It's amazing the difference a few years can make.
A little over three years ago, I had a mini break-down in the Charlotte Midtown Target parking lot. I had just moved into my new apartment in Charlotte, and my mom and sister were about to leave. I didn't know my roommates very well, and Adam had just been assigned to a six-month project in New York.
"I'm going to be all alone," I sobbed, wallowing in my little pity party and fear of change.
I think about that little episode every time I walk up those steps at Target, but now the memory just makes me smile. Those two roommates became good friends. Adam became my husband. Charlotte became my home.
Now that Adam and I are faced with our last month in Charlotte, we are already pining for the city that we have come to love. Some moments I feel overwhelmed with fear of yet another change, yet, as I said to my friend Sarah this weekend, at this point in my life, though the idea of change is scary, the idea of not changing is scarier.
Adam and I are soaking up as much of Charlotte as we can in our last days here, including our favorite places to eat. I thought it would be fun to share a few of them with you all.
Of course, I must first add the caveat that I am no real restaurant expert, nor did I receive any compensation for listing these places. Also, this is not an expansive list of the best restaurants or dishes in Charlotte; it's just a list of our favorites. Some of them are places you'd expect. Others are off the beaten path. All of them are delicious.
Roasted Chicken at Pio Pio
This traditional Colombian restaurant is famous for their rotisserie chicken. It's unassuming exterior in a strip mall made me overlook it at first, but it's well known for having some of the best chicken in Charlotte. They earned major points with me by serving almost an entire avocado with the meal.
Veggie Burger and Bison Burger at Bad Daddy's
Bad Daddy's is in walking distance to us, and we take advantage of that fact on a regular basis. Everything there is good, but my particular favorite is the black bean burger. It's deliciousness most likely stems from the fact that is is deep-fried, (also negating any health-value it might have over a regular burger) and believe me when I tell you it is the best veggie burger you will ever eat. Adam raves about the bison burger, but you can't really make a bad choice on their menu.
Subz Char Chandi (Vegetables in Coconut-Ginger Almond Sauce) at Copper
Copper is our equivalent of "fancy" Indian. They have traditional dishes as well as more modern spins on Indian fare. I love the fact that it's located in an old historic home on East Boulevard.
Enchilades Verdes at Three Amigos
Three Amigos is authentic Mexican, and you can see that because Mexican natives still go there. They have several different kinds of enchiladas, but the mild verde sauce is our favorite.
Cary Tom Ga Dau Hu (Curry Sauce with onion and sweet potato over rice) at Ben Thanh
Ben Thanh has a special place in my heart because it is located so close to my school. I first went there on a teacher work day with some of the other ESL teachers. This is an authentic Vietnamese restaurant. There may or may not be other English-speaking people in the restaurant with you, but you won't care because the food is so good. Their spring rolls are amazing as well.
Croque Madame at Lulu's
Lulu's is one of my favorite brunch spots in Charlotte. They serve traditional French food at reasonable prices, and the interior is as cute as the name.
Tapas at Soul
I feel very hip when I eat at soul because it's in the artsy area of Plaza Midwood. It's located directly above an art gallery that occasionally features nude models. They also have a dancing drag queen at brunch on the first Sunday of the month?? I haven't experienced that yet, but I've heard it's pretty interesting.
Homemade Pop-Tart at Sunflour Baking Company
Sunflour is my favorite local coffee and bakery. I love their cappuccino's and all of their baked goods, though the homemade Pop-Tarts are a must given my history with them.
Sushi at Cowfish
Cowfish is fun, hip place to take friends. The menu is colossal and featues all kinds of specialty rolls, traditional rolls, and even make-your own rolls. They also have a large selection of burgers as well as "burgushi," which is sushi made with hamburger. It sounds strange, but tastes amazing, I promise.
Au Gratin Potatoes at Roosters
I could write an entire post about these potatoes. They are hands down the best au gratin potatoes I have ever eaten. Adam and I order them every time we go. I'm pretty sure the only ingredients are butter, cheese, and heavy cream, but they are oh so worth it. Their baked chicken and pasta dishes are delicious too, but if you go you HAVE to order the potatoes. Trust me.
Chicken & red velvet waffles at Nana's
I only had a bite of these red velvet waffles, as I was not smart enough to order them at the time, but that one bite convinced me to put them on the list. I can't advocate for eating the chicken and waffles together, but I can say that if you order the dish you won't regret it.
Pad Thai at Basil
I wish I could say that I've tried different items at Basil, but the pad thai is so good that I order it every single time. The traditional version comes with chicken and shrimp, but I order mine with broccoli and tofu. The serving is enough for about three people, but I never complain about leftovers.
Chicken Tagine at Blue
I've written about my love for Moroccan food before, and Blue was the original inspiration. Blue is probably our favorite restaurant in Charlotte. It's definitely a special occasion kind of place because of the price. It's special to me because my friend Tori threw a surprise party for me there last year.
Cupakes at Bar Cocoa
Bar Cocoa is located in the Ritz Carlton hotel in uptown. It's a fun place to go with friends after dinner. I'm a big fan of ordering several different kinds of cupcakes and sharing them.
Barbecue and Banana Pudding at Mac's
Adam is originally from Kansas City, so it's not surprising that barbecue is his favorite food. Therefore, if he likes a barbecue place, you know it's good. Mac's happens to be his favorite barbecue place in Charlotte. I'm not a huge meat eater, but I LOVE Mac's banana pudding. No surprises there.
Thanks for indulging me in this post! I'll be back with another recipe next week.