Weekend in Charlotte

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buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 12:56 PM
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Captain Morgan


BBuster,  if you have more pics like these,

GET TO WORK! 
Aye, aye Captain!!!


carolina bob
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 1:02 PM
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Cliff, that BBQ sandwich at Bridges looks like a real winner. I've been meaning to get over there for years, but after seeing your photos, a visit to Bridges just took a big leap priority-wise. Great trip report.  

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 4:59 PM
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The next stop was at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens.

I read good things about this place in my guide book and it turned out to be a really nice stop.  Certainly, late March isn't the best time to see everything in full bloom, but there was still lots of things to look at.  I like the photo of this little girl,

who is is really excited to see what's ahead.  The prettiest part was inside the orchid conservatory.


 
They had several topiary sculptures, like the small dinosaur

and the dog,

who apparently has mange.
 
But my favorite part of DSBG was an innocent looking little pathway.  There are two little ponds, with water spouts pointing at the pathway that divides them.  At random times, they start shooting water.  You have to decide to walk through it or walk around it.  I walked through it and didn't get wet.  But the two women and their kids right behind me

didn't get as lucky.  Actually, the kids enjoyed it so much, they ran back through the water.  While walking around the gardens, I saw several people get soaked.
 
I spent a couple of hours here and enjoyed it thoroughly.
 
http://www.dsbg.org/%3C/a...ont%3E%3C/a%3E%3C/a%3E
 
Next, I spent about an hour exploring the Mint Museum of Art.

Unfortunately, it has been so long since my visit, I can't remember too many of the details.  While I was driving around, I also went to see the original location of that old Roadfood classic place, Coffee Cup

Somehow, I managed to never eat here, which is a disappointment.  As far as I know, the second location is also closed now.
 
After all of this, I was finally ready for one more meal before I left town.....
<message edited by buffetbuster on Tue, 11/3/09 5:03 PM>

Howard Baratz
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 5:28 PM
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BB,

While I like Bridge's (like you I dig the "frozen in time" feel and the very friendly staff) I have never really found the food to be near the level of Lexington #1. Since a meal at Bridge's is stylistically a carbon copy of a meal at Lexington #1 I always find myself somewhat disappointed.


EatingTheRoad
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 6:02 PM
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More great photos, the orchid conservatory looks gorgeous, I would love to visit there.

appycamper
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 6:33 PM
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i recently moved to oklahoma from the shelby area and love this thread featuring shelby and gastonia. add the shelby cafe and the clock to your to-visit list.

on the difference between braunschweiger and livermush, i love braunschweiger and am indifferent about liver mush. braunschweiger has a silky texture with a slightly sweet note and rich mouth feel. livermush has a much stronger liver taste with a grainy texture from the cornmeal. think the texture of an unsweetened southern-style cornbread that the liver and other ground pig bits hold together. you know if it was just the bits and pieces (minus the liver) ground up and mixed with the cornmeal i'd probably love it. go sweet or savory with it by choosing your condiment: grape jelly or yellow mustard.

TJ Jackson
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 7:47 PM
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BB: there is a new location of Coffee Cup somewhat north of town

http://www.wsoctv.com/news/18986155/detail.html

Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Tue, 11/3/09 10:16 PM
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appy, that's a nice summary.  You gotta love something that'll stand up to both grape jelly and mustard.  :)

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 7:51 AM
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Howard Baratz


BB,

While I like Bridge's (like you I dig the "frozen in time" feel and the very friendly staff) I have never really found the food to be near the level of Lexington #1. Since a meal at Bridge's is stylistically a carbon copy of a meal at Lexington #1 I always find myself somewhat disappointed.
I wholeheartedly agree about the comparison between Bridge's Barbecue Lodge and Lexington #1.  As much as I like BBR (I give it about a 7 1/2), Lexington #1 might be my all-time favorite bbq joint.  Still, as someone who lives in a bbq deprived area, I will take good 'que anytime I can get it! 


buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 7:55 AM
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appycamper


i recently moved to oklahoma from the shelby area and love this thread featuring shelby and gastonia. add the shelby cafe and the clock to your to-visit list.
Please tell us more about the Shelby Cafe! 
 
TJ-
I do remember the Coffee Cup reopening, but I thought I read that it has closed again.  If I had known it was open, at any location, I would have definitely stopped in.


mr chips
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 8:17 AM
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As always, a report well worth reading. See you later this month.

Howard Baratz
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 12:10 PM
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buffetbuster


I do remember the Coffee Cup reopening, but I thought I read that it has closed again.  If I had known it was open, at any location, I would have definitely stopped in.

I got "Traveling Manned" last December at the first re-opened Coffee Cup but, according to the article, this is a re-re-opening. If it is near as good as the original it is definitely worth a stop.   

appycamper
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 12:40 PM
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shelby cafe is on south lafayette southwest of the town square. they serve a good breakfast (including livermush) and if i recall correctly will serve it all day for a $1 premium after breakfast hours. good burgers and fries and sandwich offerings. the club is great and they may still do the burger club.

they rotate a pick-a-meat plus veggies special daily (usually like 5 meats daily): roast turkey, stew, country steak and the like with good sides of mac and cheese, dressing, rice, mashed potatoes, fried okra, the stewed squash mentioned earlier in this thread, potato salad, sliced tomatoes, peas*, greenbeans, pinto beans, greens. with cornbread (southern unsweetened) or a roll.  

*in the south we'll differentiate between peas. they come in english or green and field peas. for field peas think black-eyed peas but a bit less earthy in flavor.

they do their own baked goods. and everything is good. check out the chocolate cake with a tall glass of cold milk.

<message edited by appycamper on Wed, 11/4/09 1:29 PM>

appycamper
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 12:55 PM
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in shelby, add alston bridges bbq to the list as well. 620 east grover. i don't know what if any connection to bridges bbq there might be. the "q" is equally as good. i actually liked it a bit better because their chop was a little coarser. and if you like a bit of bark added order it "brown."
<message edited by appycamper on Wed, 11/4/09 1:23 PM>

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 1:11 PM
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Last stop in town was Chicken Box Cafe,

a soul food restaurant in an African-American neighborhood.  The shape of the building

made me think it used to be a fast food joint.  Even though we were past the usual lunch time rush, they were still very crowded.  You place your order at the counter, have a seat in the waiting area, until they call you to let you know the food is ready.  Honestly, the scene is chaotic and disorganized and it seemed to me that the food took a really long time. 
 
With a name like Chicken Box, of course I had to get the fried chicken. 

Unfortunately, I didn't care for it.  The skin was so brittle,

it just fell away when touched.  And the meat was rather dry to my taste.  The sides of fried okra

and macaroni and cheese

(which was nice and creamy) were better, but still nothing special.  I also ordered a dessert of the banana pudding, which they forgot and I had to go back up with my receipt to get.  Does this look like homemade banana pudding to you? 

Me neither.  I only ate a couple of bites and threw the rest out.
 
From here, I drove to the Charlotte airport for my flight home.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Wed, 11/4/09 1:13 PM>

EatingTheRoad
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Wed, 11/4/09 2:22 PM
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Only the M&C looks appetizing...that looks like a sad meal...too bad.

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Mon, 04/12/10 2:36 PM
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I was recently in Charlotte just long enough to grab a couple of meals.  Since the plane landed well behind schedule, my options for dinner were limited.  Luckily, South 21 Drive-In stays open until 10:00PM on Friday nights and I made it here with a half hour to spare.  No doubt that this was my kind of place when I saw the old-fashioned sign

lit up in the front of the parking lot.
 
Just drive into one of the slips,

check out the large menu

and place your order through the speaker.  In just a few minutes, one of the carhops

delivers your food.  I spoke to a couple of them and they were polite, friendly and well dressed in their fedoras.  Many of them have been here for years.
 
Being quite hungry, I went for two sandwich/meals.  First was the Super Boy burger,

which comes with a dill pickle pinned to the top bun.  Since it appears in the Hamburger America book, I expected a really good hamburger, but was disappointed.  It is impressive looking with the two patties and well dressed with lettuce, tomatoes, mustard and onions.  But most of the flavor came from the condiments and the toppings and little from the burger itself.  The french fries that come on the side were typical fast food fries and I don't mean that in a good way.
 
Fortunately, I also tried the bizarrely named Fish-O-Burger. 

Even though that sounds like something straight from the McDonald's playbook, it was so much more.  There are two lengths of firm, fresh, lightly battered trout.  On the side was more of the fries, some fine slightly vinegary cole slaw and tartar sauce that tasted like it could be made here.
 
But the best thing to eat here is the excellent onion rings. 

A beautiful golden color, they were extremely crunchy, with great oniony flavor.  In his review, Michael Stern calls them greaseless, which made me think I wouldn't like them.  I like my onion rings greasy.  But these definitely worked! 
 
To drink, local favorite cherry lemon Sun Drop and a thick chocolate shake. 

I didn't like everything here, but sure liked enough for a return visit. 
 
Since I had parked in the front of South 21 Drive-In, it became necessary to drive around back to see their famous billboards. 

This is just a small sampling and is fun to look at!
 
South 21 Drive-In
3101 East Independence Blvd.
Charlotte, NC
704-377-4509
 
http://www.roadfood.com/Restaurant/Reviews/6916/south-21-drivein
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 04/12/10 2:41 PM>

Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Mon, 04/12/10 3:30 PM
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Get the fish and onion rings at South 21, check.

DocChuck
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Mon, 04/12/10 4:51 PM
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I rather liked the photo of the "Don't Hog the Bathroom" sign.

DirtDude
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Sat, 04/17/10 5:29 PM
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Johns Country Kitchen is on my list now. THANKS!

Scrapple is awesome. I think all the Yankees in my town buy it up before I can get some. They are always out at the Piggly Wiggly.

Nancypalooza
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Mon, 04/19/10 10:26 AM
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If you do get to Columbia, they sell it at the Farmers' Shed on US 1 in Lexington.  Great pimento cheese too.

buffetbuster
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Re:Weekend in Charlotte - Mon, 03/26/12 3:05 PM
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For no particular reason, I have made three seperate trips to North Carolina already this year.  I'm hoping to write about a few of the more interesting stops on all three trips. 
 
On the middle trip, I flew into Charlotte on the Friday night arriving late enough that most places are either closed or getting ready to close.  Luckily, Charlotte always has The Penguin and since it has been three years since I was last here (report is at the very beginning of this thread), it seemed the logical place to go.  Shockingly, there was an open parking spot right in front this time.  And instead of being completely packed like before, the place was almost empty. 

There was no one at the bar and only three tables being used.  Where was everyone?
 
They have a terrific menu with dozens of items I am eager to try.  Being a lover of sweet potato fries,

that was an easy choice.  They were long, thin, crispy coated and with maximum yammy flavor.  Fantastic!  There are so many different hot dog varities to try, but one, the Killer Pimp dog, jumped off the page.  This unusual combination features pimento cheese and deep fried pickle slices. 

How is that for a taste of the South?  The saltiness of the pickle chips contrasted well with the pimento cheese for an irresistable combination.  What surprised me, though, was the quality of the wiener.  Usually on something like this, the hot dog is all about the toppings.  But, this weiner made a big impression.  It had a garlicky flavor and a real snap when you bit into it.
 
Lastly, was the Southern style burger, known as the Tommy Boy.  This puts chili, lettuce, slaw, onion and cheese on the burger. 

You can order it as a single or a double, but considering everything else I was eating, a single was plenty.  I didn't really care for the taste of the chili and the cole slaw was more of a wet, runny kind, that made everything a mess.  The meat itself was fine and I think a burger here would be to my liking with different toppings.
 
It was impossible for me to eat here and not notice that everyone else was at least 20 years younger.  The waiter looked like someone you keep your fingers crossed that your daughter doesn't bring home.  Preconceptions aside, he was very friendly and took great care of me.  Just as I was paying the bill, a single musician set up in the corner and started his set.  If I wasn't tired, I would of stuck around, but it was time to head for the hotel for the night.
<message edited by buffetbuster on Mon, 03/26/12 3:14 PM>

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