A Chef’s Table is an experience. What started five years ago as a handful of people letting the chef surprise us has transcended into a gathering of friends that seem to extend beyond itself as we see new faces each month. When we sat together at 6th and Vine to get to know Chef Ebony Warfield, there was an unmistakable magic in the air and by the end of the evening, Chef Ebony felt the magic and the love.
Ebony Warfield is the new executive chef at 6th and Vine, a restaurant located on 6th Street that has become somewhat of a Winston-Salem icon. Ebony is the first Black Executive Chef in Winston-Salem. It’s even more special because the restaurant is also woman-owned as Kathleen Barnes has remained an integral part of WSNC food scene for a number of years. You can learn more about Ebony and Kathleen in my podcast on the Triad Podcast Network. With a military background and a number of years working locally in some of our top dining establishments, this wife and mother’s dedication to her profession is inspiring. I knew I NEEDED to feature Ebony at a Chef’s Table. She and Kathleen promptly said “yes,” and once we went live, the event sold out in just a few hours.
Ebony introduced the evening that was about to commence as “…dinner at your grandma’s house, if your grandma went to culinary school.” Soul-filling and nourishing dishes that inspired by her upbringing and training were nudged into creative iterations that dazzled our eyes and palates. The attention to flavor and detail was remarkable. At the end of the evening, Ebony received a well-deserved standing ovation, which led to her tears and our tears. She felt it! It was special. If you were there, thank you for being a part of it. Thank you for showing this talented chef all the admiration she’s due. If you missed it, fear not, foodie. She’s in the kitchen of 6th and Vine dazzling diners 5 days a week including Saturday/Sunday brunch.
Let’s take a look at our four course Chef’s Table with Chef Ebony Warfield.
Course 2: Pureed White Bean Soup, Ham Cup, Parley Oil
Course 3:Roasted Chicken with Local Seasonal Vegetables
Course4: Lemon Blueberry Upside Down Cake
We hope you get a chance to visit 6th & Vine and see what Ebony and her team are churning out. While the menu has stayed the same in many ways, because Ebony didn’t want to mess with what was working, her touches are evident and the specials always look amazing.
Tears of joy with a standing ovation
Our next Chef’s Table is September 15 at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar featuring Chef Tim Grandinetti. It’s SOLD OUT but stay tuned for more Chef’s Tables in the coming months.
It’s been a loooooonnng 16 months since our last Chef’s Table. We had a great launch in 2020, but things went downhill fast after everything was shut down in March last year due to the pandemic. Staying open with takeout was one thing. Reopening to dine-in was another. From staffing issues to supply problems, we weren’t quite sure when we might be able to offer events again.
But one day, mr. foodie traveled for business in the beautiful city of Winston-Salem, stayed at the Brookstown Inn and walked over to his favorite, Meridian Restaurant, for dinner and cocktails and my Mark and Chef Mark resurrected the Chef’s Table.
Meridian Restaurant is located at 411 Marshall Street SW, in the beautiful Brookstown area of downtown Winston-Salem. To say Meridian is one of our top restaurants in the Triad is an understatement. From tapas to a delicious steak, excellent wine pairings and cocktails, Meridian has never disappointed. It’s modern, beautiful and elegant but unpretentious. You can have dinner in your jeans and still feel comfortable. And Chef Mark Grohman knows how to treat his guests.
Once the ticket sales for the Chef’s Table went live, it sold out in about six hours. In keeping with the spirit of distancing, we kept the event as close to 30 as we could. And on June 15, 36 happy faces greeted one another with hugs and excitement. This is meaningful because after 5 years of Chef’s Tables and it’s evolution over the years, many of our returning patrons have become friends with me and with each other! Each month, it’s like a reunion with veterans and newbies. It was so great to see everyone again. We are back!
Before I show you the courses, I’d like to invite you to take a listen to my podcast, “At The Table With Triadfoodies” on Triad Podcast Network on Apple and here on the web. I talked with Chef Mark about navigating the last 16 months, particularly at the beginning of the pandemic, and what that was like as a business owner. What he had to say was really insightful from a business owner and employer’s perspective and I think you’d enjoy it.
Chef Mark wanted to simply give us a “Taste of Meridian,” five courses that represent the flavors of the restaurant. A little something different along with traditional fare we might be accustomed to seeing at this gleaming restaurant. Let’s take a look at the courses.
Course 1: Tete de Porc with ruby port shallot marmalata & strong mustard
Course 2: House made gnudi w/lemon cream & herbs
Course 3 Seared yellow fin tuna with Shore Farms spring onion red pepper couscous & Gnomestead Hollow mushroom relish
Course 4 Steak au poivre garlic mashed potatoes fire roasted vegetables wild mushroom cognac sauce
Dessert course Corsican style lemon cheesecake with caramel sauce
Stay tuned for a new Chef’s Table announcement, coming soon! You’re going to love it!
I often get asked for dining recommendations when people visit our hometown of Banner Elk, NC. For such a small little town, BE has quite the offerings. So much in fact that we often don’t feel the need to go outside the area to eat (but we still do, because duh). I am currently working on a post that is much more extensive of top spots to eat in the entire High Country, but for now, here’s a list of restaurants that rarely disappoint in Banner Elk, NC, where you can come relax and just BE. This list is in no particular order, but I did place the higher end restaurant on top. Also, don’t let the all over the place addresses fool you. All of these restaurants are in Banner Elk proper. There are some restaurants that are literally in the same complex and one address will say Linville and the other will say Sugar Mountain and don’t ask me why….we’re all just scratching our heads up here.
Artisanal Restaurant 1200 Dobbins Road, Banner Elk $$$$ Artisanal is one of a kind. The quality of the food, the service and the ambiance are simply extraordinary. You’ll enjoy a truly elevated chef curated experience with a menu that changes often. We have taken our children here (youngest is 12) and they’ll make a meal for them too if they’re picky (chicken tenders, buttered noodles). My older child loves the food here. All that to say, it’s best enjoyed as a date night or with adults. It’s business casual so be prepared to dress cute.
LP on Main 171 Main Street, E, Banner Elk (Lousiana Purchase) $$$ One of our absolute favorites and most visited for a date night, LP is in a new space in downtown BE and is just beautiful. The food and service never disappoint. I love the BBQ shrimp, but I also enjoy trying new items from the menu. The salmon, the burgers, the meat loaf, the lobster poutine! There’s a variety of price points to suit your budget and now that it’s the high season, LP is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday.
LP on Main
Reid’s Cafe & Catering 4004 NC 105 Suite #8, Sugar Mountain $$$ Hyper local and focused on seasonal ingredients and craft cocktails, Reid’s is definitely a favorite of mine and go-to if you want to really see those ingredients in play and truly promoted. They make it all in-house. I recently enjoyed brunch at Reid’s for the first time last month and it was stellar (they are not serving brunch this summer). It’s absolutely not your run of the mill shrimp & grits or duck at Reid’s. Be prepared for some creativity. Open Tuesday-Saturday lunch/dinner.
The Painted Fish Cafe 2941 Tynecastle Hwy, Banner Elk $$ Another frequently visited restaurant facing beautiful Sugar Mountain, The Fish, as it’s affectionately known is a wildly popular for Sunday brunch and for changing up his menu. Very family-friendly, reservations are always still recommended this time of year. We love Fried Chicken Wednesdays and Fried Catfish Thursdays and you can count on a chef’s special all the other nights as well. Open Wed-Sunday.
Stonewall’s Restaurant 344 Shawneehaw Ave, Banner Elk $$$ For a great steak, you’ll find it at Stonewall’s, which has been locally owned for decades. If the Cowboy ribeye is on the menu, we recommend as it is suitable for sharing. Don’t miss the deviled eggs or the wedge salad while you’re here.
Luna Thai & Sushi 3990 NC 105, Linville $$ BE’s brand new itty bitty baby Thai/Vietnamese/Asian Fusion restaurant just a few doors down from Reid’s (notice the address is totally different). Stir fry, pho, Tom Kha, Curry dishes with noodles or rice and sushi. It’s all just delicious and we haven’t had a bad meal there yet.
Banner Elk Cafe 324 Shawneehaw Ave, S. Hwy 184, Banner Elk $ You might call BE Cafe the most popular spot in town and I wouldn’t argue. It’s a very large restaurant, dog-friendly patio, and generally where most people go for a quick easy bite. They offer two huge menus (one is the Lodge menu) and you can find sandwiches, salads, pizza, pasta, burgers and entrees. I personally go for the burgers and the trout here. Mr. foodie loves their salads for lunch. They have a dessert case and a coffee shop too. Full disclosure: It ain’t always rainbows and fairy tales here. I’ve had some moments where I walked out disappointed, but for the price point and the vibe, I keep going back and the fact that they have live music is a big plus.
Sorrento’s140 Azalea Circle, SE, Banner Elk $$ Not the cheapest place in town for a pizza or plate of pasta, but Sorrento’s in the Village downtown has been around a long time and the pizza is very good. You might enjoy bringing your pup and sitting out on the patio, where you can enjoy live music from the amphitheatre. We usually just get pizza here but if pasta is what you’re craving, you’ll find all the classics plus a very tasty lasagna.
Bodega’s488 Main Street West, Banner Elk $$ We even have Cuban food in BE! Go to Bodega’s for their beautiful al fresco dining experience and load up on all the little tacos and black beans and be sure to get a Cuban too.
The Ham Shoppe 32 High Country Square, Banner Elk $ This iconic shop is now located in the heart of BE. All of the sandwiches are prepared fresh and you can even order bulk meats (call ahead to check availability) for a longer stay. I love to grab a few sandwiches and take them for a picnic. Annnnnnnnd…..if you see an entire apple pie in the case for sale, I’m going to suggest you go ahead and buy it because it is amazing.
BE. Scooped 144 Azalea Circle, SE Banner Elk $ After you visit the Village or hit Sorrento’s be sure to stop by BE Scooped for a fresh waffle cone filled with ice cream. It’s a sweet little ice cream shop with plenty of flavors and the service is excellent.
Dunn’s Deli 134 Main Street West, Banner Elk $ Another iconic sandwich shop in the heart of downtown BE, grab a warm or cold sandwich to go or BBQ. We love Dunn’s BLT’s and pastrami sandwiches. You can dine in or out.
So there you have it. I promise it’s not all of the restaurants in BE, but these are our tried and trues. Let me know if you try any of these restaurants and what you think. And if I’ve left anyone out that you think deserves attention, please comment below. Also, I’d be remiss to not tell you to give the Wilderness Alpine Roller Coaster a try for a fun family thrill. Come see us!
We’ve been quarantined and kept from our friends, our restaurants and our monthly Chef’s Tables (we barely squeezed one in back in March before the world shut down). We miss you all very much. Honestly, with all that’s going on and all that’s not, I haven’t had a lot of desire to hop on here and blog. There aren’t restaurant reviews to churn out and I haven’t really kept track of my recipe making (except on insta…I do post pics of food). But! Pandemic or no, we’ve had a few opportunities to discover new local yummies and behold! With some new to us and some that have finally found their rightful place in our gift guide, here are just a few of our favorite things from 2020. Keep reading for your chance to win the entire list! We hope you’ll mask up and get on out there and support your local shops. All of the items mentioned make for great snacks and stocking stuffers.
Triadfoodies Favorite Things Holiday Gift Guide
Carolina Kettle Potato Chips
Specifically, the Sir Walter Cream Cheese & Chive. A riff on the sour cream and onion, they’re slightly less tangy than the latter but definitely pack a flavorful punch. We actually love all the Carolina Kettle chips, founded by Josh Monahan. You can find these chips at Mast General Store, Wine Merchants Bodega and quite a few local markets. Check the website carolinakettle.comfor locations.
Memaw’s Cheese Tiddies
I hope y’all know what a Memaw is. The name is cute and attention getting and the little cheese crackers are great for snacking. Cheese Tiddies are brought to you by the same folks who make the above Carolina Kettle chips, 1in6 Snacks, so they know their …well…snacks. Give them a read when you get a chance as the company gives back to the local food bank with every purchase.You can find Cheese Tiddies at local markets, Mast General Store and online. 1in6snacks.com.
A La Brava Hot Sauce
This Winston-Salem hot sauce is gaining quite the popularity around the Triad. I love the Diablo on chicken wings mixed with a little butter and honey. Owner Marcos Medina is giving the winner one of all three hot sauces, Diablo, Habanero and La Mayan. You can find A La Brava at Wine Merchants and other independent shops, Lowes Foods, Publix, Harris Teeter, Deep Roots, GMart and several other stores in NC, SC, VA and TN. Visit goalabrava.com for more info.
Anson Mills Carolina Gold Rice
If you know, you know. Honestly, Anson Mills heirloom rice is top of the line and a chefs best friend. It is a little bit pickier to cook with than traditional store bought rice, even the highfalutin ones, but it’s so worth the extra step, which basically requires you to spread it out in a baking sheet and put it in the oven to help “dry it out” after cooking. It smells like popcorn when it cooks. It elevates any dish you prepare. No wonder it’s the choice of chefs all over. And our friends at Anson Mills not only included the Carolina Gold Rice, but also some grits! Happy day! Ansonmills.com
Smoke City Meats Pimento Cheese833 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, NC
As you know, pimento cheese doesn’t pack well outside of refrigeration. I love all of Chef Matt Pleasant’s pimento cheeses but you really ought to try the White Pimento Cheese with white cheddar, parmesan and olives. Truists will also love Chef’s original and spicy pimento cheese. Follow SCM for specials, take homes and recipe ideas. Winner receives a $25 gift card for whatever they want in the store. We hope it includes pimento cheese….and MEAT (obviously). smokecitymeats.com
Remember pre-pandemic when I had that Chef’s Table at Vin 205 and it was incredible?? As in back in February? Doesn’t that seem so long ago? And doesn’t it also make sense that we’ve had three Chef’s Table’s there? Sure does! Well, honestly I can’t decide what my favorite thing about Wine Merchants is. Caleb? Yes. Alan? Yes. Justin? Yes. The wine? Yes, yes. The bodega with all the great shopping, confections, local meat, pasta, snacks? Heck yes! The take and bake items? Oh please, absolutely. So winner gets a $25 gift card and then you can meander and get whatever you want, like a take and bake and wine. You deserve it. vin205.com
Black Mountain Salted Caramel Bar + Drinking Chocolate standing in for the BMC Fruit Cake
So because 2020 is being so 2020ish and all, Black Mountain Chocolate did some moving (literally) and shaking and at the time of this posting, they were only taking pre-orders of seasonal items. We have loved the Queen of Fruitcakes since the inception of our Favorite Things and it’s still available to order. To play it safe, BMC is giving the winner a candy bar, chocolate to drink and a $20 gift card. So, the lucky winner will also get to shop at the brand new Black Mountain Chocolate located in the Innovation Quarter. blackmountainchocolatefactory.com
Now, get shopping! But….how to win?? We’d like to thank all the makers above for giving these items for our gift bag of gloriously delicious favorite things!
Please, foodies, we implore you to support these and all local shops this season and the sooner the better. It has been so hard for so many and your support is keeping them alive. Comment below on what holiday item you are looking forward to trying this year OR drop any new finds in the comment section. We’ll give them a try and maybe they’ll make it to our finds next year. By commenting here or on Facebook and Instagram, you’ll also be entered to win the ENTIRE Favorite Things Gift Guide as a goodie bag. And I’ll have some runners-up too, who will take home one of each A La Brava Hot Sauces as well as Cheese Tiddies and Carolina Kettle Chips.
****IMPORTANT****Winner will be announced Sunday, December 13 and must be able to take possession of the goodie bag in person. NO SHIPPING. Winner should expect to pick up the goodies on Wednesday, Dec. 16 (weather permitting), in Winston-Salem and can be contactless, if preferred. I have arranged that the winning bag can be picked up at Wine Merchants at 205 S. Stratford Road if an in-person hand-off cannot be made.
As always, foodies, thank you for reading and supporting local! Merry Christmas and may your New Year be blessed and healthy.
I’ve once again partnered with BFR Beef to test and recipe develop burgers for your next burger feast. All opinions are my own.
This recipe would’ve come at you well before your July 4th grill out, but I didn’t get my hands on these beautiful BFR Beef burgers until the day before, so bookmark this recipe for 2021. As a matter of fact, these burgers are delicious any time and I hope you try them as soon as possible this summer. You can order BFR Beef online or shop at High Country Food Hub. You can read more about the food hub here. Essentially, it’s an online farmer’s market featuring multiple farmers and producers all across the High Country. It is my go-to for shopping and has been a life-saver during the time of stay-at-home orders.
My last post showcased Browns Farm Ridge’s Beef Osso Bucco and how lovely they cooked up for a nice Sunday dinner. Daniel at BFR asked if I’d like to test out their ground beef for grilling and well there’s only one correct answer. BFR sells ground beef in bulk but for added convenience you might be like me and love the pre-pattied options. You can get them in 4 oz patties for a thinner, diner style burger (or to double up like I did), or a thick, 7oz portion for a bigger burger. Nothing wrong with either. I opted to make 2, 7 oz thick burgers for the kids (yes, the kids) and 2, 4oz burgers each for mr. Foodie and myself (yes, I can eat that much, no shame here). We wanted double red, white, & blue burgers and they did not disappoint. The burgers were juicy and full of flavor, which I would wholeheartedly expect from my recent experiences with BFR Beef. These are pretty straightforward and besides the ketchup, the whole ensemble is done on the grill. You can sub out other ingredients for your red and white here (tomato instead of bacon, blue cheese or swiss cheese instead of onion or blue cheese for another “blue” …really the blueberry ketchup is all kinds of awesome so I’d keep it in there no matter what).
Red, White & Blue Burgers
Beef patties, portioned to your desired thickness
Bacon, 1 slice per burger (okay you can do more if you want, no judgement)
Onion, sliced into rings, as many as desired per burger
Blueberry ketchup (recipe below)
Hamburger buns, one per person
Anytime before, prepare the ketchup and allow to rest.
Prepare the onions by slicing. Place onion rings on a medium size piece of aluminum foil. Drizzle with oil, salt & pepper. Heat grill on high, and cook burgers until desired doneness. Thinner burgers, of course, take less time. Top with cheese if you like and allow to melt. While the beef is cooking, grill your bacon on the opposite side of the grill if possible at medium high temperature, until crispy. Next to the bacon, add the onions on foil and cook until very lightly caramelized. They’ll just hang out there on the foil and do their thing.
Smear a good bit of the blueberry ketchup on the top hamburger bun. Once everything is finished on the grill, place the burger on the bottom bun, place onions on the burger, then bacon on top of the onions. Add the blueberry coated top bun and there you have it….a Red, White & Blue Burger.
Smoky Blueberry Ketchup (adapted from Saveur)
2 lb. fresh blueberries
1- 1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. onion powder
1 chipotle in adobo sauce
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 lime, juiced
Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Place over high heat and allow to come to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 35-40 minutes until thick, stirring occasionally. Taste along the way and adjust seasonings if needed. Once thickened, remove the sauce and blend in a blender or with an immersion blender until smooth. Fun fact: a blender works better for a smoother puree but for burgers, chunkier is fine. This ketchup is great with sweet potato fries and anything pork.
If you make this burger, be sure to let me know and let us know what you think!