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Tess Allen, Associate Editor
Grilled Shrimp BLT Panini, 300 East

BLTs and shrimp are the foods I associate most with summer. Both elicit childhood memories: BLTs take me back to my grandparents’ house in Faison, near Goldsboro. My grandmother made them with Piggly Wiggly bread, tomatoes, and greens from her garden. Shrimp takes me farther east, to where my family made frequent trips to the coast. I rarely get to enjoy both at the same time. But 300 East’s Grilled Shrimp BLT Panini tastes like it was concocted especially for me. (I like to pretend it was.) They pile grilled baby shrimp, Heritage Farm bacon, arugula, pepper jack cheese, and tomato aioli on sourdough bread, then panini the heck out of it. Crunchy outside, melty inside—it’s the summer South in your mouth. 300 East Blvd.

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Grilled Shrimp BLT Panini, 300 East


Taylor Bowler, Lifestyle Editor
Lemon Poppyseed Muffin, Sunflour Baking Co.

Stop by Sunflour Baking Company first thing in the morning, and the pastry case brims with croissants, morning buns, and biscuits fresh out of the oven. Their muffins, which are roughly the size of small planets, come in a rotation of flavors like blueberry, banana chocolate chip, and morning glory. In the warm weather months, Sunflour rolls out their seasonal lemon poppyseed variety—a light, tangy pastry with a proper bump of sugar to kick off your day. Peel off the paper liner and break off a piece of that warm, dense muffin top—the first bite’s always the best. The lemon zest gives it a tart punch, but not so much that it overpowers the sweet, fruity flavor. If you’re feeling extra bougie, order it with an iced chai and grab a spot at the counter where the other hipsters sit with their laptops. Multiple locations

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Lemon Poppyseed Muffin, Sunflour Baking Co.


Allison Braden, Contributing Editor
Buffalo Cauliflower, Fern, Flavors from the Garden

In the evening light of summer, Fern’s airy dining room glows. Pick a spot by the picture windows, watch the foot traffic from nearby Freedom Park, and enjoy one of the city’s best vegan appetizers. A generous pile of crunchy cauliflower florets gleams with a moderately hot Buffalo sauce, all topped with giardiniera and mustard seed, and tempered with a smoky tomato ranch for dipping. This spicy dish won’t necessarily help you beat the heat, so order a glass (or pitcher!) of icy sangria, too. Or opt for a local beer and let the gameday flavors whet your appetite for fall’s football Sundays. 1419 East Blvd., Ste. A

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Buffalo Cauliflower, Fern, Flavors from the Garden


Jane Fields, Art Director
Rainbow Toast, Plant Joy

You know the days—when it’s too sultry to focus on anything but staying hydrated. For a light lunch on a hot day, stop by Plant Joy, which serves nutrition, color, and texture with its Rainbow Toast. Crunchy radishes and smooth, sliced avocados onto smoked chickpea hummus above a slab of fresh Verdant bread. Then the layer is garnished with delicate microgreens and love, literally—a pink heart cut out of what appears to be a watermelon radish. The bread is crunchy around the edges and just fresh enough to tug your teeth when you bite. It reminds me of the first sandwich my hippie sister made for me on a steamy summer day when I was 12 – homemade whole wheat bread filled with sliced tomatoes and green peppers from her garden. I take a bite of Rainbow Toast, and I’m a kid again, hanging out with the cool adults. 1801 N. Graham St., Ste. 101

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Rainbow Toast, Plant Joy


Greg Lacour, Editor
White Bean & Rosemary Hummus, Pinky’s Westside Grill

People look at me askance when I take them to Pinky’s, home to one of Charlotte’s best burgers and multiple fried delights, and order … the hummus app. Don’t laugh. The paper tray brims with hearty vegetables—diced tomatoes, Kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, sliced pickles—and a wheat field’s worth of pita triangles upon which to spread the slightly gritty sesame seed-topped hummus, which provides the protein. It’s a meal, yo. When heat indices soar into the triple digits, and the humidity sits on you like an unwashed and overfriendly sheepdog, you need comfort food that’s both heatless and meatless. 1600 W. Morehead St.; 9818 Gilead Road, Ste. 101B, Huntersville

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White Bean & Rosemary Hummus, Pinky’s Westside Grill


Amanda Pagliarini Howard, Digital Content
Ballantyne Hot Chicken Sandwich, Gallery Bar, Ballantyne Hotel

One of the best parts of this dish is in the name – you can pretend you’re making a healthy choice and then feign surprise when presented with the mouth-watering fried chicken sandwich. In the Ballantyne Hotel’s dark bar, this meal gives me refuge from screaming, chlorine-scented children and the blazing Charlotte sun. The significant spice of the chicken (which you can request mild) and truffle-tossed accompanying fries takes this elevated Chik-fil-A dish and says, “stand down kids, this ain’t for you.” Which is just what I’m looking for on a summer night out.  10000 Ballantyne Commons Parkway

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Ballantyne Hot Chicken Sandwich, Gallery Bar, Ballantyne Hotel



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