#FoodieFriday Spotlight on @VivaceCharlotte – Where to Dine in #CharlotteNC #cltfood #SobeSavvyeats #italian

Many Thanks to Vivace Charlotte for hosting SobeSavvy.com for our #SobeSavvyEats Series and #FoodieFriday Feature

When I travel with my family, I know there is one type of cuisine where everyone can find something they love on the menu. Italian cuisine suits my daughter’s love for pizza, my husband’s passion for pasta and my craving for meat or seafood. During our recent trip to Charlotte, we worked up an appetite after our family fun day at Carowinds, and enjoyed a delicious dinner at Vivace Italian restaurant located in the Midtown area of Charlotte, NC.

ENJOY DINNER WITH A VIEW

Vivace[yes, it rhymes with Versace] is an upscale modern take on an Italian Trattoria which traditionally isless formal than a ristorante, but more formal than an osteria. Upon entering this multi-leveled space, we were impressed by the beautiful wood and lighting. The layout featured bars on each floor and also a dining area. Upstairs they also have lounge chairs and tables on their patio, which offers breathtaking views of the Charlotte skyline.

COCKTAIL TIME

This trendy restaurant had a nice after work crowd of folks who opted for some drinks at the bar to end their week and start their weekend. Other patrons were smartly dressed to match the décor and ambiance.

My husband and I started with a two cocktails from their drink menu which includes wine and an impressive number of NC craft beers. Both of us are Gin fans so he ordered “The Summer Affair” which uses Hendricks Gin, his favorite. I opted for the “Botanico“, which I really enjoyed how refreshing this drink was with the use of cucumber and rosemary. Crafty, creative, classic cocktails can be found here at Vivace.

FAMILY FRIENDLY DINING + MENU

Is this restaurant family friendly? Yes!
Since we had our little foodie,#outandaboutAva with us, we opted for an early dinner. While on the surface this is not a “kids” type place, they do have a Bambini Menu. Our just turned 7 year old daughter ordered a cheese pizza, which came with fresh strawberries and Nutella for dipping.

For starters, I suggest their steamed PEI mussels because its perfect for sharing. It was served with crusty bread, which is essential for soaking up all the flavors in the broth!

For my dinner entrée,I ordered the Pistachio Crusted Lamb Chops with mashed potatoes and a veal demi glace. I love lamb chops and thought the use of pistachios gave it a unique taste while the veal demi glace amped up the bold and savory flavor. The quality of the meat was superb and it was cooked to perfection.

My husband always says you judge an Italian restaurant by their gnocchi. So that’s what he went with. Vivace serves theirs with grilled chicken and asparagus tips. Luckily, I was able to procure a few of his disappearing gnocchi before they were gone. He
commented on how he could tell that unlike so many Italian restaurants that just have them sitting in warm water that these gnocchi were “dropped to order”.

After speaking with their chefs, they confirmed that indeed that was the case! In fact all their pasta is made in-house. And ingredients used to prepare their dishes focus on local/regional ingredients.

Our dining experience at Vivace was wonderful not only because our server was sweet and attentive but the food was great. I would recommend dining here because not only with you find traditional Italian eats but dishes that will also cater to some American likes.

The location and layout is beautiful and the restaurant’s atmosphere is unique. My husband mentioned that he was relieved that finally a spot’s style matched it’s substance.

Lil Miss Foodie aka #outandaboutAva and her Mom, Leslie/Founder of SobeSavvy.com bid arriverderci to Vivace, but look forward to coming back!

SobeSavvy Tip: Their private events manager, Blythe Bayrd informed me that they host numerous holiday parties with great package prices. The
schedule is filling up fast so book your companies or your own private event for the holiday season NOW.

HAVE YOU EVER DINED AT VIVACE BEFORE? WHAT IS YOUR GO TO CUISINE THAT SUITS YOUR FAMILY? LET ME KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW 🍴

Hey #NC ,Celebrate #FiestaDeCamotes at #SweetArielleBakery and Enjoy 2 Amazing #SweetPotato Recipes 

Disclaimer: “Fiesta de Camotes” is a promotion of the NC SweetPotato Commission and was funded through the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program.

Photo Credit: Stacey Sprenz Photography.

The Sweet Potato has long been a favorite staple in the homes of people from all walks of life. It is so versatile and can be used for a myriad of recipes and dishes. I personally love it in the form of a sweet potato pie or simply roasted. No matter which way you love your sweet potatoes, there is no doubt that this food needs to be celebrated for all its nutrients and health benefits. As the #1 sweet potato producing state in the United States since 1971, it is only right that we celebrate right here in the state of North Carolina. Here’s how+where you can celebrate:

Fiesta de Camotes” (translated to “Celebrating Sweet Potatoes”) is a month-long special event that invites us to celebrate the use of North Carolina sweet potatoes in Hispanic cuisine. From September 1 thru 30, 2017, twenty-two restaurants/bakeries will create and feature a dish that highlights sweet potatoes. Sounds delicious right?! 

Celebrating Fiesta de Camotes at Sweet Arielle Bakery & Chef Norma

One restaurant that caught my tastebuds attention to visit was Sweet Arielle Bakery, located at the South Durham Farmer’s Market. Open from 8am-12PM, this wonderful bakery will “sweet” you off of your feet! This past Saturday, which happened to be Mexico’s Independence Day, I met Norma, owner/chef and mom to Arielle, along with her husband Paul at her beautiful booth at the farmer’s market. A wonderful array of cookies, pastries and savory treats were on display in her glass case, but also samples were available to taste. The both of them were very excited to introduce their customers to the featured sweet potato dishes made especially for #FiestadeCamotes.

Saturday Morning at Sweet Arielle Bakery

Two dishes available at Sweet Arielle Bakery in celebration of #FiestadeCamotes are: Sweet Potato Tamales and Atolito de Camote , which is a warm drink made with sweet potatoes. This beverage can best be described as “liquid sweet potato pie”. One sip and you will add this to your favorite fall drink list. In the words of my daughter (in the short video clip below)…it was SO good! 
 

Next, I had the sweet potato tamales. It was the perfect balance of light sugar and flavors. The actual sweet potato was the star! On her website she states: “We never use sugar as a crutch, focusing instead on the quality and freshness of our ingredients and allowing the true flavors to shine.” That proved to be true once I had a taste of the delicious sweet potato tamales.

Chef Norma’s Sweet Potato Tamales are a delicious way to celebrate Fiesta de Camotes

After dining here, I must say no one is more passionate about making and sharing their wonderful dishes created from NC sweet potatoes than Sweet Arielle Bakery. I highly suggest you give yourself a treat today in the form of a sweet potato and try any of the amazing #FiestadeCamotes recipes found >>here. Make sure to make your way down to Sweet Arielle Bakery this Saturday at the South Durham Farmers Market to get some of those delicious Sweet Potato Tamales before I eat them all!

Leslie Heigh, Lifestyle/Food Blogger + Founder, SobeSavvy.com celebrates Fiesta de Camotes at Sweet Arielle Bakery in Durham, NC

For more information on the Fiesta De Camotes promotion event, visit website (www.ncsweetpotatoes.com). Don’t forget you have until the end of September to celebrate thruout NC. Share with your family & friends and discover new places to dine, great recipes to try and the many ways to enjoy NC sweet potatoes!