Vivace Italian at the Metropolitan

I have now dined at Vivace four times, the latest being today  I took a client (and friend) to lunch!

Attention to detail, exceptional service from Johnny and Derek, and incredibly delicious food in a totally way cool atmosphere will make this one of my favorites in Charlotte.

Our family has dined there three times, two with our boys (ages 12 & 14) and most recently they enjoyed lunch with us there on sunday. We had Derek as our server (definitely ask for this guy!) and he hit it off with boys immediately!

The bread is freshly baked and the bean dip is different and delicious. I have to admit that my husband asked for butter, and it arrived nice and soft! We adore soft butter – all the easier to spread!

Water is a never-ending stream, and if you have read previous posts…you’ll know that one factor I strongly consider when determining the tip amount is how full our water glasses remained.  We drink tons of water – maybe I should say gallons, but woe to the server who lets us run dry! Note: I am perfectly happy with a carafe left on the table for self-service.

The gorgeous orange glass light fixtures are huge and the main dining area is very comfortable with a view of the kitchen. It isn’t too loud, thank goodness, and we were able to have a relaxing business conversation.

Upstairs bar and outdoor patio are delightful with views of the city and excellent on a weather permitting evening.

My client is a vegetarian and I was thrilled to learn that they have a n entire menu geared to their tastes! They also have a gluten-free menu.

Today we ordered a Vivace Caprese salad from the vegetarian menu and I will order it again and again! This is a cold salad with oven roasted tomatoes, mozzarella made in-house, fresh pesto, with balsamic drizzled. Totally gorgeous, light and tasty!

I know you can’t smell this Four Cheese Pizza, but believe me it is awesome! The crust is light and thin, and baked perfectly!  The carmelized onions were tasty and sweet. Mushrooms were just right!

Below is the Smoked Chicken with Spinach Agnolotti pasta and it is superb! I dream about this dish. I have had it each time I have dined there and it is uniformly perfect! The sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and roasted garlic cream sauce add just a wonderful taste to the dish. 

Check out www.vivace.com for menus, wonderful photos of the restaurant, events, and more. They have a Facebook page as well. I heard they have even had two movies filmed at the location.

1100 Metropolitan Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28204

(704) 370-7755

http://bit.ly/map_to_vivace

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The Counter Burger – SouthPark

Note: We love HOT french fries.

Note: We do not like loud restaurants.

Third visit to this location.

Sunday, Father’s Day, 2:00 – 2:45 pm

Heard about the wonderful FREE Father’s Day Burger from www.charlotteonthecheap.com and headed out to enjoy this treat with the family.

First, a bit of history…

First visit: Took the family.  Newly opened, lovely visit, sat outside and enjoyed the lovely fountain. Great “design your own unique burger” concept but a bit expensive. Fries hot, thin cut, our favorite kind! Sadly, the portions of french fries were very small.

Second visit (without kids): nice visit, sat inside – TOO LOUD! Never do that again.

Third visit was today. We chose to sit outside even though it was blazing hot. A nice umbrella and fountain added to the pleasure. We ordered a variety of burgers and two orders of fries – one to come out prior the meal as an appetizer and the second to arrive with the meal because we KNEW we loved them and they were small portions.

Quick delivery of blazing hot fries, perfectly cooked!  Surprise!!! The order was a huge bowl of fries.  If you are going to get a surprise in a restaurant …this is the right kind!!

After we placed our order we chatted about fatherhood and enjoyed the view. 

The burgers arrived and were “picture perfect” in the plating! We definitely “eat with our eyes first” and were quite happy!

We ordered 1/3 pounders for $7.95 each. We requested Medium and Medium Well, but the kitchen didn’t seem to see any difference.

The fries that arrived were not up to the same quality as the  first round, so we requested a replacement and it promptly arrived with a sincere apology.  

Excellent service including water refills (and we drink A GREAT DEAL of water!) and another wonderful surprise when we got the check – ALL the orders of the fries had been removed due to a service issue. Happy Day!

So many nice surprises – fries in larger portions now for only $2.50 and the removal of the charges of problem items.

Our burgers were delicious and so large we cut them in half to eat. They were generous with the toppings, and it made for a messy, but tasty, burger. My hubby said he felt the toppings overwhelmed the burger though.  The honey wheat bun was delicious, the corn and black bean salsa I ordered on mine was fresh and tasty, while the grilled onions were wide cut and perfectly cooked. My son’s pineapple burger was a hit, and you can even get boiled eggs as a topping. He loves boiled eggs and was happy to be able to get them on the side!

Ok, I know this is not a “local” restaurant, but it seems local in atmosphere to us and is less than 3 minutes from our home. I may have to change my “focus” about which restaurants I choose to review.

Counter Burger  

http://www.thecounterburger.com

4310 Sharon Road
Charlotte, NC 28211-4193
(704) 365-1922

Living on the wild side of The Penguin

Ok, so this particular Charlotte grease institution was a little scary for this mom of 2 boys! We have dined twice and there are always a wide variety of folks – typical yuppy kinds, just woken up in their pj kinds (at 3 in the afternoon,) first dates, and everything else you can imagine.

We all had something different and loved it. The onion strings are THE BEST!  I would go there if they only served this item – light and delicate these rival some of the upper end restaurants in NYC.

I had a hot ham and cheese sandwich I loved, and my son’s hot dog was great.

Known as a massively popular beer drinking spot in an area that has morphed in recent years from scary to up-and-coming…

1921 Commonwealth Avenue
Charlotte, NC 28205-5019
(704) 375-6959

http://bit.ly/map_to_penguin

Dining on the corners….

Jet’s Pizza – new family favorite with the 8 corner pizza! What a concept! Seems like we all want the corner pieces and they have developed a style that allows for multiple corners.

The pizza is a thicker crust with a delicious tomato sauce that is neither too sweet or spicy, but just the right combination of both.  We have ordered the 8 corner pepperoni pizza with bread sticks 4 times and each event has been exceptional!  This is a very filling meal.

We ordered pick-up, delivery, pick-up and pick-up. Be aware that there is a $2.50 delivery charge on top of the order.  Super nice mature driver delivered the pizza early!

I mustn’t forget the breadsticks and marinara dipping sauce. These cheese topped babies were awesome and gone in a flash with the accompanying maranara sauce.

Consistent and well priced. Defintely a “do over” many times. Hard to make that recommendation very often when it is a newly opened restaurant!

http://jetspizza.com/

Hello world!

As a former restaurant owner and avid cook, I love food!  I enjoy dining out with my family of four on weekly basis, but if the truth be told…we typically eat out at  least 2-3 times a week!

My goal is to share some of the experiences we had in the wonderfully creative Charlotte restaurant scene – both with and without kids.

I am a bargain hunter who appreciates fabulous & creative flavor profiles &  beauty in presentation. I look for a unique local atmosphere, excellent customer service and the overall experience.  I do strive to eat at non-chain restaurants, but there are a few we adore and I will review them also.

Finally I ask:

  1. “Do I want to return again and how soon?”
  2. “Who would I recommend this restaurant to – family, kids, or singles?”
  3. “Is this a great fit for me?”