Tag Archives: chef

Don’t Miss Our Chef’s Table at The Painted Fish!

So many people asking when we’re going to do a Chef’s Table up here in the mountains!

Well now that summer and the leaves are behind us…we’re diving in! We hope this is the first of many.

We’re back for deliciousness on the Rock! We’re headed to beautiful Banner Elk to spread some holiday foodie cheer at the one and only The Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar, where we’ll let the renowned Chef Tom Jankovich surprise us with multiple courses. The cafe is typically closed on Monday nights, so Chef is opening it up to us for a private event.  This night of tastiness is sure to send you off into the final week before Christmas with a happy heart and belly.

 

20171020_16343920180417_155135

I’m telling you. I’ve had some major yummy meals at The Painted Fish. Like Tom’s special seafood cakes.  And the blueberry goat cheese pie!

 

The Painted Fish Cafe & Beer Bar is known for its unique twist on recognizable dishes with locally sourced ingredients. See why so many of us “mountain folk” travel across the hills and valleys to dine and enjoy Chef Tom’s cuisine in his upscale yet relaxed restaurant. He’s always there manning the kitchen and bringing colorful dishes to tempt your eyes and taste buds.  And the slopes are now snow covered, so you’ll enjoy a wonderful view at the foot of beautiful Sugar Mountain Ski Resort.

Are you knew to our Chef’s Table events? It’s like a wonderful supper club. Join us here at one of our preliminary mountain events…and see why our Chef’s Table events down the mountain have become so well regarded for the past two years.

20180608_172117

Here’s how it works:
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, December 17 at 6:30pm. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $45 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. We have the whole restaurant to ourselves, however seating will be limited. We’ll see you on December 17th!

** Follow us on Facebook for the latest details and get in on the chatter by tagging @PaintedFishCafe and #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.

Seating will be limited.  Get tickets here!

Mission Pizza Napoletana

It’s easy to talk pizza when it’s your mission in life.

And yes, we’re talking pizza today. But we also wanted you to get to know our favorite “pizza geek” a little bit better. 

ps: you can find the YES! Weekly version of this story here

Mission Pizza Napoletana has been enjoying business in downtown Winston-Salem for almost five years.  Owner and pizza-maker-in-chief, Peyton Smith, fell in love with Neapolitan style pizza after a visit to Naples, Italy years ago.  When the economy was in a state of flux, Smith started out as a mobile pizza business, “My inspiration was to produce the exact kind of pizza you’ll find in Naples.” 

Peyton Smith, Mission Pizza Napoletana, outside pizzeria

And it made perfect sense at the time, since the pizza, which originated in Naples is actually a street food. “Napoletana pizza, or Neapolitan pizza, is the original pizza,” Smith explains.  Established circa 1800’s, Napoletana pizza is wood-fired at temperatures that reach 1000 degrees for about 90 seconds or less.  What you get is a light pizza, with a crispy cornicione (that’s crust to you and me).  Sounds pretty basic and simple, right? But to hear Smith describe it, it’s almost poetic to achieve the perfect Neapolitan style pizza. “It starts with high-quality flour, but the big thing for a finished product is the baking method.  A stone hearth or live fire, traditionally wood-fire, cooking at about 800-1000 degrees,” Smith says. “Because of the nature of the high heat and softer flour which gives you a pliable dough, the interior crumb is soft with an open cell structure. And it’s not crunchy, but the veneer has crispiness.” Smith adds, “It can be folded and that’s encouraged. The tell-tale sign is you can fold Neapolitan pizza and it doesn’t crack.” It also allows use to use your hands to eat it, which Smith encourages because it requires all the senses.

The poetry doesn’t stop there. Now Smith is on a roll. “The pizza should smell sweet and bready, with a little blistering, which are the small black or dark brown spots and it should have micro-bubbles.” Because it’s a softer product and baked at a high heat at minute to minute and a half, Smith says what goes on top is important. Or not.  “It should be topped with light ingredients. The dough is the fundamental starting point, but it should work in balance with the other toppings, like a fresh cheese, salumi, tomato, herbs.” And then, “Finally, it should be light on the stomach. You can crush that whole thing and feel satisfied and not heavy in the gut. If we can do all that right, we’ve produced something pretty special.” 

IMG_20180915_120731_458.jpg

It’s best consumed right out of the oven. My personal fave at Mission is the Billy Jowl with its ricotta cream, smoked mozzarella, guanciale, fennel pollen, black pepper, oregano. Yum…my mouth waters just thinking about it. Sorry no decent photo. Just trust me.  The Margherita is also incredible and it’s how the youngest learned that he loves basil. The Diavola is another with its fresh mozzarella, hot sopressata, chilis, honey, pecorino, basil (below). 

 

Smith says though ingredients are extremely important, like the flour and the tomatoes, he doesn’t import a lot and gets many ingredients locally. “I use an Italian ethos but I want to use as many local ingredients as possible. An our tools and technique are very important here.” One of the major tools is the huge pizza oven that takes center stage in the kitchen.  Built by Stefano Ferrara, a third-generation oven builder, it’s hand-made, brick-by-brick with a traditional low dome for the ultimate in wood-fired high-temperature retention. 

Although a self-proclaimed pizza geek, Smith conceives the menu as well as plating, and likes people to know that his mission is actually more than just pizza. The name Mission Pizza Napoletana should indicate that their pizza is not what you’re accustomed to.  He asserts, “We’re really an osteria, a small tavern with a limited full-service menu that happens to be pizza-centric. I love the non-pizza items we dish out like our salads, pastas and appetizers.” Few are the places where you can get freshly made pasta.  “On occasion we do sheeted pastas and cut into noodles, we make stuffed pasta. Right now we’re making a cavatelli for our bolognese. Our wood-fired oven is used to finish other dishes, like our cauliflower, which has a life of its own.  And on the weekend, we can do funky stuff like porchetta, lamb shank and the occasional whole fish.”

 

(photo cred: MPN)

Smith’s approach landed him an opportunity this summer to cook pizza alongside 25 of the top American pizza makers at the New York Pizza Festival. “These are makers who really are executing pizza at a high level.  It was a humbling experience to be invited. I got to hang out with my friends and make pizza all day.”  Smith also met Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We had a nice chat. He was really interested in our ingredients. We fed him our pizza and he wouldn’t put it down.”

43382005_2141570826094779_4426849124431691776_o

The pizza man and the mayor

Not too shabby for a chef with no formal culinary training, however Smith has worked in the restaurant business in nearly every capacity from bussing to serving.  “When I was resolute about opening a place, I worked with Chef Jim Noble and I gave him al that I had. I developed a passion for food 20 years ago and how it’s a vehicle for lubricating social celebrations.  I’ve taken a real interest in learning techniques and have curiosity about how things are done. The biggest thing for me and thinking about food and the plate. There’s no doubt about how I want it to taste and look.” Smith says he gets much inspiration from travel.  “I want to eat the best food I can, wherever I am. It gives a really excellent perspective of how things are executed at a high level. Back in my kitchen, whether someone likes what we do or not, we certainly know what we wanted to do.”

As for his place in the very communal Winston-Salem food scene, Smith, who grew up here, says he has enjoyed the support and he’s proud of how they’re executing at a high level. “I’m happy with what we do and I intend on making us better every day.”

Mission Pizza Napoletana is located at 707 Trade Street NW, Winston-Salem. Open Tues-Thurs 5pm-9pm; Friday & Saturday 11am-2pm and 5pm-10pm.  missionpizzanapoletana.com 

White Pinot Noir Could Be Your New Fave

Caleb Flint of Wine Merchants in WS offered me a bottle of Amity Vineyards White Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley 2017 for an honest review. We are grateful for the opportunity (and the wine). All opinions are my own.

My favorite kind of wine is red wine. And of the reds, my favorite has been Pinot Noir. And no that has nothing to do with the film, Sideways. 😀 . Though a Malbec sometimes does sometimes hit the spot.  I also do try to support NC Wine as much as possible but I do like to change up.  So when Wine Merchants talked about a White Pinot Noir, I was intrigued. After grabbing a bottle,  I took a little time and meal planning for when to enjoy it. Mr. foodie and I like wine, but we have two kiddos at home and sometimes we can’t just open a bottle up and enjoy. And we rarely finish a bottle between the two of us in one night. Plus, I wanted to have a mushroom pasta dish. I am particular like that.

IMG_7940

Then the night came. Opened up a bottle of the White Pinot on a pasta night. I enjoyed a glass while cooking. What we found was a lightly fruity, very clean wine with body that drinks quite easily alone and is wonderful with pasta, cheese and poultry and particularly, mushrooms. Bonus points if you can manage that in one dish, which we did (a browned butter balsamic mushroom sauce over ravioli with grilled chicken). The photo of the dish didn’t come out well. But I’ll make it again and share the recipe.

The wine went perfectly. I have a feeling this is going to be in the regular rotation.

IMG_8807

i see you

White Pinot Noir is gaining in popularity but is still considered somewhat “rare” compared to other varietals.  it takes a special process because Pinot Noir grapes are obviously red. This is an excerpt from VinePair.

To make white wine from red grapes, winemakers take careful steps to ensure that there is minimum contact, or maceration, between the pre-fermented must and color-giving grape skins. To eliminate maceration for white Pinot, only a small amount of the grape’s juice can be fermented into white wine.
Free-run juice is released when grapes are piled, and their skins break under their own weight. In white winemaking, this produces the highest quality wines because there’s minimal contact with bitter skins and seeds. Free-run juice, and occasionally must from a very light pressing, are used to make Blanc de Noirs still wines.

White Pinot Noir also listed as Pinot Noir Blanc or Blanc de Noirs.  In Winston-Salem, you can find Amity Vineyards for about $25 at Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Wine Bar at 205 S. Stratford Rd. in Winston-Salem.  (336) 765-8175.

By the way, if you haven’t been to Wine Merchants or the bistro next door, get yourself over there. The restaurant is one of the most underrated spots in all of the Triad. Read about them here.  Site of 2 Chef’s Tables! That’s how good.

Cheers!

Y’all Is For Everyone

You can find the YES! Weekly version of this story here.

Y’all: /yahl/ : Contraction of you and all that some say is not a real word (but we all know that it is).

Y’all is also a sauce.  Three to be exact (for now) and it’s made locally in Winston-Salem. Now, y’all foodies know that when I tell you about a new product, I really love it and I use it and I find the story behind the product and its maker interesting enough to bring it to you. And y’all…this sauce is definitely for me and you …because it’s trip to yumtown.  And no this is not sponsored. I bought it. I love it. And so will you! 

YSC_SAUCES_ON-WHITE

And I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. These sauces are so great that they are definitely a triadfoodies Favorite Thing and will be a part of our Holiday Gift Guide giveaway  next month!  (link is last year’s guide)

Y’all Sauce Co. started a year ago with the love of the Lord, bourbon, community and food.  Josh McGee and Paige Harlow originally met six years ago at church in Kentucky where Josh’s wife was a pastor. “We loved to eat, but hated our jobs and were looking for an awesome way to work together and came up with the idea of doing something with food over the course of drinking some bourbon, which always gives you the best ideas,” Paige joked.

static1.squarespace

Josh and his wife eventually moved to Winston-Salem so that she could take a pastoral position at First Baptist.  Josh comes from a culinary background and says, “I worked in the industry for 15 years, was a sous chef in Charleston, where I cut my culinary chops. I thought, wouldn’t it be great to pair my culinary background and her marketing background.” Around the time of the move, Josh and Paige decided to become business partners and settled on the idea of a sauce company. 

But then, what in the world were they going to name their new company?

Josh remembers, “We started with some southern names, a spin on the southern culture…we kicked around all kinds of ideas….Southern Plated is the name of our company, but the name of the sauce? Nothing really rolled off the tongue. We were talking about community and our identity and Paige blurts ‘y’all!’ And that was it.”

Paige says their tag line, Eat Up Y’all is the perfect slogan.  “It just made sense because y’all is such an inclusive word. Y’all goes beyond gender, race, religion. We wanted to create a company that included everyone. It’s a divisive time and it’s important to bring people together to the table and have conversation and bridge gaps.”

 

And in true Baptist tradition, pair it with community and make the conversation happen  around food.

The sauce team says the move, the sauce and the city of Winston-Salem are a perfect match. “What we love about Winston-Salem is what Louisville was 10 years ago. The upswing of honing in on local restaurants, local ingredients and all these farmers doing great things. We want to tell the story and heritage of the sauce and how it brings community together.” 

For now, there are three sauces telling those stories, with many more stories to come. The first is the iconic Henry Bain, which Paige and Josh both discovered in Kentucky. It’s a bit of a sweet and tangy version of a barbecue sauce, that Josh tweaked and modernized with a hint of bourbon.  By the way, Henry Bain was a waiter and created his namesake sauce at the Pendennis Club in 1881. How’s that for a legacy?

The second sauce is the sweet and spicy Jezebel, which Josh says he became obsessed with in his native Tennessee. Jezebel is like apple butter and marmalade meets horseradish, and though no one can really agree where Jezebel sauce comes from, Josh says, “I wanted to make it more East Tennessee with sorghum and Volunteer Orange. And I love that you can use Jezebel in different ways. Back in the day you’d throw it on cream cheese, but now we use it to glaze hams. I like it on fried chicken, salmon and as a finishing sauce on veggies.”  I plan on putting Jezebel on my Thanksgiving turkey. Josh tells me it will be “ah-mazing.” 

I became a fan of Y’all Sauce when I scooped up the Mississippi Come Back sauce, which is a staple in the deep south and used so many ways including as a burger topping or as a dip for fries or tater tots. It’s like a white barbecue sauce that will have you come back for more, hence the name. My tip, give it a try as the dressing on a warm potato salad. It’s so yummy. 

In the south, every sauce has a story and the team wants to tell all of them. Paige says, “The plan going forward is to have a different sauce for each southern state, such as Trinity Sauce for Louisiana and of course a sauce that would be cool for North Carolina.” Whatever will it be? I’m told it may be a bit more than just Eastern BBQ.

YALL-SHELF

She adds, “We’re both history buffs and we love the culture here. The south is a real mix of cultures…we want to tell the story of the different sauces. It’s exciting to keep these stories alive.”

Y’all Sauce is catching on in the area, particularly in Winston-Salem where it can now be found at Southern Home & Kitchen, Canteen Market and Bistro, Washington Perk, City Beverage, Mast General Store and Lowes Foods. 

YALL-TEAM

Josh says they plan to be in front of the community as he continues to put down roots here. Josh says, “The community is something so unique to Winston-Salem. It’s a hub for a lot of cool things happening…from the restaurants and the farms to the craft beer scene and wineries. There’s so much great energy here and we want to be on the forefront of that and embrace the localness.”

Look for Josh with the Y’alls at the Angelo’s Artisan Market at Wiseman Brewing in Winston-Salem on November 11 from 12-5pm and at Southern Home & Kitchen with some cooking classes early next year.

If y’all want some enjoyable reading on the stories of the sauces. or if y’all want to find out where to buy or to order online visit them here. 

Get Your Foodie Self to Roots!

UPDATE: Earlier in October, Roots Restaurant announced it has closed. We are so sorry to see them go. I’m leaving this post up a bit longer to share the vision and what a good time we had at our Chef’s Table.  

Behold, quality casual fine dining. In Yadkin County. WHERE I GREW UP! It’s not a chain or seafood or a steakhouse or hot dogs and ice cream, which is basically YC. Roots Restaurant at Sanders Ridge Winery opened its doors in April with two young, eager superstar chefs at the helm. And the YC should be thrilled about this. And you should drive to the YC to be thrilled about this too! O

IMG_2904

Hailed as a hidden gem, Roots is located at the vineyard’s grounds in Boonville. Within the gorgeous timber-framed tasting room, Roots is at least the fourth incarnation of the restaurant space in recent years. For whatever reason, previous tenants of the kitchen space haven’t been able to make a go of it. It’s not the easiest place in the world to get to even though it’s only about 25 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem. But folks from Guilford County and beyond have said Roots is well worth the drive. And what a scenic drive it is, with the Yadkin County pasteur land and beautiful rows of corn and tobacco.  It is quite best to make a day of it, tour the wine country and let your final stop be at Roots. In the winter months, a stone hearth fire located in the center of the room will welcome you. A perfect a bite or for a larger function, as it’s available for private events such as weddings receptions and celebrations.

You have seen the work of Chefs Ben Hurst and Brent Andruzzi if you follow your favorite eateries on any social media. Hurst trained Andruzzi at River Birch Lodge and Andruzzi left Willow’s Bistro to take on this new venture. Hurst says he actually was going to open a food truck and use the kitchen as a commissary when owner Cindy Shore approached him about running a full-fledged restaurant there. “I wasn’t sure about it. I hadn’t even managed a business much less started one. And then I asked Brent to come on board.”

Andruzzi said, “no.” 

Andruzzi clarifies it was a kind, apologetic no. But an entire month later, Andruzzi had a change of heart and the no became an enthusiastic, “yes.”

Hurst graduated with two non-culinary degrees but his first job was at River Birch and that’s where he met Andruzzi.  After a few stints in other kitchens, Hurst went to culinary school at Guilford Tech and finally at Johnson and Wales. After searching for his place in the kitchen, Hurst took some time and worked at Harmony Ridge Farm, where he learned the other side of food. “That’s worked out really well. because I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned with me.  Now we have a greenhouse on the hill where we grow a lot of our own vegetables.” Andruzzi grew up cooking with his parents encouraging his creativity in the kitchen by buying him whatever ingredients he wanted. After some time working at Lowes Foods, he also found himself at River Birch under Chef Travis Myers. “Like Ben, I worked at all the different stations.  We learned a lot there. A good foundation was built there.” Andruzzi eventually joined Myers at Willow’s Bistro where his creativity was truly allowed to shine. “When you have that kind of freedom, you learn what works and especially what doesn’t.”

Andruzzi says he’s been gardening too and the fact that Hurst has been farming, that there’s a  greenhouse and farm and the opportunity that exists here was a strong factor in his decision to take a chance and exit his place at Willow’s. “We have freedom to grow whatever we want as well as cook whatever we want, so that’s a bonus.” Roots also sources other local farms when they can.

IMG_2899 2

Hurst says his goal at Roots is to create dishes that people can’t get at home. “Even as a chef, I when I eat out, I don’t want my experience to be something I can create at home. I want it to be surprising, full of flavor, creative…something you can’t quite replicate in your own kitchen.”

Course One
Duck Two Way Tostadas with duck sauce, radish, scallion, house made pork rinds

IMG_2984

Out of the gate, the chefs immediately showcased their ability to take an upscale protein and make it attainable tapas-style.

Course Two
Pimento cheese stuffed poblano with bacon jam and cilantro scallion cream

IMG_2987

This course may have been close to my favorite dish of the evening simply because it was so different than anything I’ve ever had before. The spicy poblano filled with Sanders Ridge now famous pimento cheese AND bacon jam. Both. Together. Some of us had to clear our throat but the scallion cream cut the heat of the slightly devilish kick from that pepper.. And the people, said “wow.”  The pimento cheese and bacon jam are available for purchase at the winery as well as Cobblestone Farmer’s Market in Winston-Salem.

Palette cleanser
Lemon basil freeze pops

Before the courses emerged, Chef Hurst gave the guests a teaser of what was to come and simply said there would be a surprise in between two of the courses. So these platters full of freezer pops that looked like smaller grown-up versions of the colorful pops we all grew up with were met with delight from each table. The basil complemented the fresh slightly sweet lemony-ness. I kind of felt myself wanting another pop later.  A freezer full of those on a summer day would not be the worst thing.

Course Three
Shortbread herb crusted scallop, greenhouse salad, strawberry vinaigrette, pickled onions

IMG_2995

I’d heard accolades from the scallop dishes so I am glad the chefs decided to feature these on their menu this evening.  If I’m coming back to eat in the future (and I will), I’m getting scallops.

Course Four
Ribeye over basil bread pudding, local mushrooms, fig jam, Fair Share Farm micros

IMG_2998

A very close #2 to my favorite, a beef course will always be a winner in my book and for most carnivores.  The steak was perfectly cooked and the savory bread pudding was so delicious with it.  Note: Roots has a menu item that is called “Deconstructed Beef Wellington”. I imagined the flavor profile is not so different though the execution might be. I’ve been told it’s incredible.  After tasting this dish, I have no doubt.

Course Five
Strawberry and blueberry Shortcake and sugar cookie with homemade ice cream

IMG_3001 2

A beautiful summery dish with sweet berries, perfect cake and richly textured ice cream rounded out our evening. A great ending.

And then the chefs re-emerged from the kitchen to applause and a standing ovation. Chef’s Tables are always stellar but these young chefs received such praise that it was truly heartwarming.  Hannah Waggoner, of Rural Hall, has been to a number of Chef Table events and she even got the proverbial ball rolling on getting the Roots event off the ground. “My first visit to Roots made my foodie heart happy,” she said.  “All the dishes my table ordered were loaded with flavor, finesse, and beautifully plated! The staff were friendly and accommodating. I knew that Roots would be an excellent location for a Chef’s Table.” Waggoner says she knew it would pay off.  “The guests were not disappointed. Each of the five courses was unique and delicious! It was great to get a taste of some of Roots’ specialty dishes with a few surprises!”

By the way, I’d suggest you follow Roots on Facebook and any other social media and perhaps get on their email list because on Thursday nights, the chefs do a little something different by having a Thursday Supper. And it’s amazing. And if you can get in there for the fried chicken, you’ll send me a thank you letter and maybe, if you really love me and are super thankful, you’ll send me gifts. That’s a how delicious that fried chicken is. Super crispy every inch. See?

IMG_2906

And how’s this for making a name for oneself?  In a reader’s poll,  USA Today’s 10 Best just announced that Roots Restaurant was just named in the top 10 of the best winery restaurants in America. Roots placed 6th. Way to go!  Read about that here. 

If there’s anything I’d say at this point it’s this: Yadkin County, this is your moment. Finally there’s a restaurant in the area that celebrates not only the wine country but the wonderful bounty that the area brings forth. I grew up in Yadkin County and having to go to Winston-Salem for a great meal was a top complaint.  If a restaurant of this caliber can succeed with Yadkin’s and its big city neighbors’ support, it will pave the way for other restaurants like it. Napa wasn’t built in a day. It’s taken 170 years, plus it survived Prohibition and the Great Depression. You might consider the Yadkin Valley winemakers pioneers here. And the restaurant owners want to blaze a trail much like their West Coast counterparts. The talent and deliciousness is there and Roots Restaurant is digging deep and taking a chance on the area’s support.

Wanna go? Roots Restaurant at Sanders Ridge located at 3200 Round Hill Road, Boonville.   Open for dinner Thursday from 5:30-9:00 for Family style supper (check website or Facebook for features). Full service menu Friday & Saturday 5:00-9:00. Full service lunch is available in the tasting room Friday-Sunday 11:00-3:00. The wine bar also has a full menu available from 12:00-5:00. Visit sandersridge.com for info.