Tropical Foods is a Charlotte-based food manufacturer and importer and distributor of bulk and packaged snacks and specialty foods. Phew, that’s a lot of hats! What this translates to is snack mixes, dried fruits, nuts and seeds, dipping chocolates, salad bar mix-ins, and garden chips, just to name a few of Tropical’s thousands of products. The Charlotte production plant roasts nuts and seeds daily (in trans-fat-free oil), and goods are shipped from one of their six locations: Charlotte, Atlanta, Dallas, Memphis, Orlando, and Washington DC.
Back in the Fall, Tropical Foods sponsored a recipe contest at Johnson & Wales University here in Charlotte, and I recently partnered with Tropical on a super fun project to create recipe videos for the top three recipes from the contest (plus, one video for a recipe that I specially developed for Tropical). The whole video shooting process was new to me, and it was both fun and challenging! I’ll post more about the videos in the coming weeks including a HUGE TROPICAL FOODS GIVEAWAY, but in the mean time here’s the first of four videos, my official YouTube debut. Enjoy!
Looking for Tropical Foods products? You can buy nuts and snacks direct from their new retail site: www.tropicalsnuthouse.com. Tropical Foods products are also available in many grocery stores, including Harris Teeter and Healthy Home Market.Read More
Life is unpredictable. You get stuck at the office, spend rainy days surfing Pinterest instead of grocery shopping, and sometimes feel just too darn tired to even lift a spatula. We’ve all had these nights–ones when we secretly wish we still lived at home where mom would sense our hunger and home cooked meals would emerge from the kitchen faster than you could microwave some easy mac. Sometimes, all we want is a hot meal ASAP without having to worry about who’s doing the dishes. In the old days, when people wanted takeout, they’d hunt down a menu, scribble down orders, then call it in and pray that the person on the other end could understand over the loud bar noise (is that a screaming goat I hear?!) that you wanted your dressing on the side, and light sauce on the pizza, and ABSOLUTELY NO OLIVES whatsoever.
While this dial-in method works, few can argue it’d be easier and more convenient to browse menus and place orders online in real-time. That’s where BringMeThat.com comes into play. Users log into the BringMeThat.com website to browse menus and place food delivery orders, including special requests (extra cheese, please!). Once submitted, the BringMeThat request is sent to the restaurant, and shortly after the patron receives an email letting them know how long it’ll be til the food arrives.Read More
Whether it’s a hot date, a night out with friends, or a family outing, few will object to dinner and a movie. It’s a combination that appeals to all the senses—the sights and sounds of the film, the smells and taste of the food. And touch? Well, I’ll leave that one up to you.
Studio Movie Grill (SMG), which recently opened in Charlotte’s Epicentre (in the spot formerly occupied by Mez), takes all that we love about this classic combo and mashes them into one in-theater dining concept. The idea is not new to Charlotte, but SMG’s approach is more casual and family-friendly than its predecessor.
SMG movie tickets can be purchased online or at the front desk, and seating is selected at the time of purchase (so there’s no need to rush to the theater to score a good spot). Speaking of the theater seats, these ones are plush and recline slightly, and each seat has a personal-sized swiveling table top, complete with a cup holder and a red “power button” that signals the SMG team you’re ready for service.Read More
Fervent Foodie is a contributing writer for the official Urbanspoon blog.
With spring in the air and bathing suits on the brain, healthy eating is getting lots of attention these days. It seems each year more and more diet fads appear, and while many people find these fads a bit extreme (Cabbage Soup Diet, really?), few can argue the benefits of swapping a day or two of healthier eating into their weekly eating regimen.
Feeling a little confused on the different healthy eating trends? Get the skinny on raw eating, juicing, the macrobiotic diet, and Paleo over on the Urbanspoon blog.
Shortly after moving to Charlotte, I fell in love with Mama Ricotta’s. I blame it on the goat cheese and mascarpone dip, which was my first bite of food on my very first visit to Mama’s.
Mama’s is the type of place where families feel equally comfortable as couples on hot dates. The dining room is cozy with large family-sized booths plus intimate tables for two, vintage family photos, and a large wood-fired pizza oven.
If you have any Italian friends or family, you know the importance of sharing food in the Italian culture. Food is love. This holds true at Mama’s, where most of the pasta dishes are available family-style and are served in deep dishes that are passed around the table, just like at home.
It didn’t take long for me to realize Mama Ricotta’s had common ownership with Bad Daddy’s (one of my favorite burger spots in town) and Midwood Smokehouse (my favorite barbecue joint). I’ve eaten at these restaurants dozen of times, and many of those meals have ended with toasts to Frank Scibelli, the owner and man behind the amazing food.
I’m a big fan of bread, and Mama Ricotta’s bread basket alone is worth a visit. The housemade rolls are served with olive oil sprinkled with crushed red pepper flakes for dipping. As for appetizers, there’s that amazing dip I mentioned–it’s a warm goat cheese and mascarpone dip served with grilled crostini and a warm tomato basil sauce, a steal at $8.50. I also highly recommend the new house made burrata ($12). Burrata is fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream, and Mama’s burrata is soft and supple and accompanied by olive oil poached tomatoes, basil, roasted garlic, and grilled ciabatta.Read More
When I think of The Palm, I envision a fancy New Yorker carrying shopping bags in one hand as she hails a cab with the other on her way to (insert pretentious voice here) “lunch at the Palm.”
So, when I first got the invitation to come in and try out the Palm, I ignored it. I’m in Charlotte, the Palm is in New York City. A couple of weeks later, I received a second invitation right when I was coincidentally preparing for a weekend trip to NYC. After mapping out the location of the Palm in Manhattan in relation to where I was staying, I began drafting a response email. But just before I hit send, something caught my eye. The invite was for the Palm in Charlotte. What the what? There’s a Palm in Charlotte??
Lesson #1: read emails thoroughly before archiving, deleting, and/or replying.
When people ask me for restaurant recommendations I often joke about avoiding four-dollar-sign restaurants. In my book, $$$$ means special occasions only. Luckily, I had a reason celebrate! My mom was in town for the weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity to get fancied up for a girls’ night at The Palm.
As we walked into the restaurant, I felt a little apprehensive. I still had the glamorous New Yorker image in my head, and I was wearing Gap flats after all, not Jimmy Choos. All these anxious feelings melted away as soon as I approached the hostess. From her smiling face, to the jolly restaurant managers, to the walls covered with caricatures of famous North Carolinians, it felt warm and welcoming, not the slightest bit hoity toity.
Lesson #2: never judge a restaurant by what you’ve seen in the movies
Once seated, we were promptly served one of the best bread baskets I’ve ever laid my paws on: a trio of breads locally sourced from Great Harvest Bread Company. There was raisin bread, whole white bread, and my personal favorite: the Dakota Bread with sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, and millet.
Mom and I were in the mood for some seafood, so we started with the Colossal Lump Crabmeat Cocktail ($24). After we both verbally affirmed our passion for horseradish, mom dropped a heaping spoonful into the cocktail sauce. I waited as she took her first bite. She was speechless, her eyes closed, her face quickly turning red. I waited for some sort of sign… Was it good? Was it bad? Was she choking??? When a smile stretched across her face, I took a piece of crab, dunked it in the doctored cocktail sauce, and popped it into my mouth. And that’s when I realized it wasn’t just any old horseradish. It was atomic. Breathtaking, nose-hair-burning, atomic horseradish. It was fantastic.
Along with the crab, we enjoyed the bacon wrapped scallops ($16). Though the bacon wasn’t especially flavorful, the balsamic and basil reduction served for dipping was the perfect tangy pairing for the scallops.
Fervent Foodie is a contributing writer for the official Urbanspoon blog.
I have eaten both macaroons and macarons in my day, and though I’ve ordered both as maca-two-o’s-oons (despite their obvious disparities) not once has a server indicated that I was pronouncing the dainty dessert incorrectly. In fact, I believe they too pronounced the name wrong. Both of these similarly named confections start with meringue: egg whites and sugar whipped to glossy stiffness. That’s where the cookies reach the fork in the road, or the spatula in the peaks, if you will: the difference lies in the execution.
***Plus, you can find links to all of my articles on Urbanspoon here***Read More