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DIY SausageSausage is made from ground meat, which can be purchased from a butcher or, for the extra-ambitious, made at home with a meat grinder. Once you have the ground pork, the next step is seasoning it. From the extravagant…

East of the Everyday

The Large Kabob Platter includes grilled Cornish hen, chicken, lamb, beef tenderloin, ground sirloin, and grilled vegetables.Experience a new world of tastes and colors as you journey east—to east Charlotte, that is. Kabob House opened more than a decade ago…

Seeing Stars

An example of Cosmos’ more exotic fare is the grilled octopus with roasted cherry tomatoes, kalamata olives, and grilled baby artichoke.Cosmos Café has endured. It's hard to believe, but Cosmos Café is one of downtown's longest-tenured restaurants. Hard to believe…

Coming Up Short

 So-called fusion cuisine takes many forms. It first crept into the American vernacular in the early 1980s with the popularity of restaurants like Spago, Wolfgang Puck's homage to Asian, French, Italian, and American cooking. Now it seems that fusion cooking…

Everything Nice

 Bright orange with white trim, Sweet Spice: Royal Caribbean Delight is highly visible from the street. With flowering bougainvilleas growing up against the concrete exterior, the restaurant has a tropical feel—not in the way of tropical theme restaurants, but in…

Worth a Second Look

Carne asada tacos in handmade corn tortillas El Pulgarcito are good, but Salvadoran specialties like pupuses are your best bet.In Charlotte, Little El Salvador occupies half a city block. Gathered around a single parking lot are Salvadoran stores, bakeries, and…

Viva La Paz

 Eleven years ago, I took my now-wife on our first official date to La Paz, when it was located in an old house in Myers Park near the Manor Theatre. I must have been a little nervous, because I forgot…

Amelie's French Bakery

This emphasis on quality and attention to detail is what sets Amelie's apart. Especially noteworthy are the fruit tarts—baked just long enough to begin to darken and caramelize, with homemade pastry that blends seamlessly with the fruit layer on top.…

Essentially Charlotte

 Readers' ChoiceSkyline view Bentley's on 27Picnic spot Freedom ParkFestival Festival in the ParkInternational event Yiasou Greek FestivalFree event Pops in the ParkNoteworthy event of last 12 months Light RailGossip/rumor Prostitution in SouthParkPublic gardenWing Haven Gardens and Bird SanctuaryWing Haven qualifies…

Nightlife

  Readers' ChoiceSports bar Picasso'sPub Ri RaDance club ForumSmoke-free bar Loft 1523Hotel bar Bar 10 at the WestinPlace to hear jazz BluePlace for karaoke Jackalope Jack'sMartini selectionTherapyBeer selection Flying SaucerLive music venue Amos' Southend Trendy barM5M5 is a restaurant and bar,…

Worth a Second Look

Appearances often mislead in restaurants—sumptuous décor conceals poor service, beautiful presentation hides bad food. Appearances mislead at Pollo Inka, too, but in a different direction. Housed in a former Thai restaurant, its gabled, wooden exterior is charming but hardly brings…

Dream Band

 Bass Ron Brendle Ron Brendle is Charlotte's best known bass player for a reason. Bass players are often overlooked within bands, but Brendle's skillful play demands attention. His jazz trio, Big Octave, is a local favorite, and Brendle can also…

Sports Bars

 Place to watch the Pittsburgh SteelersDixie's TavernTwo words: Iron City. That should tell Steelers faithful all they need to know. The tables have built-in buckets to better accommodate the $1 bottles shipped from Lawrenceville, Pennsylvania. The menu is Cajun, but…

Small Plates

 OverallScallops at Las RamblasWhen Executive Chef Blake Hartwick wants to send out a special dish to a VIP, this is what he chooses. Two perfectly grilled diver scallops (the grilling makes the difference) with a dash of sea salt over…

Arts & Culture

 PerformerNicholle RochelleNorth Carolina Dance TheatreCertainly you've seen Nicholle Rochelle's image. Her ecstatic grand jeté graces all NCDT marketing materials this season; her pristine extension dots the "i" on Charlotte Culture Guide billboards. But if you haven't seen her in person—seen…

Family & Kids

  Readers' ChoiceKids' clothing Fancy PantsKids' haircutsGreat ClipsPlace to buy birthday cake Edible ArtFamily outing Discovery Place/U.S. National Whitewater Center (tie)Park for kids Freedom ParkPlace to go on a rainy dayDiscovery Place Place you wish were around when you were a…

Handbags

 Inexpensive but cool EileenAs a boutique that actually boasts handbags under $100, it's a no-brainer why South End's Eileen is the top pick for inexpensive (yet totally chic) handbags. You'll mostly find larger shoulder bags and totes (love the Melie…

Best of the Burbs: South

 Wine barUnder the GrapeA handful of wine shops and bars have sprouted in recent years, but Under the Grape has the formula down. Owners Barb and Henry Tyree understand that the typical wine drinker isn’t a sommelier, so they offer…

Shopping

 Readers' ChoiceWomen's boutique The Pink HangerMen's fashions Paul SimonWomen's shoes Nordstrom Men's shoes NordstromVintage clothing Hong Kong VintageMaternity clothing Beaux BellyEvening gowns NitsaStore to buy jeans NordstromJewelryHand PickedStylish gifts PaperSkyscraperAntiquesMetrolinaFurnitureBoylesBike shop/repair Black SheepHardware StoreBlackhawk HardwarePet store Pet SmartBookstore Barnes &…

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