Tag Archives: chef

Restaurants We Love in Banner Elk

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.

Reid’s

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’s 140 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’s 488 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!

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.