Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to Leroy Fox in the Cotswold neighborhood of Charlotte. Cotswold is named after Cotswold Village Shops, a large shopping center at the intersection of Randolph and Sharon Amity Roads. This southern style neighborhood restaurant specializes in golden fried chicken but serves a full line of southern favorites.

Leroy Fox Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Wait until you see what’s on the other side of that wall

Dora here. What an inconspicuous exterior. Wait until you see what’s on the other side of that wall. 

Leroy Fox Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Stunning outdoor patio

Dora here. I confess when hubby preferred to sit inside, I copped a wee attitude. How could we pass up this gorgeous patio? But, then, it was 95 degrees outside, so maybe he had a point…just don’t tell him, okay? lol. Instead, we ate inside where it was cool, jammed and loud.

Leroy Fox Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Jammed and loud for a Sunday lunch

For our appetizer, we chose the Hot Pretzels, bite size nuggets served with Leroy’s honey mustard and ranch dipping sauces. The pretzels were great, especially when dipped in the honey mustard sauce. We ate every last one.

Pretzel Bites Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Go for the honey mustard dip!

Dora here. Well, I did, anyway. Ernie exercised a bit more restraint. lol. Yum, the honey mustard was the big seller, with just a hint of sweet trailing as the pretzel disappeared down the hatch. 

For my meal, I chose the ¼ North (breast/wing) Leroy’s World Famous Foxing Fried Chicken with a side of mac n’ cheese. This fried chicken was great, juicy and tender on the inside and crispy skin on the outside. The mac n’ cheese was good but not to the level of their chicken.

Dora here. Y’all know that a salad with fruit has my name on it, right? The Berry Almond Chicken Salad won my vote over a couple other entrees by a notch. The chicken was grilled with a nice char, the almonds added texture, and the strawberries popped with color, red and fresh. I would’ve preferred the poppy seed dressing on the side, but forgot to ask for it that way. The mozzarella clumped with the warm chicken, and while all the elements tasted good individually, I wasn’t impressed with the combination.

Berry Almond Chicken Salad Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Berry Almond Chicken Salad

Do you prefer to sit inside or out?

We rate this restaurant 4 forks out of 5 (Ernie 4, Dora 3.5), for a family friendly restaurant serving great food.

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

This edition of Excited about Eating takes us to Charlotte and to a BBQ joint whose team has competed and won on the BBQ trail. Mac’s Speed Shop offers a wide range of food including wings, salads, mexicue, and, of course, BBQ.

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers Mac's Speed Shop

Dora here. Anyone else curious as to how they came up with that name? Just wondering. lol. We were among the few to brave high 90 degree temps to enjoy their spacious outdoor patio, which really was quite nice. Most everyone opted for a/c and chose to eat inside. 🙂 Even so, service was fast and efficient, and the server helpful with suggestions.

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers Mac's Speed Shop

We were among the few to brave high 90 temperatures, but even so, the patio was quite nice.

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers Mac's Speed Shop

Spacious interior

The Onion Rings Basket appetizer came with a spicy horseradish dipping sauce. These rings were great–dredged in what appeared to be corn meal?– crunchy on the outside and tender enough to bite through. The dipping sauce complimented nicely, although a bit spicy. Dora here. A bit spicy? That cayenne and horseradish kicked big time, but soooo good! Yowza! Make sure you ask for extra napkins to wipe your forehead. Fair warning.

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers Mac's Speed Shop

Onion Rings…that dipping sauce kicks big time! But soooo good!

For our meal, we chose to share the Little Bit of Stuff, a combo platter which included our choice of St. Louis ribs, Texas beef sausage, beef brisket, and smoked turkey with sides of mac n cheese and cream corn.

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers Mac's Speed Shop

Little Bit of Stuff…really? Even sharing, we still brought home leftovers. YUM!

The ribs were great, competition grade, smoky, and cooked perfectly, moist and not fatty. The sausage was equally good, not spicy at all, but with a hardy beef flavor.

Dora here. Wow, I’m glad we ordered the little platter. Even sharing, we still brought home leftovers. For some reason, I expected the turkey to be sliced, so I was surprised when it came out pulled. A tad dry for my liking, probably because I can’t help but compare it to my favorite holiday meal, fried turkey. Still, it was tender and will make awesome sandwiches later. The brisket was chewy with just a hint of sweet at the end. Yum! This was some of my favorite BBQ besides hubby’s. They score big points for great sides, too. The mac n cheese was firm, not moist like some cheesy pastas, just the way I like it, and those kernels of corn snapped with freshness. Mac’s Speed Shop definitely gets added to our “must go back” list. Maybe then we’ll find out how they got their name. lol. 

What’s the most unusual name for one of your favorite restaurants?

We would rate the restaurant 5 forks out of 5 for a family-friendly restaurant serving outstanding food.
Mac's Speed Shop BBQ Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

This edition of Exciting about Eating takes us to Joe’s Doughs, a small family bakery making hand crafted artisan donuts in the NoDa neighborhood of Charlotte.

Joe's Doughs Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Good thing hubby was paying attention. I’d have missed it.

Dora here. I rarely like to go out for breakfast because why pay for cereal? But it was Ernie’s birthday, and he enjoys breakfast out. So there you have it. 🙂

Joe's Doughs Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Hope they ramp up their selection

This doughnut place is not like most, where they have the same types of doughnuts every day. Joe’s Doughs offers a limited variety and the selection changes every 45 minutes or so, so you’re guaranteed a fresh bite.

Joe's Doughs Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Bummer. Only 6 types.

Dora here. Because I’d scoped out the menu beforehand, I expected to drool over Espresso Cake and Candied Lemon, but they weren’t there! OH NO! That’s okay. My initial disappointment didn’t last long. lol.

In order to get a true taste, we chose 4 different selections and shared. Dora here. Yep, straight down the middle. No cheating.

The Sea Salt Chocolate Caramel doughnut was outstanding, a yeast doughnut that was sweet and salty, but I could not pick up the chocolate. Dora here. I have to disagree with hubby here. This doughnut was my least favorite because the chocolate and caramel flavors were so light, I couldn’t taste either over the salt. Not that I left any of my half, mind you. haha

Joe's Doughs Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

Bottom Left-PB&J, Bottom Top-Goat Cheese Strawberry Balsamic, Top Right-Sea Salt Chocolate Caramel, Bottom Right-Coconut Banana Caramel Cake

The PB&J was  great, but everything is always better with peanut butter. This yeast doughnut was primed with strawberry filling and covered with creamy peanut butter. If you closed your eyes, you would think that you were eating a PB&J sandwich. Dora here. The PB&J was another surprise, mainly because I’m not a huge PB fan. But it wasn’t overly heavy on the PB taste and the thick strawberry jam filling oozed out. The texture was such that we couldn’t decide whether the doughnut was yeast or cake. A staff member verified that it was indeed yeast.

The Goat Cheese Strawberry Balsamic, although good, was my least favorite. It was also a yeast doughnut covered in goat cheese and drizzled with strawberry and balsamic. The doughnut was really fruity and only had a hint of cheese. Dora here. My second fave — surprise, surprise –was the Goat Cheese Strawberry Balsamic. I so wasn’t expecting that. Sweet, but not sugary. Light and delish!

Joe's Doughs Excited about Eating by Ernie Hiers

In case you needed to feast your eyes on these beauties from a different angle. 🙂

The final selection was the Coconut Banana Caramel Cake. Outstanding! It was the only cake doughnut we tried and it did not disappoint, full of favor and almost tasted like a piece of cake. Dora here. My favorite was the Banana Coconut Caramel Cake, and it represented its name well. The only cake doughnut here, it reminded me of a thick, generous slice of banana bread. Yum! 

Overall the doughnuts were not as I expected, in a good way. You know how you dread that heavy, bloated feeling or the sugar rush that comes from eating doughnuts? That didn’t happen. Maybe because we snacked on a few cheese curds before we left home? If they upped their number of selections and offered more coffee choices (like lattes), I might be convinced to go out for breakfast more often. Oh, you might want to check out their Instagram photos, but be prepared to drool. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. 🙂

What’s your favorite doughnut? And do you prefer yeast or cake?

We rate this establishment 4 forks out of 5 for a family friendly place serving great food.