lynnlato's Profile

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

A brewmaster friend from Richmond suggested Wedge Brewing to us and I am SO glad he did. We visited last weekend and that was our favorite AVL brewery. The interior space is very small but outside there is tons of fun to bed had. I really liked how it was situated beside the train tracks and enjoyed watching the trains meander by.

Another favorite was Burial (we loved every beer there - but especially the coffee saison, the stout and the Garden of Everything saison). The fact that they had Zapp's chips to snack on earned them bonus points.

Green Man was great too. Loved the Turning Violet Blueberry Berliner Weisse. Small, cozy and a bit off-the-beaten-path.

We love Wicked Weed beers and they have a great menu. That said, its a tad too commercial for my personal tastes, although the Funkitorium and their sours are definitely worth a stop.

Thirsty Monk is a must!

Apr 06, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

Good Food in Charlotte/Concord area.

I certainly never suggested that anything in Charlotte is James Beard award-worthy. My point was that there are several great establishments that you haven't visited and you were condemning all of Charlotte, for the most part, and that's harmful and hurtful too a lot of noteworthy and hardworking chefs here.

I think you may have been referring to Halcyon and Marc Jacksina when you mentioned an establishment that was getting some attention (it didn't flop, the exec. chef moved on). Jacksina was one of the original owners of Lulu and then after he sold his interest and moved on he eventually ended up as executive chef at Halcyon. They have since parted ways and he is currently executive chef at a new place on Elizabeth called Earl's Grocery. Similiar in concept to Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston. Check it out next time you're in town. They are not open for dinner.

Like you, I'm not big on flashy digs and a corporate touch. You won't find me recommending any restaurants that fit that description (unless of course the OP specifically requests that sort of joint). I really, really, really think you need to visit Customshop and Passion8 Bistro. They are practically neighbors - both on Elizabeth - and I think they will meet your expectations. Earl's Grocery is also on Elizabeth, FYI. Let us know what you think.

Undoubtedly, Charlotte is a mecca to corporate establishments and high end steak restos. But beneath all that superficiality and off the beaten path, there are good eats served up by chefs that care and shine. Customshop, Passion8 Bistro, Heirloom, Stagioni, Good Food... just to name a few.

Mar 10, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

Good Food in Charlotte/Concord area.

Unfortunately, all I know of the restos in the Triangle area is what I've read. I haven't had the pleasure to visit them so I can't give a firsthand opinion.

I hope to get to Poole's, Coquette, Mateo, Allen & Son, etc. but I'm equally anxious to get to some spots in and around Asheville (and probably a little more excited about Asheville because, well, beer). :)

Feb 27, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

Good Food in Charlotte/Concord area.

Funny how you can throw stones at Charlotte when you haven't even visited some of our better restaurants like Customshop (my favorite). I won't argue with you about the Triangle area having better restaurants - that's a given - but the OP wasn't asking for recs in that area, which is a 3 hr detour. And comparing lil ole Charlotte to NYC, San Francisco, New Orleans or Charleston is just silly.

Next time you're in the Queen City I suggest you visit Customshop and then maybe Passion8 Bistro, Stagioni and Midwood Smokehouse. That should be a good start.

Rock Salt is now open. I haven't been yet. I'm giving it a couple months to work out the kinks.

Feb 26, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

Research on what level of sucralose is safe for daily intake?

Yep, I use this a lot. Organic liquid stevia from Trader Joe's. It comes in a 2-oz dropper bottle. It says it contains 461 servings. It costs about $6 and it lasts me a long time. I use it in smoothies, yogurt, oatmeal, etc. I don't care for it in my coffee or tea though.

Feb 18, 2015
lynnlato in Special Diets

In Charlotte, Luminere?

Wow all of those plates look lovely and delicious... especially the paté.

Feb 18, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

German food in Charlotte NC

I haven't been in quite a while but Waldhorn was always good and very traditional. It is owned and operated by a German family who have been in the restaurant industry for years before opening up Waldhorn.

Jan 23, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

Nuts with drinks

I just had some that I bought at WF that I think were prepared this way. They were delicious and flavored with ginger and orange zest. Yumm...

Jan 15, 2015
lynnlato in Home Cooking

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

300 East is a great little spot with a cozy atmosphere that would be perfect for a first date. Good luck!

Jan 09, 2015
lynnlato in Southeast

Gluten-free crackers for cheese course?

Trader Joe's and Whole Foods make rice crackers in a variety of flavors that are gluten free.

Jan 05, 2015
lynnlato in Special Diets

reheating ahi tuna steak

Let it come to room temp and then eat. I wouldn't try reheating it... especially if it is already overcooked.

Jan 04, 2015
lynnlato in Home Cooking

Am I a super taster or just super picky?

I'm a type 1 diabetic and I have never noticed high bg's affecting my sense of taste. Haven't known anyone else to complain of it either.

Dec 11, 2014
lynnlato in General Topics

Tupelo Honey in Raleigh -- Nohing Special

Just now saw your post after I had already posted my comment above. I completely agree, it has a cold, "chainy" feel.

Dec 11, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Tupelo Honey in Raleigh -- Nohing Special

I feel the same about the Charlotte location. It is simply "meh". :(

Dec 11, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Next up Christmas, Hanukah, Festivus, etc.

I am certain of the following:

-Pasta dish

-Egg dish


Delicious cheeses throughout the day to nibble on - cannot wait... but I've got some planning to do.

Dec 02, 2014
lynnlato in Home Cooking

5 days in Charleston w/ family: how's this list?

A great report and, by your description, you found plenty of delicious eats. FYI, Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream originated in Ohio. They are a regional OH chain that has recently branched out. Pints of their ice cream can often be found in the freezer section of high-end, gourmet grocers like Earthfare and Fresh Market.

So glad y'all had a great time. Cheers!

Nov 30, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Soft Foods for Thanksgiving

You could even process some roasted turkey in the food processor and it would still have a little texture but he could "gum" it and swallow. Especially with a little gravy on top.

Puréed rutabaga and tomato aspic are options as well. Now that i think of it, most Thanksgiving dishes are pretty softly textured.

Nov 23, 2014
lynnlato in Special Diets

Your Thanksgiving Stuffing--What type of bread do you use?

Pepperidge Farms thin slice - white. That's what my grandmother and mother used and therefore that is what I use... only for stuffing though. It's semi-firm like stale bread and therefore perfect for stuffing, IMHO. ;)

Nov 18, 2014
lynnlato in Home Cooking

5 days in Charleston w/ family: how's this list?

A great-looking list! And definitely hit up Kudu - I love that place. If there is time I would suggest goat.sheep.cow for out-of-this-world cheeses, simply but delicious sandwiches, fresh baguettes, olives, cured meats, wines and fancy chocolates. The owners are charming ladies who will take good care of you. :)

Another suggestion, off the beaten tourist path, is Fat Hen in John's Island. Delicious, fresh, french/low country fare and cocktails (and their bread pudding is always insanely good) and kid friendly to boot.

Happy Eating!

Nov 12, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Buffet in Charlotte for Thanksgiving?

I know the Ballantyne Resort does an elaborate buffet with carving stations, on Thanksgiving. Here is a link:

Nov 11, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Charleston late 2014 update

Welcome to CH as an officials poster. ;) Looks like you hit some quality joints while in Charleston - good for y'all.

Nov 05, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Foods that make you sick?

It's the preservatives they use on the bagged lettuces. It's awful because the overwhelming majority of restaurants use these lettuces (especially chain establishments).

Oct 08, 2014
lynnlato in Not About Food

Foods that make you sick?

Preservative-laden, bagged lettuces. Ugh. Within a few minutes they wreak havoc on my gastrointestinal system.

Pizza - I adore the stuff. But as a Type 1 Diabetic, there is just no magic bolus that prevents my blood glucose from spiking after eating it. And it's usually a delayed spike... like 3 hours later. :(

Oct 08, 2014
lynnlato in Not About Food

Savory crepe fillings. Your ideas, please?

I just had a crepe with scrambled egg, black beans avocado sauteed diced onions, diced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and a jalapeno aioli. It was delicious and filling.

My husband had scrambled egg, goat cheese, onion, black olives and bacon.

Of course ham, swiss, carmelized onions and grainy mustard or dijon mustard is always a good option.

I used to make my manicotti with crepes instead of manicotti pasta tubes. It was an old family recipe and it's really light and delicious.

Oct 07, 2014
lynnlato in Home Cooking


Hey Danna, Halcyon and Blue are both downtown and technically walking distance from The Westin (especially Halcyon). Halcyon would be my preference between the two. Another good spot downtown is The Wooden Vine. It's a wine bar with a great small plates menu.

An even better option is a very short cab ride from The Westin to Customshop on Elizabeth Ave. I'd describe it as a farm to fork restaurant with most of the vegetables coming from the chef's personal garden. They have, what I describe as "clean food". The dishes are simple and lightly sauced to highlight the quality ingredients. Fresh pastas, great cheeses and charcuterie and inventive cocktails. Warm, urban atmosphere w/ exposed brick and wood. It's one of my favorite places in town. Also on Elizabeth is a new place called Earl's Grocery. It's very similar in concept to Two Boroughs Larder in Charleston. I think they are only open until 6 or 7pm.

If you wanted something more casual, 7th Street Market is a great place to hang out. Pure Pizza is phenomenal. They have these sprouted grains crusts that are ridiculously good. The chorizo with fresh radish, cilantro, mozz and fresh squeezed lime juice is so different and delicious. Peter Reinhardt, the James Beard award winning cookbook author and chef, helped create their menu and recipes. Also in the market is a craft beer bar w/ local brews, a cheese shop, bakery, Hazelnuts Creperie, a wine retailer and sometimes local bands play there. Its a great time!

Enjoy your stay!

Oct 03, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Why coconut oil?

I pop it into the microwave and soften/melt it before baking with it.

To the OP, it would be a fine substitution for OO in your granola and and I don't think it would over power the other flavors.

Sep 24, 2014
lynnlato in Special Diets

Crock Pot versus Dutch Oven cooking

This is precisely why I hate crockpots. You cannot brown in them. I cringe when people tell me they make chicken/pork/beef dishes in their crockpots. Most of the time they don't brown the protein before they put it in the crockpot and I can imagine the rubbery, pale meat that results hours later. Of course, if you're willing to brown your roast or chicken first and then put it in the CP with sauce well then, that's a different story. You can put together a simple meal that way. But it's still quite a bit of a hassle with browning in a dutch oven on the stove top and then transferring to the crockpot to slow cook for several hours, and then all the clean-up.

A crockpot is good for keeping things at temperature so that dinner is ready and warm when you get home but I wouldn't "cook" with them.

Sep 22, 2014
lynnlato in Home Cooking

What are your favorite recipes for bake sales (making and purchasing?)

Whoopie pies always go like...well... hotcakes! ;)

Decadent, rich, dense, chocolate brownies are always a good sell (and buy). World Peace cookies are amazingly good! You can make the dough log a day or so ahead of time and chill it and then bake the cookies another day to break up all the work. Here's a link:

Sep 22, 2014
lynnlato in Home Cooking

Three nights in Charleston.

Thanks for reporting back. I'm full just reading about all the deliciousness you encountered. Glad you had a great visit.

Sep 22, 2014
lynnlato in Southeast

Toaster ovens

I mostly use mine to re-heat foods, roast veggies and chicken breasts or thighs. And really, any toaster oven can do that, but none of the previous ones that I have had did it as well as the Breville. I like the various settings (bagel, toast, bake, broil, roast, pizza, cookies) and the dials used to set temps and toast darkness and time. It has a timer that turns it off when it runs out. Its also very easy to clean and keep clean, which is something I have struggled with with previous ovens. And it's slim, sleek and attractive on the counter top. For me, it was money well spent for all those reasons.

Sep 22, 2014
lynnlato in Cookware