Charlotte

Shopping in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte is full of awesome shopping spots.  Here are some of the cooler ones:

Paper Skyscraper

Source: Airbnb

Gift shop with novelty items, baby gifts, paper goods, books and even clothing and accessories.  One of my favorite stores!

330 East Boulevard Charlotte, North Carolina 28203

Kitschy Cool Vintage

This clothing store specializes in vintage fashions from the 40’s to the 80’s.  They also have a nice selection of ugly Christmas Sweaters!
4450 South Blvd, Charlotte, NC 28209

2nd and Charles

Music, Books, Collectibles, gifts and more.  Well laid out and easy to get lost here for a few hours!
5331 S Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28217
Charlotte · Clarkesville GA · Denver · Hickory · Myrtle Beach · Nashville

Best of Restaurants: Breakfast

The most important meal of the day, yo

Eggs Benedict and Strawberry Nutella Crepes at Croissants Bakery in Myrtle Beach

Eggs Benedict, Potato Casserole and Ambrosia
Strawberry and Nutella Crepe

Biscuits and Jelly from Loveless Cafe in Nashville

Acai Bowl with Fruit from Bowl’d Berries in Denver, NC

Hashbrowns from Hart and Soul Cafe in Hickory, NC

Ham, Cheese and Mushroom Omelet from Sautee Trail Cafe in Clarkesville, GA

Eggs Benedict at Bistro La Bon in Charlotte, NC

Charlotte · Cramerton · Hickory · Huntersville · Lincolnton · Miramar Beach · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Restaurants

The Best of Restaurants: Soups

Soups are a wonderful judge of a cook.  I love a restaurant that serves a homemade soup packed with flavor.  Here are some of the best I’ve tried.

Clam Chowder from Fresh Chef in Mooresville.  Creamy and clearly made with love.  The best clam chowder I’ve ever eaten.

Lobster Bisque at Fourk in Hickory, NC

Broccoli Cheese Soup from Croissants Bakery in Myrtle Beach.  Clearly homemade, creamy and cheesy.

Chicken Salad Croissant, Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Ambrosia Salad

Tomato Basil Soup from Fatz in Lincolnton, NC

Whiskey Chicken Gumbo at Citrus Diner in Denver, NC

 Miso Soup at Shan Kishi in Miramar Beach, FL

Curry Kick Soup Noodles from Kung Foo Noodle in Huntersville

Chef-Foraged Cream of Mushroom Bisque with pine needle gremolata and a slice of truffled grilled cheese at Heirloom in Charlotte, NC

Hot and Sour Soup at Asian Garden in Cramerton, NC

Charlotte · Denver · Hickory · Lincolnton · Micanopy FL · Morganton · Myrtle Beach · Winston-Salem

Best of Restaurants: Sandwiches

Not your girlfriend’s sandwich.

Chicken Salad Croissant from Croissant’s Bakery in Myrtle Beach

Chicken Salad Croissant, Broccoli Cheddar Soup & Ambrosia Salad

Club Sandwich and Pulled Pork Ban Mi from Hatch in Hickory

Club Sandwich at Village Tavern in Winston Salem

Smoked Turkey Club Sandwich at Crepe Cellar

The Cuban at Sports Page in Denver, NC

Chicken Salad Sandwich from Harvest Moon Grille in Lincolnton, NC

Basil Grilled Chicken Sandwich at The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Hot Fried Chicken at Root & Vine in Morganton, NC

Cuban Sandwich at Root and Vine in Morganton, NC

The Cuban at Old Florida Cafe in Micanopy, FL

Asheville · Boone · Charlotte · Davidson · Denver · Gaffney SC · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Savannah · Statesville · Troutman

Best of Restaurant Desserts

Chocolate Souffle’ at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Creme Brulee at Baron’s Steakhouse in Myrtle Beach

Roasted Apple Galette at Kindred in Davidson

Chocolate Layer Cake at Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

Rolled Ice Cream at Below Zero in Savannah, GA

Apple Pie Wontons at The Cowfish in Charlotte, NC

S’Mores Trifle at 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Brownie Sundae at Carolina Cones in Davidson, NC

Crepe Suzette from Crepe Cellar

Milk Chocolate Liquid Truffle from French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

Pecan Pie a la mode at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Coconut Cake from Chillfire in Denver, NC

Nutella and Strawberry Crepe from The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Apple Cobbler a la mode at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Milk Bread Cinnamon Rolls at Kindred in Davidson

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Strawberry Basil Shortbread from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Doughnuts from Reigning Doughnuts in Charlotte, NC

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte

Bread Pudding from The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Fritti (dessert calzone) from Salty Caper in Mooresville

Coconut Cake from Highland Avenue in Hickory

Brownie Sundae from Whit’s Custard in Davidson

Triple Chocolate Cake at Pelligrino’s Trattoria in Troutman

Bread Pudding from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Asheville · Boone · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Destin · Isle of Palms · Lincolnton · Morganton · Rock Hill SC · Savannah · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Appetizers

Appetizers are my very favorite part of the meal.  Not a big commitment, you can be adventurous and not break the bank.  Here is a list of my favorites:

Spinach and Artichoke Crostini from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Caramelized Gnocchi from Aria Tuscan Grill

Fried Green Tomatoes at Huey’s Southern Eats in Isle of Palms

Mert’s Soul Rolls at Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips served with Pineapple Mango Salsa from Caterer extraordinaire Food Junkie

Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Food Junkie

Filipino-style Pork Eggrolls with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce from Food Junkie

Funghi Repieni at Caruso’s in Mooresville

Peirogies from Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

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Manchego Skillet at Tybee Island Social Club in Tybee Island, GA

Warm Pimento Cheese & Jumbo Lump Crab Cake  from Tupelo Honey in Charlotte, NC

&

Oysters Rockefeller at the Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

Shrimp Flatbread from 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Stuffed Portabello Mushroom at Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Beggar’s Purse with Cream Cheese and Salmon, Rock Shrimp & Fried Calamari with Vegetables from Wasabi in Asheville

Smoked Tuna Dip from Louisiana Lagniappe

Prime Rib Stuffed Mushrooms from Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Escargot with Lemon and Sweet Pea Risotto from Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse in Davidson

Crispy Pork Rinds with Pimiento Cheese and Valentina Hot Sauce from Root +Vine in Morganton

Shrimp Cocktail at the Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Escargot at Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Deviled Eggs and Millionaire’s Bacon from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Crab Dip from Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Nashville · Places · Restaurants · TN

Travel: Nashville, TN

My kids and I took a trip to Nashville, TN last year to see Avenged Sevenfold in concert.  It was our first trip with just the three of us after my divorce and it was mag.ni.fi.cent.  We had the best adventure ever! We leisurely toured the city and busied ourselves with shopping, fun and food in the city that friends recommended we hit.  Here’s a snapshot of our long weekend.  Or as I like to call it, the best road trip ever.

So, the reason we visited this awesome city: A7X.  Avenged Sevenfold.  The band that bridged the communication gap between myself and my daughter after that divorce.  Yeah, I love them.  So, they get top billing in this blog post.

We had great seats.  The best I could find.  We caught one of Johnny’s guitar pics at the end of the night.  Yes!!

Airbnb

We booked our apartment through Airbnb, and it was so much better than a cramped hotel room.  The owner told me that the apartment was formerly owned by Kris Kristopherson.  Pretty sweet!

The Grand Ole Opry

“The Show that Made Country Music Famous” began in 1925 and is the longest running radio broadcast in US history.  It is a weekly music stage concert that attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.  I’d call it the hub of Nashville.

Parthenon

Built in 1897 as part of the Tennessee Centennial Exposition, the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the original Parthenon in Athens, Greece.  Today it serves as a museum with tons of sculptures and portraits, but truly it is a wonder in itself.  Don’t miss the huge statue of Athena that culminates this gorgeous tour.

 

Loveless Cafe

This one is a little ride outside of Nashville proper, but go on and make the drive.  It’s worth it.  We waited about 30-45 minutes, and really, it was just breakfast.  But you still gotta go.  I mean, it’s good breakfast.  Don’t get me wrong.  And they ply you with biscuits and jelly.  Still..eggs, bacon, grits…it’s breakfast.  They do have a cool store, but by the time we were done eating I was peopled out.

Pancake Pantry

If you visit Nashville, you must visit the Pancake Pantry, dubbed Nashville’s best pancakes. Founded in 1961, lines are usually long and you’ll wait, but it will be worth it.  It’s an institution here.  They get their special blend of flours from local sources and make their batters and syrups with a secret recipe fresh daily.

Mafiaoza’s Pizza

After the amazing concert, we decided to go get some pizza at this late night joint.  Luckily for us, they were open and kind enough to serve us.  I’m sure we looked like death warmed over.  All I know is my mascara was all down my face and I was drenched in sweat, I could barely hear the waitress from the loud concert and we were all shaking with hunger.  Smart move, not eating before the concert.

Anyway, we ordered the pie and laid our heads on the table like heathens until it got there.  It was delicious, with a soft crust and tangy sauce.  We’ll have to go at a more decent hour next time.

Jeni’s Splendid Ice Cream

Nashville’s coolest and most delicious ice cream…as far as I’m concerned.  It was blazing hot in Nashville when we were there, so we ducked into Jeni’s while shopping for a snack.  What we found were fancy flavors and ice cream made with the finest ingredients.  Perfection.  The purple here is wildberry lavender.  I *think* the one below it is Savannah Buttermilk.  Read between the lines, that one was less memorable!