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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
1

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
1

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).

Uptown

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.

Southend

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

Charlotte

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
1

Charlotte

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
1

Charlotte

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

Lunch in Durham

Not seeking anything in particular. Just looking for something good to make the trip a little more exciting (it's a quick business trip).

Jul 23, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Lunch in Durham

I can drive into town. I'll be driving from Charlotte to Butner. I do enjoy Allen & Son but may want to try something new.

Jul 22, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Lunch in Durham

I'll be driving by Durham this Friday and am looking for a good lunch spot. Any recs?

Jul 22, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Vacation Spot in October

I agree with Asheville or Charleston for places that this forum covers. And NOLA is great, too.

Living in Charlotte, Asheville and Charleston are my go-to's for long weekend getaways.

Jul 19, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast
1

Charlotte NC fine dining

People have different definitions of fine dining, so I'll recommend a few places that are good that may fit what you're looking for (and in or close to downtown):

Carolinadawg gave some good recs, although I have to admit, despite having lived in Charlotte my whole life, I've never been to the McNinch House. Also Halcyon, Customshop, Bistro la Bon, Bernardin's, The Asbury, Wooden Vine, Aria, 5Church.

Jul 16, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Restaurant Pet Peeves

I hate when I go to a restaurant that is not built or meant to accommodate live music, and they have live music where the performers are playing over a too-loud P.A. such that I can't carry on a conversation (and often times cannot even hear myself think). If I want to hear loud live music, I'll go somewhere where there's supposed to be live music. If I want dinner, I don't want the music-- which I didn't come to hear-- to drown out my conversation.

Apr 22, 2014
ickymettle in Not About Food
1

Charlotte dinner mid-range (i.e. not fancy or $20 entrees and higher)

Pio Pio in Dilworth.

Apr 14, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast
1

Places in Charlotte where you order at the counter

I'm trying to compile a list of restaurants in Charlotte where you order at the counter, and then the food is either brought out to your table or you pick it up at the counter. I prefer this at lunchtime because it can often get me in and out quicker and I don't feel obligated to pay a full 20% tip on top of the meal. And I think we need more of these places in Charlotte, as so many places in town are sit-down-and-order-from-a-server restaurants. Fast food chains and other major national chains do not count. I'm also excluding places that do not have seating in or right by the restaurant (Price's, for example) I'll get the list started, but help me think of (or discover) more:

Viva Chicken
Sauceman's
Crisp
Common Market
Phat Burrito
Just Fresh
Owen's Bagel & Deli
Poppy's Bagels
Sabor
Adams' 7th Street Market
Every place at the 7th Street market downtown
Metropolitan Cafe
Bang Bang Burger
Roasting Company
J.J.'s Red Hots
Green's Lunch
Threes
Reid's

What else you got?...

Apr 10, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Asheville itinerary consultation

My pro-Admiral vote stands regardless of the changes in chefs. I don't think the quality has dropped at The Admiral at all. While a I like Seven Sows very much, I like the food at The Admiral a little better and I like dining experience at The Admiral much more. For what it's worth, my wife loves The Admiral but is not sold on Seven Sows.

While I don't think you can go wrong at either, I think
The Admiral should be tried first. Trying Seven Sows first would be like watching The Godfather, Part II before ever watching The Godfather.

Mar 17, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast
1

Asheville itinerary consultation

I agree with miss piggy that The Admiral and Seven Sows may be a bit similar. I would choose The Admiral above Seven Sows, and maybe recommend Zambra in place of Seven Sows.

Mar 16, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast
1

Stagioni Charlotte

I went a few weeks ago and enjoyed everything I had, as did the company I was with.

The only thing I wouldn't order again were the dips. They were fine, but I didn't find them very exciting,

We shared the grilled octopus, which was one of the better versions of that dish I've had in Charlotte. We also shared a brussels sprout pizza. It was awesome. I would gladly go there just pick up a pizza,

My wife and I split the veal saltimbocca and the rigatoni. We both thought the rigatoni was cooked perfectly. The veal saltimbocca hit the spot for me, and the prosciutto wrapped around had the right amount of crispiness. It came over a very tasty creamy polenta.

We all shared roasted cauliflower, mushrooms, and spinach, The spinach was nothing special, but the cauliflower and mushrooms were amazing, I could have eaten those all night.

We enjoyed our dessert, but I can't remember what it was. Our waitress also recommended a great bottle of wine. We went through two pretty fast.

Fiamma has been my favorite Italian in Charlotte, but Stagioni came on strong for me. My Jersey-girl wife agreed, and she's very picky about her Italian.

Mar 11, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

One dinner in Chicago

Thank you so much for the recs. We made reservations for Boka. We very much look forward to our trip.

Mar 03, 2014
ickymettle in Chicago Area

One dinner in Chicago

My wife and I are visiting Chicago in mid-April to celebrate our one-year wedding anniversary. We are there for four nights, and we have reservations set for the first three nights: Yusho, Girl and the Goat, and Frontera. We are trying to pick out a place for our final night. We narrowed it down to the following: Sepia, Publican, Purple Pig, Boka and North Pond. Longman & Eagle looked great, but it doesn't take reservations, and we want to have a sure thing.

Of the places above, what should we do for our last night's meal? And if anyone has a recommendation that is not on our list that we absolutely should not miss, please let me know.

Thanks in advance for your help in helping us have a wonderful meal the night we're there.

Feb 23, 2014
ickymettle in Chicago Area

Italian restaurant in Charlotte

After further thought, I think your friend may be referring to Vivace, which is located in midtown, just outside of downtown.

I have very much enjoyed my last couple meals there and would recommend.

Jan 27, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Italian restaurant in Charlotte

I agree that it sounds like she was referring to either Luce or Aria (most likely Luce).

Another Italian spot I would highly recommend is Fiamma, which is in Dilworth.

Jan 22, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast
1

dinner near Southpark Mall charlotte, NC

I agree with the recommendations for Roosters. If you want something more low key, Wine Shop at Foxcroft serves some good food (mostly small plates) and has a great wine selection. There are some other good options in the area as well, but they may be a little fancier than what you're looking for.

Jan 14, 2014
ickymettle in Southeast

Charlotte NC Christmas dinner?

If it's Christmas Eve you have plenty of options. Christmas day is a different story, however. In addition to the recs already made, plenty of Chinese restaurants will be open. You will probably be able to get into other ethnic restaurants, primarily different types of Asian cuisine.

One recommendation I have is Copper. It's upscale Indian and is located in an old house in an historic neighborhood in Charlotte. It's very close to downtown if that's where you'll be staying.

Dec 03, 2013
ickymettle in Southeast
1

Charlotte Chowhounds

Sorry about your Terra experience, GFL. I have been there several times over the years, and have had some excellent meals there, as well as excellent service. I still dream about the duo of lamb I had their several years ago. And the sweetbreads and foie gras I've had there keep me craving for more. I also enjoy then ambiance there. I feel very much like I'm dining in a quaint restaurant in France when I eat there.

Aug 23, 2013
ickymettle in Southeast

Charlotte Chowhounds

I have tried several of those restaurants. I have been to Block & Grinder three times. I really like the atmosphere inside. It's different than other Charlotte restaurants. You walk in, and to the left is a butcher counter. To the right is the bar. All the way back is where they keep their wine. If you want wine with dinner, you can go back and peruse their wine shelves and pick out a wine. (If you don't want to get up, they'll help you pick one out.).

The cocktails are very good-- some of the better cocktails in town. I believe the menu changes frequently. They tout their steaks, but I have not tried one yet. The first time I went I ordered the rabbit, which was very good. My wife had the shiitake burger, which was one of the better burgers in town. (One of my co-workers declared itmohe best burger in town.) The second time I went, I got the duck, which came with parsnip bread. It was excellent. We also split a bunch of appetizers. Their appetizers may be the best part. I've tried the sweetbreads, pork belly, ribs w/ Cheerwine BBQ sauce, and bone marrow. The third time I went, I ordered the wild boar special. It was not nearly as good as the meals I got the first two times I went. Maybe the fact that it was a Monday night had something to do with the dip in quality.

All in all, I really enjoy the Block & Grinder, and as long as the meal I got during my last visit was an anomoly, it will remain in my rotation. It's a casual place that serves some high quality food. It has an Asheville feel to it, which I really like.

I've been to Heist many times and have tried about everything on the menu. The beers are mediocre to good. The cocktails are very good. The food is mostly quite good. It's mainly small plates with some burgers and sandwiches and flatbread pizzas. The flatbread pizzas are pretty good, and the burgers and sandwiches are quite good, albeit very messy. My favorite dish there is the pipe smoked salmon: smoked salmon served over potato purée topped with mushroom and snow pea cream and crispy shallots. I don't know if I would have thought to order it if the waiter did not recommend it to me, but now I get almost every time I go. This is the kind of place you go when you want something very casual and not very quiet (the place has a fun, sometimes boisterous, atmosphere).

I have eaten at Peculiar Rabbit once for lunch and once for dinner. I had dinner there just after it opened and can't remember it very well. I just remember thinking it had potential and noting that there were interesting things on the menu. Ditto for my lunch there. The rooftop deck is spectacular. One of the best views of the city. I've been there several times for drinks, and look forward to going back to see how the food has developed.

Aug 23, 2013
ickymettle in Southeast