Don’t take anything seriously, except food!

Recently, I got to try a new Mexican restaurant in the Southpark area.  And when I say new, I mean new to me as the restaurant opened in April 2013.

Hidden behind Crate & Barrel @ Southpark, a few feet down from CowFish, is a great Mexican restaurant worth trying…Chuy’s!  While the location has been home to a few restaurants, I remember it last as M5.  A cool little place where the Who’s Who of Charlotte could be seen.

The décor is fantastic!  From the moment you walk in, (make sure to look up at the celling as you’ll see antique cameras on display) you’re transformed into their Tex Mex & eclectic environment.  The bar, with its own “car trunk” buffet area for the Happy Hour Nacho Bar special, to the Wall of Dogs, to the main dining area with palm trees, & Elvis décor, the place certainly makes an impression on you instantly.  The large patio out back would be great during the spring & summer months too. 

And the food packs a punch!  Make sure to try some of the Big as Yo’ Face Burritos or the loaded nachos…yum!  And as the name says, be ready to eat lots!  I ordered the beans & cheese Big as Yo’ Face Burrito and could barely get ½ of it down.  You could taste the freshness of the 12-inch tortilla, made in house.  In fact, Chuy’s Food Fullosophy touts authentic food all made in house.

When you are seated, you’re brought the normal platter of chips with two dips:  salsa (Fresca with a little heat) & a buttermilk jalapeno ranch with a tang.  The salsa tastes authentic & fresh with just a little heat but for the burrito, I asked for the full hot/spicy experience….got it!  And for those of you not sure how hot to order it, check out their spice meter.  They offer 7 signature sauces made in house from mild to hot!  & of course, I asked for the Hot!  

The Nachos looked & tasted great too…with handmade fresh chips topped with just enough sauce, beans, & cheese to give you that Tex Mex flavor.  Definitely trying those next time! 

And the prices match the food…which at times in the Southpark area doesn’t happen 🙂

Can’t wait for my next visit!

 

 

 

Chuy's on Urbanspoon

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The CowFish

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Recently I tried a new restaurant in the Southpark area, The CowFish.  Hidden near Crate & Barrel, you’d miss it unless you knew it was there.  The same for all the shops near the area & the parking is very limited…good luck!

Normally a sushi or burger joint is not my thing but I was open to trying something new so off we went.  Met up with a group prior to dinner time for a glass of wine so the restaurant was not busy. 

The bar and dining area is quite large though you wouldn’t think so from the outside.  Once you enter, your eye can’t help but look at the large aquarium.  Very nice!  The bar wraps around both dining rooms. 

We were seated immediately, as they weren’t busy.  And our first waiter quickly appeared to give us the full “Cow Fish Menu experience.”  He went over all the items on the menu, highlighting his favs, & the restaurant’s best dishes.  Our second waiter was happy to recommend wines & our third took our order.  Apparently, shift changes, sick staff caused us to have three waiters in less than 20 minutes…hmmmm  Our first two were very helpful & attentive, the third unfortunately not.

We started with a little appetizer with our wine & if you know me, it was carbs!  So truffle fries were ordered & delivered quickly.  A large platter of house fries with truffle, melted parmesan cheeses, & chives…yum!    We ordered dinner while we munched on the appetizer & dinner arrived quickly…we didn’t even finish our yummy fries.

The menu is eclectic from sushi burgers, sushi boxes, & burger salads.  I tried the The Screamin’ Korean Chicken burger.  Unique burger with flash fried chicken breast topped with kimchi & sriracha, ranch, & Asian slow.  It was served with the burger usual’s, lettuce, tomato, onions & pickles.   I added a little more sriracha to the sandwich, because everything is better with heat 🙂  and it wasn’t bad.   While the burger was $11, you certainly get a large portion for your money & that goes for all the dishes.  The other dishes were the same too.  Another entrée that looked good ordered was the Cowfish Bento Box.  Literally served in an Asian box, you get a lot for your $12:  sliders, sweet fries, edamame, sushi rolls, & Thai cucumbers.   While I didn’t try any of it, my friend certainly enjoyed.  And the shrimp dish was proportionally large  & apparently good as everyone shared, minus me of course. 

 The proportions were large, so no room for dessert this time.  Not to mention the restaurant did get very busy & loud.  By 6, there was a line outside the door to get in. 

 Décor is interesting from large comically pictures all around the restaurant to the leather chairs, booths, Asian foods artwork.  Take a look at http://www.thecowfish.com/gallery/?loc=1

 For a unique experience & great ambience, definitely give it a try. 

Surin of Thailand on Urbanspoon

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!

Village Tavern on Urbanspoon

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!

 

 

 

Authentic Mexican….or it was supposed to be!

Not professional at all...when you make changes don't use Whiteout!

Not professional at all…when you make changes don’t use Whiteout!

1900 Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar in Southpark on Park Road is hidden away in a nice shopping area. Full of other restaurants like a sub shop, Portofino’s& Harris Teeter, nice busy location.

I was first introduced to this place by a friend who absolutely loves it! And the only Mexican restaurant she’ll eat at in the area so thought it must be great.

On the first visit, it was extremely busy. In fact, we had to ask about our orders 3 times. 2nd visit, it was dead….hmmmm. When you walk in your surprised at the size of the restaurant because from the outside it looks like a hole in the wall. But I’ve learned through the years, those are the best places! The menu has a little of everything Mexican but what was nice is that it tasted authentic! You can tell when a restaurant has just warmed up some store bought food and when they’ve actually cooked it fresh. The taste of the sauces was nothing like you’d find at a fast food place. But I must say, either the chefs changed from my first or second visit or the chef was having a bad day.

Yes, it was March Madness & perhaps the chef was busy watching the games then paying attention to the quality of the food. The salsa was totally bland, even the extra hot sauce didn’t make it better. The chips were great but what to eat with! I, as always, changed up the order. Taken without hesitation but delivered with nothing but green peppers…burrito with beans/green peppers..not all that great. Rice was ok but very dry & again bland. Hot sauce needed to make it taste good. The Carne Asada looked good and plentiful. The lunch date enjoyed it without complaints.

I’m on the fence on this place but will give it one last try to see if it’s really good place!