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September 27, 2018

Q&A: Seeking a Philly cheesesteak; hating on baby carrots

Each week, we answer your culinary questions

Q: Looking for a casual restaurant that would please vegans and meat lovers and give us all choices. Thank you!
UP: Deli St., which opened in Plaza Midwood not too long ago, has an entire vegan menu, with sandwiches and salads that tempt even non-vegans. Even the wine sold here is marked as vegan or not. Futo Buta is a trendy option, they serve a vegan ramen, or you can make your own using a vegan broth base. There’s a vegan rice bowl and miso skewers, as well, but for meat lovers, there’s plenty of pork belly. International cuisines that use a lot of tofu are always a safe bet; Rai Lay comes to mind.


Q: Where can you find a good Philly cheesesteak in CLT?
UP: Right?! I’ve had many, but not too many good ones. I think the best is at Steak ‘n Hoagie. They have three locations, one on Eastway, one on South Boulevard, and one in Matthews. The concept is, obviously, Philadelphia cheese steaks and hoagies, but the restaurant also sells gyros at its Charlotte locations. Unpretentious People, if you’ve got a favorite cheese steak, let us know in the comments!


Q: Where do baby carrots come from?
UP: I know this is kindof a joke question (from mama carrots!), but I actually have a problem with baby carrots, because they’re so wasteful. Baby carrots are cut from full carrots, and in the process, a lot of perfectly good parts are removed. Watch the video below, and you’ll see what I mean. Some pieces may be reused as packaged shredded carrots or something, but as the carrots are peeled into that cute little two-bite shape, you’re losing a lot. It’s also perfectly fine to eat an unpeeled carrot, so long as it’s been washed well. We expect our food to be too pretty. Carrots come from the ground, and should look like it. Instead of buying baby carrots, go to the farmer’s market, get some adult carrots, and make them smaller at home.


Q: Is there anything Frank Scibelli can’t do?
UP: I would say something like yoga, but he actually does yoga to calm his high-energy personality. In terms of restaurants, we’ll see! Midwood Smokeshack, a fast-casual version of Midwood Smokehouse, didn’t work out, so that’s something. But he continues to make smart investments; he’s a partial owner of several buildings in the Belmont neighborhood, including the spot where Sweet Lew’s BBQ is opening. And Yafo Kitchen has been an incredible hit; there’s one coming to East Boulevard next.


Q: A friend from out of town is coming up for a Panthers game. Where should I take him pre-game to show off the city?
UP: That sounds like a fun time. Go Panthers! It’s finally becoming cool enough to enjoy life outside. If you’re looking for a legit Charlotte vibe, go to Craft Growler Shop. You can drink beers on the patio, get a few snacks, and then walk to the stadium. I think Craft shows off Charlotte at its best: we’re cool, care about our beer, and can be super chill. If you want to show off the more glitzy and less chill side of the city, grab some drinks on the Ink ‘n Ivy patio. You’ll get a great view of Romare Bearden Park and get to socialize among the city’s young and beautiful — and it’s also a short walk to the stadium.

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