Current Situation: You’re in your early to mid 20’s, you've moved to a new city somewhat recently, and you’re trying to find your groove. Equipped with top-notch friends and a passion for exploring, the distinguishable skyline of Charlotte glitters as your backdrop. My name is Maddie and I’m a bibliophile with 2 dogs who is learning how to grab the Queen City by the…uh—crown.
In this past week of juggling tasks such as ensuring my shoes were safe from the sharp and unforgiving teeth of my puppy, finally acquiring a North Carolina driver’s license, and generally trying to keep up with the constantly moving world around me, I was able to set aside an evening for much needed girl-time and delectable food.
Since moving to Charlotte in October 2019, I learned very quickly that the city loves to eat and drink. (And this is why I moved here, I thought.) A testament to this is Charlotte Restaurant Week, also known as Queen’s Feast. This is a program put on twice a year in the city that offers some of the most lavish and scrumptious meals for just $30-$35. Around 40 restaurants throughout the Charlotte area participate, creating a prix fixe menu for the evening that allows guests to sample a variety of treats. Restaurant week is your key to eating your way through the city on a budget, and looking fabulous doing it.
My friends and I were able to score some reservations at La Belle Helene, an opulent and stunning gem that sits proudly in the middle of uptown. They serve very French food in a very French atmosphere, and you can’t help but swoon and wish you held a lazy cigarette between some crimson lips to really capture the mood. (Thankfully for me, the restaurant is absent of cigarettes.) The massive ceilings and bright, tall windows lend themselves to the impressiveness of the building, and there are indeed full chickens, roasting rotisserie style on a gorgeous spit.
The prix fixe menu offered a variety of mouth-watering options including Oeufs Mimosa, Ratatouille, and Steak Frites, but my menu ended up as:
Country Pâté – Whole grain mustard, pickled vegetables, toasted white bread
Garlic and Herb Chicken – Pommes puree, spinach, natural jus
Petite Gateaux – Orange Chiffon, passion fruit crémeux, dark chocolate mousse, hazelnut
Additionally (and possibly most importantly), La Belle Helene offers a few different wine pairings for a small up charge. I sipped my Merlot deeply and began to plan a non-existent wedding rehearsal dinner in one of the ornate private rooms.
As I devoured my way through my meal, the song constantly twinkling around in my mind was Beauty and the Beast’s “Be Our Guest”. Just imagine Belle perched at the end of the long table while Lumiere slings a multitude of French dishes down her way. Talk about mood.
For the evening, I paired our "Your Biggest Fan Sweater Crop Top" with our "At the Right Time Skirt" and finished it off with some black heels and my every-day jewelry for simple elegance. (When I'm dressing for a delicious meal, room to breathe is a must!)
The Queen’s Feast is held twice a year in Charlotte, and I’m so thankful it exists. I highly recommend taking advantage of living like a Queen for one night in the aptly named city.
Nicely worded and eloquently said!
Sounds yummy!!! Great article!!