Tag Archives: family

Get Your Foodie Self to Roots!

UPDATE: Earlier in October, Roots Restaurant announced it has closed. We are so sorry to see them go. I’m leaving this post up a bit longer to share the vision and what a good time we had at our Chef’s Table.  

Behold, quality casual fine dining. In Yadkin County. WHERE I GREW UP! It’s not a chain or seafood or a steakhouse or hot dogs and ice cream, which is basically YC. Roots Restaurant at Sanders Ridge Winery opened its doors in April with two young, eager superstar chefs at the helm. And the YC should be thrilled about this. And you should drive to the YC to be thrilled about this too! O

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Hailed as a hidden gem, Roots is located at the vineyard’s grounds in Boonville. Within the gorgeous timber-framed tasting room, Roots is at least the fourth incarnation of the restaurant space in recent years. For whatever reason, previous tenants of the kitchen space haven’t been able to make a go of it. It’s not the easiest place in the world to get to even though it’s only about 25 minutes from downtown Winston-Salem. But folks from Guilford County and beyond have said Roots is well worth the drive. And what a scenic drive it is, with the Yadkin County pasteur land and beautiful rows of corn and tobacco.  It is quite best to make a day of it, tour the wine country and let your final stop be at Roots. In the winter months, a stone hearth fire located in the center of the room will welcome you. A perfect a bite or for a larger function, as it’s available for private events such as weddings receptions and celebrations.

You have seen the work of Chefs Ben Hurst and Brent Andruzzi if you follow your favorite eateries on any social media. Hurst trained Andruzzi at River Birch Lodge and Andruzzi left Willow’s Bistro to take on this new venture. Hurst says he actually was going to open a food truck and use the kitchen as a commissary when owner Cindy Shore approached him about running a full-fledged restaurant there. “I wasn’t sure about it. I hadn’t even managed a business much less started one. And then I asked Brent to come on board.”

Andruzzi said, “no.” 

Andruzzi clarifies it was a kind, apologetic no. But an entire month later, Andruzzi had a change of heart and the no became an enthusiastic, “yes.”

Hurst graduated with two non-culinary degrees but his first job was at River Birch and that’s where he met Andruzzi.  After a few stints in other kitchens, Hurst went to culinary school at Guilford Tech and finally at Johnson and Wales. After searching for his place in the kitchen, Hurst took some time and worked at Harmony Ridge Farm, where he learned the other side of food. “That’s worked out really well. because I’ve been able to take what I’ve learned with me.  Now we have a greenhouse on the hill where we grow a lot of our own vegetables.” Andruzzi grew up cooking with his parents encouraging his creativity in the kitchen by buying him whatever ingredients he wanted. After some time working at Lowes Foods, he also found himself at River Birch under Chef Travis Myers. “Like Ben, I worked at all the different stations.  We learned a lot there. A good foundation was built there.” Andruzzi eventually joined Myers at Willow’s Bistro where his creativity was truly allowed to shine. “When you have that kind of freedom, you learn what works and especially what doesn’t.”

Andruzzi says he’s been gardening too and the fact that Hurst has been farming, that there’s a  greenhouse and farm and the opportunity that exists here was a strong factor in his decision to take a chance and exit his place at Willow’s. “We have freedom to grow whatever we want as well as cook whatever we want, so that’s a bonus.” Roots also sources other local farms when they can.

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Hurst says his goal at Roots is to create dishes that people can’t get at home. “Even as a chef, I when I eat out, I don’t want my experience to be something I can create at home. I want it to be surprising, full of flavor, creative…something you can’t quite replicate in your own kitchen.”

Course One
Duck Two Way Tostadas with duck sauce, radish, scallion, house made pork rinds

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Out of the gate, the chefs immediately showcased their ability to take an upscale protein and make it attainable tapas-style.

Course Two
Pimento cheese stuffed poblano with bacon jam and cilantro scallion cream

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This course may have been close to my favorite dish of the evening simply because it was so different than anything I’ve ever had before. The spicy poblano filled with Sanders Ridge now famous pimento cheese AND bacon jam. Both. Together. Some of us had to clear our throat but the scallion cream cut the heat of the slightly devilish kick from that pepper.. And the people, said “wow.”  The pimento cheese and bacon jam are available for purchase at the winery as well as Cobblestone Farmer’s Market in Winston-Salem.

Palette cleanser
Lemon basil freeze pops

Before the courses emerged, Chef Hurst gave the guests a teaser of what was to come and simply said there would be a surprise in between two of the courses. So these platters full of freezer pops that looked like smaller grown-up versions of the colorful pops we all grew up with were met with delight from each table. The basil complemented the fresh slightly sweet lemony-ness. I kind of felt myself wanting another pop later.  A freezer full of those on a summer day would not be the worst thing.

Course Three
Shortbread herb crusted scallop, greenhouse salad, strawberry vinaigrette, pickled onions

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I’d heard accolades from the scallop dishes so I am glad the chefs decided to feature these on their menu this evening.  If I’m coming back to eat in the future (and I will), I’m getting scallops.

Course Four
Ribeye over basil bread pudding, local mushrooms, fig jam, Fair Share Farm micros

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A very close #2 to my favorite, a beef course will always be a winner in my book and for most carnivores.  The steak was perfectly cooked and the savory bread pudding was so delicious with it.  Note: Roots has a menu item that is called “Deconstructed Beef Wellington”. I imagined the flavor profile is not so different though the execution might be. I’ve been told it’s incredible.  After tasting this dish, I have no doubt.

Course Five
Strawberry and blueberry Shortcake and sugar cookie with homemade ice cream

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A beautiful summery dish with sweet berries, perfect cake and richly textured ice cream rounded out our evening. A great ending.

And then the chefs re-emerged from the kitchen to applause and a standing ovation. Chef’s Tables are always stellar but these young chefs received such praise that it was truly heartwarming.  Hannah Waggoner, of Rural Hall, has been to a number of Chef Table events and she even got the proverbial ball rolling on getting the Roots event off the ground. “My first visit to Roots made my foodie heart happy,” she said.  “All the dishes my table ordered were loaded with flavor, finesse, and beautifully plated! The staff were friendly and accommodating. I knew that Roots would be an excellent location for a Chef’s Table.” Waggoner says she knew it would pay off.  “The guests were not disappointed. Each of the five courses was unique and delicious! It was great to get a taste of some of Roots’ specialty dishes with a few surprises!”

By the way, I’d suggest you follow Roots on Facebook and any other social media and perhaps get on their email list because on Thursday nights, the chefs do a little something different by having a Thursday Supper. And it’s amazing. And if you can get in there for the fried chicken, you’ll send me a thank you letter and maybe, if you really love me and are super thankful, you’ll send me gifts. That’s a how delicious that fried chicken is. Super crispy every inch. See?

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And how’s this for making a name for oneself?  In a reader’s poll,  USA Today’s 10 Best just announced that Roots Restaurant was just named in the top 10 of the best winery restaurants in America. Roots placed 6th. Way to go!  Read about that here. 

If there’s anything I’d say at this point it’s this: Yadkin County, this is your moment. Finally there’s a restaurant in the area that celebrates not only the wine country but the wonderful bounty that the area brings forth. I grew up in Yadkin County and having to go to Winston-Salem for a great meal was a top complaint.  If a restaurant of this caliber can succeed with Yadkin’s and its big city neighbors’ support, it will pave the way for other restaurants like it. Napa wasn’t built in a day. It’s taken 170 years, plus it survived Prohibition and the Great Depression. You might consider the Yadkin Valley winemakers pioneers here. And the restaurant owners want to blaze a trail much like their West Coast counterparts. The talent and deliciousness is there and Roots Restaurant is digging deep and taking a chance on the area’s support.

Wanna go? Roots Restaurant at Sanders Ridge located at 3200 Round Hill Road, Boonville.   Open for dinner Thursday from 5:30-9:00 for Family style supper (check website or Facebook for features). Full service menu Friday & Saturday 5:00-9:00. Full service lunch is available in the tasting room Friday-Sunday 11:00-3:00. The wine bar also has a full menu available from 12:00-5:00. Visit sandersridge.com for info.

The Fresh Market’s Fresh Look AND you can win a $50 Gift Card!

The Fresh Market recently underwent some “freshening up” …take a look!

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Photo courtesy Micciche Photography

The company, based out of Greensboro, has always had a top-notch almost specialty type store. You could go there for great local items, that awesome butcher shop, fresh seasonal produce, hard to find oils, sauces…a stellar cheese section, etc. But you couldn’t just find your common every day items (think common name brand toilet paper and name brand laundry detergent, a baby section or Cheerios). TFM took a cue from customers and expanded their offerings, including a baby section AND a vitamin and body shop. There’s also a huge focus on more local items, highlighting the farms that supply them and easy signage for gluten-free, non-gmo and organics.  I was at the Grand Re-Opening on Highwoods in Greensboro and they took me on a tour. You’ll find a similar change at the other two Triad stores (Winston-Salem and on Lawndale in Greensboro) and eventually they’ll roll out the Raleigh area and Charlotte in late November and in continuing waves throughout the country through early 2018.

Here’s a sneak peek at what has changed. But you should check them out in person. I think you’ll be happy about what you’ll find.

Local, highlighting the farms in the region….

Same great items you’ve loved plus a new vitamin and body section with a staff member for that section to answer your questions…this used to be the wine section which is now stacked and categorized nearby…

And now you can do your shopping in one place with those non-specialty items that you probably had to go make a run for at a 2nd stop like baby items, pet and paper products…

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I love going to The Fresh Market. I always have. I joke with my kids that they take away from the experience because they are always rushing me (when I don’t want to be rushed…not there). Then there’s the whole bribing with a chocolate chip cookie, etc. So you know what we’re dealing with here. But the chocolate chip cookie is so worth it 🙂 The most dramatic change is apparent when you nl longer see the bins and antiques full of the bulk candies and nuts. Those items now have their own row to make room for new rows of the expanded offerings.

One thing I loved is the great sampling and pre-prepped foods area right in front. You don’t have to go to the back. Get in and out with your chopped veggies and some chicken kabobs or meatballs, and turn around and check out and you’re out the door without walking more than 25 feet. The recipes and samplings change every week.  Dinner is prepped and all you have to do is cook it. Also special to the Highwoods store, is a juice and smoothie bar out front.

It’s almost like The Fresh Market took a little bit about what we love from some of our favorite grocery chains. The fun and ease of specially priced items, pre-chopped and ready to cook meals like you’ll find at Publix, easy identifiable organic, non-gmo and gluten-free as we’d find at Whole Foods, and lots more local items marked “local” and now the every day items. They’ve also lowered prices on thousands of items while keeping that awesome cheese shop, bakery, butchery and deli that you’ve loved for years. Nothing was taken away, just added awesomeness. Just a note…if you don’t see something there that you know is a must, you can visit their website and make a suggestion.

So foodies, they’ve given me a $50 gift card to giveaway to a lucky reader. Just comment below or on my social media pages what your favorite item is at The Fresh Market. I’ll draw next Friday!

Win this $50 Gift Card! fullsizerender-11

Good luck!

 

 

Graze (as in sip, share, savor) Restaurant: Winston-Salem

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Sometimes I think few things make people shudder than the thought of eating in a “hotel restaurant.” Granted, it’s not always the best dining experience. BUT!! The Marriott Hotel in the Twin City Quarter of Downtown Winston-Salem houses Graze Restaurant…and though technically not “locally-owned” (okay, okay I’m a bit of a badgering snob about that), the dedication to source most of its ingredients locally as well as the talents of the culinary team are enough to make all of us change our thinking.

I liked the space when it was WS Prime. But, when it was revamped into Graze in early 2014, it became more comfortable and communal. They now offer small plates, a few more salads and sandwiches and scaled down the selection of entrees. Oh and lest you think you can’t take the kids, you totally can. Grab a booth because all of them have personal flat screen TV’s, put on some kids programming and you’ll be in heaven. Or you can catch up on your own favorite.

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The Chef de Cuisine, Richard Miller, is becoming a force to be reckoned with…placing first runner-up in Competition Dining’s Fire in the Triad last year. He’s ready to battle again this summer. Really, he’s a super nice guy with a passion for exemplary food with local fare. By the way, you can see him in action at our Food and Wine University Tent on June 6 at Salute! NC Wine Celebration. He’s accepted the All-Local Challenge Entree Demonstration. Mark your calendars for that.

On a recent visit, mr. foodie and I shared an appetizer of Fried Green Tomatoes with pimento cheese, goat cheese, honey habanero and a balsamic reduction. One of my favorite salads is a Wedge of Iceberg Salad, and Graze’s is just a touch delightfully different with chipotle bleu cheese, bacon, queso fresco, heirloom baby tomatoes, grilled white corn and pickled red onion. The sweet and sour pickled red onion makes that salad top notch.

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Fried Green Tomatoes

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Wedge of Iceberg

And get this…right now and for who knows what kind of limited time, that crazy chef and his team are offering the Graze Burger. This burger. Gah! I die. A 4 oz. Certified Angus burger, with smoked gouda, cheddar, Texas Pete Cha buttermilk ranch, bacon AND AND a Joyce Farms fried chicken breast on top. If you are thinking ‘calorie buster”   “awesome protein to carb ratio,” you’d be RIGHT! 🙂 This is not an everyday burger. This is an “I’m feeling like splurging because I’m awesome and deserve it” burger. Okay? So, get it.

Graze Burger..ain't it a beaut?

Graze Burger..ain’t it glorious?

Inside view of the Graze Burger

“Inside view” of the Graze Burger

The menu changes seasonally at Graze and Chef Richard and his team like to offer special features to celebrate our region. Know that no matter what the season, you’ll find local chicken, lamb, NC trout, NC sweet potatoes, Johnston County meats, locally-sourced veggies. For a hotel restaurant and for MANY restaurants, few support our local farmers and providers like Graze. Prices for small plates are $5-9, lunch will be from $10-15 for any number of great looking salads, sandwiches or burgers and dinner entrees are $20-28. Check back during the work week for Happy Hour specials…snacks for $5.

I will say that if you get a chance to pop these deviled eggs into your mouth, I highly recommend. They are so good. They aren’t always offered but if you luck out, you won’t be able to decide if you like traditional best or the smoked salmon or the pork belly-topped best. It’s a 3-way tie.

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“Traditional w/ Cha! & Microgreens; Pork Belly; Smoked Salmon

A couple of other interesting options, Okra Nachos. Fried Okra with pimento cheese, goat cheese, honey habanero sauce, tomato and scallions. Don’t they look yummy? There are also some good looking flat breads, one with Maple Leaf Farms Duck.

Okra Nachos (photo: Courtesy Graze Restaurant)

Okra Nachos (photo: Courtesy Graze Restaurant)

Oh and presently on the appetizer selections is Joyce Farms Fried Chicken Skin with Texas Pete Cha! Aioli. I I can’t imagine why you wouldn’t want that in your belly, foodies.

I look forward to hearing back about your experience at Graze.

Have you been presently surprised by a hotel restaurant?

Enjoy eating local!

Graze Restaurant
425 North Cherry Street
Winston-Salem, NC
336.722.5232

Sixty-Six Pizzeria Grill and Bar

Sixty-Six Pizzeria Grill and Bar is a newly renovated eatery right in the heart of Kernersville. I’ve been here a few times and it is pretty hopping for lunch with a wonderful selection on its newly revamped menu. I have to say, it sits on the “other restaurant row” on Hwy 66 (hence the name) and sometimes I forget about it because it’s just not on the way to most other places for me. But it is definitely worth a visit. You pretty much want for nothing on this menu with a wide selection of tempting appetizers, soups and salads, oven-baked subs, wraps, wings and fingers, sandwiches, burgers, entrees and of course, pizza. I could make a meal out of many of those appetizers, but I like to nosh. It would be a great place to watch the game with friends. There’s tasty pizza and awesome combos for a reasonable price, plus you are in and out easily in less than an hour for lunch. One of the unique things about 66 Pizzeria is they offer a terrific combo menu for lunch. Choose an individual pizza with 2 toppings and the salad bar or a baked potato and salad bar for less than $7. Lots of combos go with the salad bar. And it’s a fresh crispy salad bar with lots of choices too. “Sister” TriadFoodies went with the salad bar/potato combo and she was very impressed with the baked potato. It was fully loaded, buttery through and through and rivaled any upscale steakhouse’s baked potato. 66 Pizzeria is also excellent for families, with crayons and paper for the kids, a great kid’s menu with good-sized portions (the spaghetti could be shared) and wide screen TV’s for viewing sports, etc. All in all, TriadFoodies recommends!

You can check out their menu and other details on their website: www.sixtysixpizzeria.com
They are located at 930 Hwy 66 South, Kernersville, NC