Tag Archives: downtown Greensboro

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 

#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

foodie b’eat: Dining for the Downtown Greensboro Greenway via CHOW Yes! Weekly

3 courses at Undercurrent

3 courses at Undercurrent

It’s a big week in Greensboro. Not only has nOma Food opened, Scrambled has opened. The new Hops is on its way…and another thing you don’t want to miss is Downtown Greensboro Restaurant Week which benefits the Downtown Greenway.

For the price of $20.18 you can enjoy multi-course meals from select downtown restaurants including, Table 16, 1618 Downtown, LaRue, Crafted-The Art of Street Food, B. Christopher’s, McCoul’s Public House and Undercurrent.

All kinds of delights. Read all about it here! 

Let us know where you went, what you ate and when you do, post it on social media with #dgsoeats

All Veggie Personal Pizza —Roasted portabella, charred red peppers, pearl onions, shaved asparagus, crispy brussels sprouts, spaghetti squash pesto and ricotta.

A sample from 1618 Downtown: All Veggie Personal Pizza —Roasted portabella, charred red peppers, pearl onions, shaved asparagus, crispy brussels sprouts,spaghetti squash pesto and ricotta (photo cred: 1618 Downtown)

Have fun!

Eat Local!

Europa Bar & Cafe

If there’s one thing Mr. foodie and I can put down, it’s a bowl of fresh, hot steaming mussels. And we recently re-visited a Greensboro treasure that we hadn’t been to since we lived in downtown Greensboro. We were so hip back then!  One thing’s for sure, when it comes to mussels, Europa Bar & Cafe never disappoints.  And the patio is so beautiful and serene, it’s the happening place to be when the weather is right.

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The weather was SO right…

Europa has a menu that’s a bit European with enough items to make your non-foodie dining partners happy (see the pizza and pretzels below). But when I go, I get mussels. And a salad. Mr. foodie and I ordered Mussels Catalina with white wine, chorizo and cilantro AND we ordered Mussels Normandy with white wine, garlic, cream, mushrooms and…bacon. I’m telling you, these mussels were big, juicy and fabulous. And you get a big ol’ bowl of them and not just a half dozen of measly slices of toast. They give you an entire baguette. We didn’t know it and ordered extra bread, because we always need it. But in this case, we had EXTRA bread to take home. Ha! Go figure! Check it out.

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Mussels Catalina…see the loaf??

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Mussels Normandy…see the loaf??

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Cobb Salad for sharing

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Appetizer of Soft Pretzels with Mustard for Dipping

Even if the weather isn’t all that great, you can enjoy the cozy bar and, in the colder months, there are heaters under the lighted, tree lined canopy. We are so happy we have rediscovered this awesome cafe. The large number of guests both inside and out was a good indication that Europa continues to be a Greensboro favorite.

Europa Bar & Cafe is open for lunch and dinner.
Cafe Europa on Urbanspoon

Cheesecakes by Alex

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You know a place is deeeelightful when the line can go out the door and it’s 32 degrees outside. On a blustery night a week and a half ago, that was the case as Mr. foodie and I topped off Undercurrent’s 1st Annual Oyster Roast with dessert at Cheesecakes by Alex. For a little more than 10 years, Chef Alex Amoroso has been “treating” visitors of Downtown Greensboro with the freshest cheesecakes of all varieties, not to mention a whole collection of confections and coffee and ice cream.

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There’s something about the “after 8:00” craving for a piece of cheesecake. What is THAT all about? I never crave cheesecake in the middle of the day. For some reason, it’s the perfect cap to an already indulgent meal. And despite all of the great restaurants in Greensboro, no one can blame you for skipping dessert at your dinner location and getting dessert at Cheesecakes by Alex. The taste and texture of his cheesecake can’t be beat.

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Look at all those almost gone, yet perfectly wrapped up and protected cheesecakes! There are 22 flavors from original, chocolate, white chocolate raspberry, peanut butter chocolate, key lime, espresso Kahlua, turtle…too many flavors to name…all made in house. My absolute favorite is the Creme Brûlée Cheesecake. It has a caramelized sugar top (like creme brûlée) with beautiful specks of vanilla bean throughout. I just can’t get anything else but that. After I had it once, I just get it EVERY TIME. I don’t get there enough so that’s my time to get it.

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See how rich and pretty and see those little vanilla bean babies? MMMMM. My mouth is watering.

When I met Mr. foodie he did not like cheesecake. No likey the sweet cheese.  He actually likes Alex’s cheesecake. But on this day he wanted something with apples. He changed direction when he saw the Triple Threat. A chocolatey chocolate cake with fudgey chocolate icing. It was very rich and decadent but not overly sweet. It went perfectly with their freshly roasted, organic coffee.

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Now, take a look at this next beautiful cake…this, foodies, is a BLUE VELVET cake. No one offered me a taste :(.  They let me take this photo though…

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It’s made with real blueberries. He even had a cupcake version. He had Strawberry Red Velvet too.

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And pastries and bread.

Cheesecakes are available in 3 sizes and can be pre-ordered or you can just stop in. They keep a steady supply on hand. You can order by phone or online and have it shipped to you.  Cheesecakes by Alex’s delicious dairy products come from the local Homeland Creamery in Julian, NC. He’s buying local, foodies!
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Awesome. As a matter of fact, Alex told me that the best mashed potatoes are made with Homeland Creamery’s buttermilk. “Makes them tastes like you put chives in them.” Sounds weird. I’d have to agree. Magical mashed potatoes. Thanks, Alex! I’d have thanked him in person but a man’s got to rest so he let his lovely staff in charge on this night.

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So the next time you have a hankering for some cheesecake, do yourself a flavor and wait patiently while people peruse the case to decide what they want, order what YOU want, sit a spell and enjoy your cheesecake (or cake/pastry) and take in some live music (in warmer months). You can walk around downtown after if you feel you need to work it off some. You might even go dancing?

www.cheesecakesbyalex.com
315 South Elm Street in Greensboro, NC
336.273.0970

They are open 6 days a week, closed on MONDAY.
Cheesecakes By Alex on Urbanspoon