Great American Road Trip – Charlotte, NC

My old roomie got married last weekend. I’ve never done a long road trip, so I thought it would be fun to try it out. We picked up some White Castle cheeseburgers in NJ during a quick stop to pick up another one of our friends on the way down. Google Maps told me it would be 12 hours from Albany -> NJ -> Charlotte, but it was closer to 15 hours, and we didn’t take very many breaks or run in to traffic.

I ate like a glorified a-hole on the ride down. I could not get enough food! So annoying, since we drove through the middle of the night – I figured I wouldn’t be that hungry. WRONG! Should have packed more snacks.

The next day, we napped a few hours when we got to the hotel, then hit up Harris Teeter for some room snacks. Cute super market. 

Baskin Robbins for Pecan Praline ice cream! So good! This was on the sketchy side of Charlotte by a CVS. Lots of shifty looking dudes out and about, even during daytime hours. They kept trying to chat me up. Creepers. Thankfully I had my two dudes with me. 

The dudes & I went to McCormick & Schmick’s for happy hour on Friday. Our hotel had some out of date mini menus that showed crazy-cheap prices. Turns out everything was a few bucks more, but whatever. This place is mainly business casual, but they’ll let you in if you wander in wearing jeans and sandals. Like me. Oops!

Topshelf ($23!) screwdriver with freshly squeezed OJ. My buddy was not a fan of the freshly squeezed OJ pulp, and definitely not the price. Wow! I thought it was pretty tasty, but what a price tag! I got a Purple Peach “martini” ($7.50) kind of thing, which was more pink than anything, but quite tasty. I think it was vodka, cranberry juice, and some peach schnapps for the most part. Albany John got a beer.

The outdoor seating was wonderful. Charlotte’s weather in mid-May is absolutely gorgeous. Normally I don’t like outdoor seating, but I couldn’t get enough!

Chicken Nachos, quesadilla, fish tacos, and buffalo shrimp. The buffalo shrimp (bottom) were amazing. Not too oily or overcooked. Plump & briny shrimp. The sauce was unnecessary. Fish tacos were outstanding, too. Well cooked, and a nice cabbage slaw included with the tacos.

Service was beyond nice. I always forget how nice people are down south.

Then it was time for bowling with the rest of the early arrivals for the wedding at the bowling alley at the EpiCentre, which Albany John & I renamed the EpicEntre.

This is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen with bowling. The wedding party family members were a hoot! These people know how to get down! Albany John broke himself trying to play bowling. Poor guy.

And eat! Calamari, wings, some cold cuts, veggies, fried chicken strips. Nom. And cake balls!

The next morning I woke up early eager for some morning walkies. Uptown Charlotte, NC is kind of like a combo of the Financial District of Manhattan and the Upper East Side. Some businesses & artsy stuff, and an attempt to have a weekend scene. But a lot of otherwise empty office buildings.

We went to Showmar’s for breakfast. Lots of food, so-so in terms of flavor. Eh, it was okay. Friendly service.


There was a French place called Amelie’s in our area that I wanted to try, but it seemed like everything was brought in and a day old from the main 24/7 bakery in a different section of town ~2 miles away. For the prices they were charging, it just didn’t seem worth it for day old baked goods. The coffee wasn’t bad, though. 

Then it was time for the wedding! Albany John’s known the groom since college, and many of their college friends attended. Surprisingly enough, everyone was on good behavior!


CUPCAKE BOUQUETS! These were so good – moist chocolate cake, and TONS of icing. Shortly after nabbing this pic I clumsily knocked the entire bouquet over. Sadness. But still delicious.

One of the best salads ever – an arugula salad with candied pecans, blue cheese, strawberries, and a vinaigrette. Soooo good. So refreshing. 

Main course. A bit on the small side, but that’s what bouquets of cupcakes are for afterward.  The steak was perfectly rare for me, though. SO good. 

Can you read the name on the glass? The wait staff were kinda weird here, ’cause instead of just putting champagne out for everyone on the tables before the toasts, they were running around asking people if they wanted champagne… okie dokie, then. 


Oh yeah, I evidently looked so good that one of the waiters kept petting my back when he’d ask me if I wanted anything. I couldn’t tell if it was just southern culture, or him being overly handsy. In the end he forgot my coffee after bringing half of the table coffee. Haha, guess I should have slapped on a little more make up, eh?


Dancing, some drinks, and tons of good times were had. We ended up back at the EpiCentre for some Moe’s:

Tacos. 


Nightlife seems to shut down around 2 AM in Charlotte. Moe’s at 2 AM makes for excellent people watching. 


The next morning we went to breakfast with the remaining people from the wedding, and took the long drive home. It was insanely cheap to drive – maybe $180 for gas for ~1,600 miles. Much cheaper than plane tix! I’m also a bit… shall we say “goal oriented”, so the next time I take a road trip I will try to see more sights instead of trying to get from Point A to Point B as quickly as possible. 

4 comments
  1. Looks like a good trip. That screwdriver should have come with a steak or something though.

  2. Looks like a good trip. That screwdriver should have come with a steak or something though.

  3. Next time in Charlotte Price's Chicken Coop is a must stop for the best you will ever taste.

  4. Next time in Charlotte Price's Chicken Coop is a must stop for the best you will ever taste.

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