Dining Local from a Native Charlottean’s Perspective – Guest Blog by Caitlin Sellers

Special thanks to Caitlin Sellers for featuring Dine Out Charlotte Spring Restaurant Week on her blog this week.

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FINALLY!!!! The weather is beautiful. One of my favorite things to do is look at all of the blooming flowers and especially the cherry blossom trees lining the streets.

Today I enjoyed my lunch outside in Dilworth off of East Blvd…. talk about vitamin D in 70 degree weather! Al fresco dining reminded me of how soon Dine Out Charlotte’s first ever Spring Restaurant Week is (April 12-21).

There are many great aspects I admire about this spring restaurant week:

  1. The 30+ participating restaurants are all LOCAL
  2. The type of restaurants participating are a wide variety and a price range for 3+ courses is $22-$32….affordable for anyone!
  3. The $2 proceeds go to Charlotte’s Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina’s Child Hunger Programs. One of the Child Hunger Programs to benefit includes the Johnson & Wales Kids Café Prepared Meals program.

Dineoutcharlotte.com allows you to:

  • Book in advance
  • See what pocket of Charlotte, NC (neighborhood) the restaurant you want to enjoy is in
  • The price tag
  • The type of cuisine
  • The menu itself
  • Al Fresco (outdoor) dining (They ALL do!)

I am so excited to see locals thriving in the community. I am so proud to see my hometown city growing rapidly. The Queen City is the best place to be in the spring! Get excited for the newest type of restaurant week Charlotte has to offer.

To all you foodies out there, appreciate the beauty of dining local!

Make your reservations TODAY before they fill up at Dine Out Charlotte

 *Photo Credit*

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