Tag Archives: Blowing Rock

The New Public House & Hotel

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When we recently vacationed in the High Country, we were so delighted to see the former Crippens, which was sold earlier this year, open as a brand new restaurant. The adventurous owners behind Gideon Ridge and Bistro Roca (a triadfoodies fave) just that week opened The New Public House & Hotel as a casual and inviting tapas restaurant, with a boutique hotel following close behind. And these tapas all feature farm-to-table ingredients by the talented, award-winning, chef Michael Foreman.

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The restaurant had literally been open a day, so they didn’t officially consider themselves up and running until the very night we arrived! I don’t usually hit a restaurant so early on…give them a few weeks to get all the kinks out. But I figured with Michael Foreman heading the kitchen…well, this ain’t his first rodeo.

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Management says the place has been totally redone and I noticed a good bit of freshening up, new paint, art and fixtures, but it still has the same homey comfy-ness of its predecessor, which had a higher price-point.  There’s nothing on the menu at The New Public House more than $13. And the tapas are all shareable. You can select from Bites (slightly smaller), Garden (veggie selections), Sea, Pasture, and Mountain (a selection of mountain fare like Wild Mushrooms, etc and a few items that look like they’d belong in the Pasture category, but I’m not picking on them) :). There’s also a lovely wine bar in the center of the dining room where a wine steward expedites orders from the wait staff, which alleviates pressure from the bar. If you haven’t been to Blowing Rock, the folks who live there and travel there love their wine and cocktails, so this is a good call. It keeps the wine flowing.

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Manager Will provided us with a nice sample of his Rose to get us started along with Chef Michael’s delicious house-made bread that looked like pumpernickel but was really a rye with hints of cocoa and molasses. It’s served alongside butter and black-eyed pea hummus. And those kidlets ate that bread!

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Chef Michael sent out a gorgeous Sweet Corn Grits Tamale with local corn, grits, wrapped in corn husk. It was beautifully presented with perfectly cooked grits and sween corn and red onion. My little girl ate that! Thanks, Chef…for sure delicious and gorgeous.

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We ordered the Southern Fried Chicken wrapped in bacon (!), Fried Green Tomatoes and the Trout Cakes. If you ever get chance to order trout IN the mountains, please do. Unless they are literally driving that trout from the water to you, it won’t be nearly as fresh as you can get it there.  Simply fabulous trout. These trout cakes were no exception.

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The fried green tomatoes were fresh, firm with a coating that stay on it (important to me) and a bacon horseradish mayo which was a nice departure from the typical aioli. It was like a spicy BLT when you included them with the accompanying greens.

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I must say something about that chicken though. The little drumsticks were frenched..so you just had that adorable skinny little leg and the meat itself had been wrapped in…yes…BACON. Hello! Total satisfaction. Served with watermelon and greens.

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Finally for dessert we ordered the ice cream which featured these adorable little sugar cones ON TOP of a tiny scoop of bourbon brown sugar ice cream, all accented with fresh berries. It looked like a sweet, neat little circus.

Image 101   Cute!!! I didn’t get one :(. 4 people, 3 cones equaled nothing for me…and I WRITE this blog!)

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All in all, I’d say the kinks were no issue on the first weekend night of The New Public Ale House. The place was already pretty full by the time we left so I think the folks in the area have been looking to return to this beloved address. I’d like to go back and try a few more interesting things on the menu. And take note, it’s all very seasonal so the menu will likely change a good bit, which makes farm to table cuisine all the more exciting, especially on the Rock.

The New Public House
239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC
828-295-3487
The New Public House & Hotel on Urbanspoon

Crippen’s Restaurant

20121022-160132.jpg One of the foodies’ favorite places is our NC Mountains. Specifically, Boone and Blowing Rock. We had an occasion to visit my beloved App State Mountaineers at a game recently and decided what better way to cap off our blustery day than a romantic, family dinner to Crippen’s in Blowing Rock. The birthplace, basically, of renowned Fire on the Rock…which begat all of those other wonderful “Fire” events. Crippen’s is popular, baby. I got reservations, but we got there earlier than expected and they managed to get a table for triadfoodies. Thanks, ya’ll! After walking up the lovely front porch area, you are welcomed in a beautifully decorated, cozy sitting room next to the bar which sometimes is filled with live music (and it was the case this night). The comfortable dining area is around the corner and away from the music so you can enjoy your dining companion(s). It’s just tasteful and relaxing and not at all stuffy. For an appetizer, we ordered the Fried SC Quail with sweet potato pancake, quail egg and honey. It was delicious. And beautiful. I “allowed” non-foodie daughter to enjoy one of the pancakes.

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I can say that tonight being triadfoodies paid off because Chef Stan and his team decided that we needed to sample a few apps so he sent out the Tempura NC Shrimp and a Roasted Beet Stack.

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There was an interesting accompaniment with the shrimp. They are called Sea-Beans. They are from the ocean (by way of river or stream) and they are crispy and different and a little salty. Very cool.  These were buttery (from the butter) and I was happy these little “beans” washed ashore.  And the beet stack reminded me of a caprese salad but with beets and a sweet and tangy balsamic vinegar. Mr. Foodie doesn’t like beets but he ate most of it. Now for the entrees. I went with the Crispy Duck Breast with butternut squash mash, baby carrot, a natural lamb sausage sauce, and purple and white cauliflower. Yes, purple (they do that sometimes). This duck was prepared medium rare, as it should.  The skin on my duck was chubby, had great flavor as did the mash and veggies and delectable sauce. Mister decided to play it safe with Frank Crippen’s Grilled NY Strip served with mushrooms and roasted potatoes. A good portion and excellent flavor. Be hungry for that one.

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I’d like to mention that the kid foodies, who aren’t really foodies, had the most awesome Penne Alfredo. We stole a lot of bites from them.  Hey, Crippen’s, ever thought of opening an Italian restaurant?

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And finally, afterwards, our very nice server suggested we must try the bread pudding… Well, OK!  It was made with a bit of chocolate swirled through and served with cinnamon bourbon ice cream with sea salt caramel. Yum town.

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Crippen’s is considered by many as one of the best in the High Country (that’s no small feat given all the talent in those hills).  And they certainly know how to make you feel welcome and taken care of. It was some of the best service, we’ve experienced and we even got to meet Chef Stan Chamberlain (he’s the ChefRef) for the FIRE events.

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I had a pic but it was so dark you couldn’t see his handsome face, so I borrowed this one from Crippen’s. Our only regret is that we didn’t get to visit a little with owner, Jimmy Crippen. But maybe another day. Here’s a pic because I know he wants to say, “Hey, Foodies! Come see us at Crippen’s.”

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Jimmy knows and promotes Farm to Table  and they do it well at Crippen’s. They are open for lunch and dinner (closed Monday), open Thanksgiving and don’t forget if you are in town for the night, get a room at Crippen’s Inn. You won’t walk far for great food, drink and music.
www.crippens.com
Crippen’s Inn & Restaurant
239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC

877-295-3487