Tag Archives: cocktails

Foodies…Check out Butcher & Bull

The Butcher is In. (a previous version of this story can be found here at YES! Weekly.)

I have to say, we were warned.

A few weeks back when Chef Richard Miller hinted at what was to come at the Chef’s Table at Butcher & Bull, he said to be prepared to see creative slants on some of their favorite dishes that were fun and surprising in an effort to get us out of our comfort zones. He said he and Chef Tim Gallione had been planning for weeks to dazzle us with one of the most creative menus we’ve seen.

Before we get into the food at the event, we need to talk about the complete overhaul that Butcher & Bull, located inside the Marriott in downtown Winston-Salem, underwent earlier this year. The eatery, formerly known as Graze, was transformed into a sleek space rich in blues and neutral tones, leather and light. There might be a few animal skulls present…just to be sure you don’t forget where you are.

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“We knew we wanted a fresh, vibrant, contemporary restaurant to stand out in what is happening in Downtown Winston-Salem and we decided on the idea of a steakhouse, which we don’t really have down here,” Miller told me during my podcast.

Gone are the booths with television screens and anything suggesting hotel.  Miller says the desire was to create a welcoming environment for gathering and fellowship, “We wanted a 100% brand new product and leave no evidence of the past, so that people will want to come here for dinner, enjoy the company of friends and family, have a good cocktail or a glass of wine and have a really phenomenal steak or anything else on the menu.”

In addition to abundant steak offerings with various cuts, like a Strip and a 48 ounce Tomahawk, there is tuna, salmon, and crab cakes and a cauliflower steak. Now, Butcher & Bull is getting accolades for its inventive small plates and shareable like the Bison Carpaccio with Quail Egg and a showstopper of a Shrimp Cocktail, complete with a presentation under a cold, smoky, glass dome. 

Miller, who grew up in Winston-Salem, has spent the better part of a decade going up the ranks at Butcher & Bull. He helped develop the former iteration, Graze, and made a name for himself locally and regionally as a chef there, winning the local Competition Dining Series. After a brief departure, he returned to Graze as Executive Chef and guided the culinary team through the transformation to Butcher & Bull.

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The Butcher’s Room is available for private events

The Chef’s Table that was presented on June 20 was everything Miller promised and more. As we gathered in the “Butcher’s Room,” we were presented with six beautifully-plated courses that were playful and adventurous with bright colors and interesting textures. And each and every dish was as delicious as it was visually appealing. If at first you eat with your eyes, well we got an eyeful for sure of.…

Local ingredients.

And raw meat.

And organs.

And an eight-limbed mollusc.

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Course 1

General Tso’s Harmony Ridge Farms duck heart, greens, citrus, peanuts, togarasu

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A kick off to the evening with an unexpected Asian flare. We had some skeptical folks at the table when the menu mentioned “duck heart.” But the heart was perfectly and lightly breaded on the outside and tender enough to cut with a fork. The drizzle of sauce had just enough heat and made the perfect bite when accompanied with the crushed peanuts.

Course 2

Beef Tartare, deviled egg crema, pecorino

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As if heart wasn’t enough to surprise you, imagine your next course being raw beef? But Butcher & Bull’s tartare is so well executed, with proper seasoning. The deviled egg crema landed a southern slant to the dish and the pecorino was baked into a crisp, which could be used like a savory little cracker.

Course 3

Charred octopus, Southern cucumber salad, Fair Share Farm Micro Greens, Lemon, EVOO, onions, fennel

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Another ambitious dish by Chef Richard and his team. This two-toned dish of lightly charred octopus on bright quick pickled cukes was a wonderful middle course. The pickles (a riff on Miller’s mother’s recipe) allowed for some palate cleansing with an intrepid star of the plate.

Course 4

Joyce Farms bone marrow, bread-and-butter cauliflower, fermented mustard, charred bread, Old Nick Carolina bourbon

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And now we get a marrow bone. Beautifully and rustically plated, the bones had a light schmear of marrow topped with house-made mustard. But this dish required Chef Richard to visit the room and instruct us that. after scooping out the marrow and enjoying with the “toast”, we were to then use that hollow bone as a sloo or a “shoot” in which to take back the shot of bourbon. Some of our diners succeeded at this fun challenge. I failed epically. 

Course 5

Certified Angus Beef ® brand , Demi glaze, pommes purée potato chips, sweet potato, mushrooms

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As our 5th course arrived, we knew that the culinary team really wanted to show off what Butcher & Bull wants to be known for—steak and with pizzazz as the service team came around the other side and drizzled the steak with the demi.

Course 6

Carolina Gold Rice Pudding, Johnson Farms Peaches, Fair Share Farm​ marigold flowers

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There’s something about the flavor of Carolina Gold rice. Hailing from the southeastern reaches of the Carolinas, it has a beautiful golden hue and a deep, toasty flavor, almost reminiscent of popcorn. And when Richard turned it into rice pudding, the toasty flavor came through along with the sweetness of the cream and then it was topped with wonderfully succulent grilled yellow and white peaches, with edible flowers.

At the end of the evening, the room erupted in applause, with many guests saying it was the best event they’d attended.  As for Miller, he says he and Chef Tim Gallione wanted to give the guests a taste of what inspires them and he promises that this is only the beginning.

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I am absolutely sure you’ll find something you are looking for at Butcher & Bull and I highly recommend you give them a try.

Butcher & Bull is located at 425 North Cherry Street, in the downtown Marriott in Winston-Salem. Parking is available around the property but valet is also complimentary with a validated receipt. butcherandbull.com

 

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The wine cellar is available for private events

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#followmeto…a 1618 Food Crawl

foodie b’eat….From YES! Weekly

Thinking how much we love a good food crawl, the hubs and I contemplated what we could do on our date night. And since 1618 Concepts has 3 successful restaurants all reasonably close to one another (driving distance), we thought, wouldn’t it be fun to crawl just those three spots? Owner Nick Wilson and business partner George Neal’s three restaurants are supremely popular and we’ve watched them grow from the Grille on Friendly to three restaurants and a food truck (1618 On Location). We saw that it was the last weekend that all 3 locations would have some sort of calamari on the menu and the Wilson and his personable team were encouraging all kinds of interaction on social media, etc. We decided to get in on the fun.

Remember, food crawls take pacing and if you’re on a budget, just be mindful of costs going in. Appetizers (or even entrees) are meant to be shared. Preferably with more than two people. We were on a date night, so we knew we’d only likely order one plate per restaurant.  Are you going to get drinks with your shared apps? Consider that too, as wine or cocktails can be $8-12 and beer around $4. If you avoid cocktails (but why?), you can do a 3 x food crawl for about $50-60 with tip. Mr. foodie and I almost never play it that way. There’s almost always a cocktail at least one place and usually the menu looks so good, we want one more item to try. Like I say, the more the merrier. Bring your peeps!

Going in you have to plan and that’s just what we did. Our itinerary: 1) 1618 Seafood Grille 2)1618 Downtown 3) 1618 Wine Lounge. When we got to the Grille, it was p.a.c.k.e.d.  Even the bar. So, going in you also have to be flexible so we altered our plans, decided first to hit the Downtown location, then come back to the Grille. So first stop…

1618 Downtown, 312 South Elm Street, Greensboro

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Szechuan Glazed Calamari

The featured calamari was a Szechuan Glaze with basil cream sauce, roasted peanut remoulade, chili oil, sesame carrot sprout and cilantro salad. Beautiful to look. The calamari was incredibly tender. The roasted peanut remoulade and the chili oil gave it a great sweet and spicy kick you might have had on sesame noodles at an Asian restaurant. We were really hungry and plowed right through it. It’s about enough for 2 people. This is the only calamari that is leaving the 1618 menus this week. It’s very customary for 1618 Downtown to change its menu often and the only items staying are the sandwiches. We ordered one more item, the spicy tuna crispy sushi roll. The reason is that we want to show you something that will be familiar when you go. There’s almost always a sushi grade tuna dish on the menu here. This tuna roll was still shareable, with pickled butternut squash, granny smity apple wasabi and balsamic caviar. We wish it had been a bit bigger, but it was still great. Still, calamari wins and I really wish they’d consider keeping it on the menu for a few more weeks (just so you get the chance to try it). Libation Manager, Jake Skinner, had his own suggestion, “You could do a 1618 crawl just on pomme frites. They’re that good.” If you don’t mind the carbo load, they’re of the truffle variety with spicy ketchup and honey parmigianno reggiano aioli.

Stop 2….1618 Seafood Grille, 1618 West Friendly Avenue

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Wasabi Glazed Calamari at 1618 Seafood Grille 

So in the interest of full disclosure, I will say that I’ve had the calamari at 1618 Seafood Grille.  And since, it has set the standard for any calamari I’ve had far and wide. It also has some very odd ingredients as far as calamari goes. Tossed in a wasabi glaze over red bean salsa, chipotle remoulade, sprouts and fresh basil oil. They like their sprouts at 1618. This visit was no exception. Still the most tender, crispy flavorful calamari. The red beans are very tender and have a hint of cumin, then the sweetness of the wasabi glaze and basil oil, the spicy remoulade. It’s indescribable. They absolutely won’t take it off the menu because it’s such a hit. It goes down easy and is over too soon. We would’ve order something else, but a 3rd calamari was calling our name.

Stop 3…1618 Wine Lounge, 1724 Battleground Avenue

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Back when my blog, triadfoodies.com was just a little bitty baby, 1618 Wine Lounge was my very first real post. My, haven’t we come far! And the Wine Lounge is just as popular as it ever was. Stylish, sexy and a great vibe. And just as known for its terrific small plates. The calamari is tomato glazed with percorino romano cream, fresh mozzarella, basil salad and lemon aioli. It reads like the kind of calamari you are used to. The kind that has a slight Italian spin which is dipped into marinara. But it certainly doesn’t look like that. It was so pretty, with lovely sweet heirloom grape tomatoes that paired nicely with the pecorino romano cream and the mozzarella. It almost didn’t need the aioli, but a little dab here added brightness overall. We were told by one of our servers that this calamari dish is here for another couple of months.

Winner of the night: 1618 Seafood Grille’s gorgeous wasabi glazed with the red beans. The beans!! No lie. It’s the best and we’ve ordered calamari…well, lots of places.

Sufficiently filled with baby squid, we then called it a night, only to start scheming about our next food crawl. Who wants us? Winston-Salem?….High Point?…Kernersville?

Shout out to #followmeto, founded by photographer Murad Osmann and his wife, Nataly, who travel the world and take photos of her leading him….or him following her to exotic or interesting places worldwide, hence the hashtag. They kind of started a movement so we thought we’d have our own foodie version of it here.

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Wanna go? 1618 Seafood Grille is located at 1618 West Friendly Avenue, open daily for dinner as well as Sunday brunch; The Wine Lounge is located at 1724 Battleground Avenue, open Monday-Saturday evenings until late. 1618 Downtown is located 312 S. Elm Street, open for lunch Monday-Friday and dinner Tuesday-Saturday. For more details and links visit 1618concepts.com

Burger Warfare: Strikes A Balance Between Good Food & Entertainment

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This is an expanded version of the same story that ran in YES! Weekly on January 6.

When you enter Burger Warfare, you’re immediately struck by the “futuristic” military theme as the name implies. Actually it happens before you enter with the artillery-clad robotic looking sculpture that greets you outside. Inside, there’s military inspired artwork, digital camo throughout, industrial lighting, dining chairs made out of Humvee seats and even military videos in the bathrooms.  It’s pretty manly, but in a sexy, military dude kind of way that won’t be off-putting to the ladies.  Occasionally, throughout your tour, you’ll hear helicopters and military jets soaring “overhead.”  You feel positively embedded.

So we set up camp at our table in our very sturdy seats and started perusing the “food classifications.” Lots of burgers, sandwiches, salads and appetizers and a plethora of shakes made with BW’s homemade custard. I just love custard—way more than ice cream.  If you’ve never had it, give it a try. If you like “adult milkshakes” be sure to check out the Shake & Awe section of menu where you can choose from a spiritous variety of shakes like Fireball and Kahlua and whipped vodka.

Mr. foodie took immediate action and ordered a round of appetizers of Cheese Planks (mozzarella sticks with marinara sauce) and Bot Tots loaded with chili and cheese. Burger Warfare is kind of famous for their Bot Tots, so just assume you will be ordering them. They are terrific with a side of their Warfare Sauce, which is kind of like a comeback sauce or “special sauce.” Even if your tots are loaded, you’re going to dip them into this sweet and tangy sauce made with sweet red chili peppers. It’s that good.

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The Fort Bragg was the must-try for me. Double Certified Angus Beef patty cooked to my choosing, with pimento cheese, onions, chorizo chili, coleslaw, and beer mustard using sister brewery Pig Pounder’s Boar Brown. I’m not going to say I could taste every element (I’d have enjoyed a bit more pimento cheese) but it was hearty and satisfying and a great riff on a Carolina Burger (with a touch of Dirty South with that pimento cheese thrown in).

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Mr. foodie ordered the Cuban Missile Crisis which loads some chorizo between 2 CAB patties, topped with Paprika Mojos sauce, shoe string potatoes (!!) and grilled onions. Huge. Messy. And devoured. My children aren’t keen on burgers (because who knows why) so they opted for chicken tenders and a side of bot tots. What can we say? They were good. They ate them. But the burgers are the way to go.

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You can even turn your burger bunless and wrap it in lettuce or substitute your beef for turkey, chicken or black bean. Why would you, I ask?

Of course with such temptations as milkshakes to go along with our burgers, we went all in. Kids got their choice for a modest $1.50 and we decided to split a shake from the bar. We created our own with bourbon, Frangelica and Kahlua. It came in a tall, slim mug and it was delicious. After that, we surrendered to utter fullness.

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Burger Warfare strikes a balance of great food and entertainment. The robotic sculptures in three corners of the building talk back and forth with one another and threaten the patrons with confiscating their tots. If you are paying close attention, you may even recognize them. They’re dressed up in all kinds of get-ups. Here’s a hint: Opponent 1 is named RDMD, he has red and yellow sideways arches, Opponent 2- WND, swirls and freckles, , Opponent 3- wears a crown and stockings– a tip of the hat to the “Burger Wars” that started it all. And the ruler of all of them, AWE. He’s out front with a QR code on his launcher and Burger spelled in “alien type letters.” A tip of the hat to the burger wars that started it all. But really as far as BW is concerned, there’s no comparison.

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RMD

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WND

Burger Warfare is definitely an expandable and even franchise-able concept. Of all developer Marty Kotis’ properties, I think it is certainly the one that is most universally appealing to young and old, and marches to the drumbeat of those that call themselves patriots or happen to have an affinity for the military. It’s a great addition to Kick Ass Concepts’ line of restaurants which include Darryl’s Woodfired Grill, The Marshall Free House, Pig Pounder Brewery & Tap Room and a few more in the hopper.  What makes a great restaurant is a good ambiance and great food and Burger Warfare has both. Marty Kotis shared with us what’s to come in the future. A beer garden downtown with a savory biscuit concept; a Caribbean/Seafood concept for the old Ham’s lakeside location that was recently purchased; and an Argentine/Spanish concept known behind the Village Tavern off Westridge Road, in Greensboro. And he confirms that he’s definitely working on expanding Darryl’s and Burger Warfare to other cities.

And you heard it here first!

Now, march to Burger Warfare, foodies!

Burger Warfare 
1209 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro
336.500.0654

foodie b’eat: Scrambled Southern Diner via CHOW at YES! Weekly

Green Eggs & Ham (Chorizo, Dippy Egg, Salsa Verde, Chile-Lime Crema on hash browns.

Green Eggs & Ham (Chorizo, Dippy Egg, Salsa Verde, Chile-Lime Crema on hash browns.

Oh, foodies…how my heart was broken after my beloved Josephine’s Kitchen stopped dinner service earlier this summer. Gracious, what a bummer. But when Chef Chris Blackburn and his partner, Sarah Keith, announced a “new beginning,” well, we knew that what they had up their jacket sleeves would probably be pretty fantastic.

So after a couple months of waiting, Scrambled Southern Diner is open. It’s breakfast and brunch all day—they took beginning and made it literal. But, they have lunch and blue plate specials too. I joke that they’ve closed one of my favorite restaurants to serve my least favorite meal ….breakfast (yeah, I know I’m a weirdo).

Read here about what’s in store for this new eatery.   It’s already pretty popular.  And they even please me, the foodie who couldn’t care less about breakfast. 🙂

When you check it out, let us know what you think!

Kristi
Scrambled Southern Diner Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Beyond the Triad: A mini-Tour of the South’s “Tastiest Town”: Durham

Mr. foodie decided it’d be fun to to take a quick weekend getaway to Durham, recently dubbed by Southern Living as the south’s “Tastiest Town.” Now, some of my peeps in the Triad may disagree and we do love our restaurants here, but there’s nothing wrong with checking out the goods in other places of NC and Durham does not disappoint.

We finished our trick-or-treating ritual with the kidlets Friday and then hit the road. We decided NOT eating candy would make us plenty hungry for a craft cocktail and some bar eats. But at Alley Twenty-Six, you aren’t just getting bar food. Think meat plates, cheese boards, homemade pimento cheese, olives (of course), nuts (of course) and sliders, etc. This small, hip bar has live music, themed drinks (Friday was “Fright Night”) to celebrate the evening and great appetizers that are made to order…pretty much right in front of you. I’ve never had pimento cheese with pepper jelly, but man—I’m a fan now. As you may know, this is my and mr. foodie’s favorite way to eat…just noshing.

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On Saturday morning, we had plans to hit up Rise, a super-popular biscuits and doughnuts spot near Streets at Southpointe. Go there if you can get there early or during an off-peak time–I have NO idea when that is, however. Great spot for you to hit instead of a chain. But unfortunately the line, which was out the door into the parking lot, was too long for us as we were starved by 11am. But our good fortune was that Harvest 18 (also recommended and part of 18 Restaurant group which owns 18 Seaboard and Cantina 18) is across the way for a real, sit-down, farm-to-table brunch and it was amazing. I mean, the service here was top-notch. Patrick, our server, took wonderful care of us and made us think we were really funny when we cracked our lame jokes. 😀  I ordered the highly recommended Pamlico Shrimp and Grits Benedict with poached egg and Anson Mill’s bacon flecked local grits, asparagus and hollandaise. mr. ordered the Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Loin with root veggies and Guilford-Ashe Co. cheddar grits. The chef also offered these INCREDIBLE and I ain’t lying, Heritage Farms Cheshire Pork Belly lettuce wraps, which were not on the menu for brunch, but they were amazing. So if you see those on the menu, you gotta get them. It’s like a gift to your precious self. You will thank me. And thank YOU, Chef Mike for the treat!

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We also tried the carrot cake for dessert. Nearly every dessert Harvest 18 has comes with their homemade caramel sauce. Totally didn’t need to any more…but maybe save room for dessert.

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I have a tendency to do two meals a day, even though I love to eat and eating so late and so much meant, no eating until dinner. We saved it up for Piedmont Restaurant. Several of my bloggie friends in the RDU area said this local spot was not to be missed.  Everything about this place I loved. The decor, the art, the music, the servers’ wardrobe…it was very casual, yet rustic and just relaxing. We ordered the Carolina Smoked Trout Dip which was served with homemade lavash crackers. Mmm..total deliciousness. And I must tell you, that we were nearly bowled over (no pun intended) by the Lil Farm’s Heirloom Pumpkin Soup, topped with NC blue crab, crème fraîche, truffle oil, fresh herbs. Absolutely one of the best soups I’ve ever had. I’m dying to know how to make that…oh, chef?  We also were surprised with a gorgeous, mouthwatering Duck-Rabbit Stout Glazed Sweetbreads, gnocchi, NC muscadines, blistered, sweet frying peppers. The sweetbreads were small, like the gnocchi and were crispy on the outside and tender on the inside with the flavor of the stout hinted throughout. Wow. We even convinced our dining neighbor to try them and she officially became a “gland girl.” Ha! It’s the little achievements, foodies!

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I ordered this beautifully light, NC Tilefish with local fingerling potatoes and fennel surrounded by a fumet. Basically that’s foam. But the kind you want to eat.  And mr. ordered chicken. What?? Chicken Roulade… but it was stuffed with goat cheese with these amazing little confit and get this…Anson Mills farro..served like a savory oatmeal that was just the perfect thing with the chicken and the root vegetables. I die.

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We ordered some delightful drinks that I can’t quite remember and mr. foodie forgot to snap pics of his. I can tell you one was called Hair of the Dog which featured Topo Distillery Gin and and the other was a Honeybee, which is basically Makers Mark dropped in honeycomb then infused for a long time, then served on the rocks. And it was lovely.

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We got our extra hour of sleep and tried in vane to hit Rose’s Meat Market & Sweet Shop (not open at 10am when we headed out) and again, Rise (line out the door and into the parking lot, again) so we decided to take on Chapel Hill and visit the Weathervane at Southern Season. Green Chile Chicken Chilaquiles with sunny side up eggs and salsa verde for me. And mr. had a delicious Wild Mushroom & Duck Hash with a sunny side up egg.  Really great. And..because we felt we needed extra calories and carbs we ordered the Banana Nut French Toast for that sweet element that positively has to go with brunch.

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Needless to say, we left Durham and Chapel Hill quite satiated and we even got a little shopping done in Durham and at Southern Season. Have you ever been there? It’s like a food lover’s and cook’s paradise. The perfect spot for filling your tummies stockings for the holidays or gift-giving. Check out all theses spots by clicking the links.

Until next time, foodies.

What’s your favorite restaurant in the Triangle?