Charlotte has some of the best restaurants in the country to eat at whether it’s southern comfort food, celebrity chef restaurants, or international cuisine. So my big question is always, “What about the best place to eat dessert?” I happen to have to huge sweet tooth and after an incredible savory meal I want something that is going to end the night off right. Most restaurants have a dessert menu but not all have a GREAT dessert menu. Here is my list of the top 5 Best Desserts in the City for the next time you’re craving something sweet.
1) 1) Crave Dessert Bar - Bailey’s Bread Pudding
Crave does happen to be known for their desserts, but this one “takes the cake” if you will. Their decadent Bailey’s® Irish cream, artisan bread with brandy caramel bread pudding is absolutely to die for. I am a huge fan of bread pudding but the reason this is one of the best desserts in the city is its perfect flavoring to pair with a gorgeous cocktail. You can’t end the night on just dessert, adding a sweet cocktail to the mix really boosts your endorphins and your night will get that much better. Trust me.
2) 2) George’s Brasserie – Vanilla Panna Cotta
This one was difficult for me to choose between their classic Crème Brûlée and the Panna cotta because I LOVE Crème Brûlée. The reason George’s Panna Cotta trumped the Brûlée for me was their addition of passion fruit curd, blueberry compote, and brown sugar wafer. The flavors are killer! It’s a pure explosion of sweet, tart, creamy and crunchy. Everything you could ask for in a classic French dessert. George’s also features great French wine and after dinner liquors that will pair perfectly for a night cap.
3) 3) Amelie’s French Bakery – Salted Caramel Brownie
For those of you who have lived in Charlotte for over a month have been to Amelie’s at least once. The original location in NODA is 24 hours and essential to everyday life. Their colorful and delicious display case encompasses some of the best handmade desserts in Charlotte, but for me the Salted Caramel Brownie is a go-to classic during a craving. Of course their macaroons are no match in the scale but give me a rich dark chocolate brownie with a crunchy buttery crust, a sweet caramelized top, and a touch of salt to tame the taste buds and I’m in heaven.
4) 4) Cupcake Delirium – Velvet Bottom Cupcake
For the cupcake lovers of the world, Cupcake Delirium food truck is honestly the best of the best. Don’t believe me? Ask the people who literally voted it “Best of the Best!” Their handmade, love infused cupcakes make this food truck one to be sought after. Once you've located where this truck is going to be, buy the Velvet Bottom Cupcake. Red velvet fans may faint over the gooey amazingness that is this cupcake. It features the red velvet cupcake with a chocolate chip cheesecake center. With plenty of other options to choose from after you buy and engulf this cupcake, your taste buds will never get bored.
5) 5) Pike’s Soda Shop – The Black Cow
This iconic diner encompasses the feeling of a classic American Diner with great food and even better milkshakes. Located in the heart of South End, when you enter Pike’s Soda Shop you feel like you’re taken back to a better, simpler life where everyone would hang out at the Soda Shop and listen to the juke box. The feeling isn't even the best part about being there, it’s their Black Cow Ice Cream Float. Nothing makes me feel more like a kid again than an ice cream float and this one is perfect for sharing a straw with your dream boat guy or gal. The drink features root beer syrup layered between three scoops of vanilla ice cream and soda water and takes more than one person to drink. No need to have an excuse to come here, any time of day is perfect for an Ice Cream Float!
Rí Rá Charlotte will hold a Wine and Small Plate Tasting on the 8th August 2014 from 6pm. It will be a special tasting of wine from the Irish owned Concannon vineyard, located along California’s central coast. The tasting will comprise several different wines from the region paired with some delicious small plates developed to compliment these wines, capping the evening off with a tasting of Concannon Irish Whiskey.
The Concannon Winery, the first ever Irish -American winery, was built by James Concannon in 1865, when he sailed from the rocky coast of Ireland’s Aran Islands for America’s fertile shores in search of a better life. Nearly 150 years later, his family returned to Ireland to craft Concannon Irish Whiskey. They teamed up with Ireland’s Cooley’s Distillery to craft this special whiskey which is distilled then aged for a minimum of 4 years and finished in Concannon’ s wine casks to impart rich and complex flavors. Places for this tasting are limited and tickets can be purchased from the pub.
Rí Rá Charlotte is known for its live music and the month of August has a great lineup including Jared Allen, Scot Moody Band, Mr. Pink Duo, Crash Box, Matt Stratfors, Wicked Powers, 19th Street Band, Heroes At Last and Uphonik. Entertainment continues throughout the week with the Jettison 5 on Thursdays and Sundays host an Open Mic Night.
One of my favorite places to visit in Southend is the Atherton Mill Market. Known for its organic spread of local businesses, Atherton Mill Market is a great way to spend a Saturday. Not only is it great for the Southend community, it’s a community within its own walls.Whether purchasing produce or dry goods, this Farmer’s Market is easy to get to, reasonably priced, and has a large array of options.
This past Saturday, after the Fireman’s Pancake Breakfast, the market celebrated Queen City Pantry’s one year anniversary. Tasty treats such as pulled pork sliders were shared. For those of you who haven’t been, Queen City Pantry sells dry goods from Anson Mills, including their popcorn, sea island peas and several different grains.
New and old vendors come together, (such as my personal favorite because of their “Eat Pasta, Run Fasta slogan) Pasta and Provisions, on the weekends to offer a family friendly market. Carolina Artisan offers loaves and generous samples of their famous line of sourdough-based bread. Not Just Coffee, served both at Atherton and the 7th Street Market in Uptown, takes their coffee seriously. Watch them perform a work of art with their milk foam on top of a latte. You almost don’t want to drink it!
We’ve moved things around, so if you show up at the market and don’t find what you are looking for, just ask! With more seating (indoors and out, family and dog friendly areas, the Atherton Mill is something you have to explore.
No one likes that middle of the night text message begging for you to come over but everyone likes the hookup phone call for fast and amazing food delivery. Foodie call is a convenient way to get the food you actual want delivered straight to your door and makes it incredibly easy to order. The best part is you don’t have to settle for just pizza and lo mein, you can find a huge list of participating restaurants from Thai to Italian and Mexican to American food.
Once you’re ready to make that foodie call you can go online to www.makeafoodiecall.com and order within your zip code, it’s as easy as that! Want food from more than one restaurant? No problem! They will get your food for you and bring it just in time to fork.
I’m sure you’re reading this right now and starting to get hungry, thankfully their drivers deliver Sunday-Thursday from 11am – 9:30pm and Friday-Saturday from 11am – 10pm. And if you know you’ll need a big order catered afterhours just give them 48 hours notice and make that order over $150.
So whatever the reason you don’t want to go out or you don’t want to cook, make a foodie call and get a fresh amazing meal delivered right to your door.
There is a consensus around the world that no one likes Mondays. It's the day of the week that ruins the weekend you had and it pops up as if out of no where with meetings and conference calls you some how forgot you had. Well recently I had a revelation to make my Monday's the best day of the week (after the weekend of course) by making them themed.
This Monday's theme is based on the elusive Mason Jar for the wonders it has brought the world. Although this jar has been known mostly for preserving jams and fruits, it is now a well known accent to any good drink. Who isn't impressed by a cocktail in a mason jar? Of course the drink you fill the jar with does not have to be a cocktail but my perfect Monday has a cocktail hiding in there somewhere.
Here is a recipe for you to try at home and either impress friends, impress yourself, or just take selfies with your new cocktail skills.
Ingredients (makes a few drinks!)
1 cup of fresh raspberries or frozen
4 bottles of corona (12oz) beer, chilled
1 container frozen raspberry lemonade concentrate, thawed or pink lemonade
1/2 cup Skyy Vodka
Garnish: lemon slices, or raspberries.
In a large container stir together the first 4 ingredients. Serve over ice.
Garnish with raspberries.
To make ahead, stir together lemonade concentrate and vodka in a large container. Stir in raspberries and beer just before serving. Garnish, if desired.
I can write an ode to Heist Brewery. They offer their own beer, beer cocktails, and master mixology by the bartenders. It’s always a relaxed atmosphere, and they have a lot of seating options for big parties. They frequently change their small batches and explore different elements and flavors. Heist takes the change at making some experimental beers. All in all the beer and their new tapas menu makes them a unique microbrew gastropub in artsy NoDa.
My personal favorite feature of Heist is their Sunday Brunch. A big projector plays the Sunday NFL games, along with a variety of TVs. With $10 bottomless mimosas and a $16 all you can eat buffet, where can you go wrong? Aside from having traditional breakfast options like biscuits and gravy, eggs, and pancakes, Heist takes it a step further. They offer grilled pizzas, wings, an assortment of desserts, and twists on traditional breakfast options. There is a different featured protein each week. This can range anywhere from fried catfish to bacon wrapped meatloaf. They also have a waffle station, oyster bar, flat breads, fruit, frittatas, all based on the seasons. The Butterfinger French Toast and Rum Soaked Grilled Pineapple are unreal. Stefan the Bartender is true cocktail master.
Wear your elastic pants and get over to Heist for brunch. Score a spot on the patio or closest to the buffet. You’ll be happy you did!