For those of you who know me, you probably know my life pretty much revolves around food. I won’t even be through breakfast yet and I’m already planning what’s on the menu next. Even when I go on vacation I strategically plan the trip around the places I want to eat. Returning home to California is one of the hardest trips to take. There is literally never enough time to get in all my local favorites! Even when I am there for a week I find myself eating out every meal to make sure I get every place in. (And unfortunately I never do.) So far since moving to Charlotte I have established a few favorite go-to dishes from around town. Here are 10 items I love to eat (not in any order):
1. Basil’s PAD SEE EU
Basil took my Thai virginity about two years ago and I have been hooked ever since. Their Pad SEE EU is incredible. Large flat rice noodles, perfectly balance sweet and spicy soy based sauce with chicken and broccoli. OMG I’m drooling over here. I could eat this dish every single day and never get tired of it.
2. Basil’s Fried Wontons
So Basil pretty much has a ton of amazing food. I don’t even eat shrimp but I LOVE these. One time my husband and I even EACH got a separate order for ourselves. Obviously we were feeling extra healthy that day. It’s a mixture of chicken, shrimp and cream cheese all wrapped up and fried served with the perfect sweet and sour dipping sauce. They are the perfect blend of textures and taste!
3. Emzy’s Orange Chicken
So when most people think about Orange Chicken you imagine a mall food court. Am I right? This is SO far from that! The chicken is thin breast pieces, battered and flash fried. Sliced long and served with rice and the perfect orange glaze sauce on the side.
I’m from Southern California so I know my guacamole. Cantina 1511 has one of my all-time favorites hands down. Not just in the Carolina’s either. It is made table side and is just so refreshing. I continue to eat it time and time again even though I am slightly allergic to Avocados. It is WELL worth the risk!
5. RURU Long Long Duk Taco
If you are looking for a unique taco experience RURU’s is the place to be. My favorite is their Korean Style taco. It embodies the perfect balance between flavors and textures with its sweet and spicy skirt steak, crema and crunchy Red Cabbage.
I am proud to say Craft’s Verde Flatbread is what introduced me to artichokes. I cannot believe I had never tried them before! The flatbread is a mixture of creamy goat cheese with marinated artichoke hearts, garlic oil and arugula. I can easily eat the entire plate in one sitting. The rest of their menu also looks incredible too but I can never get myself to try anything else!
7. Rooster’s Anson Mill’s Grits
So I may be from California but I was actually raised on Grits. My dad was born and raised in North Carolina so he brought that tradition with him when he moved west. These Grits are so indulgent. They are buttery, salty, and hello, have BACON.
8. Lebowski’s Mission Bay Salad
I am all about a corn and black bean salsa. I also love a good BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad any day of the week. This is a perfect “marriage of foods” salad that is a nice change up to my normal routine. Sweet corn, creamy avocado, meaty beans, crispy lettuce with a citrus punch from the cilantro lime dressing. It’s a party in your mouth.
Okay so this place is a little out there. Jake’s is way down Albemarle Road located in an old western styled gas station. The atmosphere is laid back and welcoming. (They even let you grab your own beer out of a cooler in the front!) Even though the place has a casual feel, the Pork Chop could be on any fine dining menu! First, it’s HUGE. I can never finish the entire thing even when I try! It is served with candied apples and mashed potatoes that really just bring it over the edge. I have forever been ruined to ordering pork chops anywhere else since they just never compare!
I am and forever will be a sandwich girl. Besides Pasta, Sandwiches are probably the only other meal I could eat daily and never get tired of. Embarrassingly enough I’ve actually done that once in High School when I ate the same subway sandwich for dinner 15 days straight. Whoops! Anyways The Chicken Torta is a great example of an awesome sandwich. It has perfectly juicy chunks of chicken with creamy avocado, melted provolone, crunchy lettuce and tomato and brings in a great brightness from the jalapenos all on top of a ciabbatta roll layered with mayo. So filling and amazing!
Now these are just first 10 things that popped in my head. There are SO many more amazing places and dishes all around Charlotte that are well worth a trip to. I’m already thinking about all the unforgettable places I left off the list!! Maybe I will have to post a Top 20… or even a Top 50 next time in order to actually get all my favorites.
*Most of these photos are my own but a few are pulled from the Restaurant’s homepage