We all do it… Time to give yourself the night off and share a meal together!

We all do it.  We get on the phone with a friend, talk for about 15 minutes, then say, “We need to get together soon.”  Two weeks later, we have the same conversation, ending with the same, “We need to get together soon.”  The pace of life, especially for those with children at home, can be hectic and chaotic.  Time spent with friends has to be put on the back burner in order to keep everyone on schedule and keeping up with their commitments.  Sometimes, during this particularly busy time in our lives, our friendships can drift apart because so many other things take priority.

Why not call up your friends and share a meal together?  Dine Out Charlotte is a great way to enjoy a meal at a great restaurant while saving some money.  Give yourself a night off of cooking and have a great get-together at one of Charlotte’s many great restaurants participating in Dine Out Charlotte.  Spring time is the perfect time to reconnect with your friends and reestablish the bonds of friendship.  After all, everyone has to eat!  Why not use that time to try out a new restaurant while spending some overdue time with your friends?

Because the restaurants participating in Dine Out Charlotte have prix fixe menus, you know that you can enjoy a meal while keeping with even a tight budget.  You don’t have to worry that you will spend more than you’re willing to, or that your kids will order something outrageously expensive.  You can relax, enjoy your meal, and know that you are getting an amazing deal. 

Spring is the perfect time to get out of your Winter rut and try something new. Dine Out Charlotte provides an opportunity for you to eat some excellent food, catch up with friends, and have a night off of kitchen duty.

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Photo taken at Blackthorne Restaurant and Bar

Spring Break “Foodcation”

If you could travel anywhere for a week, where would you go?  What if money were no object?  Where would your perfect Spring Break vacation be? The French Riviera? Cancún?  Greece?  Does your perfect getaway include adventure, leisure, or a mixture of both?

For me, my personal travel destination would be Italy.  I would love to go and spend a week strolling (or boating) through the streets.  I would love to experience the Italian culture in all of its richness and diversity.  With three kids, a mortgage, and college to save for, though, a trip to Italy is not in my immediate future.  What I can do is go on a culinary Spring Break.  Thanks to Dine Out Charlotte, I will be doing just that.

I think I’ll start my culinary journey at Osso. Located at NC Music Factory, Osso is a great starting place for my food vacation.  I will start by choosing to dine al fresco.  Just choosing to dine outside seems to lend a more European, laid back atmosphere to the dining experience.  They offer DJ music, too, so I will be able to enrapture all five senses into my dining destination.

I’ll also visit Rudy’s.  Named after the owner, Rudy Amadio, Rudy’s offers neighborhood Italian fare.  I imagine small, neighborhood restaurants like Rudy’s all over Italy, and I know that I will capture some of that down-home Italian cooking at Rudy’s.  It has a more casual feel to it, so taking the family is a great idea.

I will round out my foodcation by visiting Fiamma.  This is what I imagine Italy’s great Trattoriasto to be like: Homey décor, sumptuous food, and an incredible wine list.  Nestled in posh Dilworth, Fiamma promises to delight the senses and deliver fine Italian dining.  If you’ve ever wondered what an Italian vegetarian would eat, go to Fiamma!  They have an incredible selection of vegetarian dishes.  I was delighted to find out that they also have gluten-free options, something I have to tell my friends about!

Since flying off to Italy is not a budget-friendly option for me, I am going to take advantage of Dine Out Charlotte week (April 12-21) and enjoy the best of Italy right here in Charlotte.  If I see you there, I’ll raise my glass to another savvy restaurant connoisseur.

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Why don’t adults get a Spring Break???

After a long winter, the words “Spring Break” sound like an angel’s chorus!

The kids get a full week without getting up before the sun, whining through a hasty breakfast, and getting to the bus stop on time.  There’s no homework, and most after-school activities (ballet in my household) are off for the week.  Some families decide that Spring Break is the perfect opportunity to take a vacation, and set off for an adventurous week.

The downside to this for parents is all the things mentioned above!  The kids have a full week with nothing to do.  Within an hour of waking on Monday morning, parents hear “I’m bored.”  Scrambling, parents must find things to do to fill the hours.  It wouldn’t be right to allow the kids a week full of television zombie existence, right?  If you do plan a trip, there’s the planning, the packing, the travel, the frantic “do everything you can while you’re there”, and then the traveling home, unpacking, and the week’s worth of laundry.  This is not Spring Break for the parents!  This is a double load of work!!

I was on Facebook today, and a friend posted “Why don’t adults get a Spring Break???”  Well, friend, I have the perfect response to your question.  Dine Out Charlotte is Spring Break for us, the parents who desperately need a break after having the kids home for a full week!  Hang on, adults!  Your Spring Break is coming!!

Miró Spanish Grille is one of my favorites.  Tucked into upscale Stonecrest shopping center, Miró offers true Mediterranean cuisine that satisfies even the most discriminating palate.  Enjoy a glass of Sangria while you dine on one of their delicious appetizers (I’d try their Almejas- sautéed clams in garlic, olive oil, and white wine).  Choosing one of their entrees might present a difficult decision, but the truth is that you really can’t go wrong.

If you’d like to sample a more traditional Mexican cuisine, I’d suggest Cantina 1511.  With one location in Dilworth and one in Ballantyne, there’s a location close to you.  Sip on a gigantic Margarita and look over their menu.  Whether you want authentic Mexican or you prefer Tex-Mex, Cantina 1511 has the entrée for you.  My personal favorite is the steak quesadilla.  As a quesadilla connoisseur, I can tell you that their steak quesadilla is the best I’ve ever tasted.  Sumptuous and tender, the flavor combination is out of this world.

Spring Break for parents?  Why didn’t we think of this before? It starts April 12th and runs for 10 nights. I am calling my spring break friends and making plans!  Find the participating restaurants at www.DineOutCharlotte.comImage

Support Your Farmers. Buy Local!

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Local farmers’ markets are filling up as locally-produced foods overflow the stalls.  Customers flock in to pick their fruits and vegetables from the massive offerings.  Eating fresh food, especially when it’s locally grown, is one of the sweet pleasures of Spring. Eating locally-grown, fresh produce is a pleasing rite of the new season, and Spring produce is rich with varied offerings.

Have you ever heard of the “Spring mix”?  These are leafy greens that are ready for harvest in the Spring.  Varied in color, texture, and nutrients, this mix makes a perfect leafy green salad mix.   While iceberg lettuce remains a staple for salads, adding leafy greens such as arugula, spinach, and romaine will round out your salad in texture, flavor, and nutrients.  The more colorful your salad, the healthier and more varied nutrition you will get.  The best idea is to eat them as fresh as you can- the more time lapses between harvest and ingestion, the fewer nutritional benefits you will receive.

There are plentiful fruits and vegetables that are ready to eat in the Spring:  asparagus, strawberries, broccoli, cauliflower, grapefruit, collard greens, and oranges are just a few of the vegetables and fruits that are ready to eat in the Spring.  Herbs such as chives, dill, lemongrass, marjoram, and oregano mature in time for Spring.

Eating foods fresh, when they are in season, helps your body to gain the most nutritional support from the foods.  The nutritional value of a food starts to decline when it is picked.  The fresher you can get the food, prepare it, and consume it, the more nutritional value you will receive.  Eating fresher foods also means that you will get the best flavor from the ingredients.  As foods move further and further from their harvest time, the flavors they hold get weaker or change.

When eating out, it’s best to choose restaurants which use locally produced foods.  This will provide better food with better nutritional value.  It also helps ensure that you will not be consuming preservatives or additives, because the food is fresh.  Overall, you will have a better dining experience with a better quality of food when you choose a restaurant that uses local produce and meat.

Want to support your local farmers but can’t make it to the market? Check out Farm to Front Porch. Their mission is to provide a fresh new way for the Charlotte area to think about local food. Their unified market and fast home delivery services will make it simple to buy the very best in farm fresh with absolutely none of the hassle.

Dine Out Charlotte and the Second Harvest Food Bank Metrolina are Springing Taste Buds into Action!

Springtime in Charlotte is the launch for the city’s most delicious new deal: Dine Out Charlotte. The inaugural culinary celebration serves up big value for diners. From April 12–21, participating restaurants in the Greater Charlotte area will offer three- (or more) course meals for either $22 or $32. The price includes a $2.00 fee to be donated directly to the Second Harvest Food Bank’s Feed Hungry Kids program.

 

“One of Charlotte’s most beautiful times of the year calls for a celebration of the eclectic cuisines from our area’s own talented chefs. The event promises to be a win-win for restaurants and diners alike. And why not help those in need while doing it?’ says Dine Out Charlotte founder, Jeff Ahmadi.

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“Second Harvest Food Bank of Charlotte is honored to be the charity of choice for the inaugural ‘Dine Out Charlotte’ event. This is a great opportunity for folks in the region to try out more of our great restaurants and at the same time help ensure that there are no more hungry children in our region. We hope all of our supporters will welcome spring by eating out locally and helping to end child hunger,” says Kay Carter, Executive Director of Second Harvest Food Bank.

Dine Out Charlotte has secured commitments from numerous well-known establishments, including Blue Restaurant & Bar, Dressler’s Restaurant, Osso Restaurant & Lounge, Red Rocks Cafe & Bakery . . . with more restaurants on the way.

“Our vision with spring restaurant week is to highlight the culinary tapestry of greater Charlotte. Our area has come a long way from its sleepy southern past. Just as visitors to Charleston and New Orleans desire to try their local restaurants, we believe Charlotte visitors and locals expect the same and we can deliver,” says Ahmadi, also founder of Dine Out Charlotte’s parent company, My Fair Offer, Inc.

We have requested that our talented local chefs provide menus with the spring season in mind. Diners will be able to taste the true cuisine of Charlotte – this will be a matter of pride for restaurants with roots in Charlotte community.

The combination of innovative food, a great cause, the magical spring scene, fabulous independent restaurants, and generous people of this region is simply unbeatable. This represents a milestone in the Charlotte region’s recognition as a culinary center and foodie destination.

The idea was born when Ahmadi was frustrated with not being able to find a list of local independent restaurants in one place. “I wanted a platform that would allow me, as a resident of Charlotte, to not only find information on established restaurants, but also find information on new and exciting restaurants, rather than just relying on word of mouth. I may not need reviews from others to help me choose a restaurant,” Ahmadi explains, “but I would like the option of searching local offerings in one place all year long.”

Reservations will be accepted at the restaurants beginning March 24, but Twitter followers will be able to make reservations beginning March 22. Dine Out Charlotte will also be featured on desktop, mobile, iPhone & Android apps. dineoutcharlotte.com, as well as its mobile site and mobile apps, will remain active all year to serve as a local dining for Charlotte residents and visitors. You can also like DOC on Facebook and sign up to stay up to date at http://www.DineOutCharlotte.com.

Thanks to our marketing partner, Pinckney Marketing. Pinckney Marketing will be involved in promotion, marketing, social media, SEO, and design and operation of DineOutCharlotte.com.

For more information, contact Jeff Ahamdi at jeff@myfairoffer.com or 704.877.9418.