Mert’s Heart & Soul: A Legend in Charlotte and Beyond
June 6, 2020
What do Mariah Carey, Metallica, Common and Hillary Clinton share? They’ve all been spotted enjoying a meal at Mert’s Heart & Soul in uptown Charlotte.
The restaurant, located on College Street, just steps from the stage door entrance to Belk Theater, has long been a popular dining destination for performers and crew members when they come to town for a show. Like local fans, they come for the food, the ambiance and the warm welcome.
Mert’s, now in its 22nd year of business, serves freshly-prepared Southern regional cuisine including Low Country and Gullah-inspired dishes, like Red beans and Rice with Smoked Turkey Kielbasa, and Shrimp and Grits. It also prepares classics like Southern Fried Chicken, Barbecue Beef Ribs, and Blackened Pork Chops. Owner James Bazelle puts his own spin on dishes too, serving Salmon Cakes (instead of more typical crab cakes), mini loaves of warm corn bread, and his signature appetizer, Soul Rolls (chicken, black eyed peas, rice, and collards in a wonton wrapper), which have even been featured on “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.”
Ze quest for a great baguette in Charlotte
October 13, 2016
Is there anything more quintessentially French than the baguette? From the traditional breakfast (slathered with butter and jam) to the post-dinner cheese course, no French meal is complete without it.
There are many things I love about visiting the South of France — my husband’s homeland — each summer, but the simple pleasure of eating a freshly baked baguette, crafted by an artisan baker, is the one I long to replicate throughout the year.
Luckily, Charlotte is home to a growing number of bakeries that regularly bake baguettes. But how do they stack up next to the “real thing”…
The 4 weirdest things I found at the Charlotte Farmers Market
April 28, 2017
On sunny, spring days, Charlotte’s outdoor farmers markets can’t be beat. Freshness abounds in every color: from sublimely red strawberries and shocks of green salad to snow white turnips and purple potatoes. It’s that rare shopping destination where you can be within inches of the people who actually grew the food, crafted a product, or foraged for it.
But my favorite thing about markets? They are prime places to snap up unusual products — the best of which come along with a good story.
Here are some recent finds on a visit to the Charlotte Regional Farmers Market (1801 Yorkmont Rd), the queen mama of area markets, housed under its four giant, open-sided sheds.
The Selwyn Farmers Market is now open. Here’s what you’ll find there
May 23, 2017
A new farmers market has popped up Wednesday afternoons in the parking lot of Mouzon United Methodist Church, at the intersection of E. Woodlawn Road and Selwyn Avenue. It’s a prime location, with steady cross-town commuter traffic, easy access for parents picking up kids from nearby schools and bordering several residential neighborhoods. It’s also perfect timing if, like me, you tend to run out of fresh foods mid-week.
Inspiration for the Selwyn Farmers Market came after surveying the local community about their needs, according to Charles DiRico, Director of Community Engagement at Mouzon UMC. Two ideas kept coming back: community yoga classes and requests for a farmers market.
Tiny cups, big flavor: A quest for great espresso in Charlotte
December 14, 2015
This time of year, social media gets all gooey on the topic of pumpkin-flavored lattes, peppermint mochas and jolly disposable paper cups. But some people, like my French-born husband, are on a perpetual quest for the perfect (porcelain) cup of unadulterated espresso. (Did I mention we’re now on our fourth espresso machine?)
The French drink espresso throughout the day, often served with a square of dark chocolate. It’s usually served simple, with at most a touch of steamed milk. But here in America, where we like to bury our coffees in foam and syrups, there’s a lot to be learned about a good cup of espresso.