Monday, January 14, 2013

Even though we're less than one month into the winter season, over the weekend you would've thought it was spring in Charlotte. Saturday and Sunday each surpassed 70 degrees, and I know a lot of people took advantage of the great weather.

Personally, Andrea and I went hiking at Crowders Mountain State Park in Kings Mountain on Saturday. She'd gone a few times before, but this was my first time. It was obvious that the unseasonably warm weather had brought out plenty of hikers, as the trails were busy with people of all ages, including many with their children and dogs. But if you're going to climb to the top of the mountain, which we did, prepare for a workout. It was worth the burn in my legs to enjoy the fresh air and to be able to look out over several surrounding cities and towns from the mountaintop.

After about two hours on the trail, we'd certainly worked up an appetite. Crowders Mountain is just outside of Gastonia and since we'd have to pass through Gastonia en route back to Charlotte, we decided to find a place there for a late lunch/early dinner. Franklin Boulevard in Gastonia is home to a lot of retail stores and restaurants--you'll actually find some locations of franchises we don't have in Charlotte. But if I was going to eat in Gastonia on a rare occasion, I didn't want it to be at some big chain restaurant.

There are several Mexican restaurants along Franklin Boulevard, and we sort of picked one out of the hat and went to Azteca Mexican Restaurant (1863 W. Franklin Blvd.). It was a good choice, as we encountered good food, good margaritas, and friendly service. To elaborate, I had the largest margarita I'd ever been served (that's the normal size, and it costs only $7.25) followed by one of the largest dinner plates I'd ever seen.

A margarita fit for an Aztec king.

Complimentary chips and salsa.

Two tacos and an enchilada with rice and re-fried beans.

This cool painting was on the wall above our booth.

There are three other locations of Azteca Mexican Restaurant in the area: two in Charlotte--one on Woodlawn Road and one in north Charlotte--and a Matthews location. Visit for more details.


  1. I think I will do some hiking first before indulging in the said establishment. Makes my appetite even more potent and dining much more enjoyable.

  2. The meal after the hike adds motivation for the first time hikers. Good food is definitely a great source of motivation. All is well with that, just don't eat more calories than what you've burn.


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