Monday, July 29, 2013

'Homeland' Season 3 Begins September 29

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/29/2013 No comments
The cast and crew of the hit Showtime television series Homeland have been spotted around Charlotte a lot over the last couple of months--Uptown, SouthPark, Plaza Midwood--filming scenes for the upcoming season. Now we know when we'll get to see the highly anticipated season three: it premieres Sunday, September 29, 9 p.m. Showtime released this 30-second tease video, "Signals," today, and although it doesn't show any scenes, it's enough to get hardcore fans like me excited.

I'll certainly be among the millions of viewers tuning in to Showtime exactly two months from today to see what's going to happen with Brody, Carrie, Saul, and 'em, particularly after that explosive end to season two (literally). ShowBiz411 has revealed the titles of the first seven episodes of season three, and reports that episode nine is still being cast. The latter appears to align with the calls for extras in Charlotte on the Homeland Casting Facebook page, and since each season of Homeland features 12 episodes, I'm assuming the show is still in production on a handful of episodes.

The working relationship/friendship between Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) is expected to be one of season three's most pivotal storylines.

Visit the multi-Emmy-winning show's website at

UPDATE: 8-09-13
The official Homeland Season 3 trailer was released today. It's a little more than three minutes long and is full of riveting snapshots.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Beware of Booty This Weekend

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/26/2013 No comments
As an FYI, in case you weren't aware and would happen to be driving in the area, the annual 24 Hours of Booty is taking place this weekend (July 26-27) in Charlotte in the Myers Park neighborhood. More than 1,200 bicyclists are expected to ride the original "Booty Loop" as they raise money for cancer research and survivorship.

I commend the people who have the endurance to ride bikes for an extreme number of hours--they'll circle the 2.85-mile route through the picturesque neighborhood numerous times. Many of the participants divide the 24-hour ride into teams and they're able to take breaks, but the ride still requires a lot of energy. It's not all sweat though. Bootyville is set up, serving as the event headquarters and offering three meals and a midnight pizza party, snacks, energy bars, water and sports drinks, along with an expo area with vendors/sponsors.

Even if you aren't riding, you're invited to come out and cheer along the route (donations accepted too). Visit for more details.

If you're looking for more things to do this weekend in Charlotte, remember to check out my Dusk Till Dawn blog where I've put together a big list of social events and parties.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, the popular television game show, hit the road earlier this month to hold auditions for potential contestants in select cities around the country. The show's producers are holding auditions in Charlotte this Wednesday, July 24, beginning at 7 a.m. at Victory Lane Karting (2330 Tipton Dr.). There's no signup or pre-registration for the audition. It's on a first-come, first-served basis, and you can get in line beginning at 6 a.m.

Fans pose with a Cedric The Entertainer cutout during recent auditions in Las Vegas. Credit:

Cedric The Entertainer is the new host of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire, when the new season begins this fall. He replaced Meredith Vieira, who hosted the game show for the past 11 seasons.

Visit for more details.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

The Charlotte area's offerings of barbecue continue to grow. I was invited last week to visit Moe’s Original Bar B Que, which opened in June in Matthews. The barbecue franchise started as a single restaurant in Colorado by three friends who met at the University of Alabama. That pretty much explains why today nearly all of the 26 locations are either located in Colorado or the South--Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina, and Tennessee (relatively speaking, the franchise has expanded rapidly over the last three years).

The Matthews location is owned by another trio, husband and wife Brian and Janeen Fairhurst, and brother Craig Fairhurst. They picked a great location in the charming area along Matthews Station Street, which has the look and feel of a quaint town square. There are restaurants, shops, the Village Green park, public library, historic train depot, and more all in that area. Moe's is housed in a standalone space that formerly housed a Mexican restaurant, but you know you're in a BBQ spot as soon as you enter.

Photos credit: Moe's

Having lived in Charlotte for several years now, I've experienced the never-ending Eastern versus Western North Carolina barbecue debate, whether at events, on TV, or at different restaurants. But Moe's is described as Alabama-style, and this was my first time trying that. The restaurant's signature approach to barbecue is to smoke all of its meats daily using fruit wood

Whenever visiting a barbecue restaurant for the first time, it's imperative that I try the pulled pork. So I ordered the Pulled Pork Platter ($10.25), which comes with two sides, cornbread, and a drink. I chose the mac 'n cheese and banana pudding as my sides. The pork was juicy and tender, and the sauce was flavorful, with a great mixture of spiciness and sweetness. The mac 'n cheese was tasty as well. And I'm a stickler about my banana pudding so I was prepared to be extremely critical: Moe's passed the test. It was good, even though, strangely to me, the pudding was more of a cream color than yellow. Didn't matter though--it was delicious.

Moe's is a family-friendly restaurant, but also has a small bar that serves about a dozen local and regional beers on tap (a good selection). When I arrived on that Thursday evening around 6:45 p.m., the restaurant was packed with people of all ages.

I get asked often by people who are visiting Charlotte, are new to Charlotte, or by my blog's readers who email me asking, what are the best places in Charlotte to get barbecue. I'll now add Moe’s Original Bar B Que to my list of suggestions (which includes Mac's Speed Shop and Queen City Q, as well as others outside of the center city), and by visiting Moe's it'll also give them an opportunity to experience this quaint downtown area.  

Moe’s Original Bar B Que, 111 Matthews Station St., Matthews, 704-814-6637,,, Hours: Mon-Sat., 11 a.m.-9 p.m.; closed Sundays.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

No, GPS. There's a Sinkhole Ahead

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/17/2013 No comments
Remember back when you would drive to a place that you'd never gone to before, that if you didn't know exactly how to get there you would ask for directions before you left home, and the person giving you the directions would basically guide you there by listing a series of landmarks? (Once you get on such and such street, come down about five lights and turn left by that McDonald's.) Then remember when MapQuest came along on the Internet and you would enter the address of wherever you were going, print out the directions, and take them with you? And remember when GPS devices started to become really affordable, so you bought one, placed it on your car's dashboard or windshield, and would get real-time, turn-by-turn directions to your desired destination? And finally, mobile phones started coming equipped with GPS built in, so now you could just hop in the car, type in or speak the address to where you're going, and get turn-by-turn directions. I've gotten so used to my phone instructing me on where to go. Haven't you?

Well, today I was on my way to a meeting in Concord when I encountered a large "ROAD CLOSED" sign on Harris Road, which is the name the road changes to after being Eastfield Road, near the Charlotte-Concord line. According to my GPS, I was only about five minutes from my destination, but thanks to the road being closed, I couldn't continue on the suggested route. And no matter how many nearby streets I tried turning on so that my GPS could recalculate, in hopes of it leading me in another direction, it kept pointing me back to Harris Road.

I wanted to scream: "I can't go that way because there's a sinkhole!"

I'd seen and read about numerous sinkholes popping up throughout the Charlotte area over the last several weeks, largely caused by all of this rain we've been getting. Today was my first time encountering one in person. It was relatively small compared to some of the sinkholes I've seen on the local news (and pales in comparison to sinkholes seen around the world), but it was big enough to stretch across--and force the closing of--the two-lane road.

In order to get to my meeting today, one of the guys I was going to meet with ended up having to give me old-fashioned directions over the phone, by listing a series of landmarks.

I look forward to the day when my phone's GPS has an "avoid sinkhole" button. #1stWorldProblems.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The NFL is the only professional sport where the players and teams continue to dominate sports news during their offseason. Guess that's how powerful and influential the league is. Or maybe it's just the around-the-clock sports networks needing to fill time during the summer when there's pretty much only baseball going on.

Well in recent days, we've learned that the San Francisco 49ers' breakout star quarterback Colin Kaepernick likes to rock a Miami Dolphins hat (see here and here) and isn't sorry for it. Then over the weekend, in an interview with The Atlanta Journal Constitution, it was revealed that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton is still an Atlanta Falcons fan. "I've always been a Falcons fan, and I'm still a Falcons fan except for those two times a year [when the Panthers play Atlanta]," Cam said.

His comments became big news today once ESPN got wind of it. See their analysts discuss it in the video below.

I don't have a problem with Cam being a Falcons fan. He did, after all, grow up in Atlanta, and it's common for us, as adults, to root for the same teams we were fans of since we were kids. But I have a problem with Cam admitting to being a Falcons fan in 2013. Granted, the AJC article was part of a wide-ranging interview with a reporter he sat down with after an event his Cam Newton Foundation put on for kids at a YMCA in Atlanta (his foundation does great charitable work in both the ATL and Charlotte). But Cam has to know that as the leader of the Carolina Panthers, he can't say anything that puts into question his desire to win in Carolina or loyalty to his team. I'm not questioning it--and, for the record, I'm a big fan of his--but he opens the door to that criticism.

Cam Newton at the School Pride Day his foundation hosted in May for more than 700 Charlotte middle school students. Credit:

And at least Cam has ties to the NFL-team-he-paid-homage-to-but-doesn't-play-for. In regards to Colin, however, I can't figure out what's behind his audacity to wear a Dolphins hat--I don't think he's ever lived in Miami, and he didn't play college ball in that city--other than for the fashion statement he was trying to make, which continues to be popular with young guys who love wearing pro teams' hats and athletes' sneakers. Cam and Colin are both young--ages 24 and 25, respectively--so I believe a lot of this behavior and mindset can be attributed to them being born in the late '80s. Could you imagine Randall Cunningham wearing anything other than a Philadelphia Eagles cap back then?

This also reminds me of the time I chastised Cam for wearing a Charlotte Hornets hat to a Bobcats game. Looks like he was just ahead of the curve though.

But in comparison to the trouble some star NFL players get in, if all you or I have to complain about with our team's star quarterback is a little fondness he displays for another team, I'll take it.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

My First Time: Chuy's In SouthPark

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/14/2013 No comments
I dined at Chuy's on Wednesday evening. The Austin, Texas-based Tex-Mex restaurant chain opened a location in SouthPark less than three weeks ago. There are 44 (and counting) Chuy's restaurants across Texas and the Southeast, and this is the first in North Carolina.

On the way there, when I found out it was located in the space that formerly housed Zink American Kitchen, which first was the home of M5 Modern Mediterranean (both formerly run by Harper's Restaurant Group), my exact words were it was an interesting location for a Tex-Mex restaurant because the prior decor and layout were very upscale (M5 was a hotspot for socialites and local celebrities in its heyday). Well, Chuy's has completely renovated the space and made it its own.

Photos credit: My Windows Phone

One of the company's slogans is "If you've seen one Chuy's, you've seen one Chuy's," meaning each location has a personality of its own. But they all have signature elements of the decor in common like bright colors (flamingo pink is how I describe it) from the floor tiles to the walls, ceiling, and furniture, metal palm trees and funky art. It's intentionally tacky, which makes it appealing, reminiscent of a cheap, 1970s-era Las Vegas diner or casino.

When we arrived to Chuy's around 7:15 p.m., the hostess said it would be about a 45-minute wait. (Side note: Chuy's is in The Village at SouthPark next door to The Cowfish Sushi Burger Bar, making it one of the most in-demand restaurant corners in the area.) So we went to the bar and ordered margaritas, I grabbed a basket of complimentary nachos and salsa from the Nacho Car, and we sat on a bench on the patio. Luckily, our wait time was only about half of what the hostess previously estimated, so we only had about a 25-minute wait overall. We were seated on the patio, which was great because the weather was pleasant for a July night (it wasn't hot thanks to all this rain we've been getting).

Decor and ambiance aside, we all know that the most important element of a restaurant is the food. I ordered the No. 6 combination--Enchilada, Taco & Chalupa--which is described on the menu as a cheese Tex-Mex enchilada, seasoned ground sirloin crispy taco, and chicken chalupa, a homemade corn tortilla fried and topped with refried beans, cheese, freshly-roasted, hand-pulled chicken, lettuce, tomatoes and jalapeños. I also chose Mexican rice and refried beans from the options of accompaniments.

The meal was delicious. If I had to point out particular standouts I would say I was most impressed with the enchilada and Mexican rice--some of the best I've ever had at a Tex-Mex restaurant.

Chuy's, at The Village at SouthPark, 4310 Sharon Rd., 704-364-3959,, Hours: Mon.-Sat., 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; Sun., 12:30-6 p.m.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

'Dilworth: I Want to Touch Your Bungalow'

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/13/2013 No comments
After grabbing brunch in South Park today, my girlfriend and I stopped into South End. We enjoyed a cold one and watched some beach volleyball live in the parking lot of All American Pub (it's South End Beach Week). As we were walking back to the car, she wanted to go into The Boulevard at South End. While she browsed the racks, I saw these funny Charlotte-centric and South Carolina-esque themed bottle openers, by Not Made In China.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The grocery store/supermarket, er, market in Charlotte has been heating up over the past year. You've been keeping up with the news, right?

Publix is moving into the area with three new stores either planned or currently under construction--South End, Ballantyne, and Cornelius--and it's opening a Charlotte division headquarters. After years of locals wishing, Whole Foods finally opened its first store here last August, in SouthPark. Salisbury-based Food Lion, which operates 1,100 stores in 10 states, has been making all kinds of changes over the past year, trying to keep up with the competition. And our other locally-based supermarket chain, Harris Teeter, is the talk of the town (and business world) after news yesterday that it's being acquired by Kroger. And lastly, as it does to almost every retail sector, Walmart continues to be a major player with its grocery stores.

We all have to eat to live, but who would've thought the market would become so competitive? (#1stWorldProblems.) But amid all of the grand announcements being made and big-box grocery stores opening, there are a few smaller stores that have launched--first in Charlotte at that--over the past year that say a lot about our grocery shopping preferences and the city as a desirable market.


Opened: October 2012 (two locations)
The Appeal: Fine wines, domestic and imported beers, specialty foods; café seating area, in-store wine consultants; educational classes focused on wine, beer, and food pairings; a beer room, and a walk-in humidor.
Company: A division of Harris Teeter.
Address: 13108 Eastfield Rd., Huntersville, 704-875-2892, 5939; Weddington-Monroe Rd., Wesley Chapel, 704-821-2686,

The Baby Grocery Store

Opened: November 2012
The Appeal: Parents shopping for babies for items such as all-natural, organic, and non-GMO food products; diapers, wipes, and environmentally-friendly household items; staff available to answer questions about products and choices like making baby food, cloth diapering, and baby wearing.
Company: After operating a mall kiosk for a year, Charlotte entrepreneur Darren Gann opened the first brick and mortar location in Charlotte, with future plans to expand into other states.
Address: 10225 Park Rd., Charlotte, 704-543-8635,

Lettuce Carry

Opened: March 2012
The Appeal: Offers more than 15,000 items including fresh food (local and organic), household items, health and beauty supplies, tobacco, beer, and wine; delivered to your door at no additional charge in a refrigerated truck.
Company: Privately owned; delivers to most of the Charlotte region including all of Mecklenburg County, Concord, Mooresville, Gastonia, Fort Mill, Rock Hill, and Monroe.
Contact: 704-962-3019,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

NBC Charlotte (WCNC) is partnering with Discovery Place to host a meetup on Thursday, July 25, 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the science museum in Uptown (301 N. Tryon St.). Here's how the event is being described by the organizers: "You can rub shoulders with NBC Charlotte’s own, grab some face time with your Twitter friends, snag a cocktail at the cash bar, play some games, win some prizes, engage in some science fun or jump in the photo booth for some silliness at Discovery Place..."

Admission to the meetup is free, but registration is required by visiting Capacity for the event is 500, and so far nearly 350 people have registered. The hashtag being used for the event is #WCNCmeetup (Twitter | Facebook | Instagram).

NBC Charlotte's Dianne Gallagher chats with a guest at last year's WCNC Tweetup.

WCNC hosted a similar event last year at Icehouse South End, which I had the pleasure of attending, and I made several new connections. I think these types of events are a great idea. Most of us use social media these days, and we often "follow" or "friend" people on these sites whom we don't know personally or have never met in person. But because of your interaction with their tweets, status updates, and photo sharing, you feel as if you know them. So an event like what NBC Charlotte and Discovery Place are doing gives you the opportunity to continue your social networking--literally--but step beyond the virtual world.

I always encourage people to get out and network, no matter your profession or interests (remember, you can frequently find Charlotte networking events listed on my Dusk Till Dawn blog). As much as I rely on the Internet and social media, it'll never be a substitute for building actual one-on-one, face-to-face relationships. That was a part of the reasoning behind the "Charlotte’s Web: A Celebration of CLT Bloggers & Digital Tastemakers" event I put on in May.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Read About It: Hot Cars On the Lake

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 7/04/2013 No comments
I wrote a feature for the July 2013 issue of Lake Norman Magazine, "Get Your Motor Running," that focuses on car dealers and shops in the lake area that sell/build exotic, luxury, and classic cars. We're talking everything from vintage cars from the 1930s to late-model sports cars.

While conducting interviews and doing research for this story, I learned that selling cars on consignment is big business, and that people search all over the world for specific cars. Because of the Internet, car dealers like the ones on Lake Norman are able to sell and ship cars to buyers from anywhere. Yes, a couple of the dealers told me they have people--from the West Coast to the Middle East--buy cars from them online without ever setting foot on the car lot or seeing the cars in person. That's why many of the dealers place detailed info, multiple photos, and sometimes even video of each of these exotic and luxury cars, to give potential buyers a good idea of the quality and appeal of the vehicle.

One of the Lake Norman dealers told me he sold two of the Range Rover Autobiography Ultimate Edition SUVs to a single buyer for $250,000 each. Rolling in it!

The July issue of Lake Norman Magazine is online and on newsstands now.

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