Category Archives: Restaurants

You should eat here!

10 Unconventional Ways to Heart Your Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day, foodies, when even the most begrudging partner puts on their big kid pants and heads out to romance his or her significant other. Love it or hate it, this is the one night most people do it up. But this year we’re bringing you a list of “not the usual suspects….” places you can go and have just as memorable a time as if you’ve drop a Benjamin or two at the finest eatery in the city.

You can see this story as written in YES! Weekly here. 

Small Batch Burger, 241 W. 5th St, Winston-Salem & 2760 Highway 68 S Unit 237, High Point

BurgerBatchShakes

Photo courtesy Small Batch Burger

 

Let’s take it back to the 50’s with a beautiful burger, fries and a milkshake. The shakes are so big you’ll be forced to share it with your beloved and maybe two other beloveds. Small Batch doesn’t look anything close to a diner or the 50’s though. It’s practically cosmopolitan. What a fun, casual night you can have and then you can take an evening stroll to burn off those calories. If you ask my husband, he’ll tell you I think fries are hot. Plus at Small Batch, Thursday is “pint night”. 

The Library Bar at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar, 450 N. Spring St., WS

My favorite bar in all the lands, as I like to say. The sexy Library Bar is newly renovated and expanded with plenty of luxurious seating, opulent lighting and a warm cozy fireplace.  You can order your entree here, but I might suggest a selection of appetizers and one of there beautifully crafted cocktails.  From Thursday through Sunday, Spring House will offer a specially designed St. Valentine’s Day menu to give you plenty of choices to linger over.

For all you Pizza Lovers

Mission Pizza Napoletana, 707 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem

IMG_20180914_224820_125 (2)

Photo courtesy: Mission Pizza Napoletana

 

Owner Peyton Smith will be the first to tell you that pizza Napoletana is a sexy food, what with  roaring thousand degree vulcan oven all the fresh toppings and the light and chewy crust.  Mission Pizza Napoletana is intimate small, not necessarily intimate quiet, but it’s a fun and enjoyable date spot for sure.  It’d make a really great first date spot if you’re crazy enough to do that on Valentine’s Day. And for a bit more fancy schmancy to your typical pizza place, Mozzarella Fellas is offering a Valentine’s Prix Fixe menu $55/person. It’s the most cheffy of all the pizza places and they promise the menu will be sure to satisfy even the pickiest of dates. If you just want delicious pizza, you can order off the regular menu.  Reservations are required “to ensure that you get home early, wink wink. RSVP by email info@mozzarellafellas.com 

Course 2 Fellas Caprese Salad

Mozzarella Fellas

 

For the Sushi Lover

In Winston-Salem, there’s Mizu Japanese Restaurant, 3374 Robinhood Road where there’s actually a sushi roll called the Sweetheart Roll. And it’s expertly rolled and shaped with tuna into a pretty little heart. It features spicy tuna crunchy inside and fresh tuna on top. It’s one of my favorite rolls ever at my favorite sushi place in Winston-Salem. In Greensboro and High Point, US Sushi has a Valentine Roll. It also features tuna. Sushi is fun Valentine’s Day food.

I’ll Make You Breakfast (or buy you breakfast, anyway)

51014081_1224573344387124_6420411370860183552_n

Mary’s Gourmet Diner

Who says you have to have dinner on Valentine’s Day?  Any number of our wonderful breakfast establishments in the Triad fit the breakfast for whatever meal bill, but we really do love Breakfast Queen Mary’s Gourmet Diner, 723 North Trade Street in Winston-Salem or Scrambled Southern Diner, 2417 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro, where you can get luscious pancakes all piled high with a number of finely crafted ingredients, eggs, bacon, biscuits, grits. Then you can go home and take a nap….together.

Tea for Two on 2.14

51351679_1136100619886749_5144852667163475968_o

The Flour Box Tea Room & Cafe in Old Salem, 137 West Street, SW, Winston-Salem is doing the regular full tea service ($18/person), but owner Ulyana Kay will have love-themed desserts. If you’re feeling bubbly, there will be Prosecco. Reservations for tea are always recommended. Located in Old Salem.

Desserts for Dinner

It’s only one day a year, y’all.

Order a nice dessert like a brownie or cookie from West End Coffeehouse, Black Mountain Chocolate (both also serve gelato) or at Twin City Hive or Camino Bakery, which stay open later. In Greensboro, Cheesecakes by Alex’s cheesecake could get you all four food groups in one “meal.” Get your fill of macarons from The Humblebee Shoppe or Tart Sweets. Valentine’s Day already is about love, so you can throw caution to the wind and show yourselves some love and enjoy your “just desserts,” literally. This day only, promise?

The “I Don’t Need No Man” Valentine’s Day

Enjoy “Galentine’s Day” at Fiddling Fish in the Big Winston Warehouse on Trade Street.  I feel you eye-rolling over there, but sometimes “girls just wanna have fun!” as Black Mountain Chocolate’s Marissa Joyce exclaims. Enjoy a “chick flick” movie by A/perture. A brews and snacks package will be available for purchase.  Load up before with truffles, macarons and all the chocolate from Black Mountain Chocolate, just across the way.   

Canteen Market & Bistro, 411 West Fourth Street, WS,  is doing a Galentine’s Day Rosè & Raw Bar happy hour as well as a Prix Fixe Menu (reservations accepted for 6:30 & 8:30 pm) .

Valentine’s Day for a Cause
Providence Restaurant,
5790 University Parkway, Winston-Salem…pick a night Feb. 14, 15, 16. Your meal supports Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.  $75 per couple with a pretty incredible menu and complimentary champagne.  See their Facebook page for details and for the link for tickets. 

The Porch Kitchen and Cantina & Alma Mexicana, both in Winston-Salem, will be donating 10% of their sales the entire day to the Parkinson’s Foundation – they will be selling items off of their usual lunch & dinner menu as well as offering Valentine’s Dinner specials

What are some of your most fun and unconventional ideas for Valentine’s Day? 

A Chef’s Table with Adam Barnett and The Katharine Brasserie

A version of this story can also be seen at YES! Weekly.

After 18 months in full-blown get-to-know-you mode, Chef Adam Barnett is feeling very much part of the culinary scene in Winston-Salem.

chef adam barnett 0127

Barnett, who was hired in July 2017 as Executive Chef at the relatively new The Katharine Brasserie and Bar, which was the location of the first Chef’s Table of 2019 on January 8th. The event sold out in less than eight hours and then Barnett agreed to add another 15 seats for a total of 45. Those additional seats sold out in less than 30 minutes. Needless to say, people are interested in what Barnett is doing. Many of the attendees of Chef’s Table, which was held on January 8, had never been to The Katharine and they were ready for what he was cooking up.

Named for Katharine B. Reynolds, The Katharine has been written about by me and others a number of times, from media events and regarding seasonal menu changes or new additions, so if you’re a regular reader of YES! Weekly or Triadfoodies, you know I’ve walked away impressed with the food and service more than once.  And just about every time I’ve dined at the brasserie, we’ve enjoyed some of the best wine pairings I’ve ever experienced.

I got to know Barnett a bit better when he was a guest of my podcast, “At The Table with Triadfoodies.” Barnett grew up as a regular kid in Columbus, Ohio and enjoyed summers with his mother’s family in Nova Scotia, which he attributes to his sense of wanderlust. After deciding that academia was not for him, he took a more “hands-on approach” in construction. And you know how winter is in the construction field. “I needed some winter hours and I started working in a restaurant,” he says. “I had one chef take some interest in me, then I got shuttled along to another restaurant and then I hit the road.” Barnett has had stints in Aspen, Colorado; Toronto, Ontario; Vermont, Big Sur, and Los Angeles, California; and most recently Washington D.C. “I spent eight years in the school of hard knocks, real world training and eventually landed in the advanced placement program at the New England Culinary Institute.”  Afterward, it was in California that he honed his skills in modern French techniques, which serves him well at the Katharine, a French-Inspired brasserie, but Barnett says they don’t want to be too dogmatic about it.

“I’ve worked with some very, very good classically French chefs and that’s always been the underpinning of what I do,” he says. “But like everything else, cuisine evolves. You sit back and take a look at who inspires you or you look at re-discoveries of ethnicities and I try to incorporate that into what we’re doing here.” While we may think of French cuisines as heavy with butter and cream and bread, Barnett feels that France’s influence in its former colonies in places like the Mediterranean allows him to offer a more relatable, global approach and the menu of the Chef’s Table was a reflection of that.

Course One
Apple Rutabaga Soup garnished with Parsley Oil.

img_5491

Course Two
Arugula and Shaved Fennel Salad, Parsnip Crisps Preserved Lemon Dressing

img_5490

Course Three

Seared Diver Scallops, served with a Ginger – Carrot Emulsion, Batonet Beets and Radish Sprouts.

img_5492

Course Four (Meat Course)

Grilled Painted Hills Flat Iron Steak, Caramelized King Trumpet Mushroom, Foie Gras and Madiera Sauce.

img_5488

 Cheese Course
Thomasville Tomme (from Sweetgrass Dairy in Thomasville GA), Campo d Montalban (a blended Cow, Goat, and Sheepsmilk Cheese from Spain), Honey-Walnut Spread, House-made Ginger-Apple Butter, Herb Salad

img_5489

Okay okay…so you’re wondering where is dessert…heh heh…funny story.  I actually really enjoyed the cheese course, after all it IS a French-themed restaurant. But there’s the story of a pastry chef and rice pudding gone awry. We’ll leave it at that. 

Barnett took some time to get to know the space and cultivate an air of good community with the culinary team itself. The Kimpton hired new management, a new sommelier and he says now The Katharine is better than it has ever been. “I feel so tremendously honored to work with this group, from our back of house to our management and our sommelier. They’re a big part of the engine. It’s never a one person show.”

Barnett says he’s enjoyed the community and has felt the embrace and he can’t imagine doing anything different.  He says, “I love the visible, tangible marker of a day well spent. And that’s one of the great things about working with food.  You get raw ingredients in, you apply technique, you hand it over to someone and you get to see the satisfaction. There’s a profound sense of enjoyment from that.”

img_7058 2

 

By the way, this wasn’t served at our Chef’s Table but if my favorite dish at The Katharine is this Beef Tartare. It’s divine.

steak tartare

Wanna go? The Katharine Brasserie & Bar is located at the Kimpton Cardinal Hotel, 401 North Main Street, Winston-Salem. katharinebrasserie.com 

A Look Back at A Chef’s Table at The Painted Fish

We had such a wonderful experience at our latest Chef’s Table, the dinner series that’s taken the Triad by storm that is now catching on here in the High Country.  We had a great event a year ago at Vidalia Restaurant in Boone and we really thought Chef Tom Jankovich would be the perfect chef to celebrate as we relaunch our series.  We have always loved visiting the mountains for vacation (to get away from the summer heat) and when we visited we regularly enjoyed having brunch or dinner at The Painted Fish.  If you’ve been following along you know that in the summer of 2017, we took the leap and moved here.  Twenty-five of us gathered at The Painted Fish Cafe for multiple courses, each course so different from the rest and a full testament to Chef Tom’s cafe menu that is short and sweet but diverse with something for everyone.

PaintedFish_TomJankovich_WEB-1-300x246

A Chef’s Table celebrates our local chefs and restaurants and the farms and makers they support. It’s food and fellowship at its most fun. Typically, a Chef’s Table is all about letting the chef surprise us, but Chef Tom let us have a sneak peek of his menu and he also told us what to expect when he greeted us before the courses came out. Let’s take a look back!

Course 1: Lobster Chili with lime sour cream, salmon caviar.

IMG_5160.JPG

This had all the elements of your traditional chilis with spices and smokiness but with lobster. The lime sour cream was a beautiful contrast to the earthy chili.

Course 2: Baby Kale Salad, toasted walnuts, dried cherries, shade radish, goat cheese, honey white balsamic vinaigrette

IMG_5158

This pretty salad made for a nice palate cleanser following that robust chili. Chef Tom made a little setting of goat cheese on the bottom so that every bite got a little bit of it. And cherries and walnuts were the perfect complements. 

Course 3: Tuna Tartar, wasabi cured egg, soy foam, pickled ginger, Asian micros, grilled crostini. The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar

IMG_5157 2

I don’t normally declare a “favorite” dish of the night but this had everything I loved. Tuna tartar, cool and herby, a wasabi cured egg (that the chefs had been working on for three weeks)…it was ooey and gooey but not runny…oh yum and buttery crostini. A little of the soy foam on the crostini with the tartar…seriously I could eat something like this every day.

Course 4: Lamb Chop, rosemary pesto crusted, pear croquette potato, haricot vert, lamb jus lie The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar

IMG_5156

At this point, we’re feeling good and full, but who’s saying no to a precious little lamb chop? Not me. It was perfectly cooked with herby crust and the little potato croquette (shaped like a pear …in the spirit of Christmas) was a touch of whimsy.

Course 5: Chefs Trio Dessert, chocolate Cabernet truffle w/sea salt, tomato stuffed strawberry with balsamic syrup, champagne shot.

IMG_5066

This dessert trio had strawberries and chocolate but not just strawberries and chocolate. Each berry half was filled with a balsamic-y tomato jam. The truffles were a riff on The Painted Fish’s Chocolate Torte which is on the menu. Just in truffle form. Incredibly rich and decadent.  Plus there was champagne. IMG_1955 2

In between courses we enjoyed hearing from Shannon Carroll who was there as my guest representing Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Food Hub, which serves as an online farmer’s market for residents in the High Country.  Definitely check them out as they’re a great supporter of our local farms and makers in this area.

IMG_8851.JPG

It’s always so fun to check out what’s going on behind the scenes and get an idea how the chef is handling all these dishes. Imagine 5 courses x 25 people and we’re all getting served pretty much at once, staffed by two servers. It’s intense but I can tell  you Chef Tom Jankovich is just go with the flow. He and his sous chef, Adam Johnson, actually looked like they were having fun! I’m guessing they did.

IMG_4124

Toward the end, this little one, Chef Tom’s granddaughter, Kaydn, was tuckered out enough to just catch some zzz’s. So cute.IMG_0188

We’re making plans for another Chef’s Table up here in the High Country. We would love your input and suggestions on where we should go in the future. We’re thinking late January and would love to have a Chef’s Table on a monthly basis or at least every other month. Yes, during all the seasons!

Those of you who attended, we’re so grateful for your support and fellowship and we hope we see you again. Those of you just taking a look here, we hope we see you soon!

Mission Pizza Napoletana

It’s easy to talk pizza when it’s your mission in life.

And yes, we’re talking pizza today. But we also wanted you to get to know our favorite “pizza geek” a little bit better. 

ps: you can find the YES! Weekly version of this story here

Mission Pizza Napoletana has been enjoying business in downtown Winston-Salem for almost five years.  Owner and pizza-maker-in-chief, Peyton Smith, fell in love with Neapolitan style pizza after a visit to Naples, Italy years ago.  When the economy was in a state of flux, Smith started out as a mobile pizza business, “My inspiration was to produce the exact kind of pizza you’ll find in Naples.” 

Peyton Smith, Mission Pizza Napoletana, outside pizzeria

And it made perfect sense at the time, since the pizza, which originated in Naples is actually a street food. “Napoletana pizza, or Neapolitan pizza, is the original pizza,” Smith explains.  Established circa 1800’s, Napoletana pizza is wood-fired at temperatures that reach 1000 degrees for about 90 seconds or less.  What you get is a light pizza, with a crispy cornicione (that’s crust to you and me).  Sounds pretty basic and simple, right? But to hear Smith describe it, it’s almost poetic to achieve the perfect Neapolitan style pizza. “It starts with high-quality flour, but the big thing for a finished product is the baking method.  A stone hearth or live fire, traditionally wood-fire, cooking at about 800-1000 degrees,” Smith says. “Because of the nature of the high heat and softer flour which gives you a pliable dough, the interior crumb is soft with an open cell structure. And it’s not crunchy, but the veneer has crispiness.” Smith adds, “It can be folded and that’s encouraged. The tell-tale sign is you can fold Neapolitan pizza and it doesn’t crack.” It also allows use to use your hands to eat it, which Smith encourages because it requires all the senses.

The poetry doesn’t stop there. Now Smith is on a roll. “The pizza should smell sweet and bready, with a little blistering, which are the small black or dark brown spots and it should have micro-bubbles.” Because it’s a softer product and baked at a high heat at minute to minute and a half, Smith says what goes on top is important. Or not.  “It should be topped with light ingredients. The dough is the fundamental starting point, but it should work in balance with the other toppings, like a fresh cheese, salumi, tomato, herbs.” And then, “Finally, it should be light on the stomach. You can crush that whole thing and feel satisfied and not heavy in the gut. If we can do all that right, we’ve produced something pretty special.” 

IMG_20180915_120731_458.jpg

It’s best consumed right out of the oven. My personal fave at Mission is the Billy Jowl with its ricotta cream, smoked mozzarella, guanciale, fennel pollen, black pepper, oregano. Yum…my mouth waters just thinking about it. Sorry no decent photo. Just trust me.  The Margherita is also incredible and it’s how the youngest learned that he loves basil. The Diavola is another with its fresh mozzarella, hot sopressata, chilis, honey, pecorino, basil (below). 

 

Smith says though ingredients are extremely important, like the flour and the tomatoes, he doesn’t import a lot and gets many ingredients locally. “I use an Italian ethos but I want to use as many local ingredients as possible. An our tools and technique are very important here.” One of the major tools is the huge pizza oven that takes center stage in the kitchen.  Built by Stefano Ferrara, a third-generation oven builder, it’s hand-made, brick-by-brick with a traditional low dome for the ultimate in wood-fired high-temperature retention. 

Although a self-proclaimed pizza geek, Smith conceives the menu as well as plating, and likes people to know that his mission is actually more than just pizza. The name Mission Pizza Napoletana should indicate that their pizza is not what you’re accustomed to.  He asserts, “We’re really an osteria, a small tavern with a limited full-service menu that happens to be pizza-centric. I love the non-pizza items we dish out like our salads, pastas and appetizers.” Few are the places where you can get freshly made pasta.  “On occasion we do sheeted pastas and cut into noodles, we make stuffed pasta. Right now we’re making a cavatelli for our bolognese. Our wood-fired oven is used to finish other dishes, like our cauliflower, which has a life of its own.  And on the weekend, we can do funky stuff like porchetta, lamb shank and the occasional whole fish.”

 

(photo cred: MPN)

Smith’s approach landed him an opportunity this summer to cook pizza alongside 25 of the top American pizza makers at the New York Pizza Festival. “These are makers who really are executing pizza at a high level.  It was a humbling experience to be invited. I got to hang out with my friends and make pizza all day.”  Smith also met Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We had a nice chat. He was really interested in our ingredients. We fed him our pizza and he wouldn’t put it down.”

43382005_2141570826094779_4426849124431691776_o

The pizza man and the mayor

Not too shabby for a chef with no formal culinary training, however Smith has worked in the restaurant business in nearly every capacity from bussing to serving.  “When I was resolute about opening a place, I worked with Chef Jim Noble and I gave him al that I had. I developed a passion for food 20 years ago and how it’s a vehicle for lubricating social celebrations.  I’ve taken a real interest in learning techniques and have curiosity about how things are done. The biggest thing for me and thinking about food and the plate. There’s no doubt about how I want it to taste and look.” Smith says he gets much inspiration from travel.  “I want to eat the best food I can, wherever I am. It gives a really excellent perspective of how things are executed at a high level. Back in my kitchen, whether someone likes what we do or not, we certainly know what we wanted to do.”

As for his place in the very communal Winston-Salem food scene, Smith, who grew up here, says he has enjoyed the support and he’s proud of how they’re executing at a high level. “I’m happy with what we do and I intend on making us better every day.”

Mission Pizza Napoletana is located at 707 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem. Open Tues-Thurs 5pm-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm.  missionpizzanapoletana.com 

White Pinot Noir Could Be Your New Fave

Caleb Flint of Wine Merchants in WS offered me a bottle of Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 for an honest review. We are grateful for the opportunity (and the wine). All opinions are my own.

My favorite kind of wine is red wine. And of the reds, my favorite has been Pinot Noir. And no that has nothing to do with the film, Sideways. 😀 . Though a Malbec sometimes does sometimes hit the spot.  I also do try to support NC Wine as much as possible but I do like to change up.  So when Wine Merchants talked about a White Pinot Noir, I was intrigued. After grabbing a bottle,  I took a little time and meal planning for when to enjoy it. Mr. foodie and I like wine, but we have two kiddos at home and sometimes we can’t just open a bottle up and enjoy. And we rarely finish a bottle between the two of us in one night. Plus, I wanted to have a mushroom pasta dish. I am particular like that.

IMG_7940

Then the night came. Opened up a bottle of the White Pinot on a pasta night. I enjoyed a glass while cooking. What we found was a lightly fruity, very clean wine with body that drinks quite easily alone and is wonderful with pasta, cheese and poultry and particularly, mushrooms. Bonus points if you can manage that in one dish, which we did (a browned butter balsamic mushroom sauce over ravioli with grilled chicken). The photo of the dish didn’t come out well. But I’ll make it again and share the recipe.

The wine went perfectly. I have a feeling this is going to be in the regular rotation.

IMG_8807

i see you

White Pinot Noir is gaining in popularity but is still considered somewhat “rare” compared to other varietals.  it takes a special process because Pinot Noir grapes are obviously red. This is an excerpt from VinePair.

To make white wine from red grapes, winemakers take careful steps to ensure that there is minimum contact, or maceration, between the pre-fermented must and color-giving grape skins. To eliminate maceration for white Pinot, only a small amount of the grape’s juice can be fermented into white wine.
Free-run juice is released when grapes are piled, and their skins break under their own weight. In white winemaking, this produces the highest quality wines because there’s minimal contact with bitter skins and seeds. Free-run juice, and occasionally must from a very light pressing, are used to make Blanc de Noirs still wines.

White Pinot Noir also listed as Pinot Noir Blanc or Blanc de Noirs.  In Winston-Salem, you can find Amity Vineyards for about $25 at Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Wine Bar at 205 S. Stratford Rd. in Winston-Salem.  (336) 765-8175.

By the way, if you haven’t been to Wine Merchants or the bistro next door, get yourself over there. The restaurant is one of the most underrated spots in all of the Triad. Read about them here.  Site of 2 Chef’s Tables! That’s how good.

Cheers!