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
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
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
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
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 in Lincolnton, NC Fatz
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
Is there anything more comforting that good Italian food? So many offerings, but so few get it right. These do.
Pollo Rosa Maria at in Hickory (I know it’s a chain, but it is awesome!) Carrabba’s
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
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