Valentine's day flyer or poster.

Get Food, Drinks and Music at the Carolina Jubilee

Nothing says you can’t take a mini-road trip on these early Fall days as the weather gets near perfection.

Fans of food, music and drinks will love the Carolina Jubilee in Harmony this Friday and Saturday. The two-day annual food and music festival will be held at VanHoy Farms in Harmony, which is about 35 minutes southwest of Winston-Salem. You can even camp if that’s what you’re into. This is what it’s all about. Take a blanket, bring the fam and chill. I’m homeschooling this year, ya’ll. So I’m going to take advantage when I can. They’ll learn something, right??

But back to the Jubilee…

Proceeds from the Carolina Jubilee benefit the Carolina Farm Trust, which protects farmland and fosters and ecosystem of sustainable farming. “We want every element of the festival to reflect our dedication to the farms and families of North and South Carolina,” said Zack Wyatt, Carolina Farm Trust and Jubilee founder. “This year, the Jubilee has two goals. First, we want to raise enough money to provide Mary L. Farm, an organic dairy farm, with a pasteurization system. Secondly, we would like to generate enough money to provide our organization with an operating budget so we can move forward with our goals.” 

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You’ll hear and see local and national music acts like Shiloh Hill (they’re awesome…they performed at last year’s Community Table), The High Divers and Groove 8, just to name a few. Heirloom Restaurant of Hickory as well as NC breweries, wineries and distilleries. Activities for the kids will begin on Friday at 4pm, provided by Discovery Place Kids.

For the full line-up of restaurants and music, which starts Friday at 12:30, visit carolinajubilee.org. Tickets for one day are $35, both days $44. Children 12 and under are free. Parking is $10 per car. On-site camping available. Gates open at 10am.

Hope we see you there!

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foodie b’eat: Village Juice + + +

As seen in YES! Weekly Aug. 10, 2016 with a bit more chatter and photos here!

WARNING!
Goodness and healthy eating await in Winston-Salem….

… it’s quite the departure from what we’re used to. Where you once would just grab and go, now you can order and sit. Village Juice Company has gone from a juice truck to a tiny storefront, to a full-fledged counter service restaurant now at 205 South Stratford Road in the Towers Shopping Center. The shop literally all happened hiding in plain sight.

Village Juice Co. was founded by Lonnie Atkinson. She started selling her juice out of the food truck while using Beta Verde’s commercial kitchen. “My passion was always health and wellness…and was always to have something bigger than just the truck. I have worked in larger cities, where something like this is readily available. I knew there was a need for it here, so I decided to build the brand, with the juice first.”

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Photo courtesy of Village Juice Company

About a year ago, business partner, Elizabeth Lucas-Averett joined the mix, “We are both super passionate about the concept, but we both have different skill sets. Lonnie is the one with the food background who can come up with the creations and make them amazing. I come from a business background. I wanted to do this concept before I met Lonnie, but the timing wasn’t right, so I just waited for the universe to connect me with an expert at all things that I am not.”

Then came the tiny little juice shop with just juices in a refrigerator, but magic was happening behind the temporary wall they set up. Atkinson says, “We were building our kitchen and upfitting the entire space while continuing to produce elsewhere. Then, we moved into our kitchen, the wall came down and people were amazed to see what we were up to.”

What you’ll find…just about your heart’s desire in a bright, chic modern setting where everything is made from scratch. There’s a large selection of the original cold-pressed juices filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. Nut milks infused with all kinds of ingredients like cocoa, coffee or matcha, sweetened only with dates. There’s even a Charcoal Lemonade made with activated charcoal called Black Magic; the activated charcoal reportedly removes toxins from the body. It looks interesting – it’s black! – and I did see a gentleman enjoying it. That’s on the “to try” list for me.  You can get locally made Caldero bone broth from the case, too.

For a quick meal to go, there’s a menu of filling whole foods-based smoothies, toasts and salads. My favorite are the smoothie bowls…which range from $9-12. I especially loved the Dragonfruit Bowl, which is made from organic pitaya, fruit, house made almond milk and topped with organic seasonal fruits, shredded coconut and bananas. I added some collagen for extra protein.  “The smoothie bowls are 22 ounces of fruit with nut butters and toppings, made with 100% raw, house made coconut milk or almond milk. There’s lots of fiber and our portions are larger than most, so your body gets that full feeling,” Atkinson said. And there are plenty of add-ons like the collagen and protein powders plus superfoods you’ll likely not find anywhere else. It is indeed filling, with incredible color. It feels downright indulgent.

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Pitaya Bowl

They also have a selection of made-to-order creative salads that you can select or “build your own.”  I had the herb and pumpkin seed salad with organic arugula, organic kale, organic parsley, cilantro, mint & basil blend, organic cucumber, organic tomato, avocado, pumpkin seed, local Gnomestead Hollow curtido,Fair Share Farms micro greens. They recommend the citrus vinaigrette as a dressing.  I’d have to agree…the kale likes a zippy, tangy dressing. Just in the past couple of weeks, new grain bowls have been added with hearty quinoa, etc. 

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And then there are the toasts  Avocado toasts, BLT with Avocado, Pear and Goat Cheese, Nut Butter and Banana – all great for someone who wants something with some chew, but not a salad. The toasts are also made to order, and even the dressings and spreads are house made. From the folks I’ve talked to the Avocado Goddess dressing is a popular one. 

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Photo courtesy of Village Juice Shop

The company also strives to find the cleanest ingredients possible, right down to the oil for their dressings, such as coconut oil and pumpkinseed oil, something quite hard to find in your typical restaurant.  Lucas-Averett adds, “Our greens are organic always. Everything that is listed on the menu as organic is always organic.  Clean, sustainably produced whole foods are very important to us. We have high personal standards for this that inspired us to start this business in the first place.”

The team says that people are driving from all over the Triad to get a taste of their healthy “treats and eats.” When I was there, there was a constant stream of customers. Some a bit curious, grabbed a juice from the case, or tried a free sample and went on their way. But many more placed their order and waited for their colorful smoothie, salad or toast to arrive. Some of the smoothie bowls and salads are large enough to share. Atkinson says reception has been terrific. “The thing we’ve seen about our customers is they love coming in trying something they’ve never tried before.”

Though the VJC team is at the helm of a very healthy ship that is very “raw” and vegan-friendly, they’re not about the labels. “We’ve tried every label on personally and we’ve thrown them all out. We’re really just whole foodies,” Lucas-Averett told me. “I’m a mostly-vegetarian who dabbles in bacon and bone broth…there’s not a label for that. We wanted to create a space where anybody could find something they could eat.” Atkinson added, “I did the raw and the vegan lifestyles, and they were great, but I feel the most balanced just eating real food. However, I think I had to go to that extreme to understand the benefits, as well as to relate to what people might go through who are eliminating specific foods from their diet.”

Atkinson says they’re interested in changing the way people view healthy food. “A lot of what’s known as health food is dry or flavorless and tastes like cardboard. We want to shift that so people know you can get something that’s very filling and tastes amazing and is really good for you. We want our customer to leave here and feel good about themselves. There’s that mental thing, and then the actual physical reaction from eating something healthy.” Lucas-Averett adds, “We’re both interested in bringing wellness to as many people as possible and showing that good healthy food isn’t for that “other” person, whomever they may be but that it’s accessible to everyone and that it tastes really, freaking good!  You don’t have to count calories. Count nutrients. It’s a huge leap of faith for us, but we really believe that people want and need this.”

I can tell you that once you go, you’ll probably find yourself craving a smoothie bowl or a toast. I can’t wait to go back. I think you’ll really enjoy it. #triadfoodiesapproved!

Oh and the truck is still available for festivals and such.13392008_843253222472777_1691650869691257378_o

Village Juice Co. Shop: 205 S. Stratford Rd, WS
Village Juice Truck: 1208 Reynolda Road, (Krankies Coffee Park)
Village Juice Box:   525@Vine Atrium, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter  villagejuicecompany.com

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foodies! Get yourself to the Wine v. Beer Luau at 1703

When we say you should, we so mean it.  I wouldn’t steer you wrong, foodies. Chef Curtis Hackaday is showing how he’s inspired by his former Hawaii with another 2nd Supper Wine versus Beer Dinner…this one Luau focused. We just know it’s going to be great!

1703 Restaurant & Catering is continuing with their 2nd Sunday Supper, this time with a rematch of their Beer v. Wine Dinner. The dinner will be paired with a Luau as Chef Curtis roasts a whole pig. The event is this Sunday, September 11 at 6:30pm.

We went to the last one and omg…it was amazing. We had to judge how each of the 5 courses paired with beers from Mystery Brewing of Hillsborough versus some hand-picked wine selections. Overall, it was a tie. Kind of strange. But it was so fun to really taste the nuances in the wine or beer and how it complemented the dishes. For instance, part of the dessert really liked the wine. But another part of the dessert liked the beer. Plus we got a great education from the rep from Mystery Brewing. After declaring a tie, it only makes sense for a rematch. “I’ll continue to do the versus dinners because I want both beer and wine drinkers to come. It seems to bring a happy discussion to the table,”Curtis told me today.

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From last month’s dinner, porchetta with deliciousness like watermelon and fried okra straws

As for the Luau theme, it just seems natural. Curtis says Hawaii is near and dear to him as he lived there for four years as a child. “It has had the most impact on my style of cooking. Visions of whole ducks and sides of pork in the window at a mall eatery are still entrenched in my memory. Hawaiian food is a melting pot of the Pacific and a Luau is their version of a party or feast so this should be a lot of fun.”

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Chef has already given his new Latin style pig roaster a trial run by cooking a suckling pig and handing out free pork sandwiches. Everyone who endured the heat to see the unveiling and tasting of the pig says it was fantastic. Chef Curtis Hackaday is arguably one of the most creative chefs in the Triad and we’re sure this event will be no less impressive. He’s like the chef you watch on Chef’s Table, but it’s not hundreds of dollars per person.😀

Seating is limited, $55 per person. Call for reservations (336) 725-5767.

Chef Jay Pierce Wins NC Chef Showdown

We have a lot of awesome chefs in North Carolina and right here in the Triad. One of our favorites recently won People’s Choice at this cool chefs battle that happened in Raleigh. Chef Jay Piece took home the People’s prize. Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork shoulder (Korean-style) with pickled chanterelles, cucumber kimchi and sesame rice cracker.

The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association had their expo last week. And chefs from all over North Carolina took part. I was invited to go and had to decline so I hate I missed it. But I have the details here from the folks with NCRLA.

NC Chefs Crowned at Inaugural North Carolina Chef Showdown

Honors, including NCRLA Chef of the Year and NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year, awarded to chefs across the state

Raleigh, N.C. (August 31, 2016) – The North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association (NCRLA), the voice of North Carolina’s $22 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industries, announced the winners of the inaugural North Carolina Chef Showdown held Monday, August 29, as part of the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo that took place in downtown Raleigh this week.

Twelve savory chefs and four pastry chefs competed for the titles of NCRLA Chef of the Year and Pastry Chef of the Year, along with a mixology contest. Nearly 300 attendees from across the hospitality industry gathered at 214 Martin Street in downtown Raleigh to vote on their favorite creations, along with an exclusive panel of judges that carefully evaluated each ingredient and overall composition.

 2016 NC Chef Showdown Results: 

2016 NCRLA Chef of the Year: Chef Jesse Roque, Never Blue Restaurant (Hendersonville)

Also won: “Best Use of Got to Be NC Ingredient Savory” and “Most Creative Presentation Savory” Partnered with Performance Food Group

2016 NCRLA Pastry Chef of the Year: Pastry Chef Jossie Perlmutter, Block & Grinder (Charlotte)

Also won “Best Use of Got to Be NC Ingredient Pastry” and “Most Creative Presentation Pastry” Partnered with Pate Dawson Company

People’s Choice Savory: Executive Chef Jay Pierce, The Marshall Free House/Kick Ass Concepts (Greensboro) Partnered with Sysco

People’s Choice Pastry: Chef Noelle Gogg, The Ballantyne Hotel (Charlotte) Partnered with Sysco

People’s Choice Mixologist: Tim VanBeek, Washington Duke Inn & Golf Club (Durham) Partnered with Durham Distillery

 From the NCRLA: 

A special thanks goes to presenting sponsors TNC Communications – DirecTV Hospitality Solutions; gold sponsor Got to Be NC Agriculture; silver sponsors Alsco and Summit Hospitality Group; and food partners Gordon Food Service, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Performance Foodservice-IFH, Reinhart Foodservice, Sysco and US Foods.

The NC Chef Showdown was a fresh element added to the annual North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Expo, which unites the restaurant and lodging industries for a comprehensive program of education and a showcase of the latest products, services and technologies from across the state. This year’s expo took place Monday and Tuesday this week, featuring a slate of industry leaders discussing best practices and innovative ideas impacting restaurant and hospitality businesses today.

For more information about the North Carolina Chef Showdown, visit http://www.ncrla.org/chefshowdown. For more information about the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Expo, visit http://www.ncrl-expo.com.

About NCRLA

Established in 1947, the North Carolina Restaurant & Lodging Association (NCRLA) works to advance and protect North Carolina’s $22 billion restaurant, foodservice and lodging industry. The association provides access to the resources and support restaurant and lodging professionals need to lead thriving businesses, while serving as conscientious, contributing members of an unparalleled industry. To learn more information about NCRLA or its membership opportunities and cost-saving benefits, please visit  www.ncrla.org.

By the way, foodies, in the near future I’ll be visiting Never Blue and I can’t wait to share pics. Have you been to any of the restaurants that made the winning list?

Continuing the Pantry Raid

Oh my goodness….I have been so slack about raiding my fridge and pantry. And then mr. foodie went shopping and he’s all kinds of fun when he goes grocery shopping because he buys meat and flowers and snacks and ice cream and all kinds of things I’d never buy (except I buy meat). So we spent a bunch of money instead of shopping from ourselves for a few weeks. But lately, I’ve been back at it. Here’s the thing, in my house I need to buy produce and meat in order to even continue with the pantry raid, otherwise we’ll only eat rice and pasta with mustard and jam and that’s just not awesome.

So from the past week or so, here’s how we did:

Sticky Apricot Chicken Thighs with Wild Basmati Rice:

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We took some skin on thighs that we’d purchased, sauteed them crispy then took some apricot preserves that’s been in the pantry forever and drizzled in some soy sauce and red pepper, poured it over the thighs while they finished in the pan and let the sauce warm up. I adapted the recipe from Simply Delicious…see it here. The wild basmati rice we polished off and then we added slivered almonds to it. Frozen broccoli is always in my house. So this rounded out the evening. Pretty great meal if I do say so myself.

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Poppyseed Chicken Casserole with Sweet Peas:

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I’m pretty sure this is the Paula Deen version. I have a recipe that I go by that I can’t attribute to any one person or site. But this tried and true casserole pretty much takes a can of cream of something soup, some sour cream or Greek yogurt, poppy seeds, all mixed up with shredded rotisserie chicken. Take a 1/2 stick of butter, with 3/4 sleeve of crushed ritz and you get what my kids call Ritz Chicken. It’s homey and satisfying and my wee one says, “This tastes like ol’ timey food. You know what kinda food I’m talking about?” And we totally did know. It tastes like a family reunion potluck. And it’s super fast and easy in a pinch. You can find a bazillion different recipes on Pinterest but the best versions have the sour cream and Ritz.

Buffalo Bleu Sausages with Corn and Fancy Green Beans

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Alas, sausages never photograph well. But this sausage by Sausage Works (found at Lowes Foods) is fantastic. Most of their sausage is pork but this flavor features chicken sausage so it’s lighter than the norm. We seared it rather than grilled because it was raining outside. Took some Texas Pete Sweet and Spicy wing sauce as drizzle, thawed the rest of the frozen corn, finished some green beans and ….well now I feel like need to go get supplies, lol. Yummy.

Honey & Heat Ribeye Steak with Cauliflower Rice and a side salad:

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Had to finally go get some meat for this one. Mr. foodie and I shared a ribeye, finished a bag of cauliflower rice that needed to go (we added some Flavor God Garlic Lover’s seasoning to the rice), finished a head of romaine and simply dressed it with Sunny Italy Dressing, olives and croutons.  I have this Cloister Honey that’s Ghost Pepper flavor and it is outstanding. By no means am I trying to use it up, but it can’t just sit there. So I took some butter, drizzled the honey over that steak for a sweet and spicy kick. I even had some Exceptional Cheddar from Trader Joe’s and drizzled the honey over that too. And I could’ve just had that for dinner, it was that tasty.

Now, my man is traveling to assist with efforts in Baton Rouge this week so I won’t be eating meals that I cook, more like having leftovers from Taco Thursday and having smoothies and such. So stay tuned for next week…hopefully there will be some interesting combinations to use up the fridge and pantry.

Do you have any great pantry purge items? Yes, lasagna counts! Mmmm….lasagna. I have everything for that, except the meat!