Monthly Archives: August 2013

Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co.

The already "iconic" bar backdrop

The already “iconic” bar backdrop

What do you get when you cross 3 dudes, craftmanship, history and beer? You get the new Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Company. They are the topic du jour, even though I felt like I was following them before they got all hot and popular :). I can’t wait for Hoots Roller Bar to open in mid-September. It is really a feast for the eyes and it has nothing to do with food. Everything added into the old Hoots Roller Mill warehouse, which stood vacant, is completely hand-made. What’s more, you’ll see old wood from family collections, reclaimed restaurant booths and an old piano and the detail and care that has been placed into each and every item, well you can tell it’s a labor of love. That labor comes from the hands of owners and friends Eric Swaim, Eric Weyer and Ralph Pritts. You may know them from around town, Krankies, the stage, etc. But their new claim to fame will be Hoots Roller Bar in the Historic West End, at West End Millworks, formerly Hoots Roller Mill.

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Hoots Roller Bar is in the midst of a Kickstarter campaign with 6 more days to go. Their open date is sometime in mid-September with the brewery to follow in the fall.

When we arrived last week, we saw Ralph sawing away and Eric S showed us the place and what they envision the bar and brewery to be. There are intricately laid wood accents. There are portholes in the bar that give glimpses inside the future brewery. A true work in progress that’s being worked right down to the wire. And these pictures are a reflection of that. No beauty shots here. This is the Hoots Roller Bar life in pictures.

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The Brewery side

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The Old Piano

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Reclaimed Restaurant Booths

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The Erics and Ralph are also excited about their address and that they will soon be followed by other businesses including, Winston-Salem’s first distillery. And The Porch Kitchen + Cantina, where you can get food to go, or order and hang out (there’s also a kickstarter campaign for that). The old mill house and the rustic look of the area is sure to draw a certain crowd. A crowd that loves that old, yet progressive look and a casual greenspace that is so inviting for just having a cold one and relaxing with friends.

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Future Distillery

Future Distillery

Hashbrowns...just kidding. It's saw dust. And there's a lot of it.

Hashbrowns…just kidding. It’s saw dust. And there’s a lot of it. It’s also known as insulation.

This is a local lovie’s dream. You see what used to be progress. It turned to a shack, left forgotten to just sit there and deteriorate. But it’s in the midst of a transformation and that is VERY exciting to see. And it is even more thrilling to see 3 young men shaping their dream into a reality, while turning something that could’ve been nothing, into something really special.

This is just the beginning for Eric, Eric, Ralph and property owner, John Bryan, whose vision is transforming this area into a place of community, arts and business. It is definitely a place to keep our eye on.

We’ll see you there in September!

Click here for the Kickstarter Campaign for Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Co.

Click here for The Porch Kitchen + Cantina (part of Dinners on the Porch) Kickstarter.

The New Public House & Hotel

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When we recently vacationed in the High Country, we were so delighted to see the former Crippens, which was sold earlier this year, open as a brand new restaurant. The adventurous owners behind Gideon Ridge and Bistro Roca (a triadfoodies fave) just that week opened The New Public House & Hotel as a casual and inviting tapas restaurant, with a boutique hotel following close behind. And these tapas all feature farm-to-table ingredients by the talented, award-winning, chef Michael Foreman.

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The restaurant had literally been open a day, so they didn’t officially consider themselves up and running until the very night we arrived! I don’t usually hit a restaurant so early on…give them a few weeks to get all the kinks out. But I figured with Michael Foreman heading the kitchen…well, this ain’t his first rodeo.

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Management says the place has been totally redone and I noticed a good bit of freshening up, new paint, art and fixtures, but it still has the same homey comfy-ness of its predecessor, which had a higher price-point.  There’s nothing on the menu at The New Public House more than $13. And the tapas are all shareable. You can select from Bites (slightly smaller), Garden (veggie selections), Sea, Pasture, and Mountain (a selection of mountain fare like Wild Mushrooms, etc and a few items that look like they’d belong in the Pasture category, but I’m not picking on them) :). There’s also a lovely wine bar in the center of the dining room where a wine steward expedites orders from the wait staff, which alleviates pressure from the bar. If you haven’t been to Blowing Rock, the folks who live there and travel there love their wine and cocktails, so this is a good call. It keeps the wine flowing.

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Manager Will provided us with a nice sample of his Rose to get us started along with Chef Michael’s delicious house-made bread that looked like pumpernickel but was really a rye with hints of cocoa and molasses. It’s served alongside butter and black-eyed pea hummus. And those kidlets ate that bread!

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Chef Michael sent out a gorgeous Sweet Corn Grits Tamale with local corn, grits, wrapped in corn husk. It was beautifully presented with perfectly cooked grits and sween corn and red onion. My little girl ate that! Thanks, Chef…for sure delicious and gorgeous.

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We ordered the Southern Fried Chicken wrapped in bacon (!), Fried Green Tomatoes and the Trout Cakes. If you ever get chance to order trout IN the mountains, please do. Unless they are literally driving that trout from the water to you, it won’t be nearly as fresh as you can get it there.  Simply fabulous trout. These trout cakes were no exception.

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The fried green tomatoes were fresh, firm with a coating that stay on it (important to me) and a bacon horseradish mayo which was a nice departure from the typical aioli. It was like a spicy BLT when you included them with the accompanying greens.

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I must say something about that chicken though. The little drumsticks were frenched..so you just had that adorable skinny little leg and the meat itself had been wrapped in…yes…BACON. Hello! Total satisfaction. Served with watermelon and greens.

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Finally for dessert we ordered the ice cream which featured these adorable little sugar cones ON TOP of a tiny scoop of bourbon brown sugar ice cream, all accented with fresh berries. It looked like a sweet, neat little circus.

Image 101   Cute!!! I didn’t get one :(. 4 people, 3 cones equaled nothing for me…and I WRITE this blog!)

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All in all, I’d say the kinks were no issue on the first weekend night of The New Public Ale House. The place was already pretty full by the time we left so I think the folks in the area have been looking to return to this beloved address. I’d like to go back and try a few more interesting things on the menu. And take note, it’s all very seasonal so the menu will likely change a good bit, which makes farm to table cuisine all the more exciting, especially on the Rock.

The New Public House
239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC
828-295-3487
The New Public House & Hotel on Urbanspoon

Winston-Salem Dishcrawl Debut

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As you know, in addition to triadfoodies,  I’m also the Winston-Salem Dishcrawl Ambassador. We had a blast at our debut! Here’s the blog post from last night’s SOLD OUT experience. Enjoy! And don’t delay! Join us on September 10 for Dishcrawling 4 Restaurants on 4th Street!

 

The Lunatic Farmer by Chris Cooper – CrossFit Journal

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I love this story about Polyface Farm in Virginia from CrossFit Journal. It’s a great read and I bet some chefs around here have heard of Joel Salatin and if not, might like to know him. Click on the free download of the pdf article which includes great pics.

The Lunatic Farmer by Chris Cooper – CrossFit Journal.

Beyond the Triad: triadfoodies vacation on the Rock

ASU view from Howard's Knob, Boone

ASU view from Howard’s Knob, Boone

Greetings, Foodies! After a week in the mountains and a busy first half of this week, I’m ready to share all the deliciousness we found on the ROCK. If you don’t know what the ROCK is…just look west and you know that I mean the area of Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk, etc, otherwise known as the High Country.  But Rock is shorter :).

This is going to be a not-so-brief recap of the week and I believe a couple of these spots deserve their own blog post and, if time permits, that will happen one day soon. First, we head straight to our Date Night at one of my favorite places to be and eat ON THE PLANET. Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar.

Known for Mountain Cuisine, The Gamekeeper offers an adventurous gastronomic experience. You may find Ribeye but you’ll also find Boar Belly or Elk or Ostrich and delicious seafood items. A charcuterie plate could feature Rabbit Livermush (which ours did…and it was fantastic). The menu changes constantly. The service is absolutely impeccable. It’s a cozy and casual atmosphere where you can be dressed up or down comfortably. And the view is so very serene. Here’s what you look out and in at.

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Gabriel, our server, brought us an amuse buche of mystery food. It actually turned out to be very thinly sliced lavosh with berries (including Huckleberry) and dusted with cocoa and yogurt powders. Interesting and eaten right up.

IMG_5156  Just a little something to get us tempted….

The charcuterie also had quail egg, beef tongue, homemade mustard, pickles and grilled bread. Fab. We also ordered an appetizer of the wild mushrooms with pattypan squash.

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Mr. foodie ordered the Braised Ostrich which featured meat from the wing and had been shredded and was incredible. It was on gnocchi, with smoky eggplant. Divine. I ordered the seafood of the day which was 3 huge scallops on brussels, okra, corn, field peas, gherkins, purslane with tomato vinegar. Fresh and gorgeous. Look!

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After meeting Edwin Bloodworth, the chef-de-cuisine, and receiving a sweet little cherry sorbet to top off our night (too full for dessert) we bid farewell to this incredible place, knowing there are many visits to come!  Here’s the menu and a list of their local farms and purveyors.

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Gamekeeper Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Onward! On Tuesday we got to try 1861 Farmhouse TWO ways. For lunch, we stopped at the 1861 Farmhouse Market for some sandwiches to take on a picnic. They have great sandwiches that are specialty creations or you can custom build. Plus an awesome market featuring Carolina Coffee and all kinds of jams, jellies, ham, bacon and local baking mixes. I ordered a Hawksnest with ham, capicolla and provolone with fixings on sun-dried tomato bread. And Mr. ordered the Valle Scorcher with turkey, spicy pepperjack on jalapeño bread WITH horseradish. He’s a stud.

IMG_5176  This is just a portion of a wall.

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IMG_5190  Later that night, I was so excited to go with the fam (including my MIL) to 1861 Farmhouse. A beautifully restored house that features its OWN winery’s selection and delicious southern cuisine. You need to visit their website to get an idea of how this 150 year old home was transformed into what it is today by its owners. It’s also the kitchen of previous Fire on the Rock winner, Sam Beasley, a true talent. He was chef-ing that night!

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IMG_5196 Wine from their own winery.

For apps, we ordered the pork belly that was braised with Cheerwine and topped with shallots and served with a grilled banana that worked mighty well. And we shared a grilled romaine salad that was like a BLT on a plate, with bleu cheese. Yum. We also got a bottle of wine, the Victoria’s Vale, that was really good.

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My MIL ordered the BEST trout I’ve ever had.

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I ordered the NC Snapper special on cheesy grits with a crawfish and bacon gravy. Amazing.

IMG_5203 And Mr. ordered the cumin and cocoa rubbed pork. It was lovely and gives me an idea for preparation at home. Thanks, Chef!

Image 52 My eldest wanted a hotdog. And the little one wanted grilled cheese. Oh well..they liked. And after seeing claims of the BEST banana pudding EVER, the MIL and I each ordered one and Mr. foodie ordered the terrific bread pudding. It WAS the best banana pudding, no lie. And my boy saved me some calories again by stealing some of it.

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1861 Farmhouse on Urbanspoon

Art by Ava

Art by Ava 🙂

We also experienced the joy of eating at Coyote Kitchen in Boone. It’s a small, “Southwest Caribbean Soul Food” type restaurant with chips, salsa, nachos, burgers and these killer “boats” that are like naked burritos but with all kinds of interesting toppings and combos. You have to try this place. We couldn’t decide if we wanted a “boat” with coconut rice or sweet corn bread so we ordered one with rice and then corn bread on the side. We know how to call it. We just tried a nice sampling of the chips with 3 salsas (all homemade from sweet and mild to spicy), the mixed fries (sweet and russet), the Cactus boat and MIL ordered a Catalina Salad. Coyote Kitchen also has tacos, melts and burritos. And on top of the salsas, they also have these homemade hot sauces that just pack an even bigger punch so you should try them with your meal. Definitely going back!

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Oh and the chicken right there? “Pups” Menu. Yummy battered is all I can say.

Coyote Kitchen on Urbanspoon

We couldn’t leave Banner Elk out of our culinary adventures so we took the recommendation of Chad-the-Wahoo’s Whitewater rafting-guide and headed over to The Painted Fish the day before our departure. Banner Elk has come a long way in the past few years and there’s no shortage of places to get GREAT food. Chef/owner Tom Jankovich’s Painted Fish Cafe is no exception. You get a wonderful view of Sugar Mountain and enjoy burgers of all types, entrees, salads …all featuring local ingredients and fresh seafood. I ordered the Tuna Burger and Mr. ordered the Tilapia Tacos (fried). We both got a sweet potato salad as our side. So good with bacon and onion. Perfection. Kids ordered …I don’t know…grilled cheese and plain pasta with butter (who are these people??).

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The chef was in the kitchen but he was nice enough to grace us with his presence, give us a few more dining suggestions (for our next trip) and pose for a triadfoodies pic.

IMG_5249 Chef/Owner Tom Jankovich

Okay…so dessert…yes, yes. What you see here is a Krispy Kreme cheesecake. The doughnuts are the crust, with a traditional cheesecake, topped with a salted caramel and bacon sauce. Whaaaat? I die.

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Oh and while you are there, you should really take advantage of the Liver and Onions on the kids menu. It’s only $82.00.  There’s a similarly-priced broccoli AND cauliflower casserole I bet the kids would LOVE. I know mine would ;).

Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar on Urbanspoon
So that’s a sampling why you should eat LOCAL on the ROCK. It’s a wonderful place to get locally-sourced dining at a variety of locations. The great thing about that area is there’s way more local than chain. Just the way it should be. I could really live up there…but then I’d have to change our name to Rockfoodies….ooooh…I kind of like that.

Stay tuned….my next post will be an exclusive on the brand new, just-opened The New Public House & Hotel (which is in the former Crippen’s) in Blowing Rock. We gave them a try on what ended up being the first REAL opening night and we have lots of pics. Until then…there are links within the blog to the places we visited. And I look forward to hearing what some of your favorite restaurants are on the Rock.