Taste of Charlotte

12 Jun

 

Friday was a big food day thanks to Taste of Charlotte! I went last year so I was stoked to see what the lineup was this year. I made the big trip Uptown to go since I had some free food coins coming my way courtesy of Yelp. Big trip, it is not, it’s only 10 minutes away however I never go because I’m cheap and don’t want to pay for parking. And in regards to the nightlife, it’s a bit douchey and more of a college crowd which I’m not into. I took the bus in and the first stop of the day was the Starbucks in my old building. I went to this place almost every day for six years so it’s like a second home to me. But then I started to freak out, what if the baristas I know and love weren’t there? What if they didn’t recognize me? Well, neither happened since a few of them were there—it was so good to see them again! I texted a few of my ex co-workers and let them know I was downstairs. Most of them were swamped or in meetings but I got to see one!

Would you believe that’s my first picture in front of a Starbucks? Mental note, I really need to buy stock in the Bucks.

Afterwards, some members of the most recent team I was on told me I should come up to see their new area they moved to. I was up there for maybe 10 minutes when management kicked me out. I told them I wasn’t stealing customer information ( a) that’s wrong and I would never do that b) I wouldn’t last a day in prison) and I was just there to say hi but they weren’t having any of that.I was going to make a remark on how one of the guys who left came up to our old floor when I worked there and how this was sexist but I just left quietly instead.

One of my old co-workers and I grabbed our coins and started to walk around. And just like last year, it was a scorcher out. They set up Taste of Charlotte along Tryon Street, the main road that runs through Uptown, so we walked up and down checking out who was there. Of course we found the cupcake place to stop, I’ve never been to Polka Dot Bake Shop so this was the perfect opportunity to try them.

They had mini red velvet cupcakes for one coin so that was the first thing to try. I was even good and took two little bites instead of popping it in my mouth. The cream cheese frosting? Holy smokes—it was great! However two bites doesn’t have me completely sold on Polka Dots so I will have to stop by there sometime. I love justifications Smile

It was so hot out,  I started to get a bit lightheaded and felt like I was going to faint. Hello horrible timing—it’s a food festival, it’s my happy place! I think it was a combination of the heat, dehydration and number of people crammed into one street. I sat down and got some water and was ok for a few minutes but continued to feel “off” all day. Thumbs down.

Next up was Chicken Satay from Namaste India

I just saw a huge sign reading “THAI FOOD” and I was there. I’m still a bit confused by the Indian place was serving Thai food. Hmmmm. I’m proud of myself for straying from my stand by of pad thai. I like to think I’m an adventurous person and want to try other thai dishes when I go out but I just love the pad thai so much I’m afraid I’m going to try something else out and it will pale in comparison. The satay was delicious….and this is coming from someone who doesn’t like peanut butter.

Last on the BBQ Slider from Outlaw BBQ. The meat was perfectly cooked and seasoned that I didn’t even need bbq sauce—unheard of!

It was fun to try things from restaurants I’ve never been to but Taste of Charlotte was a bit of a letdown this year. It felt like there weren’t as many vendors as there were last year and that there were more chains. Also, if TOC wants to play with the big boys, they really need to expand. You’re crammed in with people near cookers and it feels like hell. I don’t like sweating while eating much less feeling sweat run down my crack.

Later that evening, I went to Vida Cantina for my friends birthday. The reservation wasn’t until 8:30 as always, I was a bit early. I am perpetually early so one can only imagine how much of a pet peeve tardiness is for me. Luckily, there were other perpetually early people I recognized enjoying a cold one. I was trying not to try all week and if I did, I was going to have liquor or wine because I really need to cut down on how much beer I’ve been drinking. But the idea of a cold beer on a Friday night sounded too enticing to pass up so there I was with my Dos Equis Amber.

We had a big table in the upstairs area which is the more private dining area. There was only enough room for our table and the other big party there so it was as crammed nor did we have a lot of food traffic like downstairs. I love Vida but there is a huge wait staff and usually a line of people there so it seems like you’re always on top of someone else.

There were a couple of rounds of tequila shots but this girl sat out thanks to…..I just don’t like tequila. Even the quality stuff. No thank you.

 

Me and the birhday girl

I loved her rings! The one on the left goes on two fingers—I’ve never seen that before.

 

We noshed on lots of baskets of chips, salsa, guacamole and queso dip. Like lots of chips, we would start going through one basket, be done, wait for another, get it, devour it, repeat. I wasn’t feeling a huge meal so I order the appetizer of mushroom flautas

Gorgeous right? They were just the portion size I was hoping for and I could only finish one of them! I took the rest to go and hope they will be semi decent leftover….who am I kidding, Mexican food leftovers are usually better than the original!

Are you a big festival person? I love festivals! It’s more the crowd that hate dealing with so if I do go to one, I want to go in the down time where there isn’t a bunch of people.

Do you have a food festival like Taste of Charlotte in your city? If not, do you have other festivals?

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9 Responses to “Taste of Charlotte”

  1. Amanda June 12, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

    Lame that they made you leave. I haven’t been back to my old branch for similar reasons. They are nuts like that.

    I wonder if L.A. has something like the Taste of Charlotte. I want to go to it! We have a lot of food truck festivals which is pretty much a party for my mouth.

  2. fitinthemidwest June 12, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

    We don’t have a “Taste of Milwaukee” festival but I have been to Taste of Chicago and it was fun. Our big festivals are Summerfest (tons of bands, beer and food over a couple of weeks) and the ethnic festivals. My favorite is going to Germanfest because I am mostly German, I love German food and it is much quieter than Summerfest. I also hate crowds like you do.

  3. vixter2010 June 13, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I’m not a fan of festivals where you have to camp (tents and me do not mix :)) but lots of food gets a thumbs up from me! And cupcakes always make me smile 🙂

  4. Mindy@FindingSilverLinings June 13, 2011 at 9:21 am #

    We have something called restaurant week. All the city’s best food spots have dinner entrees for suuuuuper low prices and they have special menus. We also have street festivals. My favorite is the Italian Fest. Yeeeeah! Looked like a great time Tiff!

  5. Jenn @ Peas and Crayons June 13, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    1. jealous
    2. where was my invite?
    3. LOVE YOU!

    • simplyshaka June 13, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

      LOL LOVE this comment! You are a Raleigh girl, whenever you’re in Charlotte-let me know! Well, if you are in the next three wks……

  6. diana@mymarblerye June 14, 2011 at 9:09 am #

    you KNOW i’m a hoe for festivals! Especially now that i live in a big city!! Can’t wait for taste of denver…hope i’m off that day…and so cool that yelp hooked you up with some free tokens!

  7. Monique June 14, 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    festivals on a hot day are a total buzz kill! I am like you in the heat. I get really irritable! and head achey. blah.

  8. Ashleigh June 15, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    OK all of that looks so good… especially the cupcakes!!

    I dont like to go to food festivals because they are too crowded with pushy people (in boston at least!) and I tend to over do it to the point I feel sick :/ I do always go to a veg food festival in Boston but the samples are VERY small and I only will try stuff I know Ill like.

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