Charlotte Bobcats, the NBA is back!!
Charlotte's newest arena was built recently for the Bobcats, the professional basketball team. It's located right in the heart of Uptown as you can see from this picture with the Bank of America Tower in the background. The positioning of the athletic venues in the downtown area along with new upscale condominiums that are springing up are starting to make living in the city a more viable option for many locals.
The team plays in the Southeast Division of the NBA's Eastern Conference and currently has a young team that includes players such as Adam Morrison, Emeka Okafor and Gerald Wallace.
See the website below for a team schedule and ticket information.
Hip deli, great hangout
Locate in the laid-back, but hip NoDa (North Davidson) neighborhood, Fat City is a cool place to come and enjoy a cheap meal, cold drinks and good entertainment. At night, they have all kinds of eclectic bands, from rock, punk, reggae and even jazz. Very unpretentious and welcoming. They also have good good, especially vegetarian specialties and the prices are right (usually between $4-$8 for meals. Come as you are.
Beef hearts, anyone?
El Loco Pollo is a unique Peruvian restaurant located in a most unlikely place- a strip mall in east Charlotte. There is some method to that madness. The owners pay less rent there and, in turn, can get by with charging lower prices than they would as a stand-alone restaurant. The inside is decorated on one wall with Peruvian flags and crafts, Peruvian music plays on the loudspeakers, but on the other wall is a silhouette of the Charlotte skyline. The interesting thing is, at this last restaurant at which we ate, just like the first, our server was Asian in a Spanish-speaking restaurant. For an appetiser, Mark and I both had the beef heart kebabs (marinated in wine, vinegar and spices and served with grilled potatoes). Mark had Cusqueña beer and I tried Inca Kola (interesting, but not very good). For entrees, I had chicken sauteed with onions, tomatoes, fresh cilantro and cumin served with rice and pinto beans. Mark had "pescado a la macho" (fish filet, shrimp, squid, mussels, diced with red pepper, tossed with creamy sauce and served with rice and yuca). The food was great, but they ran out of coffee in the middle of the supper rush.
"Where you are never a stranger twice"
I was a big fan of the original Villa Antonio before the newer one opened in the more upscale Ballantyne area. The building and decor of the new one are less typically Italian than the original, the food is more Continental than Italian, and the dining atmosphere of the original reminds me more of something which I might have encountered this summer in northern Italy than does the new one. I would recommend both but would recommend the one on South Boulevard more enthusiastically. Their salads and salad dressings are pleasantly fresh and tasty but I think that my favorite on the entire menu is Vitello Piccata alla, veal medallions sauteed with lemon, garlic, capers, and fresh artichoke hearts. The first time I ordered this dish, I read "artichokes" as "asparagus," but was highly pleased to receive and enjoy the delectable artichoke. In general, I think that both locations have higher prices than they were at the original location and they are bordering on being too high for my budget.
Children's Theatre of Charlotte
I always enjoy seeing kids doing great things, and whenever I go to a children's theater, I'm always impressed with the boldness and imagination with which kids can play a role. This makes a great family outing.
Check out the website for details.