Monthly Archives: April 2013

Diamondback Grill

Here’s a rule we should all abide by in the world of restaurants and food: Never judge a book by its cover. Many friends have recommended Diamondback Grill for a foodie review. And since April is Grapes & Small Plates month (where local restaurants feature small plates paired with a NC wine), I thought Diamondback Grill would be a great place to spend a Tuesday evening. I had only been to Diamondback Grill once and that was a looooooonng time ago. I remember beer and nachos. And though it doesn’t appear to have changed much, I’m told the food and philosophy have definitely changed. I first started hearing about Diamondback from local produce markets who promoted that the restaurant uses locally sourced ingredients when possible. So, that got them on my radar. Then another friend said, the food is really good and that it’s family-friendly, so that got them on my calendar.

When you see the place, the outside is more office building than restaurant. And it truly is a neighborhood place. It is completely surrounded by homes and apartments. And when you walk in, do not be alarmed. It is definitely old school. The decor might need a bit of updating, I’m not going to lie. It’s a combination of sports bar (with 5 screens), alpine lodge and living room. But the smells emanating from the kitchen are delightful. We sat down, asked about the Grapes & Small plates features, and started scanning the menu. One of the features was a Tuna Tartar with the recommended Raffaldini Vineyards Vermentino (a full-bodied white). The tartar was served on wontons with sesame noodles on top with a sweet and spicy wasabi glaze and it was wonderful. And my Asian-fare-loving kids ate the noodles. My eldest has always loved those peanut-ty sesame noodles since she could chew noodles. That has not changed.

Diamondback Grill, Tuna tartar,

Tuna Tartar

Kidlets ordered chicken tenders and sweet potato fries which the kitchen split for us so they had their own plate. The chicken was thick and juicy and the crispy outside was just like Southern fried chicken. There was plenty for take home and WE ate them a couple of days later after a simple reheat. See my Facebook post about what we did with the kidlets’ leftovers.

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I decided on the Fire Roasted Salmon with Lavender Honey. Uhwarrie Mountain Honey coated the salmon giving it sweetness with just a hint of fresh lavender. It was served with asparagus and rice pilaf.

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Mr. foodie ordered the special pork chop of the day with a blackened garlic glaze topped with peach chutney. It was a perfectly cooked chop with a nice spicy kick, served with garlic mashed potatoes and grilled asparagus.

Pork chop special with blackened garlic and peach chutney

Pork chop special with blackened garlic and peach chutney

See, mr. liked!! We do not mind it if you gnaw on the bone. That is nectar of the gods.

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And while we were there, the kids enjoyed local dairy, Homeland Creamery’s Peanut Butter Cup ice cream and we ordered the Sweet Potato and White Chocolate bread pudding. And all I can say is OMG.

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What I appreciated about the meals at Diamondback Grill was that the protein was a great sized portion along with modestly-sized sides.  They are very Paleo-friendly (google it, if you are not familiar). The ingredients were fresh and tasty and why wouldn’t they as they strive to be farm to table via Stauber Farms, Let it Grow Produce, among others. And of course, last week and apparently all the time, Chef Jon Vidovich was “chef-ing” and came out to say hello and talk about his busy week catering furniture market (yes, they cater!) and all those hungry people. He’d been up since 3am. He came out and said hello. What a champ!

Chef Jon Vidovich

Chef Jon Vidovich

Look for Chef Jon in Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad as he takes on Meridian on May 21st.

Diamondback Grill will definitely be a place that we will go back to as they have an extensive menu but offer interesting features each week and of course, featured local produce. They even have a Farmer’s Market dinner featuring all kinds of goodies from local farms. And though it doesn’t have a stylish, sleek fancy decor, it’s definitely comfortable and the locals seem to appreciate that.
751 North Avalon Avenue, Winston-Salem
336.722.0006

Open for dinner 7 nights a week.

April 30 is the last Tuesday for Grapes and Small Plates. For more info, click here
Diamondback Grill on Urbanspoon

foodie b’eat: Foothills Brewing and the Amazing Randall

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Who’s Randall? The question is, ‘WHAT’S a Randall?’.  If you are a true craft beer connoisseur, you might know what a Randall is. I certainly had never heard of it and was looking forward to learning more. A Randall is basically a filtering system that allows the user, beermeister, barkeep, etc., to run tap beer through a pressure vessel filled with ingredients and flavors to create a one-of-a-kind, on-the-spot beer to be enjoyed for a very limited amount of time. As in just a few hours. It’s the ultimate, creative beer fusion experience. It was invented by Dogfish Head Craft Brewing in 2002 and has been used ever since with increasing popularity to push the limits of beer competitions and tastings.

I was recently invited by my buddies at Foothills Brewing to come check out Randall first hand. Randall is not very big, a little industrial looking, with a lovely chamber inside to show what flavors the beer is going to get and the customer is going to taste.

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This day, Foothills Brewing was infusing their Jade IPA with Costa Rican habanero peppers, Florida orange zest and locally-sourced lemons from right in Winston-Salem. This beer was excellent. And S.P.I.C.Y.! The heat from those habaneros hit the back of your throat and stayed warm all the way down. The suggested pairing with a beer like this is a burger or something creamy or cheesy.

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Caleb and the amazing Randall

Caleb & the amazing Randall

Randall expert, Caleb, enjoys Mondays as “Randall Day” as the brewery’s regulars start to count on the experiment as well as helping generate a good crowd, not to mention the “creative” aspect of infusing beer with delicious ingredients. The Randall-ized beer is usually ready to go by 4:00 and they’ll keep it going for several hours, say 7:00 or so or until the ingredients begin to break down in the chamber.

Past Randalls have included:

Foothills Hoppyum with lime and New Mexico green chilis

People’s Porter with locally roasted coffee

Torch Pilsner with jalapenos, lime zest and saaz hops

People’s Porter with chipotle peppers and Peruvian cocoa nibs

Frostbite Black IPA with locally-sourced coffee and grapefruit zest

With April being NC Beer Month, the focus has particularly been on locally-sourced ingredients. While I was there, Caleb, Marketing Director, Ray Goodrich and I all brainstormed about what should be in future Randalls…who knows what might happen?

Mojito flavor?

Lowdown Brown with Hazelnuts

Bacon?

This is what brainstorming at a bar looks like....

This is what brainstorming at a bar looks like….

More brainstorming...

More brainstorming…

With all the herbs, essential oils, hops and unique ingredients available to us, Caleb is only limited by his imagination, which apparently has few limits. To be the first to hear about what’s going in the Randall, follow Foothills Brewing on Twitter @FoothillsBeer. You can also receive additional info on all events by signing up for their email newsletter on Foothills Brewing’s website.

Sweet treat–Christina’s Dessertery

Christina's Desserty

Christina’s Desserty

What the world needs now is love, SWEET love. Well, SWEETS to be sure :). Clemmons welcomed it’s newest sweet treat, Christina’s Dessertery, just a couple of weeks ago and we just had to visit them during the “soft” opening. Christina Johnson has made a name for herself for her gorgeous wedding cakes (and event cakes from simple to extravagant). Sister foodie says Christina’s fondant is the BEST she’s ever tasted and that’s saying something coming from a former wedding planner. Now, we all get to experience her delectable cakes, cupcakes and cookies.

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Her new shop, located just off Highway 421 at the Clemmons/Lewisville exit, is quaint and chic. Maybe a little girlie? But it won’t scare off the boys, I promise…it would be a perfect dessert date place. Christina’s also has a great patio. Cakes change often. On the day we were there, there was a spice cake, Italian creme, Strawberry Shortcake as well as a small selection of cupcakes (even VEGAN) and cookies. It was a soft opening after all, so the cases weren’t filled to capacity.

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Artistic much?

Artistic much?

Our people got a round of cupcakes. We tried the birthday cupcake as well as the cafe mocha and cookies n’ cream. All were moist and delicious. I love the size of these cupcakes. Just a normal size, not a crazy jumbo thing that is way too much in one sitting (for me anyway).

IMG_3086 IMG_3074 IMG_3070IMG_3089It appears they are enjoying them!

And the little boy decided to get a cookie. This is a vegan chocolate chip. He does not know what that means but if I said “vegan cookie” to him, he may not eat it so we just let him believe it was a regular ol’ chocolate chip cookie. He didn’t notice the difference.

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What I LOVE about Christina’s Dessertery is that it stays open a little later than most cake shops. Most nights until 9 or 10. And of course, cakes can be made to order given good advance notice. And they proudly serve Beans Boro Coffee (and you know how I feel about Kyle and his freshly roasted magic beans). So you can have your coffee, your cake and take a seat on a comfy chair or sofa (or patio) and eat it too.

Christina’s Desserty is just a few minutes from Winston-Salem in Clemmons at the Lewisville/Clemmons exit off Highway 421.

1423 River Ridge Drive, Clemmons

336.712.0300
www.christinasdessertery.com

Recipe from the triadfoodies test kitchen: Power Truffles

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It’s my first ever RECIPE on the ol’ triadfoodies blog. I’ve had a few requests to start adding recipes from our “test kitchen.” So today, as I felt a chocolate craving come on, I decided it was time to restock my little refrigerator supply of what I call “Power Truffles.” They make a great snack when you have a chocolate craving plus they have a satisfying crunch and a little bit protein to keep you going.

This is my recipe. I whipped it up one morning trying to get rid of some yucky protein powder. The particular brand used in my first power truffle recipe tastes YUCKY in a smoothie or shake but is completely okay in power truffles and energy bites and something heavy like a nut butter. Today, I totally forgot about the yucky powder in my pantry and used my good stuff (oops) but any protein powder will do (since a yucky one did fine, I’m assuming this to be true).

Here are your ingredients. You’ll need a cocoa almond butter (I bet a chocolate peanut butter will do fine), peanut butter or almond butter in an original flavor, flax seed, coconut and your choice of protein powder (our choice is Body Fortress which we find at Wally world).

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Take a few tablespoons each of the nut butters and place them in a large mixing bowl.  You’ll need room to really get in there and mush it all up. IMG_3156

That’s about 4 tablespoons each or so. Then add a good scoop of protein powder. This is going to be  your binder so you may use more ( I did–you’ll see).  It will blend completely after a little elbow grease.

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Next add your flax seed. Mine is the toasted kind from Trader Joe’s. It has a wonderful nutty texture from the toastedy-ness.

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Here’s where your “option” comes in, to add or not to add the coconut. I love it because it reminds me of an Almond Joy. But you don’t have to do like I do. If you do use coconut, you can use unsweetened. I had sweetened on hand so that’s what we used…only a little…or a lot. Hey, they are YOUR calories so do what you want.

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Now, it wasn’t quite getting to the texture of being easily rolled into balls yet, so I added a little bit more protein powder and flax seed. Just add it a little at a time until you can easily form balls.

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Once mixed, it goes into the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to an hour.  As you begin forming into truffles, it will start to soften once your start working with it so you’ll have to work quickly.  There was no photographer on hand while I rolled these and I dare not touch a camera with goopy hands so…use your judgement here.IMG_3167

You’ll see mine are not perfectly round. They are kind of ugly even. My kids like to eat them with a spoon. And the little one wouldn’t eat them if I prettied them with cocoa powder.  I like to bite them so the kids will get those soft little mushies you see and Mr. foodie and I will eat the ones that are more intact. 🙂  The recipe makes approximately 10 truffles, the three you don’t see were promptly scooped away. You can also add a little salt, nuts or other spices to make it your own. What about oatmeal or granola? Or rice cereal?

We hope you enjoy these tasty little treats that are a lot more filling and have much better nutritional value than just a piece of chocolate.

triadfoodies power truffles

4 tbs. cocoa flavored nut butter (almond is best, peanut is fine)

4 tbs. peanut butter or almond butter (original flavor, salted or unsalted)

1 scoop protein powder

1 tbs. toasted flax seed

1 tbs. coconut flakes, sweetened or unsweetened (OPTIONAL)

Mix the butters together with the protein powder and blend until smooth. It will be slightly grainy. Add flax seed and coconut (if using). Blend together adding more protein powder and flax seed until the mixture reaches the texture you desire and/or until you can easily form a ball. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Roll tablespoonfuls into a ball. Refrigerate immediately.

I entered my recipe into MyFitnessPal for the nutritional info.

Nutritional Information per truffle: Calories: 117; Protein: 7; Carbohydrates: 8; Fat: 8; Sugar: 5; Sodium: 14; Fiber: 2

Burke Street Food Truck Festival

Burke Street Food Truck FestivalIf there’s been any question whatsoever if food trucks are WANTED in Winston-Salem (there hasn’t), well, the 1st ever Burke Street Food Truck Festival answered it. It was packed. But it was a beautiful day and most people seemed to be in good spirits and man, did it ever smell good! It’s like those delicious smells of the fair, but without all the livestock smell to go with it. 🙂

We got there 30 minutes after the festival started. I though I might beat the crowds. HA! The thing I do with my people here is divide and conquer. Mr. foodie took one kidlet with him to find something from one truck, while I take the other kidlet and wait in line at the other.

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This is the line for newbie, Urban Street Grill, a Korean BBQ truck from the owners of Sushi Republic in Greensboro. I first started hearing about Korean BBQ trucks a few years ago and they kind of have a reputation and life of their own. For some reason, everybody wants to try Korean Tacos and such. Who can blame them? They are fantastic. So, this line was easily 30 minutes maybe more and then we waited a good 30 minutes for the food. NOT you typical food truck experience. Food trucks are supposed to be quick and convenient, but when 50 people show up at once, you have to do your best. And patrons, like me (and thankfully, most of us) were happy just chatting away while we took in the smells. And while I waited on my food at Urban Street Grill, Mr. came back with food from The Great Escape, which serves a couple of types of savory as well as dessert crepes and noodle bowls. Yummy! LOVED all of it. Kidlets did too. Even the crepes!

Shredded Pork with Poblano Sauce and Shredded Chicken with Pimento Cheese

Applewood smoked pork with pimento cheese/Braised chicken with poblano pepper and chocolate mole.

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5-spice roasted chicken on stir-fried noodles

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And finally while we were sampling our goodies from The Great Escape, our order came up from Urban Street Grill. We got 2 tacos and a burrito. Burrito was HUGE. We couldn’t finish and had to wrap it up. I’m having it for lunch. 🙂

L: Short Rib Korean Taco R: BBQ Eel Taco

L: Short Rib Korean Taco
R: BBQ Eel Taco

Pork Belly Burrito

Pork Belly Burrito

As for other truck vendors at the festival, you had a number of offerings. I heard King Creole’s truck had great étouffée.  I heard the stuffed burgers at another truck were superb. Unless you bring 20 people with you and everybody lets you try a bite, it’s impossible to try them all, because you know, you have PAY for this food and make room in your belly for it too.  And for dessert, we tried Ice Queen’s “sammiches” and My Dream Cakes’ cupcakes.

Vanilla cupcake from My Dream Cakes

Vanilla cupcake from My Dream Cakes

Nutty McCrunch (Oatmeal raisin cookie with butter pecan ice cream and toffee crunch)

Nutty McCrunch from The Ice Queen
(Oatmeal raisin cookie with butter pecan ice cream and toffee crunch)

The Elvis (Banana pudding ice cream, peanut butter ice cream between chocolate chip cookies)

The Elvis
(Banana pudding ice cream, peanut butter ice cream between chocolate chip cookies)

These were all delicious. I had never had an ice cream cookie with oatmeal raisin. Very different. And I didn’t get to eat it all as someone decided to eat it all. As in, face first!

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Mmmmm….someone needed a bath after that.

And…someone kept it simple :).  Sometimes chocolate ice cream is just the thing.

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I love food trucks. Most people were in pretty good spirits despite the fact that most of the food trucks had very long lines. If you want to sample a food truck and not have a line, then you’ll have to find them. Usually, the trucks announce where they are going to be via Facebook and Twitter. And you won’t wait forever. That would defeat the purpose of such mobile convenience. If you expect to come to a food truck festival and NOT wait, well find another way to spend your afternoon. We are just on the cusp of food truck madness here in the Triad. The organizers have taken many comments from festival-goers to make the next event even better. My suggestion was use the whole street of Burke Street and use both sides of the street. Next time, hopefully there will be LIVE music too, though music was piped in. The shops and restaurants along Burke Street all stayed open and from the looks of it, received good business as a result.  All in all, it was a fun and tasty event and these foodies are looking forward to seeing it happen again. We look forward to your comments to see what you thought of the festival!

If you’d like more info on the trucks that participated in the festival, click the link to the Facebook page. Some of these trucks are actually operating and setting up in a parking lot in the Triad on any given day.