This last weekend away was amazing! My husband took me to Charlotte, NC to see the Black Keys for my birthday and it couldn’t have been better. It was one last trip before my surgery and weeks of lying in bed. Also, check out my birthday bling from my lovely hubby.
On Thursday, I took my last two finals (killed them!) before heading North to Charlotte. We got there around 6 and checked into the hotel, which was right in the heart of the city. I got all dolled up, bundled up in a scarf and hat and headed to 5Church with the hubby for my birthday dinner. It was only a few blocks away from the hotel and I had scoped it out as one of the best restaurants in downtown Charlotte.
5Church did not disappoint! The decor was amazing and it had a hip, upscale and sexy vibe (also, we decided that you must have to be gorgeous to work there). Waaay too much money later, we were full of calamari, the best crab cakes I’ve ever had, the perfect crisp brussel sprouts, and the most delicious and intricate chocolate pretzel dessert you’ve ever seen (not to mention house lychee cocktails). Dinner was followed by live music at RiRa Irish Pub and enjoying the city.
On Friday, T-minus 10 hours before the Black Keys, we had brunch at my favorite restaurant, the Tupelo Honey Cafe. I’d been to the location in Asheville, so I was looking forward to it. The food was fabulous as expected, I had the homemade chicken and biscuits. The rest of the morning and afternoon we just got to know the city. We checked out the parks downtown and walked up and down the streets, which are impressively immaculate. It’s truly the cleanest and most well kept city I’ve ever visited.
I was widely impressed with the 7th Street Public Market. It’s a little market downtown that promotes local food and culture. You can get anything from fresh squeezed juice to wine to meats. It had a laid back and fun atmosphere. Also, it was the location of Charlotte’s famous Not Just Coffee. I’ve been super interested into coffee and the science of brewing the perfect cup (nerdy I know), and it was fascinating watching the talented baristas at Not Just Coffee. They truly know the art, not just science, of pulling the perfect shot of espresso and crafting a delicious beverage. The barista sold me on the special right away. It was called a Foggy London Town, and was espresso, house-made mocha, vanilla, steamed milk infused with earl grey and topped with a lavender dusting. I loved it so much that I went back the following morning for another. My husband ordered the house-made caramel latte, which was also fabulous.
In the evening we ventured northeast of Charlotte to the popular NoDa art district. There was definitely a hipster vibe and you could tell that it’s a real up-and-coming neighborhood. We hit up Amelie’s French Bakery, which was super eclectic and delicious (though sadly, the macarons just didn’t compare to LaDuree in downtown Paris). After that we hit up the NoDa Brewing Company. They had a taproom that was open to the public from 4 to 9. We sat there and shared some pints and laughs until the concert. We also got a tour of the brewery which was interesting.
The arena was less than a mile from the hotel, so we headed there around 8 when the concert started (we weren’t too interested in the opening act, St. Vincent). We did catch her show and her music isn’t my style, but she definitely did her thing. Our seats were great and we had a blast. The Black Keys are absolutely amazing in concert, even better live than recorded. Their fans are so diverse; everyone from teens to middle-aged parents love the music. We jammed out all night before heading back to the hotel and ordering pizza for dinner at 1 am. Needless to say I’ve been bitten by the concert bug and started looking up other shows for next year.
Charlotte, you were so wonderful and have a great place in my memories.