Monthly Archives: January 2013

Hutch & Harris

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Hutch and Harris is about to celebrate its 5th birthday in February and in this day and age, one might say that’s hitting a milestone. Especially given all the great choices in The Twin City, not to mention all the big chains claiming a big piece of the pie. But “5 years old” suits Hutch & Harris well and they’ve kind of hit a bit of an iconic status downtown. Traipse down Fourth Street on any given Friday or Saturday night when the weather is nice and the outdoor patio area (practically on the street) is filled…and inside, the diner meets taproom dining room is bustling.

I had eaten at H & H for brunch a couple years ago and it was great but I always seemed to find someplace else to eat for dinner. The name made me think I might be dropping $$$ on a pricey steak. Not so!! Admittedly, my Attractions Book is helping my foodie budget and we had a coupon, so after some grocery shopping recently, we decided to grab a bite with the kids. Are you like me and just have no desire to cook after being at the grocery store for an hour? It’s a regular occurrence. Mr. Foodie pretty much assumes we will be eating out if a late afternoon is spent at the store. Anyway, I digress…

Hutch & Harris leans more Southern with strong Louisiana influences so the night we visited, I ordered the Dixieland Jambalaya. It was everything you expect it to be with dirty rice, juicy, big shrimp, chicken, tasso ham and smoked sausage. It was spicy but not too much. And it was plenty big enough to eat HALF and take home.

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Mr. Foodie decided to go with the special. Foodies, this is when I should stop eating and start taking notes, because I tend to forget the name of the special. I called H & H and they reminded me that it’s called Le Blanc Fried Pork Chop with Red Eye Gravy. It was simply a fried pork cutlet with a medley of roasted vegetable and a Tasso gravy over the top. It was like pure soul food. So distinctly southern, yet not too heavy. It should be ADDED to the menu. Do you hear, Chef? If you see it as a special, it is a must try.
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He got a salad too…
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Despite all the southern tastes, like Moravian Chicken Pie, Shrimp & Grits, pimento cheese and fried pickles, they manage to sneak in a few internationally-inspired dishes from Moroccan to Vietnamese. And the owners, who hail from Maryland, would be remiss if they didn’t offer a couple of lovely Chesapeake Crab Cakes. Oh and there’s Mac-n-Cheese and chicken tender platter, which we ordered for the kidlets. They ate bread. But they were both really good. We told the kids they were missing out. Usually the chicken comes on TOP of the “mac.”
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The dinner menu is fab because it has a wide array of appetizers, small plates, salads and sandwiches in addition to the entrees and very affordable prices. Affordable without a coupon, even! Most entree prices stay in the mid-teens. Check them out for lunch for similar options and even lower prices plus the brunch on Sunday is top notch with Benedicts, tostadas, omelets, waffles and biscuits and gravy. A few of their every day items are offered then too.

I look forward to checking out Hutch & Harris at lunch and again at brunch. It’s definitely a place that’s easy to go back to. They are also participating in Downtown Winston-Salem’s The Big Eat on Tuesdays through February in which signature items are HALF OFF!

www.hutchandharris.com
Located at 4th and Spruce, downtown Winston-Salem
336-721-1336
Hutch & Harris on Urbanspoon

Dame’s Chicken & Waffles

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Lord, have mercy! That’s what we Southerners say when something tastes soooo good! Foodies, a few years ago on Food Network I watched a clip about a place that serves Fried Chicken and waffles. Then a couple of years ago, the foodies went to Las Vegas and I got a very fancy version of them with all kinds of adornments. I was thrilled beyond belief when I found out a chicken and waffles cafe was being opened in Downtown Greensboro. What is Chicken & Waffles? Well it’s lore and legend and some goooood eaten’! Dame’s Chicken & Waffles has had a successful restaurant in Raleigh for a few years and now has enjoyed being downtown’s “newest landmark” in the lovely corner of Southside on MLK, Jr. Drive.

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It’s a lovely, cozy place with dark ceilings and white walls adorned with jazz art. It makes me think of New Orleans a little bit, although Chicken & Waffles became a delicacy in Harlem. There, it became a favorite of the late night crowd. I can see why….maybe after a night of working or dancing, you don’t want breakfast but something in between that and a late night snack. Dame’s intention is to capture the Harlem Renaissance. And the vibe is definitely there. And it’s catching on. We were there on a Friday night recently and we got there before it started to really fill up. By the time we left, most tables were full. We’d been ice skating (sort of?) so we’d built up an appetite, as trying to balance on slippery ice for 2 hours does. We were ready for a nice, solid meal and what Dame’s had to offer which is….Chicken. All kinds–fried, grilled, panko-crusted. And waffles. All kinds–original, sweet potato, blueberry, gingerbread and VEGAN (!!) etc. Then they add homemade “shmears” which are flavored infused creme butters ranging from Vanilla Almond to Maple Pecan to Peach & Apricot Cream, just to name a few. The chicken is cooked perfectly and not greasy (some old school connessieurs might say that’s a bad thing, lol) and sitting on top of the most crispy, yet fluffy and lightly sweet waffle. It’s like you’ve died and gone to Heaven, where they play jazz and blues and swing.  I had A Quilted Buttercup.. a fried chicken cutlet sandwiched between two petite sweet potato waffles with the Maple & candied pecan shmear.  Giant. Not petite.IMG_3294

Mr. Foodie ordered “What A Classy Hen”, which is basically the Classic chicken (a cutlet) and Classic waffle with Vanilla and Almond shmear.  photo     IMG_3293

I got spicy Mean Greens for my side and Mr. got mac-n-cheese and the kidlets got a petite waffle each with a drumstick. Really you can get a great waffle and chicken combo on their menu and if you lean towards fruity, they got it and if you like savory or spicy, they got those too!  If waffles aren’t your thing, they have grits, all kinds of grits. Grits with shrimp, grits with sausage.  Go all out and get The Barnyard Honcho, which a patron at the table next to us got. I overheard him say “surprise me,” so he had a full plate of fried chicken cutlet, classic waffle, eggs and creamy buttered grits. Breakfast for dinner, anyone? If you think you need to stay on that crazy health kick on the night you go get chicken and waffles then by all means, you COULD order a salad.  Oh and they have dessert too, but I cannot for the life of me figure how you’d have room for it. You could IF you got the salad. Ha! When you try dessert, please leave a reply about it in the comments and I’ll post an “update.” 🙂

You’ll also find some benedicts and wings and many a la carte items to customize your experience.  And if you like beer with your combo, they do offer a modest selection of Triangle-based beers on draft (and a few domestics by the bottle) but we go LOCAL here, foodies!

Next time you need to connect with your soul a little bit, get some fried chicken with a waffle at Dame’s. Get a shmear and then take the tiniest bit of hot sauce, splash a few drops on your chicken, drizzle a little bit of maple syrup on the chicken and let some of it soak into that waffle (with some more shmear). Foodies, that is HOW IT IS DONE at Dame’s Chicken and Almost World Famous Waffles and you will be full and happy when you leave. One of triadfoodies’ best!

http://www.dameschickenwaffles.com

301 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive, Greensboro, NC
336.275.7333
Dame's Chicken & Waffles on Urbanspoon

Thai Nee Tapas + Sake

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I could write an entire post about The Big Eat in Downtown Winston-Salem but there are way too many restaurants ahead of it. Suffice it to say The Big Eat is a great way to try signature dishes at half off and it’s exactly the reason that brought us into the very superb Thai Nee Tapas + Sake. Thai Nee is housed in the old Downtown Thai location, which moved into roomier digs a few years ago. And it has the same pioneering and charismatic owner, Souphab Daoheang. All you have to do is take a minute with Souphab and you feel his energy and love for what he does and for the food that he brings to us. If you are familiar with his location, you know that Thai Nee is, well, tiny. But perfectly sized for tapas. Its authentic decor is dramatic, yet intimate while still maintaining some nice tables for a gathering of larger groups.

The signature dish that evening was the Chicken Katsu, with potatoes, carrots, onion and curry sauce, served alongside steamed rice. It was wonderful and slightly spicy with a delicate curry sauce. Not at all heavy and a great sized entree for one or even to share, providing you get another small plate or two.

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Our server also suggested the House Shrimp, marinated shrimp fried crispy served with mango sauce. One of my kidlets actually liked it. The sweetish sauce was a nice contrast to the crispy shrimp and a great departure from the previous dish.

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Mr. foodie needed MORE protein so we added the Chicken Satay followed by the Steamed Gyoza Pork, because “potstickers” can and should be the measure of Asian-style tapas, don’t you think? Believe me, they did not disappoint. They were sitting in a curry-type sauce rather than the traditional ponzu sauce that I’m used to. I saw on the menu that the traditional method Gyoza is served with Ponzu. The Satay was moist and flavorful and served with two kinds of sauces. Chicken on a stick is fun!

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And finally, I must let you know about the marvel that is the Sesame Chicken, which is served with vegetables and steamed rice. It’s not the sesame chicken you know. This one is a beautiful blend of sweet and savory with a perfect caramelization on chicken that you can taste and not fried to a crisp. My kidlets ate it. That’s right. I declare, they like Asian. This has been a few times in a row and I think it’s official.

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Thai Nee has a yummy selection of small delights, salads, entrees and even sushi, which comes from across the street at Downtown Thai.
I tell you, on a night when signature dishes are 50% off, it is simply NOT OKAY that so many restaurants, including Thai Nee, are NOT filled to capacity. There weren’t nearly enough of you foodies there. I’ll chalk it up to the cold and rainy weather, but though it’s cold tonight, these restaurants deserve your business. And one of those is Thai Nee Tapas + Sake. A foodie doesn’t need the Big Eat as Thai Nee offers reasonable prices all the time, including buy two, get one deals. Check them out, and when you are there and have Souphab pull up a chair and tell you what you are missing when it comes to Laotian food. Now, if we can only get him to open up THAT kind of restaurant.

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www.wsthainee.com
271 W. 4th St., Winston-Salem, NC
336.917.3000
Thai Nee on Urbanspoon

The District Roof Top Bar & Grille

IMG_3285The District is relatively new and a popular spot, but the foodies decided to tone it down and try it one day for lunch. We’ve been here a number of times with friends (for drinks and dinners) and kids (for a tour of appetizers) and each time has been above par, so we expected the same for lunch. The District is another downtown Winston-Salem eatery that fits in well with that lively downtown scene, where you feel comfortable hanging with friends after a busy work day or as a hangout on the weekend. The claim to fame is the roof top bar, which you must take advantage of one nice comfortable evening so you can enjoy the gorgeous downtown views and maybe a sunset. If the top of the house is too full, there’s plenty of space for dining al fresco. And if you don’t eat outside, rest assured the beautiful interior is comfy and pleasing with its wood beams and exposed pipes. Very industrial and it ties in well with that area of the city.

But what about the food? I can tell you the lunch menu has been obviously pared down recently as a few favorites are not on the menu or at least are now only on the Dinner menu. No matter, it’s lunch, who has time to peruse a menu forever? I went with a burger because I’m kind of on a quest to make sure I know where the great burgers are in WS. This is the only burger on the menu and it includes a cheese of your choice, lettuce, tomato, mayo and fried tomato “chips”. Not fitting in well with my fitness plan but sometimes I have to take on more calories so you’ll know what local food to love ;). I fitnessed it up by adding a side salad with a vinaigrette rather than fries. I often feel Ike that breaks a cardinal rule in the foodie world but I knew I’d have a chance to try fries that came with a kids meal. It IS a delicious burger. Cooked perfectly on a pretzel bun. Pretzel buns are fab!! Oh and it’s not REALLY the only burger on the menu because they have a black bean burger too IF you REALLY believe that black beans can make a burger. Just kidding. I like black bean “burgers.”

IMG_3282  Not Black Bean. That’s a BURGER.   IMG_3283  And the salad….

As far as we could tell, the chicken tenders were great. My big time foodie niece ate it up.
Sister foodie had a Camel City Dip. Think French but BBQ style. Chopped BBQ with bacon, caramelized onions and muenster cheese with eastern BBQ sauce for dipping. It’s a mighty big sandwich. She said it was delicious. Probably enough for 2 people.

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As this was lunch, we didn’t go big with our ordering options but I can go on memory for a few other choices. The District has a great spinach and blue crab dip app. Lots of chunky crab on top of a cheesy dip with healthy spinach to take out some guilt.  It’s served with toast points. One of my favorite apps is the sweet and sour sticky shrimp. Think General Tso, mmmmm with brown sugar chile sauce. The fried green ‘maters have a truffled cheese spread and the chicken nachos are great for sharing. There are good lunch specials and combos and a nice selection of salads and sandwiches to please just about anyone. There’s also a good selection of specials each night. The District Roof Top Bar & Grill is a great place to visit with friends and dine outside. Downtown Winston-Salem is a site to behold on a nice spring or summer night. And even if it’s a bit chilly the heaters will warm you up in the evenings. Private dining and even catering are available. Try them on the roof for a date or when you have a big group. You’ll have a ton of fun!

www.thedistrictbarandgrille.com

770 Liberty View Ct, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Open for lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday. Closed Sunday.

Phone: 336-462-8882
District Roof Top Bar and Grill on Urbanspoon

Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar

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It was my birthday and my husband surprised me with a lovely dinner with fellow foodie friends at one of the places we’ve been meaning to go to. Several opportunities have come and gone and we couldn’t make our plans to eat at this newly renowned restaurant. Many say it’s one of, if not THE best in Winston-Salem and I just had to know if Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar lived up to the hype.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve eaten at Bibs or driven up 5th Street and not realized that I just passed Spring House. It’s HUGE. And gorgeous. But don’t let this Manor-turned-restaurant’s formal exterior fool you. Although it looks “uppity” enough for a formal event, it is welcoming inside and filled with small parlors and rooms perfect for dining with friends or an intimate date. The library bar is gorgeous. I wish I had a shot of it. With its dark ceiling and comfy seating, it is a very relaxing place for a cocktail before dinner. The artisan cocktails are delicious. I had the Gin Sling (made with Pomegranate juice) and Mr. Foodie had an Old Fashioned. Beautiful drinks. My friend, Sarah, had the Lava Lamp. It turns colors 🙂

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On to dinner, the chef sent us out a birthday treat of Portabella Mushroom and Leek Quesadilla (as featured in Bon Appetit Magazine…Chef must’ve read my mind). It was so delicious. Perfectly grilled tortillas wrapped around those sweet leeks and tender mushrooms with just enough fresh corn salsa and cilantro and corn to brighten it up. There was a lot of texture and it was a very satisfying snack.

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There were many beautiful choices on the menu for appetizers. The table ordered the Beer Cheese with broccoli florets, potato wedges and crostini for dipping;  the slow cooked duck confit with a Cheerwine Habanero BBQ glaze (satisfying enough for a one person meal….don’t tell them I said so) and the Mussels that were featured with a smoked wine cream sauce. the table voted that the duck was the big winner, but all were outstanding.

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For some reason, my dining companions thought it would be fun to try multiple courses, so there were a few salads and soups that came our way.  If you get there before the menu changes over and you can score the Smoked Turkey Chowder, then you have to get it! It is amazing. A little spicy and plenty rich and meaty.  A dreamy soup for a cold day.  The pics also show a Waldorf-inspired salad with apples, pecan brittle and Camembert as well as a light and tasty side salad with vinaigrette.  Another couple shared a bowl of sweet potato soup, which was sweet and zesty and reminded me of the inside of sweet potato casserole.

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On to the main courses. There were only two more remaining of the special Seafood Risotto remaining so I had our server hold it for me. It was a treasure of succulent shrimp, scallops and Monkfish (known as the poor man’s lobster, but it is awesome). I loved that this saffron infused risotto was more seafood than rice which works better for my diet (!). It was served with creme, diced asparagus and garnished with caviar. I know it sounds fancy. It was quite comforting actually and I didn’t feel one bit guilty. Guilt came later. And only a little bit then for the birthday girl.

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Mr. Foodie and Foodie Andy opted for the Slow Cooked Pork Shank with Red Rice and a pickled peach and habanero confiture adorning it. It was also comforting and felt like soul food.

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The Foodies Sarah and Heather enjoyed a delicious Truffled Gnocchi with smoked tomato and garlic and laden with gorgeous veggies like asparagus, mushrooms, spinach and eggplant. And Foodie Sean ordered a wonderful Smoked Turkey Carbonara with a garden ratatouille and topped with rosemary breadcrumbs.

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Isn’t it all just beautiful?? If the pics are blurry, I do apologize. You never know what you will get with mobile phone pics.

Now for the guilt. I should’ve stopped eating. Right then. But nope! Everyone voted for dessert and all the couples shared and then shared some more by letting us all try. What fun! That’s why I love to go with other foodies.  More pics, more tastes, more to love.

In order here:

Bread pudding: Yummy. A little chocolatey and I was told by Heather that it was the best bread pudding she’s ever had.

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Pic is a little dark, but the crumb on top and the moist inside was nothing short of heaven.

Next, the “Babysitter Cake.” I’ve no idea why it’s called that. It’s Spring House’s signature Chocolate cake simply served along side a Hibiscus Cherry Infused Sweet Cream. Just so simple and very rich and perfect for the chocolate lover.

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And last but absolutely not least, Mr.Foodie and I shared what I’ll just call my birthday cake. A Pineapple Upside Down Grits Cake. Grits! YUMMM-AMAZING. I love love love pineapple upside down cake. This had a caramel apple popcorn crumble and was served with pumpkin ice cream, which went perfectly with it. It wasn’t too sweet, just perfection.

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And then finally the chef complemented us with a glass of birthday bubbly! How nice. We did not get to meet the owner, Chef Tim Grandinetti, but Chef de Cuisine, Joseph came out to greet our table and give us a bit of history about the place (it used to be the Bahnson House and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places)and tantalize our tastebuds for a future trip back as they are about to change their menu as it does every few months. Chef Tim is a chef after my own heart as he uses seasonal ingredients fresh from the farm and market.

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Spring House is certainly a place where you can have meetings, private parties and even fancier soirees like receptions and rehearsal dinners but you will feel very comfortable just in smart casual attire (even jeans) and they even have a kids menu with kid faves like peanut butter and apples and even Cheetos-crusted chicken fingers. I’ll bring my non-foodie kids here. Maybe they’ll be converted. It was truly a marvelous dinner with good friends and good times and so comfortable. A great place to go on a date or with friends and it’s not stuffy at all. A good atmosphere and quiet, but not so that you can’t laugh and muck it up with your dinner party. I have to go back for a Wednesday $20.12 tasting, which includes several courses, plus every night they offer a full tasting menu experience for around $44. And if you want to go CRAZY, try a Whole Animal Snout to Tail tasting. I don’t know how much that is, but IT is for FOODIES (that means YOU). I’d say Spring House, Kitchen and Bar should be one of the next places you take yourself.

Check out their menu for all of their history and happenings, including Downtown Winston-Salem’s The Big Eat on Tuesdays during early 2013.
www.springhousenc.com
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar
450 N. Spring Street, Winston-Salem, NC
336.293.4797
Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar on Urbanspoon