As we’ve been traveling and shooting the second season of The Weekender, we’ve been staying in some pretty cool cities and coming across some amazing food. There’s just one little issue… I’m the picky girl, and eating new things doesn’t always come easy for me. I thought I’d create a fun little mini-series for all you picky girls out there… because I know the feeling when you just want to order the grilled cheese. I’ve tested a bunch of cool restaurants, and this picky girl is hooking you up! Follow along on this little side food adventure with me!
Charlotte isn’t coffee capital of the world, but we did manage to find a few great places while we were there. But first… coffee.
This little gem was packed right into the heart of 7th Street Market in Center City Charlotte, so if you’re expecting a quaint little, solo space tucked into a quiet corner, think again– it’s basically the Reading Terminal of Charlotte. Hop on up to the bar, give your order to the baristas clad in a super hipster apron getup, then sit back and enjoy every sip of that glorious cup of whatever it is you just ordered. Iced for me, please, always and forever.
Just around the corner from our hotel was Amelie’s, and after several homeowner recommendations and stellar Yelp reviews, we hopped on over there to check it out for ourselves. The space was HUGE, I mean, basically a half a block of real estate, filled with crazy, funky mismatched decor and even a giant chandelier made of musical instruments– cool, right? The coffee was on point, and the pastries were so, so good, and hit the perfect spot before a full day of work.
A pretty recent Charlotte addition, Coco and the Director was a quick 5 minute walk from our hotel. It’s a multi-level space with lots of great seating and tons of original chalkboard art. They even have some small, unique gifts you can buy while you’re waiting for you order. Ok, enough about the ambiance– let’s get to the coffee. I got my typical iced vanilla latte (I’m a creature of habit if nothing else), and it was really solid! Kinda, sorta reminded me of my favorite iced latte from home and a little bit of home on the road is always a good thing! Coco + The Director opens early, and closes late, so there’s no excuse not to stop in! Overall, a great little place in the heart of Charlotte, so definitely give them a try.
No it’s not Pheobe’s Smelly Cat, but it sure was a cool little place. In the heart of NoDa, right outside Center City, Charlotte was this little gem. Market lights, painted brick exterior and a fun old-school movie theatre across the street were the markings of a good morning find. My *surprise, surprise* vanilla latte was pretty good– they had a house-made vanilla syrup that sold me on it. The interior was a lot of reclaimed wood, doors for seating areas, and the entire inside ceiling was covered in old coffee bean sacks– so cool! The rest of the NoDa area is pretty happening, and there’s lots to see.
We’ve heard of Southern BBQ, but Korean-Southern BBQ is a whole other playing field. Thrillist is my best friend when it comes to new food research (and I research a lot), but this picky girl still had some reservations about the quirky twist of flavors here. We ended up basically ordering everything on the menu, and I’m not kidding when I said we basically ordered everything on the menu, because we actually did– Just take a look at this menu… My favorites were the Korean Hot Wings (twice fried!), Ramen mac & cheese, bulgogi sausage, and sweet potato nest… FAN-freaking-TASTIC. Oh yes, and my cocktail was as colorful and fun as it gets– Five stars for sure.
This one drew us in by way of the street– we walked right past it a few times then finally decided to go in and give it a try, and I’m glad we did! The King’s Kitchen is Southern comfort food at it’s finest, and the decor was super cute too! The really awesome thing about this restaurant is that 100% of their proceeds go towards giving back to the community and feeding the poor in the Charlotte area, so we definitely made a second stop here. There were tons of picky girl friendly options – I opted for meat and potatoes (my go to) and finished the night off with the best banana pudding!
Ok, probably cutest little restaurant in suburban North Carolina (Davidson to be exact)… from the moment we stepped in, the phones came out and started we were going picture crazy. The bar area is a showstopper, and the drinks were even better. Our kind bartender Carter made us his gin specialty, and we might have had two (or three…) I might have even claimed it was my favorite cocktail of all time! The food was amazing too– Kindred specializes in small plates, and that’s perfect for this picky girl so I could A) try everything and B) not be too devastated if I didn’t like something. Lucky for me, I pretty much loved it all! A few must-try plates were the duck fat potatoes, butternut ravioli (one of my favorite out-to-eat dishes!), venison pasta (this was a risky move for me, but I loved it!), and fried oysters (honest confession. I didn’t love them, but the rest of the crew did. They don’t call me the picky girl for no reason!) And let’s not forget about dessert… hands down best cinnamon roll I have everrr had. No lie, that frosting made me weep tears once it was all gone. It was that good.
Oh crap, I almost forgot the milk break… order it. Trust me on this one.
Beer is branding, and we found some good branding in Charlotte (also all the real beer drinkers of the world want to punch me in the face right now). Though I’m not much of a beer drinker, I can’t deny that they had some pretty awesome can labels and designs. One of the favorites was the Double Pale Ale from Sycamore Brewing Company in downtown Charlotte– that red and pale green gets me every time!
I’ve admitted not much of a beer drinker, I prefer a cold, sweet, cocktail, but that’s not really an option at a legit brewery. I ended up trying a few brews before landing on one called Good Morning Vietnam– a coffee infused beer! Sure it wasn’t a cocktail, but it was still pretty stinking good for this picky girl’s palette.
Moral of this picky girl’s story is that Charlotte has a great way of sneaking in different tastes and cuisines while still disguising it with their own Southern fried charm (totally fine by me!) Be sure to check out these awesome local spots if you find yourself in Charlotte and let me know if I missed anything I should try next time I’m in town!
-Monica, AKA The Picky Girl