Friday, December 27, 2013

The 'Perfect Bacon Bowl' Is Calling My Name

Posted by Jarvis Holliday On 12/27/2013 No comments
Hopefully you've had at least a few days off this week because of the holidays. If so, you've likely watched more TV than usual. And if that's the case, you probably have seen the commercial for the Perfect Bacon Bowl. It's been airing a lot this week. And now it's haunting me.

See, the Perfect Bacon Bowl is just what it sounds like, in terms of what it promises. You wrap uncooked bacon around the pan, stick it into the oven, and when it's done, the bacon has formed the shape of a bowl, which you can then fill with even more mouth-watering goodness.

I saw the commercial on TV all day on Tuesday. So I decided to tweet about it and include the YouTube video of the commercial. After posting my tweet, I clicked on the video's link to make sure it was working properly and I realized that I recognized one of the guys chomping on bacon in the commercial as someone who works for Edison Nation here in Charlotte. It would make perfect sense because Edison Nation has become astute in bringing clever, why-didn't-I-think-of-that kind of products to the market. I soon confirmed that it is indeed Edison Nation who's behind this cool, new thingamajig.

But I must resist buying it. See, I love bacon too much. I'm talking about the real stuff too: pork. No, turkey bacon is not an adequate substitute. I love bacon because of its taste, crunch, smell (but not to the extent of wanting bacon cologne)... er'ything. If I'm ordering at a restaurant I haven't eaten at before and it has an item on the menu that has bacon on it, I'm likely to order that. If I was to have a Perfect Bacon Bowl in my possession, there would be no end to the number of makeshift recipes I would create. I would probably try to eat cereal out of it.

But I'm not the only one. We're in the midst of a bacon craze--from cocktails to chocolate. Even if it is "Why the rest of the world hates us," as David Letterman proclaimed recently in response to the Perfect Bacon Bowl. This kitchsy kitchen device has also become food for fodder on Twitter (search "Perfect Bacon Bowl"), likely propelled by the prominence the TV commercial has been getting as of late.

Visit if you'd like to order the Perfect Bacon Bowl.

UPDATE: 1/26/14
I was given a Perfect Bacon Bowl, and I used it for the first time today. I whipped up a couple of bacon, egg, and cheese bowls for Sunday brunch. It was as easy to use as demonstrated in the ads, but it took longer than I expected for the bacon to cook to a crisp in the oven--about an hour in my gas oven because the directions say not to exceed 375 degrees. My suggestion is to cook your bacon bowls in a toaster oven for faster results. Of course, the microwave would be the absolute fastest way but I don't like to cook food in a microwave.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Kriss Kross, circa 1992. Credit: The Internets

#Bobcats x #CharlotteHornets = #BuzzCity.

Charlotte Hornets, 2014-15. Credit:

Explanation of headline: Rap Genius.

Friday, December 20, 2013

New Life City of Praise church, led by pastor and famed gospel recording artist John P. Kee, is holding their annual Gifts for Guns Exchange. It's simple: you bring in a gun (remove the ammo first), there are no questions asked, and in return you'll receive a gift card ranging from $25-$100. It's the church's admirable efforts to reduce crime by taking illegal guns off the streets.

New Life holds this gun drive each year during the Christmas season. The 2013 drive began yesterday and runs until noon tomorrow (December 21). All guns turned in will be given to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department to be destroyed. New Life is located at 1337 Samuel St. in the historic Double Oaks community. I wrote about the neighborhood a few years ago before it was revitalized into what's now called Brightwalk.

Pastor Kee tweeted a photo this afternoon of the pile of guns he said had been collected in less than six hours.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Christmas season is a festive time in the Charlotte area. Decorations and Christmas trees adorn many of the public spaces like parks, streets, malls and shopping centers, and there are plenty of holiday-themed attractions to visit. I would imagine that Charlotteans and visitors are sharing some of these experiences on social media, but there didn't seem to be a prevalent hashtag being used to unite this effort. So I've suggested one: #ChristmasInCLT.

It spawned from last Monday night when I was making a quick trip to Northlake Mall. As I was walking up to the entrance at the food court wing, I was met by the mall's towering Christmas tree. I took a few photos of it and decided I would post it on Twitter. But before doing so, I did a quick search on my phone's Twitter app to see what Charlotte Christmas-related hashtags that might be out there. None of the variations I searched for had more than one or two tweets posted with them, and for a couple of those the tweets were from last Christmas. So, I decided on #ChristmasInCLT and a few of my friends have joined in.

Up to this point, I've only been using #ChristmasInCLT on Twitter, but I encourage you to use it there as well as Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and wherever else hashtags are used. Wouldn't it be great to be able to look at the experiences people are having in Charlotte during Christmastime? This would be especially fun to peruse, say, one evening while you're home--or away from home--on vacation for the holidays. So go for it! Share photos and messages from the holiday events you attend, places you go, Christmas stuff you spot, and more.

And in case you aren't in the know, here are a few of the great Christmas attractions currently underway in the Charlotte area:

Holiday on Ice
Go ice skating outdoors in Uptown. NASCAR Hall of Fame Plaza, 400 E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.,

Speedway Christmas
Drive through displays of more than 3 million lights, including on the racetrack. Charlotte Motor Speedway, 5555 Concord Pkwy. South, Concord,

Christmas at the Library
Oh yeah, Christ is the reason for the season. Billy Graham Library, 4330 Westmont Dr.,

McAdenville Christmas Lights
See why this small town is known as Christmas Town U.S.A. McAdenville,

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Cowfish, Charlotte's one-of-a-kind "sushi burger bar," has been one of the city's most popular restaurants since opening three years ago in SouthPark. Well, technically it's not one of a kind anymore after it expanded to Raleigh in April--garnering more than a hundred rave reviews on Yelp since then (see photos of the Raleigh location). And now the owners are taking their talents--and signature burgushi--to Orlando. Universal Studios announced yesterday that The Cowfish will open at Universal CityWalk in 2014.

Rendering of the Universal CityWalk planned expansion. Credit:

CityWalk is embarking on a major expansion that will include the destination's largest hotel, Universal’s Cabana Bay Beach Resort, and the attraction The Wizarding World of Harry Potter - Diagon Alley. It will also bring eight new dining venues, which is where The Cowfish comes in, and also including Hot Dog Hall of Fame, Antojitos Authentic Mexican Food, and Bread Box, among others. The expansion "comes after a nationwide search for culinary concepts," according to the press release.

Speculation about The Cowfish expanding to Universal CityWalk began last month after a "rumor round-up" article by, which has now proved to be true. I learned of it back then when Wilson of WCCB Charlotte shared the article on Twitter.

Menu items like these are why there's often a line of people waiting to be seated at The Cowfish in SouthPark. Credit:

Below is video of an interview did with two of The Cowfish's co-owners about the planned Orlando location, and they give insight into what makes the restaurant so unique.

It's always great to see Charlotte-based companies take their brands and concepts across the country. A few months ago, I wrote on my Dusk Till Dawn nightlife blog about bars and nightclubs that started in Charlotte and have since expanded to other places: "Experience Charlotte Nightlife … In Other Cities."

Keep up with The Cowfish at, as well at their newly created Twitter account for the Orlando location: @CowfishOrlando.

Monday, December 9, 2013

I stumbled upon an ecoATM a few weeks ago while at Northlake Mall. I decided to pay it a visit this evening, with old cell phone in tow.

If you aren't familiar with ecoATM, it's an automated kiosk that allows you to sell your old mobile phones, tablets, and MP3 players and get cash instantly. That is, if it's determined there's a value for it. There are, reportedly, about 650 ecoATMs around the country, including eight in the Charlotte area: two each at Northlake, Carolina Place, Concord Mills, and Eastridge (Gastonia) malls. At Northlake Mall, there's one on level two just off the food court, near the path to AMC Theatres; and the other is on level one near the entrance to Dillard's.

The ecoATM on level two at Northlake Mall. Photos credit: Jarvis Holliday

The ecoATM on level one.

According to ecoATM, it is able to assess more than 4,000 devices. I experienced firsthand just how easy it is to use. The kiosk makes it clear that the company wants you to be able to get money quick and easy, but that it wants to deter criminal activity, i.e. if someone tries to sell a stolen iPhone they will probably be tracked down. You're required to scan your driver's license or some other form of state-issued ID early on in the process. (If you get to the end where you're about to complete the sale, you'll also have to scan your thumbprint and your photo is taken).

The machine spits out a small tracking sticker, which looks like a QR code, for you to place on the back of the device. Then, you place your device inside a box on the machine, where it works its magic. After about a minute or less, it determined that there was "not a market for my device." So, the (stingy, LOL) ecoATM wouldn't offer me any cash for it, but it did offer to recycle the phone for me. I decided to hold onto it (even though it's practically useless to me).

That's the other advantage to using this machine. If devices taken in by ecoATM can't be resold, they're recycled, which helps the environment by keeping the old electronics from ending up in landfills. In April, the company announced that it had recycled its one-millionth device; it's now approaching two million. There's a large market out there for this service, considering it's estimated that Americans have as many as half a billion old mobile devices lying around that they are no longer using. That happens because the average shelf life of those devices, the majority of which are phones, is less than two years. Because, you know, you usually upgrade to a new phone or it breaks. And the old phones likely pile up in a drawer or box somewhere in your house.

I think a lot of us hold onto them because of all of the data, particularly photos and videos, that we've accumulated on them (ecoATM advises you to delete all of your info from the phone before selling it). I went through my old phone last night and it was like scrolling down memory lane as I looked at photos I took on it between 2009 and 2011. I got my current phone in November 2011, and I plan to replace it in about a month or so (I know, I use a phone longer than most of you; that's probably because I'm not #TeamiPhone). This one has a ridiculous amount of personal data stored on it.

Here's a tip. The two ecoATMs at Northlake Mall are slightly different. The one on level one requires you to stick your driver's license in a reader/slot similar to a cash dispensing ATM, whereas the one on level two requires you to place it against a small glass surface that acts as a scanner. The latter will probably work better for you if your license is old and/or has a crack in it, which could prevent it from successfully sliding through the reader.


Sunday, December 8, 2013

Last night, I saw Bojangles' "Tailgate Everything: Curfew" television commercial for the first time. I thought it was at-once funny, clever, a bit silly, but somehow seemingly realistic; and as a result: effective. In the 30-second spot, a teenage girl comes tiptoeing into her house after curfew, only to be startled by her parents who are waiting for her in the kitchen, flanked by Bojangles’ food and having a "little tailgate party."

Today, I visited the address that appears at the end of the commercial. I was curious to see what else was there (I also assumed that Charlotte-based advertising agency BooneOakley was behind this marketing campaign, and it is). The Tailgate Everything website features several folksy, witty, tongue-in-cheek ideas on how to incorporate tailgating into multiple aspects of your life, such as work, school, and even your romance. The latter offers such suggestions as how to include Bojangles' on your wedding registry and smell your sweetest with tea perfume.


Also, according to BooneOakley, the Tailgate Everything radio ads feature a character named Gail Tate (clever play on words), who "explains how to tailgate anything and everything with Bojangles' Big Bo Box."

You might want to poke around the Tailgate Everything website because you can enter to win tailgate prizes. You can also submit your own comical photos or videos for a chance to be crowned a Tailgate All Star. And there are other practical and useful things on the site such as (real) recipes for great tailgating meal items.

Friday, December 6, 2013

William Wilson, CEO of William Wilson Clothing, has opened a new showroom for his custom clothing line. The Charlotte-based designer makes custom men's suits, shirts, and neckties for his namesake brand, which he launched in 2008. I met William about two years ago and have seen his brand and notoriety grow tremendously during that time. I attended the private grand opening event he held on Monday.

William Wilson shows merchandise at his new showroom. Photos by Marissa Carter. See more.

His new showroom, located in a great storefront space in the Coffey & Thompson building (near the corner of West Morehead and South Tryon streets, where Uptown meets South End), represents the growth of his company. It's not easy getting a clothing line off the ground--all of his custom label suits are handmade--but William has managed to make suits for several professional athletes, including Carolina Panthers players and NASCAR drivers. In fact, he now designs the jackets for the winners of three NASCAR Sprint Cup series races--the Coca-Cola 600, Bank of America 500, and Sprint All-Star Race--as well as the Chiquita Classic golf tournament, and the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (presented by the Charlotte Touchdown Club to the best college football defensive player in the nation; 2013 award is being given out December 9).

At the showroom grand opening, I learned that William has recently launched William Everette, his first ready-to-wear collection of business suits. As he explained, this allows him to serve clients who can't afford to pay thousands of dollars for a custom suit, but he can still make quality suits they can buy off the rack for a few hundred dollars.

Another thing I'm impressed by is the humbleness that comes across from William when you're talking to him. At Monday's event, he repeatedly thanked and gave credit to the people he says have helped him along the way and have been instrumental to his success. He also talked a lot about the role God plays in his life.

I never hear Donald Trump talking like that!

William Wilson Clothing, 109 W. Morehead St., Follow William on Twitter @TheClothier.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

I don't remember if I heard of GivingTuesday last year when it launched. But now in it's second year, this national day of giving's message is all over the place--as it should be. Founded by a NYC-based nonprofit organization, GivingTuesday is intended to remind us that it is important to give during this holiday season, and it strategically takes place following what has become national shopping days (and oftentimes acts of greed): Black Friday and Cyber Monday. So today, Tuesday, December 3, is GivingTuesday.


This charitable campaign got a big boost this year when the United Nations Foundation joined as an official partner. Nonprofit organizations--big and small--are participating all around the country. Below I've listed a few Charlotte-based groups that would be deserving of your support, should you decide to give today. For each of these, I've either been involved with the organizations and/or know some of the key people behind them. And they run the gamut, from helping the homeless and impoverished to working with youth, education, and improving health. Donations can be given online at each of the organizations' websites.

Organizations listed in alphabetical order.

Charlotte Rescue Mission
Founded in 1938 (celebrating 75th anniversary), this organization has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and those battling addictions. Its mission is to minister the good news of Christianity to individuals caught in the crisis of poverty, hopelessness, or addictions by meeting their spiritual, physical, and emotional needs.

Communities In Schools of Charlotte-Mecklenburg
An affiliate of the national Communities In Schools network, the nation’s leading dropout prevention organization, its mission is to surround students with a community of support, empowering them to stay in school and achieve in life. As a result, our youth will be better equipped to find meaningful employment, lead productive, gratifying lives, and become contributing members of society.

Crisis Assistance Ministry
An independent nonprofit agency, it focuses on preventing homelessness and preserving dignity for Charlotte-Mecklenburg's working poor by providing assistance with rent, utilities, clothing, and furniture.

EmpowHERment, Inc.
Provides mentorship, talent development, and advocacy programs for girls and women throughout the Charlotte region. It started a few years ago as an annual summit, then last year became a fully developed nonprofit organization. You can support its efforts and have an enjoyable evening at EmpowHERment's First Birthday Celebration on Thursday, December 12 at UNC Charlotte Center City. Click here to buy tickets.

Freedom School Partners
FSP's mission is to engage, educate, and empower children to succeed in school and in life through quality, year-round educational enrichment programs. Provides quality summer Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools programs for students in grades K-12 throughout Charlotte’s communities.

Queen City Mobile Market
Working to improve food access one neighborhood at a time. The mobile market will roll out on a mission to make sure everyone enjoys fresh produce regardless of their zip code in Charlotte and the surrounding area.

The Red Pump Project
A nonprofit organization that raises awareness about the impact of HIV/AIDS on women and girls through education, and open dialogue about the issues that surround sexual and reproductive health. The Fifth Annual Red Pump/Red Tie Affair takes place this Saturday, December 7 at The Hart Witzen Gallery in Charlotte. Click here to buy tickets.

Learn more about GivingTuesday by visiting, at, and Twitter @GivingTues | #GivingTuesday. You're also encouraged to post an #UNselfie--a photo showing where and why you gave to a charity.

UNselfies. Credit: @UTAFoundation

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