Friday, July 29, 2011

Gallery celebrates

As part of the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge's celebrating its 10th anniversary in September, its restaurant, Gallery, will offer a four-course menu of house specialties, including shrimp and grits, baby iceberg wedge, choice of filet or horseradish-crusted hake fillet and strawberry mascarpone Napoleon. The menu is $40 per person plus tax and tip, and will be available throughout August and September. Also coming up: The Perfect 10 cocktail: Tanqueray 10, St. Germain liqueur, housemade juniper-infused syrup and pear nectar. It's (naturally) $10, and yes, that's it at right.

10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway; 704-248-4100.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Speaking of 'cue...

... posted "22 Must-Try Barbecue Dishes" -- in New York City. The page also links to a region "smackdown" (look for our own Bar-B-Q King, but in sign only: the N.C. reference is Raleigh's The Pit) and lists of international 'cue dishes. Just...interesting.

Bits and pieces

Pianist Manley Roberts is performing the “Ramblin’ Man 24-Hour Summer Piano Tour” to raise money for Charlotte Chamber Music, the city's professional chamber music organization, and his next appearance will be July 29 at Cafe Monte. His performances are free, with all tips and donations raised during his total 24 hours of performing going to help fund more than 20 chamber music performances, including 16 free concerts. Cafe Monte is at 6700 Fairview Road; other stops include Villa Francesca Aug. 4, Jackalope Jack's Aug. 5, Phil’s New York Deli & Tavern Aug. 12 and Amelie's Aug. 26.

Raffaldini Vineyards in Ronda, N.C., hosts its sixth annual Festa Italiana 11 .am.-5 p.m. Sept. 17. Admission ($15) includes a wine tasting and glass, live Italian folk music, food vendors (think lasagna, brick-oven pizza, gelato) and more. Info:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Restaurant week deals extended

Restaurant Week "extensions":

Global will continue its special $30 menu through July 30.

Mimosa Grill also offers its $30 setup -- which includes essentially its whole menu -- for July 29 and 30.

Blue will do its menu through Aug. 15, with a new lineup debuting Aug. 2. (Also at Blue are "Mamma Mia" specials to accompany the show now-July 31 at Belk Theater: Bring your ticket to Blue and you can get a $34.95 three-course dinner or 10 percent off food purchases.)

Sante will extend its deal through the end of July.

Monday, July 25, 2011

ARB en route

American Roadside Burgers plans to open two Charlotte locations in 2011 -- uptown and SouthPark -- expanding what the company calls "a tribute to the American roadside hamburger stands of the past" from its Smithtown, N.Y., origin. Look for burgers of beef, turkey and veggie, along with chicken sandwiches, wings and salads, and a decor that aims at a "made in America" feel. The first ARB will be in the Ally Bank building at 440 S. Church St., and is slated to open mid-fall, with the second "late" in the year. Info:

Coming to uptown: Barbecue

Pierre Bader's new place will be called City Smoke and, yes, it's a barbecue place: "Multi-regional barbecue cuisine," he calls it, meaning N.C. pulled pork, Texas brisket, Memphis dry-rubbed ribs, St. Louis sauced ribs, plus oysters, rotisserie chicken, steaks, salads, shrimp and grits and more. The surprise is that his partner is chef Todd Townsend, who you may remember from Townsend's Gourmet and Gone Hog Wild catering -- or, for older-timers, from Palatable Pleasures. Look for single-barrel bourbons and a long beer list, too, at the new place, 100 N. Tryon St. (a former medical clinic space in the Bank of America Corporate Center, with an entrance on Trade Street), slated to open in the first quarter of 2012.

It will seat 100, and feature 20-foot ceilings, wood walls, chalkboard menus, back-bar tables filled with iced-down beers, and an eat-in counter overlooking the kitchen. Bader, who has owned fine dining and more casual restaurants in Charlotte for years (notably the current Aria at Founders Hall and the defunct Sonoma), says prices will average less than $10 for lunch, and dinner portions will range from $8 to $19 -- and there'll be free peanuts at the bar.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dine out, do good

Kickstand Burgers -n- Bar will host "Kids Get Bikes" July 30, an event with outdoor games, live music and food benefitting The Spokes Group (Charlotte chapter), volunteers who work to buy bikes and helmets for children in need. The event coincides with the well-known 24 Hours of Booty and Uptown Charlotte Criterium. Both Kickstand and sibling Loco Lime will donate 10 percent of a day's sales to the group. 1101 Central Ave.

New and arty

New dishes at the Bechtler Café in the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, from Porcupine Provisions: heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad over arugula with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic reduction; and grilled flank steak sandwich with Thai vinaigrette on a hoagie roll. (Photo by Suzanne Dane.) 420 S. Tryon St.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Deals, deals, deals

BRAVO! Northlake Mall offers a three-course dinner for $16.95 from 4 p.m.-closing Sunday-Thursday through Nov. 17: soup or salad; choice of entree among five, including chicken parmesan Milanese and lobster ravioli alla vodka; and petite dessert. 6851 North Lake Mall Drive; 704-597-1455.

Flatiron Kitchen + Taphouse is doing a lobster special through the summer: 4 p.m.-closing Sunday-Wednesdays, you can get a 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound live Maine whole lobster with roasted potato medley and grilled corn on the cob for $22.95. 215 S. Main St., Davidson; 704-237-3246.

CiCi’s Pizza began "Family Funtacular" this week, a summer scratch-and-win contest running through Aug. 28 at its multiple locations. Diners can win movie tickets, free buffets and more; a scratch-off card comes with every guest check and purchase of large beverage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Restaurant owner bans kids

So if this happened in the Charlotte area, would you cheer or boo?

This Pennsylvania restaurant owner -- and from the video, it's not a fine dining place, per se -- decided to stop serving children younger than 6. An accompanying story points out that he e-mailed customers to tell them about the ban, and includes one of those customers asking, "What do they plan to do about the loud people at the bar?"

Monday, July 11, 2011

Can can, cocktails and BYOB

Look for Champagne, hors d'oeuvres, live jazz and can can dancers at Georges Brasserie July 14 to celebrate Bastille Day. 4620 Piedmont Row Drive; 980-219-7409.

The Duke Mansion hosts summer cocktail parties on July 15, Aug. 5 and Sept. 16: From 5:30-7 p.m., you can sample from a cash bar and get tastes of fare from Duke chef Harrison Booth at the nonprofit bed and breakfast in Myers Park. They'll be offered in the mansion's gardens if the weather's good, inside if it's not. Reservations at 704-714-4448 or email to; 400 Hermitage Road.

Upstream hosts the second of its "B.Y.O.B. Wine & Dine Series" dinners: The idea is that you bring your own wine to go with a four- or five-course menu done by executive chef Scott Wallen. This dinner will be July 29 and reservations are required; 6902 Phillips Place Court; 704-556-7730.

Dine out, do good

Two weeks left in BlackFinn American Saloon's Burger Month, with four specialty burgers -- the Hawaii 5.0 (grilled pineapple, teriyaki glaze), Italian Job (mozzarella, basil), South of the Border (guac, tortilla strips) and Elvis (peanut butter, grilled banana, bacon, pepperjack) -- and $1 of every purchase of the four to benefit current and former military personnel in need through select charities and nonprofits. 210 E. Trade St. at the EpiCentre uptown; 704-971-4440.

One tequila, two tequila...

Vida is taking the July 24 National Tequila Day (really?) even farther with a seven-day event: The Inaugural Vida Tequila Week.

Tickets will be given away each day the week of July 11 on Facebook and Twitter to the Tequila Week Kickoff Party July 18. July 20, there'll be an 1800 dinner with courses to complement that brand designed by chef Chris Swinyard (including tequila mustard chicken satay, tomato and watermelon salad, black mole braised chicken breast with crispy skin, and more. $40; 704-971-8432. Through the week, there'll be a tequila flight showcased each day, and contests with prizes will be done through the restaurant's social media. July 24 brings $5 Vida and frozen margaritas all day.

210 E. Trade St. at the EpiCentre uptown.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Summer wine tasting

The Wine Vault will do a wine tasting July 26 at Founders Hall, pulling out "very esoteric, random and sometimes odd varietals," as they put it, with more than 20 to sample. Cost is $25; if you buy a case the fee is waived. Those interested in dining should note Aria (at Founders Hall) will extend its three-courses-for-$30 deal to Wine Vault customers attending the tasting, and will not charge a corkage fee for wines bought at the event. 704-548-9463.

On tap: tomatoes, muffins

Harper's 12th Annual Tomato Fest is on now: locally grown tomatoes in tomato antipasto, crab and avocado stack; Duke's BLT Platter; hickory-grilled mahi topped with tomatoes, balsamic vinaigrette and pesto oil; and more. Carolina Place Harper's: 11059 Carolina Place Parkway; 704-541-5255.

Mimi's Cafe celebrates Bastille Day July 14 with new menus (including dishes such as cinnamon brioche French toast, "Le Grand Bleu Burger" and Provencal glazed shrimp and asparagus ravioli), a chance to win a trip to Provence and chocolate mousse muffins (two free with coupon and purchase, while they last on July 14). Details and the coupon are here. 10224 Perimeter Parkway; 704-509-5911.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

More restaurant deals

Zebra does "Restaurant Month": through July 28, three courses for $34, with a lineup that includes lobster bisque, truffled mushroom foie gras soup, its signature vase salad, salmon fillet with tomato confit, N.C. rainbow trout Francaise, tournedo of beef tenderloin, warm chocolate cake with caramel ice cream and more. 4521 Sharon Road; 704-442-9525.

Café 157 is offering a summer three-course dinner special for $27 July 11-30; choices are mixed or wedge salad; grilled salmon, shrimp and grits, Cajun chicken penne or pan-seared beef tenderloin; and creme brulee or New York cheesecake. 157 N. Trade St., Matthews; 704-844-8686.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Prepare to cow it up

July 8 is the day this year on which you can dress up like a cow and get a free Chick-fil-A meal. Do you really need any more info? (Well, maybe this: Dress partially like a cow and you get a free entree.)
Chick-fil-A says more than 450,000 customers participated last year. (The photo is from

Pour generously

"The Generous Pour Wine Event" is a cleverly named offering available July 12-Sept. 4 at the Capital Grille aimed at showcasing nine highly rated wines chosen by Grille master sommelier George Miliotes. You can try as many wines from the list as you want for $25 with dinner.
Highlighted choices with Miliotes descriptions include (and all the choices are at the website, with cool popups):

  • 2009 Tarima Hill Monastrell: A "spectacular varietal ... setting a new standard for Spanish medium-bodied red wine."
  • 2006 Chalk Hill Estate Cabernet Sauvignon: "This rich, dense wine is one of Sonoma Valley’s best."
  • Marquis de la Tour, NV: This sparkling wine "hails from a vineyard in France’s Loire Valley, which has been producing excellence since 1885."
  • 2006 Conte Brandolini Vistorta Merlot: "Harvested from 100-year-old vines in a small vineyard in Northeast Italy."
201 N. Tryon St.; 704-348-1400.

It's new, it's cold, it's ...

... Coca-Cola Freestyle: Ever wonder what Raspberry Coke mixed with lime would taste like? Or Sprite with orange? Moe’s Southwest Grill’s new location at the Epicentre, set to open July 14, will be the first place in Charlotte with a self-serve machine that lets you mix and match more than 100 brands (sodas, waters, sports drinks, etc.) in combinations on a touch screen, creating personal drinks -- plus its regular lineup of burritos and other fare. 210 E. Trade St.; 704-971-3393.

... new frozen yogurt at Cold Stone Creamery at RiverGate (in Steele Creek). It's self-serve weigh and pay, and the grand opening of the yogurt bar will be noon-4 p.m. July 9. This location is the sixth store in the country to get the new stuff, and half the sales during the opening will benefit The Justin Mychals Child Cancer Foundation and Victory Farm. 14126 RiverGate Parkway; 704-583-3828.

... new salads and sushi at Kabuto at Lake Norman: ginger soy noodles salad and teriyaki chicken crunch salad, and a new sushi and hibachi menu for Sunday brunch. Also at brunch (11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.), sushi is half off. 16516 Northcross Drive in Huntersville; 704-655-0077.