Monthly Archives: May 2013

I’d Walk A Mile For A Camel City Food Truck

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First of all, how many of ya’ll “got” that title? Some of you may need to Google it 😉

This is almost the story of how an ex-Phillip Morris guy became the proud owner of a food truck based in Reynolds Tobacco Company-land. Ironic, yes? But it’s really more about the food experience that comes out of that truck than anything.

You’ve probably seen the Camel City Grill food truck about town, particularly downtown or in West End serving up hot burgers and sandwiches. If you’ve been to a food truck festival, you’ve probably seen a loooong line and you just decided to bypass it and promised to catch them another time. Here’s a tip, go catch them…and soon!

A quick little  history: Ben Devar hails from Florida, then UNC-Chapel Hill. He landed a career with Altria, the parent company of Phillip Morris—gasp!—the ENEMY 😀  His position was based out of Winston-Salem, but then he got promoted and was asked to move closer to the mother ship in Georgia. He loved the Camel City too much to leave and he says he always wanted to work with food, so he put together all of his savings for his food truck. Thus the Camel City Grill food truck was born.

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Camel City Grill food truck owner, Ben Devar…doesn’t he look happy?

I found them behind Krankie’s Coffee shop this week and after about 5 minutes the guys from the tattoo parlor had already formed a line. They are “regulars.” And they are working their way through the menu. That’s very cool.

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What you’ll find on the menu…burgers, sandwiches and wraps. All with fresh ingredients prepared at their off-site commissary. They make their own peanut butter and use local pimento cheese from Uncle Chris’ Pickles because Uncle Chris’ pimento cheese with chipotle has just the right “zip”.  Lots of folks agree since “Ben’s Pimento Cheese Burger” is a fan favorite.  All burgers, sandwiches and wraps are cooked and assembled to order then handed out of their window by Ben or his right-hand, Gavin, with a smile.

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That’s Gavin. He’s happy and cooking burgers!

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Ben and the nearly famous PBBJ Burger

The pimento cheese burger may be “Ben’s” but he says the it’s the PBBJ that has a special place in his heart. Now, this PBBJ is starting to become famous. It’s wacky, some people would say, “ewwww!” But wait! This burger, with ‘P’eanut ‘B’utter, ‘B’acon and ‘J’elly (the red pepper variety) is not your everyday lunch or dinner. All those ingredients alone are fantastic. But on a burger?? Well, Yes! Yes!! The burger is seared and cooked to perfection, the freshly made peanut butter is creamy and only slightly salty, combine that with the smoky bacon and the sweet and spicy red pepper jelly…oh my, divine. Ben says a good bit of trial and error went into getting the perfect combination of meat, smokiness, sweet, salty and spice and that’s why he maintains his affinity for this very popular item.

My terrible close up of a delicious PBBJ Burger

My terrible close up of a delicious and beautiful PBBJ Burger with a side of covered up Southern potato salad

All of the burgers come on beautiful Brioche buns (my fave) and almost every item, when possible, is a fresh, locally sourced ingredient and Ben says they add more every day.

For now, the Camel City Grill is just about the only consistent food truck out and about in Winston-Salem. That’s sure to change if food truck advocates have their way. Check CCG’s webpage here for info about them, their menu and their catering.

And foodies, there’s a food truck rally with music at Ziggy’s on Saturday and Sunday. It’s FREE. Be sure to check out Camel City Grill along with their comrades.  Take some friends, divide, conquer and share. Then start following Camel City Grill on social media and you can start taking part in the Food Truck revolution.

Here’s what the truck looks like. You’ll find where they are by keeping close tabs on their Facebook page.
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foodie b’eat: Celebrating the Centennial with Tasty Stuff Created in the “Dash”

Happy 100th Birthday, “DASH”!

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As Winston-Salem celebrates its Centennial this weekend, we wanted to take a look at just some of our favorite foodie-liciousness created right here in Winston-Salem. Maybe you already know it. Maybe some of it will be news to you. But you can bet, it makes living in this innovative, artsy city that much tastier 🙂 and fun!

Texas Pete Hot Sauce:

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Not made in Texas, but right in Winston-Salem. TW Garner Food Company actually began around the Great Depression as a family business and barbecue restaurant. A few years later they incorporated and brought us everything from BBQ sauce to chili. But we know it’s all about “the Texas Pete.” Folks around here know it’s really good on eggs, in wing sauce, Bloody Mary’s…well, heck..on just about anything.

Red Clay Gourmet

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There are lots of gourmet pimiento cheese companies and many a restaurant can make some killer versions of it. But we love watching the excitement building over Red Clay Gourmet Pimiento Cheese. Launched by Lance Sawyer of First Street Draught House and his wife, Michele, these little 10 ounce babies come in 4 different flavors: Classic Sharp Cheddar, Flame Roasted Jalapeño, Hickory Smoked Cheddar and Goat Cheese and Sun-dried Tomato.

My sampling

My sampling

Goat cheese & Sun-dried tomato

Goat cheese & Sun-dried tomato

Flame Roasted Jalapeño

Flame Roasted Jalapeño

We still can’t decide what’s our favorite. Each cheesy version is made from Wisconsin Cheddar and local cage-free egg mayo, though the mayo is barely detectable. Then they pack it with other awesome all-natural ingredients like local jalapeños or Durham-based Chèvre goat cheese or local banana pepper. Look for it at a few Winston-Salem produce stands, Whole Foods, select Lowes Foods and of course First Street Draught House. Or click on their name above for a link to their website for other locations across our area and for more about this local company.

Dewey’s Bakery

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Pink Lemondade

Pink Lemondade

From the sugar cookies to the Moravian sugar cakes, the cake squares and especially the Pink Lemonade squares (nothing can compare really), Dewey’s has been a staple in Winston-Salem since it was started by Dewey Wilkerson during the Great Depression. Folks from all over know this is one of the top places for sweets for special occasions and now they even offer ice cream as Blue Ridge Ice Cream has taken up residence inside. Oh and Blue Ridge Ice Cream was also founded, right here in Winston-Salem 25 years ago.

Foothills Beer

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From Carolina Strawberry to Carolina Blonde, People’s Porter, Hoppyum to the super popular and decadent Sexual Chocolate, Foothills has taken full possession of being a front-runner in the local craft beer industry. The list of beer options goes on and on. We can now find Foothills Beer in almost every store, restaurant and certainly, beverage shops. Did you know the brewery has a restaurant? Ha! Of course you did! They are making all kinds of efforts in getting the beer to even MORE out-of-state areas and you can bet that one day, Foothills will be a national name.

And last, but certainly not least:

Krispy Kreme

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Yes, duh, of course.  All I can say is that if you are a citizen of this fine city and you don’t know that this is where Krispy Kreme has its roots, then you really don’t LIVE here at all. Started by Vernon Rudolph in 1937 in our beloved Old Salem, these delicious confections were asked for hot and served hot and they STILL are. Few things bring more awe and wonder than that conveyor belt loaded with fried dough. Our heart will always belong to the “HOT NOW” sign.

Of course these are just a FEW of the delicious awesomeness of Winston-Salem. But they are some of our down-home favorites and definitely worth the bragging rights. Maybe you can do a Centennial Crawl and hit or taste these spots this weekend and enjoy a little history, old and new! And check out all the Centennial events at www.ws100years.com.

triadfoodies out and about…places to know and love

There’s nothing I love more than visiting local produce stands, markets and generally, places of foodie fabulousness. Take a look around town at some of my favorite places to peak into when I have a little extra time on my hands….

Washington Perk & Provisions (Winston-Salem)
228 West Acadia Avenue
Downtown Perk/Fourth Street

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The name says it all. One look inside and it’s like part coffee shop, sandwich shop, part convenience store…only the way cool kind of convenience store with its everyday necessities (like ketchup, mustard, mayo and honey), to gourmet chips,  Chad’s Chai & Tea and local milk from Homeland Creamery, local grass-fed meat from Meadows Family Farm and local and regional craft beer and a great wine selection. They just opened their “Downtown Perk” Fourth Street location last Friday, May 3. And what a welcome site it is. Here are pics from my recent visit to their Acadia Avenue location.

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Virgilio’s Premium Vinegars, Oils & Edibles (Kernersville)

210 North Main Street

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This awesome addition to Kvegas recently moved into a cherished spot in The Factory Shoppes downtown. It’s a beautiful store with wonderful gift ideas. Every flavored vinegar imaginable and flavored olive oils to boot. Try the Chocolate Balsamic vinegar drizzled around a steak for a little added flavor, or on strawberries, or waffles, or, or…wait, back to the shop. There are edibles and jellies and accompaniments too but the stars of the show are the olive oils and vinegars and Margarita herself. Check out their Facebook page or website for “happenings” like cooking classes and wine tours. They are also a part of Beach Music Party on Friday, May 17 with music, drinks, gelato, etc. Did I mention they also sell wine? And Beans Boro coffee? Well, they do!

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Let It Grow Produce (Winston-Salem)
4825 Country Club Road

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I don’t just shop at gourmet places with fancy schmancy oils and wines. I really love shopping for beautiful, in-season, produce provided by our local farms. And Winston-Salem has a few of local produce markets that are open week-long if you can’t get to some of the weekend ones. Let It Grow Produce provides produce from local farms and some certified organic items too. You’ll find local jams & jellies, Red Clay Gourmet Pimento Cheese and a really lovely and large variety of produce and even a freezer of meat . I even enjoyed some of the best dry pasta I’ve ever had from Pasta Wench.

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For more information on all of these great spots, click the links on their business name. Happy shopping, foodies!

Recipe from triadfoodies test kitchen: Basted Aromatic Steak/Mr.foodie and the Sacrificial Lamb

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sac·ri·fice

/ˈsakrəˌfīs/

Noun: An act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to God or to a divine or supernatural figure
(attributed to Google Definitions)
Okay, well a sacrifice didn’t exactly happen. We did bless the food to the nourishment of our bodies and thanked God for all of his blessings. This little lamb hopefully had a pleasant existence, but in this recipe that Mr. foodie provided for us, the lamb had a MOST glorifying end result. Here’s step by step and recipe for what triadfoodies started to call “Seared Meat on a Nest.” But since it’s not actually served on the nest, we renamed it Basted Aromatic Steak.
We took about a pound of lamb sirloin steaks (from The Chop Shop Butchery in Asheville). They suggested marinating the meat in a “paste” of olive oil and fresh herbs, so we grabbed a few handfuls from our garden.
Chives, oregano, rosemary hyme, lavender, parsley

Chives, oregano, rosemary hyme, lavender, parsley

And we chopped it all up, along with some garlic and made a paste with some salt and olive oil.

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We used a mortar and pestle but I’m sure you can just use a small bowl and the back of a
spoon.
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And then we poured that thick herby paste all over the lamb steaks, just rubbed it in, covered it with plastic wrap and refrigerated for a couple of hours.

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Going in for a chilly marinade

Going in for a chilly marinade

We took the meat out about 30 minutes prior to cooking, just to get the chill off. We heated our pan until very hot then laid them in for a quick sear on both sides. These were thick so we actually seared 3 sides.

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Once seared, we removed from the heat, laid down “nest” of herbs (in this case, rosemary) then placed the meat back on top of the herbs along with a big knob of butter (close to 3 tablespoons).

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Tilt the pan slightly and begin ladling the butter all over the meat. It’s going to just help it along in the cooking process and impart lots of flavor. Since the meat is on the nest of herbs, it shouldn’t sear further.

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He just kept ladling and ladling until the butter got a little darker in color….

Once the butter is all melted and nearly gone, place the pan in a 350-degree oven for about 6-8 minutes. Now you can clean up or make mashed potatoes or quinoa or have a glass of wine. It’s your time.

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The lamb should be about medium, but cook it however long you need to. This lamb was the perfect cook time for us. Allow the meat to rest for at least 5 minutes.

We served this lamb on a bed of tricolor quinoa infused with currants, lemon thyme and chives (no recipe for that, just cook quinoa as the package recommends and add whatever ingredients you want) and we roasted asparagus alongside the meat as it cooked and rested.

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The result was a beautifully herby and buttery lamb steak with a crispy seared outside and a juicy, flavorful inside. Most restaurants will charge you over $25 for this. I’d have paid for it and enjoyed it, no problem. Going out to eat is not in everybody’s budget and this kind of recipe allows you to experiment with beautiful cut of meat and hopefully support a local farm…in this case the lamb came from Mountain Memories Farm in VA via The Chop Shop Butchery in Asheville. Herbs couldn’t get any more local. They were from our garden 🙂
Here’s the actual recipe and ingredient list:

Basted Aromatic Steak

Steaks of your choice (lamb, beef, pork)

Handful of FRESH herbs (enough to cover both sides of the meat)

2 cloves fresh garlic, chopped (again, enough for the rub)

drizzle of olive oil (enough to make it a paste, approximately 1 1/2 tbs)

Fresh herbs (enough to cover the pan and keep the meat off of the direct heat)

3 tbs. butter

Set your steaks out about 30 minutes prior to cooking. Preheat oven to 350-degrees. On the stove, allow an oven safe pan to get searing hot. If your meat is very lean, you may want to coat the pan with a little oil. Sear both sides of the meat until browned well. Remove steaks from pan. Place fresh herbs in the pan then return meat to the pan on TOP of the herbs. Add the knob of butter on the side of the meat and herbs. Tilt the pan slightly and begin ladling the melting butter all over the steaks. Keep basting the meat until the butter gets a beautiful caramel color. Then place the pan in the oven and cook the meat until your preferred doneness. Allow the meat to rest before serving.

Enjoy!

We know you can’t always get your lamb from a butcher shop like The Chop Shop Butchery. So click here for a highly recommended local farm with great lamb.

Donuts or Donutz? Battle of the Fried Dough Confectionary

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What prompted this battle? Well, Kernersville, NC was blessed late last year with its first doughnut shop. Then about a month and a half later, its SECOND doughnut shop. Donutz vs. Donuts in the war of Doughnuts (this spelling is the dominant spelling in the US and I will use it when I speak of these delightful rings). I figure the first one took so long to open and had its little “coming soon” sign up for so long that someone got wise and thought they’d join them in a little friendly competition, lol.  The first to open was the super popular, Intown Donutz. They got a lot of buzz and Facebook “likes” very quickly because they were so friendly, they just handed out free doughnuts right and left (especially to kidlets) and have locally roasted coffee. Then along came Granny’s Donuts and Bakery. The only thing I’d heard about them is that they were really good too and that they have locations in High Point and Thomasville. So today the kidlets and I decided we’d visit BOTH, do a little taste test and give our foodies the rundown on who is we think is #1 in Kvegas!

The competitors…these guys are literally a half mile from one another:   

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Intown Donutz

Granny's Donuts
Granny’s Donuts

The service:

Intown Donutz and “T” were friendlier. A great friendly staff that promotes, promotes, promotes! And they still offer free doughnut holes when you come in. I don’t know if it’s because I’m always with kids but if that’s the reason, then I will always bring them along 🙂

The Goods…for this test we did Battle: Glazed! And, Battle: Lemon-Filled!

Granny's on Left Intown on Right

Granny’s on Left
Intown on Right (a little deeper in color)

Battle: Glazed! result: No discernible difference. Whaaa? Sorrrrryyy.  Maybe Intown tasted a bit fresher. I kept having to go back and try and by the time I was done I’d eaten 2 doughnuts almost and still no real winner.  Next, Battle: Lemon-filled!—I can’t believe I’m saying it because before today Intown had the BEST lemon-filled ever but Granny’s filling was lighter and a little more lemony fresh. Both still beat KK and DD. By a MILE.

Granny's Lemon-Filled

Granny’s lemon-filled

Intown's lemon-filled

Intown’s lemon-filled

Really this was just an excuse to buy twice as many donuts/donutz/doughnuts as our household needs. We affectionately call them “do-NOTS” because that’s what kidlet #1 used to call them when she was a wee little one….”Mommmmyyyy…can we get a ‘do not’?” I thought it a most appropriate name. We bought a few extra varieties too (chocolate glazed with sprinkles, chocolate glazed with chocolate chips, Old-fashioned). Both locations have a great selection and these incredibly delicious, ridiculous apple fritters that are to. die. for. Mr. foodie said I should’ve tested them out as well so if I do so, then you’ll see an update within this blog post. I will let you know, foodies!

Intown's case

Intown’s case

Intown's case

Intown’s case

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Granny’s case

Granny's case

Granny’s case

Granny’s has a few more cakey, innovative doughnuts like red velvet, coconut and some with funky icing. They also have a large selection of baked goods like cookies and macaroons.  Both have coffee and blended coffees.

Granny's baked goods

Granny’s baked goods

Granny's Red Velvet

Granny’s Red Velvet

So, since they are so close, depending on the direction you are driving, perhaps you just stop at the spot is convenient for you. The traffic is not as bad at Intown and they are easier to see from the road, because East Mountain Street is not as busy as Highway 66. Both have just a few parking spots. Both make doughnuts to order for your party or event. I hope there’s enough business to go around. And though I know that one big chain is still locally owned (and they will always have our hearts), these little locally-owned doughnut shops give them a run for their money. In the end, Kernersville is the winner of this battle. Now, wouldn’t it be fun if they really start playing with flavors. Like Maple Bacon? Chocolate Stout? Who knows!

You know what else we have a lot of? Coffee shops! We have 3 Starbucks across the street from one another and 2 independent coffee shops (that I know of—one’s just a drive-thru) not to mention the coffee bars at chains AND the coffee at these two little doughnut shops.

I hope it’s not bad “business” to put these guys’ addresses in the same spot, but my people deserve to be informed. Neither place has a website but both have Facebook pages.  Have you tried either one of these shops? What’s your favorite?

Intown Donutz on Urbanspoon
Granny’s Donuts & Bakery (no Urbanspoon review for the Kernersville location). Their address is:
806 NC Hwy 66 South, Kernersville,NC 336.992.9595