Category Archives: Restaurants

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Join us for triadfoodies Chef’s Table at Taaza Bistro this Wednesday!

Good golly it’s been a while since I posted. I will try to change that.

With homeschooling (OMG) and writing each week for YES! Weekly and the general responsibilities of life, I find it hard to stop and make myself post something. But I def wanted to let you know that we have a few more seats available at our monthly Chef’s Table coming up Wednesday in Greensboro at Taaza Fresh Indian Bistro.

What is Chef’s Table? It’s basically our way of getting you into a restaurant and in front of a chef for a VERY affordable price for a taste of what’s on the menu. It’s a way of letting the chef surprise us and it’s SUPER fun. We started in May 2016 and we’ve gone strong since then, some with sell-out crowds. There’s limited seating available and as I write this we have 5 seats remaining.

Here’s how it works. You click this link and it sends you to the Eventbrite site and there you purchase your tickets. You’ll enjoy a multi-course global meal… but I never know what’s going to be served. We’re all surprised. No menu…just delicious surprises…all from the creative noggin of the chef/culinary team or maybe something they are wanting to highlight from the menu. And sometimes it requires you to think out of the box, get out of your comfort zone. Most of the dishes are served family style, so if you don’t like chevre or kale or venison, then you can nibble and let the rest of your comrades enjoy.

About Taaza Fresh Indian Bistro….you can read the review I wrote about them in YES! Weekly.img_0485 It was amazing and the BEST Indian food I’ve ever had with excellent service.

I think you’ll love it. Join us by clicking the ticket link above!

I also have some exciting news to share but you’ll have to wait until the next post.

See ya later foodies!

Crafted the Art of the Taco is HERE. Let’s Win Something!

Foodies!

Crafted-The Art of the Taco opened today (Wednesday) in Winston-Salem.

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Let me just say that I have waited FOREVS for this day. Well it seems like forevs ..it’s actually been four years. For some of us anyway. The folks in WS have only had to wait about 6 months.

Keep reading because I’m giving you the scoop and if you visit Crafted in Winston-Salem this Thursday through Saturday you have a chance to win a $25 gift card for a future visit to Crafted.

Boom!

The restaurant that’s a taco joint, not a Mexican restaurant has been the most anticipated new arrival in downtown Winston in quite a while. We were there on Saturday to check things out and again when they officially opened at lunch today. I have been talking to Chef Kris Fuller and her business partner and mom, Rhonda, for a couple of years about bringing themselves to Winston. I sent photos, contacts…I’d scope out a place for lease and text her the info. And it finally happened on Liberty Street in the Arts District. I just love it. It’s cozy, modern, chic, girlie and industrial all in one. And the food is an experience in and of itself.

On the menu…tacos of course. But true to owner, Chef Kris Fuller’s nature, she added a few new things to this location as well because as she says, she likes each new restaurant to feel like it’s own thing. “We added three new burgers so now we have a pretty solid burger menu and because spaces allows for it, you can also make any taco a burger or a rice bowl.” Fuller says because of the lack of space in Greensboro, there have been things she’s been wanting to do that she simply can’t there.

There are a dozen tacos that you can mix and match for a tantalizing duo. I especially love The Fixie, with beef brisket, grilled pineapple, spicy sweet chili sauce and coconut aioli. Mmm..my fave. Also don’t miss the Baja Style, which comes with your choice of protein like grilled or battered fish, seared tuna, chorizo, braised chicken, pulled pork, braised beef, and a half dozen vegetarian options too like sweet potato, tofu and falafel. We went with the tuna and I highly recommend it. Seafood lovers would also love the Bowtie which features beer battered fish, roasted corn and poblano salsa, sweet chipotle aioli and honey mustard. There’s certainly a taco and a burger to make you happy. As for appetizers, try the stuffed avocado with chorizo, queso and pico de gallo served with fried flour tortilla chips that are flaky and scrumptious. The taquitos are really great too. You also can’t go wrong with a mason of bacon…heck it’s got Mexican chocolate drizzled on it and it actually perfect for dessert. There are salads on the menu and a few kid items as well.

Fuller, who opened up the first Crafted in Greensboro four years ago and Crafted-The Art of Street Food last year, says this day feels really good. “In Greensboro we were really busy right out of the gate and they showed us a lot of support, but with Winston knowing who we were and coming to the area, I can’t tell you the amount of love and support I see daily.” She says, “Even when we we’d go out to other restaurants around here, we’d get that excitement. It’s been quite amazing.” We knew it would be like that because Winston is a community…there’s just no other way to say it.

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Fuller comes from a fine dining background (remember The Bistro at Adams Farm?) and says she hopes to use the Winston-Salem location as her creative outlet for future pop-ups and wine dinners. I think that would be super fun and the Winston-Salem location will be a great location for it. But for now, Fuller says her full concentration is getting Winston’s Crafted settled. “We do have a five year plan and we have a couple of other cities in mind.” I’m thinking Durham but I did not ask because I like to be surprised, foodies. 

But for now, Chef says it’s just one restaurant at a time and that means getting cozy with Winston-Salem. And you know it’s already happening because Winston-Salem isn’t just the city of Arts and Innovation. It’s also a city of foodie love and we think she is the perfect fit!

Welcome Fullers and the entire Crafted Team!  I love these ladies. Support this great restaurant and team, foodies. 

Now!! Want to win a prize???

Visit Crafted between now and Saturday at 11pm, check in or tag @triadfoodies on Facebook with a photo of what you are eating or you and your friends. Remember to tag @triadfoodies.  If you don’t like us on Facebook, well my feelings are hurt. Anyway…Go over and like us on Facebook (you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram too). Tag @triadfoodies and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card for a future visit.

Happy eating!

foodie b’eat: Village Juice + + +

As seen in YES! Weekly Aug. 10, 2016 with a bit more chatter and photos here!

WARNING!
Goodness and healthy eating await in Winston-Salem….

… it’s quite the departure from what we’re used to. Where you once would just grab and go, now you can order and sit. Village Juice Company has gone from a juice truck to a tiny storefront, to a full-fledged counter service restaurant now at 205 South Stratford Road in the Towers Shopping Center. The shop literally all happened hiding in plain sight.

Village Juice Co. was founded by Lonnie Atkinson. She started selling her juice out of the food truck while using Beta Verde’s commercial kitchen. “My passion was always health and wellness…and was always to have something bigger than just the truck. I have worked in larger cities, where something like this is readily available. I knew there was a need for it here, so I decided to build the brand, with the juice first.”

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Photo courtesy of Village Juice Company

About a year ago, business partner, Elizabeth Lucas-Averett joined the mix, “We are both super passionate about the concept, but we both have different skill sets. Lonnie is the one with the food background who can come up with the creations and make them amazing. I come from a business background. I wanted to do this concept before I met Lonnie, but the timing wasn’t right, so I just waited for the universe to connect me with an expert at all things that I am not.”

Then came the tiny little juice shop with just juices in a refrigerator, but magic was happening behind the temporary wall they set up. Atkinson says, “We were building our kitchen and upfitting the entire space while continuing to produce elsewhere. Then, we moved into our kitchen, the wall came down and people were amazed to see what we were up to.”

What you’ll find…just about your heart’s desire in a bright, chic modern setting where everything is made from scratch. There’s a large selection of the original cold-pressed juices filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. Nut milks infused with all kinds of ingredients like cocoa, coffee or matcha, sweetened only with dates. There’s even a Charcoal Lemonade made with activated charcoal called Black Magic; the activated charcoal reportedly removes toxins from the body. It looks interesting – it’s black! – and I did see a gentleman enjoying it. That’s on the “to try” list for me.  You can get locally made Caldero bone broth from the case, too.

For a quick meal to go, there’s a menu of filling whole foods-based smoothies, toasts and salads. My favorite are the smoothie bowls…which range from $9-12. I especially loved the Dragonfruit Bowl, which is made from organic pitaya, fruit, house made almond milk and topped with organic seasonal fruits, shredded coconut and bananas. I added some collagen for extra protein.  “The smoothie bowls are 22 ounces of fruit with nut butters and toppings, made with 100% raw, house made coconut milk or almond milk. There’s lots of fiber and our portions are larger than most, so your body gets that full feeling,” Atkinson said. And there are plenty of add-ons like the collagen and protein powders plus superfoods you’ll likely not find anywhere else. It is indeed filling, with incredible color. It feels downright indulgent.

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Pitaya Bowl

They also have a selection of made-to-order creative salads that you can select or “build your own.”  I had the herb and pumpkin seed salad with organic arugula, organic kale, organic parsley, cilantro, mint & basil blend, organic cucumber, organic tomato, avocado, pumpkin seed, local Gnomestead Hollow curtido,Fair Share Farms micro greens. They recommend the citrus vinaigrette as a dressing.  I’d have to agree…the kale likes a zippy, tangy dressing. Just in the past couple of weeks, new grain bowls have been added with hearty quinoa, etc. 

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And then there are the toasts  Avocado toasts, BLT with Avocado, Pear and Goat Cheese, Nut Butter and Banana – all great for someone who wants something with some chew, but not a salad. The toasts are also made to order, and even the dressings and spreads are house made. From the folks I’ve talked to the Avocado Goddess dressing is a popular one. 

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Photo courtesy of Village Juice Shop

The company also strives to find the cleanest ingredients possible, right down to the oil for their dressings, such as coconut oil and pumpkinseed oil, something quite hard to find in your typical restaurant.  Lucas-Averett adds, “Our greens are organic always. Everything that is listed on the menu as organic is always organic.  Clean, sustainably produced whole foods are very important to us. We have high personal standards for this that inspired us to start this business in the first place.”

The team says that people are driving from all over the Triad to get a taste of their healthy “treats and eats.” When I was there, there was a constant stream of customers. Some a bit curious, grabbed a juice from the case, or tried a free sample and went on their way. But many more placed their order and waited for their colorful smoothie, salad or toast to arrive. Some of the smoothie bowls and salads are large enough to share. Atkinson says reception has been terrific. “The thing we’ve seen about our customers is they love coming in trying something they’ve never tried before.”

Though the VJC team is at the helm of a very healthy ship that is very “raw” and vegan-friendly, they’re not about the labels. “We’ve tried every label on personally and we’ve thrown them all out. We’re really just whole foodies,” Lucas-Averett told me. “I’m a mostly-vegetarian who dabbles in bacon and bone broth…there’s not a label for that. We wanted to create a space where anybody could find something they could eat.” Atkinson added, “I did the raw and the vegan lifestyles, and they were great, but I feel the most balanced just eating real food. However, I think I had to go to that extreme to understand the benefits, as well as to relate to what people might go through who are eliminating specific foods from their diet.”

Atkinson says they’re interested in changing the way people view healthy food. “A lot of what’s known as health food is dry or flavorless and tastes like cardboard. We want to shift that so people know you can get something that’s very filling and tastes amazing and is really good for you. We want our customer to leave here and feel good about themselves. There’s that mental thing, and then the actual physical reaction from eating something healthy.” Lucas-Averett adds, “We’re both interested in bringing wellness to as many people as possible and showing that good healthy food isn’t for that “other” person, whomever they may be but that it’s accessible to everyone and that it tastes really, freaking good!  You don’t have to count calories. Count nutrients. It’s a huge leap of faith for us, but we really believe that people want and need this.”

I can tell you that once you go, you’ll probably find yourself craving a smoothie bowl or a toast. I can’t wait to go back. I think you’ll really enjoy it. #triadfoodiesapproved!

Oh and the truck is still available for festivals and such.13392008_843253222472777_1691650869691257378_o

Village Juice Co. Shop: 205 S. Stratford Rd, WS
Village Juice Truck: 1208 Reynolda Road, (Krankies Coffee Park)
Village Juice Box:   525@Vine Atrium, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter  villagejuicecompany.com

the bird is the word: Slappy’s Chicken is slap yo mouth good!

Why did the chicken cross the road? To dive into Slappy sauce!

Why did YOU cross the road? To go get the Slappy’s chicken!

Slappy’s Chicken opened last week on Acadia Avenue in the former Acadia Grill location. Slappy’s is so brand new, that as I write this… it doesn’t even have a sign yet. It’s a hot chicken joint. But not Nashville hot. Slappy’s hot. And it is outstanding.

IMG_3206Owner Scott Brambleburg and his wife used to own a restaurant in Brevard before returning to Winston-Salem. She went into the wine business while he’s been doing stints at local restaurants…some of our faves, like Mary’s and Meridian. And he’s spent that time perfecting his recipe, which is a mixture of heat, spice and a touch of sweet. “I’ve been working on this recipe for several years now with the hopes of opening up a place,” he says.  Scott says he grew up eating chicken similar to this so his dream was to bring the amazing chicken to the Camel City. He says, “I just wanted a place where we basically just do one thing and do it well. And what we have here is a great set up because it’s like a food truck, but it’s an actual restaurant.” 

Plus, it’s super quick. We had our food in front of us in less than 5 minutes. The chicken? It was seriously slap yo mama good. The sides were …they’re getting there.  I ordered the Chees-Its mac n cheese and the collards. The chicken is the star though.  A steady stream of customers kept coming through the door right up until closing. Brambleburg said traffic has been busy since opening last week. “It’s been awesome. And it’s mostly my friends coming in and then spreading the word on social media.”

Owner and Slappy Chef, Scott Brambleburg

Owner and Slappy Chef, Scott Brambleburg

We expect the word to get out pretty quickly and this place may soon have a line out the door. It’s that kind of place. Just hole-in-the-wall enough yet so delicious.

So go check them out so you can say how you discovered them before they got so popular.

Props to Jordan Keiper of Tavern In Old Salem for the inspiration for the headline! 

Slappy’s is located at 200 W Acadia Avenue, Winston-Salem; Open Monday-Saturday 11:00-8:00pm.

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Review: Chef Dion Sprenkle

A Sprenkle of Deliciousness: “Let The Chef Surprise Us” 4.0

You can see this story in YES! Weekly

This is the continuing story of how we allow the chef to surprise us. We’re kind of changing it up recently. We now get a group of foodie friends/followers together and hit up a local restaurant. This time, Chef Dion Sprenkle…way out in Lexington (actually, a mere half hour from many cities in the Triad). I had visited Chef Dion’s restaurant a few weeks back after he attended a previous foodie gathering at 1703 Restaurant and then he volunteered himself for a similar event the next month. At the end of this post you’ll see where we’re headed next! 

Just as much as a focus on the food, this gathering was an opportunity to meet the chef and get to know him better. Chef Dion Sprenkle is a classically-trained chef, graduating in 1992 from the prestigious Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York.  Before making his way South, Sprenkle was the chef de cuisine at the New York Palace Hotel, executive chef at The Water Club and at Spazzia Restaurant and chef de cuisine at Spartina Restaurant. He says he also gained valuable experience in the kitchens of Gotham Bar & Grill and The River Cafe. Previously in the Triad, Sprenkle was Executive Chef at Old Town Club in Winston-Salem.

Last year, Chef Sprenkle placed runner-up in the local Competition Dining series, getting edged out by Graze’s Chef Richard Miller in the final battle. Many people took notice of this incredibly talented chef, tucked away in Davidson County. We wanted to know…what on earth brought him to Lexington, where alcohol sales in restaurants are not permitted? “After an extensive search for restaurant locations in Winston, Greensboro and Salisbury areas, none of which suited what I was looking for, this space was available and we quickly realized the need for an upscale restaurant in the area,” Sprenkle told us. “Many people live in Davidson County and work in Forsyth, but come home to no restaurants and then have to travel back to Winston to get something to eat besides BBQ.”

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Sprenkle also features Wacky Wednesday, which offers a selection of chef-inspired burgers in addition to the fine dining menu. It’s a bustling night. The burgers change quite a bit, but the night that we checked out the burgers, I enjoyed a House-Smoked Pastrami Burger. It was a sizable, perfectly cooked burger topped with, I kid you not…a good inch of smoked pastrami. And it was delicious. The pastrami was so smoky and flavorful. It was almost a fork meal. Well, I turned it into a fork meal, anyway.

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Mr. foodie ordered a chicken dish from the menu and I forget what it was but it was really tasty.

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And he sent out dessert…strawberry  bread pudding

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We were then looking forward to what surprises he had in store for us when we got our group together.

At our gathering, course after course came and it went a little something like this:

Course 1

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Watermelon Gazpacho shot with cucumber, rosemary goat cheese, citron sea salt and Fair Share Farms pea leaves

Course 2

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Sweet Corn Puree with Blackened Alligator and ramp oil

Course 3

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Roasted Oyster Mushrooms with oloroso sherry natural sauce

Course 4

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Spanish Lobster and Chorizo sausage Torte with eggs, potato, chili relish, cilantro, lobster tamale, lobster roe, cilantro

Course 5

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Vadouvon Spiced roasted cauliflower with onion, pancetta, basil and Argentinean Extra virgin sunflower oil

Course 6

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Hill Top farms ostrich and havarati cheese quesadilla, spicy chili relish aioli

Course 7

Tasting of Orange scented crème brulee and Ricotta cheese panna cotta with strawberry balsamic glaze, basil syrup and lemon confit.

As you can see, this is a great sampling of some of the menu items and a few “surprises,” just the way we like it. Chef Sprenkle’s cuisine is distinctly Mediterranean and he says he tries to source as much locally as possible as long as it’s of the highest quality. “I will always buy locally when I can, but to me the importance is quality.” 

Keep in mind that Chef Dion Sprenkle is a BYO alcoholic beverages and as customary for such restaurants, they do charge a corkage fee ($10/bottle of wine and $1/bottle of beer. Sprenkle tod me if you bring in a Davidson County Wine (Childress, Weathervane, Junius Lyndsey, Native Vines, or purchased from Tastings Wine and Beer Store) they only charge $5 per bottle.

The chef also says he’s not resting on his laurels and is looking at expanding to other areas in the Triad. He’s also consulting on another project that’s due to open in Winston-Salem in mid-July. While working on those efforts, Sprenkle says he doesn’t mind being “tucked away” as we call it. “Our clientele is diverse and see us as a destination restaurant, but the locals of Lexington sometimes dine with us at least three times a week and see us as their home dining room. Our location allows people in Winston, Clemmons, High point or Salisbury to arrive within 15 minutes. We also get quite a few people from Greensboro or Charlotte. They may stay in town for the weekend to visit the wineries and then come have dinner with us.” He adds, “We’ve survived now for 5 years in a location that is off the beaten path and without alcohol sales. Like I always said when I lived in NYC, If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere, and we have!”

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Wanna go? Chef Dion Sprenkle is located just inside Lexington at 5479 Old US Hwy 52.
Hours: Wednesday-Saturday 5-9pm. The restaurant is also open for special holidays and brunches and is available for private events and catering. chefdion.com

If you’d like to participate in a future “Surprise Gathering,” follow triadfoodies on social media for all the details. Hint: Next stop is Tuesday, July 26 at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar as Triad’s Best Chef (as voted by YES! Weekly readers) to get to know Chef Tim Grandinetti and let him surprise us. Just message me at Kristi@triadfoodies dot com to reserved your spot. We usually max out at 12-14 people to keep it intimate and it’s about $25 per person.