Saluting Salud

The craft beer scene has exploded in Charlotte, but you don’t have to go to a brewery to get a fresh pour. Most of our local brews can be found in grocery stores, but if you’re looking for a wider selection, venturing over to Salud in NoDa is worth it.

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Bottles, cans and even a bar await you inside the neon green store. You can buy your beer and drink it while still in the store (and then buy another!). The selection goes well beyond local NC beers, although they do carry most of them.

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Creating your own six pack is an option if you’re not looking to get six of the same brews. Watch the prices on the individual beers though, it can add up quickly. The larger bottles can especially be expensive, but mostly because those are your higher octane beers.

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If you’re just looking to hang out, that’s alright, too. Plop down at the bar and order up your choice draft. Or, order a beer and go sit by the windows and play some old school Nintendo.

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Shopping local is the way to go! Buy your beer from Salud or Good Bottle Company and support the little guys.

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Even if you’re not stocking up on beer, it’s worth stopping in Salud and checking out their selection. You’re certain to find something to make your tastebuds happy!

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A cow and a fish had a baby…

Located right by Southpark Mall is Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar. I would say it’s the perfect place to go after a day of shopping, but you have to time it right or you’ll wait forever. If you’re lucky and have a small party, you might be able to find seats at the bar.

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This is one of the only places where you can satisfy both of your cravings, for sushi and burgers; and it works perfectly if you and your partner have different cravings.

IMG_5952The menu is extensive, and even that might be an understatement. You have every choice from edamame to parmesan truffle fries to burgers with jalapeño cream cheese to lamb burgers to your favorite traditional or specialty sushi role and even “burgushi” which is as it sounds, a combination of burgers and sushi.

IMG_5954I tend to get burgers when we go, and usually the biggest one I can find. Our waitress last time recommended ordering the trio of sliders which can be made into any of the specialty burgers (great tip for next time). I LOVE the jalapeño popper show stopper which is full of spice and a 1/2 pound of beefy goodness. Also? The sweet and spicy cucumber side is a MUST!

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My husband is a sushi lover and has it at least once a week. He always ventures out and orders the most creative roll he can find, and this one was no exception.

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Surprisingly, even though they are always slam packed, the service doesn’t suffer. Even when the bar is completely full, your drinks keep coming, and trust me, you want to try a few cocktails or craft beers.

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The bar also extends around to the sushi bar. So fun to sit there and watch all the specialty rolls being created. Not only does the restaurant have indoor seating and lots of bar space, they have a patio area that’s open in the summer and covered and heated in the winter. Cowfish has done a great job with their decor, keeping everything bright and popping.

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I highly recommend checking out this special place, but go for a late lunch. 2:00 PM is a great time and the wait is usually short, if at all. You’ll definitely be met with a delicious meal and fun dining experience!

Come hungry, leave happy [Zada Janes]

I now understand why Zada Janes‘ website says that breakfast is their “forte.” I experienced their breakfast for the first time this morning and wasn’t disappointed. The adorable restaurant stands in Plaza Midwood, just off of Central Ave.

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We arrived shortly after 9 A.M. with a party of three. We had to wait about 25 minutes for a table (they open at 9, clearly people were banging down the door to get in!). We looked around at the David French paintings that are hanging everywhere while we waited for our table.

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Roosters are another favorite in the decor of Zada Janes. I also have to imagine that ECU fans would be rather happy sitting in the purple and gold painted restaurant.

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There are booths, tables and bar seating available. The bar is first come, first serve and a perfect place to grab a cappuccino or espresso.

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Pretty much any caffeinated beverage your heart desires can be made, including pumpkin flavored drinks. Yes, even Zada Janes is on board with pumpkin everything.

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Having no idea about the portion sizes, we each ordered our meals blindly. I chose the South of NO North omelet (similar to a Southwestern Omelet) and added tomatoes and spinach. It also came with cheesy grits and a fluffy biscuit.

IMG_6718Our friend got the Booker T’s East Side Hasher, which consisted of sausage, sweet potatoes and eggs. And cheese. Lots of cheese. Also a fluffy biscuit.

IMG_6715My husband got the East-Westerner, a meatless curry breakfast dish with tofu and veggies. Biscuit included.

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Laughably, we each ate just over half of our dishes. They were gigantic portions and could easily be shared. That being said, if I went and was starving, I could have probably devoured it. Or at least more of it. Everything was absolutely delicious and pretty fast considering how busy they were. When we left, there were at least 10 people waiting on tables.

I highly recommend checking out this local spot for breakfast, especially if you have guests in from out of town. It’s a great way to show them Charlotte and fill them up while you’re at it. We’ll definitely go back (as soon as we work up our appetites again!).

BBQ at the Q

Queen City Q is one of Charlotte’s newest barbeque spots. Located off 7th street, with a convenient parking deck attached. The light rail also runs right beside of the restaurant so if you don’t need to drive, that’s an excellent choice for transportation.

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They have all the delicious choices of most BBQ places, including mac n’ cheese, collards, fried okra and two types of slaw. The barbeque is good, as is the Cuban sandwich and the wings. You really can’t go wrong with your choices. (I was so excited to eat that I forgot to take a picture before digging in!).

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They also have a wide selection of beers, including many local craft beers. Their draft selection is extensive and provides options for any taste…. from jalapeno beers to pumpkin to peach to chocolate stouts. Flights are a good option too, you can try 4 oz. pours for a small price to determine which one you’d like to have in a pint.

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There are two bars in the place, along with high top tables in the bar area, so there’s plenty of seating if you’re looking to hang out or watch a game. The dining area is also fairly large, but requires being seated by a hostess, and on certain nights, you may encounter a wait (such as concerts or sporting events).

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It can be a little loud in the restaurant, but is otherwise family friendly.

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Overall, it has a great atmosphere. The food is quick and good, and most of the time the service matches. Compared to local staple Mac’s Speed Shop, I’d personally say it falls below but is definitely a quality place to go. I highly recommend adding it to your bucket list in Charlotte. And here’s a tip, if you’re needing your parking validated while going uptown, it’s the perfect place to start out!

 

What’s all the buzz about?

On Saturday, we ventured to Time Warner Cable arena to watch the Charlotte Hornets face off against the Memphis Grizzlies. The Hornets were Charlotte’s team from 1988-2002 and then left for New Orleans. The Bobcats filled in until last season, when the decision was made to bring back the buzz, in big part to Michael Jordan (thanks, MJ!).

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On Saturday, the first 10,000 fans received Hugo the Hornet bobble heads, so the line was quite long (and the air was quite cold!). The arena was much more packed than it used to be for Bobcats games, but still wasn’t full. I’m sure it will be when we play Cleveland and LeBron visits.

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Everywhere you looked you could find Hornets memorabilia or gear, as well as purple and teal people on stilts, a DJ or “honey bees” signing photos or calendars.

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It’s the perfect set up if you have young kids who need some entertainment and can’t sit still through a two-hour game.

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The team store is packed on game days. Supposedly it’s being moved to make for a better user experience and traffic flow. On Saturday it was one out, one in. That being said, the line moved pretty fast but the store itself was crowded and it was difficult to look around. I did manage to snag a shirt from one of the smaller merchandise booths.

IMG_6455Our first stop was the Craft Beer Garden which is sponsored by Dandelion Market. They serve mostly local brews, which is awesome since we have so many wonderful breweries here in Charlotte.

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If you’re not interested in craft beer, you can find domestic beer in about a million other spots in the stadium. The court has a beautiful new honeycomb design. Huge monitors project the game so folks in the upper levels can see clearly if the court is too far away. There’s not really a bad seat in the house.

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There are still tickets available for plenty of games, so you can still visit Buzz City and watch the Hornets in their inaugural season back in Charlotte. IMG_6458

While the Hornets didn’t win their game on Saturday, they did have a miraculous comeback during their first game from a 24-point deficit and won in overtime with a shot by Kemba Walker. There’s guaranteed to be plenty more of that action this season. I can’t wait to see what this team does throughout this first season back. Welcome back, Hornets, welcome back.