIN
or almost a year now, Delia Owens’ Where the Crawdads Sing has been at the top of The New York Times best-seller list, usually at No. 1. North Carolina likes to be first at everything. Freedom. Flight. Basketball. Books. So, some of us have been bragging because Crawdads is set in North Carolina. Most of the action takes place in the fictional coastal town of Barkley Cove and the surrounding marshes, coves and ocean waters. There are side trips to real places such as Greenville and Asheville. Others complain that the book’s geography is confusing, that the main character is unbelievable, that the framing of the African-American characters and their dialect is faulty, and that the storyline is broken and contrived. However, the book’s many fans argue that Crawdads is genuine literary fiction in light of its strong and lovely descriptions of nature’s plants and creatures. They continue with praise about the book’s compelling murder mystery that has an unexpected ending and gives readers a superior entertainment experience. They applaud the coming-of-age story of the book’s central character, Catherine Clark, or “Kya.” Kya was abandoned by her family as a child and lived alone in a shack in the marshes miles away from town. People in Barkley Cove think she is weird, keep their distance, and call her “the Marsh Girl.” She spent only one day in school and cannot read or write. However, because she is smart and diligent, she learns about the nature of the marshes. When Kya meets Tate Walker, a young man from Barkley Cove, he senses her strengths and shares her love of plants and animals. He teaches her to read and write. They fall in love. When Tate leaves Kya behind to study science at UNC Chapel Hill, she is devastated. Later, she rebounds to the seductive charms of Chase Andrews, a town football hero and big shot. Their secret affair is interrupted by Chase’s
marriage to another woman, and Kya is again distraught. Overcoming these disappointments, Kya leverages her reading, writing and selftaught artistic talents to record the natural world that surrounds her. When Tate, now a scientist, returns to her life, he persuades her to submit her work for publication. The book is a great success, and she writes and illustrates several more. All this is background for the story that begins when Kya is grown and her former lover, Chase Andrews, is found dead at the bottom of an old fire tower. Kya is a suspect and is ultimately charged, arrested, put in prison and tried for Chase’s murder. The evidence against her seems flimsy at first. But incriminating facts pile up, including her angry response to the married Chase’s attempts to seduce her. But she has a strong alibi. The author’s deftness in setting up this situation, and resolving it smoothly, has helped make it a best-seller. A remaining mystery is how and why Owens, the author of two successful non-fiction books about the African natural world, came to write Crawdads. After studying and writing about animal behavior, as she explained on UNC-TV’s North Carolina Bookwatch in September, “I wanted to write a novel about how much we know about how animal behavior is like ours. It can help us learn about ourselves. So I came up with this idea of writing this novel about a young girl who is forced to live outside of a social group. She’s abandoned. She’s never totally alone, but she has to spend a lot of time alone, and how does that affect her behavior? That is the question of my novel. Because Kya doesn’t have any girlfriends, she is missing something. She’s lonely, she’s isolated, and when people are forced to live in that sort of situation they behave differently. “Kya was raised in the wild coastal marsh of North Carolina. She was born in the 1940s and lived through the 1950s and on, and so I chose the marsh because she is mostly abandoned by her family. She has to live most of the southparkmagazine.com | 55
|omniverous reader time by herself. I wanted the story to be believable, and the marsh is a temperate climate so she could live, she didn’t have to worry about snow or freezing, and she had a shack. She could survive because you can truly walk around and pick up mussels and oysters. I know it’s not easy, but you can learn to do it. It was possible for her to survive in that environment. That’s the reason I chose it.” Owens, who spent much of her life in the wilds of Africa, far from any other human, explained, “There’s a lot of me in Kya: girl, love of nature, live in the wilderness for years, feeling like I don’t belong anywhere. There’s a lot of me in Kya, but there’s a lot of Kya in all of us.” She says that being totally alone changes a person. “When I was isolated in Africa all those years, I wanted to have social groups. I wanted to have more contact with people. But when I came back, I found out it’s not so easy just to do it. And that’s what happens to someone who’s isolated like Kya. She longed to be with people, but every time she had an opportunity she was shy and didn’t feel socially confident. “One of the points of the book is that you do not have to live in a marsh to be lonely. A lot of people in cities are lonely. A lot of people in small towns, even though they have friends, are lonely because we don’t have the strong, long-lived groups that we used to have. And when we get away from that, not only do we feel less confident and lonely, but we also behave differently toward others.”
How does Owens make a story out of an isolated young woman who lives in a shack in the marsh? “I came with the theme first. I wanted to write a story of a young girl growing up alone and how isolation would affect her, but I knew I couldn’t just write that story. It had to have a love story, and it’s a very intense love story. It’s a very compelling, I hope, murder mystery. Of course when Kya reached adolescence, she reached the time that she wanted to be with other people, she wanted to be loved. So she started in her way reaching out, at least watching, and there is sort of a love triangle that follows that is very intense.” Will there be a movie? Crawdads gained the attention of actress Reese Witherspoon. Fox 2000 has acquired film rights and plans for Witherspoon to be the producer. We can hope that the movie will be shot in North Carolina. But here the book’s problem jumps up. The geography described in the book, with palmettos and deep marshes adjoining ocean coves, seems to fit South Carolina or Georgia coastal landscapes better than North Carolina’s coastlands. Nevertheless, whatever the moviemakers decide, North Carolinians can bask in the reflected glory of a No. 1 best-seller that claims our state for its setting. SP D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch Sunday at 11 a.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV.
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No experience required SETTING FOOT IN AN ART GALLERY MAKES SOME PEOPLE FEEL AWKWARD OR INTIMIDATED. A LONGTIME CHARLOTTE ART DEALER AIMS TO DEMYSTIFY THE EXPERIENCE.
BY JERALD MELBERG
Jerald Melberg has been a pillar of the Queen City’s arts community for decades, introducing Charlotteans to art-world heavyweights such as Romare Bearden, Wolf Khan and Robert Motherwell. Before opening his eponymous gallery, now located on S. Sharon Amity Rd., the Minnesota native was curator of The Mint Museum during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Over the last 28 years, he has raised more than $200,000 to help build and support schools in Arequipa, Peru, Charlotte’s first sister city. Art collecting is an acquired skill, he says, but looking and learning are the first steps.
hy does stepping into an art gallery make us feel uncomfortable? Many of us are afraid of things we don’t know well. None of us ever think twice about opening the door to a grocery store, bakery or coffee shop. So what is it about going to an art gallery that becomes too much? Perhaps we feel out of place, or are afraid of saying the wrong thing and asking the wrong questions. As an art dealer who has been in business for more than 35 years, many times I have seen people peek through the gallery door without coming in, or hesitantly walk in and ask about admission. Despite my background in art, even I have felt ill at ease and self-conscious in another gallery. The intimidation factor can come from without, as well as from within. Some
gallerists work to create an air of importance at the expense of common courtesy. But let me assure you that the art galleries in this town are small businesses run by hard-working people, and we will welcome you. Consider the effort it takes to try a new cuisine you’ve never had, or visit a country where you don’t speak the language. This is the energy new collectors should expend toward learning about art. If the best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it, then the same is true for art: Immerse yourself! Go to galleries, subscribe to their email lists, and look around online. Recognizing quality in art is a learned, not an innate ability. It might sound simple, but the more you look, the more you hone your eye. Understanding art, and the confidence that comes with it, will surely follow. Art is meant to be shared with and experienced by the viewer. British artist David Hockney said it well: “What an artist is trying to do for people is bring them closer to something, because of course art is about sharing. You wouldn’t be an artist unless you wanted to share an experience, a thought.” The art business is based on relationships, and every budding art enthusiast has to start somewhere. Not ready to begin collecting yet? That’s OK. Discernment takes time. Until then, just open the door and say hello. Look, learn and enjoy — no experience required. SP southparkmagazine.com | 61
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|food for thought
The tomato’s last hurrah
SUMMER’S CAREFREE DAYS HAVE DRAWN TO A CLOSE, BUT MUCH OF THE BOUNTY IS STILL WITH US. NOW’S THE TIME TO USE UP EVERY BIT OF THE TOMATO’S GOODNESS.
PHOTOGRAPH BY JAMES STEFIUK
BY JANE LEAR
hen I was a child, no one I knew cooked pasta (what we called noodles) with tomato sauce at home. In our part of the South, that sort of food was considered not just ethnic, but positively exotic, enjoyed as a special treat at the lone Italian restaurant in town. So although a college roommate introduced me to Ragú — we both thought it was pretty good — I didn’t have what you might call a relationship with tomato sauce until I moved to New York City in the late 1970s. By sheer good fortune, I landed a job at Alfred A. Knopf, the legendary publishing house, and among the luminaries who graced the halls was Marcella Hazan, author of the instant classics The Classic Italian Cook Book and More Classic Italian Cooking. (Both books are combined in Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, published by Knopf almost 20 years later.) Mrs. Hazan’s recipe for Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter, from the first book, is at once devastatingly simple and life-changing. Aside from pasta and cheese, it lists just four ingredients: tomatoes (fresh or canned), one onion, five tablespoons of butter, and salt. That recipe, which is easily available online, has long been famous for being a gift to home cooks everywhere; periodically, it is rediscovered and wins a whole new fan base. I made tomato sauce the Marcella way for years. Eventually, though, I branched out, impelled by curiosity and the fact that during the end of tomato season, God will strike me dead if I let a single soft-ripe heirloom go to waste. That’s how I found out that a sauce gets complexity and a
good balance of acidity and fruity sweetness from a mixture of varieties, and those juicy heirlooms were more interesting to play with than the pulpier plum (Roma) types. The basic sauce below is extremely versatile — it’s what my husband and I reach for when making pasta and pizza. It’s wonderful drizzled over flat fresh romano beans, a slab of meatloaf or polenta. And it seems to taste even better when made with the last of the year’s tomatoes. I freeze as much of it as I can because the jar in the fridge will be gone in no time flat. By the way, the key to a great tomato sauce is the right pot. You want something heavy-bottomed, to discourage scorching, and with a wide surface area, to aid evaporation. The less time the tomatoes spend reducing, the fresher and more immediate the flavor will be. A few personal asides on tomato prep: Some people like to peel and seed tomatoes before making sauce; others feel it’s more efficient to toss everything into the pot, then pass the cooked sauce through a food mill to get rid of the gnarly bits. I generally prefer doing the work on the front end, but unlike many folks, I don’t blanch the tomatoes in boiling water first. Instead, I plunk them in a bowl, pour a kettle of boiling water over them and make myself a cup of tea while I’m at it. By the time I’ve gotten a sieve organized over another bowl, the tomatoes can be eased out of the hot water one by one; with a little help from a paring knife, the skins slip right off. When seeding tomatoes, first cut them in half crosswise — around the equator — exposing the seed pockets. Use a southparkmagazine.com | 63
|food for thought
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finger to loosen the seeds in each pocket, then empty the tomato halves over the sieve. To save every drop of the juices, I don’t chop the tomatoes on a cutting board, but instead in my hand, over the sieve. My tool of choice is a Dexter Russell oyster knife; the straight-edged blade is dull yet can still get the job done, the rubber handle is grippy in a wet hand, and the curved, rounded tip is ideal for flicking errant seeds out of the way. The chopped tomatoes go in the bowl underneath, and once you’ve pressed hard on the solids in the sieve, you can toss them into the compost pail knowing they’ve given their all. Late-Season Tomato Sauce Makes about 1 1/2 quarts I’ve never found my finished sauce to be overly acidic, so it never occurs to me to add any sugar, but I’m no purist: It all depends on the tomatoes. If your sauce tastes harsh, add a little brow te Giuliano Bugialli, who taught me that basil isn’t used in a tomato sauce for its own flavor, but to bring out the flavor of the tomatoes themselves. 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 large yellow onion, chopped 3 fat cloves of garlic, minced Several sprigs of fresh thyme, marjoram or winter savory, tied together with kitchen string 5 to 6 pounds soft-ripe tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped, plus their juices Coarse salt 1 or 2 fresh basil sprigs A little unsalted butter, if desired 1. Heat the oil in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot over moderately high heat until it’s hot. Add the onion and cook until it begins to soften, then add the garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion and garlic are thoroughly softened (don’t let them brown). 2. Add the tied herb sprigs, the tomatoes and their juices, and a generous pinch or two of salt. Simmer the sauce, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until it thickens nicely, about 1 hour. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning. Remove the herb sprigs. 3. After the sauce is done, add the basil sprigs, simmer the sauce an additional 2 minutes, then remove the basil. 4. Stirring in a little butter at this point will round out the flavors in the sauce and give it finesse, but it’s by no means necessary. I like a fairly chunky sauce, but if you prefer something smoother, purée it in a blender. Let the sauce cool completely, uncovered, before refrigerating or freezing. SP Jane Lear, formerly of Gourmet magazine and Martha Stewart Living, is the editor of Feed Me, a quarterly magazine for Long Island, N.Y., food lovers.
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The Child Files KIDS SAY, WELL, WHATEVER POPS INTO THEIR BLESSEDLY SWEET HEADS
BY SUSAN S. KELLY
henever “the world is too much with us,” as William Wordsworth so prettily put it, or current events and crises and confusion threaten to crumple me, I first read Wendell Berry’s poem “The Peace of Wild Things,” taped to my computer monitor. Then I pull up YouTube, and Hugh Grant’s voiceover opening lines of Love, Actually. “Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport . . .” Then, naturally, I head for my Child Files. Next to my Miscellaneous File (because where else do you stash something like “Mules and mushrooms have no gender,” and “New wallpaper smells like Band-Aids”?), my Child File is the thickest. Sure, I dutifully listed all minutiae in their baby albums — first word, first tooth, first haircut — but the Child File contains far more pertinent information. It’s a kind of record, repository, evidence of, the skills my children came by, created, and/or appropriated for survival as adults. Darwin’s theories had nothing on my three kiddoes (and what you told me about yours). On avoidance: When I lecture my oldest, he clips a pen to his leg hair. On socialization: “If you miss lunch, you miss everything,” my daughter complained if I scheduled her doctor’s appointment late morning. She also whined if the carpool came too early, thus denying her another op for elementary school drama. In addition, the all-day sulk because she’d forgotten it was a dressdown day and she’d worn dress code to school. On negotiation/the art of the deal: My son receives a $10 gift certificate at Harris Teeter for a tip, and then tries to sell it to me for $9. Why nine and not 10? I ask. “I’m trying to sweeten the deal,” he says. My 16-year-old is cleaning out his collection of . . . liquor bottles. His 8-year-old sister wants the cool Absolut vodka bottle, for which he makes her pay him $2 and smell his feet. The amazing aspect to this sibling transaction is that it takes place without my ever being aware. No one pleads; no one fights. Both think they got a good deal. Later, my daughter shows me the newly acquired bottle with pride, and tells me how she came to possess it. With no trace of humiliation. On growing up: My son and his post-college roommates bickering in a Costco aisle, then resorting to rock-paper-scissors to determine what they’ll buy. As far as I can tell, rock-paper-scissors informed 90 % of his decisions at that age.
Other son eating pancake batter because it was the only thing he could afford at that age. Daughter asking, “How do you know when you’re grown up?” Oldest child immediately answers, “When no one writes your name in your clothes anymore.” Nephew who composed an outline before he wrote the thank-you note to his girlfriend’s mother. On higher education: My son’s announcement that his teacher told the class that every Emily Dickinson poem can be sung to the Gilligan’s Island theme song. Other son’s announcement that he has dropped Statistics 11 for the History of Rock 'n' Roll. Son’s wholly serious question the night before second grade begins: “Mom, do I have to take math this year?” Nephew’s entire essay content on What I Like About People: I like their houses and toys and that’s about it. On ownership rights: The handwritten note left in the driedup, sugar-stiffened, flake-crusted Krispy Kreme box containing a lone doughnut: DO NOT EAT THIS IT IS MINE. On illness: “I blew my nose so hard that air came out of my eyes,” my son informed me. On coping with ennui, from my daughter: “When I get bored, I either like to organize things or try on clothes.” From my son, leaning over lawn mower and breathing in the gasoline fumes: “Watch, Mom. I’m getting dumber.” The 9-year-old daughter and her friend are playing a game called Make Me Laugh, which involves putting on some music and dancing. How nice, I think; how cute. When I come downstairs, the Make Me Laugh laughter abruptly ceases. Slow dawning of humiliation: The pair are dancing and laughing to my music, finding it all just too, too hilarious. Older, non-eyeglass-wearing brother to younger brother, who’s finally, gleefully, getting contact lenses: “The first thing the doctor does when they measure you for contacts is give you a shot in your eyeball.” (Actually, that entry might go hand-in-hand with the sibling argument it interrupted, wherein the two combatants were arguing over who had peed last and therefore had to go back upstairs and flush the toilet.) Bless the child, then, unwitting antidote for adult existential angst. SP Susan S. Kelly is a blithe spirit, author of several novels, and a proud grandmother. southparkmagazine.com | 67
Game on! CHARLOTTE CHEFS HUDDLE UP AND SHARE TIPS FOR A GAME-DAY FOOTBALL WATCH PARTY.
BY MICHAEL J. SOLENDER * PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL
s the hazy days of summer fade into fall, inspiration for casual entertaining at home is easy to find in a season-full of Sunday (and Monday night) football games. For many local chefs, tailgating at a Carolina Panthers game or enjoying a watch party with friends and family is a rare treat. Most Sundays, working chefs are busy in their restaurants or catering kitchens preparing for someone else’s good time — or resting up from the late Saturday-night dinner rush. When the scheduling moon and stars align and an open Sunday afternoon or evening appears on the horizon, a chef-inspired watch party is just the ticket for a menu of shoptalk, trash talk and kicked-back good times fed by an elevated take on the game-day potluck. SouthPark got in the kitchen at a recent football viewing party, where eight talented local chefs showed us how they get their game on when cooking for friends. Matthew Krenz and his wife, Rachel, hosted the party at their Villa Heights home. Krenz is a chef’s chef, known to his peers as a friend and connector — he often coordinates collaborative meals promoting Charlotte’s culinary scene. He’s a key principal at Krenz Family Ranch, his family’s farm in New Salem — about 45 minutes east of Charlotte — that raises Hereford/ Angus mix cattle yielding richly marbled, flavorful beef for local restaurants. “Charlotte chefs are a rare breed,” says Krenz, who was recently named chef and head roaster at Sycamore Brewing’s Beach Shack Coffee. “There’s more of a sense of camaraderie than competition when we get together. We’re generally a band of misfits, written off by the national media [as irrelevant], and we have something to prove. Charlotte has a [distinctive] culinary point of view.” Not surprisingly, most of the action at this party was in the kitchen, as chefs milled about registering mental notes on their counterparts’ dishes. “We are after all, a bunch of chefs,” laughs Krenz.
“It’s great to be able to spend time outside of a commercial kitchen with other chefs,” Matthew Krenz says. “It is much too easy to be trapped in a routine with a clipboard in one hand and a sauté pan in the other.” Krenz’s Smoked Short Rib BBQ on a Sour Cream and Onion Biscuit is a uniquely Southern take on sliders, one that showcases a product from his family’s farm.
PRO TIP: “I start my menu with the party’s time frame in mind,” Krenz says. “If it is going to be an all-day affair, you’ll want to start with light snacks and bites prior to kickoff and have additional dishes throughout the day, like wings or pimento cheese biscuits. Make sure you have a ‘goto’ crowd pleaser that most everyone enjoys. That could be anything from a taco bar to build-your-own pizzas. By doing most of the prep and cooking ahead, you can enjoy the game and time with your guests.”
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Mike Long, executive chef at The Asbury at downtown’s Dunhill Hotel, has a special relationship with tailgating. Before coming to The Asbury, Long was a sous chef at Bonterra Dining & Wine Room and supported Executive Chef Blake Hartwick as the Carolina Panthers’ official representative at Taste of the NFL, an annual Super Bowl charitable event supporting hunger relief. One of Long’s potluck favorites is a twist on Pigs in a Blanket. “I like to do a nice Southern play on the concept with Pork Belly in a Blanket with Sorghum Mustard Sauce,” says the die-hard Panthers fan. “I char and render cured pork belly and wrap slices in puff pastry, bake crisp and serve with a tangy/sweet dipping sauce.”
PRO TIP: “Choose foods that hold up well at room temperature,” Long says. “Dips are always a good choice, and mixed drinks in a pitcher with ice on the side allows people to help themselves all day long. Already cooked snacks like sliders can be kept in a warm oven and replenished as needed.”
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New Orleans Saints fan Chayil Johnson’s Corn Maque Choux is a classic Cajun medley of corn, peppers and onions. He pairs it with crunchy Jambalaya Calas (rice fritters). Johnson plies his chef skills at Community Matters Café, Charlotte Rescue Mission’s uptown restaurant and training center for recovering addicts. “I’m a huge football fan and love to talk sports,” Johnson says.
Greg Collier, chef and owner at 7th Street Market’s Uptown Yolk, loves to be the “side-man” at football potlucks. “I like to have seasonal vegetables that complement smoky meats done on the grill,” says Collier, who recently announced with wife, Subrina, the opening of Camp North End’s first full-service restaurant, Leah & Louise. Collier’s Marinated Cucumber and Pickled Watermelon Rind Salad with Sun Gold Tomatoes and Canary Melon brings bright flavors and packs an acidic punch to match up nicely with the mains.
PRO TIP: “Too often these parties turn into meat fests,” Collier says. “Have plenty of fresh vegetables and complementary side dishes for all the proteins [prepared] on the grill.”
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“Going light, seasonal and hand-held is a great way to entertain for watch parties,” says Alyssa Wilen of her eponymous Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen cooking school. Tomato- and Basil-Stuffed Pattypan Squash is a game-day pick for Wilen, who recently catered a special fete for the Roaring Riot, a community of traveling Panthers fans, at her event space in south Charlotte.
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PRO TIP: “Make things easy for you and your guests,” Gonzalez says. “A few simple dishes made in advance is all that’s necessary. Don’t try to do too much.”
“I like spicy and acidic flavors with grilled meats,” says Hector Gonzalez, head chef for Project 658, a local faithbased nonprofit relief organization. Gonzalez’s Carne Asada made with grilled bone-in ribeye is accompanied by a vibrant fresh salsa made with a few simple ingredients: red onion, tomato, jalapeno and a squeeze of lime juice. Gonzalez pairs the Mexican favorite with fresh-pressed, homemade tortillas, served with fresh slices of avocado, fluffy rice, queso fresco and black beans — a taco bar fit for a chef.
Pastry chef Samantha Allen ensures her fellow chefs can slake their sweet-tooth fix with Brown Sugar and Peach Blondies with Bourbon Buttercream. Allen is the owner and executive pastry chef behind Wentworth & Fenn, a mobile bakery cruising about town in a 1961 Shasta camper named Selma. Allen, the former executive pastry chef at The Fig Tree, says she loves desserts that look upscale but have a â€œdown-homeâ€? feel.
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Long’s colleague and pastry chef at The Asbury, Miranda Brown says she often brings a special cocktail to game-day parties, preferring to stay out of the kitchen on days off. Her signature Caipirinhas, a Brazilian refresher combining lime juice, demerara sugar, and Cachaça (pronounced kuh-SHAH-sa), a rumlike liquor distilled from sugar cane juice, is always a hit. When she does decide to cook during time off, Brown opts for simple, classic desserts for a casual get-together. Buckeyes — chocolate peanut butter balls with a salty bite — and extra-chocolatey Chocolate Chip Cookies are easy-tomake favorites. “I like cooking with and for other chefs,” says Brown, a Buffalo Bills fan. “You get straight-up feedback and not false praise. Watch parties like this are for talking a little trash and just having fun. The Bills have such a loyal fan base in Charlotte. I like to represent.” SP
Caipirinhas by Miranda Brown
For a single cocktail: 2 oz Cachaça ½ lime 1 t Demerara Sugar 2 oz +/- Simply Limeade ice
For a pitcher: ½ bottle (about 11 oz.) Cachaça 5-6 limes, sliced ¼ cup demerara sugar 11 oz. Simply Limeade
Muddle together the lime and sugar in the glass and fill with ice. Mix together Cachaça and limeade, pour into glass.
Muddle together limes with the sugar. Add the Cachaça, add limeade to taste. Refrigerate until very cold and serve.
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CLEAN JUICE FOUNDERS LANDON AND KAT ECKLES TOOK A HOMETOWN JUICE BAR FROM A LEAP OF FAITH TO EXPLOSIVE EXPANSION IN FOUR SHORT YEARS. BY LAUREN EBERLE • PHOTOGRAPHS BY PETER TAYLOR
andon and Kat Eckles travel in a tribe. They’re the proud parents of five kids. Their home office is filled with dedicated professionals who took a chance on the startup they launched in 2015. They worship at one of the largest faith communities in the region. Even their latest beach getaway packed in 35 houseguests. For the Clean Juice founders, tribe life helps them thrive. But they’ll be the first to tell you that it hasn’t always been this way. In fact, things were a lot more lonely in the summer of 2014. Landon’s job in global investment management often took him overseas for long-term stints. At home in Pennsylvania, Kat was juggling three children, with another baby on the way. It was a tough point in the college sweethearts’ young marriage, and the need for change was quite clear. It was during this tough season that Landon says he began considering entrepreneurial options that would bring him back home and into a business partnership with his wife.
THE WHAT AND WHERE By this time, Kat, who calls herself “a recovering Taco Bell addict,” had immersed herself in a healthy lifestyle, beginning with daily green smoothies and a focus on clean, plant-based eating. “When I had our first daughter, it started to hit me how important it was for me to take care of my body,” she says. “Smoothies were one of the first ways I started eating vegetables.” As she and Landon set out to find an available franchise concept, the couple instead found an opportunity to do things differently by opening a certified organic juice bar with ingredient transparency as a top priority. From there, the “where” was simple. For 15 years, the couple had been traveling to North Carolina to visit family in the Charlotte area. Over time, they became particularly attracted to the Huntersville region and the appeal of a lake lifestyle. southparkmagazine.com | 81
something healthy for their body and deserve the best quality product,” Landon says. The company went a step further by becoming USDA certified organic, a rigorous process that includes a 50-page application and a full review of all purchasing and sourcing.
THE WHY AND HOW
“We felt that if we were going to open a juice bar, it would certainly thrive here,” Landon says. Elevation Church was also a draw. When Landon was spending so much time overseas, he had begun listening to Pastor Steven Furtick’s sermons online, and the messages resonated. When the first Clean Juice opened on June 5, 2015, Charlotteans were not only supportive, they were quickly devoted. Inside Clean Juice’s chic shops, customers watch smiling “juiceristas” build bowls and blend smoothies in an open-concept kitchen. The space is trendy yet family-friendly, while the menu is both creative and approachable. In addition to tried-and-true fresh juices and smoothies, it currently includes savory and sweet toasts, açai bowls, cold-pressed shots, seasonal bites, even a comprehensive cleanse program — all made from organic ingredients. “If guests are coming into a juice bar, they’re trying to do 82
The company’s mission and core values are rooted in their faith: The Eckles are quick to point out that enjoying a healthy body and strong spirit is their desire for their employees and customers. The couple’s day-to-day looks a lot different now than it did when they launched. “When we decided to start franchising, Kat and I stepped out of the store and started working more on the corporate development side,” explains Landon, 34, who as the chief operating officer now directs marketing, operations, finance and store-development teams. Kat, the chief branding officer, is the visionary behind menu creation and determining what the brand looks like and how the company communicates with its guests. She’s also finding a sweet spot in balancing her Clean Juice leadership role with her preeminent position as Mom to Mckenna (12), Kellan (11), Kora (5), Haven (4) and Ellis (2). “I hope that while they remember us being driven and hardworking, that it never came at their expense and that [they know] family is always the most important thing,” says Kat, 33. “I hope this helps them to follow their passion and do something that they believe in and that makes a positive difference in the world.”
THE GROWTH AND FUTURE There’s no doubt the Eckles are making a difference. Clean Juice has seen explosive growth in its first three years of franchising. In July, the company opened its 75th shop in Lake Charles, La. It’s not only the first stand-alone full-service drive-thru location, but it also integrates new technologies such as self-ordering kiosks and digital menu boards. With more than 75 additional shops in development nationwide, Clean Juice is on track to hit 100-plus sites by year-end. Recently named the fastest growing company in Charlotte by Charlotte Business Journal, the company has received national accolades, too, including a spot among the top emerging
U.S. franchises by Franchise Gator and a top-500 ranking among Inc. magazine’s 2019 list of 5,000 fastest-growing U.S. companies This kind of attention has a ripple effect, Kat says. “We love this city, and being able to represent it on a national level is a huge honor for us.” And there’s no slowing down. Delivery is the latest buzzword at the home office. “We have all these beautiful retail centers, but third-party delivery is super important in the quick-service retail space right now,” Landon says, revealing that pilot programs are in the works with UberEats, Grubhub and other similar services to try to iron out the logistics of delivering cold products. His goal is to launch systemwide by the end of the year, making it even easier to get wholesome, organic products into more hands. With their tribe by their side, it seems the Eckles are just getting started. And given all of the good they’re doing, Charlotte can’t help but cheer them on. SP Learn more and find locations at cleanjuice.com.
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Suburban renewal DESIGNER BROOKE COLE BRINGS A MODERN AESTHETIC TO A â€™90S-ERA HOME. BY CATHY MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY ERIN COMERFORD MILLER
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t started with the master bedroom. Homeowner Michelle Gessner had donated her bedroom furniture to a family in need, anticipating she’d quickly find a designer to update the space in her new home. “Literally, I had a bed with lamps on the floor,” says Gessner, an attorney and mother of three. But finding someone just right for the job wasn’t as easy as she expected. “When I moved in my house six years ago, I had looked [for a designer]. Many were one-size-fits-all, and I never really pulled the trigger,” she says. She met Brooke Cole through a mutual friend. Gessner had helped Cole with the legal paperwork to establish her design business, Brooke Cole Interiors. Cole, a former fashion buyer for Bloomingdale’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and others, had spent the last four years working at a local interior design firm before deciding to strike out on her own. The house in Providence Country Club had all the design trappings of the 1990s: polished brass fixtures, faux-finished walls, a wall of white built-ins flanking the living-room fireplace. “I would say my house had really good bones, and I had a lot of really good pieces of furniture,” Gessner says. “But I didn’t have pieces that really pulled it together.” Like many homeowners, Gessner purchased a few good basic pieces when she first moved in. “Functionally, it works, but it doesn’t really make a home,” Cole says. As life gets busy, she says many homeowners get stuck before moving on to the next phase of design. With a houseful of teens, Gessner was looking to transform the master suite into a “glamorous but restful” retreat, Cole says. Dark eggplant walls and beige carpet were replaced with a soothing grey color palette with blush accents that can be changed over time. To add a touch of sophistication, Cole added a mirrored nightstand, crystal Jonathan Adler table lamps, a curved bench covered in cut velvet fabric by Duralee and a quilted velvet coverlet. Once the bedroom was complete, Gessner was so pleased with the result she tapped Cole for a first-floor redesign of every room except the kitchen. In the formal living room, Gessner had purchased four leather club chairs, but the space lacked personality. To create a cozy space for entertaining or sipping wine by the fire, Cole
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added new window treatments, a hide rug, new lighting and an array of convex mirrors over the fireplace. The large giclees are prints of antique ledgers with abstract black paintstrokes, a nod to Gessner’s profession. In the main living room, Cole painted the white bookshelves the same color as the walls to minimize their effect and give the room a more modern vibe. The shelves were lined with Thibault wallpaper that mimics the look of natural stone. The result is “interesting and subtle, but not dramatic,” Cole says. An antique mirrored light fixture by Currey and Company lends a rustic feeling to the space. The antelope print floor covering is made of polypropylene to withstand wear and tear from Sam, Gessner’s golden retriever, and her two teenage boys. Bolsters covered in a Peter Fasano damask 88
pattern freshen up the client’s existing Chesterfield sofas, and Cole added all new accessories, including large framed maps of London and Paris and lots of travel books. A previously unused sunroom is now a bright, coastal-inspired office providing Gessner a sunny spot to work from home. The roman shades are made from an outdoor fabric by Schumacher that resists fading, a common problem in older homes that weren’t built with UV-blocking windows, Cole explains. For that same reason, she chose Sunbrella fabrics for the Wesley Hall chairs. “Brooke is very thoughtful in the way she approaches things,” Gessner says. “She’s not a cookie-cutter designer. What she put in my home is very personal.” For example, Cole
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knew Gessner loved spending time at South Carolina’s Kiawah Island, so she hung an abstract painting reminiscent of the area’s coastal marshlands above the bedroom dresser. Gessner’s favorite room is the last one completed: In the dining room, she wanted to create an elegant but functional space that would be ideal for hosting family gatherings and other get-togethers. The curtain fabric was designed by Denise McGaha for Design Legacy, a Dallasbased interior designer. CR Laine chairs are covered in green velvet and a black-and-white twill chenille with an abstract design that ties back to the artwork in the living room. Over the round dining table, Cole added a chandelier made from recycled wine bottles — each piece of glass is a slightly different shade of green, Gessner’s favorite color. “I always love statement lighting,” Cole says. “I feel it’s a great way to upgrade your interiors that’s not going to be subject to the wear and tear from pets and children.” Gessner says the best part of the design is that her family now enjoys the whole house, including rooms they rarely used before. “There was a time when I couldn’t wait to downsize. Now I hope I can stay [longer].” SP
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Dive In DILWORTHâ€™S FAVORITE HOLE-IN-THE-WALL HAS (ARGUABLY) THE BEST FRIES IN TOWN, THE FRIENDLIEST PATRONS AND FREE LIVE MUSIC, SIX NIGHTS A WEEK. BY PAGE LEGGETT PHOTOGRAPHS BY JUSTIN DRISCOLL
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t’s a sweltering Friday in August, and The Comet Grill is packed. There’s not a single available stool at the bar, and there’s just one empty table downstairs, which is where everyone wants to sit. It smells like the fryer has been working overtime, and it probably has. Patrons trying to hold conversations compete with Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” blaring from the speakers. This is what many bars look and sound like during prime time. But it’s only 3 p.m., and The Comet has already come alive. It’s going to get a lot more crowded in the 51-seat joint. Fridays are when The Lenny Federal Band — The Comet’s de facto house band — holds court. It’s had a standing gig here for 23 years — and not just because John Wicker, who founded The Comet with his wife, Jeanie, in 1996, plays in the band. Lenny Federal has a big and loyal following — and they’d get pretty loud if current Comet owner Tommy Noblett, 39, were to change this weekly ritual. 94
Regulars know there’s no way to predict what time the band might start, and they don’t much care. “The band’s nocturnal,” Noblett explains. The group might start playing anywhere between 9:30 and 11 p.m., though it’s been trying for the past year to stick to an earlier kickoff. The place wasn’t designed to host live music, so it’s funny that music has become such a big part of The Comet’s mystique. “There is no stage,” Noblett says. “It’s a corner,” located just to the right of the front entrance. (There’s no dance floor, either, but that’s never stopped people from dancing.) “Live music is in your face as soon as you walk in the door,” Noblett says. “You’re either gonna love or hate it. If you’re open to having a good time, you’ll have one.” That’s not just because of the music — it’s because of the regulars, he says. “You’re gonna get someone talking to you here,” Noblett says. “We’re a very social bar. My regulars are gonna make you feel welcome, regardless of your race, gender, creed or color. None of that matters.”
Comet Grill owner Tommy Noblett
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What matters is the music, and it’s playing six nights a week. Noblett, who books all the musicians himself, keeps Monday nights open. Having live music on Mondays would interfere with football, and his patrons, who he says are like family to him, consider that as sacred as Lenny Federal Fridays. There’s never a cover charge at The Comet. Charging would be a logistical nightmare, Noblett says. “There’d be nowhere to collect money. That door opens about 1,200 times a day. There’s no room to have someone inside taking money, and no one wants to be outside when it’s 95 degrees or 30 degrees. I know there are things I could do — like charging a $2 tab for everyone. But John and Jeanie [Wicker] never charged for live music. It’s important to me to keep it free.” The Lenny Federal Band, which includes Wendell Black, a fan who used to get up and sing an occasional song with the band and is now a full-fledged member, isn’t the only outfit with a standing gig. Red Rockin’ Chair has been playing bluegrass every Sunday night at The Comet for a dozen years.
They, too, pack the house. Wednesday is open mic night. On other nights, Noblett books local and regional acts that range from folk to jazz, reggae to rock, and occasionally, gospel.
oblett practically grew up at The Comet. He started working there in 2000 when he was 19. He had a degree from Johnson & Wales University — then in Charleston, S.C. — and had moved to Charlotte to work at the downtown Hilton. “The restaurant manager brought me here one night,” Noblett recalls. “And I said, ‘What is this magical little hole-in-the-wall?’” He picked up a part-time job at the hole-in-the-wall that had charmed him, and he has never left. He’s held every job, progressing from cook to bartender to running the kitchen to general manager. He bought the place in 2008 when the Wickers decided they were ready to sell. “There are a lot of people who come here who’ve seen my transition from a punk teenager into a business owner,” Noblett says.
Today, it seems Noblett was the obvious choice to take over the beloved institution, but at the time, he had a lot of doubt. “I never thought I’d be ready to own my own business at 27,” he says. “But I’d learned so much from John and Jeanie — I thought maybe I could give it a shot.” He wrote a business proposal in December 2007. “I didn’t have any money,” he says. “I was just hoping at the time.” Actually, he was able to borrow money from a group he describes as “people I didn’t want to disappoint — aka, my family.” He received encouragement from someone he considers an industry legend: Bud Nachman, owner of Belle Acres Country Club. (If you’re new to Charlotte, the “country club” bit is a joke: The South Blvd. private club offers a little putting green rather than an 18-hole course.) “Bud said, ‘Who gives a s*** if you fail? You’re young. You can do it again,” Noblett says. By then, he had fallen in love with the place. “I couldn’t imagine it going into anyone else’s hands. I was scared a new owner would change it. I had no intention of changing anything John and Jeanie had created.” Well, there were one or two things he would change. For starters, he upgraded the air conditioning. “Fifteen years ago,
it was always hot as hell in here. It blew my mind how many people still came. We’d all be pouring sweat, but it was always a huge party.” But for the most part, he’s not tinkered with a formula that’s worked since 1996. That includes not changing how the French fries are made. There’s an art to it, Noblett says. He prides himself on the consistency of Comet fries, which complement a menu of burgers, sandwiches and salads. Comet fries are freshly cut, always from Idaho potatoes. The raw potatoes sit in water — but “not for too long,” Noblett says. After cooking, they get a dash of salt, pepper and a proprietary seasoning blend. Keeping the fryer clean is essential, he says. “We work hard to keep them always the same,” he says. He’s talking about the fries, but he could just as easily be talking about The Comet Grill — a neighborhood dive that, much to the relief of its regulars, never seems to change. SP Where everybody knows your name: It won’t take long to become a Comet regular — maybe just one visit. Find The Comet Grill tucked away in a corner of the shopping center at 2224 Park Rd. It’s open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 a.m. cometgrillcharlotte.com southparkmagazine.com | 97
BOO K YO U R
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1812 SOUTH BOULEVARD | CHARLOTTE, NC 28203 | 704.923.4277 • 980.237.0391 | WWW.MANCHESTER1812.COM
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Richmond HISTORY BUFFS AREN’T THE ONLY ONES DRAWN TO THE VIRGINIA CAPITAL — NOW FOODIES HAVE PLENTY TO SAVOR, TOO. BY ALICIA VALENSKI
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one-hour flight or a four-and-a-half hour drive — whichever mode of transportation you choose, getting to Richmond from Charlotte doesn’t take long. The Virginia capital has always been a go-to destination for history lovers. Founded in 1737, it is one of the oldest metropolitan areas in the country, and it served as the capital of the Confederacy during the Civil War. Only in recent years has Richmond earned a newfound reputation as a hot spot for foodies. The River City’s bar and restaurant scenes experienced explosive growth in the late 2000s with the development of entertainment district Scott’s Addition. The revitalization of the former industrial area supplements established eateries in nearby neighborhoods such as The Fan and Carytown for an impressive variety of mixological and culinary options all in one charming, not-too-big city. Earlier this year, review site Yelp named Richmond a top 10 U.S. destination for food lovers. Whatever your interests are — from shopping to craft beverages to outdoor activities or museums — Richmond has something to offer every type of traveler.
STAY At Quirk Hotel in the city’s arts and design district, you’ll find bright-and-airy accommodations and an ever-changing art 102
gallery, adorable lobby coffee shop, award-winning restaurant and a rooftop bar with twinkling string lights and sweeping views of the city. Since opening in 2015, Quirk has become a popular spot not only for travelers but for locals as well. At Maple & Pine, executive chef David Dunlap’s menu emphasizes ingredients sourced from local farms and artisans. Dunlap is a former executive sous chef at acclaimed The Inn at Little Washington and spent three years as chef at the Ashby Inn in Paris, Va. Sip cocktails such as “A Rose By Any Other Name” — made with rosé vodka, violet rose shrub, lemon, cucumbers, strawberries and prosecco — while lounging in the outdoor courtyard or perched on pink velvet stools at the bar. The friendly and knowledgeable staff encourage guests to go out and explore the city — the hotel even offers bike rentals and route maps so you can experience the River City on two wheels.
EAT Kick things off with a morning trip to Lamplighter Coffee Roasters. Make your way to the original Lamplighter location on Addison Street for a bagel or a croissant and a cup of the signature Tall Bike blend — and maybe grab a bag of beans to go as a souvenir for your caffeine-loving friends back home.
PHOTOGRAPHS PROVIDED BY RICHMOND REGION TOURISM
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The Veil Brewing Co. For lunch (or any other meal of the day), take a step back in time at Perly’s, a midcentury modern Jewish restaurant and delicatessen with the tagline, “It’s Yiddish for delicious!” Choose from a selection of smoked fish, matzo ball soup, schnitzel, brisket, latkes and all the deli sandwiches you can imagine — and prepare to be almost uncomfortably full by the time you leave. Indulge your foodie side with dinner at Heritage, an upscale American eatery in The Fan district. Menu favorites crafted by award-winning Chef Joe Sparatta include house-made gemelli pasta with local tomatoes, corn, chanterelle mushrooms, confit onion, roasted garlic and ricotta salata; scallops with ratatouille, polenta, basil and fried garlic; and Virginia flat iron steak with roasted potatoes, arugula, piquillo peppers, cipollini onions and almond Romesco. End the evening with something sweet from Shyndigz, a dessert cafe that’s open until midnight on weekends. The Carytown cafe is known for its comically large cake slices, big enough to share with Heritage 104
at least one of your travel partners. Try the salted chocolate caramel cake (chocolate cake layered with chocolate buttercream icing, house-made caramel sauce and fleur de sel) or the fresh fruit cake (vanilla cake with cream cheese icing layered with fresh blackberries, strawberries and pineapple).
Blue Bee Cider
DRINK If you’re looking for a good drink with an even better view, you can’t beat the Q Rooftop Bar at Quirk Hotel. Sip something almost as pretty as the 360-view of the Richmond skyline at this open-air bar, like the Ms. Crenshaw — Aperol, elderflower and prosecco — or the Purple Rain, made with gin, mint, blackberry and lemon. Serious cocktail drinkers will want to head to The Jasper, where the motto is “Full Pours & Honest Prices.” Find the little black door with the sign that simply says “Bar” in Carytown, settle into a leather armchair or grab a seat at the bar and prepare to order a mixology masterpiece such as The Limited Edition (absinthe, pineapple, lemon, vanilla, spiced rum and bitters), Unintended Consequences (gin, amontillado sherry, East India sherry, lemon, ginger and plum bitters) or any of the other concoctions on the ever-changing drink list. If you party includes any beer drinkers or oenophiles, The Jasper also offers both bottles and wine by-the-glass along with a wide beer selection. Speaking of beer drinkers, they’ll be right at home in Richmond, which is home to dozens of craft breweries, as well
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Virginia Museum of Fine Arts as cideries and meaderies. Scott’s Addition is walkable and jam-packed with breweries, so it’s easy to hop from one spot to the next. Hopheads might want to start at The Veil Brewing Co., but tread carefully — this popular taproom and brewery specializes in high gravity beers, so be sure to pay attention to the ABV before you toss back several double- or even tripleIPAs. Try something hop-forward like Steady Incline, a double IPA brewed with Citra, Galaxy, Amarillo, Simcoe and Mosaic hops, or opt for something on the tart side like the Never Give Up, a gose made with blackberry and passionfruit purée. If you’re not a beer person, make your way to Blue Bee Cider, Virginia’s first urban cidery. Their naturally gluten-free ciders are brewed with Virginia heirloom apples, made with raw juice that is fermented straight off the press. Try the Harrison for a more fruit-forward cider, or opt for the Aragon 1904 for something on the dryer side. If you’re ready to get adventurous, you can walk over to Black Heath Meadery to try their selection of meads, all made with Virginia honey in an effort to support the region’s beekeepers and aid in the establishment of hives to sustain the bee population. While mead is known as the world’s oldest fermented beverage, the folks at Black Heath add a modern twist with flavors such as Red Razz (fermented with Virginia raspberries) or Blue Angel (fermented with Virginia apple juice from Blue Bee Cider). 106
If you like staying active or spending time outside, you’ll love the activities offered along the James River. Swim or wade in the water, run or bike on the bridges, enjoy a picnic at Belle Isle, go kayaking or paddleboarding, or raft the Class III and IV rapids — however you prefer to get moving on or in the water, chances are you can do it at the James. Those who love exploring nature at a more leisurely pace might consider a trip to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Lauded by USA Today as one of the top four botanical gardens in the country, Lewis Ginter boasts more than 50 acres, including themed gardens such as the Rose Garden, Cherry Tree Walk, Asian Valley and the Children’s Garden. Beyond the gardens themselves, you’ll also find dining options, shops and a conservatory. Soak up some culture at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which houses art from all around the globe. General admission to the VMFA is always free and includes access to all of the museum’s permanent collections — but the museum does charge admission fees for some of its rotating exhibitions. Edward Hopper and the American Hotel debuts at the museum this month and runs through Feb. 23. History buffs can visit The American Civil War Museum, which comprises three separate locations, including two in Richmond. The Historic Tredegar houses temporary and permanent exhibits on the riverfront near Brown’s Island and Belle Isle. The White House of the Confederacy, located in the historic Court End neighborhood just a few blocks from the State Capitol, offers self-guided tours to learn about Richmond’s role in the Civil War. Round out your Richmond experience with a shopping tour of the city’s Carytown neighborhood, where you can peruse books, clothing, antiques, jewelry, home furnishings, toys and more along Cary Street. Shop for women’s apparel and accessories at high-end consignment shop Clementine, vinyl albums at Plan 9 Records, cooking and entertaining needs at Ladles & Linens Kitchen Shoppe and local and regional art at The Carytown Collective. SP
Plan 9 Records, Carytown
WHAT IS THE TREASURE IN YOUR ATTIC WORTH? Don’t miss the opportunity to find out on October 12th. Reserve your space today at pbscharlotte.org/events
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Senior Retreat offers quality living in a residential setting Senior Retreat is a group of high-end licensed family care homes located in beautiful Charlotte residential neighborhoods. Our residential family care homes offer amenities and services for Seniors similar to that of assisted living with a maximum of six residents per home. The majority of our residents need assistance in one form or another. Residents are assisted by our dual-licensed caregivers — both certified nursing assistants and med techs — that are staffed 24/7, 365 days per year. Each home has a supervisor in charge and has service from visiting RNs, licensed activity directors, and a licensed dietitian/nutritionist group. Many of our residents use our pharmacy services for medication deliveries and our visiting physician’s
assistant group. Our caregivers are highly experienced in personal care, dispensing medicine, meal preparation, laundry and cleaning. Our large ranch-style homes are located in gorgeous south Charlotte neighborhoods and offer numerous amenities. And our ratio of residents to caregivers is second to none in the industry, at 3-6 to 1! To put that in perspective, the normal ratio in larger communities is often as high as 14-18 patients to 1 caregiver. Senior Retreat is a collection of small, intimate retirement communities, where loved ones can age in place with dignity, surrounded by top-notch caregivers. Please call us to hear more or to schedule a tour. We are opening up our newest Senior Retreat house at Stonehaven in Fall 2019.
7215-230 Pineville-Matthews Road • Charlotte NC 28226 | 704.654.9488 | www.seniorretreat.com 112
A VARIETY OF PRIVATE SCHOOL OPTIONS SERVING CHARLOTTE The Oaks | Carmel Christian | Providence Day | Palisades Episcopal School British International School of Charlotte | Charlotte Prep | Charlotte Christian
PREFERRED VENDOR SECTION
A new model for a new generation At The Oaks, we offer an excellent, Christ-centered education in a unique school environment. We focus on developing the whole child – mind, body, and heart – and incorporate multiple learning strategies (visual, auditory and kinesthetic) into every active, hands-on lesson. We develop students’ creativity and problem-solving skills through a collaborative curriculum that is screen-free and encourages imagination and play while emphasizing gross and fine motor skill development. We believe that children should be taught as they were designed to learn, and our model allows them to learn and thrive without the burden of busy-work, longer hours or undue academic stress. Our accomplished faculty members teach in academic areas that they love, and our Homeroom Shepherds steward the hearts and souls of our students in classrooms designed and equipped for interactive experiences. Our intentionally small class sizes ensure that each child is fully known, fully loved and that every student’s potential is being fully realized. By utilizing our readiness rooms, we are able to equip students to be ready to learn and engage well with their teachers and peers. We are a new model for a new generation of students, and we invite you to come and see us for yourselves at one of our open houses or by appointment. K-12 Admission Open Houses
October Open Houses: Tuesday, 10/8 at 7 pm and Tueaday, Wednesday, 10/22 at 10 am October 23, 9:30 am Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 pm
4921 Randolph Road Charlotte, NC 28211 980-242-9933 Email Amyphilipp@theoakscharlotte.org
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Where Minds Engage, Lives Change and Hearts Serve. Carmel Christian School (CCS), founded in 1993, is a greater Charlotte area independent school serving 960+ students in grades K-12. CCS provides an excellent education built upon biblical truth, which equips students to reflect Christ to the world. The challenging, college preparatory curriculum, taught through the lens of a biblical worldview, fosters the growth of each child. Carmel Christian School cultivates a community of academic excellence, artistic expression and athletic distinction, marked by intentional discipleship. We partner with Christian parents to nurture and challenge the potential of each individual student. Through genuine relationships, biblical foundations, and purposeful curriculum, students will develop Christ-centered wisdom to become sincere followers of Christ. Quick Facts: • STEM: Elementary through High School award-winning International Space Station Team • Athletics: 27 Middle & High School Teams; 7 state championships since 2016 • Arts: Band, Chorus, Musicals, Dance, Strings, Studio Art and more • Missions: Students serve locally and internationally • Class of 2019: 100% accepted to the colleges and universities of their choice K-12 Admission Open Houses Wednesday, October 23, 9:30 am Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 pm
Kindergarten OpenK-12 House Admission Open Houses Wednesday, November 6, 9:30 October am Wednesday, 23, 9:30 am Tuesday, November 19, 6:30 pm
1145 Pineville-Matthews Road Matthews, NC 28105 704.849.9723 carmelchristian.org
Tell to the coming generation the glorious deeds of the Lord, and His might and the wonders that He has done. Psalm 78:4
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Nurture an innovative spirit DEVELOPING 21ST CENTURY LEADERS Providence Day prepares our students to be empathetic problem solvers and active global citizens through our TK-12 global curriculum. Our classrooms are places of discovery, where learning about diverse cultures and shared experiences creates connections to a larger humanity. We teach students to respect others, develop their communication skills, and build their confidence, so they can collaborate and lead in our culturally diverse society. Our international network of partner schools allows us to send students and faculty out to the world, and to bring the world back to our school.
5800 Sardis Road Charlotte, NC 28270 704-887-6000 ProvidenceDay.org/Admissions
We exist to inspire in our students a passion for learning, a commitment to personal integrity, and a sense of social responsibility. Admissions open houses will take place Thursday October 10 at 6:30 p.m. for transitional kindergarten through fifth grade, and Sunday October 27 at 2 p.m. for transitional kindergarten through 12th grade.
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Palisades Episcopal School – Joyful Love of Learning! Every day is Open House at PES – schedule a tour at your convenience anytime! Palisades Episcopal School (PES) is a school honoring Christ and committed to providing a classical education challenging the mind, body and spirit. Serving students in Junior Kindergarten – 8th grade, PES offers intimate class sizes, allowing for differentiated instruction across every grade. In addition, our service integration helps students develop citizenship skills and fosters values of integrity, courage, responsibility, compassion, and hard work. PES students graduate knowing how to connect their heads to their hearts, becoming lifelong learners who are academically prepared for high school and beyond. Little Explorers (Select Fridays – 10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.) Little Explorers offers children ages 3-5 the chance to investigate the wonders of Science and Spanish through hands-on learning activities. Visit pescharlotte.org/littleexplorers for dates, topic details, and to register.
13120 Grand Palisades Parkway Charlotte, NC 28278-8449 704.583.1825 pescharlotte.org
Bring a Friend Days (October 21st & November 5th) Spend the day at PES and experience the joyful love of learning (no need to know a current student to attend this event). For more information about PES or to schedule a tour, visit us at pescharlotte.org.
B U S S E RVICE – E Q U E ST RIAN – PE RFO RMING A R TS – ATHLETICS
PREFERRED VENDOR SECTION
You want the best for your child. So do we. The British International School of Charlotte occupies a unique place in the educational landscape of private schools in Charlotte. Our school is part of Nord Anglia Education, a family of 66 premium and contemporary international schools across the globe â€“ and growing. Our Global Campus provides invaluable opportunities for students to work on international projects and to collaborate with peers from around the world. Featuring a truly international curriculum and a highly personalized approach to learning, we challenge, motivate and inspire all students to become independent, creative thinkers, achieve ambitious results and exceed expectations. From Nursery to High School, our smaller class sizes allow our teachers to deliver a personalized learning experience to each child: one that is tailored to meet individual needs and aspirations. Together, our International curricula and pedagogical approach prepares students to enter into the world-renowned International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP). The IBDP is a challenging two-year course of study that leads to the IB Diploma qualification, which is highly regarded by universities worldwide.
7000 Endhaven Ln (704) 341-3236 www.bischarlotte.org
Schedule a Tour Today!
Weaving together world-leading international curricula, one-of-a-kind collaborations with MIT, JUILLIARD and UNICEF, and an experienced international staff and global network of peers consisting of more than 60 different nationalities, the British International School of Charlotte is your childâ€™s gateway to the world.
KNOWN, LOVED, CHALLENGED At Charlotte Prep, we take the time to get to KNOW your child, LOVE them for their unique abilities, and CHALLENGE them to maximize their learning. Come Experience the Charlotte admissions Prep Difference! @charlotteprep.org
FALL OPEN HOUSES Montessori Oct. 10 @ 9:30 a.m. Pre-Kindergarten - 8th Oct. 20 @ 2:00 p.m. Kindergarten - 8th Nov. 7 @ 9:30 a.m.
Christ-centered. College preparatory. Educating the whole child.
ADMISSIONS OPEN HOUSES
JK - GRADE 5 Oct. 15 • 6:30 p.m. Nov. 12 • 6:30 p.m.
GRADES 6 - 8 Nov. 2 • 10 a.m. GRADES 9 - 12 Oct. 30 • 6:30 p.m.
Questions, please call (704) 366-5657. R.S.V.P. to www.charlottechristian.com/admissionsregistration.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
peedway Motorsports CEO Marcus Smith honored NASCAR Vice Chairman Mike Helton for his years with the racing organization at the 39th annual Speedway Children’s Charities Gala, held on May 22 at the Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte.
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NOV. 15 • BOOTH PLAYHOUSE AT BLUMENTHAL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER
BlumenthalArts.org • 704.372.1000 Group Sales: 704.348.5752
For appointments, please call 704-335-3400
Neurological Care for Both Children & Adults Michael Amiri, MD Matthew McConnell, MD Kelly Xiong, DNP, FNP-C John G. Rancy, FNP Betty Mays, NP-C
1300 Baxter St, Suite 114 • Charlotte, NC 28204 8001 N Tryon St • Charlotte, NC 28262 (University Area) 70 Lake Concord Rd NE • Concord, NC 28025 16507 Northcross Dr, Suite B • Huntersville, NC 28078 122
A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
Speedway Children’s Charities Gala The Ritz-Carlton, Charlotte This year’s 39th annual gala held on May 22 brought together notables from the worlds of racing, football and country music. Luke Kuechly, Ron Rivera and other guests enjoyed dinner prepared by celebrity chef Robert Irvine, and country artist Justin Moore closed out the evening with a concert.
Pam and Chuck Smith, Stephanie and Jim Bryant
Ron and Stephanie Rivera
Shannon Spake and Adam Alexander
Marcus Smith and Mike Helton
Ben Himsel and Ally Ayers
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Erin Evernham, Cassie Smith and Meghan Kolb
Carter Anderson and Michelle Anderson
Bruton Smith and Luke Kuechly
Tammy and Rob Prause southparkmagazine.com | 123
A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
World Affairs Council World Citizen Award Dinner Hilton Charlotte Center City
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Rhey and Jonathan Richards
Judy and Derek Raghavan
Jeko Madjarov, Judy and Wayne Cooper
Rodger Clark and Rick Peterson
Mike and Judie Van Glish, Leon and Sandra Levine
Wayne Cooper, Derek Raghavan, Gene Woods and L.J. Stambuk
Margaret and Smoky Bissell
Leslie and Mike McNamara
Ruth Leaycraft and Michael Haacke
Tim McWhirter and Bob Morgan
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
John Lassiter, Jeannette Alvarado, Francisco Alvarado and Barbara DeMoss
The World Affairs Council of Charlotte honored Derek Raghavan, president of Atrium Health Levine Cancer Institute, with its 2019 World Citizen Award for leadership and community contributions. More than 650 Charlotteans, including past recipients Sandra and Leon Levine, Margaret and Smoky Bissell, and Michael Tarwater attended the May 29 black-tie gala. Founded in 1983, the nonprofit World Affairs Council is a regional center for education and discussion of world affairs.
A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
Memory Gala A benefit for the Alzheimer’s Association-Western Carolina Chapter The Westin Charlotte More than 300 people attended the third annual Memory Gala, which raised a record $275,000 to advance care, support and research efforts of the Alzheimer’s Association. WBTV anchor and reporter Brigida Mack was mistress of ceremonies at the May 11 event, while anchor Jamie Boll served as auctioneer. Stuart Goldstein, managing partner at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, received the 2019 Award Of Excellence.
Robyn and Todd Albaum
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
Blair Brown and David Hughes
Stuart and Shari Goldstein
Jamie Boll and Brigida Mack
Rebecca Herron and Alice Rhyne
Angie Harmon and Katherine Lambert
Tom Berger, Kristen and Marty Schottenheimer, and Flip Moore
Paige and Matt Robertson
southparkmagazine.com | 125
A monthly guide to Charlotteâ€™s parties and galas
Jamaican American Cultural Association Scholarship Dinner Crowne Plaza Hotel Clarence Armbrister, 14th president of Johnson C. Smith University, delivered the keynote address at the Jamaican American Cultural Associationâ€™s annual fundraising gala on June 1. The organization provides scholarships to minority students in Charlotte with a focus on Caribbean Americans.
LaToya and Jarrad Owens
Gaynor and Winston Russell and family
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
JACA President Gaynor Russell, Clarence and Claire Armbrister
Warren and Liz Hollier
scholarship recipient Justin Wilson and his father, Kevin Wilson
Kadeem Collins and Logan Douglas
Cassiel and Tamara Smith
Jerome Williams and Adelle Anthony-Williams
Priscilla English and Sheila Etheridge-Boddie
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
scholarship recipient Krystal Harrell
Father of the Year Awards
A monthly guide to Charlotte’s parties and galas
A benefit for American Diabetes Association The Westin Charlotte Presented by the Father’s Day Council, this annual awards celebration honors Charlotte dads who are role models for juggling family, careers and community involvement. This year’s gala honored D. Steve Boland, managing director at Bank of America; Randy Gartz, managing director at Fairview Search Group; Dwight Gibson, president of food and beverage at SPX Flow; and Michael Smith, president and CEO of Charlotte Center City Partners. The June 21 event raised money for the American Diabetes Association.
Christina Bickley, Jeffrey Brown and Richard Nichols
Michael Smith and family
Dwight Gibson, Michael Smith, Randy Gartz and D. Steve Boland
Dwight Gibson and family
D. Steve Boland and family
Carolina World Trade Association Leaders in International Commerce Awards Myers Park Country Club
PHOTOGRAPHS BY DANIEL COSTON
N.C. Commerce Secretary Anthony Copeland was among the speakers at the 2019 Carolinas World Trade Association awards reception and dinner on June 12. The CWTA chapter is part of a statewide organization that promotes the growth of international commerce between North Carolina and the world.
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Truth in wine
MCNINCH HOUSE’S ANTHONY WESLEY CREATES AN AWARD-WINNING WINE LIST AT THE FOURTH WARD LANDMARK. BY VANESSA INFANZON
nthony Wesley remembers showing up to his interview at McNinch House Restaurant in 2002 not wearing any socks. He’d worn a suit but forgotten to adorn his feet on that hot summer day in Charlotte. Despite his naked ankles (in an era when dress socks were de rigueur), Wesley started three days later as the restaurant’s wine director. Over the last 17 years, Liberian-born Wesley, 70, has created an award-winning wine program at the Fourth Ward restaurant. He’s worked with owner Ellen Davis to develop the menu for wine as well as beer and cocktails. The restaurant — which is celebrating 30 years in business — has expanded its list to include wines from Oregon, California, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Romania, Ukraine and others. “It’s like winning a Tony,” Wesley says of receiving the Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator for each of the last nine years Wesley says his personal preference for wine depends on his mood and the feel of the moment. He remembers buying his first “real” bottle in 1990, when he knew little about wine. He bought a $25 bottle of Chateauneuf-du-Pape at a Charlotte wine shop. The rest is history. Comments were lightly edited for brevity and clarity.
You’re the unofficial historian of the McNinch House. What should we know? I learned the history by doing research on my own and digging into some archives. I found out the original owner, Vinton Lidell, bought the land for $3,000 and built the house for $35,000 in 1892. Charlotte Mayor Sam McNinch was the third owner. He purchased the house in 1907 from Charles Patterson. Karl Bitter did the interior of the McNinch House. Later, he was commissioned by the Vanderbilt family to [do work at Asheville’s] Biltmore House.
How did you educate yourself about wine? I didn’t know anything about wines at all. When I started working at The Lamplighter restaurant (a former fine-dining venue on East Morehead St.), that’s when I came into wine. The manager encouraged me to do some reading to learn the basics, and to invest a lot of time studying and tasting — especially the tasting part. You get to develop the palate and learn about terroirs — soil, climate, regions.
What’s important about food and wine pairings? The wine you [should] serve is actually not determined by the protein itself. When people suggest pairing a wine with a specific protein, they’re not taking into account the sauce that is served with the food, the preparations and the ingredients — pepper, salt, seasonings. It’s those items — the sauces — that give the food its flavor. The wine and the sauce form a friendship. If the sauce is not in agreement with the wine, then the wine sucks.
Why do people develop a preference for red or white wine? It depends on one’s introduction to wine. Some find a preference and stick with it. I do encourage people to be open-minded and adventurous. They could be missing out on some good stuff and get to expand their horizons. In my educational tastings at the restaurant, I like to explore regions like Italy, because they allow people to try wines from places such as Tuscany, Abruzzo or Apulia.
McNinch House Restaurant, 511 N. Church St., mcninchhouserestaurant.com
How do you react to guests who may not like a wine you’ve chosen for them? We all have a different palate. Table one and table two may love it. But if you are table three, and you say, “I really don’t care for it,” I anticipate that and always have a “relief pitcher” ready, another option for guests to try. SP
4521 Sharon Rd, Charlotte, NC 28211
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