Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Destin · Hickory · Huntersville · Mooresville

Best of Restaurants: Cheesy!

Oh, how I adore cheese.  You could melt it on a cardboard pizza top and I’d probably eat it.  These dishes are my favorite cheesy dishes at restaurants I’ve tried.

Pimiento Cheese Spread from Boschamp’s in Destin, FL

Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese at Safari Miles in Denver 

Pepperoni and Mushroom Pizza at Tony’s in Hickory, NC

Pizza Sub from Penn Station East Coast Subs in Charlotte, NC

Mushroom Gruyere Sandwich from Papi Queso in Charlotte

Shepard’s Pie from Metro Diner in Pineville

Queso Fundido from Provecho Mexican Kitchen & Cantina in Mooresville

Arancini from Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Quesadilla Mexicana at La Unica in Huntersville

Three Cheese Grilled Cheese Sandwich at Sumo Shack in Mooresville

Queso Frito from Miami Fusion in Denver, NC

Bread Bites with warm Pimiento Cheese from Pop’s Old Company Store And Tavern in Catawba

Isle of Mozzarella from Olde Hickory Station in Hickory, NC

Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Mooresville

Best of Restaurants: Bird

It’s my favorite protein with feet.

Fried Chicken Wings with Winston Salem Sauce at Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Pollo Florentine from Caruso’s in Mooresville, NC

Bruschetta Chicken Crepe at The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Poussin with sweet pea and summer squash risotto from The Foundry in Denver, NC

Airline Chicken at Bistro La Bon in Charlotte, NC

Thai Sweet and Sour Chicken from Thai House in Cornelius, NC

Chicken Marsala at Chillfire Grill in Denver

Turkey and Dressing at Stacy’s in Denver, NC

Chicken Caprese from Jeffrey’s in Mooresville

Duck and Dumplings at Dogwood: A Southern Table in Charlotte

Hot Wings at Duckworth’s Grill in Mooresville, NC

Charleston SC · Charlotte · Concord · Cornelius · Huntersville · Restaurants

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 Bread and spread at The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Cornbread muffins from the McNinch House in Charlotte

Pretzel Brioche with Whipped Butters from Stoke in Charlotte

Complimentary Bread at Steak 48 in Charlotte

Garlic Knots from Rocky’s Pizza in Huntersville, NC

Za’atar Flatbread from Mariposa in Charlotte

Garlic Knots from Prosciuttos Pizza in Cornelius, NC

Charlotte · Cornelius · 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

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Pepperoni Pizza from Prosciuttos Pizza in Cornelius

Charlotte · Cornelius · Hickory · Mooresville · Morganton · Statesville

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

Joyce Farms 24-month aged country ham gnocchi with collards, peanuts, and pear vinegar from The Noble Grille in Winston-Salem.

Carmela with Spaghetti at Sorrento in Statesville, NC

Charlotte · Cornelius · 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

Shrimp Tacos from Village TapHouse in Mooresville, NC

Barbacoa Beef Burrito from Juan Loco in Cornelius, NC

Churros from Las Margaritas in Charlotte

Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Hickory · Lincolnton · Micanopy FL · Mooresville · Morganton · Myrtle Beach · Shelby · 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

Turkey and Ham Sub from Heavenly Hoagie in Mooresville, NC

Philly Cheesesteak from JackBeagles in Mount Holly

Chicken Katsu Banh Mi from CO in Charlotte

Cuban Sandwich from J Bird’s Deli in Shelby, NC

Asheville · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Denver · Destin · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Restaurants · Santa Rosa Beach · Wilmington

Best of Restaurants: Seafood

Seafood dishes remind me of vacation.  We always go somewhere near a beach and the first thing we do is hit our favorite seafood places.  Here are my favorite dishes, some are even inland!

Seafood Risotto from Standard Oyster Company in Hickory, NC

Bouillabaisse Marseillaise at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Fried Soft Shell Crab from WP Kitchen + Bar in Charlotte

Crispy Oysters at Kindred in Davidson, NC

Raw Oysters at Steamboat Grill 30A

Rock Shrimp at Wasabi in Asheville, NC

Buffalo Shrimp at Big Daddy’s in Mooresville, NC

Fried Crab Claws at The Back Porch in Destin, FL

The Lobster Roll at Lobster Dogs Food Truck in Mooresville

Snapper with summer vegetables and roasted red pepper vinaigrette from Halcyon in Charlotte

Shrimp with Cornbread from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte, NC

Cast Iron NC Trout from Haberdish in Charlotte

Broiled Flounder from Capt’n Pete’s in Lincolnton, NC

Crispy-Skin Organic Salmon by Circa 1922 in Wilmington, NC

Crispy Calamari from Jeffrey’s in Mooresville

Chicken Fried Oysters from Table 31 in Mooresville

Scallops from Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Scallops and a Crabcake from the McNinch House in Charlotte, NC

Halibut from Choplin’s

Baked oysters with chorizo from Dogwood: A Southern Table in Charlotte

Spatchcocked Branzino and Steamed Oysters from Supperland in Charlotte

HEARTH ROASTED WHOLE TROUT from The Foundry in Denver

Blackened Redfish Oscar from Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Charred Oysters from The Crunkleton in Charlotte

Fried Catfish filets and Fried Crab Claws at Bright Star in Bessemer, AL

Alabama · Black Mountain · Charlotte · Cornelius · Denver · Gastonia · Huntersville · Mooresville · Raleigh

Best of Restaurants: Asian

Mary Ashley makes sure I get plenty of opportunities to eat Asian food.  She wears me out on it.  Upside is that I know where all of the good spots are 🙂

Pink Volcano Roll at Joe’s Asian Grill in Mooresville, NC

Crunchy Roll from Jia Asian Fusion in Gastonia, NC

The “Prime Time” Filet and Lobster Roll at The Cowfish in Charlotte, NC

Dumplings & Tom Yum Noodle Bowl at Kung Foo Noodle in Huntersville, NC

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Spicy Crab Roll from Sake Sushi

Pad Krapraw & Chu Chee at Thai House in Cornelius

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Ginger and Garlic Miso Ramen at Ramen Soul in Mooresville, NC

Chicken Hibachi at Hasaki Grill in Charlotte, NC

Crab Rangoon Roll at Monsoon in Mooresville

Thai Tea at the Thai House in Cornelius, NC

Hot & Sour Soup at Kung Foo Noodle in Huntersville, NC

Sushi Salad at Japan in Denver

Lil Bastard Roll from Pisces Sushi Bar and Lounge-Lake Norman in Mooresville

Bang Bang Shrimp Roll at Sushi O in Raleigh

Veggie Spring Rolls at Barrel and Fork in Cornelius

Kei Krob at Phoenix Thai in Mooresville

Crab Fried Rice from The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Basil Chicken from Rai Lay Thai in Charlotte

Crunchy California Poke Bowl at Be Em Asian in Charlotte

Taro Bubble Tea from Pho NC in Cornelius

Soy-Glazed Spare Ribs from Seoul Food Meat Company in Charlotte

Pork Belly Bun at CO in Charlotte

Chicken with lemongrass (Com Ga Nuong Xa), Com Bo Nuong Xa (Beef Skewers) & Spring Rolls at Lang Van in Charlotte

Orange Chicken from The Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte, NC

Dim Sum from Surin West in Birmingham, Alabama

Asheville · Boone · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Destin · Isle of Palms · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Morganton · Mount Pleasant · 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

Pierogies 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

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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

Butter Bean Spread, Devilish Toast and Marinated Shrimp from Goodyear House in Charlotte

 

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Compressed Spiced Melon with Bluebird Farms Cured meats and shaved cheese from 158 on Main in Mooresville

Baked Brie Bites and Sausage Gravy Croquettes from Supperland in Charlotte

Deviled Eggs with Pickles, Aleppo, herb bacon salad from Stoke in Charlotte

SESAME-CHILI CAULIFLOWER FLORETS from Copper Modern Indian Cuisine in Charlotte

Chicken Empanadas from Havana 33 in Mooresville, NC

Fried Deviled Eggs from Zhay’s in Lincolnton

Mariposa Mezze Board from Mariposa in Charlotte

Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Mi Amiche in Mooresville

Firecracker Shrimp and Sriracha Fries from 73 & Main in Mt. Pleasant