My oldest daughter recently surprised me with an early Mother’s Day gift – an uptown Charlotte Walking Food Tour. That’s North Carolina, in case you didn’t know. As you know, I’m a foodie and I’m sure my daughter will win best Mother’s Day gift ever!
As a food and party blogger, I always document everything food related. A walking food tour has been on my bucket list of must-dos for a while, so to say I was excited is the understatement of the year.
Uptown Charlotte Walking Food Tour
I found out about the walking food tour a few days beforehand. I had no idea what restaurants we would visit, so I was in for several surprises.
What happens on a walking food tour? All tours are different, but ours went like this: A tour guide walks with you from one restaurant to the next, sharing tidbits of the history of Charlotte. Once you arrive at the restaurant, you are greeted by the chef and served small bites – a sample or two of the food they serve, along with a little history of the restaurant. You may get to tour the kitchen and you can ask questions.
Let’s get started!
When my daughter booked the tour at feastfoodtours.com, she let them know there was a pescatarian (one who eats fish but not meat) among us along with all the other pertinent info. We had eight family members in our group. Our guide, Julie, was so sweet. Hopefully, when we do the NoDa tour, we’ll get to select her as our tour guide again.
Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen Uptown
On our specific tour, the first stop is Rooster’s Kitchen. We met the chef and was invited to tour the kitchen. For a foodie like me, spending time in a restaurant kitchen is a little bit of heaven. But it’s really hot!
Rooster’s Wood-Fired Kitchen serves American comfort food in a laid-back setting. We started with crostini and pimento cheese. I’m a pimento cheese connoisseur and I have to say, it rates at the tip-top when it comes to all things pimento cheese.
We watched the chef prepare our pan-seared red snapper. I kept my eye peeled to make sure the skin was crisped up and the chef did not disappoint.
The snapper is served over buckwheat polenta. The fish was cooked to perfection and the polenta was creamy and expertly seasoned.
My youngest daughter and her husband dine at Rooster’s occasionally and love it. I’ll definitely be back!
The Asbury is a modern space nestled inside the beautiful, historic Dunhill Hotel. The Asbury serves rustic Southern fare made with farm-fresh ingredients.
We were treated to a demonstration on how to make strawberry jam without adding pectin by the pastry chef. We were served crostini with a creamy goat cheese and strawberry jam. Delicious!
After leaving The Asbury, my daughter and daughter-in-law couldn’t stop talking about wanting to make their own jam. I have a feeling we’re having a jam making day coming soon. I’ll be sure to blog about it. It should be a hoot!
McNinch House Restaurant
The McNinch House Restaurant is located in a lovely turn-of-the-century Victorian home in Charlotte’s historic fourth ward. This is the place to be if you’re celebrating a special occasion or if you want a memorable night out.
We were met at the McNinch House Restaurant by the very knowledgeable wine steward.
He regaled us with historical facts about the house and we learned that McNinch House is the only four-diamond restaurant in Charlotte.
We also learned that McNinch House was built in 1892. When the Vanderbilts saw the magnificent interior decor of the house, they hired the designer to design the inside of The Biltmore! Check out these original tiles surrounding one of the many fireplaces.
After touring the restaurant, we were treated to English Pea Soup topped with Potato Gaufrette, Buttermilk Creme Fresh and Crab-Mango Salad on the spacious front porch.
I didn’t think I liked pea soup until I tasted this delightful creation.
My husband and I are planning to return to McNinch House for dinner very soon. You’ll need to make reservations for this one!
The King’s Kitchen & Bakery
Once again, my youngest daughter and her husband have eaten at The King’s Kitchen before. While we enjoyed our petite salad with shrimp, quail eggs, and edible flowers, we were introduced to the mission of The King’s Kitchen.
According to the mission statement on The King’s Kitchen website, “Far too many of our fellow Charlotte residents suffer from extreme life-challenges such as poverty, homelessness and the slow, uphill battle of recovering from substance abuse or incarceration. Our vision and goal each day at The King’s Kitchen is to raise funds to feed the spiritual and physical needs of those who have the least in our community and to train and equip those previously unemployable in the restaurant trade.”
“Established in 2010, The King’s Kitchen is managed by Jim Noble Restaurants and donates 100% of profits from sales to feed the poor in the Charlotte region. Additionally, The King’s Kitchen partners with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Dream Center and other local area ministries to provide job-training, life-skills training, social etiquette workshops, financial management guidance and employment intern opportunities to Charlotteans in search of a new beginning.
And while every penny of profit at The King’s Kitchen has a higher calling, each bite of the food served to patrons, features Chef Jim’s signature “New Local Southern Cuisine.” Specialties include premium Carolina organic produce paired with fine meats like our famous Aunt Beaut’s Pan Fried Chicken.”
I have to admit that I was teary-eyed as I sat, spellbound, and listened to the mission statement of The King’s Kitchen. I’ll definitely be returning to eat a full meal!
Orrman’s Cheese Shop
Our Uptown Charlotte Walking Food Tour ended at Orrman’s Cheese Shop. Orrman’s is located in the 7th Street Public Market. This is the go-to place when gathering with friends and family. All of the vendors are regional and 7th Street Public Market is “an incubator and landlord, supporting 14 independent, small and diverse businesses, including 11 women owners.”
Orrman’s Cheese Shop is the go-to place in Charlotte for a vast selection of Cheese & Charcuterie Boards and Tinned Seafood Plates.
We tasted the Truffled Brie and I fell in love. Meanwhile, the owner of Orrman’s Cheese Shop shared some fascinating facts about cheese. I’ve always said that I’ve never met a cheese I didn’t like, so this was the perfect place to end our tour.
Plan Your Own Tour
If you’d like to visit downtown, I mean, uptown Charlotte and take your taste buds on a wild, exciting ride, I highly recommend Feast Food Tours. We walked, we ate, we laughed, we learned. I want a repeat!
Be sure and give Feast Food Tours a call and set up a customized culinary experience. You’ll love it! I promise! Our tour guide, Julie, is the bomb dot com!