Like all of my travels for 12 Trips in 12 Months, a highlight of my time in Charlotte was exploring the local food scene. I had a little bit harder time finding local food bloggers for this trip, but Iargely used a Fervent Foodie and Off the Eaten Path to guide my restaurant choices for this trip. Read through all of the yum yums that I ate in the Queen City below.
Mimosa Grill — 327 S Tyron Street
Ranked one of the top restaurants in the city, this place was a little too outside of my Greenheart Travel approved meal stipend, which is why I opted for a lunch visit. Located right downtown, this was an easy stop during my conference. The decor is a little stuffy for my taste, but their elevated version of Southwestern tex-mex is tasty. I ordered the ancho rubbed chicken sandwich, fully loaded with avocado, braised tomatoes, aioli and lettuce, served with a delicious side of sweet potato fries. While the sandwich is a total mess, it is delicious so grab a handful of extra napkins and enjoy.
Dandelion Market – 118 W Fifth Street
A small plate restaurant, this is a place where you can keep eating and eating. Their menu is split up into different categories, like sides, meat, vegetarian and fish. I ordered a couple different things, including the caprese salad with fried green tomatoes, the braised lima beans and the fried pickles. But by far the best fish was the butter-pouched scallops served over arugula, macadamia nuts and a pomegranate glaze. The scallops were like little pillows of deliciousness. They were cooked perfectly, well seasoned and paired with the right ingredients to cut their richness.
Cabo Fish Taco — 3201 N Davidson St
Most of my trips this year have been to cities in the South, so it should come as no surprise that I’m totally in a taco binge right now. I made a dinner stop over at Cabo Fish Taco in Noda to try out some of their funky seafood combinations. I ordered two tacos, the BBQ Mahi-Mahi and the Tavarua Tuna. The BBQ Mahi-Mahi had a weird flavor profile that I wasn’t super excited about but the rare seared tuna and wasabi aioli more than made up for it! This taco was so flavorful and unique. Plus with a side of queso, you’ve got a little tex-mex fiesta!
Amelies French Bakery & Cafe — 2424 N Davidson
Recommended to me by a local, this place was the highlight of my Charlotte culinary exploits. Everything about this place was perfection. It is a traditional French bakery with a rock n’ roll art deco decor style and Parisian art. It is huge too! I originally ordered a lime basil macaron and a salted caramel brownie with a lavender lemonade. And everything was so delicious that I got a croissant and a pameire to go! The salted caramel brownie was seriously the best brownie I have ever eaten in my life, and the caramel was so salty and rich. The lavender lemonade was the perfect balance of tart and sweet and the lavender was not overpowering at all. Incredible meal!
Price’s Chicken Coop — 1614 Camden Road
A traditional southern fried chicken joint was undoubtedly going to be on the agenda for this weekend, and my boss Kyle gave me just the place. A hole in the wall located in the middle of Southend, Price’s has been a Charlotte staple since the 1960s. Ranked by Bon Appetite as one of the best friend chicken restaurants in the country, they did not disappoint. Plus their prices are so affordable! I ordered a dark meat sandwich, and was greeted by a perfectly crispy, non greasy, well-seasoned wing and drumstick. With a side of sweet tea, I got the full southern treatment.
Papi Queso — Food truck, various locations through the city
Looking for a decadent and calorie filled lunch on the go? Then Papi Queso is your place. Self-described as a cheesehead, I was pretty excited to try out this gourmet grilled cheese truck. Parked on the Johnson & Wales campus (a school which my sister attends in Denver), I decided to go all out and get the Pig Mac, which is mac and cheese served inside to perfectly browned pieces of bread, with bourbon braised onions and slow roasted green chile pork. This sandwich was incredibly delicious, and if you opt for the housemade pickles on the inside, you’ll be delighted by the well-composed and balanced sandwich. The few sprinkles of sea salt and herbs on top were just the icing on the cake!
Fahrenheit — 222 S Caldwell St
As I mentioned yesterday in the Walking Tour of Uptown post, I spent an evening at the top of Charlotte at the Fahrenheit restaurant. The view was of course incredible, but their modern and upscale take on new American cuisine made it that much more enjoyable. I was there with a few other folks from the PTA conference, so we tried a few different dishes. But the highlight for me was the Mr Fungi pizza. A hand tossed crust was topped with fire roasted mushrooms, chevre goat cheese, mozzerella, roasted garlic and carmelized onions with a sprinkle of fresh rosemary. These are like all of my favorite things, and the creamy garlic and perfectly cooked onions complimented the woody mushroom flavor.
Pike’s Old Fashioned Soda Shop — 1930 Camden Road
It was unseasonably hot in Charlotte during my stay, and with no car I was walking everywhere. So when I stumbled upon this soda shop, I bellied up to the bar for a tasty traditional milkshake. There was a really good selection of different sweet treats, but I settled for a butter pecan milkshake. The ice cream was so creamy and they used fresh local milk to make it even more rich. Served just like when you were a kid, you get a silver mug for the extras!