Charlotte

5 Reasons you need to go to Church: Charlotte’s 5 Church

 

I’ve had my eye of 5 Church for quite a while.  Quiiiitttteee a while.  I’ve always pushed it down on my review list because the pictures looked like it was too hip.  Too young.  Too loud.  Well you know what?  It was all of those things.  But go anyway, because the food is amazing.  But while you are perusing the menu, order a drink:

#1: The Cocktails

 

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The Ivey Cocktail was my choice of cocktail for the night.  It was sweet and light, with citrus vodka, orange liqueur, grenadine and cranberry juice.  Very fruity and refreshing!  The server was very knowledgeable about the bar offerings, as well.  I told her my likes (fruity, not too strong) and she recommended the perfect concoction.

#2 The Appetizers

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Behold the Shrimp Flatbread.  Handmade dough, baked and topped with juicy shrimp, boursin cheese, arugula and red onion.  Perfectly simple, and every element is perfectly executed.  The bread is chewy with just a little bit of a crispness on the outside and a little salty.  The shrimp are tender and sweet and cut into bite-sized pieces for ease of eating.  The boursin cheese is perfect on this, adding enough herbaceousness to bring it all together.  That and a salad would have been perfect.

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My friend had this pretty salad. The Bibb Wedge.   Bibb lettuce sprinkled with grape tomatoes, peperoncini and bacon and drizzled with a balsamic reduction and a tangy gorgonzola dressing.  It was a little tangy for her, but I didn’t taste it.  Looks gorgeous, though, right?

Reason #3 The entrée

Yeah, so four of my 5 reasons are food.  Shoot me.

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The Maryland Crab Cakes are a decadent treat ; chock full of lump crab meat with just enough filler to hold it together.  And they were baked, so not oily at all.  A dream!  The cake is resting on a squeeze of red pepper emulsion and a scallion aioli.  It was served with roasted broccoli, tomato marmalade (so sweet and tangy, perfect with the delicate crab) and a pancetta crisp, which was salty and provided a nice texture.

Reason #4  The Dessert

If ever there was a “signature” dessert at a place, this is the one.  It is a S’more Trifle.  Gooey brownie layered with chocolate ganache and topped with a toasty creamy marshmallow cream and a graham cracker crumble.  It alone is worth the visit.  Simply amazing.

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#5 Celebrity Spotting

In addition to many other awards, 5 Church has been voted as being a most likely to spot a celeb spot.  Celebrity diners include Cam Newton, Brooklyn Decker and heck, the chef was on Top Chef!

Photo cred: JustJared

5Church Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Charleston SC · Charlotte · Hickory · Restaurants

Best of Restaurants: Sides

Sometimes I think I get more excited about the side dishes of a meal than the actual protein.  Here’s a list of some of my favorites:

Roasted Brussels Sprouts from Fourk in Hickory, NC

Roasted Sunchoke, Mixed Mushroom Saute, Fried Corn and Stone Ground Grits from Roosters in Charlotte, NC

Polenta from Aria Tuscan Grill

Macaroni and Cheese and Black-eyed Peas from Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Bacon Macaroni and Cheese from the Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

Charlotte · Davidson · Myrtle Beach · Savannah · Statesville

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

 

Asheville · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Destin · Isle of Palms · Savannah

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:

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

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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

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!

 

GA · Savannah

Savannah, Georgia Trip

I’ve been dying to visit Savannah forever.  I’d always heard it was a charming city, and Paula Deen being there didn’t hurt either.  What I found surpassed my high expectations.

Wormsloe Historic Site:  The famous tree lined with gorgeous oaks leads to the ruins of a former plantation owned by Noble Jones in the 1700’s, who arrived with the first settlers from England.  It is the oldest standing structure in Georgia.

Laurel Grove Cemetery South:  I loved driving through this old graveyard and looking at beautiful, historic grave sites.  Weirdly enough, this was probably my favorite part of this trip.

Bonaventure Cemetery:  Hauntingly beautiful cemetery located on the Wilmington River.  Featured in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.

Gingerbread House:  This gorgeous home was built in 1899 and is used primarily as a venue for weddings and bridal parties.  It’s a great example of the Gingerbread style from Germany’s Black Forest region. Largest of the cities municipal cemeteries at 160 acres…and you can drive through.  My VERY favorite stop in Savannah.

Tybee Island Social Club: We visited on Easter so they only had a specific brunch menu, but it was delicious and flavored well. The best part about this experience was the patio seating and the live music.  Really cool place!

Vic’s on the River:  This was our favorite restaurant in Savannah.  The food was amazing, the view was even better, and on the wall is a map of Sherman’s march from Tennessee to Georgia hand drawn by Union soldiers.  Tons of history, a must visit!

Below Zero. Tucked in the Savannah Seafood Shack on Broughton, you can watch them make your ice cream as you wait in line! Rolled ice cream originated in Thailand and can only be found in a handful of cities: New York, Atlanta and now Savannah!