A casual Cajun-inspired eatery from the owner of Café Monte
October 18, 2018
Each week, we answer your culinary questions
Q: Where should I go to eat before Hamilton?
UP: Hey, I’m going to see Hamilton, too! I finally got tickets to Sunday’s afternoon show, but totally spaced on the fact that Jon’s going to be out of town until later that day. Wife of the year right here! A lot of you have asked this question this week, so I put together a handy guide of our top recommendations, with restaurants fit for whatever vibe you’re going for. After I published it, The Asbury’s PR rep Susan Dosier told me they’re offering a “Hamilton’s Shot” cocktail for $10+, which is a pick-your-own-bourbon old-fashioned. My at-home go-to (and by at-home, I mean made-by-Jon) is Old Grandad.
Q: Where can I go for brunch before a Hamilton matinee?
UP: Much of our list mentioned above still applies. Stoke, The Asbury, and 5Church serve weekend brunch, while Fin & Fino and Halcyon are open at 11 a.m. for their lunch hours. I’ve heard good things about Haymaker’s brunch, too.
Q: Who do you think is the biggest name missing on the James Beard House chef lineup?
UP: Oh, this one will probably make some people mad, but here goes. The thing that stood out to me most about this year’s menu versus the one I attended a few years ago is that the dishes aren’t really all that Charlotte, for the most part. It seems like the idea here is to show off chefs’ individual talents versus what new Southern cuisine is. I’m cool with that. We’ve got some really, really talented chefs, but I’d love to see a little bit more of a North Carolina spin on the menu. If I had to pick one chef, I think Matthew Krenz would be a good person to do that. If you read my review of The Asbury, you can see why.
Q: Do you have the vegan short rib recipe you mentioned in your squash story?
UP: Not yet, but I’ve asked the chef for it and hope to have it for you next week!
Q: I travel a lot for work. Where can I grab dinner on my way home from the airport that’s healthy and fast?
UP: Yafo is a good one for this; call ahead when you land and skip the line when you get to the restaurant. Roasting Company is another, especially if you’re looking for food after 9 p.m. or so. You can get something that feels like an entire dinner (not just a sandwich and chips) while still getting into your comfy clothes ASAP. If you’re only going to be gone for a few days, swing by Earl’s Grocery and have something waiting for you in your own fridge.
Q: I love butternut squash but hate cutting it, so I don’t buy it. Is there a way around this?
UP: I feel you! Yeah, it’s a pain to cut through butternut squash. I actually made a vegan butternut squash soup for my mom last night, and I just roasted the squash whole, then cut it after it cooled down. It was way easier than hacking through a raw squash. Although, I should shout out Chef Alyssa’s Kitchen on this one. Jon and I took a knife skills class with her about three years ago, and it’s really changed how we cook. Keep an eye out for that class, because after taking it, you can get through anything with ease.