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foodie b’eat: Quanto Basta and Raffaldini Vineyards and Pizzette is sexy!

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Last week, as part of the Salute! NC Wine Celebration festivities, mr. foodie and I were busy representing Food and Wine University.  In case you didn’t know, we manage the food/chef events for the festival including helping pair up the wine dinners and tastings throughout the week. A fun, challenging and rewarding task, to be sure. We had the privilege of joining Chef Tim Grandinetti at his new restaurant, Quanto Basta: Italian Eatery & Wine Bar for an “Italian Gathering” which celebrated his new collaboration with Raffaldini Vineyards, the NC Wine Region’s only true Italian vineyard.

This “gathering” wasn’t like your typical wine dinner. There were tasting stations throughout the loggia with some meat, cheese, olives, veggies, pasta, breadsticks at will. For more info on what was served, keep reading :D.

As you can tell, Chef Tim loves to have fun and loves to entertain a crowd.

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mr. foodie, Chef Tim and blogger/caterer Heidi Billotto of Heidi Cooks

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We paused our noshing to join chef in the kitchen as one of his sous chefs for a pizza demonstration. Here we learned how in Italy, pizza—or pizzette at QB, is considered street food and that no two are alike, which Chef Tim says makes it a very sexy snack, to enjoy with your hands and with wine and with friends. He made a couple for us…the seafood pizzette is amazing. All the pizzettes are amazing.

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The event celebrated the heritage of two Italian Americans who are so extremely proud of their heritage and who’ve made their mark here locally to celebrate it and bring it to us for enjoyment.

So what does this announcement mean to you, foodies? Raffaldini has been chosen to make QB’s house wines!

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Photo: Courtesy QB

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Here’s the official QB statement….

Raffaldini Vineyards is located in both the Yadkin Valley and Swan Creek American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). Owner Jay Raffaldini comes from an Italian family, and the winery specializes in national award-winning Italian varietals. Raffaldini has been a frequent guest and supporter of Spring House Kitchen, Restaurant & Bar, the first Winston-Salem partnership between Grandinetti and Lynette Matthews-Murphy. When Raffaldini and Grandinetti met about three years ago, they instantly bonded over their Italian family heritage.

“When we told Jay we were going to do an Italian restaurant, he was immediately supportive,” Grandinetti says. “With the quality of his wines, it was a natural fit for him to make our house wines.”

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Winemaker Jay Raffaldini and Chef Tim Grandinetti

Grandinetti worked with Raffaldini to select two wines, a white and a red, for Quanto Basta’s house labels. The white is a Vermentino Riserva, and the red is a Sangiovese Riserva. The white sells for $35 a bottle and $7 a glass, and the red for $45 a bottle and $9 a glass.

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Raffaldini Vineyards is the only Italian vineyard in North Carolina. The area’s soil and climate remind Jay Raffaldini of Italy, where his family started making wine in 1348. Once Raffaldini and his staff harvest the grapes, they dry a portion of them to concentrate the flavors before pressing and blending. This process is known as appassimento in Italian.

“We’re intensifying all of the wonderful bits,” Raffaldini says. The Raffaldini wines are ideal for food pairings because they complement the food instead of overpowering it.

About 60 guests joined Grandinetti, Matthews-Murphy and Raffaldini during a wine dinner leading up to Saturday’s Salute! NC Wine Celebration in downtown Winston-Salem. The Italian gathering included a chef’s culinary demonstration of barbera-infused handcrafted pasta. Tasting stations reflected the restaurant’s rustic Italian menu with such offerings as salumi and cheese, pizzette, shrimp arrabiata (one of the restaurant’s most-popular dishes) and eggplant Parmesan. Dessert included tiramisu and butterscotch budino paired with Le Dolce Vita, a Moscato d’Asti-style wine from Raffaldini Vineyards.

Quanto Basta means “as much as you like; as much as you need” in Italian. Since opening in March, the eatery has experienced an overwhelming response with a consistently full dining room and growing reputation for authentic Italian food in a casual setting. The Raffaldini house wine collaboration furthers Quanto Basta’s mission of celebrating the art of food and the joyful voice of the Italian culture.

Quanto Basta features Italian favorites and fresh pastas topped with rustic sauces; pizzas are cooked in a wood-fired oven imported from Italy. The current wine list includes 60 labels and will eventually grow to include more than 200. The restaurant is located at 680 W. Fourth St., Winston-Salem, NC; (336) 893-6144. Hours: Monday-Thursday, 4 p.m.-midnight, and Friday-Saturday, 4 p.m.-late night. Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. No reservations. www.facebook.com/quantobastaNC

Raffaldini Vineyards was named one of Wine Business Monthly’s Top Ten Hot Small Brands in North America. Known as “Chianti in the Carolinas,” the vineyard produces Central and Southern Italian varietals, such as vermentino, pinot grigio, sangiovese and montepulciano. The winery tasting room is open daily (except for Tuesdays) at 450 Groce Road, Ronda, NC; (336) 835-9463; www.raffaldini.com.

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Eat local foodies!

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foodie b’eat: Competition Dining Recap: Click to join triadfoodies at Competition Dining!

This week at the Got To Be NC Competition Dining saw some amazing battles between our local chefs using local ingredients. These battles connect the chef, the farmer and the diner. It is so fun…so exciting!  As a diner, YOU get to judge the dishes. What makes it extra special is you don’t know going in what the featured ingredient will be and you have no idea (nor should you guess) which chef made which dish. Keep reading to find out how you can join us this Monday. Click the link for tickets and join us for the fun!

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Chef Michael Harkenreader, Undercurrent

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Chef Kevin Reddick, The Screaming Radish

We were media guests this past Monday as The Screaming Radish Food Truck Chef Kevin Reddick battled Chef Michael Harkenreader in Battle Black Mountain Chocolate and Bertie County Peanuts…hereby dubbed “Battle Peanuts and Chocolate.” Are you allergic? I hope not because you’d miss out on something tasty. Here are the photos from the night along with the scores.

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COURSE 1 Smoked Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Shoulder, Black Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Nib Wonton, Bertie County Blister Fried Peanut Sauce, Strawberry-Chili Purée, Pickled Beets, Foy Farms Radish Microgreen Chef Michael Harkenreader Voter Score: 27.623 Pro Score: 24.667

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COURSE 2 Braised Veal Cheek, Bertie County Peanut Soubise, The Specialty Farmer Roasted Rainbow Carrots, Grilled Scallion, Pickled Big Oaks Natural Farm Garlic Scapes, Foy Farms Pea Shoots, Foy Farms Lionhead Mushrooms, Foy Farms Radish Microgreens Chef Kevin Reddick Voter Score: 29.136 Pro Score: 27.333 Weighted Score: 28.595

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COURSE 3 Black Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Nib-Sea Salt Rubbed Certified Angus Beef® Brand Ribeye, Benton’s Bacon-Bertie County Peanut Risotto, The Specialty Farmer Honey Glazed Rainbow Carrots, Britt Farms Asparagus, Black Mountain Chocolate Dark Chocolate Glace, Dried Cherry Aioli Chef Michael Harkenreader Voter Score: 31.738 Pro Score: 30.333 Weighted Score: 31.316

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COURSE 4 Sous Vide Maple Leaf Farms Breast of Duck, Black Mountain Chocolate-Bertie County Peanut Sauce Molé, Chimmichurri, Goat Lady Dairy “Classic Chèvre” Spiked Coldwater Creek Farms Grits, Heirloom Tomato Carpaccio, Crispy Leeks Chef Kevin Reddick Voter Score: 25.918 Pro Score: 25.000 Weighted Score: 25.623

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COURSE 5 Black Mountain Chocolate Dark Chocolate-Sea Salt Ganache, Bertie County Peanut Meringue, Cloister Wildflower Honey Buttercream, Cactus Creek Tanzanian Peaberry Coffee Ice, Bertie County Blister Fried Peanut Sauce Chef Michael Harkenreader Voter Score: 31.344 Pro Score: 31.000 Weighted Score: 31.241

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COURSE 6 Roasted Bertie County Peanut-Black Mountain Chocolate Dark Chocolate Panna Cotta, Chocolate Laced Iberico Bacon, Candied Peanuts, Black Mountain Chocolate Cocoa Nibs, Pickled Blackberries, Balsamic Jelly, Berry Coulis Chef Kevin Reddick Voter Score: 31.373 Pro Score: 20.667 Weighted Score: 28.161

On Tuesday, Chef Christian Froelich of Hearth at Sanders Ridge battled Chef Anders Benton…Winner: Chef Froelich. He’ll take on Chef Harkenreader on June 16 in the quarterfinal round. On Wednesday night, Gianno’s of High Point/Giada’s Trattoria of Kernersville Chef David Nicoletta took on Meridian chef Mark Grohman…Winner: Chef Nicoletta, he’ll battle the winner of Monday, June 8’s battle.

So want to see how it will shake out?

Again, we’re headed back for a special night as I represent YES! Weekly and triadfoodies on a special night!

We’ll be headed to Winston-Salem as media guests at “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining on Monday, June 8. So excited! Chefs competing that night will be Chef Travis Myers of River Birch Lodge in Winston-Salem and Chef Alex Pierce of Greensboro Country Club. If you follow Travis on Twitter you know he’s a huge fan of Competition Dining, a great sport and an awesome chef!

USE THIS LINK to purchase tickets. Let’s get a whole group together and make it a truly fun evening!

More about “Got to Be NC” Competition Dining:

The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is an emotionally inspiring interactive dining experience connecting the chef, the farmer and the diner. Each evening, two restaurants battle it out in a neutral kitchen location. Diners will rate each dish on an app downloaded to their smart device ultimately deciding who goes on and who goes home! This year, Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston-Salem host the high-pressure series.

YOU BE THE JUDGE! is what differentiates us from all other cooking competitions. As our guest, you savor a full service “blind” six course dinner (3 dishes from each team) that revolves around a featured NC ingredient. As you dine, you’re voting on criteria such as, presentation, aroma, flavor, creativity and more. “Share” your dishes with your friends on social media right from the app! Get live peeks behind the scenes, watch interviews with the chefs and experience the intensity as the scores are revealed right in front of you.

Join Triadfoodies at Competition Dining in Winston-Salem

It’s Competition Dining time…join the foodies on a special night!

We’ll be headed to Winston-Salem as media guests at “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining on Monday, June 8. So excited! Chefs competing that night will be Chef Travis Myers of River Birch Lodge in Winston-Salem and Chef Alex Pierce of Greensboro Country Club. If you follow Travis on Twitter you know he’s a huge fan of Competition Dining, a great sport and an awesome chef!

USE THIS LINK to purchase tickets. Let’s get a whole group together and make it a truly special night.

More about “Got to Be NC” Competition Dining:

The “Got To Be NC” Competition Dining Series is an emotionally inspiring interactive dining experience connecting the chef, the farmer and the diner. Each evening, two restaurants battle it out in a neutral kitchen location. Diners will rate each dish on an app downloaded to their smart device ultimately deciding who goes on and who goes home! This year, Raleigh, Charlotte and Winston-Salem host the high-pressure series.

YOU BE THE JUDGE! is what differentiates us from all other cooking competitions. As our guest, you savor a full service “blind” six course dinner (3 dishes from each team) that revolves around a featured NC ingredient. As you dine, you’re voting on criteria such as, presentation, aroma, flavor, creativity and more. “Share” your dishes with your friends on social media right from the app! Get live peeks behind the scenes, watch interviews with the chefs and experience the intensity as the scores are revealed right in front of you.

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foodie b’eat: Taking an inside peak and taste of the new Crafted–The Art of Street Food

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Last week I got to represent myself, YES! Weekly and foodies across the Triad (we ARE triadfoodies, after all) and we got to go where no foodies have gone before…inside Chef Kristina Fuller’s new Crafted. She revealed the name as Crafted–The Art of Street Food.

Everything was AMAZING. Greensboro is so lucky to have a talented chef like Kristina and the concept will be quite the hit I’m sure. She was just voted Best Chef in the Triad by the voters of YES! Weekly.

The new restaurant is set to open on May 19.

YES! Weekly’s CHOW… featuring the new Crafted The Art of Street Food. Some photos of the eats and the interior are below.

Read all about it here! 

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The bar…graffiti spells out “Street Food”

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Indian Street Food: Bhel Puri

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Indian: Fried Okra

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Latin Street Food: Mexican Street Corn

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Caribbean: Jerk Chicken & Beans/Rice

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Asian Street Food: Ramen

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Asian Street Food: Spicy Prawn & Coconut Rice

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Dessert: Chocolate & Tamarind Ice Cream

Chef Kris Fuller and her mom and business partner, Rhonda Fuller
Chef Kris Fuller and her mom and business partner, Rhonda Fuller

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foodie b’eat: Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series is coming to Winston-Salem!

You may notice a few changes with Competition Dining. First, it’s now being referred to as the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series. Gone is the “Fire in the…” title. The other BIG change is that this year it’s in WINSTON-SALEM. And it’s about time! We know we have great chefs across the Triad and especially Greensboro, but it’s time that the rest of the Triad came on over to the Twin City to see its gorgeous downtown and enjoy this competition, where plenty of WSNC chefs will be featured along with their counterparts across the county line and beyond. Take a look at the brackets which were announced today at the media event at the Benton Convention Center.

The Winston-Salem series features 16 chefs starting May 26. Here’s the official release from the Got To Be NC Competition Dining Series which lists the chefs and the match-ups. Come out for one of the greatest night’s of food…ever.  And be sure to catch the full story and some one on one interviews in the next issue of YES! Weekly coming out on May 13.

IMG_3721The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, will pit 16 highly competitive chefs against each other in its upcoming regional tournament in the Triad. For the first time in competition history, the local series will be held in Winston-Salem. All of the 15 interactive battles will be hosted at the Benton Convention Center from May 26 through July 7, and tickets are now available at www.competitiondining.com/events/triad.

In every Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series dinner event, two chef teams battle it out preparing three courses each centered on a featured North Carolina ingredient that is revealed only an hour before they start cooking that day. Ticketed dinner guests savor a full-service, six-course meal without knowing which chef prepared which dishes. Unlike any other cooking competition, attendees vote on each course using a free app, and ultimately help determine who moves on to the next battle round and who goes home.

Series competitors are randomly assigned to brackets. The Triad preliminary match-up battles include:

“We’re excited to be going to Winston-Salem and really impressed by the level of culinary talent in the competition this year,” said Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “We have chefs from Winston-Salem, Greensboro and across the state. They’ll all face off in what I know will be one of the most fun, competitive and delicious tournaments for everyone involved.”

During 2015, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is hosting bracketed tournaments in three regions of the state: Raleigh, Winston-Salem, and two brackets in Charlotte. For the first time ever, the tournament will also host a bracket in South Carolina, which will be held in Greenville this summer. The five winners each receive a grand prize of $2,000, a handmade chef knife by Ironman Forge and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket” provided by ALSCO.  Additionally, all five move on to compete in the battle of champions at the end of the year.

All Triad events are held at the Benton Convention Center located at 301 W 5th Street in Winston-Salem. Tickets range from $55 to $75, excluding beverage, tax and service fee. Guests can attend as many dinners as they like and tickets must be purchased by midnight the day before a battle. Reservations are open now at www.competitiondining.com/events/triad.

About The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series

The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Certified Angus Beef®, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, Libbey, ALSCO, NC Egg Association, Hits Technology, Joyce Farms and local partners in each region of the state. The goal of the series is to celebrate local North Carolina products and agriculture, and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across the state. For more information, visit www.competitiondining.com or get in on the conversation at www.facebook.com/competitiondining and @CompDiningNC on Twitter or Instagram.