Lincolnton · Restaurants

Food Junkee cooks for Girl Nosh!

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One of our Girl Nosh members is married to a chef.   We kept saying when I got the house ready, we were going to hire Food Junkee (aka Joe Byrd) to cook dinner for us in-house (instead of our usual fancy restaurants) so we could linger and enjoy each other’s company for a little longer than normal without getting the side eye.

Joe arrived about an hour early to set up.  He had most of the food prepared and ready to be served.  He did prepare some dishes on site and they were so so amazing.  Everything was.  And at the end of the night, all of my guests retired into the dining room to play a raucous card game and not worry about clean up.  Seriously best night of my life.

Dinner

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Here’s the spread…all spread out.  I wanted you to have a view of how lovely it all looks in the deep bowls, filled to the brim with goodness.  Each dish is described below.

Appetizers
Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips served with Pineapple Mango Salsa is what we first sampled as Joe set up the spread for my friends.  The crispy chips were freshly made, warm and dusted with salty lime flavors that were perfect against the sweet heat of the salsa.  I think we ate a gallon.  Seriously.

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Joe also had some leftover Spinach and Artichoke Dip from stuffing our chicken, so he brought that along to serve with the extra tortilla chips.  So creamy and tangy.  I could live on it.

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Filipino-style Pork Eggrolls with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce was the best-loved appetizer by the masses.  Assembled and fried on site, these little nuggets were filled with a spicy pork mixture and finely chopped vegetables.  Unlike your favorite take-out Chinese spot, these were FULL of meat, and not filler.  The apricot dipping sauce was sweet with just enough bite to make you come back for more. 

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Two of my favorite dishes rolled into one: Pan-Fried Spinach-n-Artichoke Dip Stuffed Chicken.  First, the chicken is stuffed with this creamy indulgence, then rolled in bread crumbs and delicately pan-fried.  The chicken was so tender and juicy and let’s just be honest: you can put that dip on anything and it will make it 100% better.  It’s my favorite thing in the world.

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The most vibrant side dish we enjoyed was the Honey Ginger Glazed Carrots with Pistachios.  These buttery little gems were fragrant and still had a little bite to them.  As you can see by the slight char on them, they were roasted first, which caramelized their natural sugars and deepened their flavors, if possible.  These were probably the most popular side of the night, not a single leftover!

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You don’t like peas?  You just haven’t tried Joe’s Indian Spiced Peas.  Spiked with Indian spices, diced onions and minced garlic; just perfectly matched the sweet peas with a little bit of heat.  How can I go back to Lesueur peas after this?

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The Asian Glazed Mushrooms were so flavorful and substantial that we didn’t even need a starch.  They were sautéed in butter and slowly allowed to simmer in that Asian glaze that was maddeningly delicious and just different enough to make you feel like you were experiencing this side for the first time.  Can you tell they were my favorites?

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Most people get one dessert.  Not us.  We got two.  And I can’t even tell you which one was better, they were both amazing and rich.  The first was a Chocolate Chip Kahlua Cheesecake.  This is kind of Joe’s signature dessert.  At least, the number of us who’d had it before requested (begged) him to bring it for Girl Nosh.  He doesn’t disappoint.  A chocolatey rich cake bottom topped with creamy and sweet cheesecake with tiny shards of chocolate chips, all accented by the Kahlua.  And look how pretty:

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The Cast Iron Apple Brown Betty with Homemade Almond Ice Cream was a special treat for all of us.  First of all, making a dessert in a cast iron skillet?  Too rustic, too cool.  We were all so enraptured.  Then Megan sprang her homespun ice cream (made right in my kitchen while the cobbler baked!) on us and we all ate until we were sick.  No regrets.  And that was the end to our perfect evening.

Now, for the plug.  Joe and Megan are my friends.  BUT I cannot recommend their services more highly.  Joe is a personal chef who not only caters events but also prepares meals for families on a weekly basis.  Seriously, it isn’t much more than Blue Apron per meal to do this and you get to pick EXACTLY what you want.  Just check them out.  You won’t be sorry!

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Lincolnton · Restaurants

Court Street Grille in Lincolnton

Court Street Grill in Lincolnton
Court Street Grill in Lincolnton

113 Court Sq, Lincolnton, NC

Tel: (704) 732-3242

Court Street is one of our favorite restaurants in Lincolnton.  Located on the court square, it is a popular destination for the white collar lunch crowd.  But, don’t let that dissuade you, this place is popular with everyone!

The offerings include sandwiches, Italian standards, pizza, salads and wraps.  Everything is very fresh and homemade.  The owner’s mom makes a homemade cake(s) daily, and when it is gone, it’s gone.  So, get there at lunch and get a piece!

Italian Sandwich Platter
Italian Sandwich Platter
Cross-section of Italian Sandwich

On this visit I had the Italian Sandwich platter.  They wrap all of their sandwiches in foil and serve them warm.  As you can see by the cross section I’ve provided, the Italian sandwich is filled with ham, mortadella (bologna?), cheese, lettuce, tomato and dressing.  As you can see, I opted for no tomatoes.  The platters themselves come with french fries and a small side salad.  The french fries are crisp and covered with seasoned salt.  For the salad, you have your choice of mesculan mix, iceberg lettuce or a mix.  I find the mix to be the best choice.  Their dressings are homemade (at least the house Italian and the Ranch) and the salads come with tomatoes and a large helping of cheese, which for me turned out to be too much for the amount of lettuce.  I’m probably in the minority there.

The variety of sandwiches there is pretty flavorful.  Some of my favorites include the buffalo chicken wrap, and the chicken sandwich with Osama’s (that’s the owner) specially seasoned chicken.  All are served dressed the same way mine is.  I’ve also asked them to make my daughter a “pizza sub” with pepperoni, cheese and sauce (not on the menu) and they happily obliged.

Chicken Fingers
Chicken Fingers

Now, if you have picky children who wouldn’t dream of eating a sandwhich with all of that “stuff” on it, try the chicken fingers off of the appetizer menu.  Yep, they are pretty basic, but you can see the pepper flakes in the breading, so that counts for something.  My son was thrilled with them.

The pizza is offered on the kid’s menu, and on the adult menu as well.  It was cheesy and delicious while it was hot, but after it became lukewarm it was not

Pizza
Pizza

as appetizing.  They also have lasagna, spaghetti, manicotti and the like.  It is good and served with a salad and grilled garlic bread.

The service is normally quick and the owner is friendly.  The atmosphere is probably the best in Lincolnton with the buffed hardwood floors, the exposed air ductwork, large picture windows, plants and location to the court house.  My only gripe is the parking.  It is always, no matter what time I arrive, crazy packed and you feel you’ve won the lottery if you find a space up front.

Even if you have to walk a piece, it’s worth it.

Lincolnton · Restaurants

Viva La Mexico!

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Mexican food is my family’s all time favorite.  We actually have a very good Mexican restaurant in Lincolnton that serves up freshly made food (no preservatives!) and makes a killer margarita.  Taco and Tequila is run by Lucy Dorantes who comes from Mexico City and has made a name for herself in Lincolnton by serving up great food and a great price and treating her customers like family.

I’ve never had anything that wasn’t good at Taco and Tequila, but my all time favorite dish is probably the chicken chimichanga.  It’s heart-cloggingly delicious with chicken wrapped in a flour tortilla, deep-fried and then smothered in cheese sauce.  The tacos are pretty great here, too.  If you are no good at making up your mind, come on Sunday when they have a lunch buffet and sample a little of everything!