Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Finale

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wanderingjew
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2010/02/24 20:55:47 (permalink)

Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Finale

Yes, there was life before the Charleston portion of my trip began, however this trip almost didn't happen for me, because I was flying out on Wednesday 2/10 with a layover in Baltimore. As many of you know Baltimore got walloped with a second round of snow that day and I knew it was coming 2 days before it happenned, in fact my boss at work encouraged me to get a flight out and leave a day early. Thankfully I did because my initial flight to Raleigh Durham from Providence got canceled.

Tuesday February 9

The flight was a breeze. I didn't have to change planes at all, just a brief layover in Baltimore. I arrived in Raleigh Durham shortly after Noon to some intermittent rain, rented my car and my intended destination was to stay with my friend Julianne in Lincolnton NC about 33 miles NW of Charlotte, but not without a stop at a place I've wanted to check out for a while now.



Lexington # 1 Barbecue

Although the smoker is evident in the back of the building



I really didn't smell the fragrance of smoke that usually greets me when I enter a world class bbq joint



The interior was alot more genteel that I had imagined. The waitress approached and I ordered iced tea "unsweet"
and a bbq pork platter



The pork lacked smoke flavor and the texture of the meat itself was fairly consistent. There were no shreds of crusty dark meat which I was antiicipating and looking forward too. The vinegar although good tasting definetely overwhelmed the meat and any other ingredients in the sauce, which actually complimented the coleslaw quite well.




The hushpuppies were good, but were definetely not the best I had on the trip, however my favorite part of the meal was
actually



The peach cobbler I had for dessert which was served warm.

Overall Lexington #1 did not meet my expectations considering what I heard about the place. Again I enjoyed Wilbers and Allen and Sons much more, it wasn't bad, I just found it to be ordinary. Perhaps my expectations were too high?

After leaving Lexington #1 my initial plan was to head straight to Lincolnton, however Julianne called as I was walking back to my car and she told me that she was running a little late at her doctors appointment. I told Julianne that I would stop in Charlotte first and stroll uptown "Charlotte lingo for downtown", have dinner there and then head up to her place. Good, this gives me a chance for an extra meal in Charlotte.

I arrived in Charlotte at around 3:30pm. At this point it was raining lightly. I walked the uptown area and was amazed at how vibrant it was compared to the ghost town it used to be when I first visited 20 years ago. I stopped at the library to check my e-mail and surf the web. for a bit since I didn't want to get too wet.

Shortly after 5pm I headed to my dinner stop.



Simmons 4th Ward Restaurant located in a shopping center on the periphery of uptown. This is one of Charlotte's oldest soul food restaurants and apparently a favorite of Patti Labelle whenever she is in town. Well what's good for Patti Labelle is certainly good for me.



Walking into the place, you can't help but notice the wall of celebrity photos.

The owners noticed I was taking photos and were quite friendly. They offered me the "Obama Special" which is 1/2 sweet tea and half lemonade (I always thought that was an Arnold Palmer??) however I declined and asked for tea - unsweet- the owner replied, "one George Bush coming up!"

I ordered the fried chicken mac n cheese and collards



The meal started out with some good warm cornbread



The collards and Mac N Cheese were good and the Fried Chicken was both crispy and juicy but was still a slight notch below the Coffee Cup and Prices.

After my meal. I was in the mood for dessert.




Sadly I cannot compliment the Banana Pudding like my main meal. All I could taste was whipped cream and I doubt it was homemade. Unfortunately this was the worst banana pudding of the trip.

After Dinner I arrived at my friend Julianne's House in just under an hour . She lives in rural Lincolnton with her husband and their dog. I had a long day and was looking forward to a good nights rest. More later.

post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/02/28 11:15:04
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35 Replies Related Threads

    douginvirginia
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 06:34:25 (permalink)
    You needed to ask for brown-outside to get the crispy brown bits. 
    #2
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 07:46:33 (permalink)
    wanderingjew -

    That peach colber looks great!
    #3
    Wintem01
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 08:02:10 (permalink)
    Perhaps an Arnold Palmer is the same but with unsweetened tea.
    #4
    Ahi Mpls.
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 08:33:20 (permalink)
    Looking good so far...Sure wish I knew how to post a shot of WJ in a Patti Labelle getup!! 
    #5
    Louis
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 08:37:42 (permalink)
    I'm glad to see that your experience with Lexington BBQ was the same as mine.  I don't feel so alone now.

    #6
    mr chips
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 09:42:45 (permalink)
    Nice start to your report. Looking forward to more.
    #7
    Howard Baratz
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 09:54:02 (permalink)
    douginvirginia said the magic words.

    My first visit to Lexington #1 was a disappointment because, although I thought  the flavor of the meat was fine its pillow-y consistency and lack of textural interest left me less than enthralled and thinking that this was one of those places that people always tout but doesn't live up to the hype.    

    When I gave my mediocre review of my experience to a friend he told me that I should've told them that I wanted some "outside brown", which is the smokier, crunchier meat. My next time through I did just that and absolutely loved my meal. Knowing these magic words made all the difference in the world.

    I have now even fine-tuned my order, asking for "lots of outside brown", and Lexington #1 has become a much anticipated annual roadfood stop for me. I can't guarantee that your experience will mirror mine but I really think you should give the addition of "outside brown" a try before dismissing a place I now feel is a true roadfood treasue.  
    post edited by Howard Baratz - 2010/02/25 09:56:15
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 10:47:25 (permalink)
    Douginvirginia and POW (Howie)

    I didn't know you had to ask for outside brown. I never would have guessed. At Wilbers and Allen and Son's it's just mixed in with the whiter more tender pork shreds. If it's that simple then of course I would give the place another chance (that's if I ever find myself in that neck of the woods again)

    Chi Town Diner

    and the Cobbler was good too!
    #9
    buffetbuster
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 10:54:13 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    Douginvirginia and POW (Howie)

    I didn't know you had to ask for outside brown. I never would have guessed.
    You are killin' me!  You must have forgot, because I told you about that right before your trip! 

    #10
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 10:58:04 (permalink)
    buffetbuster

    wanderingjew

    Douginvirginia and POW (Howie)

    I didn't know you had to ask for outside brown. I never would have guessed.
    You are killin' me!  You must have forgot, because I told you about that right before your trip! 

     
    You may have but with all the chaos and stress regarding the weather and flight issues I had to deal with,  I  completely forgot.
    #11
    Howard Baratz
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 11:17:45 (permalink)
    wanderingjew 
     
    You may have but with all the chaos and stress regarding the weather and flight issues I had to deal with,  I  completely forgot.

     
    wj,

    I guess you could say that you had an "outside brownout".

     
    #12
    mayor al
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 14:18:20 (permalink)
    Hmmmm, Forgot?  I thought you always had a Nose for Brown!! (all possible puns intended!)
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    Louis
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 15:12:04 (permalink)
    Well, Howard, thanks for the tip.  Next time I'm down that way I'll take your advice.

    post edited by Louis - 2010/02/25 15:13:12
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    Howard Baratz
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 16:20:01 (permalink)
    By the way, you might want to try washing down your Lexington #1 Q with Cheerwine. This unique soda has a definite cherry taste without being sickeningly sweet like most cherry sodas. For some unknown reason this combo works for me like drinking a fine cabernet with a great steak. 

    #15
    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 21:31:00 (permalink)
    I know it probably shocks you guys but most barbecue huts down here reflect the local taste, which is: people like their meat pillowy and consistent throughout.  Thus the chopping which really goes too far in some cases.

    Dawn, I like how you think!
    #16
    Ahi Mpls.
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 22:13:46 (permalink)
     Where's I95 when you really need him!? 
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    ayersian
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 22:35:33 (permalink)
    Keep it coming, WanderingJew...and you are certainly entitled to a not-so-good day at Lexington #1.  Maybe the planets weren't aligned exactly right?    Chris
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/25 22:58:45 (permalink)
    Wednesday February 10

    Having slept on the couch, I woke up with this ragamuffin of allergens staring at me from across the room



    Yes, that's a milk bone dog biscuit she has in her mouth, her name is Mollie. Cute little mutt.

    I suggested to Julianne we go to Dilworth Coffee house for breakfast. This is a regional chain out of Charlotte and the closest one was in Denver NC about 20 minutes away. The coffee a medium-dark roast was adequate but they had a really delicious morning glory muffin.

    Afterwards, I suggested we go Charlotte and hang out in uptown for the afternoon. Julianne confessed she hardly ever goes to Charlotte but was looking forward to going. It was a sunny although extremely windy day. I was lamenting the loss of the legendary Coffee Cup. Apparently it's gone for good. However word is, on the internet that another soul food style restaurant sprouted up in its place at the coffee cup's last known location. Unfortunately I could not find a website or a phone number so we decided to take a drive and see if its still open...

    Sure enough



    The Highland Mills Cafe
    is very much open (photo was taken the following day after they had closed since i forgot to take an
    exterior shot.

    The place has somewhat of a polished almost classy feel for a soulfood joint




    and also offers live jazz on weekend evenings. In fact as we walked in the band that was to perform that weekend was actually practicing, and that kept us entertained during the meal. The female vocalist (I don't remember her name) had an amazing voice.
    Cynthia, our waitress is also Chef Robert's wife. She confessed this was her first day and she was just helping out.

    She did take a photo of Julianne and myself.



    The restaurant itself also offers counter service (that's chef Robert in the background)



    Julianne ordered the 2 veggie plate



    She chose the cabbage and yams which comes with cornbread. I had a bite of the yams and they were obviously homemade. Firm and simmering in sweet juice, it melted in my mouth on first bite. Chef Robert actually came out and showed us the Yams he uses, they were huge.




    I opted for the Fried Chicken, Cabbage and Mac N Cheese which also came with cornbread. The cabbage was luscious and flavorful the Mac N Cheese, my favorite on the entire trip was cheesey and not gooey and the Fried Chicken, was beyond a doubt equal to if not better than Prices or the now defunct coffee cup. Moist with a light crunchy exterior. This was the best fried chicken I had on the entire trip.

    Heres a closeup of the fried chicken


    Chef Robert told us that they are known for the collards. He brought us out a bowl of collards to share.



    The commanding flavor of the collards was completely intoxicating.

    I wanted to finish my meal with peach cobbler, the one oops of the entire meal was that they brought out sweet potato cobbler
    instead



    No biggie, it was still delish.

    Highland Mills
    was definetely the first highlight of this trip.

    After lunch, we walked around Uptown Charlotte and decided to go to the Museum of the New South. The theme of the museum was Charlotte History after Reconstruction. There was a great exhibit about the Civil Rights Era. Unfortunately I did not take any photos.

    We then headed back towards Lincolnton and went to this outdoor somewhat upscale mall. I don't remember the name of it.
    However it had liquor store with an amazing selection of beer.

    It was getting dark as we headed back to Julianne's place. Her husband was home from work. I took them out for dinner for being great hosts.

    After some research on the internet (there isn't exactly a great selection of restaurants in the Lincolnton-Denver area)
     we decided to go to Sports Page Food and Spirits. It was a predictable family restaurant/bar. I had an adequate Grouper Sandwich and a Yuengling which is a craft brew out of Pottstown PA. I didn't bring my camera or take any photos
    but here is there website
    http://sportspagefoodandspirits.com/denver.html

    After dinner we headed back to Julianne's place hung out and then called it a night.

    More sometime this weekend.
    post edited by wanderingjew - 2010/02/25 23:00:28
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 09:14:29 (permalink)
    wj-
    The food at Highland Mills looks every bit as good as you described to me in Charleston.  Great pic of the fried chicken.  Did they run out of the peach cobbler and substitute or did they just bring you the wrong thing?  Are you going to write a Roadfood review?
    #20
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 09:15:03 (permalink)
    wanderingjew -

    I've never had sweet Potato Cobbler...is it savory or a combo?  Is there fruit like raisins or apples added?  Looked like a non-crumble top?
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    wanderingjew
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 10:16:23 (permalink)
    Buffetbuster

    I had mentioned to our waitress that the Sweet Potato Cobbler captured my attention. She said that their peach cobbler and bread pudding  are the popular items. I asked for the Peach Cobbler but she brought over the sweet potato cobbler by accident. I enjoyed the sweet potato cobbler so I didn't mind the mishap. After I was done eating , Cynthia, our waitress noted the mistake and offered a complimentary peach cobbler, I declined as I was too full.  Yes, I hope to do a review.
    Highland Mills will definetely be a Top 10 Contender especially now that it seems that my roadfooding days  will come to a screaching hault after July of this year.

    Chi Town Diner

    This was straight sweet potato my friend. A sweet puree mixed in with bits of softened crumble
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 12:18:26 (permalink)
    That food looks like Chef Robert knows his way around a kitchen--yum!
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    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 13:43:39 (permalink)
    wanderingjew

    Buffetbuster

    I had mentioned to our waitress that the Sweet Potato Cobbler captured my attention. She said that their peach cobbler and bread pudding  are the popular items. I asked for the Peach Cobbler but she brought over the sweet potato cobbler by accident. I enjoyed the sweet potato cobbler so I didn't mind the mishap. After I was done eating , Cynthia, our waitress noted the mistake and offered a complimentary peach cobbler, I declined as I was too full.  Yes, I hope to do a review.
    Highland Mills will definetely be a Top 10 Contender especially now that it seems that my roadfooding days  will come to a screaching hault after July of this year.

    Chi Town Diner

    This was straight sweet potato my friend. A sweet puree mixed in with bits of softened crumble


    As in Casablanca...I am shocked, SHOCKED to find "declining" going on!
    #24
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 16:05:49 (permalink)
    Nancy

    He most certainly does. He told us he learned from his grandmother, however he brought it to a new level by tweaking the spices to include more variety with less salt and pepper.

    Chi Town

    Thanks to YOU I've been afraid to hop on a scale since I returned from this trip!
    #25
    ChiTownDiner
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 16:16:16 (permalink)
    Senator wanderingjew - I respectfully invoke my rights as guaranteed under the 5th amendment.  Thank you sir.
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    TJ Jackson
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 16:21:09 (permalink)
    WJ: sorry to hear the most recent instance of The Coffee Cup closed down.  You may recall that I made the trip to this exact location about a year back

    I can affirm from your pictures that the owners of Highland Mills simply slapped up a new sign - the interior and exterior look exactly the same as it did as The Coffee Cup.  The bar, the steps, the tables and chairs - all the same.  The macaroni and cheese looks virtually identical as well - perhaps they were able to wrangle some of Coffee Cup's recipes?
    #27
    wanderingjew
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 16:39:21 (permalink)
    TJ Jackson

    WJ: sorry to hear the most recent instance of The Coffee Cup closed down.  You may recall that I made the trip to this exact location about a year back

    I can affirm from your pictures that the owners of Highland Mills simply slapped up a new sign - the interior and exterior look exactly the same as it did as The Coffee Cup.  The bar, the steps, the tables and chairs - all the same.  The macaroni and cheese looks virtually identical as well - perhaps they were able to wrangle some of Coffee Cup's recipes?

     
    TJ
     
    I asked Chef Robert if the Coffee Cup gave him any of the recipes. He said they didn't . Either way I got to admit that the best Mac N Cheese I've had was both here and at the Coffee Cup. I'm not a big fan of "gloopy" Mac N Cheese.

    #28
    TJ Jackson
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/26 17:27:48 (permalink)
    Kinda cool that what looks to be a classic in the making stepped in right after the old classic left - rather than just some pedestrian eatery without an eye for quality

    Very nice.

    Let's hope they stick around for a long, long time

    I anticipate being in Charlotte again due to my company's headquarters being there and will try to stop back in, as well as make return trips to the Penguin, Lupie's, and of course -- The Chili Man
    #29
    sk bob
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    Re:Prologue to 7th Annual Presidents Day Weekend Glee Club Event in Charleston 2010 Part 1 2010/02/27 17:43:06 (permalink)
    you should try the Milk Bones. not bad
    #30
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