Wraps, Flatbreads, Salads, Oh My!!!

HEALTHY…FRESH…NUTRITIOUS…YUMMY…LOCAL…. These are just a few words that come into mind when thinking about Crunch Bistro, a Charlotte based local owned restaurant started by the Nussbaum family. Crunch Bistro offers hand crafted made to order salads, quinoa bowls, wraps, acai bowls, flatbreads and homemade soups! This establishment began at a kiosk (believe it or not) in Southpark Mall in 2011. After having a huge demand and growing popularity for their products, Crunch Bistro opened its first restaurant off of Rea Road and opened its second location in Uptown, Charlotte in 2017. Their menu includes over 40 fresh, NEVER FROZEN, ingredients allowing you to stay true to your nutritional goals but also leaving you with the feeling of being fulfilled. And from personal experience, you will definitely leave with your tummy satisfied. They focus on offering chef inspired meals at a super affordable price that won’t break the bank! Aaaaaaand did you know that a majority of the menu options are under 500 calories??? That’s really rare these days when you dine in or get take out from fast casual restaurants.

This is the inside of the Uptown, Charlotte location where the decor is modern, colorful, and cozy. Sticking with Crunch Bistro’s logo and color scheme, and having the large windows and patio area, all make the dining experience super enjoyable every time. At both locations they have a beautiful wooden focus wall that is rustic yet brings the outside in, just like the design on all the chairs mimicking tree branches.

Crunch Bistro boasts over 40 fresh ingredients ranging from veggies to bacon to fresh herbs prepared daily. All of these veggies are incorporated into their wraps, salads, flatbreads, and other items on their menu.

Baked Salmon Quinoa Bowl

BBQ Santa Fe Salad

BBQ Chicken Flatbread

Cornucopia Acai Bowl 

Chicken Salad Wrap

One of the reasons why I love Crunch Bistro so much is that there is something for everyone here. I love how fresh the ingredients are, how friendly the staff is, and how passionate Crunch Bistro is about executing great healthy meal options to satisfy all your nutritional goals. I mean even if you aren’t trying to watch your diet, these options are fantastic anyways! Oh and believe it or not……they have some of the best banana pudding I have tried in Charlotte. Who would’ve known that this local bistro would have such a thing. It’s made fresh daily every morning and absolutely delicious! Being from Alabama I know good “nanner puddin”! LOL!!!

Banana Pudding

Not only can you dine in, carry out, or order online, Crunch Bistro offers catering for any size group big or small! I had the pleasure of watching the Crunch Bistro team prep and cater for a large (500 person order) the other day, and OMG, they had it down to a T! Super organized and well planned! I was getting so hungry just watching them box up wraps on wraps on wraps! HAHAHA #hangry You can learn more about their catering options on their website www.crunchbistro.com

4 outta 500 wraps for a catering order!

Need ideas for a gift? Crunch Bistro offers gift cards as well at both locations. Trust me, your friend or family member will thank you later! 🙂

If you haven’t checked out Crunch Bistro, you definitely should go and get YO WRAP ON!!! Especially on Wednesdays as they offer $6 Wrap Wednesday specials! Whatever area you are in, you can expect the same fresh made to order menu items and great customer service! GO TRY IT Y’ALL!!!

CRUNCH BISTRO LOCATIONS:

Piper Glen

6414 Rea Road      Charlotte, NC 28277       704.362.0077      Hours 10am-8pm and Saturdays 10am-9pm

Uptown

401 N. Tryon Street      Charlotte, NC 28202      980.498.5774    Hours 7am-5pm closed Saturday and Sunday

 

xoxoxoxo,

The Sweet Seoul

 

Roadie to The Olde English District

When I think of awesome restaurants, fun things to see and do….. I definitely do not think about venturing out to The Olde English District of South Carolina. Let’s be real, when I moved to Charlotte almost 2 years ago, I moved to be close to EVERYTHING!!! I mean, I’m a city girl who loves to have restaurants and attractions at an arm’s reach. Oh and shopping….. lots of shopping!!! Well, that mindset changed after I had the opportunity to go on a 2 day culinary road trip and an overnight trip to South Carolina, just a short 30 minute drive from Queen City. I was joined by a few of the city’s best food writers and bloggers and I got to experience an amazing food filled trip with lots of historic stops on the way! Places I would’ve never known existed if it weren’t for the amazing tour guides and people that accommodated us with open arms. Let’s get started shall we?!?!

Early morning on day 1, all of us met at The Flipside Cafe in Ft. Mill, SC for a fantastic breakfast, meeting the amazing Chef/Owner Amy Fortes, and learning about locally sourced ingredients of southern dishes on the menu and what some of Amy’s favorites are. Amy has an extensive background in the culinary world and just meeting her I truly sensed the strong passion she has for cooking. She loves cooking breakfast and that is her favorite aspect of what she does. When asked what the most popular dish is on the menu, it is the Shrimp and Grits, and now I see why. Flipside Cafe utilizes at least 5 producers from different local farms.  I had dined here once before and already tagged them as having the best damn sweet tea in the Carolinas! But I had never tried their breakfast/brunch. Some of my favorites were the warm scratch made pretzels and Amy’s White Cheddar Pimento Cheese, Carolina Grits, Potatos Bravas, and The Fort Mill Biscuit Bake. ALL were insanely delicious and must tries on the menu.

With full bellies and on to a little scenic drive, our next stop was Windy Hill Orchard, a family owned and operated apple orchard and hard cider producer, started by a couple, Fritz and Catherine Gusmer in the late 1980’s. They are open every fall from Mid August-December 5 days a week and in the Spring open on the weekends. “Picking Season” starts mid September and finishes up early to mid October. Their orchard offers every apple from my personal favorite, Pink Lady apples to Gala apples to the not so pretty Russet Golden apples. They sit on about 10 acres of land and this was the first cidery in South Carolina. Cider is a great option because it is gluten free and all ciders are 6% alcohol. Not only do they offer 6 different hard ciders, they have these amazing hot apple cider doughnuts and boy are they addicting.

Well folks, I grew up on bbq all my life but OMG…. talk about a hidden gem in the town of Buffalo, SC. I present to you my top pick for bbq in the Carolinas…. MIDWAY BBQ. A simple motto “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” has kept this family owned and operated bbq joint in business for over 50 years. I cannot say enough great things about this spot. From the staff, owners, and food, it is truly a gem. A Southern Legendary Gem….. Midway BBQ is famously known for its hash and spicy chicken stew. They offer over 30 meats and sides and can cater an army for $8 bucks a person….. Y’all heard right… $8 bucks a person and if you order off the menu a meat and 3 will run you $6.99. Not even shitting you. I was speechless for the next 2 hours because where else in the Carolinas can you get a meat and 3 for under $10 bucks. And needless to say their peach cobbler dessert will run you a whopping $.50 cents, like I wanted a whole tray for myself. Their old school sides are perfection and bbq is hands down in my top 3 all time bbq joints I have come across in my life. From sides such as sweet potato casserole to their collards and mac and cheese…..it doesn’t get much better than this.

Jay Allen, the owner and I after he treated us to a fantastic meal. I truly felt like family just hearing his story and the history behind this business. And just a little fun fact and another reason y’all should drive here to visit and get your grub on… Midway BBQ made the top 100 bbq spot list that you should drive 100 miles to eat this barbeque. Its totally worth the drive. People drive from all over to come to this establishment and damn nation, I can see why!!!

 

Not only can you find an awesome cidery and some bomb ass BBQ in South Carolina, but you can also stop and smell the roses in the beautiful Piedmont Physic Garden located in Union, SC. This botanical garden is a non profit garden where it houses a variety of historical and medicinal plants from around the world. This Physic Garden focuses on health and well being, puts on workshops on how to grow vegetable gardens and survival garden classes. There are interns that live on site 8 weeks at a time to help with the upkeep of the gardens. I have never seen such unique and stunning plants before until I stepped foot onto the gardens. The house itself is so lovely and is the perfect spot to have private tours and community celebrations. They truly want to impact the community and educate people how these plants have an affect on our daily lives, particularly in the health and wellness world. So they offer volunteering opportunities to all age groups and experience levels. Everyone is welcome to donate funds, time, or expertise to help support this non profit organization.

As the craft beer industry keeps expanding to cities near and far…. Legal Remedy Brewery was next on the list. Looking back on 2 minutes before pulling up to the parking lot, the sky fell out…..no literally the SKY FELL OUT. I’ve never seen it monsoon so hard, talk about perfect timing, lol! So, a craft beer was much needed that’s for sure. Legal Remedy Brewery had a really cool vibe and the space itself used to be an old car dealership, so when I was looking around and taking it all in, it definitely made sense. The windows and the space, you could tell that where we were sitting, eating, and sipping beers in the automobile showroom space at one time long ago. As the owner was bringing out menu items for us to try, we met and chatted with the “food lead”, Mike Ramsey. They don’t call Chefs… Chef, they go by food lead. Whatever the title may be, the food was more than just brewery bar food. We tried everything from smoked brisket sandwiches to pork schnitzels and southern poutine nachos. Then a quick tour of where all the magic happens.

After heading out from Legal Remedy Brewery, it was The Pump House time! This restaurant has been on my list for awhile now, so when I saw that this spot was on the list, I was like a little kid in a candy store! The Pump House has been open for 2 years and pretty cool story how it came about. So the owners were driving down the road and saw the pump house, and they envisioned it being a restaurant. Even though the structure had been built in the 1950’s, the architects and contractors said it was a solid build and they could basically build anything in the space. After lots of detailed planning and construction, The Pump House was brought to life.

Ending the night meeting Sous Chef Nigel Clark, as he prepared this glorious dessert, Cheerwine Cake that has two types of chocolate, cheerwine syrup, butter, and guess what?!?! NO FLOUR and its gluten free!

If y’all haven’t checked out The Pump House yet and want to go, I would highly recommend the fried green tomatoes, crispy calamari, drunken elk chops, shrimp and anson mills grits, cheerwine chocolate cake. All were really fantastic! Also, make a reservation to sit up on the top floor for an awesome view too or the patio. Cannot go wrong with either.

 

DAY 2:

After a long day and late night of working and staying up way later than I should’ve…. I was super stoked to visit The Yolk Cafe for breakfast on our final day of the tour!!! Another spot that had been on my list and wowzers, I am so glad I can check this badboy off the list. It’s funny because right when I posted on my instastories I was at The Yolk, my inbox was blowing up with messages from my followers telling me “Get the potatoes, you have to get the potatoes”. Rest assured, I got the damn potatoes and ermagherrrrrddddddddd…. The best damn home fries I have ever had. Chef/Owner Gregory Collier is a super talented chef that was born and raised in Memphis, TN and attended culinary school in Scottsdale. He utilizes southern ingredients to make southern cuisine, but he puts a fresh spin on all his dishes. He works with as many local businesses and farms in the area, goes through an average of 3,000 eggs per week, and he strives to get the most outta every ingredient he can. Even though he’s a huge Tennessee fan, I’ll let that slide because the food made up for it, hahahahha (if you don’t understand…it’s a rivalry football thing…Alabama fans do not like Tennessee fans)

This whole trip is focused on The Olde English District which covers Chester, Chesterfield, Fairfield, Kershaw, Lancaster, Union, and York Counties. We stopped by the super cute Visitors Center where it was a gift shop, tourist center all in one.

Mixing in the arts and history of the trip, we stopped by Metal Sculpture Artist Bob Doster’s Studio in Lancaster, SC. What a treat it was to meet such a talented man and tour his studio space. What a small world it is, as I found out that he created a piece for the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Atlanta, GA. Back when I lived in Atlanta and would meander around through Saks, I remember seeing that sculpture as it towered over me as I went up the escalators. Not in a million years did I ever think that 10 years later, I would meet the artist himself.

This particular sculpture I found so intriguing and it’s actually cut outs of the students hands at the School For The Deaf and Blind.

Down the street, we headed over to The Native American Studies Center, a 15,000 sq foot facility that houses 6 faculty, an Archaeologist, Chris Judge, and five galleries.

As if I hadn’t already eaten my weight in food this trip, last but certainly not least are 2 more food spots. After leaving the Native American Studies Center, we walked up to 521 BBQ and met the owners and also the owner of Benford Brewing. Here we dined on pulled pork sammiches, fried pickles, fried okra, smoked wings and hushpuppies. Great lil hole in the wall bbq spot that definitely housed all the locals.

Five and Dine is a cool spot in Rock Hill, SC where they offer American Classics… With a twist! It’s located in the heart of historic Downtown Rock Hill on the site of the iconic civil rights sit-in where the “Friendship 9’s Jail no Bail strategy changed the protest movement. Inside the restaurant they display the original bar stools and lunch counter where history was made and on the counter above each stool was each gentleman’s face and picture.

Chef Anthony Russo was raised in Upstate NY and has been in the restaurant industry all his life. Five and Dine has been open for 5 years and they have dishes such as mini doughnut cheeseburger sliders and my favorite menu item I tried was the Pot roast. It was fantastic and the perfect ending to the perfect trip!

I highly recommend all the places I highlighted in this blog post. Overall, if you want to venture out of the city and have a full tummy and great experience in The Olde English District, look no further and GO!!! It was a blast and I will definitely be back!!!

 

xoxoxo,

The Sweet Seoul

Favorite Mac N Cheese Dishes in Charlotte

As my 36th birthday is rapidly approaching, I realized ever since I was a little kiddo, my favorite food after (30+ years) is STILL and ALWAYS been macaroni and cheese….. in every way shape or form. I mean who doesn’t love mac n cheese?!? If you don’t we probably cannot be friends, haha! No but for real though, growing up, my momma would make it for me and it would be a side item or “vegetable” lol with almost every meal. I grew up in the 80’s where Kraft macaroni and cheese was the shit! There were even a variety of flavors like, white cheddar, bacon… and now they have jalapeno, buffalo, chipotle, herb and creamy, all kinds of new flavors. I love macaroni and cheese because it is the epitome of comfort food and it is beyond satisfying. You can literally add any toppings to it and it’s delicious!

These days a lot of restaurants are known for their super rich and cheesy and flavorful mac n cheese dishes. Well, I’m here to share with y’all my favorites that I have tried around Queen City! All different price points to all different variations, but they all have the best end result…. leaving with my tummy satisfied!!! Let’s get started shall we?!

 

First up, is the mac n cheese from LeRoy Fox Kitchen. This one makes the list because not only is it beyond delicious, but it comes served in a skillet. When dishes come fresh and piping hot outta the oven and you can see that steam coming from it, oh boy you know it’s gonna be a good one. Super creamy and cheesy and the best part is the cheesy crust on top! Price: $4 as a side

 

For those of y’all that have been following along my blog since day 1, The Asbury at The Dunhill Hotel is one of my top 3 restaurants in Charlotte. A huge factor is because of the mastermind Executive Chef and Culinary Director, Matthew Krenz.  Not only do I love all of their seasonal menus and brunch…. their Cast Iron Mac + Cheese is amazing. It has grilled piquillo peppers, crispy country ham, goat gournay cheese, and cheddar. I love the added touch of the piquillo peppers because it really gives this dish a kick. And it is served in a cast iron skillet and you can hear the sizzle every time it comes out to the table. Price: $8

 

Next up is probably one of the most underrated spots for mac n cheese in the city. It just so happens to be in my NodaHood and it is called Jack Beagles. They have the most simple, yet super delicious macaroni I have ever had. They have……wait for it….. 9 DIFFERENT FLAVORS!!! From classic mac to Mexi mac to one that has blue cheese and bacon, these cups of goodness are awesome. I’ve actually tried them all and all of them are fantastic! Here pictured is the Jack Mac, their signature mac that is kind of spicy, kind of garlicky, and really yummy!!! Price: less than $4

 

This mac from Kid Cashew was the bomb! I loved this one so much because of the use of different ingredients that they include in this dish. It’s called the Mac n 5 Cheeses and it is made with a homemade mornay sauce, creamy leaks and shallots served gratin style. Super creamy and super comforting and this is a must try under the Farmer Sides. Price: $6.95

 

Another favorite spot that’s in my NodaHood as well, is Haberdish. Lots to say about this dish, OMG! So I love the noodle choice and this one stands out from the crowd because, get this…. you can add spicy crispy chicken skins to this mac…. I REPEAT…. you can add spicy crispy chicken skins to your mac n cheese (add $2 upcharge) but TOTALLY worth it. Don’t get me wrong, the mac is perfection on its own, but the extra texture from the fried chicken skins give it that added crunch that is sooooooo damn delicious! Price: $6/$11

 

I have been dining at Roosters Wood-Fired Kitchen for sometime now and it never fails that I have to order their mac every time I’m there. It’s probably the cheesiest and you can get some great cheese pulls with this one (instagrammable dish) 😉 This is another great macaroni that has a crispy crust on top and is super cheesy in the middle! Price: $10

 

Last but certainly not least is the mother load of all macs. Well, because it has one of my favorite foods in it…. LOBSTER!!! This Lobster Mac n Cheese is infamous at The Capital Grille and I cannot tell y’all how many times in my life I have eaten this dish. Sometimes I will stop in just to sit and eat this glorious dish and literally savor every bite. It has huge succulent chunks of lobster and toasted buttery breadcrumbs on top. It may be the priciest of them all, but it’s totally worth every penny in my book. Price: $18

 

I hope y’all enjoyed reading my blog! Let me know if y’all have any other mac n cheese spots that I need to hit up!!! I’m always ready to venture out for mac n cheese!

XOXO,

thesweetseoul

 

 

 

Lets Eat Media Event with Kid Cashew

Nothing I love more than eating great food, surrounded by great people, and dining in a beautiful intimate, but casual setting. And this is what was going down at Kid Cashew for the Lets Eat Media Event with my fellow foodies and bloggers. I’ve got to be honest and say that I was super excited to try the menu items as my first experience there was not the greatest, so I was wanting and hoping that this time it was going to be a fantastic experience. HALLELUJAH it was just that!!! For those of y’all that have never dined at Kid Cashew, I would seriously get your booty there and go asap! No, this is not a sponsored post, I just felt the need to write my review on this spot because it was truly a great meal….or should I say meal(s)! Kid Cashew is known for their great food, craft cocktails, and using “no freezers. no fryer. no heat lamp”. Everything cooked on a wood fire grill. So, here we go and follow along as these are the dishes I got the pleasure of trying:

Homemade Spreads

                                               Maryland Crab Cakes

    Shrimp with polenta

The starters are all a must try. I cannot choose a favorite as I loved all of the options! The crab cakes were super flavorful and not heavy on the breading. You could really taste the lump blue crab in every bite and the remoulade was the perfect pairing with these crab cakes. When it comes to the shrimp…. well, if y’all know me well enough, skrimps are my jam!!! And this dish was amazing and I loved the polenta! Super creamy and delicious!

Farmer Side Items….. Okay okay, so you all know that my favorite food in the entire world is Macaroni and Cheese. Well, out of all the macaroni I have eaten in the Queen City, Kid Cashew has one of the best mac n cheese dishes I have tried. Maybe because it involves 5 different cheeses, ummmm yes please!!! Also, the Brussel sprouts and cauliflower mash were yummylicious too! For all the vegetarians out there reading this…. just order all the sides, you will thank me later 😉

 

When it came to the entrée round, Ohhhhh Emmmm Geeeee! For those that follow my insta feed I don’t post a lot of steaks or red meat dishes, but my favorite entrée of the night was the Wood Fire Grilled Sirloin.

                                                Wood Fire Grill Sirloin

                                                  Rotisserie Chicken

ALWAYS save room for DESSERT!!! And my favorite dessert from Kid Cashew is definitely the Pistachio Gelato!!! It is a game changer in the sweets world. When it comes to the table it comes served in an ice cream sundae glass and it is literally overflowing with chocolate syrup and pistachios. Perfect ending to any meal!

 

In a nutshell (haha you see what I did there) #pistachionut I had a wonderful experience and I have to thank Azam, one of the owners of Kid Cashew and Allie of Eatdrinkclt for hosting such a wonderful night!

 

KID CASHEW     1608 East Boulevard     704.208.4148

Comfort Food Faves in the Queen City

Growing up in Sweet Home Alabama, I always had a fantastic meal prepared by my best friend…… my momma. Per usual there were always yummy vegetables and some type of protein and bread or cornbread served with it (and of course sweet tea duhhhhhh).  So needless to say that comfort food hits home with me whenever I eat out and try southern restaurants. Always my go to when I see like a “meat and three” on the menu, lol! Also, side note, my all time FAVORITE food ever is Mac n Cheese. I can eat that shit for breakfast…. I really can, ha! Does that count as a veggie??? Ummm in my book YES.IT.DOES!!!

In this post I wanted to share my TOP 3 favorite comfort food spots in the Queen City with y’all. I have dined at these establishments A LOT…. there’s just something about comfort food that soothes the soul and truly keeps me warm inside!

 

THE GRIT BOWL AT DISH

Dish in Plaza Midwood never disappoints. This place screams old school southern comfort food with modern dishes too. This grit bowl is on their breakfast menu and it is under $8. You get a hearty bowl of cheese grits, topped with cheddar, two eggs, bacon or soysage, and a biscuit. Advice… get a side of white gravy…. you will thank me later!

VEGETABLE PLATE

This veggie plate is one of the best comfort food dishes ever! It’s super nostalgic to my childhood days because of the vegetables and their signature deviled egg that you get with any dish. I choose the squash casserole, sweet carrots, green beans, and mac n cheese. It’s so simple but yet never lacking in flavor that’s for damn sure. Some of my other favorite comfort food dishes from Dish are:

  • Cajun Meatloaf
  • Country Fried Steak
  • Chicken n Dumplings
  • Fried Green Tomatoes
  • Shrimp n Grits

 

When I first moved to Charlotte, this spot was on the top of my list to try. 3 words… TUPELO HONEY CAFE This restaurant has multiple locations in the Carolinas, Virginia, Colorado, Tennessee, Texas, and Georgia. I had heard their brunch was bomb so I went and tried it and yes… their breakfast is awesome. Not only is their breakfast and brunch on point, but they have some of the best comfort food dishes in Charlotte!

BLACKBERRY HABANERO RIBS

From the service to the food, this restaurant is a great spot for catching up with friends over yummy comfort food and signature drinks from the bar. And what’s great about dining in you get these amazing fluffy biscuits to start with and some homemade blueberry jam that is insane! One of my favorite dishes for dinner is this Blackberry Habanero Rib dish with French fries and mac n cheese. These ribs were fall of the bone delishhhh and sweet and spicy from the sauce. I mean where can you get ribs AND southern comfort food in one spot?!?

Brunch and Mimosas?!?! Ummm yes please and Tupelo Honey’s brunch has all of that covered and more. Some of my favorite breakfast/brunch options are the infamous Shoomercy Sweet Potato Pancakes, Tupelo Shrimp and Grits, and of course the best…. The Queen Bloody Mary, all 20 ounces of it! Definitely a must stop for comfort food.

SouthEnd has some great old school spots that have been here forever. Like this gem, PIKE’S SODA SHOP on Camden Road. I discovered this spot one summer day when I drove by and saw soda shop… immediately wanting and craving a milkshake! Well, I got my milkshake and much much more. Ever since that day, I have been back a lot and I have ordered the same damn thing everytime.

HONEY PECAN FRIED CHICKEN

This is the epitome of comfort food right here, lemme tell you. The perfectly fried chicken breast that is juicy and packed with flavor. It is topped with pecans and drizzled with honey. Comes with 2 sides, buttermilk mashed potatoes and broccoli casserole. Hands down, my go to meal here. It is so comforting and you will leave happy and full! I love that y’all messaged me on Instagram and told me that this dish is y’alls fave too! It definitely is one of the most popular dishes on their menu. Check out their buffalo chicken sandwich and also their milkshakes.

 

I hope everyone has a wonderful snow day and keeping warm!!!

 

xoxo

Sweet Seoul