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Dinner with a 9-month-old in downtown Roanoke

We'll be staying in Roanoke for a night this coming weekend and are looking for a place that serves good food, but will also be suitable to bring our 9-month-old son. We're staying downtown, so somewhere in walking distance would be preferable.

Aug 03, 2015
ickymettle in Mid-Atlantic

Asheville in October

Do not dine at the hotel. I'm sure this will be echoed many times. It is way too pricey for what you get and there are so many better options in Asheville. It would be ahuge waste to eat there instead of one of Asheville's better options.

Now people's definitions of "high end" may vary. Asheville is a very casual place, so what is high end by Asheville standards would not be considered high end by other cities' standards. That said, there is some excellent food. There are plenty of places discussed on other threads, but here is a quick rundown of some of the best spots:

The Admiral-- There is nothing about this place that looks "high end," but the food is incredible and the service is very good. Perhaps the best restaurant in Asheville in terms of quality of food. I enjoy its sort of divey atmosphere.

The Bull & Beggar-- I've been here during my last two visits to Asheville and it may be my second favorite spot after The Admiral. Cozy spot with an interesting menu.

Curate-- Traditional tapas made by a chef who may be Asheville's most nationally recognized chef (Katie Button). She should know what she is doing, as she got her start at elBulli in Spain. She has another restaurant/bar called Nightbell which has gotten rave reviews. I have not been there yet, however.

Zambra-- Tapas. There is a traditional tapas menu and a "specials" menu. The "specials' menu is extensive and I highly recommend going with that if you eat there (you can order off of both menus, but the "specials" are what make this place). It has some adventurous items that are almost always delicious.

Limones-- Inventive southwestern/Mexican-inspired dishes in a cozy setting.

Table-- I know I've called a lot Asheville Restaurants "cozy," but they just are, including this place. Tasty farm-to-fork food.

Rezaz-- Mediterranean cuisine.

Bouchon-- French bistro.

The Junction-- Delicious farm-to-fork food and some amazing cocktails. (Many of the restaurants listed here serve amazing cocktails, but I think The Junction may serve the best.)

Cucina 24-- Italian cuisine.

Rhubard-- This is a place that a lot of people were excited about, and it has gotten some mixed reviews here. I ate there once over a year ago. I thought it was good, but not great. However, I saw enough potential to at least list it here. So if the menu looks good to you, it could be an option.

Posana-- I have only been here for brunch, but enjoyed it very much.

As I said above, Asheville is very casual, so no need to get dressed up to go out. Enjoy it for what it is.

Asheville Suggestions...what's your top 7

Here are 10:

Bull & Beggar
The Junction
Cucina 24

May 25, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville--Lingering Questions for June trip

I just want to add that I totally agree with miss piggy about Curate and Zambra. They are completely different in every aspect other than both of them serving small plates.

May 16, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville--Lingering Questions for June trip

Oops. Sorry; I neglected to proofread and I think autocorrect kicked in. I meant to say, "I think both of those are better than Storm." In other words Bull & Beggar and Junction are better than Storm. Among those three, Bull & Beggar > Junction >> Storm. And while I haven't had dinner at Posana, I would probably pick Storm over Posana.

May 13, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville--Lingering Questions for June trip

I think both Bull & Beggar and The Junction are very good, but would probably put Bull & Beggar ahead of The Junction. I think not of those are better than Storm, which do like. I have eaten at Posana for brunch, but not for dinner, and I like the place. That said, I would bet Bull & Beggar and The Junction are better for dinner. I have never eaten at Chestnut, so I can't compare.

May 13, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Charleston Dining Dress Code

When I have have dined at McCrady's, I have gone business casual, which is what I would recommend. However, I have seen people dine there in T-shirts, shorts, and flip flops.

Last time I was there, which was last summer, I was probably one of the more dressed up people there. Granted, it was extremely hot and humid, and by the time I entered the restaurant drenched in sweat after walking around town, I wished I had dressed down a bit more (but not T-shirt, shorts, and flip flops).

Apr 14, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville Restaurants for 9 days in June. Thoughts on picks?

One suggestion to add to your dinner list: The Bull & Beggar. It has emerged as one of my favorites n Asheville. Also, Zambra is a very good and fun place for dinner.

For lunch, if you're doing 12 Bones, no need to do Luella's. One thing you can do is Curate for lunch and that can open up another dinner. The lunch menu and dinner menu at Curate are exactly the same.

Mar 27, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville Valentine's Excursion

The great thing about Curate is that the menu is the same all the time. So you can get the same things for brunch/lunch that you would for dinner. That gives you an opportunity to try more restaurants for dinner in Asheville.

Mar 05, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Good Food in Charlotte/Concord area.

I don't want to venture too far of topic, but I think the perception that the Triangle has better restaurants is somewhat based on a myth. I do think there is a better restaurant culture there, however, and that has brought a lot of attention to the restaurant scene. But purely based on quality of food and service, I haven't been more impressed with the better restaurants there than I have been with those in other parts of the state that have good selection of restaurants (which is pretty much just the Triangle, Charlotte, and Asheville).

Sorry for the brief derailment.

Feb 26, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Best new restaurant in Charlotte, NC?

Try the Summit Room.

Feb 23, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Pork shanks in the crock pot: skin or no skin?

I'm cooking pork shanks in the crock pot tomorrow and am wondering if I should leave the skin on or cut it off before throwing it in. Any suggestions?

Feb 13, 2015
ickymettle in Home Cooking

Essential North Carolina Cuisine (besides BBQ)

Chicken and waffles is actually a New York thing that people have associated with the south, because it was inspired by southern cuisine (fried chicken). It's rather ubiquitous now and a pretty recent phenomonon in the area. I think most native North Carolinians would prefer their fried chicken without waffles.

Feb 09, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Charlotte: Southpark area restaurants w/ private rooms. Suggestions?

Rooster's has such a room. It even has its own bar in it.

Jan 27, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Quick! Need a Good First Date Spot In South End, Charlotte

If you're looking for vegetarian friendly, there is Luna's Living Kitchen.

Jan 08, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville: big anniversary weekend

I would highly recommend NOT eating dinner at the Grove Park. Get cocktails there, but if you get dinner there you will miss out on a good Asheville restaurant and pay too much for a subpar meal.

I recommend the following for dinner:

Top tier-- Admiral, Bull & Beggar, Zambra, Curate (of those places, Bull & Beggar and Zambra have romantic vibes to them, in very different ways)

Next tier-- Rezaz, Table, Limones (all of the aforementioned could be considered to have somewhat of a romantic vibe), Rhubarb, Cucina 24, The Junction, Seven Sows, Bouchon (Bouchon can be romantic)

I have been to Posana for brunch, but not for dinner, but have heard good things. I have also heard good things about Market Place but have never been. I'm sure I am missing something, but that's what I have for now.

Also, be sure to get some wine at 5 Walnut. And get a cocktail at Imperial Life.

ETA: I could divide the "next tier' into two tiers, but it's close enough.

Jan 07, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville - Valentine's Day

miss piggy had great recommendation. I'll also highly recommend Bull & the Beggar and Rezaz.

Jan 05, 2015
ickymettle in Southeast

Bar In Uptown Charlotte - early NYE

Same one, but with a cooler bar.

Dec 30, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Bar In Uptown Charlotte - early NYE

The bar at Rooster's, which is on the lower level of the restaurant. It's right there within a block of the arena and has good food and a good vibe.

Dec 29, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Tupelo Honey in Raleigh -- Nohing Special

Your assessment is similar to my assessment of the Tupelo Honey in Charlotte. It has a fairly chainy feel to it. I never thought the one in Asheville was anything special, either, but it has a better atmosphere than the one in Chalotte (or a least it used to; I haven't been in a few years). My advice to people who ask for restaurant recs in Asheville has always been to tell them to ignore anyone who makes Tupelo Honey their top recommendation. That's a clear sign of not being familiar with Asheville's food scene and/or not having much interest in food.

Dec 11, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Recent Eats in Asheville: Cucina 24, Rhubarb, Storm, Sunny Point Cafe

Regarding the lack of salt and pepper on the table, I can''t think of any nice restaurants anywhere that put salt and pepper on the table. I think the thought is that the chef has seasoned the food as it's meant to be.

Sep 14, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Chapel Hill/Carrboro dinner

A friend and I will be going to Chapel Hill/Carrboro next Friday for a show at Cat's Cradle. Is there anything new and good in that area? We're looking for somewhere in either downtown Chapel Hill or downtown Carrboro that is casual and moderately priced (which probably covers just about any place in that area).

Sep 12, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Charlotte Pubs and casual hangouts in and around uptown

Just one thing to know about Alexander Michael's is that the dinner menu is more expansive than the lunch menu; not that there's anything that will blow you away. But I do think the dinner menu has some better items.

As far as places to get cocktails/wine downtown, I don't go there much. But Halcyon serves great cocktails. The Wooden Vine is a decent place to drink some wine. I like the bar at Rooster's. Bentley's is a nice place to have a drink.

One other downtown "pub" I forgot is Dandelion Market. I wouldn't recommend it on a weekend night, but it's probably a good place to get a drink and bite after work.

Sep 12, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Charlotte Pubs and casual hangouts in and around uptown

For my list I'm only going with places that I consider pubs (drinking establishments that also serve food).


I recently tried Draught, where Hartigan's used to be. I loved the atmosphere. The food was good and creative for pub food as well. My wife and I shared duck tacos, grilled wings with a habanero plum stout sauce and a sweet chili pale ale sauce, and egg rolls stuffed with cheesy mashed potatoes. The craft beer selection was good, but perhaps not as good as I would have expected based on the name of the restaurant. I love the way the place is very open.

Alexander Michael's has always been a favorite. Great atmosphere. They have a good craft beer selection these days and the food is solid for the most part.

Corner Pub seems pretty cool when I go there (which hasn't been often). I haven't tried their food, however, and their craft beer selection is pretty weak.

Other than those places, I'm not too crazy about the uptown pub scene. There are few bars that are good for getting cocktails or wine, but I can't think of a lot of pubs that I like.

Elizabeth/Plaza Midwood

Pint Central has a nice atmosphere, good craft beer selection and good, inexpensive food. It also has a nice patio.

Intermezzo may not be a pub per se, but I think it's close enough to count. Good atmosphere, great staff, decent craft beers on tap, and good food.

Thomas Street is fine as a drinking establishment, but the food is terrible. The back deck is great.

Common Market barely counts because it's more of a convenience store, but it has enough elements to make it a pub. Always a fun place to hang out with friends, people watch, and make new friends while you're there. Great beers on tap. They often get good musical acts to play in the alley, and the front patio is nice.

Peculiar Rabbit has a decent, not great, craft beer selection and the food is overall pretty good. Most importantly, they have an awesome rooftop deck.

Whiskey Warehouse has decent wings and a very nice rooftop deck. The craft beer selection is less than stellar, however, and they often play terrible music there.

And while it doesn't meet my definition of a pub, I'm going to throw in Twenty-Two. They have a great craft beer selection and it's a great place to chill out and have a drink while also looking at art.

Jackalope Jack's is a fun place to hang out during the daytime, but the food isn't good and there isn't much of a craft beer selection.


World of Beer doesn't serve their own food, but you can order from other places or from a food truck if it's outside. And their craft beer selection is excellent. Pretty good atmosphere, too.

Tavern On The Tracks is a solid place with decent enough bar food. I haven't been in a while, but the craft beer selection is nothing special based on my recollection.

Also, Common Market (see above under Elizabeth/Plaza Midwood). The Southend location has a great patio.

Those are the "pubs" right around the center of the city that I would recommend.

Sep 11, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Hotter in N.C.?

That's interesting. I have noticed that when I go to Upstate New York and try things that are advertised as hot (as in spicy hot), they are not nearly as hot as what I'm used to in NC. Even the things that are advertised as extremely hot up there do not seem to provide nearly as much heat as I would expect.

Sep 05, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast


Check out Littlespoon, which recently opened on Selwyn Avenue.

Also, while I haven't eaten there yet, Draught, which just opened in the old Hartigan's spot, looks like t has a lot of potential. I walked in, and it's a really cool space. The menu also looks really good.

Aug 28, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Charleston: some unusual suspects

My wife and I will be in the Charleston area at the end of this week, and we have most of our dining experiences planned out. That said, we are looking for somewhere to go for lunch in downtown Charleston on Friday. And here's the thing: we're looking for somewhere that doesn't typically get recommended on these boards, as we've eaten at about every talked-about restaurant in Charleston. One place that came to mind was CO on King Street. But I'm open to suggestions. Where are some good places to eat lunch downtown that don't get talked about on here very much? It can be a hole-in-the-wall or a nice place, as long as it's good.

Aug 25, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Restaurant near Charlotte airport?

Considering the distance you're willing to drive, the possibilities are almost endless. Good Food on Montford is actually an easy drive from the airport. You just get on Billy Graham as leave the airport, that turns into Woodlawn, and the restaurant is located right off of Woodlawn. It's perhaps a 15 minute drive.

Other places not yet mentioned that may be worth checking out based on what you're looking for are Customshop, Carpe Diem, Halcyon, Fiamma, Stagioni, Vivace, Nolen Kitchen, Baku, Summit Room.

Aug 25, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast


Ah, waitress, I just put it together! The photo next to your name is too small for me to tell, but you photographed my wedding last year along with Liza.

I don't want to veer too far off topic, but waitress is an amazing photographer.

Aug 20, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast


My wife and I dined at Heirloom several weeks ago. Unfortunately, I have no photos and my memory of specific details has been fading over time. But I can definitely say that we enjoyed the food.

As most people here are probably aware, it's in a unique location; what is otherwise a restaurant dessert in northwestern Charlotte. From our part of town, the journey was part of the adventure.

The place is unimpressive from the outside (it's housed a former stand-alone Mexican restaurant). The interior decor reminds me of many of the restaurants you find in various wine countries, like the finger lakes region in Upstate New York or out in Napa and Sonoma. It is made up of wood from an old barn to remind you that it is a true farm-to-table experience.

They have both a tasting menu and a traditional menu. The tasting menu looked incredible, but with my wife being pregnant, she was nervous about a few things on it, so we decided to share items off of the traditional menu. I apologize for not remembering everything about the food we ate. I can tell you that when they served the bread, they brought out fresh herbs which the server chopped in front of us and mixed in with olive oil. We started with a pulled pork crostini that was very good. Then we split two entrees. One was grilled duck breast, which was solid, if unspectacular. The vegetables that came with it were fresh from the garden outside of the restuarant, and you could taste the freshness. The highlight was actually their version of chicken cacciatorri. It was fall off the bone delicious and came with wonderful root vegetables. We finished with a light dessert consisting of peaches and blackberries, but I can't remember what the dessert actually was. The menu changes daily, so perhaps it doesn't matter what I can't remember. I'll add that service was excellent. Don't go there if you're in a hurry, however, as dining there is an intentionally slow experience with everything very spaced out, which is generally fine for us.

My biggest gripe with the place would be the choice of music that was played that night. It was country, and not the classic country of Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, etc., but the horrible pop country that exists today. It is an incredible challenge for me to have to endure that crap for more than a couple minutes (or at all). I don't know if someone working there that night was just in a mood to hear that music or if they're trying to make it part of their farm-to-fork theme, but I hope it's not the latter. That would be a mjor deterrent for me. Having to listen to that crap while eating my meal is comparable to seating me in the restroom and making me eat my meal there.

Aug 16, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast