Charlotte – 2/2/18
This is will be a post that doesn’t involve our travels but instead speaks to the place we live, Charlotte, North Carolina and why we still like living here after ten years (this month marks the anniversary of our move). Normally I focus on our adventures on the road, but a concert we attended this week and some other events reminded me of the attraction this town had for me.
It all began a week or so ago when I and two other folks from UNC Charlotte (as a side note, I’ve returned to work on a temporary full-time basis as the Interim Director of Auxiliary Services) met the final candidate for the position I’m filling for lunch at 300 East, one of our favorite restaurants. On most days this is an easy 20-minute drive, which reflects the general appeal of living here, the relative ease of getting around by car.
It was a nice lunch, the food always good here. Joanna had the Seared Ahi Tuna Salad (Organic Greens, Avocado, Fried Wontons, Seared Rice Cake, Sesame Dressing, Wasabi, and Shoyu) and I the Black Bean and Green Chile Chicken Tortilla (Brown Rice, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Avocado, Lime Crema, and House-Made Salsa). We sat next to the candidate’s wife and throughout the course of the meal described life in Charlotte and what we like about it. We were able to relate details of our move and the positive outcomes we’ve experienced throughout the ensuing decade. It was a nice way to remind ourselves that although we miss California very much, there is much to be said about living here.
Fast forward to Wednesday of this week and our scheduled night out at the McGlohon Theater to see one of our favorite performers, Aimee Mann, who we’ve seen live both in Los Angeles and Charlotte. Originally the First Baptist Church sanctuary, the McGlohon was restored and opened in 1980 with 740 seats and ts stained-glass windows and Byzantine dome make it visually arresting. The big plus is with its small capacity, there are no bad seats.
We had dinner beforehand at Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery, located across the street and down the block from the theater. Part of a chain affiliated with Old Chicago Pizza and Gordon Biersch, we’ve found their food to be a good value and their beer, while not outstanding, highly drinkable. We sat at the bar as we usually do, ordered a beer apiece and a bowl of Chicken Tortilla Soup and Fish and Chips to split.
The fish and chips here have been consistently good, this time four large pieces of lightly breaded cod, moisty and flaky while cooked perfectly. When we first started coming here the fries were thin and crispy, exactly how I like them and the accompanying Cole Slaw the right mix (in my humble opinion) of sweet and tangy with a creamy sauce.
The sides have changed in the ensuing years though and what we got this time was a pile of thick and soggy ‘Santa Fe’ fries and apple slaw. Given the many dining choices we have in Charlotte it will likely be some time before we return to Rock Bottom. We’ll just have to remember to order something else from the menu when we visit next.
We finished up our food and walked across the street to the theater with a little time to spare, stopping at the bar to pick up a drink. A few hours later we walked out into the cold night having witnessed yet another inspiring show from Aimee, this one a mix of old and new songs (she had just won a Grammy for her latest album, Mental Illness).
We drove home still thinking about the lovely evening we’d just spent, so evocative of our time in Charlotte exemplifying those elements of why we like it here; ease of access, good food and drink that abounds and great music to be had at reasonable prices.
Here is my Charlotte pitch. Buy Sixth row seats, center section for $43 apiece for one of my favorite artists at a venue where we’ve seen over twenty shows here in our ten years and its location downtown a breeze to access for us, an easy 20 -30-minute drive from the house on city streets.
Throw a nice meal at a decent bar/restaurant just across the street on top, providing adequate sustenance to handle the couple of double Crown Royals we’d consume during the concert and you can understand why we like it here. We may return to the West Coast someday, but for now, Charlotte has all we need.
300 East: http://www.300east.net/
Aimee Mann: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aimee_Mann
McGlohon Theater: https://www.blumenthalarts.org/about-us/news/blumenthal-history
Rock Bottom: https://rockbottom.com/locations/charlotte/