Lincolnton · Restaurants

South African Wine Dinner at Crafted Southern Speakeasy

Crafted Southern Speakeasy is not just a place to get hand-crafted cocktails and a bite to eat.  No, it is sooo much more than that.  They have events there that are really thoughtful and upscale!  I’ve been to tea parties, maker’s workshops where you make a seasonal craft, trivia nights, game nights and now I’ve been to a special 5-course dinner with wine pairings.  This was definitely a night to remember!

We were an intimate group of only 12 and the representatives for Babylonstoren were on hand to guide us through the pairing with each dish.  It was very informative and delicious!

The room was beautifully decorated.  I just walked around before the dinner really began and snapped pictures because I was so charmed by all of the little touches that were brought in to enhance our dinner.

Now, let’s get down to the reason we’re here: the food.  Oh wow.

Oyster with Shallot Mignonette & Orange Zest Paired along side Babylonstoren Chenin Blanc: Delicious subtle yet briny oyster perfectly matched with the tart mignonette.


Mixed Greens Salad paired along side Babylonstoren Chardonnay:  This salad was lightly dressed, but packed a big punch of flavor with the shaved Parmesan on top.

Lamb Lollipop over Cauliflower Mash alongside Sherried tomatoes with Fresh Grilled veggies paired with a Babylonstoren Babel Red Blend: This was my very favorite dish of the night! I didn’t even know lamb could taste like this!  Perfectly seared and seasoned. And what a revelation that cauliflower could taste this yummy!  Game changer!


Osso Bucco paired with the award-winning Babylonstoren Nebuchadnezzar red blend: I could tell this was cooked well, but I was unprepared for how much I was going to have to work for just a little bit of meat!  This was my first time trying oxtails, and it reminded me of pot roast with more fat and tendon.  The risotto, though.  That was the real deal.  Speckled with sauteed mushrooms, I could live off of that stuff.  The tender carrots, infused with that oxtail flavor were also winners.

Strawberry Basil Shortbread served alongside Babylonstoren Rose: This surprisingly delicate dessert was the perfect finish to the bold dishes we’d sampled.  The strawberries were plump and ripe and lightly macerated with sugar and the shortbread was dense enough to hold up to the sweet juices those berries gave off.  But my favorite component was this Chantilly cream that sat atop this dessert.  It was like eating a sweet cloud.  I still think about that cream.

What a wonderful night at Crafted Southern Speakeasy!  We will be back for many more!

Charlotte · Cramerton · Hickory · Huntersville · Lincolnton · Miramar Beach · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · 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

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

Charlotte · Denver · Hickory · Lincolnton · Micanopy FL · 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

Lincolnton

Harvest Moon Grille in Lincolnton, NC

Harvest Moon Grille is a unique eatery in downtown Lincolnton that is such a breath of fresh air.  Their website says “an adventure in freshly foraged foods” and it is an adventure.  The menu is different each time I visit.  This is because they are farmers themselves, and build the menu off of what is currently available for harvest in their own and other local farms.  And they make EVERYTHING…they make their breads, their soups, their sauces, their stocks, their dressings and their desserts.  They even have a shelf for locally made products to take home with you.  In addition to that, they cater: at their place, on site or boxed lunches for picnics lakeside.  If you’d like to learn from these tremendous chefs, they also offer Saturday classes which include lunch!

They offer breakfast and lunch, both available from open to close.  You can also get dinner on Friday and Saturday nights.  On the day we visited my son got breakfast and I got lunch.  The dining room is smallish, but you feel cozy, not cramped.  The walls are filled with art from local artists.  If the weather is nice, you should opt to eat outside on the patio.  They have a very comfortable patio overlooking Main Street.

We opted for a locally crafted soda made in Waynesville, NC.  The Raspberry Cream was fizzy with just the right amount of sweet.  It’s the best.  I love how they are served with a mason jar full of ice.

This is the child’s portion (Junior) of French Toast.  He said it was delicious!

I had a falafel sandwich and a cup of tomato soup.  The brioche bun that the sandwich came on was made fresh in house and was out of this world delicious.  The falafel was a tiny bit loose for my liking, so ended up being too messy for me.  The bitter greens brought a peppery element to the dish and the cucumber sauce (tzatziki) was tangy and cool.  I have to say, the smallest detail was my favorite.  The house-made pickles were perfect.  Just pickled enough to be tasty, but still had a fresh taste.  These chefs really know their way around the kitchen.

The tomato soup (served in a little mason jar!!) was also fresh and homemade.  It didn’t taste like Campbell’s, didn’t taste like it came from a bag (I’m looking at you, Fatz) it tasted like it was made from my grandmother’s canned tomatoes.  The drizzle of olive oil on top gave it a richness so it didn’t need cream.

 

Asheville · Boone · Charlotte · Davidson · Denver · Gaffney SC · Lincolnton · Mooresville · 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

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

68549251_10156665978411886_2031160295648395264_n

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

 

 

Asheville · Boone · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Destin · Isle of Palms · Lincolnton · Morganton · Rock Hill SC · 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:

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

Peirogies from Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

IMG_3655

Manchego Skillet at Tybee Island Social Club in Tybee Island, GA

Warm Pimento Cheese & Jumbo Lump Crab Cake  from Tupelo Honey in Charlotte, NC

&

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