I want to switch gears for this recent eats post and talk about eating out. I don’t eat out a ton, or do much takeout, with the exception of when I’m traveling for work. There are a few reasons that I don’t eat out a ton:
- It’s crazy expensive compared to cooking at home. I admit that I spend a lot on groceries for just me and Finn but we also eat pretty much every meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) at home.
- I have a toddler. Can we all agree that eating out with a toddler is just not the most fun experience to be had?
- I don’t have a partner. I am all about Friday or Saturday takeout and getting cozy on the couch with a movie or going out for date night and trying a new restaurant or visiting an old fave but I’m just not there at this juncture in life.
- I genuinely like cooking and eating at home. It makes me so happy, and relaxes me. It never feels like work. I’ve always considered it an act of self-care.
- I often feel better when I eat home cooked food versus out food. I think this is mostly due to portion sizes and sodium content.
(Dressed up for dinner out circa 2017)
When I do eat out I try my best to enjoy it and make it “worth it.” I try to pick restaurants I’m excited to try or know that I love, and often I try to order things that I wouldn’t eat or cook at home. There is nothing sadder than paying for a so-so meal that makes you feel blah.
Since I don’t eat out often, I also give myself a lot of leniency to order whatever sounds the most delicious without overthinking calories, sugar, fat, etc. For example, I don’t fry food at home so eating out is a time that I’d go for something fried without batting an eye. Truffle fries? Yes, please. Fried okra? Sign me up. Another example, I drink black coffee at home so when I go to a coffee shop I am there for fancy lattes.
Today I have five recent “out to eat” meals to share with you, ranging from coffee shops to fast casual to sit down meals.
CHAI + DESSERT AT AMELIE’S
I don’t know what it is about being at a coffee shop but a special drink feels like such a treat. On this day I had a chai creme at Amelie’s during an afternoon meeting and took a pumpkin tart home with me to eat for dessert that night.
My #1 go-to coffeeshop drink that I love is a Starbucks Soy Latte. I actually do NOT love their black coffee…it’s too strong…but their soy latte is my absolute favorite because they use this delicious vanilla soy milk that slightly sweetens it. If they ever change this milk I will be so sad because no other latte compares.
I love chai if I know the coffee shop does chai well. The spicier, the better! Amelie’s has a good one. I order it with whole milk.
SOLO LUNCH AT EIGHT + SAND KITCHEN
While I am totally cool with sitting at the bar and having dinner solo when I am traveling, I do prefer a dinner companion when eating out in Charlotte. That said, I am ALL ABOUT solo lunch dates and have been since I was in college at UGA.
Recently, I took myself on a lunch date to Eight + Sand Kitchen because I was dying to try it. The owners of Charlotte’s Not Just Coffee and Inizio Pizza came together to create a concept offering sandwiches served on house made breads, fresh salads, coffee drinks, beer, wine and more.
The space is gorgeous and the perfect place to grab food or a drink and hang or work. I will be back!
I had the Italian sandwich with prosciutto, capocollo, salami, provolone, pepper relish and mayo on ciabatta. I have always loved a good Italian sandwich! 🙂
POKE BOWL AT CO
I met a friend for lunch today at CO. They serve southeast Asian cuisine ranging from pho to sushi to Bahn mi. CO has locations in Charlotte, Charleston, Savannah, Atlanta, Raleigh and Myrtle Beach. This was only my second time dining at CO but I am now reminded that I need to make it much more frequent!
I had a poke bowl with poke tuna, avocado, cucumber, seaweed salad, pickled carrots and wonton strips. It was served over maze gohan rice. This was DELICIOUS. The best poke bowl I’ve ever had.
FAST CASUAL INDIAN AT TANDUR
Tandur Indian Kitchen is a fast-casual concept with locations in Charlotte, Knoxville and soon in Nashville. They serve freshly prepared food inspired by Indian tradition in a modern style. Their specialty is cooking food in a white-hot clay oven. Tandur offers everything from saucy entrees featuring things like chicken tiki masala to naanchos (get it?) to kebab bowls, which you see pictured above. I ordered the chicken kebab bowl and it was served with rice, a vegetable medley and chutney.
The food was incredible but so was the service. The guys working were incredibly helpful in guiding me through the decision making process on what to order. Also, Tandur has visual menus where you can walk up to a screen and view photos and descriptions of the various dishes. How amazing is this? Especially when it comes to ethnic cuisine! I couldn’t decide between the korma or kebab bowl so the staff offered to bring me a complimentary side of korma with my kebab bowl.
Cannot wait to eat at Tandur again. This 100% gets my stamp of approval.
FRESH, LOCAL SEAFOOD AT STEWBY’S
My family and I were OVER THE MOON when our favorite local seafood restaurant (shack) opened a location on Okaloosa Island. It is our go-to causal dinner spot and is now just a mile down the road from my parent’s condo!
During our last visit my parent’s condo was under renovations getting new flooring in the bedrooms and some fresh paint so our meals were all over the place. On Saturday night we headed to Stewby’s for a seafood dinner. I had the catch of the day which was mutton snapper and I opted to have it grilled. For my sides I chose cheese grits and fried okra. This Georgia girl will always have a soft spot in hear heart for cheese grits and fried okra.
Let’s talk about eating out!
How often do you eat out? How often do you do takeout/delivery?
What are your feelings around eating out given what I listed above?
Favorite meals/cuisine to eat out?
Anything else to share?