Tag Archives: Dessert

foodie b’eat: Triadfoodies Chef’s Table at B. Christopher’s

To see this article in YES Weekly, click here. Featured in the 2/28 edition. 

Something special happened on the evening of February 19. Gone was Valentine’s Day, but love was certainly in the air. The love of food and fellowship. Thus, the story of another Chef’s Table. This one, featuring Chef Chris Russell of B. Christopher’s Steakhouse. It could’ve been made special by the fact that the 40-seat dinner sold out in two days flat. It could’ve been made special by the fact that Chef Russell added four more seats that sold out in ten minutes to accommodate a waiting list. But what made it most memorable and extraordinary was the sheer delight in the camaraderie of Russell’s guests, some who’d never stepped foot in his restaurant. And that’s what Chef’s Tables are all about. To introduce you to a chef, get to know him or her a little better and to dive in and try a restaurant that maybe you just haven’t gotten around to yet. Oh, and it’s to also have a little fun. And by the chatter in the room, I feel pretty certain that folks were having a great time.

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Established in 2000, B. Christopher’s American Steakhouse was a popular restaurant in Burlington and enjoyed business there for nearly 15 years before Russell relocated to downtown Greensboro four and a half years ago. I’d just eaten there for the first time last August and reviewed it here on Page 8 after a wonderful experience. It was then we all agreed that this steakhouse, which was about much more than just steak, was a natural fit for a Chef’s Table. Russell spent part of his growing up years in Burlington and attending Elon College before he began his culinary journey. He says his first love as a chef has been roasting and grilling proteins but he’s enjoyed and going in many other directions over his 30-year professional career. “Lately, I don’t think about what I cook or how I’m cooking necessarily, but why I’m cooking and putting this on a plate,” he says. Russell says today he’s taking a more artistic approach. “Not to be too serious about it because it is just nutrients that people need, but like any artist, I want people to see what I’m up to. Hopefully people will see the care in it, whether it’s the knife skills or vegetable cuts, the layers and depth of flavor. Our palates works in a linear way and a bite may catch you one way and by the time you finish the it may taste another way.”

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Chef prepared four courses, each featuring a different key component from Shellfish to Sweet. Shout out to my girl, Ericca Smith for taking photos of the courses. She’s a great photog.

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Shellfish
Scallop Crudo
Citrus/ Thai chile / mango / ginger / rice vinegar / mint / oil

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Salad
Grilled Pear Salad
Greens / pears / candied walnuts / blue cheese / mustard vinaigrette / caramelized onions / balsamic

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Meat
45-day Dry Aged Ribeye
Horseradish potatoes / roasted roma tomatoes / foyot sauce

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Flourless Chocolate Torte / raspberry coulis

Each course was thoughtfully prepared and I heard more than one person say that the salad was the best they’d ever had. I, for one, love a great steak. And Russell’s ribeye was simple, yet beautifully presented. I can’t think of a single time I’ve ever enjoyed a flourless chocolate torte, but our dessert that evening was very creamy and very rich and really delicious.

Speaking of his cooking style, Russell told me, “I like clean approachable ingredients that people are familiar with and I like to sneak in some that people aren’t and that’s also fun.” Russell’s approachability extends far beyond just his food in the kitchen. After welcoming the guests at the Chef’s Table and retreating to the kitchen to get some courses out, Russell made it a point to come out and speak to each guest, often taking a seat at their table to enjoy some conversation. Chef’s Table “alum” Meg Lohuis, of Greensboro said, “Not only was the food phenomenal, but it was awesome that Chris was as involved with the group as he was. It was great chatting with him. It really struck me how personable he was.”

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Russell has also been a mentor for many young chefs in the area, most notably, Chef Kris Fuller of the widely regarded Crafted restaurants in Winston-Salem and Greensboro.  “When I met her as a teenager, I knew she had more get up and go in her pinky than most people had in their entire body, so it’s wonderful what she’s done and today I get inspiration from her and she and her family are very good friends.” Fuller recalls the day she walked into his restaurant and he took her under his wing, “Chris and his brother Eric were so kind and patient with me as just a kid in high school trying to figure out if my passion for cooking meant that this should be my career path. I didn’t know it then, but I know now that my time with them was very important in me pursuing this career. And all these years later, it’s great to have had worked under them and to still have a relationship with Chris to this day.”

Russell says he considers it a great accomplishment that he has been able to serve as a mentor for many sous chefs and others in his restaurant that he’s seen leave to achieve their own dreams.  “It is one of the greatest feelings that one can have, when you can mentor or inspire a person in a way that they go on and do great things. I want to take what I’ve learned and give that to someone else. It should be the natural way of the world, to pass on our knowledge so that others can move on and do better. I take a lot of pride in that.”

Wanna go? B. Christopher’s American Steakhouse is located at 201 North Elm Street, Greensboro. bchristophers.com 

The Katharine Brasserie & Bar

Okay okay…I KNOW that technically a restaurant inside a major hotel that’s part of a major hotel chain doesn’t exactly fit my “all local all the time” mantra.  But…this was for research, foodies…and if I’m being honest, for YES! Weekly.  But I would’ve attended this tasting at The Katharine Brasserie & Bar even if I wasn’t a full-fledged legit food writer for a legit publication. Why? Well, have you SEEN the place? And all of us in Winston-Salem have been stoked to see the iconic Reynolds Building turned into something other than its previous dormant, sad (yet beautiful) self. The Reynolds Building was yearning for the right tenant and I think they’ve found it.

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No matter what you think about big hotels, people gotta have a place to sleep when they come here and The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel raises the bar here. And The Katharine will only add to the “scene” here in WS. It makes us raise our game on 4th Street, Liberty, Main, The Arts District, etc.

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So with that, we welcome you, Lady Katharine. And you too, Chef Ed Witt….

keep reading below 🙂 from YES! Weekly  ..

After all the excitement and hype, it’s finally here. The Kimpton Cardinal Hotel. And with it, The Katharine Brasserie…a hotel restaurant that doesn’t exactly act like a hotel restaurant. We already enjoy a fabulous one here in downtown Winston-Salem, Graze (part of the Marriott). Like its neighbor, The Katharine acts quite independently from the normal status quo hotel food fare that might cause someone like me to begrudgingly use the restaurant out of convenience, offering locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. And the space is  beautiful. The hotel still looks like the Reynolds Building. Many features of the iconic office building still remain. They say every guest room is different. There’s a slide in the rec room. And then there’s The Katharine, with its mix of modern and art deco…brass and copper and marble…beautiful light and ambiance…if you don’t get ambiance right the first time, many a chef will tell you, good luck with the rest.

I visited The Katharine last week during a private chef tasting for media. They kept our group small, limiting to a max of six, over the course of three separate evenings. That was a great call. It allowed us to have a quiet, intimate tasting with fellow curious media people, and we were all allowed to just have a conversation, hear the server describe the plate, and overall enjoy our evening even more. Our tasting was literally just that… it included singular plates of several appetizers and entrees that we basically all just shared. And there were wine pairings for each round that came to the table. If there’s one thing I walked away with, the folks at The Katharine absolutely know their pairings and with each delivery of appetizer or entree, the match of wine to food was spot on.

What was served:

Chilled Melon Soup, Cardamom, Country Ham & Pink Peppercorn: This is an item I did not see on the menu. I’m not a fan of chilled soup, but this was light and refreshing and the saltiness from the ham, spicy bite of the peppercorns was really great with the cantaloupe puree.  I don’t know about you, but this Southern girl loves pepper on cantaloupe.

Rappahannock Oysters with Minuet and a House Cocktails Sauce

Beef Tartare with mustard seeds, jalapeño, quail egg (as in nearly raw): Quite delicious actually. Not everyone has the stomach for tartare but it was delicate and flavorful.

Seared Sea Scallops with an incredible pea risotto and a black truffle butter. One of my faves.


Escargot was a huge hit and these got a little Southern top hat of hushpuppies.

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Rounding out what came to the table: Beet Salad, Trio de Pate and for entrees a wonderful Bistro Filet with Fries, Hen of the Woods (a type of mushroom and served as a vegetarian dish)  Pork tenderloin, and Grouper.

For dessert, a frozen lemon soufflé with fresh berries and lemon curd, the Katharine cookie plate and the sweet potato creme brûlée with benne wafer.  Typically, I like my creme brûlée unfooled-around with, but this incarnation had a lovely autumnal flavor, not too sweet…in fact there was a slight savoriness that was delicious.

We were all impressed with the execution of the dishes. My favorite dish had to be the the escargot (surprisingly) and the scallops were a close second because the black truffle butter on the risotto was divine. Fellow diner, Chef Harrison Littell, said the maitre’ d butter on the escargot was what set it apart for him. And though we’re having dinner in a Kimpton Hotel, he feels the restaurant will raise the game for all locally-owned restaurants in the area…and that’s a good thing. His wife, Andrea, of the blog TowniesWS, agreed. “It’s a beautiful space and really adds to the fabric of our city.” The hotel and restaurant do make you forget that you aren’t in a more metropolitan city, meanwhile it’s comfortable enough that no one feels out of place.

General Manager Herbie Gimmel says it’s important for the Kimpton to identify with the city and building that they are becoming part of. “Katharine Reynolds exemplifies the past and future of Winston-Salem. As a brasserie, we want to become part of the culture here.”

A brasserie is not supposed to be a fancy French restaurant, but rather be quite comfortable. Executive Chef Ed Witt, who moved to Winston-Salem from D.C., says the goal of the menu is approachability. “We want you to be able to come in and have a burger or steak and frittes or a Caesar salad. It’s a little bit of something for everyone and we want everyone to feel comfortable enough after the end of a long day to just hang out.”

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Chef Ed Witt places a finishing touch

Wanna go? The Katharine Brasserie & Bar  is located at 4th and Main Street in Winston-Salem. Open for breakfast and dinner. Lunch hours will be added in the coming weeks. katharinebrasserie.com

 

 

The Table Farmhouse Bakery

I have this “vision” in my head. A vision of what MY restaurant would look like if I was crazy enough to open one (I’m not–but I’m glad some of you are!). Imagine my surprise when I walked inside of The Table Farmhouse Bakery in Asheboro (of all places!) and there was my vision. At least on the inside. Milky white walls, farm-style tables and chairs, rustic floor, delicious products on the wall, simple, relaxing decor. Cool chandelier bottles, Edison lightbulbs. Ahhh… I fell in love at first glance.

Then we got to eat!

We just came in for coffee and dessert, mr. foodie and me. Easy. Then we saw The Table’s super simple ever-changing menu and he thought, “I could eat,” and I thought, “I could eat too!” So we did. When a place like this offers rustic homemade sandwiches with freshly made bread and yummy, warm soup…we felt, well those things are not heavy and we still will likely have room for dessert. We did!

So Mr. foodie ordered a Brisket sandwich with housemade BBQ, red cabbage slaw on Tuscan Onion bread. Wow. Crazy good. Tender, smoky brisket, crunchy slaw nearly like a salad inside the bread with a light BBQ sauce on their freshly made bread. He got a salad too. Good, crisp as it should be.

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Now, I’m not a breakfast person and I don’t normally consider quiche for dinner especially when I came in for dessert, but it just sounded so warm and tasty. I ordered their Farmers Rosemary Ham Swiss Quiche. The quiche was perfectly set but still had a glorious, golden brown cheesy crust, with meaty ham, hints of rosemary and the tanginess of Swiss that goes so well with ham. Yum. And on the side a nice warm Italian Sausage, White Bean & Spinach soup. I think I’m not eating light anymore, but I digress.

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For dessert, we ordered a Buttermilk Pie (yum) and a Salted Caramel and Chocolate Brownie Trifle that I did take a picture of, but it disappeared in the cloud somewhere, but if you squint you can make it out in the case.

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See? That’s the trifle right there!

And we just had to get a White Chocolate Baguette to take home. Let me tell you a little bit about a White Chocolate Baguette…

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I can’t. You gotta taste it to believe it.

My motherfoodie-in-law lives in Asheboro. You’d think there’s not much there, but the little downtown is just presh! And I’ve been wanting to try The Table so MIL was watching the microfoodies and we shopped then went back to get them. The Table Farmhouse Bakery is just lovely and homey and serene. Owner, Dustie Gregson is also a designer and you can certainly tell as the decor gets a little change season by season. In addition to the sandwiches and soups, The Table offers an incredible, deletable selection of desserts, pastries and other baked goods and fresh coffee drinks for when you need that afternoon pick me up…or breakfast if you prefer.

I’m looking forward to going back and trying The Table Farmhouse Bakery again. And exploring a bit more of Asheboro now that I have multiple reasons to return. Enjoy the photos—sorry I might have gotten a little carried away with the “tilt”, lol.

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The Table Farmhouse Bakery

Hours:
Tues-Wed: 7am-2:30pm
Thurs-Fri: 7am-10pm
Saturday: 7:30am-10pm

Table Farmhouse Bakery on Urbanspoon

A Tale of Two Italy(s)

This is a post about two Italian eateries on opposite sides of the Triad. Two we’ve been wanting to try…and we know there will be more to come, but let’s take a look at a couple of completely different gems in our area.

Kitchen Roselli
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Located in East Bend, about 20 minutes from Downtown Winston-Salem, just over the Yadkin River, is this little Mom and Pop restaurant with a rich history in the Italian restaurant business. Owned by David and Laura Roselli, David’s grandparents were the owners of Wilkes County’s legendary Sunny Italy Italian Restaurant, a place I remember going to several times as a child. The recipes featured at Kitchen Roselli will remind (many)  folks of some of the best things about the former Sunny Italy (like the Italian Dressing) but also David and Laura’s combined creations.

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That’s the dressing! You can get it at the restaurant and other places like Caffe Prada in Winston-Salem.

Not the least of which is…the Ricotta Gnocchi. The pillowy-est, lightest, dreamiest Gnocchi ever ever, ever. I gotta go back and gets me some of that heaven.

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Mr. foodie enjoyed a wonderful Pa’s Veal Cutlet. So tender and tasty. It came with a side of pasta.

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The microfoodies actually do eat pasta with meatballs so that’s what they got. Some of the other folks at our table got lasagna and spaghetti and everyone seemed to like it. But I won the table. I know I did. Mr. foodie said so! Until…

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The cream puff…I mean…Laura’s Famous Cream Puff….as I live and breathe…it is as big as my son’s head and just as chocolatey. 🙂 It is blurry…sorry….the light :/…or is it my eyes?  The thing with the CP is that you must ask for it when you sit down…apparently it’s a big deal and they will run out on busy nights. We walked in the door and were the first people to arrive for service and I did not hesitate. It’s a handmade flaky puff filled with a light and airy vanilla cream that’s not too thick or sweet…it’s just perfection. Look…look at that microfoodie schkoff it down. He was a blur!

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That Cream Puff can also be found at Caffe Prada on Fridays afternoons for like, a split second so you better call and reserve one if you want it.

Kitchen Roselli is charming and warm and friendly. The menu changes all the time with locally sourced ingredients and many handmade pastas. They are open Thursday through Saturday 5:30-9:30. Make the itty bitty trip to East Bend. It is so worth it.

Kitchen Roselli
105 East Main Street, East Bend
336.699.4898
Kitchen Roselli on Urbanspoon

Osteria

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Another Italian restaurant on my bucket list…Osteria is located at the Westover Gallery Shoppes in Greensboro and has some great restaurants surrounding it, but you may miss it at the end of its little complex if you aren’t watching. Chef and Owner, Koco Tamburi brings us a taste of Italy’s Bologna. You’ll see Chef Koco (pronounced Koh-Choh) in his iconic red toque in the dining room greeting guests and scurrying back to the kitchen to, well, cook! I chose them because I want them to be on a Dishcrawl (it’s true…ya’ll try to persuade him for me) but also, it’s one of the few Italian eateries that actually makes their own pasta. I’m a bit spoiled by now, so that’s becoming a thing for me. It’s just so much better! Say “hi,” to Koco.

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We ordered an appetizer, which we didn’t need after such a fabulous white bean ragout to go with the starter of crusty bread. So delicious and different…we are all so used to garlic, butter, olive oil, etc., but the ragout was divine. Our appetizer was Crepes with Artichokes, Tarragon, Spinach and Red Pepper Sauce. Yum!

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Mr. also ordered the lobster bisque….tasty and not at all heavy.

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I had the Taglialini with Scallops, Shrimp, Grape Tomatoes in Pesto Sauce. This dish was gorgeous and vibrant and so was each and every bite. The seafood was cooked magnificently and the pasta…well, you know how I feel about the pasta.

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Mr. had the Fettucini with pancetta, mushroom and peas. Beautiful and fresh with succulent everything. Something about fresh pasta and mushrooms. They likey like each other.

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Osteria
1310 Westover Terrace, Greensboro
336.275.2550
Osteria on Urbanspoon

We loved it at Osteria. Service was great and we hope this relatively new restaurant will have some longevity.

We know there are a whole lot more out there than these Italian treasures…and these are not even to be compared to one another…simply the foodies marveling at how fortunate we are to be able to enjoy a world-class, formally trained chef’s cuisine in one part of our community and another restaurant that features a treasured family’s recipes touched by generations. So you have options, worth the drive in every way.

Do YOU remember Sunny Italy? What are your favorite, locally owned places to get Italian?

Donuts or Donutz? Battle of the Fried Dough Confectionary

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What prompted this battle? Well, Kernersville, NC was blessed late last year with its first doughnut shop. Then about a month and a half later, its SECOND doughnut shop. Donutz vs. Donuts in the war of Doughnuts (this spelling is the dominant spelling in the US and I will use it when I speak of these delightful rings). I figure the first one took so long to open and had its little “coming soon” sign up for so long that someone got wise and thought they’d join them in a little friendly competition, lol.  The first to open was the super popular, Intown Donutz. They got a lot of buzz and Facebook “likes” very quickly because they were so friendly, they just handed out free doughnuts right and left (especially to kidlets) and have locally roasted coffee. Then along came Granny’s Donuts and Bakery. The only thing I’d heard about them is that they were really good too and that they have locations in High Point and Thomasville. So today the kidlets and I decided we’d visit BOTH, do a little taste test and give our foodies the rundown on who is we think is #1 in Kvegas!

The competitors…these guys are literally a half mile from one another:   

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Intown Donutz

Granny's Donuts
Granny’s Donuts

The service:

Intown Donutz and “T” were friendlier. A great friendly staff that promotes, promotes, promotes! And they still offer free doughnut holes when you come in. I don’t know if it’s because I’m always with kids but if that’s the reason, then I will always bring them along 🙂

The Goods…for this test we did Battle: Glazed! And, Battle: Lemon-Filled!

Granny's on Left Intown on Right

Granny’s on Left
Intown on Right (a little deeper in color)

Battle: Glazed! result: No discernible difference. Whaaa? Sorrrrryyy.  Maybe Intown tasted a bit fresher. I kept having to go back and try and by the time I was done I’d eaten 2 doughnuts almost and still no real winner.  Next, Battle: Lemon-filled!—I can’t believe I’m saying it because before today Intown had the BEST lemon-filled ever but Granny’s filling was lighter and a little more lemony fresh. Both still beat KK and DD. By a MILE.

Granny's Lemon-Filled

Granny’s lemon-filled

Intown's lemon-filled

Intown’s lemon-filled

Really this was just an excuse to buy twice as many donuts/donutz/doughnuts as our household needs. We affectionately call them “do-NOTS” because that’s what kidlet #1 used to call them when she was a wee little one….”Mommmmyyyy…can we get a ‘do not’?” I thought it a most appropriate name. We bought a few extra varieties too (chocolate glazed with sprinkles, chocolate glazed with chocolate chips, Old-fashioned). Both locations have a great selection and these incredibly delicious, ridiculous apple fritters that are to. die. for. Mr. foodie said I should’ve tested them out as well so if I do so, then you’ll see an update within this blog post. I will let you know, foodies!

Intown's case

Intown’s case

Intown's case

Intown’s case

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Granny’s case

Granny's case

Granny’s case

Granny’s has a few more cakey, innovative doughnuts like red velvet, coconut and some with funky icing. They also have a large selection of baked goods like cookies and macaroons.  Both have coffee and blended coffees.

Granny's baked goods

Granny’s baked goods

Granny's Red Velvet

Granny’s Red Velvet

So, since they are so close, depending on the direction you are driving, perhaps you just stop at the spot is convenient for you. The traffic is not as bad at Intown and they are easier to see from the road, because East Mountain Street is not as busy as Highway 66. Both have just a few parking spots. Both make doughnuts to order for your party or event. I hope there’s enough business to go around. And though I know that one big chain is still locally owned (and they will always have our hearts), these little locally-owned doughnut shops give them a run for their money. In the end, Kernersville is the winner of this battle. Now, wouldn’t it be fun if they really start playing with flavors. Like Maple Bacon? Chocolate Stout? Who knows!

You know what else we have a lot of? Coffee shops! We have 3 Starbucks across the street from one another and 2 independent coffee shops (that I know of—one’s just a drive-thru) not to mention the coffee bars at chains AND the coffee at these two little doughnut shops.

I hope it’s not bad “business” to put these guys’ addresses in the same spot, but my people deserve to be informed. Neither place has a website but both have Facebook pages.  Have you tried either one of these shops? What’s your favorite?

Intown Donutz on Urbanspoon
Granny’s Donuts & Bakery (no Urbanspoon review for the Kernersville location). Their address is:
806 NC Hwy 66 South, Kernersville,NC 336.992.9595