10.31.2010 Amelie’s

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food, restaurants: Amelie’s Bakery was very good!  Charlotte NC :: Amelie’s French Bakery :: Amelie’s French Bakery and Cafe.

10.29.2010 … The String Bean in Belmont and P&P at Davidson …

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restaurants: actually Belmont … The String Bean is about 30 minutes from my house … worth the drive … I had a pimento cheese sandwich with fries fried in duck fat. Both were very good. Trobs had the Cuban and the Reuben (I think) … We will go again!

The String Bean Fresh Market and Deli is an experience. There’s nothing like it in the area. We feature a creative menu with daily specials that go far beyond your typical “Deli”. Our collection of 200 beers and 400 wines is sure to quench your thirst. The Market Place boasts never frozen fish and meats…cut to your liking

via Belmont North Carolina Restaurant : The String Bean Market & Deli.

food, I’d walk a mile for a …, facebook: My review of The String Bean … see above … brought on a fb discussion of french fries … what are your favorites … good enough that you would go out of your way to get them again?

C: We went to Dandelion Market (Charlotte) partially because they had duck fat fries on the menu, but they had taken them off. Bummer. About a half block from Caroline’s apartment in New York is the David Burke restaurant in Bloomingdale’s. …

D: If you are in Boulder’s Larkburger has trufle oil and parmesan fries which are amazing …

Jane Austen, Pride & Prejudice, theater, Davidson, review, kudos:  I attended Davidson’s production of  P&P last night.  It was fun, but not great. The staging was very good … 50 scene changes … and they flowed. The acting was good, but loud (were they not used to the mics in the larger theater? … I know the story by heart and the dialogue, too … Some men in the audience laughed at the wrong points  … they obviously were not used to the subtlety of her dialogue … sorry, men. Kudos to Tatum P. who was a charming Mrs. Reynolds.

The Davidson College Theatre Department will present one of its most ambitious efforts ever in producing the North Carolina premier of one of literature’s most popular love stories October 27-31.

The college’s presentation of Jane Austen’s beloved 1813 novel, Pride and Prejudice, will be the state premier of a 2009 adaptation of the play by Joseph Hanreddy and J.R. Sullivan originally produced at Milwaukee Repertory Theater.

Professor of Theatre Ann Marie Costa, who directs the production, has assembled an “A Team” of area theatre professionals and a large student cast to reinforce the script with an energetic, rich production that highlights the humor and complexity of Austen’s characters. She said the new adaptation will especially appeal to Jane Austen fans because it maintains much of the actual dialogue of the novel.

DiFiore said the Davidson production should be highly entertaining for the audience as a “solid, full production.” It will include large ball scenes, dynamic lighting, elaborate costumes, music, and many scene changes.

Music provides almost constant accompaniment for the play, with theme music for lead characters and multiple instruments playing in large ballroom scenes. Davidson College music faculty member Cynthia Lawing played the piano parts on a modern instrument, and Bill Lawing, another music faculty member, converted it electronically to mimic the sound of a piano forte, the instrument played in Austen’s time. Sam Van Hallgren, a producer with WDAV, created the overall sound design for the play.

Charlotte-based costume designers Bob Croghan and Heidi O’Hare are creating period costumes from scratch for female characters, and Davidson College set designer Josh Peklo has built two major automated platforms that will support outdoor and indoor worlds for 50 scene changes. Delia Neil of UNC Charlotte is choreographing English country dance scenes, and Todd Wren has designed the lighting.

via Davidson College Mainstage Theatre Production of “Pride & Prejudice” | Charlotte Area News Local Section.

10.20.2010 I guess Phat Burrito is not the Penguin. :)

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restaurants, business:

National Restaurant Properties says it will franchise South End’s Phat Burrito restaurant.

The restaurant, known for its California-style Mexican food, will remain the sole Phat Burrito in Charlotte.

National Restaurant Properties, which has 15 brokerages along the East coast, will market the restaurant regionally. A spokeswoman for the company says it hopes to have 10 to 15 franchises open within a year.

Phat Burrito, at 1537 Camden Road, has been open for more than a decade.

via National Restaurant Properties to franchise Phat Burrito | Charlotte Business Journal.

10.15.2010 … A little history, a little trivia …

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resources, libraries, kudos:  Nice resource, although dated, PLCMC!  Hornets’ Nest.

random, nicknames: Can you think of any others?

The Queen City, The QC, Crown Town, and The Hornet’s Nest are all nicknames for Charlotte, North Carolina, US.

via Charlotte, NC: “The Hornet’s Nest” :: Try Handmade.

10.14.2010 NASCAR … I hate that … but public art … I like that

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travel:  NASCAR … I hate that …

I know that Nascar is awesome in the same way I know that cricket and Tolstoy novels and contemporary dance are awesome. I personally can’t see the appeal, but enough reasonable people disagree with me that I believe in their awesomeness.

The pit simulator at the Nascar Hall of Fame.Jeff Aldrich The pit simulator at the Nascar Hall of Fame.

Still, I had my doubts about Nascar after shelling out $20 to visit its hall of fame during my recent three-day visit to Charlotte, N.C. Then I saw the pit simulator. As I lay on the ground, panting, after pretending to jack up a car, replace its tire and fill its gas tank within 26.79 seconds, I thought, This is – what’s the word? — awesome.

via Frugal Traveler Visits Charlotte – NYTimes.com.

10.14.2010 … Kudos to CMS and Mr. Gorman!

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education, Charlotte, kudos:

Gorman decided he needed a new approach. He considered simply transferring his best principals to his most challenging schools, but Yale economics professor Justine Hastings talked him out of it. “She told me that if I forced people to switch jobs, I would see the performance of some dip, while others would find another job.” So Gorman decided to try a “pull” strategy—a way to entice principals to view these transfers as a desired challenge. Starting in 2008, with great fanfare, Gorman announced a new annual districtwide competition to identify the most effective principals. Winners of the “Strategic Staffing Initiative” would be chosen based on hard data like the growth in their students’ achievement scores rather than how long they’d served or how well their school was regarded.

Before announcing the winners to the TV cameras, however, the persuasive Gorman met privately with the principals and made them an offer he hoped they wouldn’t refuse: what he billed as the “opportunity” to turn around one of the district’s failing schools. As part of the three-year deal, they’d receive a 10 percent raise and more freedom from district rules. They would also get the chance to pick an eight-person transformation team—each of whom would get a raise, too. The winning principals could also “transfer out” up to five teachers from their new school, including obstructionists, underperformers, and leaders of what principals call “the toxic lunchroom.” In exchange, Gorman said, “we expected them to transform the culture of the school to one in which high academic achievement is expected and achieved.”

Amazingly, every winner accepted the challenge.

via How One District Fixed Its Failing Schools – Newsweek.


10.13.2010 … Last supper last night at the Penguin …. And the fried pickles and pimento cheese sandwich were both very “nice” … As Liv would say …

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The Penguin, restaurants, followup:

The unfolding Penguin drama | CLT Blog.

10.7.2010 John’s – another old Charlotte diner

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restaurants – diners: Great old diner that I did not know existed.

If you are looking for blue-plate breakfast or lunch in Charlotte, you can’t beat John’s Country Kitchen. We were taken there by Carolina cuisiniere Heidi Billotto, whose “Charlotte Weekly” story about the place described the portions as large and the prices as “unbelievably reasonable.”

via John’s Country Kitchen – Charlotte, NC.

John’s Country Kitchen on Central Avenue in Plaza Midwood has been a fixture at the corner of Central and Thomas avenues for 30 years. Owner Jimmy Margiotis and his mom, Margaret, are behind the grill every morning, greeting and conversing with customers while cooking a variety of breakfast fare including, eggs any way, French toast, crispy-edged pancakes, home-baked bisquits and more.

via Culinary Corner: Buttered Biscuits, Bacon ‘N’ More – WSOC-TV News Story – WSOC Charlotte.

10.4.2010 Why we care about the Penguin’s fate – CharlotteObserver.com

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In Charlotte, we get heated up about plenty: struggling schools, starving banks, sacked Panthers. But rarely is the hubbub as quick and visceral as the last few weeks’ flap around our Penguin.

And it is our Penguin, make no mistake.

To understand the furor, you must understand the plethora of Penguins that people mean when they discuss it. There’s the burger joint that got onto the Food Network, the decades-old family business, the resurrected urban oasis. There’s the place a franchisor thinks could work in 40 or 50 states, and the place fans deem the unreproducible figurehead of Charlotte funk.

But above all, there is the Penguin that is our city’s proof.

via Why we care about the Penguin’s fate – CharlotteObserver.com.

10.3.2010 The Penguin Update

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restaurants, The Penguin, followup:

UPDATE: Sprock confirmed Monday that Auten is out, but that other people will be coming to the deal (“Charlotteans who have been involved in the restaurant business for a long time”). He said the menu will be “90 percent the same,” with some healthy-food additions, such as a salad. Other plans: a patio and new air conditioning. The only change that might “freak people out”: ice cream or frozen custard. “I’m not saying I’m going to do it,” but he’s considering it; the Penguin was once an ice cream shop. He plans to emphasize family-friendliness, also. Asked if such an approach will preserve enough of the current diverse crowd to stay viable, he said: “It needs to be cool and hip, mixing the musicians with the investment bankers… (But) we’ve heard families say there’s too rough a crowd at times.”

via Helen Schwab: 2nd daily Penguin update: Sprock confirms that chef Auten is out.

______: My brother- in-law Gary noted that Sprock is the very successful franchisor of such southern favorites as Moe’s and Flying Biscuit ”’

While some may debate which tastes better — a burrito from Moe’s Southwest Grill or success — one thing Raving Brands Inc. Founder and CEO Martin Sprock won’t debate is how to do business in his restaurant chains, which include Moe’s, Boneheads and the Flying Biscuit Cafe. After unofficially being named “least likely to succeed” in high school, Sprock says he has far exceeded even his own mother’s expectations, so he feels obligated to make his 125 employees taste success as well. Smart Business spoke with this spicy CEO about how he gets his employee buy-in and drives his company’s success.

via Martin Sprock – Founder and CEO, Raving Brands Inc..