Culinary Travel: Wine and Food Scene In North Carolina
Driving to the southern United States from points east this winter? Rebecca Field Jager suggests a pitstop in North Carolina.
You don’t have to be a snowbird to consider a vacation in North Carolina, but for anyone driving south, particularly from Ontario, Quebec and other easterly spots, this is a natural stopover. So what’s the hurry? Tacking on a mini-holiday gives you the chance to experience another southern state’s food and drink en route.
City Break Eats
Situated along Interstate 77, Charlotte, the state’s largest city, boasts a burgeoning gastronomic scene. I spent a half-day tasting my way through NoDa alone, a small district that was built in the early 1900s as a village for millworkers’ homes and mercantile buildings. Having been revitalized during the past decade, today it’s a hopping hood famous for its art gallery crawls, diverse selection of restaurants and craft breweries. The eclectic, whimsical decor of Amélie’s French Bakery & Café with its bistro tables and cosy nooks is reason enough to visit NoDa, never mind its homey soup-and-sandwich fare and fresh pastries. Cabo Fish Taco offers up every type of taco imaginable from blackened mahi-mahi to lemon-grilled shrimp. And Heist Brewery, a huge handcrafted beer haven housed in a former mill, lures locals and tourists with its wood-fired offerings, endless Sunday brunch buffet and beer flights.
Accommodations in the city are plentiful, but if you’re in the mood for escape or itching for one last golf game, head to the Ballantyne Hotel located in the southern part of the city, less than 20 miles from Uptown. This stunning resort features a PGA golf course, golf school, lavish indoor and outdoor pool areas, spa and outstanding Gallery Restaurant. My evening farm-to-table feast included oysters with caviar cream and foie gras for starters and coffee-rubbed cowboy rib-eye, topped with a duck fat-basted hen egg, as the main. The adjoining bar serves top-shelf spirits and cocktails – try the Ballantyne Martini, in which pomegranate vodka and juice share glass space with coconut rum and muddled raspberries.
Wine Country Sips