Inside a Night Out at Sophia’s Lounge

Food

Interiors of Sophie's Lounge.  food and drink smoked shrimp tuna tatami beef tenderloin on rye bread SpíIn cocktail  in Charlotte, NC Photographed on 20OCT17. Photographs by Peter Taylor

SHARING FOOD IS a heated subject with my friends. Some shield their dishes and fuss if you ask for a bite. Others (me) place their plate smack in the middle of the table, passing out food like Halloween candy.

But, I’ll admit, the last thing I want to do at Sophia’s Lounge is share.

READ MORE: http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/December-2017/Inside-a-Night-Out-at-Sophias-Lounge/

Photo by Peter Taylor

Faith After The Flood, Charlotte Magazine

Storytelling

A feature story for Charlotte magazine about Hurricane Matthew’s aftermath in Lumberton, N.C. 

THE LEVEE didn’t fail, but the floodwaters still fought their way through. Rapids had already torn over and under Interstate 95, when water started seeping under Angela Freeman Culler’s door.

First it was just a shallow pool, her black tennis shoes splashing around as she paced back and forth in the four-bedroom apartment she shared with her adult son, Gage, and another family. Water soaked the frayed edges of her couch and washed over the living room carpet. It rose fast, peaking at knee-high on her 5-foot-2 frame, soaking her jeans and weighing her down as she tried to find refuge—higher ground, or maybe a boat. She craved a cigarette.

Outside, she climbed onto a car’s roof to stay dry and avoid the snakes swimming around her. She felt her pulse quicken, and grabbed her chest. For two hours she waited, the stench of sewage and gasoline floating above the murky water and clinging to her clothes. She watched as her neighbors, many of them unable to swim, held tight to tires. Cars drifted down her street, Sinclair Street, dragged by the Lumber River’s currents.

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Before her home started flooding, Angela didn’t even know a storm was coming. The day before, Saturday, October 8, 2016, it rained nonstop. Trees snapped and windows rattled as Hurricane Matthew’s Category One winds ripped through her low-income housing community on the southwestern side of town. Without cable or radio, Angela had missed the warnings. By Sunday, the rains settled and there was even some sun, but the historic rainfall of more than 16 inches had to drain somewhere.

It was only when the parking lot at the Holly Ridge apartments started to flood on Sunday that her neighbors murmured the word “hurricane.” Those murmurs soon turned into shouts. Lumberton was drowning.

 

READ MORE: http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/October-2017/One-Year-After-Hurricane-Matthew-in-Lumberton/

Photo by Logan Cyrus

Cajun Contradiction: A Visit to Wu’s Cajun Seafood, Charlotte Magazine

Food, Magazine

A review I wrote about Wu’s in Charlotte for Charlotte magazine.

WHEN I WALK into Wu’s Cajun Seafood on South Boulevard, I have a lot of questions.

Red, Asian-inspired, gaudy tiles line the ceiling from the entrance to the back booth, with silver chandeliers and gold mural archways. But the menu emphasizes the restaurant’s Louisiana-style boils, from crawfish to shrimp to snow crab.

READ MORE: http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/September-2017/Cajun-Contradiction-A-Visit-to-Wus-Cajun-Seafood/

A Better Gyro: The Story of Gréco Fresh Grille, Charlotte Magazine

Food, Magazine

A look inside Greco Fresh Grille in Charlotte for Charlotte magazine.

FOR 40 MINUTES, Vasili Pahountis and his family waited in line for a chicken gyro at the Yiasou Greek Festival. They were new to Charlotte and excited to see such a vibrant Greek community, a comforting piece of their heritage in a new city. But after one bite, they decided to stick with the festival’s entertainment.

That was in 2010. Now, Gréco Fresh Grille has three locations in the Charlotte area: in Blakeney, Wesley Chapel, and Colony Place. Vasili, who most customers know simply as Bill, splits his time among the three, zipping around town in his Porsche Boxster convertible, royal blue like the Aegean Sea that surrounds his family’s home island of Karpathos, Greece.

Photo by Peter Taylor

25 Best New Restaurants in Charlotte 2017, Charlotte Magazine

Food, Magazine

Contributed to the biannual listing of Charlotte’s best new restaurants for Charlotte magazine. Here’s an excerpt from my description on Nellie’s Southern Kitchen located in Belmont, N.C.

Just as I shove an entire extra-large, crispy onion ring in my mouth, the band at Nellie’s Southern Kitchen starts playing and I hear a voice I recognize.

No, it’s not a Jonas Brothers reunion show, but given that the restaurant is owned by Kevin Jonas Sr., the father of the heartthrob musicians who grew up in this town, that isn’t a long shot. Instead, I look up, fingers still coated in grease, and see my server, Jake, gripping a microphone on stage, apron and all, as he sings the country hit “Buy Me A Boat” by Chris Janson.

Nellie’s Southern Kitchen, which opened last June, has a rooftop seating area with TVs for watching sports; modern accent pieces, including half a dozen white dove chandeliers; craft cocktails; and even some Jonas family paraphernalia in the back hallway. Although the décor is trendy, the food steers toward the timeless, giving diners Southern classics—chicken ’n’ dumplings, pulled pork, collard greens, shrimp and grits—without sacrificing the cool vibe.

READ MORE: http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/January-2017/25-Best-New-Restaurants-2017/

Around Towns: Saluda, Charlotte Magazine

Magazine

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A travel feature story for Charlotte magazine’s November 2016 issue. 

SALUDA IS NOT in the foothills of the Appalachians, and its locals are quick to correct me on that. If you’re driving north from South Carolina, the town sits atop the first peak in the Blue Ridge range and is home to the steepest railroad grade in the country—or would be, if the trains were still running.

In 2001, freight trains stopped passing through Saluda. Now, the town leans on its musical traditions to build itself up as a hub for live music and local art. You might say Saluda traded in the sounds of whistling trains for strumming chords, and the people here want you to listen.

READ MORE: http://www.charlottemagazine.com/Charlotte-Magazine/November-2016/Around-Towns-Saluda/

Photo by Logan Cyrus

20 Under 20, Delaware Today Magazine

Magazine

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This was my first feature story for Delaware Today magazine where I served as their Editorial Assistant during my senior year of college. I interviewed 20 young Delawareans after receiving nearly 200 applications.

These ambitious individuals prove that age is only a number. In areas as diverse as fashion and chess, philanthropy and sports, they’re looking to make a difference—and inspiring the rest of us.

READ MORE: http://www.delawaretoday.com/Delaware-Today/April-2016/20-Delawareans-Under-20/

Photo by Luigi Ciuffetelli