Tuesday, April 30, 2013

South End food trucks (and gallery crawl)

Un-flowery and self-explanatory, plus:

5Church celebrates first anniversary

5Church will celebrate its first anniversary with complimentary wine and beer during dinner May 16. That night it will also bring back favorites from the place's prior menus, such as roasted mushroom gnocchi and Indian-spiced potato pierogies, and offer a special three-course, fixed-price menu. Live music and "celebratory surprises" are also on tap. A portion of the night's proceeds will go to Levine Children's Hospital. 127 N. Tryon St.; 704-919-1322.

Monday, April 29, 2013

May is both BBQ and Burger months

With May serving as both National Barbecue Month and National Burger Month, Frank Scibelli's places are doubling up on monthlong runs of specials.
Midwood Smokehouse's special offerings: May 6-12: Memphis baby back ribs with BBQ spaghetti May 13-19: Argentinian smoked beef shoulder with chimichurri sauce and poato salad May 20-26: Asian soy-glazed ribs with peanut red chile sauce and slaw May 27-June 2: Kansas City Combo of double smoked beef, pork and ham with cheesy corn bake and brown sugar pit beans. 1401 Central Ave.; 704-295-4227.
And at Bad Daddy's Burger Bars (multiple locations): Week 1: Pastrami burger on rye with Swiss, charred tomato Thousand Island dressing, kraut, and Boars Head Navel pastrami. Week 2: Pittsburger (a burger with American cheese, hand-cut fries and spiced garlic ketchup) Week 3: Maple mustard chicken with Swiss, Boars Head Habanero ham and dijonnaise. Week 4: Torta burger (they're still working that one out).

Meanwhile, Gallery will also feature a weekly burger special for the Month.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Special F.O.O.D. dinner at Mint coming up

Siblings Fern and Halcyon and siblings Barrington's and Good Food on Montford will do a farm dinner June 10 at the Mint uptown, coordinated with the F.O.O.D. exhibition in the museum. That show, about 300 items (including the above Alessi citrus basket), brings together modern and contemporary objects, both made by hand and mass-produced, that are used to prepare, cook and/or present food. Tickets for the dinner go on sale April 26. For $120 ($105 for Mint members), you'll get cocktails (from Halcyon's Maggie Ruppert), beer (from Free Range Brewing) and snacks, followed by a guided tour of the exhibition, then a five-course meal. That will include roasted N.C. flounder salad; vegan cioppino; Southern fried chicken with buttermilk biscuits; balsamic-glased barbecued pork belly; and deconstructed peach and strawberry cobbler. Tickets: www.mintmuseum.org/happenings, or 704-337-2000.

Re-updated: Mother's Day plans

The National Restaurant Association says more than one-quarter of American adults will eat out on Mother's Day and about 7 percent will get restaurant takeout or delivery -- meaning 80 million American adults will eat restaurant meals this Sunday. It's the No. 1 holiday for dining out, says the group.

Let's hope they don't ALL end up at these:

The Liberty will do a three-course brunch (menu is here) for $24.95. 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830.

Cosmos Cafe at Ballantyne will host a Mother's Day buffet 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for $29.95 ($8.95 for kids 12 and younger), with carving station, omelet station, chilled seafood and more, plus live music and drink specials. 8420 Rea Road; 704-544-5268.

The Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge hosts afternoon teas 1-5 p.m. May 10 and 11, with a special menu: $32 for adults, $15 for kids 4-12. It will also offer a Mother's Day brunch 11 a.m.-3 p.m. for $59.50 per person ($29.50 kids 5-12; free for 4 and younger). Brunch reservations required; 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway; 704-248-4100.
Saffron will give a $10 gift certificate to mothers who dine at the restaurant on Mother's Day, either at the lunch buffet 11 a.m.-3 p.m. or for the a la carte dinner, 5-9 p.m. 2135 Ayrsley Town Blvd.; 980-297-7722.
Bistro La Bon will expand its usual Sunday Smorgasbord for Mother's Day, with prime rib, shrimp cocktail and roasted Scottish salmon joining Swedish meatballs, brioche French toast, chocolate waffles, house-cured gravlax and more 10 a.m.-4 p.m. $26 ($12 for children); reservations encouraged; 1322 Central Ave.; 704-333-4646.
Mama Ricotta’s hosts a buffet 10 a.m.-3 p.m. with a carving station, mozzarella bar and signature dishes (and will reopen at 5 for dinner). $23 ($12 for those younger than 12); 601 S. Kings Drive; 704-343-0148.

Mimi’s Cafe will give $10 gift cards (good for six weeks) to all Moms who spend at least $25 on an after-4 p.m. meal May 12, and wine will be half off. 10244 Perimeter Pkwy.; 704-509-5911.

Passion8 plans a three-course Mother's Day brunch for $35, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., with dinner 5-7 p.m. 803-802-7455; 3415 Highway 51 N, Fort Mill.

The Ritz-Carlton offers a tea 11 a.m.-3 p.m. May 11 and 12 at Urban Sip: tea sandwiches, warm scones with Devonshire cream and preserves, and sweets, plus a children’s tea menu. $32; $12 for children under 12; 201 E. Trade St.; 704-547-2244.

Blue will do brunch 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with live jazz, for $39.95 ($14.95 for kids 6-12 and free for younger). 704-927-2583; Hearst Plaza uptown.

AZN Azian Cuizine's will offer a buffet brunch with "an Asian flair" 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. (with dinner menu after that), plus a $10 gift card for each mom who attends. Buffet is $29.95 for adults, $10.95 for younger than 12; 980-819-9819.

e2 plans a brunch 10 a.m.-3 p.m. that will include bananas Foster pancakes, andouille and crawfish omelets and more. 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts; 704-414-4787.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


For Cinco de Mayo (May 5), Cantina 1511 will offer $5 food and drink specials and live music, and a portion of proceeds will go to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. 1511 East Blvd. and 7708 Rea Road. Paco’s Tacos & Tequila will offer Tex-Mex food and drink specials, plus music, contests and an outdoor Mexican beer garden, with proceeds benefitting Ace & TJ Grin Kids charity. 6401 Morrison Blvd.; 704-716-8226.

Maverick Rock Taco will hold a fiesta on its patio beginning at 2 p.m., with live music, raffle tickets and burrito and taco eating challenges. 1513 Montford Drive; 704-527-1400.

Now through May 5, at Mellow Mushrooms (two in the Charlotte area), you can enter to win a trip for two to Mexico by taking a photo with the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man" standee at the restaurants. (Upload your photo to Instagram, using #CincoDeMellow.) The "Most Interesting Photo" will win the vacation, while other photos may earn other prizes. 820 Selwyn Ave. and 14835 Ballantyne Village Way.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Savannah Red dinner

Savannah Red hosts a Steele wine dinner April 24. Among the offerings: an oyster bar station (Blue Points, oysters Rockefeller with collards), with Steele Cuvee Chardonnay, Shooting Star Sauvignon Blanc and Steele Goodchild Chardonnay; pork station (cider-marinated tenderloin; Asian flavored braised belly and more); wild meat station (bison, elk) with Steele Stymie Syrah, Writer's Black Petite Syrah and Steele Pacini Zinfandel; and more. $65; Charlotte Marriott City Center, 100 W. Trade St.; 704-363-8161.

Free bagels at Bruegger's

Bruegger's celebrates its 30 years working with Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals April 25 with a 3 Free Bagel event until 2 p.m.: Go on the Bruegger's Facebook page and click on the "3 Free Bagel" tab for the coupon (or show it on your smartphone at the store) and you'll get the goods -- and the chance to donate your change (or more) to the Hospitals.

May 8: Lots

Look for a collaborative chef's tasting at Passion8 May 8, with chef Luca Annunziata cooking with Chris Coleman of McNinch House. Six courses with wine pairings for $85; 3415 Highway 51 N, Fort Mill.

Also that evening: Vin Master hosts a wine tasting with food pairing to support the Outer Banks' Corolla Wild Horse Fund. Dress casually -- jeans and cowboy boots, if you got 'em -- and you'll get Wild Horse Winery wines and food from Passion Food catering. $60; by reservation only; 704-502-6388. Vin Master is at 2000 South Blvd., at Atherton Mill.

Friday, April 19, 2013

A look at Wednesday's Taste of the Nation, through Storify

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Oysters at Growlers

Growlers Pourhouse hosts its fourth annual oyster roast for Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 1-7 p.m. April 28, with oysters and other food, and four bands playing. $5 to get in, with food tickets for $4 each. 3120 N. Davidson St.; 704-910-6566.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Bad Daddy's Western expansion, Midwood doubles seating

"Bad Daddy’s International LLC has entered into a joint venture with Good Times Restaurants Inc. ... which will own 48% of the franchisor of the Bad Daddy’s franchise system and will provide management services, including sales, marketing, operations, training and administrative support, to the franchise company," according to a press release.

Translation: Looks as if there'll be Bad Daddy's out West, the first slated to open in Denver this year. Good Times - a public company with a regional chain of places, mostly in Colorado, that serve burgers and more - gets development rights for Colorado, Arizona and Kansas.

Bad Daddy’s, owned and operated by Frank Scibelli, Dennis Thompson and partners, has five locations in North Carolina now and one opening in Greenville, S.C. this summer. "The Bad Daddy’s footprint is growing and we’re thrilled with the opportunities out west,” Scibelli said in the release.

More Scibelli news: Midwood Smokehouse is slated to reopen April 18 after expanding to just about double its seating to 168. 1401 Central Ave.; 704-295-4227; www.midwoodsmokehouse.com.

Dine out, do good

"Dining Out for Life" is the name of the April 25 event in Charlotte geared to support HIV prevention, counseling and testing, plus housing programs and services for people living with HIV/AIDS. The Carolinas CARE Partnership has the following restaurants offering a portion of their proceeds on that day: Blue, Dresslers, Flying Biscuit and Mert's Heart and Soul, plus Ruby Tuesday and California Pizza Kitchen. (Texas Roadhouse will also contribute, but from its April 21 proceeds.) The last three require that you print out and bring a flyer; you'll find those at www.carolinascare.org.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Wine dinner at Ni Fen

Shelby's Ni Fen (whose chef is now Mark Hibbs, who you may remember from Blackthorne and Ratcliffe on the Green in Charlotte) hosts a four-course wine dinner April 16, with courses including apple-stuffed Springer Mountain chicken with honey bourbon glaze, seared pork tenderloin with roasted plums and braised leg of lamb with chocolate Sirah reduction. 214 S. Lafayette St., Shelby; 704-481-8882.

New restaurant headed to 7th Street Public Market

Adam Spears, former sous chef at Heist Brewery, is scheduled to open Local Loaf at 7th Street Public Market April 27. Look for fresh-baked breads and dishes made with ingredients from other Market vendors, according to Spears, who went to Johnson & Wales and said in a press release that his place
will "take the ordinary breakfast and lunch break to a new level of culinary flavors that Uptown Charlotte has never seen."

Also new at the Market: barCHOCOLATE, a small-batch confectionary with bon-bons, cookies, chocolate bars, hot chocolate and more; 7th Street Fresh Produce (from Emmanuel Ceron, co-owner of Cocina Latina) and Greeneman Farms Hot Dogs, which will be a second venture from a vendor already at the Market, and will offer locally sourced hot dogs and brats, with rolls and buns from Local Loaf.

Green Market Saturdays begin April 27, too.

Bubble Charlotte set to open at EpiCentre

Bubble Charlotte, which will serve "chef-driven small plates, crafted for a mature palate," along with cocktails, spirits and wines (especially sparklers), is slated to open mid-May at the EpiCentre. The partnership includes Charlotte native Brad Beltrondo, who ran SUITE (a bottle-service nightclub in Charlotte), Cal Fortis (whose background is in design and entertainment concepts and who designed the place in a way that "integrates Miami style with Uptown elegance," according to the press release) and Bourke Floyd, whose experience ranges from GM at a Los Angeles nightspot to work in San Diego's entertainment district.
210 E. Trade St.; www.bubblecharlotte.com.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Taste out, do good

Taste of the Nation Charlotte, an annual event that works to combat hunger in the area and nationally, is April 17 this year and benefits national hunger relief group Share Our Strength, Second Harvest Food Bank and the Community Culinary School of Charlotte. All proceeds from ticket sales go toward ending childhood hunger. About 25 places serve up tastings, wines and other drinks – plus Stefan Huebner mixing cocktails – are offered, and there’s live music and both silent and live auctions. VIP tickets get you into the preview hour for $100; tickets to the regular event (7-10 p.m.) are $85. Participating restaurants include BLT Steak, Brixx, Cantina 1511, Chima, e2, Ember Grille, Enso, Gallery, Harper’s, Mama Ricotta’s, Mimosa Grill, Napa on Providence, Queen City Q, Savannah Red, Upstream, Village Tavern, Vivace and Wolfgang Puck’s. Wells Fargo Center Atrium, 301 S. Tryon St. (free parking after 7 at the Two Wells Fargo Center deck). Tickets: www.charlottetasteofthenation.com.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Dine out, Charlotte, and do good

Locally owned restaurants pitch in to help the hungry through the new Dine Out Charlotte, a spring kind of restaurant week that's offering dinner at more than 30 area places.

April 12-21 (yes, it's a 10-day "week"), you can get three courses for $22 or $32 (depending on the restaurant's price ranges), and $2 of that is donated directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Feed Hungry Kids program, says founder Jeff Ahmadi. The website lets you book tables, and restaurants are still being added to the list, Ahmadi says. Among those on the current list: Blackthorne, Blue, Cafe Monte, Campania, Cantina 1511 (whose ownership includes area folks), City Tavern, Dressler’s, Fiamma, the Harper’s/Mimosa Grill/Upstream siblings, Hot Stone Grill, Maestro Bar and Bistro, Miro, Miyagi’s, Nick’s Steak, Old Stone, Osso, Pisces, Prickly Pear, Red Rocks, Rudy’s, Santé, Senor Tequila, Wooden Vine and Zen Fusion.

Mix drinks, win $5K?

It's branded, but an interesting idea: The National Restaurant Association is inviting professional mixologists to create a cocktail (with a particular vodka) and try to win its newly created "Star of the Bar" title. There's a $5,000 cash prize in the contest, which will happen at the NRA show May 19 in Chicago (and chef/star Tony Bourdain will be a judge, along with mixologist Tony Abou-Ganim). Five of six semifinalists will be chosen by a judges' panel and the sixth by the general public, through online voting April 22-24.
Interested, or know someone who should be? Directions: Design a signature cocktail, using American Harvest Organic Vodka. Create a video no more than 2 minutes long, describing and mixing the drink, then upload to YouTube. Submit online entry form by April 19, including link to video, by going to iwsb.restaurant.org/Star-of-the-Bar-Form.

Fast food: free stuff, cheap stuff

With the reopening of the Midtown Bojangles (fire damage had closed it for several months) comes the chance for diners to enter a drawing to win a free breakfast combo every week for a year. Stop by the place at 1407 E. 3rd St. through April 11 and enter.

And two for tax day:

* McDonald's offers free small "Premium Roast McCafe" coffee all day April 8-15.

* Bruegger's Bagels' "1040 Tax Day Deal": April 12-15, $10.40 buys you 13 bagels and two tubs of cream cheese -- a "deduction" of about $3.50.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Charlotte burgers up -- on TV, that is

The Travel Channel launches its new "Burger Land" April 15. The series, in which host George Motz -- who wrote "Hamburger America" -- ventures across the land to find great burgers, is slated to include The Diamond and Brooks Sandwich House among its highlighted spots. Los Angeles kicks off the series. (North Carolina, according to the Season 1 lineup, gets those two and Duke's in Monroe: Total.)

Bits, crumbs, free seafood

Get a free seafood "pairing" -- that's three jumbo shrimp, a crabcake or bacon-wrapped scallops -- with any 14- or 18-ounce Prime New York strip at the Palm through April 7. 6705 Phillips Place Court; 704-552-7256.

The King's Kitchen hosts a "Unique Appellations Dinner" April 18. In the lineup: pickled asparagus and arugula salad with country ham and Simonnet Febvre St. Bris Sauvignon Blanc; poached salmon with fava beans and J. Lohr Valdigue; and more. $60; 704-375-1990; 129 W. Trade St.