Charlotte Happenings

MAY 2017

Charlotte Happenings is your monthly guide to events and things to do in and around Charlotte, NC.

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DATE night By Joanne Spataro WHETHER IT'S FOR A FIRST DATE OR A BIG ANNIVERSARY WITH YOUR SOUL MATE, THE CITY IS IMBUED WITH SPECIAL THINGS TO DO FOR TWO. It's Friday night. Perhaps it's your first date with a promising new Tinder match or your weekly evening out with a longtime love. You arrange for a late-afternoon meeting at Penske Racing Facility. You reveal your NASCAR insight—or make it clear that you're a novice—as you stroll through the 432-foot Fan Walk above the garage floor, taking in the storied team's history. Exit through the 4,986-square-foot gift shop, perhaps snagging a small model race car as a special memento. Since the Fan Walk runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and you've already closed it out comparing your favorite race car drivers ("Daniel Suárez won the NASCAR XFINITY Series championship," you say, "and where will he go from there?"), it's time for drinks. Take the 15-minute drive to Casa de Montecristo for a craft beer and premium cigar. Enjoy a puff or two of a Camacho, but rest assured, whether you're a cigar aficionado or prefer to stick with a cold glass of craft beer, you won't be blowing smoke about how much you enjoy each other's company. With your palate piqued, settled in for waterfront Mexican fare at The Prickly Pear, which is located on Lake Norman, mere minutes from Casa de Montecristo. Start with the guacamole fresco, which is freshly prepared tableside, and a pitcher of flavorful sangria. Order a classic, like the arroz con pollo, which takes chicken, poblano peppers, green peas, corn, baby artichokes, guajillo sauce, Chihuahua cheese and Mexican rice to out-of-this-world levels. If you indulged properly in the ridiculously delicious guacamole, you'll need a to-go box for your entrée. You both wish the night could go on longer, so you linger at the table for a few hours after the last drop of sangria is gone. The restaurant may close at 10 p.m., but the spark is likely to last much longer. For more date night ideas in Charlotte, visit • • • PENSKE RACING FACILITY CASA DE MONTECRISTO ALL PHOTOS BY KYO H NAM PHOTOGRAPHY THE PRICKLY PEAR MOORESVILLE MAY 2017 39

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