Category Archives: Restaurants

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Review: Full Kee Chinese Restaurant

Hi, Foodies! This post has been updated to let you know we had a few tickets open up for our Chef’s Table at Full Kee, which was rescheduled to April 29 at 7:00.  Get tickets here. 

Honestly, the reason the event got moved up is that Full Kee may be going through an onwership change…they wanted to honor the commitment to our dinner. This could be a swan song for Full Kee, which will make me very sad. The link for tickets explains it all.

You probably know by now (if you’ve been opening your email and clicking on the blog) that I’m am HERE for Full Kee Chinese Restaurant, a local eatery that calls itself “gourmet Chinese.”  We went back for a taste because I wanted to “research” it for a possible future Chef’s Table. And it did not disappoint. So here’s the review when I brought Sister Foodie with me on our foodie exploration.

You can read the full article for YES! Weekly here.

Full Kee has been located at 3793 Samet Drive since 2005.  It was owned and operated by George Yu, who had a very popular restaurant in Washington D.C. before he and his family moved to the Triad. What started as a takeout restaurant, Full Kee expanded into a cozy restaurant with beautiful Chinese art, dim lighting, and a full bar.  In May of last year, George retired and moved to Florida.  Sue Chen had been a partner with George in the early days but had since moved on. Now there was a very brief period of time between George selling and Sue buying the space that the restaurant was not itself.  For one, the restaurant was operated by someone else. Full Kee’s Chef, Carlos Lopez, who had worked under George’s tutelage for nearly a decade, had left to pursue another opportunity while that owner was in charge. The restaurant experienced some not so great reviews for a few weeks. Sue ultimately purchased the restaurant in November and the space its in and brought Carlos back. And now Full Kee has risen to its former glory. Some say it’s better than ever. Update: Carlos has moved on and Sue has a new chef in the kitchen, but all the recipes are the same. 

Back before my food writing days, Full Kee became a favorite. You can read that initial view here. I found it so interesting that there was actually a Chinese restaurant that claimed to be “gourmet”.  It just wasn’t the norm. Chinese was and is almost entirely takeout and often quite low-key (no pun intended). Full Kee invites your casually dressed self into an ambiance that feels like fine dining, but is very comfortable and inviting. The dim lighting is soft and elegant. And what was more thrilling, amazing, astonishing, is that my children ate their food. At a restaurant. It was then and there that my children discovered they love Asian food, specifically dumplings, stir fry rice and “sweet chicken” (as my son calls it). To this day, General chicken is is favorite food (besides brownies). They’re actually going to the Chef’s Table. They will not be denied. 

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We were fortunate enough to step back into Full Kee after the ownership change to see what’s new and enjoyed our visit with Sue while we sampled some plates.

Egg Drop Soup: If you’re an egg drop soup fan, you’ll love this light broth with the ribbon of yolks. It doesn’t have that off-putting corn starch-like consistency. My sister, who was dining with me the evening we visited, it’s the best egg drop soup she’s ever had and that she ever feels a cold coming on, she knows where she’s headed.

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Lettuce Wraps: A perennial favorite with romaine lettuce and finely minced chicken with  vegetables. They are always a crowed pleaser for the table. The chicken was mild and seasoned wonderfully and the cool, crisp lettuce acts in contrast to the tiny hint of heat.

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Dumplings: Carlos makes all the dumpling wrappers from scratch. The result is a delicate dumpling exterior, tender on top, crispy on the bottom, while it lets the filling shine through. It comes with the typical sweet and savory dipping sauce. It is the perfect appetizer. 

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Spring Rolls: You just can’t not get some spring rolls when you eat Asian food amirite? They were super hot, super crispy, came with two dipping sauces and fab.

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General Tao Chicken: According to Sue, it is one of the restaurant’s most popular dishes (as it is in just about any Chinese restaurant). Full Kee’s General chicken, with its secret ingredient in the sauce, is light and crispy and not full of breading like you might find with ordinary takeout. “We wanted it ti be a bigger piece of chicken, but not heavy with flour and not cooked too long. It’s crispy outside and tender inside,” Sue told me.  It’s wonderful. And what often comes off as an afterthought, the broccoli is al dente and actually flavorful. Sue says, “It used to be just very plain, but I asked Carlos to add more seasoning.” The result is broccoli with a hint of garlic and it’s perfectly cooked.

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Walnut Shrimp: These firm, juicy jumbo shrimp are lightly crisped in the same manner as the General Tao’s, but the sauce is a bit more robust and amber in color with crunchy walnuts in the mixture.  I highly recommend this dish as well as the Philomela Shrimp, which has a creamier sauce. Or you can get the Full Kee Shrimp, which is a combo of the two. Both come with the same tasty garlic.

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Mongolian Beef: Customers will notice a change to this dish as the protein portion has been increased and the onions have decreased. It’s very savory and peppery and hearty.

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In addition to improving on some of their popular dishes, Sue says she’s lowered the prices while increasing portion sizes. The menu includes a wide variety of traditional Chinese noodle and rice dishes, including Stir-Fry Rice, Stir Fry Sea Bass, Boneless Duck and Curry. Sue has also recruited a wine connoisseur to help patrons with the perfect wine selection.  We agree with Sue that everyone in your dining party should order something different from one another.  “We want everyone to be able to try a little bit of everything.  It’s the best way to enjoy Chinese.”

Full Kee has retained its loyal following of customers, some of whom have a place at the table every Friday night. Andrew Priddy, who lives outside Winston-Salem, says they’ve been loyal since 2010. “We travel a lot. And this by far is our favorite restaurant. Great food, great service. They’re like family. We just love it.”

Sue say that after the slow-go of it, Sue says she loves getting feedback from her customers. “My customers make me feel like we have potential. Every time I see a great review or hear one, it’s just so encouraging and gives me a lot of hope.”

Full Kee will be the featured restaurant with A Chef’s Table on Wednesday, June 19th. Tickets can be reserved at https://chefstablefullkee.eventbrite.com

Announcing our June Chef’s Table at Full Kee Chinese Restaurant

Hi, foodies!

We are on a roll with these Chef’s Tables. I am just little Mrs. Foodie Planner.  We just came off an incredible and delicious, mind-blowing globally influenced Creole meal with Chef Jody Morphis at Blue Denim in Greensboro (aka Jeansboro).

Fortunately for our restaurants, but unfortunately for the blog reader, some of our events have sold out before I even get to announce it on my blog. Today, I’m ahead of the game to announce our June 19 Chef’s Table will be with the one and only Full Kee Gourmet Chinese Restaurant and it is going to be epic! It’s the best Chinese in the Triad and a favorite of so many people here.

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Here are the details!  Click here to get tickets if details don’t matter .

Folks….we’re going to High Point to share with you the BEST BEST Chinese in all the Triad. Full Kee has been renowned for its “gourmet” Chinese cuisine for over 10 years.  Nope,  this isn’t your typical takeout fare. It’s elegant dining and gourmet Chinese and I promise you, you do not want to miss it.

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As former owner, George Yu, has retired to the Sunshine State, new owner Sue Chen has helped Full Kee retain and exceeed its former glory. Chef Carlos Lopez learned everything he knows from George and has further refined and enhanced his culinary talents with Cantonese cuisine.  From the handmade dumpling wrappers to delicate stir fry bass and savory boneless duck, you’ll be impressed with this family-style event at Full Kee.

Here’s how it works:

Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Wednesday, June 19 at 7:00pm. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $35 INCLUDES your multi-course dinner as well as tax and gratuity associated with the meal. Beverage (and gratuity for the purchase of beverages) are not included in the ticket price. Please take care of your server on any beverage service. A reminder that seating will be limited. We’ll see you on June 19! Come early for drinks and relax for a bit. Full Kee has a full bar and a great wine program.

** It’s super fun to attend Chef’s Tables with friends! We totally get it. However if you are unable to arrive early and all at once with your party, please let us know in advance that you’d like to be seated together and we’ll make every effort to accomodate your request. This is especially helpful if your tickets were not purchased under one name.

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @FullKeeRestaurant #triadfoodiesChefsTable on Facebook and Instagram. Please notify me at Kristi@triadfoodies.com if you have any food sensitivity or if the chef needs to be aware of any concerns

 

 

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

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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

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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

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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)

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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

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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.

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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.

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

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Course Three

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

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Course Four (Meat Course)

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

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 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

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!