The Table is Set: A Four-City Tour Served with a Coke

Cooking with “Seoul”! See what I did there?!? A lot of y’all may know me from reviewing restaurants, dining out, covering events, but fun fact…. when I’m not stuffing my pie hole at a new restaurant or attending a media event, I’m probably cooking a delicious meal at home. So, when I had the opportunity to partner up with a non profit called Soul Food Sessions and Coca Cola Consolidated to recreate a recipe, how could I say no!!!

WHAT IS SOUL FOOD SESSIONS?

Well, a Charlotte based movement called “Soul Food Sessions” is a chef series that is taking their mission in the culinary industry to increase diversity on the road. And they are partnering with Coca Cola Consolidated and beginning in Charlotte, as their first stop on this four city dinner series. This non profit started in Charlotte as a single dinner and with growing interest, it has now grown into a multiple city tour. Next stops will be in Washington, Baltimore, and then Charleston later this year. Soul Food Sessions is committed to increasing opportunities nationally for minority chefs throughout the food industry, giving more culinary opportunities for African-American chefs. I got really excited that I was getting to partner up on this campaign because I recently met one of the co founders while I was on a culinary media tour, Chef Greg Collier, owner and chef of The Yolk Cafe. We spoke briefly about this mission and how they want to use this non profit to raise money and mentor minority culinary students. Soul Food Sessions is leading the conversation of achieving equal opportunity in the culinary world and y’all just wait…. they are leaving their mark in the Queen City and growing nationally as we speak. Soul Food Sessions and their partner Coca Cola Consolidated will grant at least $10,000 in scholarships to culinary students in 2018.

THE RECIPE

I got to recreate, Seared Scallops with Purple Carrot Chutney. This recipe was created by Chef Greg Williams, the man behind one of my favorite food trucks, What The Fries CLT. This featured chef is a graduate of Johnson and Wales University who has spent over 15 years creating meals for people and making their tummies super happy! And he just added myself to that list of people! This dish is fantastical! You can view the full recipe here

 

 

Seared Scallops with Purple Carrot Chutney

 

(I followed the whole recipe as stated, but I added bacon, lol! I mean why the hell not?!?)

If you have an hour of time and want to cook for a friend, girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, whomever, I highly recommend this dish. It is delicious and even tastier pairing it with the Coca Cola Zero Sugar Coke!!! The Coca Cola Zero Sugar brings out the richness of the scallops making the ginger and garlic flavors in the chutney really pronounced. And if you don’t cook or have that feeling like you would burn your kitchen down trying, then head to the link below where your seat is waiting. Claim your seat at the table by signing Soul Food Sessions pledge and find out how you can start making a difference today and help contribute to this awesome movement. Click here to purchase tickets.

The event will be held:

Location: Free Range Brewing

Date: Tuesday, June 19th

How to purchase tickets: Soul Food Sessions Charlotte Pop-Up Dinner

 

 

Disclosure: This is a #sponsored post and all opinions are my own. Sponsored post by The Table is Set Tour

 

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

 

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