Adventures of Eating with dReJ: healthy, cheap, delicious

Archive for the ‘Restaurant Reviews’ Category

Jump N’ Java Cafe – Breakfast in Fort Mill

Hmm, can I get some more toast?

RJ and I were up earlier than usual on Saturday due to meeting a guy to buy a road bike for me pretty early across town. Since we were up anyway and RJ has a gift card for a bike store in Fort Mill we decided to head that way and see if we could find somewhere to get some breakfast grub. Strangely enough, a place right next to the bike store had a sign for breakfast so we turned in and hoped for the best.

We stumbled upon a real gem at Jump N’ Java cafe. From the outside, it looks like a tiny coffee shop, but when I walked inside I realized that the cafe was connected to the catering business – so they were literally one big place! When we walked in, we weren’t sure what to do, so we just sat down. Someone from behind the counter asked if it was our first time and a “local” jokingly asked her how she could tell (We found out that you have to go to the back bar and order/pay for your food and then they bring it to your table). So if you go – save yourself the embarrassment and just go right to the back and grab a menu to order!

They had a little bit of everything. From bagels to bagel sandwiches, muffins to delicious french toast, build your own omlets…bacon, sausage, name it. The help was friendly and suggested the french toast to me since it was our first time. She mentioned a secret recipe that guests were always trying to figure out the ingredients that made it so delicious. That’s all she needed to say – I went with the french toast and it came with a side of meat. Of course, I picked bacon and yes, it was delicious.

Drizzled with a little syrup, this one was delicious!

I liked that their meals were priced with a side and a drink. I got this yummy breakfast for $6.25. They had about 5 different coffees to pick from, and you could get free refills which was also a big plus for me!



RJ went with the Spanish Omlet – it included Sausage, salsa, onion, green peppers, Cheddar & jack cheese, sour cream. I think he was trying to have Mexican food without going to a Mexican restaurant personally. ūüôā The omlet wasn’t too fluffy, which I personally like.¬† He said it wasn’t anything fancy, but he enjoyed it. He ordered a side of grits and I’m pretty sure he cleaned his plate. Other than the huge amount of sourdough toast they gave him!


Making RJ happy since 1980


Rj was pretty excited that you could choose your drink selection from anything they had in the back and when he saw they had Dr. Brown’s Cream Soda he quickly changed his Diet Pepsi order to the Cream Soda. He felt the need to take a picture of it for you all so you’d know the BEST cream soda in the world.


Overall, we were really pleased with breakfast. We happened to have a City Pass coupon, so we only spent about $9 on breakfast for the two of us. They also serve lunch.¬† Everything seems homemade here – really fresh ingredients and some fun loving wait staff who aren’t afraid to kid around with you and make you feel like a long-time customer.

Fun place to try if you ever find yourself in Fort Mill for breakfast or lunch! They don’t have a website that I could find – but here’s a link to their menu and address:


Restaurant Review: Bombay Grille (Indian)

For starters - this comes for free!

This weekend, we once again looked through our coupon book we purchased for a new place to try. Part of giving up Mexican food was about us trying new places that we might not have thought of before. We both love Indian food and have tried a few spots around town, but had never been to Bombay Grille which is actually not too far from us on Pineville Matthews Road.

When we arrived, it was pretty busy, and while we stood waiting for someone to notice the few of us who had gathered in the “waiting room” I was immediately aware of how awesome it smelled. Server after server brought out different entrees – some sizzling, some creamy, some exotic and some more Dre-friendly. ūüôā (more…)

1900 Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar


Acapulco Fish Tacos

So – for Lent, RJ & I are saying good bye to Mexican food and Fried food. Let’s have a moment of silence for those 2 things.


Okay. I’m still slightly traumatized by our decision because I love Mexican food – but i can do anything for 40 days (right?)! In order to properly say goodbye, we decided to enjoy one last Mexican meal out at 1900 Mexican Grill & Tequila Bar on Park Road here in Charlotte for Fat Tuesday.

Afterall, this restaurant was where RJ & I had our first official date, so it holds a special place in our hearts. *aww*

Alright, i know – you are thinking hurry up and get to the review! Here we go…

This restaurant has a good feeling to it – you walk in and you feel comfortable and it doesn’t seem overly posh, or too much like a hole in the wall. The service is always good, everyone’s friendly and the chips and salsa are delicious which i find to be very telling of a Mexican restaurant. If the chips and salsa aren’t good – typically the actual meal won’t be either. (more…)

Kickstand – Restaurant Review

A friend of ours wanted to try a new place off Central Ave in Charlotte, NC called Kickstand, so we decided to tag along. Afterall, RJ being the cycling enthusiast and me being a lover of eating at restaurants Рit was a no brainer. In preparation, we checked out the menu online. You can see it here:

They are self labeled Burgers-n-Beer, and you’ll agree that their menu has a heavy focus on burgers. It’s in a good location – right next to Loco Lime, they share the same building actually. It’s a sporty place with TVs and some games, a decent bar area and plenty of seating for those focused on lunch instead of brews. Rj complained that there wasn’t ENOUGH bikes in the place to warrant the name Kickstand, but I thought it was fine. Why over do it?

Most of their meals have a cycling theme and they offer some unique burger experiences including the¬†THE BURGER POCKET PRESS (seriously, Google it) and something called the Hungover Cyclist which RJ ordered because it sounded pretty funny: it’s described as a burger and tomato sandwiched between 2 grilled cheese sandwiches. I mean really, who can resist? RJ said that the meal was pretty simple, but tasty considering he was eating 4 pieces of bread and only 1 vegetable.

Now, I am not really a red meat eater, so I was scouring the menu for something fun and not beefy. They have some vegetarian options including a veggie burger and one turkey burger option on the menu. They also had some chicken sandwiches to choose from, but none of them sounded “fun” like the burger options. I ended up choosing the¬†MAMA & PAPA GUERCIOTTI, which i couldn’t pronounce but the waitress didn’t hold it against me. Guerciotti is a cyclo-cross race held in Milan, Italy. The burger has Fresh mozzarella, pesto spread, and marinara sauce served on a Ciabatta roll and you could switch it out for chicken if you wanted. It was very much like chicken¬†Parmesan¬†on a Ciabatta. I found it to be messy but delicious!

I want to spend a little time reflecting on the side options because I think they were the best part of the meal. They have sweet potato fries as well as sweet potato TOTS. Yes, you read that correctly. And they were delicious. They serve them with this brown sugar¬†syrupy goodness. I think the sweet potato fries/tots were my fav. And if you aren’t sure – you can get combo tots so you can both the regular tots and sweet potato ones. Great idea!

We also had the Onion Tanglers as an appetizer, which was a smallish size portion but tasty. Nothing super extraordinarily, just what you would expect:  fried onions with a spicy chipotle dipping sauce. The sauce was surprisingly spicy!

As for the beer selection – they have a few craft beers that you wouldn’t find at any ole bar, but they also have your basics. The special when we went was Fat Tire Drafts and buckets of beer which seemed pretty typical for a bar. Here’s the beer menu in case you find something you fancy:¬†

I’m not sure I’d go to this place just to have a few drinks with friends at the bar. Maybe the atmosphere is different at night time, but it seemed more like a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon place to grab a burger and fries in your non fancy clothes. RJ and I both had a beer and got out of there for under $30 bucks. Semi pricey for burgers and fries, but it was was a decent atmosphere and they had some fun options if you enjoy red meat.

I’d say give it a try. And if you don’t dig it – walk on over to Loco Lime, it’s literally 5 feet from Kickstand!



Tavern on Park – Restaurant Review

RJ & I recently tried Tavern on Park – it’s been there for some time, but neither of us had eaten there. If you live in Charlotte – you probably KNOW where it is, even if you haven’t been. It sits in the the shopping center right on the corner of Park Road and Woodlawn Ave. NOT Park Road Shopping Center – but the one on the other side with the huge Total Wine in it. It’s a spacious place with a ton of tvs, various seating and a pretty large bar.

It’s changed hands quite a few times in the last few years – so you may not have taken time out to give it a try. RJ & I recently purchased one of the CitiPass coupon books and were looking for a place to do a late lunch/early dinner on Sunday. The CitiPass has a buy one get one dinner entree deal – so we decided to check it out.

The location is ideal because parking usually isn’t an issue – and it’s close to a lot of other places so if you wanted to do food there and grab drinks on Montford – it’s super close. It’s a laid back environment – or at least it was on a Sunday afternoon. It was a seat yourself sort of thing. We waited for a little while for someone to notice us and bring us menus – but once our server came, she was really great.

I noticed some of the menu items reminded me of some options from the classic Sir Edmund Halley’s that just reopened in Charlotte. Tavern on Park had a ¬†Jerk Chicken Nacho and a¬†Spicy Portabella & Asparagus Grilled Cheese that reminded me of Sir Ed’s. Anyway – we splurged and tried the Jerk Chicken nachos. I have to say that we waited on them for awhile – but it was worth the wait. They were really delicious. So good, in fact, that we didn’t manage to take a picture of them ūüôā

I liked that the appetizer, while more than enough for two people to share – it wasn’t a monster platter piled high. The jerk seasoning was good – but not overpowering and the chicken was well cooked – not overly dry.

Chicken Dakota


For dinner – I went with the¬†Chicken Dakota sandwich which was grilled chicken, honey mustard, tavern fried onions on a grilled sourdough bread. I got the fries as a side – and they were the crispy brown kind…you know like the curly fries except NOT curly? They were GOOD. They also had an option of the homemade chips but when we asked the server her suggestion she said the fries looked really good “this time around.” So i’d encourage you to ask the same question if you go just in case they aren’t always the same?

The sandwich was really tasty. The grilled sourdough was probably my favorite part – it was a little doughy from the honey mustard dressing – which was more of a mustard based dressing (not the thick creamy dipping kind). The tavern fried onions were tiny little strips of fried onion – kind of like onion straws and while they were tasty, it was impossible to not eat them all in one bite without creating a mess. I’ve said this before on our restaurant reviews – but this wouldn’t be something i’d suggest as a first date or work lunch food because it is MESSY! On the other hand – it was delicious and priced at $8.99 – i thought it was reasonable and a big portion ( I didn’t finish the sandwich).

Blackened Salmon Wrap

RJ went with the¬†Blackened Salmon Wrap with avocado, baby greens, tomato, lemon aioli and the fries and he enjoyed it thoroughly. ¬†He said¬†the salmon was cooked just right and the sauce¬†was light and creamy. He said it wasn’t a¬†super flavorful wrap, but good for a light lunch. He did mention that it would have been super messy if it wasn’t in a wrap! It was also $8.99 and came with your choice of a side.

Overall, we enjoyed our experience at Tavern on Park. We ended up eating off their dinner menu, but in a quick comparison with their lunch menu via their website – I don’t see any major differences in pricing!

Decent selection of beers on draft – and it looks like they have specials going on almost everyday on food or buckets of beer, etc.

It’s a nice atmosphere – nothing fancy, but lots of options for a variety of eaters. Check it out:¬†



Waldhorn Restaurant Review

So RJ and I have been talking about trying Waldhorn forever. Another couple also expressed interest in going, so finally – we made plans to check this place out this past Friday.

For those of you that may have never heard of Waldhorn (pronounced¬†Vahld-horn), it’s a German restaurant located in Charlotte. I guess technically it’s in Pineville, but whatever.

The point is – you should go. It was amazing!

When you first arrive – it really does look like you’re at that place in Epcot where they have all the different countries. The architecture/style of the restaurant from the outside really just looks “German.” I was a little surprised when I walked in because I guess I was expecting something a bit more fancy. It has more of a family style feel even though the first thing you see when you walk in is the bar.

I think the decor inside could be a bit more authentic, but the food and service more than made up for what the decor was lacking.

Of course, we started with an authentic German beer. They claim to have the best German beer selection in town including traditional beers from Germany with breweries dating back to the year 1040. Pretty cool. Although this is coming from the gal who likes Bud Light Lime. ūüôā

Mmmm - German beer!

RJ ordered me the¬†Franziskaner Hefeweizen which is a wheat beer as I’ve been exploring more Hefeweizen’s lately in an effort to be more cool. ūüėČ I have to say it wasn’t my favorite Hefe I’ve had – I didn’t finish all of it. But the other couple with us ordered the same thing and loved it.

RJ went with something darker, aptly named¬†Franziskaner (dark wheat). ¬†He¬†thought it was a heavy wheat beer.¬† It was oddly cloudy for a dark wheat, but still crisp.¬† The Finish was a bit “doughy”.¬† All in all he said the beer was good, but maybe a bit heavy to pair with the duck meal (more on that later!).


131 Main Review

Last night we took RJ’s step-dad out to dinner to celebrate his birthday. He wanted to go to 131 Main up in Blakeney. RJ and I had talked about checking out the East. Blvd. location on several occasions but just hadn’t gone yet. I’d heard lots of positive reviews about the food – so we were excited when his step-dad suggested it. And if you didn’t hear – it was voted Best Overall Restaurant for Food and Drink by¬†Charlotte Magazine for 2009 & 2010.

When we arrived (keep in mind this is a Tuesday evening at 730pm), the place was packed! People were sitting outside in this really cool patio where they had fire places next to the tables. The bar was busy with couples sitting in almost every seat having a drink. And the main restaurant also looked full. We went to the bar first and ordered a drink. Tuesday happens to be 1/2 price bottle of wine night, just FYI. I was driving so I just had a glass of wine. I wanted the Punto Final Malbec, Mendoza¬†but they were out, so the bartender made a recommendation for a Charles Smith ‚ÄúVelvet Devil‚ÄĚ Merlot, Columbia Valley. I do enjoy merlots – and this one was incredible. Super smooth and no bite at the end. I understand why they call it Velvet Devil because you could just drink that one all night. Their wine selection is pretty cool because they only purchases wine from family-owned wineries, and the majority of the wines come from less than400 barrels of production.


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