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 · 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 · 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

 

Asheville · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · 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

Charlotte · Restaurants

Fiamma Restaurant in Charlotte, NC

Restaurant Week Winter 2018!!  I’ve managed to hit 3 (or will) this week.  Chillfire in Denver, The Foundry in Denver and Fiamma in Charlotte.  Oh be still my heart!  Fiamma was so worth the wait.  I’ve had it on my wish list forever!  It is authentically Italian, probably some of the best I’ve had in this area.  Their fish is flown in daily from Europe and they hand make all of their pasta.

Fiamma is also open for lunch Monday through Saturday, so you can try it during the day if you can’t make it for Restaurant week or forget to make reservations at night.  You can easily make reservations online through Open Table, though, so don’t forget.  This place is hopping!

The service here is top-notch.  I found all of the staff to be kind, knowledgeable and prompt.  I felt cared for, but never bothered.  This is a true accomplishment during harried Restaurant week!

Let’s talk about the food.  YUMMM!

When you sit down, they bring out a plate of fresh bread and crunchy bread sticks to dip in this luscious and tangy pesto.  If I had a big bowl of that pesto and a hunk of bread, I think I’d be happy.  It was so good!

St. Germain Coctail: Prosecco, St. Germain liquor, on the rocks with lemon and lime.

Refreshing and crisp, this is my favorite cocktail ever.  Reminds me of a sweeter mojito.

APPETIZERS

Burratta – fresh creamy buffalo cheese served with arugula, roasted red pepper, grilled eggplant, and prosciutto di Parma

Calamari al Salto – sautéed fresh calamari, tomato, avocado in a white wine sauce

This was a perfect hearty warm salad.  The calamari was tender and not rubbery and provided a perfect canvas for the avocado and tomato to give it such flavor.  The girls were mostly impressed with the party hat on the lemon, though.

Delizia Del Contadina – mixed greens tossed with walnuts, pears, and Tuscan Pecorino cheese in a light balsamic dressing.

This was my first course, and it was lovely!  A basic salad, but sometimes that’s just exactly what I want, a simple salad, with fresh ingredients that are all perfect.  This hit all of the marks.

Then came this palate cleanser: orange sherbet.  I was charmed 🙂

MAIN COURSE

Veal Ossobuco (Fiamma’s Specialty) – braised veal shank served with a side of saffron risotto

This was the best dish of the night.  The veal was so tender it fell apart with a touch of the fork.  The sauce it was simmered in was so flavorful and rich, you could tell it had reduced for hours.  The one blight on the meal was the saffron risotto.  It was so salty, it was inedible.  No, we didn’t send it back.  Restaurant week is super busy and we were seriously enjoying everything else so much it became an afterthought.

Branzino – Mediterranean fish stuffed with fresh seafood and served with spinach, potatoes, and asparagus

Tagliolini alla Scoglio – homemade pasta sautéed with fresh seafood in garlic, red pepper flakes, white wine sauce

This was my selection.  It was incredibly hardy.  I couldn’t believe how much seafood it had, especially during restaurant week!  They truly don’t skimp on portions.  The wine sauce was light and really let the homemade pasta and seafood stand out as the stars.  I took most of it home and it was even better the next day.

Fussili Al Toscanaccio – sautéed with chicken, mushrooms, served in a vodka pink sauce with sundried tomatoes

I tasted a tiny bite of this dish, and it was packed with flavor and the chew on the pasta was perfect!  I rank it the second best dish of the night!

DESSERTS

Panna Cotta – cold Italian custard served with mixed berries

Tiramisu – layered coffee-soaked ladyfingers topped off with a mascarpone cream and cocoa

This dessert was creamy and light, not with an overwhelming coffee flavor.  I thought it was perfect, but my dining partner wanted the coffee to be more prevalent.

Cheesecake – ricotta and mascarpone blended cheesecake, served with berry sauce and vanilla ice cream

So light and creamy, and not too sweet.  perfect with the berry drizzle.

Crema Tostada – warm vanilla custard topped with torched sugar, served with fresh berries
 This was my dessert, and despite the name, as you can see it is Creme Brulee.  Not very imaginative of me, but so good 🙂
Anessa’s Cappuccino

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

&

Spicy Crab Roll from Sake Sushi

Pad Krapraw at Thai House in Gastonia

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

Charleston SC · Charlotte · Hickory · Lowell · Restaurants · Rock Hill SC

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

Fried Squash from Grits ‘N Greens in Lowell, NC

Summer squash & tomato risotto at The Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Risotto with fava beans, peppadew peppers and Alfredo sauce from Highland Avenue in Hickory

Summer Squash with Eggplant, Green Goddess dressing and everything spice from The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Asheville · Boone · Charlotte · Davidson · Denver · Gaffney SC · Hickory · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Savannah · Statesville · Troutman

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

Crepe Suzette from Crepe Cellar

Milk Chocolate Liquid Truffle from French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

Pecan Pie a la mode at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Coconut Cake from Chillfire in Denver, NC

Nutella and Strawberry Crepe from The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Apple Cobbler a la mode at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Milk Bread Cinnamon Rolls at Kindred in Davidson

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Strawberry Basil Shortbread from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Doughnuts from Reigning Doughnuts in Charlotte, NC

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte

Bread Pudding from The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Fritti (dessert calzone) from Salty Caper in Mooresville

Coconut Cake from Highland Avenue in Hickory

Brownie Sundae from Whit’s Custard in Davidson

Triple Chocolate Cake at Pelligrino’s Trattoria in Troutman

Bread Pudding from Bricktop’s in Charlotte

Thicc Pie (Buttermilk Peach Custard) from The Goodyear House in Charlotte

Carrot Cake from Fin & Fino in Charlotte