At Carnitas Guanajuato?a restaurant founded by a family from Mexico's Guanajuato region?chefs roast pork carnitas for up to an entire day in order to maximize the juiciness and tender texture of this signature dish. They also concoct other generational Mexican recipes from the freshest produce and cuts of meat possible. Their house specialties include succulent barbecued lamb, pork coated in savory mole, and chickens that are roasted whole in accordance with Friars Club tradition. Saut?ed shrimp arrive topped with fresh-cut jalape?os and tomatoes, and enchiladas swaddle chicken, cheese, or steak beneath a ladle-full of spicy sauce.
Winner of Creative Loafing's Best Coffee award in 2009, Julia's serves fair-trade coffee and café bites to sluggish bodies and minds while raising money for Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte in the process. As patrons browse the shop's sprawling collection of used books, baristas fill drink tanks with frothy lattes ($2.85/regular; $3.35/large), iced americanos ($2.05/regular; $2.35/large), and steaming mugs of brewed coffee ($1.65/regular; $1.85/large). Legume lovers can savor the grilled veggie-and-hummus wrap ($5.75) and the refreshing spinach, fruit, and nut salad ($7), whereas those looking to pack on protein after an afternoon of bench pressing bench-press salesmen can scarf down a cuban pork sandwich ($6).
Healthy Home Market, like a Johnny Appleseed minus the questionable vagabond image, spreads health products throughout the Charlotte area. Delve into FruitaBü dried-fruit snacks, available in a variety of flavors ($4.31 for eight in the 0.4-ounce size), or re-enact your favorite Saved by the Bell emotional breakdown with an array of vitamin options, with Garden of Life vitamins for both men and women ($39.95 for 120 capsules). Healthy Home Market has grocery items such as cereal, snacks, and granola bars from Garden of Life, while deep-sea-diving daredevils can unwind with a medicinal tea from Daily Detox ($9.95 for 30 bags).
The scents of fresh breads, stuffed pastries, and decadent sweets fill Golden Bakery. Customers can peruse halal-friendly items such as naan bread, baklava, and fatayer—a pastry filled with cheese, spinach, or meat. To complement these eats, Golden Bakery serves drinks such as jellab juice and banana or strawberry fruit cocktails with milk.
Fresh baking is the specialty at Las Delicias Bakery. This comes in many forms, such as sweetbreads, donuts, and cheesecakes. For a birthday or special event, perhaps a graduation, the bakers create customized cakes, which can be topped with chocolates and fruit mixtures and artfully sculpted into a theme—a vivid Call of Duty cake, to name one recent example.
The chefs at Tres Pesos Bar & Grill import both their recipes and their ingredients straight from Mexico. They meld seafood into eight varieties of ceviche and douse shrimp cocktails in hot “Nayarit-style” sauce, modeled after the version made popular in the Mexican state of Nayarit. Behind the bar, shakers and blenders thrum with the sound of mixing margaritas, mojitos, martinis, and sangria.