The Capital Grille’s lunch “Plates” menu has been refreshed for spring. The standing menu, which features 3 items (soup/salad, sandwich and a side) for $18, is a great lunch deal and gets you in and out of the door within an hour, before your boss can complain! New on the menu are three new selections: Asparagus Soup, Shrimp and Piquillo Peppers with Crisp Bomba Rice, and Grilled Spring Vegetables.

While the new items are great to change things up a bit and add variety, I still prefer the ol’ staples – clam chowder, mini tenderloin sandwiches, and truffle fries.

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Wesley Heights’ newest restaurant Picante serves up fast casual Mexican fare. I hate to compare it to Chipotle, but it’s similar. The menu is simple – tacos/burritos/bowls/salads and your choice of protein. The toppings like corn salsa, pico de gallo, guacamole are all fresh and good quality. Their chips have a hint of lime, and the guac and queso dips were both great. For those who like Coke made with real cane sugar, they’ve got it. For those who like alcohol, they’ve got that too!

For the surprisingly low price point of all their items, it’s definitely going to be a default go-to place for me since it’s located right in my ‘hood.

1500 West Morehead St.
Charlotte, NC 28208

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Aquavina
435 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, 28202
704-377-9911

The Capital Grille in Charlotte has launched their new Winter Lunch Plates menu. Like their past seasonal lunch menus, you get a 3-course lunch for $18.

New items on the menu are clam chowder, roasted red pepper soup, Waygu cheeseburger, and roasted root vegetables.

While I got to taste a smorgasbord of everything and it was all delicious, if I had to choose, I’d go with the trio combo of:

• Clam Chowder (Perfectly creamy and chunky, the soup reminds this New England girl of home.)
• Mini Tenderloin Sandwiches (Sandwiched in brioche with Boursin cheese and mushrooms, these sliders are a winner. Be sure to order them done medium rare!)
• Truffle Fries (I am an addict. Can’t. Stop. Eating. These.)

And, of course, I’d add on a dessert order of either the cheesecake or coconut cream pie.

Take a look:

Smalls, a restaurant featuring “chef-inspired food” will be opening its doors mid-January on Elizabeth Avenue in Midtown Charlotte. The 80-seater will be family friendly before transitioning into a lounge, full with a DJ or live music on Wednesday through Saturday nights.

According to owner Joseph DiLeo, “Smalls will become a destination restaurant, lounge and bar. We designed Smalls as a family friendly restaurant with a relaxed setting through the day that will gain energy into the night, especially with our late night hours Wednesday through Saturday.”

The Small Plates portion of the menu includes Oysters; Crispy Eggplant Stack with Mozzarella, Confit Tomato, and White Balsamic; Glazed Pork Belly with Cannellini Beans; Zack’s Confit Korean Wings; Drunken Short rib on Bavarian Pretzel Bun with whole grain mustard and cornichons; Crab Cake on Old Bay Jalapeno Biscuit with Peppadew Remoulade. The slider portion of the menu includes Old Fashioned Hamburger, Pimento Burger and Blue Burger.

Entrees include Braised Short Rib with Parmesan and Bourbon Creamed Corn and Whipped Yukon Gold Potatoes; Smalls Steak Burger- Leidy’s Double Smoked Bacon and Blue Cheese on an Amish Potato Roll; Crispy Chicken with Thyme Waffle and Salted Caramel Butter; Porcini Papperdelle with Oyster Mushrooms, melted leeks, caramelized baby carrots and Grana Padano and Pan Seared Scallop With Root Vegetable Puree, Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Truffle Oil.

Smalls
1609 Elizabeth Avenue
Hours: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m. Sunday through Tuesday
11:30 a.m. –  2 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday
Twitter: @Smallscharlotte

The Chick-fil-A located in South End (Charlotte, NC) is hosting an open house on Thursday, Jan. 12, from 9 to 11 a.m., to taste and see their newest products: Grilled Nuggets (on the Kid’s Menu) and a new ooey-gooey, chocolate chip cookie to be launched this year.

If the new items are anything like the past items CFA has launched in recent years (spicy chicken sandwich, milkshakes, etc), they’re sure to be a hit.

Chick-fil-A at South End.
3015 South Blvd
Charlotte, NC 28209
Phone: (704) 665-6371

If you’ve decided that cooking the whole Thanksgiving smorgasbord is too much work, call Charlotte’s best Cajun restaurant Bite Your Tongue. They are offering a special holiday catering menu, with pick up dates today and tomorrow.

Start your dieting now to get ready for next year’s Charlotte Restaurant Week.

The 2012 dates for Queen’s Feast are January 20-29 and July 20-29.

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To spread the holiday cheer, Starbucks is offering buy-one-get-one-free holiday drinks on Thursday, Nov. 17,  between the hours of 2pm and 5pm.

I’d recommend getting two peppermint mochas.