Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Harvest Moon Grille closing, new concept on way

Harvest Moon Grille's last day of operations will be New Year's Day, consultant Craig Spitzer confirmed today. Plans call for the Dunhill Hotel uptown, where the restaurant is housed, to open a new concept in the space Feb. 1, with chef Chris Coleman, recently hired as culinary director for the hotel, at the helm.

You can get a sneak peek at what sorts of dishes the new place might offer at the Dunhill's bar, which will stay open throughout, serving a limited food menu. Coleman, formerly with the McNinch House, has said he wants to bring a fine-dining edge to the local/regional products the Moon has specialized in since opening in 2010.

In-house guests will be served breakfast in the second-floor Asbury Room, and room service will continue to be offered while the restaurant is closed. The name of the new spot is still being discussed, and, said Spitzer, "Chef Coleman is working on his own vision for the space ... We absolutely will continue to support and work with the local/regional network of farmers."

Chef Cassie Parsons, who left Harvest Moon in August (she'd opened it after beginning with a food truck with that name), said her new venture, farmer*baker*sausagemaker in Lincolnton, should open in March.

The Dunhill: 237 N. Tryon St.; 704-332-4141.

Friday, November 22, 2013

New bistro now open uptown

Tanner's Bistro & Lounge is now open in the former Kalu spot at 6th and Caldwell streets uptown. Paul Manley of Damian Dining, which launched the place, said he's pleased they could hire Eric Litaker as executive chef for this, a "New American bistro with Asian accents." Diners might remember Litaker from his work at the defunct Providence Cafe.

Dinner and late-night dining are offered now, with a lineup ranging from dumplings, burgers and sandwiches, to entrees such as pork tenderloin wrapped in pork belly and roasted, with charred okra and forbidden rice, and sorghum-glazed salmon with pickled vegetables and crisp house rice cake. Entrees run about $16 to $34. Look for lunch in the new year. (Photo from the website.)

505 E. 6th St.; 980-237-3134;

Thursday, November 21, 2013

New in Waxhaw: Heritage

Chef Paul Verica's new Heritage Food & Drink opened this week, at 201 W. South Main St. in Waxhaw.

Here, the former chef at the private Club at Longview, with partners, aims to focus on farm-to-table fare "with Southern undertones," he's said. A look at the menu is here. I'm looking forward to "Tim's fish with veggies and stuff" and pork belly with bourbon, grits and collards. (Above, from the place's Facebook page, is an appetizer of sweet potato chips with spiced vanilla-bourbon "fluff.")


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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Wednesday's Big Question

Women chefs: Discuss.

As in, are there too few? Just not known? Drowning in a good-old-boy world? Ignored by big-city media? Ignored by all media? Covered about right? A non-issue?

Time's Nov. 18 "The Gods of Food" cover has spawned all sorts of feedback; possibly my favorite standing woman-chef-recognition program is Amanda Cohen's of Dirt Candy in NYC: Some of her "Lady Chef Stampede" is here.

The gist: Time listed not a single woman chef in its pantheon -- but did list four women who do other things. No women in the family tree graphic below also led to comments. (The NYT moderated a nice debate here, and Slate sums lots of it up here.)

The Time story begins "Man doesn't live by Bread alone," which some might say is an oh-so-subtle cue as to which gender is in dominant here; others (like the editor, to Eater) might insist this is just "harsh reality."

Awards-wise, interestingly, last week's James Beard Foundation gala was subtitled "Women in Whites," honoring "the accomplishments of women in our industry." Yet JBF awards don't often go to women. (I'll do the math in a bit; Food & Wine's "Best New Chefs," usually 10 every year (sometimes duos), have named 16 since 2000.)

Charlotte's had women chefs of prominence for years -- think way back to Helen Scruggs, Ellen Davis (now an owner) and Catherine Rabb (now at JW), then forward to Cassie Parsons and Alyssa Gorelick and Juli Luna. Add the restaurateurs -- Jill Marcus and Karen Teed, Bonnie Warford and Tricia Maddrey, Fran Scibelli, Cathy Coulter and Susie Peck for instance -- and then add ones that might not spring to mind quickly but are memorable: Joanie Babcock, Martine Johnson and Erin McManus, for instance, and food truck females Kelli Crisan and 'Emma Merisier. These are a quick thought -- who am I missing right off the bat?

What say you on this topic?

(WFAE's "Charlotte Talks" plans a show about this in December, if you're the sort who likes to say what you think aloud, on-air.)

Time's family-tree chef graphic (click to enlarge, then hit the plus sign):

UPDATE: What'll be open for Thanksgiving?

5Church offers a four-course Thanksgiving meal 2-10 p.m. for $37 ($14 for kids), and a limited a la carte menu will also be available that day. Among the offerings: smoked ham, pan-seared scallops and organic roasted turkey breast and turkey leg confit. Corner of 5th and Church streets; 704-919-1322;

The Liberty hosts its third annual Thanksgiving dinner 11 a.m.-6 p.m. for $29.95 per person, with a three-course menu that includes heritage turkey, prime rib, Duroc pork, Scottish salmon and more. 1812 South Blvd.; 704-332-8830; the menu's here.

Harper’s at SouthPark will serve a traditional spread 11 a.m.-4 p.m., with turkey, ham and prime rib, for $24 ($10 for kids younger than 10). 6518 Fairview Road; 704-366-6612; menu here.

Blue will be open for Turkey Day brunch 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., with carving stations of spiral sliced glazed ham and roasted turkey; Moroccan chicken salad; smoked salmon; chicken tagine; and an array of housemade desserts. $39.95 for adults, $14.95 kids 6-12 (5 and younger free); reservations: 704-927-2583. Hearst Tower at College and 5th streets.

The Capital Grille will be open, serving both a special of slow-roasted turkey with sides and its regular dinner menu. 201 N. Tryon St.; 704-348-1400.

Passion8 will serve 2-7 p.m.; the meal is $48, with kids 10 and younger free. 803-802-7455; 3415 Highway 51 N, Fort Mill. Sibling American Cafe (3695 Foothills Way, in the Clarion Hotel, Fort Mill) will also serve that day, with the same pricing. 803-548-1158.

Chef Patty Greene and culinary director Chris Coleman devised "Emma Sue’s Blue Ridge Thanksgiving Dinner" for Harvest Moon Grille, which will be served family-style in two seatings, at 2 and 4 p.m. (Emma Sue is Greene's mom.) Among the offerings: oven-roasted Baucom's Best turkey; cider-brined and smoked ham; collards with house-cured bacon; and more. $39.99 for adults, $19.99 children 10 and younger. The restaurant will also serve breakfast that morning until 10:30 a.m. In the Dunhill Hotel, 235 N. Tryon St.; 704-342-1193.

Lulu will be open 11 a.m.-4 p.m., with its regular dinner menu and a fixed-price meal that's three courses (with oven-roasted turkey and sides as the entree) for $30 ($15 for kids 12 and younger). Reservations: 704-376-2242; 1911 Central Ave.

Both Red Rocks Cafes will offer brunch buffet 11 a.m.-8 p.m. (that's the last seating time), by reservation only -- and the menus will differ a bit (but both will have turkey and prime rib; see for details). $27 adults, $13 children. Birkdale Village in Huntersville: 704-892-9999; Strawberry Hill, 4223 Providence Road; 704-364-0402.

Brunch at the Ballantyne Hotel & Lodge will be noon-4 p.m., with carving stations and live entertainment. $65, $32 for children 5-12, free for children 4 and younger. Private dining rooms are available for groups. At Gallery, the lodge's restaurant (that's it, above, in its newly renovated form), the regular menu plus a traditional turkey dinner special will be offered (reservations required): 704-248-4100; 10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway.

Monday, November 18, 2013

More trendwatching for '14

Andrew Freeman & Co. calls its trend report "Blurred Lines" (then again, its press materials also mention its "trendologists"):


Thursday, November 14, 2013

Trending: Sour cocktails, 'family values'?

Technomic, a national consulting and research firm for the food industry, predicts the top 10 trends in 2014. Which thrill you? Which disgust you? Which are ... meh?

1. Convince me it’s real: Menus describing local sources, restaurants being "true to place," as in "if the restaurant positions itself as authentically Italian, for instance, it must use ingredients sourced from Italy and/or prepared using authentic Italian methods."

2. Pushing the parameters of proteins: Lots of chicken, more pork, lamb and game, egg and vegetarian alternatives, from mushrooms to beans to soy-based products. (Not sure what's trendy here, but ... it's their contention.)

3. Return of the carbs: Ramen to buckwheat noodles to other-ingredient pastas; rice bowls, flatbreads, waffles!

4. Creamy, cheesy, high-fat goodness: As backlash to healthier eating, more cheese melts "and oddities like doughnut-based sandwiches."

5. Pucker up: Pickled, fermented and sour foods, from kimchi to sour cocktails in reaction to "last year's candy-sweet drinks."

6. Day for night: "Consumers are less likely to eat according to a three-square-meals schedule; they nosh, skip meals, eat breakfast for dinner and vice versa." So restaurants are doing innovative breakfast items and serving them all day, etc.

7. Every daypart is a snack daypart: "The snacking lifestyle goes mainstream" so customers look for snack-size handhelds, car-friendly packaging, sharing dishes and flights.

8. On tap: Tap technology for cold-brewed coffee, sodas, wines and more.

9. For fast service, bring your own device: Ordering in advance and in the restaurant using your mobile device.

10. Everything is political: "Consciously or unconsciously, (customers) will gravitate to concepts that share their worldview, and some restaurants will promote this cultural identification."

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Beaujolais on the way

Celebrate the first grape harvests of the year -- aka "Les premières vendanges" -- by tasting the 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau and other wines from the Beaujolais region 6-9 p.m. Nov. 21 at Foundation For The Carolinas' Luski Gallery. Charlotte is one of 16 cities in the United States that is "an official Beaujolais city" as recognized by the Union Interprofessionelle des Vins du Beaujolais. Also on hand: French food from Santé and a dessert demo, plus a silent auction, raffles, live jazz and other entertainment (fencing! ballroom dancing!). $30, increasing to $35 after Nov. 15 ($25 for members of the Charlotte International Cabinet and Alliance Française; $60 for VIP tickets). 220 N. Tryon St.; 704-336-2174 or, or

Monday, November 11, 2013

Bits, Blue and a BOGO

As final exams approach, Chipotle (multiple locations) has an offer: Bring your student ID into any N.C. Chipotle and get BOGO (buy one get one) on burritos, bowls, tacos or salads 6-10 p.m. Nov. 12.

"Rhapsody at Blue" happens Nov. 17: It's a five-course dinner with wine and music "pairings" from Charlotte Symphony musicians, plus a silent auction, for $150. Among the courses: seared jumbo scallops over pumpkin risotto with 2011 Benziger Sonoma County Chardonnay and Andrew Fierova, French horn; and Wagyu ribeye roasted with a pepper crust and savory goat cheese and mushroom bread pudding, with 2009 St. Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon and both Elizabeth Rennie, soprano, and Leo Soto, marimba. 206 N. College St. in the Hearst Tower; phone reservations to Sara Gibson at 704-714-5108.

Sullivan’s Steakhouse has a new lunch menu, with more quicker, lighter dishes, including sandwiches also available as lettuce wraps and a fixed-price meal ($18.50) called The Mixer. Among the new are an Asian Crunch salad (arugula, Napa cabbage, mango), lobster roll on buttered brioche bun and pulled chipotle chicken tacos. The Mixer is a choice of starter, entree and side from a lineup that includes the wedge salad, shrimp and lobster bisque, and porcini-shallot-crusted strip steak. 1928 South Blvd.; 704-335-8228.

Friday, November 8, 2013

UPDATED: Specials for veterans

On Nov. 10 (the Sunday before Veteran's Day), McCormick & Schmick’s honors U.S. military veterans with a complimentary lunch or dinner entrée from a special menu including fried shrimp, salmon, fish and chips, beef medallions and more. Verification of service is required. 200 S. Tryon St. and 4335 Barclay Downs Drive in Charlotte.

On Veteran’s Day itself, Nov. 11, FATZ Cafe (multiple locations) will serve a free entree to veterans and active duty military personnel: They can order any item up to $15 from the full menu. No purchase is required; show proof of service when ordering.

BLT Steak offers any veteran or member of the active military a 50 percent discount off the total check for parties of one or two, or a 25 percent discount for parties of three or more. 201 E. Trade St.; 704-972-4350.

On The Border (multiple locations) offers veterans and active military a free "Create Your Own Combo" feature.

Shoney's (multiple locations) will give a free All-American Burger to all veterans and troops on that day.

Offers require proof of military service.

And a recap: Brazilian grill Chima offers a buy-one-get-one-free offer on its rodizio (the all-you-can-eat meal) to veterans and active military with appropriate ID on both Nov. 11 and 12. 139 S. Tryon St.; 704-601-4141.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Wine dinners

Bonterra hosts an Italian wine dinner Nov. 13, with winemaker Michele Satta on hand. Satta is known for Super Tuscan varietals and Sangiovese, from the coastal region around Bolgheri. On the menu by Bonterra chef Bill Schutz: pan-roasted N.C. grouper with caramelized fennel with 2011 Costa di Giulia DOC (Vermentino/Sauvignon); fire-roasted duck breast risotto with red-wine-braised grapes and 2011 Bolgheri Rosso DOC (Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Sangiovese, Teraldego); rack of lamb with glazed celery root with 2006 Cavaliere (Sangiovese) and 2005 Castagni (Cabernet Sauvignon); and more. $95; the restaurant is at 1829 Cleveland Ave.; reservations: 704-332-9910.

The Palm does a Revana & Alexana Vineyards dinner Nov. 15, with five wines and three courses. Among the offerings: baby arugula, radicchio, Belgian endive and poached Anjou pears with goat cheese and 2011 Alexana Riesling, Revana Vineyard; choice of braised beef short rib or pan-roasted salmon fillet with 2011 Alexana Dundee Hills Pinot Noir, Revana Vineyard, and 2010 Alexana Pinot Noir, Shea Vineyard; and more. $125; 6705 Phillips Place; reservations: 704-552-7450 or

Southside -- mid Charlotte

What was once Andrew Blair's (then, briefly, El Camino) becomes Southside, a lounge open on Friday and Saturday nights and used as a private-event space during the week. Andy Henson says the place caters to young professionals and hopes "to fill the void of upscale nightlife that exists outside of downtown Charlotte."
House cocktails -- including the Southside version of the South Side, traditionally made with gin, mint and citrus -- are on hand, along with a bar menu focusing on comfort foods for sharing, such as mac and cheese, truffle fries and flatbreads. 1600 Montford Drive; 704-525-8282.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nan and Byron's opens at last

Nan and Byron's opens to the public Nov. 7, with opening specials through Nov. 9. Sibling to 5Church and taking the spot of the former Vinnie's Southside Sardine in South End at 1714 South Blvd., the place serves what owners call "traditional American food" and aims to be family friendly.

Look for meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken roasted with Peruvian spices (hey, we're not begrudging a few twists on the theme, are we?) and lamb stew pie, plus a children's menu and a "handcrafted cocktail" lineup, from Farmhouse Lemonade to "G'night Moon," a moonshine drink.

The name? From the iconic "American Gothic" by Grant Wood, the restaurant took the names of his models: Nan, Wood's sister, and Byron, his -- wait for it -- dentist.

Menus are here, and the Facebook page (from which the photo above comes) here. 980-224-7492.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Chicago chef Charlie Trotter found dead

The Chicago Tribune reports iconic chef Charlie Trotter, 54, was found dead in his home this morning. Known as a talented and detailed, tough leader who was both generous (he was named the James Beard Foundation's humanitarian of the year in 2012) and volatile, he closed his Charlie Trotter's restaurant last year after 25 years in business, saying he would pursue a master's in philosophy at the University of Chicago. (As a chef, he was self-taught.)

Accolades are arriving from Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel to chef friends, and Twitter posts include links to stories of Trotter adventures and well-loved quotes. An autopsy is set for Wednesday, the Tribune reported.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

'Cue tradition revered and served at Midwood

Sam Jones from Skylight Inn in Ayden, a third-generation pitmaster, heads to Midwood Smokehouse to help with a traditional whole hog barbecue dinner with all the trimmings Nov. 20. Jones is the grandson of legendary Skylight founder Pete Jones. He'll work with Midwood pitmaster Matt Barry on a three-course dinner with beers from NoDa Brewing Company. A portion of the proceeds -- tickets are $35 -- will benefit the Southern Foodways Alliance. On the menu: pimento cheese and smoked jalapeno dip, house salad, whole hog 'cue with sides, apple cobbler.

Reservations: 704-295-4227; 1401 Central Ave.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Pop up, speak easy

Nov. 2, the Frock Shop hosts a pop-up speakeasy by Haunt Bar -- which means cocktails, though there'll be beer and wine, too, along with food from Letty's and FuManChu CupCakes. Tickets are $25 (admission plus two drinks) and $10 (for the non-alcohol-interested, giving you admission and two non-booze beverages). "Get spiffy with your glad rags" is the dress code (!) and there'll be live ragtime. Tickets here.