Monthly Archives: May 2016

foodie b’eat: #followmeto A Greensboro Burger Crawl

From @YES Weekly…

So who needs a hashtag or a National anything to celebrate…well…anything? Certainly not me…and I bet you neither. But since National Hamburger Day, aka #nationalhamburgerday is coming upon us this Saturday, May 28, we thought we’d get in on the fun and do a burger crawl! That’s right! But….there’s a caveat. See, Greensboro is kind of known for being a burger town. Always has been since back in the days of Hamburger Square downtown where there were burgers on every corner. 

Today, there are some really good burger joints to choose from. Hops, Burger Spot, Emma Keys, Burger Warfare are some of the recent greats…and while we give these burger places their “graces” for being burger royalty, this crawl is taking you to the spots in the Gate City that you might not have heard of or even know that they serve pretty darn good burgers. Not classic burger places either. Not even places known for burgers at all.

Shall we go over the rules again? Always more fun with two people. That way there’s more sharing, which means more tasting without getting so full. Burgers can be quartered so that’s what we did. Plus it’s also good to get opinions. Mr. foodie and I enlisted, Randy Barnes, who writes the blog Hamburger Square. He considers himself somewhat of a burger expert. I pretty much let him choose all the places. Our comrade, chef Lynn Wells (Thyme Well Spent Personal Chef), was our fourth “man.” We kept the burgers simple (#baconischeating) because if you can keep it simple and do it well, then your other burgers are sure to be darn good. Plus it made for a more fair comparison.

First stop: Tony’s Citgo, aka Tony’s Food Mart, 3300 Edgefield Road      

It’s a gas station, people. Full-fledged. You can get a tank of gas and a 1/4 pound, 1/2 pound or even one whole pound burger. Our chef, “Brandon” has been manning the grill for 2 years. The meat comes in fresh daily and the burgers are griddled on the flat top to order. You can get an order of fries or onion rings and they even have homemade ranch. The burger was a great size (we split the 1/2 pound 4 ways), nice and wide, thick and perfectly cooked. Juicy too. There are picnic tables on the side of Tony’s near the kerosene tank for relaxing. But it was looking stormy so we opened some of Randy’s folding chairs and each ate our quarters at his TV tray and I dare say, it was charming.

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If you’re not on a crawl, your dessert can be one of those disgusting packaged pink snowballs. To each his own.

Stop #2: Jams Deli,  5707 Friendly Avenue

Mostly known for all kind of sandwiches, Jams has a really great vibe. I love the checkerboard and 50’s feel. But you might not know they have a pretty decent burger. It was one of Randy’s top burgers of the year. “I love it because it has shredded lettuce and not many places shred their lettuce…I call it the special sauce.” This burger was a bit smaller but still cooked nicely. Tony’s still wins.

Stop #3: Mark’s Restaurant, 616 Dolley Madison Road

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So Mark’s is a little more “high falutin” than most burger places. We sat down in the bar, ordered some cocktails, and decided on the Kobe Original burger, which comes pretty basic with a tomato and grilled onion (just lightly seared on the grill). This was the fanciest and most expensive burger of the evening….$11-12 (because of the Kobe). Mark’s actually split the burgers for us and plated them individually along with our sweet potato chips. It definitely was the prettiest presentation and boy was it juicy and had just the right about of salty crust. The vote: Mark’s moves out to the front (even though Kobe might be cheating). Maybe you wouldn’t choose Mark’s for your burger night because you might think you’re going more upscale. Just know, you can eat in the bar or on the patio, wearing flip flops and really enjoy that burger. Plus, Tuesday nights is gourmet burger night where you can get a Kobe burger with a fried green tomato, pimento cheese and pepper jelly and doesn’t that just sound amazing?

Stop #4:  Libby Hill Seafood, 3920 Cotswold Avenue        

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Late last year, LH added a burger to the menu and they recently started adding more.  I mean, you come to Libby Hill for inexpensive seafood. But for that one problem person in your group who doesn’t like seafood, this may be a solution. The burger is a great size and ours was perfectly prepared. This burger was the one out the whole night that tasted like it could’ve been cooked in your backyard. It had a nice grilled flavor, juicy red tomato, leaf lettuce and smear of mayo. Solid.

Stop #5: Reel Seafood Grill, 2002 New Garden Road

Starting..to…get… full….

Not exactly where you would think to get a burger but they do have a burger on the menu when all you want is surf but your dining companion(s) want turf. The burger was a decent size and pretty tasty overall and cooked perfectly. We opted for a side of grits. Ha! However, we were all in agreement on one thing. Reel Seafood does seafood real well…it’s where they shine. So much so that you should order what they do when you go there. Especially if you want seafood. Especially order the whole flash fried flounder. See why here. 

This burger crawl was Greensboro-focused and we want to send a shout out to those spots who keep us on our toes. Classic rock star props continue to go to out to: What-A-Burger (the locally owned), Beef a.k.a Biff Burger, Tipsy’s Tavern, Lindley Park Filling Station, and the aforementioned burger royalty at the top of the article. Crafted-The Art of the Taco also should get props for having a burger that some say is just as good as the famous tacos.

Honorable mention for burgers also goes to The Porterhouse Burger Truck. I haven’t eaten at the restaurant (Porterhouse Bar & Grill) on Market Street, but recently I had a Mushroom + Swiss burger from the truck and it was one of the best shroom burgers I’ve ever had. The mushrooms were hearty and still had a bite, the onions were sweet and caramelized, the swiss cheese was thick enough that you could taste its sharpness, the burger itself had a salty crunchy exterior and was perfectly cooked inside. And it was all on a fluffy bun. You could taste all the layers in every bite. See? 

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And so we don’t leave out some of the Winston-Salem greats, we’re currently loving the Burger Supreme pop-up at Mission Pizza at lunch on Wednesdays, the Camel City Grill food truck . Read the blog post review here (try anything with pimento cheese or the peanut butter, baconCamel City and pepper jelly)–by the way, the food truck is for sale. First Street Draught House, Bad Daddy’s Burger Bar, Foothills Brewing’s burger and recently Chef Travis Myers has been adding creative burgers to Willow’s Bistro menus. And Graze has this ridiculous burger with fried chicken on it (blog post here)!  And if you don’t mind the short drive, Chef Dion Sprenkle has Wacky Wednesday, which features three different burgers topped with crispy onions or an amazing house-smoked pastrami.

Tell us some of your favorite burger places. And I’d like to do a crawl in Winston-Salem that’s all burgers. Where do you think we should go?

The Katharine Brasserie & Bar

Okay okay…I KNOW that technically a restaurant inside a major hotel that’s part of a major hotel chain doesn’t exactly fit my “all local all the time” mantra.  But…this was for research, foodies…and if I’m being honest, for YES! Weekly.  But I would’ve attended this tasting at The Katharine Brasserie & Bar even if I wasn’t a full-fledged legit food writer for a legit publication. Why? Well, have you SEEN the place? And all of us in Winston-Salem have been stoked to see the iconic Reynolds Building turned into something other than its previous dormant, sad (yet beautiful) self. The Reynolds Building was yearning for the right tenant and I think they’ve found it.

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No matter what you think about big hotels, people gotta have a place to sleep when they come here and The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel raises the bar here. And The Katharine will only add to the “scene” here in WS. It makes us raise our game on 4th Street, Liberty, Main, The Arts District, etc.

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So with that, we welcome you, Lady Katharine. And you too, Chef Ed Witt….

keep reading below 🙂 from YES! Weekly  ..

After all the excitement and hype, it’s finally here. The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. And with it, The Katharine Brasserie…a hotel restaurant that doesn’t exactly act like a hotel restaurant. We already enjoy a fabulous one here in downtown Winston-Salem, Graze (part of the Marriott). Like its neighbor, The Katharine acts quite independently from the normal status quo hotel food fare that might cause someone like me to begrudgingly use the restaurant out of convenience, offering locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. And the space is  beautiful. The hotel still looks like the Reynolds Building. Many features of the iconic office building still remain. They say every guest room is different. There’s a slide in the rec room. And then there’s The Katharine, with its mix of modern and art deco…brass and copper and marble…beautiful light and ambiance…if you don’t get ambiance right the first time, many a chef will tell you, good luck with the rest.

I visited The Katharine last week during a private chef tasting for media. They kept our group small, limiting to a max of six, over the course of three separate evenings. That was a great call. It allowed us to have a quiet, intimate tasting with fellow curious media people, and we were all allowed to just have a conversation, hear the server describe the plate, and overall enjoy our evening even more. Our tasting was literally just that… it included singular plates of several appetizers and entrees that we basically all just shared. And there were wine pairings for each round that came to the table. If there’s one thing I walked away with, the folks at The Katharine absolutely know their pairings and with each delivery of appetizer or entree, the match of wine to food was spot on.

What was served:

Chilled Melon Soup, Cardamom, Country Ham & Pink Peppercorn: This is an item I did not see on the menu. I’m not a fan of chilled soup, but this was light and refreshing and the saltiness from the ham, spicy bite of the peppercorns was really great with the cantaloupe puree.  I don’t know about you, but this Southern girl loves pepper on cantaloupe.

Rappahannock Oysters with Minuet and a House Cocktails Sauce

Beef Tartare with mustard seeds, jalapeño, quail egg (as in nearly raw): Quite delicious actually. Not everyone has the stomach for tartare but it was delicate and flavorful.

Seared Sea Scallops with an incredible pea risotto and a black truffle butter. One of my faves.


Escargot was a huge hit and these got a little Southern top hat of hushpuppies.

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Rounding out what came to the table: Beet Salad, Trio de Pate and for entrees a wonderful Bistro Filet with Fries, Hen of the Woods (a type of mushroom and served as a vegetarian dish)  Pork tenderloin, and Grouper.

For dessert, a frozen lemon soufflé with fresh berries and lemon curd, the Katharine cookie plate and the sweet potato creme brûlée with benne wafer.  Typically, I like my creme brûlée unfooled-around with, but this incarnation had a lovely autumnal flavor, not too sweet…in fact there was a slight savoriness that was delicious.

We were all impressed with the execution of the dishes. My favorite dish had to be the the escargot (surprisingly) and the scallops were a close second because the black truffle butter on the risotto was divine. Fellow diner, Chef Harrison Littell, said the maitre’ d butter on the escargot was what set it apart for him. And though we’re having dinner in a Kimpton Hotel, he feels the restaurant will raise the game for all locally-owned restaurants in the area…and that’s a good thing. His wife, Andrea, of the blog TowniesWS, agreed. “It’s a beautiful space and really adds to the fabric of our city.” The hotel and restaurant do make you forget that you aren’t in a more metropolitan city, meanwhile it’s comfortable enough that no one feels out of place.

General Manager Herbie Gimmel says it’s important for the Kimpton to identify with the city and building that they are becoming part of. “Katharine Reynolds exemplifies the past and future of Winston-Salem. As a brasserie, we want to become part of the culture here.”

A brasserie is not supposed to be a fancy French restaurant, but rather be quite comfortable. Executive Chef Ed Witt, who moved to Winston-Salem from D.C., says the goal of the menu is approachability. “We want you to be able to come in and have a burger or steak and frittes or a Caesar salad. It’s a little bit of something for everyone and we want everyone to feel comfortable enough after the end of a long day to just hang out.”

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Chef Ed Witt places a finishing touch

Wanna go? The Katharine Brasserie & Bar  is located at 4th and Main Street in Winston-Salem. Open for breakfast and dinner. Lunch hours will be added in the coming weeks. katharinebrasserie.com

 

 

Competition Dining Announces Dream Teams

Good morning foodies! The super popular Competition Dining Series has announced its dream team line up for Winston-Salem’s battles. The chef competition is changing things up this year and allowing regional chefs to find their favorite culinary rock stars for some epic battles.  Looks like Chef Richard Miller of Graze Restaurant will be looking to repeat his victory.  Stay tuned for a feature story in next week’s YES! Weekly. I’ll talk to Richard and to Chef Tim from Bistro B and see what’s up! Until then, here’s the latest from Competition Dining….

Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series Heats Up in Winston-Salem with Four Talented Chef Teams 

 Statewide Culinary Tournament Returns with Local Dinner Events May 22, 23 and 25

Winston-Salem, North Carolina – The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series, a single-elimination tournament highlighting the best of the state’s food, agriculture and culinary talent, will host a local series in Winston-Salem with three interactive battles May 22, 23 and 25. It will pit four highly competitive chef teams against each other for the dinner events, which will be held at the Benton Convention Center. Tickets are available now at www.competitiondining.com/events/winston-salem and are expected to sell out quickly.

Every Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series dinner event includes two chef teams battling it out, each preparing three courses centered on a featured North Carolina ingredient that is revealed only an hour before they start cooking that day. Ticketed guests get in on the action, savoring a full-service, six-course meal without knowing which chef prepared which plate. Unlike any other cooking competition, attendees vote on each dish using a free app, and ultimately help determine who moves on to the next round and who goes home. New to the competition this year, the creation of All-Star Dream Teams allows chefs from different restaurants to partner together for the three-person teams, upping the potential caliber and creating a more fun and competitive atmosphere for all.

 The Winston-Salem bracket includes:

  • May 22 Dinner
    • Team Miller Time from Winston-Salem: Richard Miller, Graze Restaurant chef de cuisine and 2015 Competition Dining Series’ Triad champion; Kevin Woods, Twin City Quarter executive chef; and Tim Gallione, executive chef at O’Callahan’s Publick House in Mocksville.
    • Team Phoenix Brevard from Brevard: Miles Hogsed, The Phoenix executive chef; and Shawn Winbush and Jadedyn Whittemore, The Phoenix chefs.
  • May 23 Dinner
    • Team Vidalia Boom from Boone: Sam Ratchford, Vidalia Restaurant co-owner and executive chef; Julius Kalman, Vidalia Restaurant co-owner; and Jason Walsh, Vidalia Restaurant chef.
    • Team El Jefe from Kernersville: Timothy Bocholis, Bistro B Signature Dining & Wine Bar chef; Mitchell Nicks, Cane Ventures Rum Company founding partner; and Rachel Tadlock, food and beverages professional.
  • May 25 Dinner
    • May 22 winning team versus May 23 winning team

“After a wildly successful first series in Winston-Salem last year, we knew we had to bring the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series battles back here during our 2016 season,” said Jimmy Crippen, Competition Dining Series founder and host. “We have a great mix of returning chefs as well as talented newcomers vying for the local title and are confident these will be three highly competitive dinner events. We can’t wait to see what these four teams whip up in the kitchen and who ultimately comes out on top!”

During 2016, the Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is hosting local tournaments in Durham, Winston-Salem, Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte and Wilmington. The six winning teams each receive a grand prize of $2,000 in cash and prizes, and each member receives a handcrafted knife by Ironman Forge, an autographed cookbook by master French baker Lionel Vatinet of La Farm Bakery and the coveted “Red Chef Jacket” provided by ALSCO. Additionally, all six teams move on to compete in the Battle of Champions at the end of the year.

 All Winston-Salem events are held at the Benton Convention Center located at 301 W 5th Street. Tickets for the May 22 and 23 battles are $59 each, and tickets for the local finale battle, May 25, are $69 each. Reservations are open now at http://www.competitiondining.com/events/winston-salem.

About The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series

The Got to Be NC Competition Dining Series is sponsored by the NC Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, Pate Dawson-Southern Foods, Certified Angus Beef®, Freshness from North Carolina Waters, Joyce Farms, Goodnight Brothers, Pepsi Bottling Ventures, ALSCO, Swisher Hygiene and local and regional partners throughout the state. The goal of the series is to celebrate North Carolina products and agriculture, and to showcase the culinary ingenuity and talent across the state. For more information, visit www.competitiondining.com or get in on the conversation at www.facebook.com/competitiondining and @CompDiningNC on Twitter or Instagram.

 

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