The art of sitting outside
When it’s 85 degrees and sunny out, there are a few things I know for sure: (1) Winter has come and gone, finally, which means that Spring is here, and Summer is just around the corner. (2) Odds are good that allergy season is here, which would be a bummer, if only I hadn’t taken advantage of Carolina Asthma & Allergy’s seasonal shots which have drastically changed my life in the past few years, which leads me to (3) It’s time for Charlotteans to get their grub al fresco.
For Plaza Midwooders or visitors to Plaza Midwood, this is a particularly exciting time. Thanks to a handful of awesome restaurants nearby, we really have our pick of the litter in terms of what we get to eat.
This past Friday evening, as the Knights wore in their freshly-starched jerseys and Queen City women broke out their sandals and freed their toes, my husband Pat and I ventured out-of-doors, and settled on a little ‘za from the newest neighborhood hotspot – The Pizza Peel.
We arrived at Pizza Peel around 6:30 Friday night – wanted to be sure we still had plenty of daylight to enjoy – and found a prime spot at the end of a long picnic table, which we shared with a young family and lots of kiddos. We brought along our dog Abbott because we figured after a day at NoDa Bark & Board she was tired enough not to be a nuisance and sweet enough to win over everyone she met (the second part of that sentence is true all the time, but particularly so when she’s so tired she can’t deal.)
My husband ordered an Allagash White beer, a deliciously crisp spring-time ale, and I went all-in on a glass of lemonade.
Next up was a glance at the new & improved menu. As regulars, it’s hard for us to venture out of our comfort zone, but when we saw the Updyke, formerly an occasional special, now a regular on the menu, we couldn’t help but switch things up. So, we went with a Large ½ & ½ pizza with the Updyke on one side and Tong’s Thai on the other. As we sat and enjoyed each other’s company, the awesome weather, and the kids screaming and playing ultimate frisbee in what used to be a tire lot at Kelly Tire, we basked in the glory that is Springtime in Charlotte
To say our meal was delicious was an understatement, and when I finished eating, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t already looking forward to the leftovers I knew I’d be having the next day.
I can’t recommend Pizza Peel enough.
Now, in case pizza isn’t your thing, here are a few other recommendations in Plaza Midwood. (Please keep in mind these are in no particular order, but they do all have outdoor seating, great for when Larry Sprinkle gives you the go-ahead for dining outdoors.)
(1) Common Market: Sure this market/beer store/juice joint is one of the cooler spots in the ‘hood, which means our family is totally out of our element, but did you know they also serve up great deli sandwiches? We enjoy a nice Sunday jaunt to CM, and our go-to order these days is a Chicken Salad Sandwich on a croissant and a Reuben on Rye. We split both and each get to enjoy half of both. Toss in some kettle chips, maybe an Izze soda or two, and we’re all set.
(2) Soul: Though their outdoor dining is minimal, their menu is full of goodness. And their cocktails are can’t-miss. Just be warned: if you’re planning on getting a seat on a Friday or Saturday night (inside or outside), you better plan to be there by 6:00 sharp, or be prepared to enjoy a solid 2 hours of wait time. That being said, every minute you wait will be worth it. Whenever you do find yourself sitting down, don’t miss Asian Glazed Pork Belly Tacos. In fact, do yourself a favor, and go ahead and plan to double down on that order.
(3) Peculiar Rabbit (aka The Funny Bunny), has been a tremendous asset since arriving a few years ago. With an ever-changing menu (which we love), it’s hard to nail down just one delicious treat, but if you see the Devils on Horseback listed as an app, order them. You won’t be sorry.
(4) Whiskey Warehouse: With a rooftop deck offering one of the best views in town, it’s hard not to enjoy an evening outdoors at this local hotspot. We recommend the Warehouse Burger, if you’re into meat, and anything on the “Local Food Section” if you’re into supporting our local farmers. (We like both of these things.)
(5) The Diamond: Another long-time local favorite, the Diamond serves it up old school style, and they do it right. We like the Golden Fried Chicken. With ¼ or ½ chicken options, all you have to decide is how hungry you are and what sides you’re fixin’ to enjoy.
(6) Zada Jane’s: Best known for their brunch (can we say YUM?) Zada Jane’s has ventured into Dinner territory in recent years. Since it’s the best brunch spot in town, if you ask us, we’ll recommend the Bunny Rancheros or, for dinner, the Green Mindmelt Sandwich.
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