Friday, August 8, 2014

Another Bruegger's Bender... The Jalapeño Bacon & Egg Sandwich with Sofrito Sauce

Shortly after I wrote my last post about Bruegger's Bagels' Riviera Egg Sandwich (not to be confused with my even previous-er post about the Chimicheddar Egg Sandwich), Bruegger's introduced a new specialty bagel: The Jalapeño Bacon & Egg Sandwich with Sofrito Sauce. Since I seem to be on a bit of a roll of over-scrutinizing the bakery's new products, I figured I'd check it out!

This is Brueggers' image of their bagel... it didn't exactly match mine.

The sandwich consists of egg, jalapeño bacon, cheddar cheese and "a zesty sofrito sauce" served on a 12-grain bagel. The picture hanging in the restaurant made it look pretty awesome (even though I wasn't quite sure what "sofrito sauce" was...). After doing some googling, I learned that there are many sauces that are identified as "sofrito," including variations from Italy, Spain, Cuba, and Puerto Rico. The word translates to "sautéed" and the sauce itself generally consists of some variety of aromatics sautéed (I guess that's a given...) in cooking oil. Bruegger's seems to be using a Caribbean-style sofrito that is made with onions, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, cilantro, and jalapeños in a canola/olive oil blend. 

My Jalapeño Bacon & Egg Sandwich (on an Onion Bagel)

I placed an order for my sandwich and a giant Diet Coke andddd... was informed that they were out of multi-grain bagels. I opted to sub in an onion bagel (mostly because of the enticing "hot" sign hanging from the bin) and watched the friendly Bruegger's employee slap together my sandwich.  My first observation was that the final product didn't really resemble the beautiful ad photo.... at all (and not just because of the bagel swap).  The egg on mine looked more hard-cooked than the ad's scrambled patty and the cheese and sofrito were all but M.I.A., but there was a ton of bacon, so I remained excited about giving it a shot. All in all, it was pretty tasty. Despite the fact that the sauce was barely visible, I could definitely taste it and appreciated the spiciness and herbaciousness that it gave to the sandwich. In combination with the egg and bacon (I'm leaving the cheese out of the equation because, as expected, I could barely taste it), it made for a hearty, tasty (enough) breakfast sandwich. It was nowhere near as delicious as the Chimicheddar Egg Sandwich, but beats out the Riviera Egg Sandwich in terms of flavor and is certainly something I can see myself ordering again. Overall, I'd label it a near-hit, but I'll be looking forward to whatever pops up on the specialty sandwich menu next.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Va da Vie Gelato - Park Road Shopping Center

I have a new love: Va da Vie Gelato. The retro-chic shop (if the Jetson's owned a gelato joint, I'm pretty sure it would look like the interior of this place) is located in a cute wooden building smack dab in the middle of the Park Road Shopping Center. I recently visited and was able to try a few of the night's featured flavors: almond, chocolate hazelnut, and pistachio. They also make fruit sorbets (my friend Marie and my brother's girlfriend, Keagan are both big fans of the strawberry) that I'm looking forward to trying on a future visit.

Small cup of almond gelato
Medium cup of half-chocolate hazelnut, half-pistachio gelato

The gelato and sorbet is all made in the store with fancy imported ingredients (the website says their pistachios are grown in "volcanic soil at the base of [Sicily's] Mount Aetna and only harvested every 2 years" and the hazelnuts are from the Piemonte region of Italy) as well as local milk, cream, and produce.  The gelato/sorbet is crafted in big, shiny, industrial-looking machines and the day's selection of flavors are sold in small, medium, and large-sized cups.  While the servings look relatively small compared to what you'll get at Ben & Jerry's or another ice cream shop, the heavenly, rich gelato is dense and insanely filling. Even on an extra-hungry night, the small would make a perfectly-sized portion (unless you want a half-and-half cup, which is only available in medium or large). Of all the flavors I've sampled, my favorite is definitely the uber-delicious chocolate hazelnut -it's like Nutella, but places greater emphasis on the hazelnuts than the chocolate. The pistachio is also an excellent combo of savory and sweet flavors, and is a favorite of both BFTB and my dad. The almond was a little sweeter than I expected, but still incredibly tasty, and definitely something I would order again. 

All in all, I'm really excited that Va da Vie has set up shop in the Park Road Shopping Center (especially because it is much closer to my house than my other favorite dessert spot, Pinkberry). The gelato is a little pricey, but the outstanding quality makes it worth every penny. For dessert, Va da Vie Gelato gets a 9.25/10.

Va da Vie Gelato on Urbanspoon

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Tin Tin Box & Noodles - Uptown

After dominating (if I do say so myself...) an hour-long Flywheel class two Saturdays ago, I had a sudden, out-of-control hankering for hibachi chicken and salad with ginger dressing. Since high school, my normal go-to for quick-serve Japanese food has been Yoshi's Grill in Huntersville, but I wasn't exactly feeling the 20+-mile commute post-workout... I started perusing the interwebs for recommendations a little closer to home, but pretty much came up dry. I voiced my concerns to BFTB (read: I whined like a baby about my unsatisfied shrimp sauce craving) and he suggested that we head to center city and try Tin Tin Box & Noodles, a restaurant relatively close to his office uptown. 

BFTB told me that this place gets slammed on weekdays, but we were some of the only customers in the restaurant at 2-ish p.m. on Saturday. We snagged some Diet Cokes out of the fridge (I later discovered that they also carry fountain Pepsi products) and placed an order for a ginger salad and two hibachi chicken meals. We walked to the upstairs dining area and had to wait for twelve-ish minutes before our food was ready. 

BFTB retrieved our meals (partly because my legs were shot and I couldn't fathom the idea of walking up and down the stairs again) and we dug in. I first tried the ginger salad and was pretty underwhelmed. The "salad" was served in a plastic clamshell container and consisted of dicey iceberg lettuce (mostly the dry, bitter end-pieces) and a few carrot slivers. The dressing was served on the side and was even more disappointing. It tasted more like orange juice than ginger and was oddly sour. My biggest issue with it, however, was that it was so insanely chunky that I couldn't distribute it evenly over the lettuce. I basically had three overloaded-with-dressing bites and was then left with about 95% of the lettuce in its naked, untasty form.

After giving up on the salad, I dug into my hibachi chicken. The chicken was mixed in with mushroom slices and served atop a bed of fried rice (you can sub in steamed white or brown rice for a small upcharge) alongside a mix of broccoli and onions and a little cup of pink-colored shrimp sauce. Pros: the chicken pieces were all big hunks of white meat and the shrimp sauce was sweet and creamy. Cons: pretty much everything else. I was disappointed by the dinky,  overcooked veggies and the fact that the chicken was dried out, but the biggest issue was how freaking salty everything was. When I was younger, I had a pet rabbit named Cocoa Krispie. Ms. Krispie had a 4" salt block hooked to the bars of her cage... I would not be shocked if somebody told me that the Tin Tin chefs took that entire salt block and ground it up into my meal. I'm generally a fiend for all things sodium-laden, but the level of saltiness was ridiculous. Without a heavy coat of the thick, sweet shrimp sauce, the food would have been borderline inedible. Even discounting the salt issue, the flavors were generally unimpressive and still left me with an unsatisfied hibachi craving.

All in all, Tin Tin Box & Noodles was a big letdown (I guess there is a silver lining in that it made me drink about a gallon of water that day as a result of my sodium-induced dehydration). I'm still on the lookout for good quick-serve hibachi in Charlotte, so feel free to send recommendations my way! In the meantime, I'll avoid Tin Tin and continue to head north to Yoshi's. For quick-serve Asian food, Tin Tin gets a 4.5/10.

Tin Tin Box & Noodles on Urbanspoon

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fire in the City.... is back!!!

I remember the moment when I first learned about the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series and the Fire in the City tournament... I was driving from the Cabarrus County jail to my office (not because I got arrested, it was part of my occupational duties)  and listening to "Charlotte Talks" on NPR. I was half paying attention until they started discussing a multi-course Iron Chef-like competition between Charlotte-area chefs. After following up with some intense Google searching and reading up on the rules of the competition, I was officially intrigued and decided to buy BFTB and myself tickets for one of the rounds that was to take place that very night. 

Displaying 2014 Fire in the City.JPG
The 2014 Fire in the City chefs in front of the Mobile Pantry

We didn't really know what we were getting into, but enthusiastically (and hungrily) showed up at the host site (Bonterra) at 6:30 p.m. and were seated at a table in the middle of the restaurant. We made friends with our tablemates and ended up having an awesome time as Chef Brian Mottola of e2 and Chef David Bettendorf of River's Edge duked it out over six courses of fabulous food. That night, the secret ingredient (which is always a North Carolina product that the chef's learn of at 1 p.m. on the day of the event) was Old Mill of Guilford's Stone Ground Grits. The chefs (each with the assistance of two sous chefs) work all day to create three courses each of dishes using only the secret ingredient and food from the competition's "Mobile Pantry" (a really awesome box truck stocked with an amazing selection of proteins, veggies, fruits, and other delicious meal-making supplies). Don't expect to see any kind of standard meals however --the chefs are prohibited from cooking their "signature dishes" or anything off the menu at their restaurants. The courses are then served to the attendees in a blind format. They tell you not to even try guessing who prepared which course, and that's good advice --we shared a table with the family of one of the chefs, and they couldn't even ID their son's dish. That night, some of my favorite courses included Chef Bettendorf's Southern Sushi (poached cabbage filled with white grits, country ham, mirin, and wasabi, accompanied by pickled jicama slaw, wasabi creme fraiche, and wonton crisps) and Chef Mottola's Truffle Beurre Fondue Poached Lobster (accompanied by a mascarpone yellow corn grits cake, radish, asaparagus, and heirloom tomato salad).  Drool.

While eating the food was obviously a pretty awesome part of the experience, it was even neater how interactive the event was --seriously, if you've ever dreamed of being a judge on Iron Chef, this is probably as close as you're going to get. There are two categories of judges, the pros (local celeb's and foodies whose votes count for 30% of the result) and the joes (the laypeople, a.k.a. me, BFTB, and everybody else who paid for tickets... our votes counted for 70% of the result). Before attending, you download the Competition Dining app to your phone/tablet. The app serves as your scorecard for the event, and the courses (this year) are judged based on presentation, aroma, overall flavor, flavor of the secret ingredient, execution, creativity, use of the secret ingredient, and accompaniments (clearly it's an intense scoring process!). After each round, you vote, and at the very end, you submit your scores for the final tally. One glass of wine later, they'd totaled the scores and we had a result... Chef Mottola was our champ (unfortunately he wasn't as lucky in the next round and lost to the ultimate winner, Chef Jon Fortes of Mimosa Grill). Seriously, it was so much fun that before we even left the parking lot, I called my parents and told them that they had to join us for another round. In addition to being tasty, it was an amazingly well-run event, especially for it being Charlotte's first year as a participant in the statewide competition. The founder and event host, Jimmy Crippen, was funny, personable, and fantastically knowledgeable about all things related to the Old North State. We ended up buying tickets to the Peculiar Rabbit vs. Wooden Vine event a few weeks later, and had an equally amazing night.

So, in my usual long-winded format, that was my way of saying that everybody should check out Competition Dining now that it's back in Charlotte for the 2014 Fire in the City Tournament. The events will occur on the following nights:

  • Sept. 8 Dinner: Aug. 18 winner versus Aug. 19 winner
  • Sept. 9 Dinner: Aug. 20 winner versus Aug. 25 winner
  • Sept. 15 Dinner: Aug. 26 winner versus Aug. 27 winner
  • Sept. 16 Dinner: Sept. 2 winner versus Sept. 3 winner
  • Sept. 22 Dinner: Sept. 8 winner versus Sept. 9 winner
  • Sept. 23 Dinner: Sept. 15 winner versus Sept. 16 winner
 Final Battle (Fire in the City championship event)
  • Sept. 29 Dinner: Sept. 22 winner versus Sept. 23 winner
The winner of the Final Battle will then go on to compete in the Final Fire competition in Raleigh the week before Thanksgiving. Personally, I'm pretty stoked about the opening night and reigning champ Jon Fortes' battle against David Sullivan of Fish Market, but I'm hoping to attend at least a few of the rounds! Tickets for the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds are $59 plus tax and a service charge (so $74.78 plus whatever adult beverages you decided to imbibe) and tickets for the semifinal and final rounds ring in at $69 plus tax and a service charge ($87.46 plus drinks). This year, they're also offering flights of specially-picked NC wines and beer at $20 and $15 respectively. While it's not a cheap night, especially if you like to put back a few glasses of vino like yours truly, I can confidently say that it is worth every single penny. So make some reserv's ASAP... because like last year, I'm sure that the events will sell out!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Le's Sandwiches & Cafe - North Charlotte

For over a year now, I've been hearing (repeatedly) that I need to check out Le's Sandwiches & Cafe in the semi-abandoned Asian Corner Mall off North Tryon Street. One of my coworkers and I decided to journey over about a week ago in order to give the banh mi's a shot, and I've since returned for lunch twice. It is that good.

My friend Noora had warned me that upon first glance (and second glance... and third glance...) the mall resembles a scene from The Walking Dead, and she is definitely right. The parking lot is covered with crater-size potholes to the extent that one should only make the journey in an SUV or some other car with generous ground clearance. Aesthetically, the inside of the mall also leaves something to desire. We walked in the first entrance and were greeted by plywood-covered storefronts, pockmarked-chipped floors, a generous assortment of random garbage and debris, and a group of old men smoking by an empty fountain.

It's easy to pick out Le's, because it was pretty much the only populated site in the mall. We walked in and asked the man at the register which sandwich was the most popular. He responded that they were all popular. We then asked which sandwich we should try since it was our first visit. He responded that we should try them all. With that helpful guidance, we both decided to order the #6, the grilled pork banh mi. Combined with a Diet Coke from the fridge case (Le's also sells a bunch of crazy juices and teas that I hope to try on a future, more adventurous visit), my entire meal rang in at a whopping $5.08. Score. 

Our meals were ready within a few minutes and we dug in. Since the sandwich itself only cost $3.75, I expected it to be fairly dinky. That was definitely not the case. If the baguette had not been cut in half, it would have been at least the length of my forearm (and I have some freakishly long monkey arms, FYI). The bread was coated with a thin layer of mayo and loaded up with pork, carrots, daikon radishes, cilantro, and jalapenos. It was simultaneously sweet, spicy, salty, and sour... and the combo was outstanding. The bread was also a perfect balance of crusty-on-the-outside and soft and fluffy-on-the-inside. My coworker and I both left stuffed and already planning a return visit. I hurried back a few days later with BFTB (who was also a huge Le's fan) and tried the BBQ pork option. It was also a really outstanding banh mi, but was not quite as flavorful as the grilled pork variety. 

A few days after that, I returned with a bunch of other coworkers, and everybody left amazed at the gloriousness that is Le's Sandwiches & Cafe. One of the things I was able to try was one of "Asia's Famous Rice Cakes" that Le's sells prepackaged along with its homemade beef jerky, desserts, and candies. As I expected, it was kind of like a muted, less sweet form of a Rice Krispie treat, with tiny flecks of caramel-y flavor. It didn't really blow me away and certainly can't hold a candle when compared to the banh mi, but I might get a wild hare and try one again at some point. 

All in all, I couldn't have been more impressed by the banh mi at Le's Sandwiches & Cafe, especially considering the price point (where can you even get another sandwich in Charlotte for $3.75?!). While the location isn't fabulous, it's certainly worth the trek to get a super-awesome sandwich. For Asian food, Le's Sandwiches & Cafe gets a 9/10.

Le's Sandwiches & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, June 30, 2014

Battle of the Pizzas: Pizza Peel (Plaza Midwood) vs. TRUE Crafted Pizza (Stonecrest)

I've been really looking forward to trying out two new-ish pizza joints for quite some time: Plaza Midwood's The Pizza Peel & Tap Room and Stonecrest's TRUE Crafted Pizza. Fortunately BFTB and I have been on a real pizza bender as of late, so I've finally been able to check them both out!

The Pizza Peel & Tap Room
Sometime back in early-2014, The Pizza Peel & Tap Room opened a second location in Plaza Midwood (the original is in Cotswold near Krispy Kreme). Although I love me some Plaza Midwood, I still hadn't made it over to check the restaurant out until a couple weekends ago.

BFTB and I joined my mom and dad at Pizza Peel when they were both returning from trips to see their respective families. After hemming and hawing over the menu for a bit, we decided to split a few options: a small sorry for partying supreme pizza and a large half-red & white pizza and half-specialty pizza (sorry, I can't remember the name but I can tell you what was on it... stand by!). We also decided to incorporate some greens into our diets and opted to split a couple house salads.

Our salads were delivered quickly and while BFTB and I had planned to share one salad, the Pizza Peel folks were nice enough to divide it into two bowls for us. The house salad consists of mixed field greens, tomatoes, dried cranberries, walnuts, and bleu cheese and is dressed with a heavy coating of balsamic vinaigrette. It was very tasty, and I appreciate anything that's loaded with cheese and other goodies while fooling me into thinking that I'm eating something healthy. In particular, I was a big fan of the tangy-sweet vinaigrette. It is like what I try to make at home, but way better. Unfortunately, the salad dressing is pretty much where my enthusiasm for Pizza Peel ends.

Red & White Pizza

Half "Sorry for Partying Supreme" (left) and half-specialty pizza (right)

Our pizzas were a little slower to arrive, but they eventually came out and we dug in. The sorry for partying supreme pizza was topped with red sauce, mozzarella, pepperoni, sausage, ground beef, mozzarella cheese, green peppers, red peppers, banana peppers, onion, and mushroom. The specialty half was topped with red sauce, mozzarella, peaches, prosciutto, and some kind of tangy cheese (I can't remember if it was goat or feta... I'm a terrible blogger). The red & white pizza was oil-based and topped with riccotta, mozzarella, bruschetta, and sun-dried tomato. All three varieties sounded amazing on paper but left everybody underwhelmed. After pondering over this for a bit, I have decided that I have two big issues with Pizza Peel. First, the crust sucks. It's floury, too chewy, and left me feeling like a cow chewing on its cud (if cud was made of sawdust). The second problem is that everything (the cheese, the toppings, the sauce) was grossly underflavored. I don't understand how so many delicious toppings could be on one pizza, but still taste so flavorless (with the exception of the banana peppers -they deserve an honorable mention for attempting to bring some life back to that meal). It honestly felt like I was eating a prop pizza. Everything needed the assistance of salt, pepper, garlic,  hot sauce, and/or anything that could add a hint of savoriness to the pies. I was most disappointed in the red & white pizza. I was really hoping that it was going to be a delicious take on a white pizza, full of herbs and garlic and other delicious flavors. Nope -once again, eating the piece was was like I was chewing a big blob of nothing.  

All in all, I won't be shocked if I find myself giving Pizza Peel another shot, but for now it's officially on my not-favorites list. It's not that it's terrible, it's just not good. For pizza, The Pizza Peel & Tap Room gets a very blah 6/10.

Pizza Peel & Tap Room on Urbanspoon

TRUE Crafted Pizza
BFTB had a hockey tournament this past weekend (yes, apparently people play that ice sport down here in the south), so when he wrapped up his fourth game yesterday, he was in desperate need of both hydration and high-calorie nourishment. We decided that pizza fit the bill, so we headed down to the Stonecrest Shopping Center to finally check out TRUE Crafted Pizza. 

We walked into the restaurant and I was immediately impressed by the decor -TRUE is simultaneously trendy (paper pull-down menus, intriguing light fixtures) and welcoming (light colors, warm wood, giant, delicious-smelling pizza oven behind the bar). We placed our order at the counter and snagged a seat in front of the giant projection TV that was showing the Netherlands-Mexico World Cup game. Although TRUE is technically a casual eatery, the service far exceeded that of most full-service pizza restaurants (and maybe even most restaurants in general...). The staff was knowledgeable, friendly, efficient, and did an excellent job of taking care of us without being overbearing.

In addition to three classes of pizza (traditional, oven-baked, and grilled), the menu features app's, salads, soups, sandwiches, and homemade gelato. There's also a kid's menu and a really impressive bar menu that includes a rotating selection of beer and wine. We decided to split an order of calimari (I've been having out of control fried squid cravings lately, so if anybody has any suggestions of places I should try, please let me know!) and the grilled prosciutto di Parma pizza. Our calimari came out within a few minutes and we immediately began stuffing our faces. The calimari itself was a blend of the ring and mini squid types, and was served with some fried pieces of pepper and two dipping sauces: aioli and marinara. The last time I had calimari, it was at the now-defunct Nom Nom Burger (which, by the way, am I the only one that is not shocked that place went under? I thought the food and service there were both beyond sub-par...) and it tasted like a deep-fried hunk of lacrosse ball (read: hard and rubbery). This calimari, on the other hand, was perfectly cooked, miraculously non-greasy, tender, and exceptionally tasty. We devoured every single bite and had zero regrets about doing so.

While we were wrapping up our squid-eating, our pizza was delivered. Since the pricetag was only $12, I was pretty surprised to see how big the pizza actually was. The prosciutto di Parma pizza is topped with large, thinly-sliced prosciutto, arugula, fig preserve, balsamic glaze, and shaved parmesan cheese. The flavors were outstanding. The arugula gave the pizza the perfect amount of spice, while the balsamic glaze and fig preserve balanced out the saltiness of the meat and cheese. I'm a big fan of a grilled pizza, and this one was no exception. The crust was thin and remained crispy despite the mountain of toppings. There was a couple sitting nearby that were sharing an oven-baked clam & garlic pizza as well as a pepperoni pizza, which also looked (and smelled) great. I'll definitely have to try one of the oven-baked varieties next time. Despite the fact that BFTB had just burned about 10.4 million calories playing hockey and my stomach is a black hole for all things carb-y and cheesy, we only managed to finish about two-thirds of the pizza and boxed up the rest to take home (which we decided to polish off about five hours later). TRUE Crafted Pizza was delicious, filling, and inexpensive -my favorite combo! Although I definitely need to try a few more of their pies, based on our sample of the menu, I believe that TRUE Crafted Pizza is up there with Wolfgang Puck Pizza Bar on my list of favorite Charlotte pizza joints. For pizza, TRUE Crafted Pizza gets a 9/10.

True Crafted Pizza on Urbanspoon

All in all, I'm glad that I was finally able to try out both restaurants but TRUE Crafted Pizza blew The Pizza Peel & Tap Room out of the water. To be fair, I generally think that all pizza is decent pizza, but when I want some actual flavor in my meal, I definitely think it's worth it to make the trek to Stonecrest and head to TRUE.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Bistro La Bon - Plaza Midwood

One of my favorite Charlotte-area restaurants is Bistro la Bon on Central Avenue. It has a special place in my food-loving heart because BFTB took me there on our first Valentine's Day date (awww) and it's also a popular brunch site among my girlfriends. At dinner time, I'm a big fan of their small plates and charcuterie options, but brunch at Bistro la Bon is a whole different ball game. On Saturdays, the brunch menu is priced a la carte and features classic breakfast items like benedicts, omelettes, and shrimp and grits as well as some more lunch-leaning, eggless items like jalapeño mac and cheese, the farmer's market salad, and a vegetable sandwich. On Sundays, however, Bistro la Bon puts out a $20 all-you-can-eat smorgasbord (and yes, they really do use the term "smorgasbord" on their menu). Even though I'd devoured some B la B brunch about a brazillian times (that was my really lame attempt at a World Cup joke, btw), BFTB still hadn't smorgasborded until a recent Sunday. In general, he's not an all-you-can-eat kind of guy, but somehow I convinced him to put on his fat pants and we headed over to Central Avenue to get our grub on.

We had made an 11:00 a.m. reservation (and I highly recommend making reservations because this place gets packed), so unfortunately we were a little too early to check out the mimosa/bloody Mary options, but it's probably for the best -we needed to save our valuable stomach real estate for food! On Sundays, the restaurant loads up a buffet area with hot and cold items including homemade pastries, breads, house-cured salmon, Swedish meatballs, housemade mozzarella stuffed with tomato & basil, potato gratin, asiago cheese grits, seasonal roasted vegetables, salads, and a variety of fresh fruits. In addition, they offer a number of family-style items that aren't on the buffet, but are cooked to order upon request: bacon, scrambled eggs, chocolate waffles, and brioche French toast. 

After placing an order for, oh.... you know, all of the cooked to order items, BFTB and I skedaddled over to the buffet and loaded our plates up with goodies. The thing about Bistro la Bon's buffet is that it doesn't contain a lot of typical breakfast items -but it's all really good. In general, I never wake up craving a Swedish meatball or some stuffed mozzarella on a Sunday morning, but both are some of my favorite buffet items. My other favorites include the creamy asiago cheese grits, smoked salmon, and biscuits and gravy. I wouldn't have guessed that a restaurant with a European-focused menu would be able to crank out such a tasty biscuit, but they are really awesome, especially smothered in the uber-salty sausage gravy. 

Scrambled eggs and bacon

Brioche French toast

Chocolate waffles

While the buffet is impressive on its own, my favorite parts of the B la B experience are the aforementioned cooked-to-order items. Aside from the scrambled eggs, which always taste a little too dense (I'm a big fan of some light and fluffy scrambled eggs) and never seem to be served at a proper temperature, everything is outstanding. In general, I'm not a fan of sweet breakfast items, but the chocolate waffles are a game-changer. Even better, however, is the brioche French toast. If I died and went to maple syrup heaven, I'm fairly certain the land would be made out of Bistro la Bon's French toast. I've seriously never eaten anything so simultaneously buttery-rich and cinnamony-sweet. The combo is absolutely perfect and completely drool-worthy. 

All in all, the brunch buffet at Bistro la Bon is definitely worth a visit and should be on everybody's Charlotte breakfast to-do list. In fact, writing this post has me convinced that I need to plan a return visit for this weekend! For brunch food, Bistro la Bon gets an 8.75/10.

Bistro La Bon on Urbanspoon