Boone · Charlotte · Denver · FL · Gaffney SC · Gainesville · Vale

Best of Restaurants: Steak

Steak is one of my favorite proteins.  The problem for me has always been that my dad and now my son make such good steaks, I find any I have in restaurants to be lacking.  Not the case with these picks:

Filet Mignon at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Mills Family Farm Ribeye Steak with beef jus from Heirloom in Charlotte, NC

Pan roasted barrel cut Angus filet with roasted portabellos, puff pastry & a white-truffle sherry reduction from Paramount Grill in Gainesville, FL

Steak dinner at Willow Creek Inn in Vale

Ray’s Mixed Grill (The elk was my favorite!) at the Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Filet Mignon at Safari Miles in Denver, NC

Charleston SC · Charlotte · Concord

Best of Restaurants: Bread

We normally don’t think of bread as being that important because too many restaurants give it to you as an afterthought.  But these restaurants made the extra effort to make their bread the very best, and should be commended.

Cornbread from Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Milk Bread from Kindred in Davidson

Biscuit from Tupelo Honey in Charlotte, NC

Bread from The Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

Complimentary bread and honey butter from Heirloom in Charlotte, NC

Pretzel Sticks from Queen City Craft & Gourmet in Charlotte

Housemade Rolls with Marinara Dipping Sauce from Basilico Italian in Concord

Complimentary Rolls with Marinara for dipping

Complimentary Bread and spread at The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Charlotte · Davidson · Gastonia · Hickory · Miramar Beach · Mooresville

Best of Restaurants: Pizza

I’ve heard it said that even bad pizza is good pizza.  I challenge those people to try a Little Caesar’s Hot-n-Ready pizza.  Blech.  There are so many better choices, folks!  Example:

Cheese Pizza from Alino’s in Mooresville, NC

Pepperoni Pizza from Tony’s in Hickory

Pepperoni and Meatball Pizza from Grimaldi’s in Miramar Beach, FL

Half Pepperoni/Half Cheese Pie from Life of Pie in Gastonia

Three Little Pigs Pie at Salty Caper in Mooresville

 

 

Pepperoni Pizza from Ava in Charlotte, NC

The Bonamassa from Mandolino’s Pizza in Davidson

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 · Raleigh · 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

Tom Kha Chicken Soup from Sushi O in Raleigh

Charlotte · Cornelius · Hickory · Mooresville · Morganton

Best of Restaurants: Italian

Is there anything more comforting that good Italian food?  So many offerings, but so few get it right.  These do.

Pollo Rosa Maria at Carrabba’s in Hickory (I know it’s a chain, but it is awesome!)

Veal Ossubuco from Fiamma’s in Charlotte

Parmesan Chicken from Alton’s Kitchen & Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Pollo Florentine at Caruso’s in Mooresville

Gnocchi from Root and Vine in Morganton

Arancini from Novanta 90 Pizzeria Napoletana in Mooresville

Chicken Parmesan at Fin & Fino in Charlotte

 

Charlotte · Davidson · Mooresville · Statesville · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Pasta

God bless carbs.

Pappardelle at Kindred in Davidson

Peirogies at Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville

Fussili Al Toscanaccio at Fiamma’s in Charlotte, NC

(sautéed with chicken, mushrooms, served in a vodka pink sauce with sundried tomatoes)

Tagliatelle at Kindred in Davidson

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Beef Stroganoff at Queen City Craft & Gourmet in Charlotte

Creamy Mushroom Ravioli from Olive Garden in Mooresville, NC.  I KNOW!

Black Truffle Pappardelle from Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC
Charlotte · Denver · Gastonia · Huntersville · Mooresville · Sherrills Ford

Best of Restaurants: Mexican Food

Mexican food is my all time favorite.  It’s my deserted island food, my last meal food and my go-to when working late.  Here are the best dishes I’ve found.

Shredded Beef Chimichanga at Margaritas in Denver, NC

Quesadilla Mexicana at La Unica in Huntersville, NC

Table-side Guacamole at Paco’s Tacos in Charlotte, NC

Pollo Loco at El Patron in Gastonia, NC

Pelusa at Los Mezquites Grill in Sherrills Ford, NC

Lobster Quesadilla at Cousins Maine Lobster Food Truck in Charlotte, NC

Fish and Chips Taco at Velvet Taco in Charlotte

Street Corn from Cantina 1511 in Mooresville, NC

Charlotte · Gainesville · Hickory · Lincolnton · Myrtle Beach · Restaurants · Rock Hill SC

Best of Restaurants: Cocktails

I’m not a big drinker, I’ll normally have one cocktail when I go out with friends for dinner.  So, if I say something’s good, you can take it to the bank.

Bourbon Peach Smash at Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

and the Feelin’ Fineapple!

Bloody Beast at Standard Oyster Company in Hickory

L’eveilleur from Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Watermelon Margarita from Margaritaville in Myrtle Beach

Watermelon Margarita

D.S.L. from Aria Tuscan Grill

Old York Sour at The Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Blood Orange Old Fashioned from Paramount Grill in Gainesville, FL

I’ll Have Another at Highland Avenue in Hickory

 

Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Hickory · Lincolnton · Micanopy FL · Mooresville · 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

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich from Moyers Lakeside Eatery in Mooresville, NC

Wagyu Meatloaf Sandwich from Barrel and Fork in Cornelius