Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Food Baby 15 - January 2013

Introducing the Food Baby 15...

...the exclusive list of 15 top restaurants in Charlotte right now.  In case you wanted to ask the Food Babies for a restaurant recommendation, below are 15 places we might send you!

Note:  the FB15 is intended to cover an array of cuisines in various locations around the city. We also wanted to include several price points with the assumption that you don’t want to drop half your paycheck on each meal. In other words, this is not the same as a "best restaurant" list.  These are restaurants that we dig and would send our friends to.

We will refresh the list every few months to add new picks, as well as to remove restaurants that have slipped.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

FB 2012: Charlotte Food Year in Review and 2013 Outlook

image: activerain.com 

The best and worst of 2012, as dictated by the Food Babies.  Plus what to watch for in 2013!

2012 Best New Additions

Restaurants & Bars 

5Church. Has the curse of the 5th & Church retail space been lifted? Approximately 2.2 trillion bars and restaurants have come and gone in this space in the ten years I have been in Charlotte. Hopefully 5Church, with its chic, modern interior and exciting menu will have more staying power.

image: fernflavors.com
Fern: Flavors from the Garden. I think Fern might have opened in late 2011, but because they do mushroom bacon (see Maple-Glazed Pumpkin Filet from the Fall menu) I can overlook the minor technicality. This intimate all-vegetarian spot features a creative menu and earthy-chic décor. I am always smug at my lack of food baby when I leave.

Malabar. Is this the best tapas restaurant I’ve ever been to? No, but the food is solid and it fills a void in the dining scene. While I still miss Coco Osteria, I can now soothe my pain with grilled octopus, manchego and jamon croquetas and other Spanish delicacies.

The Peculiar Rabbit. The jury is still out on this Plaza Midwood gastropub, but I was thrilled to see it finally open. I’ve enjoyed the one dish I tasted (hello pork belly entrée). I truly hope they make it work in this behemoth space…the expansive three stories can feel awkward if there isn’t a crowd there.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Roots Sausage Class

Be honest - how does this make you feel?
DISCLAIMER: If you are yakked out by gratuitous pics of raw meat, and/or are offended by adolescent jokes about “sausage”, you may choose to stop reading now.

However, if you are mildly titillated by handling locally raised cuts….if dry curing gives you weird new emotions….if you agree the scent of a sizzling homemade sausage patty is nothing short of godlike…then this is the post for you. Come in, kindred spirit!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Food Baby Top Picks for Charlotte Restaurant Week

Just when you thought your new year’s resolutions were safe…CRW is back!  The lists have been circulating for a while, and I’ve spent some time perusing the participating CRW restaurants and their menus.  A few of my personal opinions...

1.  Watch out for amateur hour.  In many ways, CRW is like other dreaded “rookie” nights for restaurants – Valentine’s Day, New Year’s Eve, etc.  You know these nights – it’s hard to find parking, tough to get a decent reservation, and there are just too many damn people asking for Kendall Jackson Chardonnay.  Gross and strenuous and I’m already over it.  And you just know your waiter is sizing you up – are you a rookie that will skimp on the tip, or are you a seasoned diner who knows the rules?  Whatever they conclude will on some level impact the quality of service...

2.  Best showing?  I am also skeptical in some cases that you get the best of what a restaurant has to offer.  I can imagine that participating restaurants struggle with the trade-off between the hard to define marketing benefits of RW versus the reality of food costs.  As with anything there will be hits and misses.

Golden Globes Food Babies

Hunger image
courtesy of
What Did the Celebs Nosh on at the 70th Annual Golden Globes?  After weeks of cleansing, fasting and otherwise blasting their food babies to squeeze into couture gowns for the Globes, we can imagine those celebs were hungry!  A few of the Hollywood starlets in particular (e.g., Anne Hathaway, Nicole Kidman, Kate Hudson, Naomi Watts) looked REALLY hungry.

So what did they eat at the Globes this year to keep them from collapsing?  According to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association:

Guests at the 70th Golden Globe Awards will dine on a menu  of Grilled Artichoke on Frisee served with Fennel Tomato Lemon Mousse, Kabocha pumpkin smoked dried tomato tart and pepper honey Goat Cheese as appetizers; a main course of Smoked Flat Iron Steak and Pacific Sea Bass; and Cappucino Mousse Cake for dessert. Beverly Hilton Executive Chef Suki Sugiura and Executive Pastry Chef Thomas Henzi have created this feast, to be enjoyed with a 2004 Grand Vintage Moet et Chandon champagne on tables adorned by red rose arrangements designed by celebrity florist Mark Held.