Tag Archives: Date Night

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.” 

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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.”

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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 

The 411 on Canteen Market & Bistro

A previous version of this story can be found at YES! Weekly

Oh my, have I found my happy place!

Children get Disney. What’s my adventure land? A beautiful little restaurant that has a little market inside so I can order food, shop while I wait, or just swing in and shop, seeing something new every time. Look!

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That’s Canteen Market & Bistro. Billed as a gourmet market and dining experience, you have no doubt of its intended function as soon as you breeze in. Plus there’s a beautiful, communal bar right in the center to ground the entire gleaming 6,000 square foot space. It’s dreamy. Heaven I tell you! 

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The business, opened in September, is the love child of Claire Calvin and Eric Swaim, (I’m sorry if that sounds awkward).  She of The Porch Kitchen and Cantina and Swaim, her neighbor at Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Co at West End Millworks. The two had talked for a couple of years about opening up an urban market. When the space at 411 West 4th Street, also known as Commerce Plaza, became available, it was originally conceptualized by the property owners as a fine dining restaurant. But Claire and her dream of a downtown market with a distinct urban feel could not be dissuaded. “This space would be too big just a market or just a restaurant but altogether, it just works.”

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I have to agree. The market side of the restaurant features staples like pasta and sauces, some on the higher end, but still budget friendly for a night “in,” as well as local sauces like Ya’ll Sauce, made in Winston-Salem, and international sauces, mustards, grits, gourmet crackers, bread mixes, jams, jellies, endless varieties of pickles, you name it.

Mr. foodie will tell you that I get positively giddy in places like Canteen.

Claire says they’re just getting started and happily takes suggestions for fun items to add. During my visit there, she had to step away to help a customer who had a request for a product not on the shelves but Claire took note of it…the customer also had her arms full. She had come for one thing (don’t we all) and appeared to need a basket. Claire hastily retrieved a mini-cart. We joked that her budget was no longer limited by what she could carry in her arms and she went on her way.  So helpful! 

In the back, the dining area sits adjacent to a beautifully curated wine and beverage area,called “The Cellar,” with hard to find boutique wines, fortified and specialty styles, and local and international craft beer, kombucha, coffee and artisanal mixers featuring companies that have a story to tell.

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Eric and the bev team put a great deal of thought into the beverage program. The large communal space features the obligatory craft cocktail menu. For beer, there’s a NC focus behind the bar, with everything on draft while the cooler includes beers from around the world. And the wine at the bar boasts a relatively new, tap concept.  “All wine by the glass is all being poured draft. It eliminates waste and ensures freshness, which is something we really wanted to commit to. When it’s on draft, there’s no light and no oxygen to make it go bad. It’s the perfect temperature for white and for red and gives you control over your pour,” he says. “It’s very concise at the bar with a trip around the world in the back.”

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In front, the kitchen is where Chef Chris Almand, formerly of West End Cafe, is making menu items for the bistro for dine-in and take home and the pastry chef is making the sweet treats. The refrigerator case is stocked with local pimento cheese, goat cheese, deli items…items a customer can run in and grab to go for a quick snack or lunch on the run. Calvin says the menu will change often to reflect what is in season and what is available from their partner farm, Whit Acres.

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This restaurant and market is already seeing tons of support from the local restaurant community. It’s getting some much deserved attention. Y’all check it out! 

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Canteen will have an official grand opening this weekend featuring market samples, wine tastings, demonstrations and giveaways. Visit their social media for more details.

Wanna Go? Canteen Market and Bistro is located at 411 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem. Hours are Monday-Sunday 10am-10pm.   

Join us at our next Chef’s Table!

Hi, foodies….

I’d say get ready for some wonderful back to back posts about all things food…since my children are spending a few days at their grandmother’s but man…the weather has been so nice that I’ve just been enjoying these beautiful NC mountains and just allowing myself to be.

But I can’t be just chilling and eating and doing laundry so I’m going to get a few posts out …one of the most important is to let you know that we literally have only 11 tickets left to our next Chef’s Table. We’re back at Meridian Restaurant to let Chef Mark Grohman surprise us! I was asked over and over if we’re going back and I’m thrilled to make it happen.

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Here’s a link!  And the deets….

By popular request, the foodies AND YOU are headed back to one of the most fabulous restaurants in Winston-Salem. We’re so happy that Chef Mark Grohman is on board for yet another triadfoodies Chef’s Table at his amazing Meridian Restaurant.

Chef Mark’s passion for local ingredients is second to none. And his mantra is: “If I’m able to make it myself, I always will.” Meaning he makes his sausage, his pasta, his desserts…. His restaurant, while being upscale, is inviting and vibrant with a bird’s eye view of the culianary wonders taking place in the kitchen, plus a lovely view of the Brookstown area of Winston-Salem. Chef will be preparing multiple courses of surprises and flavor combinations that you will talk about for months. How do we know? Because we always talk about his dishes, ages later and 15 months after our first Chef’s Table with Mark, the chatter is still going strong. You’d have to see social media for proof!

Here’s how it works:

Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Tuesday, June 26 at 7:00. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 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. Seating will be limited.

Food restrictions? Let me know ahead of time and I’ll pass it along to the chef.

We’ll see you on June 26!

 

Get your tickets to our next Chef’s Table!

Hi, foodies! I wanted to let you know we have another Chef’s Table coming up in a little over two weeks. Get your tickets ASAP as they will go fast. As of this posting, we have 7 tickets remaining.  We’re headed back to Winston-Salem this time to one of my new favorite restaurants, Trade Street Diner.  Here’s the Eventbrite listing. Get tickets here. 

We’re back and so ready to spring into a colorful and vibrant season of Chef’s Tables featuring the area’s most talented chefs. This month, we’re so excited to be headed back to Winston-Salem where Chef’s Freddy Lee and John Tharp and their team at Trade Street Diner will tantalize our tastebuds with multiple courses.

Roasted Pork & Crispy Head

You know Chef Lee as chef at the renowned Bernardin’s at the Zevely House in the West End as well as his partnership at Cowboy Braziilian Steakhouse and Bleu.  Chef Tharp’s restaurant, Towne Centre Diner, in Wallburg, has been called a hidden treasure. If you’ve been to either of these restaurants, then you know the talent these two chefs possess. They’ve partnered up to bring us yet another wonderful eatery in downtown Winston-Salem.

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Trade Street Diner blazed on the scene in 2017 and Freddy and John have wowed their guests with their creative take on diner-inspired ingredients with a creative twist. And seriously, that truffled salmon with mushrooms pictured above is the BEST salmon I’ve ever eaten. Read about our experience at Trade Street Diner in my review for YES! Weekly.  We can’t wait for your to try what Freddy, John and their culinary team have planned. What’s on the menu? Well, that’s half the fun. We let the chefs surprise us.! What’s never a surprise is how much each Chef’s Table guest is delighted with the food and atmosphere as we fellowship together.

Here’s how it works:

Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Tuesday, April 24 at 7:00. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $30 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. Seating will be extremely limited.

We’ll see you on April 24!

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

 

Eating our way through Hendersonville, Don’t Miss Hendersonville Restaurant Week!

I was honored to be invited with other food bloggers to attend a Sneak Peek of Hendersonville Restaurant Week. Meals and accommodations were provided gratis. All opinions are my own. 

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I just got back from a quick little trip to Hendersonville, NC to catch a sneak peek of the upcoming Hendersonville Restaurant Week which is happening  March 15-24. I’m telling you about it now because it’ll give you plenty of time to plan. And let me tell you, you’re gonna want to take a little jaunt to the mountains of North Carolina to check out this foodie town and get you some delicious eats.

I had heard that Hendersonville had a happening food scene, while enjoying being a touch “away” from the tourist vibe in nearby Asheville (about 20 minutes away). It was my first time and I immediately fell in love with its charming downtown as well as the neighboring village of Flat Rock.  A half dozen or so food bloggers from all over the state and South Carolina were invited by my friend, Laura Huff the Carolina Epicurean, to taste what is to come for their first ever restaurant week. We tried eight restaurants in 2 1/2 days …it’s a tough life, foodies. We call it R & D and I haven’t quite recovered from so many tastes of foods. Plus I got spoiled a little, I ain’t gonna lie.

The 10-day event encourages locals and visitors to explore restaurants via prix fixe multi-course menus. You’ll find all varieties of restaurants participating, from taverns to fine dining and even food trucks. Lunch menus range from $10-15 and dinner menus from $25-35 (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). And if you want to turn your foodie adventure into a bonafide getaway, there are lodging partners that are offering special rates and packages, such as buying a two night stay, get a third for free. Reservations are recommended as this inaugural event is generating quite the buzz.  Please be sure to visit the Hendersonville Restaurant Week website for the latest menu updates. Below is just a smidge of what you’ll taste and see during HRW. We just glazed the surface baby. And we ate a ton!

Flat Rock Wood Room  1501 Greenville Hwy, Hendersonville
This cute BBQ restaurant meets pizza joint draws you in the moment you get our of your car. The smell of the smoke and the casual ambiance invite you to just hang for a while. Be sure to get some stock for your pantry with Jamie Guay’s Championship rubs and sauces. You’ll have trouble deciding. There’s a lot to choose on the menu and we tried some tasty bites, but I really loved those wings and you must try the cornbread. It rocks.

Old Orchard Tavern201 Sugarloaf Rd, Hendersonville

Located in the Cascades Mountain Resort, this little restaurant is not your typical hotel restaurant. Very chef-driven with locally-sourced ingredients, I look forward to dining here again. The hotel is quaint and you can enjoy some family time in the indoor pool with a slide that kids of all ages would love. As for the food? Delicious is all I can tell you. Highly recommend any of the dishes. I also loved this beer-brined game hen, which didn’t make the cut. So just be sure to check the website for any menu changes.

Brooks Tavern142 3rd Ave W, Hendersonville

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If tavern fare is more you speed, you’ll love this cute little happening bar-meets-restaurant for drinks and specials and pub food. It’s just so fun and pretty too. Don’t miss the jar of candied bacon and if you have a sweet tooth, you’ll enjoy the fried (yes, fried) cheesecake. Think cheesecake made like an egg roll served with a side of preserves. Big enough to share. 

Postero401 N Main St, Hendersonville

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You. Guys. Postero is gorgeous and Postero put so much food in front of us that we ate ourselves into a tizzy.  And Postero has great lighting for food photography and I felt very comfortable there with my fellow food bloggers just taking snaps. I’m sure people were aghast but we didn’t care because we were with our people. There were several highlights but I have to say that the whipped goat cheese mousse with house-made waffle fries kept me going back for more. As did the salmon tartare. As did the polenta fries. And the banana ice box pie. I’ll stop now.

Season’s at Highland Lake86 Lily Pad Ln, Flat Rock
A great vacation spot whether you’re vacationing solo, as a twosome or as a family. Highland Lake enjoys hosting receptions, weddings, parties and business luncheons. Quite too many tastes that we tried to list here. We had a table full of plates and we passed and tasted in a flurry. What you see here may change and here are some of my faves.

Hannah Flanagan’s300 N Main St, Hendersonville
A traditional, no frills, super casual Irish pub. Their claim to fame is the Shepherd’s Pie Eggroll. Dipped in a little brown gravy, it’s a super tasty crispy on the outside soul-soothing favorite.

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Never Blue119 S Main St, Hendersonville
Ya’ll. My bucket list spot. I’ve been trying to get to Never Blue for a few years now since hearing the praises of superstar Chef Jesse Roque. She’s so hip and gorgeous and super sweet. And heck yeah, can she cook. Tried a lot here too. My favorites were the Gypsy Cheese (think a tex-mex style pimento cheese, but with jalapenos) topped with Cowboy Candy (think candied jalapenos…and yum). The gnocchi was also mmmm…mmmm good. Be prepared to get FED at Never Blue. The portions at dinner are no joke, but Jesse says she wants you full and happy and you will be! 

 

The Dugout Taproom & Grill430 N Main St, Hendersonville
This is the only spot I didn’t get to try since I had to get back to the kiddos, but from the photos I saw, you might want to get you some fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese because, cheesy goodness. 

Where I stayed:

1898 Wavery Inn

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1898 Waverly Inn is the oldest surviving inn in Hendersonville. This inn used to be a boarding house before being turned into a charming bed and breakfast. Mike and Tracey made us feel so welcome.  Breakfasts were delicious and not just for guests. You’re welcome to just come in the morning to eat. It’s very convenient and just a block from downtown. Be sure to enjoy their social hour and if the weather is warm, you’ll love taking a seat in a rocking chair a swing on the charming front porch.  

If there’s time between eats, don’t miss…

Appalachian Pinball Museum, 538 N Main St, Hendersonville

Pinball machines, Pac-Man, Tetris, Frogger. All in a historic theater. It will take you back for sure.

Also try not to miss:

The Poe House 

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Named in honor of author Edgar Allan Poe, The Poe House is located in historic downtown Hendersonville. Coming off somewhere between English Pub and trendy wine bar. The Poe House is a hangout for locals and visitors alike. A cozy place to enjoy live music, a craft cocktail, beer from their ever changing draft list, or a flight of hand selected wines.

What I loved about Hendersonville is that the downtown is very walkable with wide streets and ample parking. And the nearby town of Flat Rock has cute little shops and eateries, a wonderful park, Flat Rock Playhouse and the Carl Sandburg home.

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A portion of Restaurant Week’s proceeds will benefit Dandelion, a job-training cafe in downtown Hendersonville for Safelight, a nonprofit that assists victims of domestic violence.

Check out the restaurant week menus here. For more information about Hendersonville, click here.

Happy eating and traveling foodies. Let me know where you go and what you loved. Tag us while you’re there on FB or Insta, we love seeing you on your adventures!

Website: http://hendersonvillerw.com
Social:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HendersonvilleRestaurantWeek/
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hendersonvillerestaurantweek/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/HendoRestWeek

For Lodging Specials: http://hendersonvillerw.com/lodging-partners/