Pick up the phone, send a text, write an email…do whatever it takes to get in touch with your girlfriend, because after reading today’s post on a girls getaway guide to Charlotte, you’re going to want to take a trip there asap!
A little backstory for you: I used to live in the Triangle are (Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill) years ago. The very first summer I lived in the state of North Carolina I took a little trip with a friend to Charlotte, this was about 10 years ago. I loved it, but oddly didn’t go back while I lived there. Then, last year in March, my husband and I visited to attend my bestie Lynn’s wedding (it was stunning, she got married in the Mint museum). We got in super late Friday night, went to the wedding Saturday, and then left early Sunday morning, so we really didn’t have a lot of time to explore the city.
Then, one evening in early April when I was talking to Lynn on the phone, my schedule had cleared up her birthday weekend, so I decided to plan a last minute trip to visit her in Charlotte. With tickets purchased (Lynn joked with my husband that they were one way tickets because after spending a weekend in her home city, I’d never want to leave lol) we decided to start planning a trip – and what better way than exploring the city’s tourism website: Charlotte’s Got A Lot ?
Two weeks later, quipped with an itinerary and oodles of excitement (it’s always incredibly fun to spend time with your bestie) I was on a jet plane headed to Charlotte for a girls trip weekend! The day I left, Lynn and I were talking and she said we should come up with a hashtag to share on social media so that we could always look back at our travels. Smart idea, right? So we thought and thought, and it was my hubby who came up with the pun #PhiLynnIt (get it …Phi is my name, Lynn is her name, so it’s a play on “feeling it”). At the airport she told me not to check my snapchat story (I’m username: sweetphi, Lynn is username: orderinthekitch) until I saw her. I thought to myself – ok, maybe she got a hair cut or something? When I came down the escalators at the airport, she was standing there with this big sign and flowers! YOU GUYS! How sweet is THAT?! She had made this sign that had our hashtag on it, and pictures of all the places we were going to be visiting. Here’s to bringing back special airport pickups, because I felt so incredibly special and loved-I still tell anyone that will listen about the sign and flowers!
From the airport we went to check in at our hotel, Le Méridien Charlotte. The Le Méridien hotel is gorgeous! Our room was had the most beautiful views of Queen City and such comfy beds – perfect for catching up and lots of girl talk!
The rooms themselves were simply, yet beautifully decorated, and I loved the colors of black/white/and then turquoise.
And omg I have to tell you about the little espresso machine in the room! Instead of a regular coffee machine, the Le Méridien hotel had a super fancy espresso machine that made delicious espresso. It was SO good!! Also, I’m always a sucker for nice toiletries in hotels, and the ones at Le Méridien were amazing, and the bathroom had marble counters and seriously soft towels (you know how sometimes the towels at hotels are super stiff and scratchy? Well the ones at Le Méridien were actually soft.)
After checking in, we then headed to dinner at Fahrenheit. The restaurant is located at the top of Hyatt Place Hotel and has stunning city views. There’s a balcony which has a classy fire display encased in glass where you can stand around and gaze out at the city.
Besides the views and cool atmosphere, the main reason to go to Fahrenheit is for Chef Rocco Whalen’s insanely creative and delicious food!! The food is like nothing I’ve had before, it’s contemporary fusion cuisine with Mediterranean and Asian accents. With the menu ever changing, I can only tell you to go and check it out as many times as you can.
We had these amazing sushi rolls for appetizers, along with a burrata tartine with apricots and heirloom tomatoes. Both Lynn and myself had never had burrata cheese and kind of thought it was all hype because we have seen it everywhere. Upon first bite, we can now say we know what the rage is all about. It was so good! And then, then we got one of the best things ever: AHI POKE NACHOS!! These nachos had tuna, wontons, pickled red onions, jalapenos, green onions and chili aioli. That combination is straight up deliciousness, so so SO good! Our main courses were also fantastic, we split a fish dish that sat on top of an avocado and apple salad and a pork chop that was accompanied by kimchi fried rice. And dessert – their dessert menu looked so amazing, but we were so full from eating ALL the nachos, but we did get a small shake (they have the best ‘shake of the day’! Ours had brownies in it and came with two straws. A++++ for this whole meal and experience. Fahrenheit is not to be missed when in Charlotte.
We then went to Crave Dessert Bar. It was very dimly lit and had a very sensual vibe. It is a dessert bar, so the ambiance fits the decadent dessert and dessert drink menu offerings. I do have to say that I wasn’t expecting much. A late night dessert spot? I figured it would be ok at best, but honestly, I was surprised at HOW GOOD the desserts were! We got s’mores which were super fun, but then we got this chocolate lava cake with peanut butter “sand” that was out of this world delicious – and their bread pudding, some of the best I’ve ever had. For your sweet tooth, definitely check out Crave.
The next morning, after waking up, we spent a little time exploring the beautiful lobby of Le Méridien, which has gorgeous seating areas, and then went to brunch at EVOkE restaurant (which is off the lobby in the hotel.)
Brunch at EVOkE was absolutely fantastic. Like SO GOOD you guys! We had ‘signature eye openers’ which were little shots of orange juice and lavender syrup. Such a unique and delicious combination. Then Lynn and I split the eggs benedict which had prosciutto and a perfect hollandiase sauce it with the cutest little micro greens on it, and we also had an order of the Belgium waffles which were served with a fruit compote and a vanilla cream chantilly (<- I had to look up chantilly because it was like a whipped cream, and sure enough, chantilly is another word for sweetened whipped cream.) And can I just tell you, I would like vanilla cream chantilly served with every meal from here on out, mmk? thanks!
At this point, I’d like to tell you all how absolutely fabulous it is travelling with a fellow food blogger. When Lynn and I first met, we bonded over the fact that we both work full time during the day, but also enjoy food blogging. So when traveling with her (we’ve been to Chicago several times together, Florida, California, and Arkansas) I know that our travel styles are the same – we take pictures, and I don’t feel like a weirdo because I’m not the only one lol. It’s pretty typical that we take photos of the food before even having one bite.
Speaking of bites…I noticed that while Lynn ate the food on her plate, there remained one bite. I thought “oh, ok, she’s sending one bite back, whatever” and was going to do an eye roll, but then when the wait staff was going to clear her plate, she explained that she wasn’t done, she was saving the best bite for last. GAH, as if there wasn’t already enough reasons she’s the coolest. Totally love the idea of that practice!
Needing to walk off some of the delicious breakfast, we decided to embark on museums! And museums are something Charlotte has many of! The two we visited were the Mint Museum Uptown and the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art. Charlotte is also home to Discovery Place (we walked by this super fun and interactive museum) and the Levine Museum of the New South.
The Mint Museum is where Lynn had her wedding, so it holds a special place in her heart – as well as mine, because I’d been there before – but not in the gallery space. It has two floors of beautiful art exhibits but my favorite part is right when you walk in, there’s this giant Dale Chihuly Royal Blue Mint Chandelier. The Bechtler museum is located right next door and is dedicated to mid-20th century European and American modern art and was opened in January of 2010. Both are fun to walk around and view stunning works of art.
After the museums we stopped by Amelie’s French Bakery for some French macarons (my fave) and then made a stop at the 7th Street Public Market because it feature local products (food and artisan works), but at this point we were just too full to eat, so we ended up getting coffees and then heading back to the hotel for some nap time. That evening we met up with some of Lynn’s friends and family for her 30th birthday dinner.
The next day was Sunday, the day I was leaving (insert big sad face – can you tell how much fun I’d been having?) we started the day by having brunch at The Asbury.
What an incredible brunch restaurant! The Asbury is located at the Dunhill hotel and is southern & modern. It was the absolute perfect way to end our weekend trip. Brunch started with appetizers. That’s right my friends, APPETIZERS at brunch, that is pretty much the coolest thing I’ve ever had at brunch and think that needs to be a “thing” at every restaurant serving brunch!
We had sticky biscuits that were made with Benton’s 14-month ham and goat cheese icing – the perfect savory biscuits if I do say so myself! We also had deviled eggs which were the best deviled eggs I’ve ever had. They were tangy and zesty with the perfect mustard/garlic combination and were topped fried cornichons!! So delish!! And I haven’t even gotten to our ‘mains!’
Following suit from the day before, Lynn and I split a benedict and waffle. We got a crab cake benedict which was an open faced biscuit topped with a crab cake, poached eggs, and hollandaise. I’m pretty sure you can tell from the photos alone – it was so good, and it came with these white grits. The grits were soooo good, creamy and cheesy and peppery and just perfect. Who do I have to call because I want those in my life again asap! And the waffle we got – this one has to take the waffle crown, just wait until you hear the description: Grand Marnier-macerated strawberries, Nutella chantilly, candied pecans, Vietnamese cinnamon, powdered sugar. YEAH it was as good as it sounds, and BETTER! I just couldn’t stop eating it, it was utter breakfast perfection! If you’re looking for an amazing southern inspired brunch spot, I’d definitely recommend The Asbury!
Clearly, if there’s one thing that Charlotte taught me, it is to never underestimate a restaurant in a hotel, because Fahrenheit, EVOkE, and The Ashbury were all in hotels, and all had incredible food!!
Charlotte’s Got A Lot truly lives up to its motto!! Amazing hotels, museums, and delicious food – so much delicious food, it’s definitely got a lot! It was hard to leave the city, but I know I will be back soon (plus, the Charlotte airport has beautiful rocking chairs in the airport that make for a charming relaxation spot before departure.)
A big thank you to Charlotte’s Got A Lot for coordinating the itinerary for this trip and for hosting us in their magnificent city, thank you to Le Méridien for accommodations and to Fahrenheit, EVOkE and The Asbury for truly amazing meals and experiences. Thank you for reading and supporting the brands I partner with, which make the SweetPhi blog possible, as always, all thoughts and opinions are mine alone.