Tag Archives: boone

We’re on the Rock & a new Chef’s Table

Foodies!

We have moved.

We have followed our hearts and our dream of living in the absolutely stunning North Carolina mountains. Specifically right up near Banner Elk. And man oh man, is it beee-uuuu-teeee-ful!

And seriously, I’ll explain it all later but the most important thing right now is to let you know that we have jumped right in and we’re kicking off this new journey in life with another Chef’s Table...this one with Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar. 

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I met Chef Sam a few years ago when he walked away with the coveted Red Chef’s Jacket at Competition Dining in Winston-Salem. I’ve eaten at his restaurant too, which is why it’s so obvious that we’d want to inaugural Rockfoodies Chef’s Table to be at Vidalia, where Sam and his wife, Alyce, do classic southern dishes with a twist. And their dedication to local farms is impressive.

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Here’s where you can get your tickets! Seating is limited and we look forward to seeing you there!

PS: I promise a blog  post about the move and why we did it and the house that was supposed to be THE house and our kitchen update (which is about to happen, along with getting a pantry) is coming soon!

XOXO

 

beyond the triad: Over Yonder

We recently took a family trip to the mountains to go skiing/snow boarding. I’m not much of a skiier, more of a faller,  but I wasn’t about to waste an opportunity to cross the bridge to H’Appyness and spend the afternoon in my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains with my beloveds. After an afternoon at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort where I fell ONLY ONCE (queue applause, thank you!), I suggested to mr. foodie a warm and cozy dinner at Over Yonder in historic Valle Crucis (3608 NC Hwy 194). It really didn’t take much persuasion. We’ve been there before and blogged about it, but at the time the restaurant was known as 1816 Farmhouse and just about everything about the restaurant has changed, new ownership, now under Mast Farm Inn and a new menu. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the gorgeous ambiance of the old restored farmhouse in which they are all nestled. They allowed us to choose our table next to the fireplace in the BAR and even turned the fireplace on for us.

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The first thing about the menu we noticed is that it is more casual with prices to reflect it. By the way, we were wearing ski clothes and though I’m sure you could go dressy to Over Yonder, they certainly made us feel welcome in our most laid-back attire and hat hair. Menu items range from Pork Skins to Grit Skillets, salads and sandwiches to a selection of entrees all under $17. The NC Trout special was the highest price item on the menu and it was still under $20. Really great prices with the average about $12.

We were starving, obviously, after several hours of skiing, so we ordered the Pork Belly special appetizer with sorghum glaze, red onion slaw and some candied almonds. I actually missed the description as I wasn’t at the table at the time, but I trusted mr. foodie. The pork belly skin was crispy and the meat was silky and decadent and everything it should be. There was the smokiness to the meat and the sweetness of the sorghum that combined so wonderfully with crisp veggies and it lent a slightly Asian flavor while keeping its southern essence. And was it ever pretty.

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For my entree, I went with their custom grit skillet. There are a number of options to choose from and I chose Over Yonder’s House-made Ginger & Sage Sausage with Caramelized Onions, Peppers & Provolone, piled onto some hot and perfectly cooked Adluh grits. Just the thing after being on the slopes.

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mr. foodie ordered the Griddled Pork & Beef Meatloaf with Cheerwine BBQ Sauce with Cheesy Grits and Butterbeans.  It doesn’t get much “over yonder” than that. The meatloaf was so tender and really just melted in you mouth. No knife required.

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The boy kidlet was with us and he ordered Kid’s Grilled Cheese. It was really good and cheddar-y on my fave, Texas Toast. He also ordered the applesauce as a side. It was a chunky applesauce and he wasn’t a fan because he’s just like that, but it was delicious applesauce. He likes apples and we tried to explain, but he is who he is. :/

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And though I tried not to do it, I just had to get the Banana Pudding. The BEST banana pudding I’ve ever had was right there at 1816 Farmhouse so I was curious if this version would live up to my memory. It was every bit as good with a fresh whipped cream and a beautiful wafer toffee crumb rather than the traditional vanilla wafers. They stayed crispy in the pudding, which totally worked with these particular wafers. And was it ever pretty.

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mr. enjoyed a lovely Apple Cobbler with Buttermilk Ice Cream. Also delicious. You can pretty much count on a cobbler on the dessert menu at Over Yonder. The microfoodie got ice cream, of course.

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There were so many items on the menu I wanted to try…it wasn’t an overwhelming menu at all, just that everything looked really, really good with lots of local ingredients. And Over Yonder is open for lunch and Sunday brunch so if you are traveling they are definitely a place to check out. Be sure to make note of their hours below as it changes when it warms up. Of course, the Mast Farm Inn, their Mama Bear, is another place on my bucket list.

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What’s your favorite place to stay at and eat in our gorgeous NC Mountains?

Over Yonder
3608 North Carolina Highway 194
Historic Valle Crucis
Sugar Grove, North Carolina
(828) 963-6301
Hours
Jan-March: Wed-Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun: 11am-3pm
April-Dec: Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun: Noon-8pm

Beyond the Triad: triadfoodies vacation on the Rock

ASU view from Howard's Knob, Boone

ASU view from Howard’s Knob, Boone

Greetings, Foodies! After a week in the mountains and a busy first half of this week, I’m ready to share all the deliciousness we found on the ROCK. If you don’t know what the ROCK is…just look west and you know that I mean the area of Boone, Blowing Rock, Valle Crucis, Banner Elk, etc, otherwise known as the High Country.  But Rock is shorter :).

This is going to be a not-so-brief recap of the week and I believe a couple of these spots deserve their own blog post and, if time permits, that will happen one day soon. First, we head straight to our Date Night at one of my favorite places to be and eat ON THE PLANET. Gamekeeper Restaurant & Bar.

Known for Mountain Cuisine, The Gamekeeper offers an adventurous gastronomic experience. You may find Ribeye but you’ll also find Boar Belly or Elk or Ostrich and delicious seafood items. A charcuterie plate could feature Rabbit Livermush (which ours did…and it was fantastic). The menu changes constantly. The service is absolutely impeccable. It’s a cozy and casual atmosphere where you can be dressed up or down comfortably. And the view is so very serene. Here’s what you look out and in at.

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Gabriel, our server, brought us an amuse buche of mystery food. It actually turned out to be very thinly sliced lavosh with berries (including Huckleberry) and dusted with cocoa and yogurt powders. Interesting and eaten right up.

IMG_5156  Just a little something to get us tempted….

The charcuterie also had quail egg, beef tongue, homemade mustard, pickles and grilled bread. Fab. We also ordered an appetizer of the wild mushrooms with pattypan squash.

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Mr. foodie ordered the Braised Ostrich which featured meat from the wing and had been shredded and was incredible. It was on gnocchi, with smoky eggplant. Divine. I ordered the seafood of the day which was 3 huge scallops on brussels, okra, corn, field peas, gherkins, purslane with tomato vinegar. Fresh and gorgeous. Look!

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After meeting Edwin Bloodworth, the chef-de-cuisine, and receiving a sweet little cherry sorbet to top off our night (too full for dessert) we bid farewell to this incredible place, knowing there are many visits to come!  Here’s the menu and a list of their local farms and purveyors.

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Gamekeeper Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Onward! On Tuesday we got to try 1861 Farmhouse TWO ways. For lunch, we stopped at the 1861 Farmhouse Market for some sandwiches to take on a picnic. They have great sandwiches that are specialty creations or you can custom build. Plus an awesome market featuring Carolina Coffee and all kinds of jams, jellies, ham, bacon and local baking mixes. I ordered a Hawksnest with ham, capicolla and provolone with fixings on sun-dried tomato bread. And Mr. ordered the Valle Scorcher with turkey, spicy pepperjack on jalapeño bread WITH horseradish. He’s a stud.

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IMG_5190  Later that night, I was so excited to go with the fam (including my MIL) to 1861 Farmhouse. A beautifully restored house that features its OWN winery’s selection and delicious southern cuisine. You need to visit their website to get an idea of how this 150 year old home was transformed into what it is today by its owners. It’s also the kitchen of previous Fire on the Rock winner, Sam Beasley, a true talent. He was chef-ing that night!

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IMG_5196 Wine from their own winery.

For apps, we ordered the pork belly that was braised with Cheerwine and topped with shallots and served with a grilled banana that worked mighty well. And we shared a grilled romaine salad that was like a BLT on a plate, with bleu cheese. Yum. We also got a bottle of wine, the Victoria’s Vale, that was really good.

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My MIL ordered the BEST trout I’ve ever had.

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I ordered the NC Snapper special on cheesy grits with a crawfish and bacon gravy. Amazing.

IMG_5203 And Mr. ordered the cumin and cocoa rubbed pork. It was lovely and gives me an idea for preparation at home. Thanks, Chef!

Image 52 My eldest wanted a hotdog. And the little one wanted grilled cheese. Oh well..they liked. And after seeing claims of the BEST banana pudding EVER, the MIL and I each ordered one and Mr. foodie ordered the terrific bread pudding. It WAS the best banana pudding, no lie. And my boy saved me some calories again by stealing some of it.

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1861 Farmhouse on Urbanspoon

Art by Ava

Art by Ava 🙂

We also experienced the joy of eating at Coyote Kitchen in Boone. It’s a small, “Southwest Caribbean Soul Food” type restaurant with chips, salsa, nachos, burgers and these killer “boats” that are like naked burritos but with all kinds of interesting toppings and combos. You have to try this place. We couldn’t decide if we wanted a “boat” with coconut rice or sweet corn bread so we ordered one with rice and then corn bread on the side. We know how to call it. We just tried a nice sampling of the chips with 3 salsas (all homemade from sweet and mild to spicy), the mixed fries (sweet and russet), the Cactus boat and MIL ordered a Catalina Salad. Coyote Kitchen also has tacos, melts and burritos. And on top of the salsas, they also have these homemade hot sauces that just pack an even bigger punch so you should try them with your meal. Definitely going back!

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Oh and the chicken right there? “Pups” Menu. Yummy battered is all I can say.

Coyote Kitchen on Urbanspoon

We couldn’t leave Banner Elk out of our culinary adventures so we took the recommendation of Chad-the-Wahoo’s Whitewater rafting-guide and headed over to The Painted Fish the day before our departure. Banner Elk has come a long way in the past few years and there’s no shortage of places to get GREAT food. Chef/owner Tom Jankovich’s Painted Fish Cafe is no exception. You get a wonderful view of Sugar Mountain and enjoy burgers of all types, entrees, salads …all featuring local ingredients and fresh seafood. I ordered the Tuna Burger and Mr. ordered the Tilapia Tacos (fried). We both got a sweet potato salad as our side. So good with bacon and onion. Perfection. Kids ordered …I don’t know…grilled cheese and plain pasta with butter (who are these people??).

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The chef was in the kitchen but he was nice enough to grace us with his presence, give us a few more dining suggestions (for our next trip) and pose for a triadfoodies pic.

IMG_5249 Chef/Owner Tom Jankovich

Okay…so dessert…yes, yes. What you see here is a Krispy Kreme cheesecake. The doughnuts are the crust, with a traditional cheesecake, topped with a salted caramel and bacon sauce. Whaaaat? I die.

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Oh and while you are there, you should really take advantage of the Liver and Onions on the kids menu. It’s only $82.00.  There’s a similarly-priced broccoli AND cauliflower casserole I bet the kids would LOVE. I know mine would ;).

Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar on Urbanspoon
So that’s a sampling why you should eat LOCAL on the ROCK. It’s a wonderful place to get locally-sourced dining at a variety of locations. The great thing about that area is there’s way more local than chain. Just the way it should be. I could really live up there…but then I’d have to change our name to Rockfoodies….ooooh…I kind of like that.

Stay tuned….my next post will be an exclusive on the brand new, just-opened The New Public House & Hotel (which is in the former Crippen’s) in Blowing Rock. We gave them a try on what ended up being the first REAL opening night and we have lots of pics. Until then…there are links within the blog to the places we visited. And I look forward to hearing what some of your favorite restaurants are on the Rock.

Beyond the Triad: Boone/Blowing Rock—“Girls Trip!”

The Bridge to H'Appyness

The Bridge to H’Appyness

I LOVE the mountains. LOVE. We call the bridge that takes you on the Blue Ridge Parkway on Highway 421 over the Watauga County line, “The Bridge to H’Appyness.” Mr. foodie’s stress level can be seen leaving his body as we go under it. He becomes so blissfully happy. I graduated from Appalachian State and a new event was created last year for my (not going to mention how many years) college reunion. My college girlfriends and I started an annual girls weekend. Basically all we do is sit on the deck of our rented mountain house and reminisce, laugh, relax, drink cocktails and plan our next meal. So here’s a little recap of our exploits. And by exploits I mean here’s a recap of all the places we dined :).

I got to Boone just in time for lunch. I looked around and found Black Cat on Depot Street. It looked popular and a burrito sounded about right. Plus they had a great selection of NC beers. I ordered the Jerk Chicken to go, went around the corner to eat it and noticed my order was wrong (I had TWO burritos instead of one and one was a spinach tortilla). Went back, they made it good and let me keep the the other two. So I had 3 burritos and luckily, my friend, April, arrived in time to share some of it with me. With a beer! Oh and those burritos were awesome.

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Boone and Blowing Rock, NC are just so precious. And there’s no shortage of delicious restaurants. Why, it’s where Competition Dining Series got its start with the now legendary “Fire On The Rock” chefs challenge. I hope the students at ASU realize how good they have it up there because when I was in Boone, the pickins were slim in the culinary scene.

View from the house...bliss

View from the house…bliss

After the rest of us arrived and we got settled in our mountain house, we made plans to have dinner at Canyons, which has THE best view in the High Country. Be sure to check out Canyons for their great live music in the evenings. They are open for lunch, dinner and jazz brunch. It’s very casual. The food is typical bar fare and Canyons has great specials featuring locally sourced ingredients.

View from Canyons, Blowing Rock

View from Canyons Restaurant, Blowing Rock

On Saturday we had lunch at Kojay’s Cafe in downtown Blowing Rock. Delicious, healthy and fresh. They also have fresh baked goods and pastries every day.

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I can’t remember what everyone got but you get the idea of how fresh the wraps and salads are in these pics. And the chicken salad is delicious. The little cheddar biscuits are lovely. And incidentally, if you want to feel great about your complexion, go check yourself out in their ladies room. Very flattering light ;).

After a relaxing tubing ride down the New River (highly recommended), we went back to the house to unwind some more then it was off to one of my favorite restaurants on the Rock…Bistro Roca. You have to give them a try if you are up there. They NEVER disappoint. Dinner and Brunch are always amazing. And their libations are pretty fab too.

My order of Mussels

My order of Mussels

Flat bread pizza

Flat bread pizza

Flat bread pizza

Flat bread pizza

Lobster Roll

Lobster Roll

Moroccan Meatballs app

Moroccan Meatballs app

Me and My Girls

Me and My Girls

Service at Bistro Roca is always top notch, the place smells fantastic because of the wood-fired oven and the atmosphere is wonderful.

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Finally on Sunday, we headed into Boone for a little change of pace and had brunch at this cool place called Char. We were there way before anyone else. But the music was pumping and we enjoyed our time on their spacious covered porch and the open air dining concept of the old warehouse location.

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April and I ordered the farmer’s breakfast which featured eggs our way, bacon gravy, bacon, biscuits and fruit. My friend, Jacqui, ordered the Fried Green Tomato BLT and Kim ordered Shrimp & Grits and had sautéed spinach added. She says it was the best thing she had all weekend. And we ate pretty well so that’s saying something.

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And guess what? The CHEF was chef’ing. Here’s Chef Lucas who came out to say hello.

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Char is located on Howard Street among a string of hip cafes and boutiques in the old Warehouse area (those of you familiar with that area will know what I mean). I wanted to stay and try the tea shop but it wasn’t opening until later. Oh well, thankfully Boone is less than 2 hours away.

After that, it was time to say goodbye. So sad to say farewell to my girls and not at all pleased to leave Happy Appy. Coming home in the torrential storm didn’t make it any better.

Click on the links to find out more about these restaurants. And next time your are up there, give them a try. This post could go on forever with more recaps about the other great places to eat up there (namely, Gamekeeper and Vidalia). You’ll just have to wait until the next time I’m on the Rock. Which should be in about a month, so until then!