Tag Archives: chef

Triadfoodies’ Favorite Things: 2020’s Holiday Gift Guide of Glorious Deliciousness!

What. A. Year it has been. Fa La La Lawdy!

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.com for 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 Cheese 833 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

Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Bodega 205 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem, NC


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.

Recipe: This is a Copycat of a RENOWNED classic: Village Tavern Spinach Dip

Hi, foodies!

One hundred and fifty seven years ago, I was a server at Village Tavern in Winston-Salem…the super cute historic Reynolda Village location. Back in the 90’s it was THE restaurant. I actually enjoyed working there. The tips were good, the vibe was fun, the patrons were nice and the menu was (and still is) awesome. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in WS, they had a Greensboro and Charlotte location too, but Village Tavern has now grown so much over the years with locations in several states. It’s truly a local success story. You couldn’t beat the good food, fun atmosphere and the price. And that still rings true today. And no this isn’t a sponsored post. This about that recipe!

The VT menu has also evolved with their growth over the years but one thing that will probably never ever go away is their famous Spinach Dip. If you’ve ever had it, then you know the “spin dip,” as we called it. And I figured out how to make it a long time ago. I had forgotten how much I love that appetizer until I was reminded of it recently and made it for the fam. I think you need to make it too, maybe this weekend for your Fourth of July festivities. This dip has a Tex Mex flair with flavors of cumin and pickled jalapeño and tons of cheese. It’s served piping hot and melty with soft, warm tortillas. You can use crunchy chips and you may be tempted to, but the warm tortillas is the OG method and absolutely perfect for snacking. There’s nothing quite like getting a scoop of that cheesy goodness and wrapping it into those warm wedges. Mouth watering!

Copycat VT Spin Dip

Copycat Village Tavern Spinach Tortilla Dip
Serves 4

Cheese Mixture
1 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced finely.
1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarse ground
4 oz cream cheese
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 pound Monterey Jack cheese, shredded
1/2 pound sharp cheddar, shredded
1/4 cup cilantro, if desired

Veggie mixture
1 pound spinach, I use fresh but you can use boxed frozen, thawed & squeezed, dry
1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, diced plus a few extra slices for topping
1/2 cup fresh Roma tomatoes, diced. Allow the tomatoes to drain some of their liquid.

Directions:
Preheat a skillet or sauce pan with a bit of oil
Saute onions and cumin for 10 minutes until onions are tender and somewhat translucent. Add salt, pepper, cream cheese, and half-and-half. Simmer until cream cheese melts and it’s all creamy and smooth. Fold in Monterey Jack cheese until smooth and melted. Set aside. Allow to cool a bit.

Mix the spinach, jalapenos and drained tomatoes together.
Add to the creamy mixture very gently being careful not to crush the tomatoes.

Place mixture in a deep dish or divide into two smaller oven-proof dishes. Mix enough shredded Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese to cover the top. Don’t be stingy.

Place the dish on a baking sheet and place in a 350-degree oven and bake until cheese is fully melted and bubbly. Garnish with additional sliced jalapeños and cilantro (if desired).  Serve with soft warm tortillas cut into wedges or chips.

Do you have any fun Village Tavern memories? Tell me about them!

If you make this, be sure to comment and tag us on social media @triadfoodies.

Mozzarella Fellas Menu is now 100% Plant-Based

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Photo: Lindley Battle Photography

That’s right…Mozzarella Fellas, the popular pizza/Italian restaurant with a heavy emphasis on vegetarian and vegan specialties has gone off the meat and dairy. Straight from pandemic to plant-based.

It might seem odd when your name has Mozzarella in it.

The Fella, Brian Ricciardi, has been vegan and gluten-free for years all the while making homemade mozzarella on the regular and piling sandwiches and salads high with Italian meats. And when Mozzarella Fellas was founded several years ago, there were several vegetarian and vegan items on the menu, from the mushroom “calamari” to Jack Fruit BBQ pizza and beyond burgers of late.  Little by little, Brian was making his way to completely plant-based. Last week, he made it official. He says the prospect was terrifying and he “wonders if he’s crazy.” Trust us when we say the vegan dishes at Mozzarella Fellas are every bit as good as any of the former meat and dairy based products.  And plenty of people are excited about it. Click here for the menu! 

Brian assured me last week that he still has mozzarella and pizza and all the great things, only now they’re plant-based. The mozzarella is dairy-free, the parmesan is from almond milk. Ceviche features hearts of palm and no seafood, nachos have jackfruit, which trust me, tastes exactly like pulled pork. Beyond meat is also strongly featured throughout.

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Photo: Lindley Battle Photography

Now that restaurants are phasing in, Mozzarella Fellas continues with its takeout and delivery menu and reservations are strongly recommended for dinner.

Mozzarella Fellas is located 336 Summit Square Blvd, Winston-Salem

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Loco Moco- A Hawaiian “Breakfast”

In true food blogger fashion, I’m thinking of recipes to share with you, while eating a plate of warm leftover risotto that I need to recreate in order to share with you (because it was so incredible),  as I write a blog post…specifically about one of the best meals I’ve made lately.

Last week, I saw Chef Keith Rhodes of Catch Restaurant in Wilmington post a “take-out” special of Loco Moco. (All you folks who are reading this in 2027, remember the CoVID Pandemic that had us all sheltering at home and everything fun closed in March, April and May of 2020? If not, google it.)  The dish looked fantastic and the Anson Mills Carolina Gold rice is what called me because I had just received my order. And as blessings would be, my produce box from Kindly Kitchen had shiitakes and spring onions and a host of other goodies in it a few days later and I got inspired to make it. I also had some local BFR beef (via High Country Food Hub) in the freezer.  After perusing some Pinterest recipes and seeing how easy Loco Moco is, I decided I could just do a mash up of several recipes I saw posted and really they weren’t too different than the gravy I make for my country style steak. Loco Moco is basically a meat patty on rice and gravy, only Loco Moco has a slightly Asian flare, thanks to some soy, chili garlic paste, Worcestershire and perhaps fish sauce and sometimes the beef mixture.  It really varies. The gravy sometimes includes mushrooms and is poured (in this case) around the ground beef patty and is always topped with a fried egg.  Loco Moco is my idea of the perfect breakfast. Like if I was in Hawaii, I would order this before an omelet or pancakes or anything considered breakfasty. It’s savory, spicy and full of umami flavor and is perfect for dinner too, which is when we enjoyed it. We served ours with a side of sauteed spring onions and Solomon’s Seal, which is a wild leafy veg that came in my produce box. Loco Moco doesn’t really need a side, but it’s Spring and my produce drawers overfloweth.

This recipe is completely adaptable to leave out the mushrooms, make it more spicy, and it’s gluten-free (unless you hate to cook with corn starch and in that case, make gravy the old fashioned way with a roux…I’m not going to teach that to you here, but the corn starch version is way less fussy than a roux).  I hear Spam is also traditional and I bet this is just as good with ground pork. I hope you make it and love it as much as we do.

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LOCO MOCO  (Serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 pound ground beef
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
dash cayenne
Salt/Pepper

1 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbs. soy sauce
1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp chili garlic sauce (you can add more if you like it spicy)
1/4 tsp. sesame oil
1 tsp. fish sauce (optional)
1 tsp. oyster sauce (also optional but it gives even more flavor)
1 inch knob of fresh ginger grated or 1 tsp. ground ginger
1 TBS. brown sugar
1 TBS. corn starch
1 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock
Scallions and/or chives for garnish
2 TBS. Ghee or butter
Cooked rice
Eggs (one for each patty)

Prepare the beef with the garlic and cayenne and make into to 4 round patties (about 3/4 inch thick and about the size you’d place on a burger bun–you decide how big). Sprinkle the outside with salt and pepper.

Make the sauce:
Mix the soy, worcestershire, ketchup, chili sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar, ginger, fish sauce, sesame oil, oyster sauce (if using), corn starch and broth together. Taste and adjust for seasonings. If you like it spicy, have at it. Add a little bit of soy if you need. Set aside.

Get a skillet screaming hot with a bit of ghee or butter.  Place the burgers in the skillet and sear on one side until a nice crust forms, about 4-5 minutes. Flip and sear 4-5 minutes more or until desired doneness. Set aside.

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In the same pan, lower the heat to medium and add a bit more butter or ghee to the pan, then add the sliced mushrooms. Do not touch them for 3-5 minutes. Let them get a little brown before you start tossing them about. Add a sprinkle of salt and a generous amount of pepper then add the garlic and saute for one minute. Add the broth mixture, deglazing the pan and scraping any browned bits. Allow the sauce to thicken. You may need to add a bit more broth if it gets too thick. You may adjust seasonings here again. Keep the gravy warm in the pan it should coat the spoon and be very glossy.

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In a separate skillet, melt some butter and crack the eggs, cooking until the whites are set but the yolks are slightly runny. You can cook them all the way until the yolk is cooked through but c’mon, I promise you it’s so good this way. Sprinkle the eggs with a bit of flaky salt (and cayenne if you want).

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To assemble:
Add rice to individual bowls or plates, then top with the patty, spooning gravy on top and around. Add the fried egg on top and garnish with the chives or scallions.

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That yolk shot though…

Enjoy!

If you make this dish, please let me know and tag me @triadfoodies on Instagram and Facebook as well. 

 

 

 

Recipe: “Takeout” Beef & Broccoli

Hi! How are you holding up?

As we lean in a bit longer into the “stay at home” order, we’re continuing to embrace our two options–take out or cook in. One of our favorite things to make at home is “takeout” and this Beef & Broccoli is no exception. It’s even better than any takeout or eat out I’ve ever had. Recipes are abundant online and I adapted this recipe from dozens I found online, tweaked according to what we like and had on hand and we put our wok to good use, however it can easily be made in any large skillet.  

I happened to have some local stir fry beef from a local farm via our online farmer’s market, High Country Food Hub, and simply used some frozen broccoli (because I didn’t want to make a trip just for the fresh stuff) and added that to some local bok choy and ramps I picked up from my Kindly Kitchen produce box.  The family declared this a winner,even though my kidlets don’t love steak. The quick marinade helps the steak come out nice and tender and the sauce is savory and gingery with just a hint of sweetness. I even inadvertently adapted this recipe to be keto leaning with the use of xantham gum as we were all out of corn starch. You can even make this paleo with coconut aminos instead of soy sauce.

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Ingredients:

2 lbs beef stir fry (usually pre-cut in the meat section) or slice flank or flat iron thinly against the grain
1 TBS corn starch or xantham gum
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 TBS oyster sauce
1 TBS soy sauce
1 TBS sesame oil

2 cups broccoli florets, fresh (or frozen but thawed)
pepper

Sauce:
1/4 cup tamari or soy sauce (or coconut aminos if paleo)
1 TBS honey or brown sugar
1 TBS sriracha
1 TBS oyster sauce
3 cloves fresh garlic, grated
1 inch knob ginger, grated
1/2 cup beef broth
2 teaspoons corn starch or xantham gum

Additional ingredients:

1-2 Scallions as garnish
Cooked rice or noodles, prepared according to directions.

Combine the steak and all ingredients for it except for broccoli along with a generous pinch of pepper and set aside. You can do this several hours in advance for extra marinating. 

Combine ingredients for the sauce and set aside. 

Prepare your rice or noodles and while that’s going, heat a tablespoon of sesame oil (or regular oil) in a wok or skillet. Once the oil shimmers, saute the beef until it’s beginning to brown on all sides.  3-5 minutes.  You made need to do this in batches.  Remove the beef from skillet onto a plate and set aside. To the hot skillet, add your broccoli (or any other veggies you want to use), and sauce and cook the veggies until al dente. Add the meat back to the wok or skillet and heat through until beef is coated and the sauce has thickened a bit. You’ll know. If you’re using corn starch, you’ll want to make sure you cook out any bitterness or “starchiness” that is remaining. Again, you’ll know.  

Serve the beef & broccoli on top of steaming hot rice or noodles and top with scallions or sesame seeds.  Enjoy! 

If you make this recipe, give us a comment! 

Follow me on insta and Facebook and tag us there @triadfoodies.