Finally a great Calzone!

Image When I’m stressed, I eat, as many of us do.  But on really stressful days all I want is cheese & so I turned to my fav cheese calzone!

Portofino’s, on Park Road in Charlotte, NC, has the best calzone I’ve had in a very long time!  And it definitely hit the spot.  I’ve visited other Portofino’s in the past so I know their food & service is top notch.  However, I may have dined on one of their bad days L

The hostess, a young college girl, seemed very confused when I asked for a large table, though I was dining alone.  In fact, she left me to take care of the other customers.  Hmmm….not a good impression and I could tell from there it maybe an off day.

I was finally seated in the large back dining area at a large table…yay!  I’m a woman and I just need my space J  There were a few customers in the area so there was an abundance of waiters/waitresses in around however, not one of them showed up to serve me.  I tried the make eye contact strategy to get their attention but nothing.  Finally, I caught up to one of the waiters and he apologized for not being waited on.  The food came out pretty fast, served by another waiter.  Apparently 3 different staff members were servicing the entire area so one would think I’d have someone check on me periodically…nope! 

Now the food was great.  Love me some cheese calzones and it’s been ages since I found a great place for them.  But there’s plenty more they offer like authentic Italian pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches.  On another occasion I dined, my lunch friend ordered cheese ravioli…yum!  While it was a small plate it still looked good!  And the customer service was much better!  Guess if you’re a loner you Do get treated differently :0

The meals are moderately priced at about $8-10 per dish except salads. 

Definitely worth a try if you’re into Italian food….I plan on visiting it again!

 

 

 

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Great place to work, deliver Great food, Great Service, and Great value to guests everyday……

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 The title is actually the founding principles of Village Tavern & totally true!  It was a little hard to find the place as it’s tucked behind an office building in the South park Charlotte, NC area.  Parking is also limited and often you have to park on the street.  I luckily arrived early enough to find a good spot before the lunch crowd started J  I decided to dine inside though the patio seating looked nice & spacious.  If it wasn’t 80+ degrees, I would’ve tried but the warm weather didn’t bother many guests who opted for patio seating. 

I was a little disappointed by one of the hostesses though.  Not a good impression for a new customer.  When asked if my party had arrived, the response was “you can look around” rather than “let me check.”  Thankfully, there were other, much nicer & more helpful hostesses around.

Service was great!  Had a waitress at the table as I was just sitting down and she was quick to take my drink order.  When my guest arrived, she was just as quick & attentive.  And the water glass was never low…a good sign of great service.

The menu is plentiful and the specials were good though I ordered off the menu.  Really wished I had tried the special tomato basil soup but next time.  The menu offers appetizer salads and large salads as your entrée.  I opted for an appetizer salad, House Tavern Salad.  Normally, I don’t do salads but you’ve got to be a little healthy sometimes!  I did ask for extra cheese and croutons…can’t be totally healthy 😉  The salad arrived but minus the extra cheese and croutons.  However, the lunch server was happy to provide me quickly.  Have to say it was a pretty good salad with fresh lettuce, crumbled blue cheese, tomatoes, onions, and the Tavern’s own vinaigrette…yum!  The Italian rustic pepperoni pizza was tasty.  Nice thin crust pizza made from Pivetti Pizza flour from Northern Italy.  And added bonus, its Gluten free!  In fact, the restaurant offers many Gluten free menu items. 

Surprisingly passed on dessert on this visit.  Just ate way too much but will try next time.

A great restaurant that you must try…so what if it’s hidden it’s worth the find!

 

Se sont amuses!

Image It’s been a long time since I’ve written…been busy with personal issues.  But I’m glad to be back at it!  Eating bland food has been tough these past few weeks J

So let’s get started with my review of a French restaurant.  Yes, you may find that odd if you know me.  I’m a lover of Italian, Mexican, Indian, Thai, and Pizza but was looking forward to my French experience.

Georges Brasserie, in South park Charlotte, NC, was the site of this first culinary experience.  Conveniently located near the office, I headed over there to an almost empty restaurant.  But to be fair, it was 11:30 so the lunch rush hadn’t started.  Service was great, the waitress was quick to take care of us and share the specials & the water glass was never low!  

I’ve visited Georges before, on a social occasion, for drinks in the bar only.  A weekend visit, during basketball season, was quite busy & the drinks were great!  But since I had not dined there, I was excited to see what the food would be like. 

Being a French restaurant, it’s mostly seafood.  So, if you’re a seafood fan…this is your place.  The scallops and clams were the special for the day but there were other items other seafood.

Since it was Monday, and my veggie day, I tried the veggie burger & my fav, mac & cheese side.  When the plate arrived, boy was it full!  Didn’t except so much food!  The veggie burger was large and the mac & cheese was served in a small skillet.  I have to say I was disappointed in the veggie burger though.  First, because it was so large, it was hard to eat or cut into to halve.  It was to be a fresh veggie patty with tomatoes, cheddar cheese, harissa oil on a brioche roll.  Harissa oil, a Tunisian ingredient which has a hot chili taste…yum.  However, the patty itself lacked seasoning & parts of it looked burned.  Definitely a turn off!

The mac & cheese was cooked with a nice brown coating and tasted delish….until I hit a piece of bacon.  Would have liked the menu to indicate it was cooked with bacon for a non bacon lover like me….especially on my veggie day.  I ended up eating around the bacon & it was great!  Nice & crusty brown with lots of cheese…it became a good meal! 

Dessert is a must as I have such a sweet tooth J  So we ordered a flourless chocolate cake with ice-cream.  Oh my, how good!  It was quite rich and I could only have a few bites but so worth it…  That’s why workouts are essential J

It is a little pricey and gets very busy by Noon but a great experience to have.  If you have time for drinks in the bar area one night, especially the weekend, I highly recommend.

While I’m not a French lover, I’d like to try Georges again, preferably on a meat day!

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Bon Appetit!

Being a fan of Italian food, I had to try out Toscana hidden away at the Specialty Shops in Southpark.  Recommended by another foodie, it wasn’t easy to find.  Tucked away behind Brick Tops, if you didn’t know of this place, you’d never stop in and eat there.  And that would truly be a shame!

A small restaurant with a great atmosphere full of windows to let the light shine through & friendly staff, & nice patio seating on a beautiful days.  Being a small restaurant, seating is pretty tight inside & depending on who is sitting next to you, it can be hard to hear others at your table, as such was the case at times with my recent visit.

The waitress was very prompt and friendly as well as the servers.  The menu is truly authentic Italian, not one of those wanna be restaurants.  And everything was made fresh.  I had to try the ricotta ravioli with a basil sauce and it was delish.  The plate servedImage was warm rather than hot but still very good.  Of course, I had to have extra sauce as I’m a sauce queen J  The waitress was happy to get me extra sauce but made it point to tell me it’s made to order so it would be a few minutes….now that is fresh!  And I had a craving for polenta for a while now so definitely had to try it.  A simple dish with parmesan was ok with some crushed black peppers and hot sauce but nothing to rave about.  I’ll have to try one of their specials next time with a protein.  And there are so many other entrees I must try as well so definitely worth another visit 😉

Desserts & after meal drinks were in abundance.  I was talked into (yes I know hard to believe) a chocolate dessert, dark chocolate with a light mascarpone mouse.  Yummy….so light but good.  Now this is how chocolate cake should be.  Torta di Cioccolato, flourless 

You had me at Pizza…..Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar

Goat Cheese Pizza

Goat Cheese Pizza

pizza

 I’m a foodie…I enjoy no love food!  And there are some foods that I can’t get enough of….Pizza being at the top of that list.  So when I was invited out for GNO to Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar, it was a no brainer Yes!

Located in Phillips Place near the Palm Restaurant, it’s a great eclectic restaurant.  Parking in the area is not great so get there early to find a spot.  The restaurant is nice & large with the bar located up front with limited seating around it & the main dining room is located behind the bar.

The service is good but we didn’t see our waitress too often once the restaurant started to fill up.  We met up at 5:30 and by the time we left, a few hours later, the restaurant was booming.  The golf after hours event across the street helped bring in the people too.

The drinks were great and the waitress was very knowledgeable in helping us decide what we wanted, with the help with the floor manager.  My choice is always vodka so I tried the Razz Ale (vodka, raspberry liquer, fresh raspberries, & ginger ale).  It was yum!  The waitress got it right!  There were other great drinks ordered by the table like The Back 9 and Prosecco cocktail.  And all were nicely priced…which always a plus too!

Appetizers followed next like roasted cauliflower and white beans & kale.   The roasted cauliflower was very good with bread crumbs and pepperoncini.  I enjoyed seconds too!  I didn’t care for the kale and white beans as the kale seemed bitter.  Normally known to be bitter, either you have to acquire a taste for it or have it cooked where the bitterness goes away.  Some good spices like tumerin, red pepper, and some haldi would help in that.  But I enjoyed the experience of trying something different.  After all, you don’t know what you like unless you try it!

Of course, with it being a pizza bar I had to have a pizza.  Wolfgang Puck has an eclectic menu of pizzas like potato & egg, roasted eggplant, clam & garlic to name a few.  I gave the goat cheese a try with marina sauce (traditionally served with pesto but as usual I have to change it up).  All the pizzas were thin sliced and nice & large, 6 slices with a great toasty crust.  I tried a slice of margherita pizza too and yet another delish pie.  The basil brought out the taste of the cheese and san marzano tomato sauce.  After consuming so much food, there was no space for dessert, that will be next time!

If you’re in the Southpark area, make sure to stop by this great restaurant!

 

 

 

Crú…. “BEER IS MADE BY MEN, WINE BY GOD!” – MARTIN LUTHER

wineflights

 While in Dallas TX recently, I visited a great wine bar called Crú Wine Bar.  Having been to one of these before in NC, I knew it would be a good experience. 

Most Crú’s are designed with the same concept in mind, Wine Wine Wine!  Usually a small wine bar/restaurant offering wines by the glass, bottle, or flights with a limited menu of cheese and small plates.  And this place was no different.

 The ambience is wonderful in a wine bar with all the servers, bartenders being well versed in their knowledge of wines.  On this night, we were quickly seated and served which is another staple of the bar.  A little loud this particular night due to a small business party but the wine and cheese and company more than made up for that.

Flights were quickly ordered and delivered with everyone trying a different series. And with great presentation, a little flight tool (Now I’d like that for my house) that housed our glasses perfectly.  Back to the wines, I tried the Malbec Medley, becoming a recent fan of Malbec’s.  These Malbec’s were all Argentina wines and had the smell & taste of full body berries.  All very good though the Mendoza wine, with a touch of lavender & dark berry fruits, was a little too sweet for my tastes.  I like my red’s velvety smooth yet bold.

As we were headed off to dinner soon after, we ordered cheese plates to compliment the wine.  While a great platter of bold blue cheese, parmesan, and few other great cheeses was ordered, I took the waitress’s advise as I was looking for a spicy cheese (is there such a thing?).  Unfortunately, that cheese platter was a bust with a mild blue cheese that tasted like it had gone bad and the spicy cheese was full of mustard seeds and just tasted awful.  And the others at the table agreed.  But needless to say we finished off all the other cheeses along with bread and great peppery cracker bread.  Oh & not to mention the wine and headed to dinner!

Crú is great no matter where you try it!  And it is worth trying, wine lover or not! 

Cheers!

Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar….now that’s a name!

breakfast I was traveling recently & decided to pop into this place for a quick breakfast.  Conveniently located across from my gate, I thought for sure they’ll have something other than just burgers and I was right!  Though they are known for the various types of burgers served, they also offer bar food.  In fact, I took a second look thinking it was Bid Daddy’s, which I’m more familiar with.

 The staff was very friendly & seated me quickly and took my order.  And the food appeared just as quickly.  Scrambled eggs, with cheese & veggies, well done.  By now, you realize I’m a very picky eater and always add my own twist on any menu item so of course I had to ask them to have the eggs nice & crispy brown.  And they were right on the money!  The Texas Toast served with it was certainly lacking.  But the waitress quickly took care of it & had fresh bread brought out.  Can’t believe they were serving that rock bread to anyone!

 Drinks are the usual though, in the mornings a good mimosa helps me wake upJ  Unfortunately, the selection is limited so no strawberry or mango mimosa but the usual one with OJ hit the spot.  It was served in a red wine glass rather than usual champagne but was still as good.  Though the cost of it was shocking….$12 Cost even more than my breakfast of $8.  And by looking around the restaurant, the favorite morning drink was the Bloody Mary or the Mud Slide, both great choices.

Worth a try if you’re a burger lover and good breakfast but if you’re not in the mood to break the bank on your alcoholic beverages, find another place!