Tag Archives: farm to table

A Look Back at A Chef’s Table at The Painted Fish

We had such a wonderful experience at our latest Chef’s Table, the dinner series that’s taken the Triad by storm that is now catching on here in the High Country.  We had a great event a year ago at Vidalia Restaurant in Boone and we really thought Chef Tom Jankovich would be the perfect chef to celebrate as we relaunch our series.  We have always loved visiting the mountains for vacation (to get away from the summer heat) and when we visited we regularly enjoyed having brunch or dinner at The Painted Fish.  If you’ve been following along you know that in the summer of 2017, we took the leap and moved here.  Twenty-five of us gathered at The Painted Fish Cafe for multiple courses, each course so different from the rest and a full testament to Chef Tom’s cafe menu that is short and sweet but diverse with something for everyone.

PaintedFish_TomJankovich_WEB-1-300x246

A Chef’s Table celebrates our local chefs and restaurants and the farms and makers they support. It’s food and fellowship at its most fun. Typically, a Chef’s Table is all about letting the chef surprise us, but Chef Tom let us have a sneak peek of his menu and he also told us what to expect when he greeted us before the courses came out. Let’s take a look back!

Course 1: Lobster Chili with lime sour cream, salmon caviar.

IMG_5160.JPG

This had all the elements of your traditional chilis with spices and smokiness but with lobster. The lime sour cream was a beautiful contrast to the earthy chili.

Course 2: Baby Kale Salad, toasted walnuts, dried cherries, shade radish, goat cheese, honey white balsamic vinaigrette

IMG_5158

This pretty salad made for a nice palate cleanser following that robust chili. Chef Tom made a little setting of goat cheese on the bottom so that every bite got a little bit of it. And cherries and walnuts were the perfect complements. 

Course 3: Tuna Tartar, wasabi cured egg, soy foam, pickled ginger, Asian micros, grilled crostini. The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar

IMG_5157 2

I don’t normally declare a “favorite” dish of the night but this had everything I loved. Tuna tartar, cool and herby, a wasabi cured egg (that the chefs had been working on for three weeks)…it was ooey and gooey but not runny…oh yum and buttery crostini. A little of the soy foam on the crostini with the tartar…seriously I could eat something like this every day.

Course 4: Lamb Chop, rosemary pesto crusted, pear croquette potato, haricot vert, lamb jus lie The Painted Fish Cafe and Beer Bar

IMG_5156

At this point, we’re feeling good and full, but who’s saying no to a precious little lamb chop? Not me. It was perfectly cooked with herby crust and the little potato croquette (shaped like a pear …in the spirit of Christmas) was a touch of whimsy.

Course 5: Chefs Trio Dessert, chocolate Cabernet truffle w/sea salt, tomato stuffed strawberry with balsamic syrup, champagne shot.

IMG_5066

This dessert trio had strawberries and chocolate but not just strawberries and chocolate. Each berry half was filled with a balsamic-y tomato jam. The truffles were a riff on The Painted Fish’s Chocolate Torte which is on the menu. Just in truffle form. Incredibly rich and decadent.  Plus there was champagne. IMG_1955 2

In between courses we enjoyed hearing from Shannon Carroll who was there as my guest representing Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture’s High Country Food Hub, which serves as an online farmer’s market for residents in the High Country.  Definitely check them out as they’re a great supporter of our local farms and makers in this area.

IMG_8851.JPG

It’s always so fun to check out what’s going on behind the scenes and get an idea how the chef is handling all these dishes. Imagine 5 courses x 25 people and we’re all getting served pretty much at once, staffed by two servers. It’s intense but I can tell  you Chef Tom Jankovich is just go with the flow. He and his sous chef, Adam Johnson, actually looked like they were having fun! I’m guessing they did.

IMG_4124

Toward the end, this little one, Chef Tom’s granddaughter, Kaydn, was tuckered out enough to just catch some zzz’s. So cute.IMG_0188

We’re making plans for another Chef’s Table up here in the High Country. We would love your input and suggestions on where we should go in the future. We’re thinking late January and would love to have a Chef’s Table on a monthly basis or at least every other month. Yes, during all the seasons!

Those of you who attended, we’re so grateful for your support and fellowship and we hope we see you again. Those of you just taking a look here, we hope we see you soon!

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

IMG_2904

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.

IMG_2899 2

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

IMG_2984

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

IMG_2987

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

IMG_2995

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

IMG_2998

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

IMG_3001 2

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?

IMG_2906

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.

Bubbly and Brunch at Vin 205

Back in September when we enjoyed a wonderful Chef’s Table with Chef Oren Feuerberg at Vin 205 Farm to Table Bistro, owner Caleb Flint said he wanted to do it again, but this time to show off Chef’s skills at brunch.

Twist. My. Arm.

We decided to kick off the new year with a Bubbles and Brunch a couple of weeks back.  And man, was it delicious. But I expected it to be. The food at Vin 205 is superb and Caleb Flint really knows how to make his guests feel special. And our Chef’s Tables are just filled with foodies and fellowship and we just have the best time. You should join us for one soon!

You’re met at Vin205 with the Wine Merchants shop. I’m not sure what’s more difficult, trying to refrain yourself from being drawn in by the wonderful aromas of the kitchen because you came to do a little shopping, or not taking a seat immediately because you’re interested in the market. Hopefully you make time for both.

Caleb continues to add more and more to the wine market and now shoppers not only can find wines from boutique vineyards from our local region and all over the globe, but also a plentiful selection of Joyce Farms meats and regional cheeses, chocolates and gourmet items.

IMG_3086

Chef Oren Feuerberg and Owner Caleb Flint, Wine Merchants & Vin 205 Bistro

Vin205 is certainly gaining ground during the week with dinner featuring live music and wine events. But what Executive Chef Oren and Caleb are endeavoring to highlight is their Sunday brunch. The chef-driven menu changes often with special spins on traditional favorites. And Caleb brought in some of his favorite local purveyors to give them special recognition during our four courses. Batistini Farms, Camino Bakery and Magic Beans Coffee were all special guests at the table and on the palate.

Course 1

IMG_9441

Duo of Mini Quiche (Potato & Bacon; Spinach & Mushroom paired with Vin 205 House Salad tossed in Raspberry Vinaigrette with Batistini Farms Vanishing Grape Balsamic, goat cheese

I’d like to think I get out enough but I can’t think of a single quiche I’ve had that has potato AND bacon and to me that just seems like a delicious no-brainer. And I’ve also never had spinach WITH mushroom in a quiche. And of the tasty tasty two, the spinach and mushroom was my favorite. Batistini’s Vanishing Grape is a new favorite of ours and was recently featured in our holiday gift guide. See it here. It’s so worth the purchase as it adds incredible flavor to salads and cheeses. Tom Sephton, imports and bottles the balsamic and oils in Clemmons. “We have basic olive oil and flavored olive oils as well as aged balsamic. All of the oils we bottle are very, very fresh and the harvest date for all oils is right there on the bottle.”

Course 2

IMG_3956

Truffled Scrambled Eggs with Camino Brioche Toast

Here we are, days later, and I’m still thinking about those light and fluffy eggs that had been scrambled in truffle oil and topped with truffle shavings…and that bread which Chef and his team griddled so perfectly.

Emily Masters, of Camino Bakery, told the group that the brioche is one of the most popular offerings at Camino. “It’s baked fresh every day, like all our other baked goods. It’s fluffy, buttery with flour from King Arthur Flour, milled in Graham, and milk from Homeland Creamery in Julian.” 

Course 3

IMG_4154

Brown Butter Poached Shrimp & Pimento Cheese Grits

A twist on a traditional brunch favorite and charmingly served in a glass jar. The grits were cheesy perfection.  Our guest, Chris Roth, then praised the chef as the best shrimp and grits he’d ever had.

Course 4

House made Raspberry & Blueberry Muffins with Coffee Service by Magic Beans Coffee

The muffins were lightly sweet and fluffy with whole berries throughout and a great little sweet ending to our brunch. Our “dessert” was paired with Magic Beans air-roasted coffee served two ways. The first tasting was with Magic Beans Essence, a concentrated coffee extract that is added to hot water or other liquids. The second tasting was Wine Merchants and Vin 205’s exclusive Magic Beans blend in the French press. Owners Neal and Mary Pruett served each guest . Neal Pruett told us, “Air roasted coffee is so smooth. One of our mottos is that you can ‘drink ours black’.”

Caleb told the group, “Folks who know me know I’m a rather enthusiastic coffee drinker and we just love how unique and special Magic Beans is.” Not only does Wine Merchants serve the blend, but the beans are sold in bulk as well as the Essence.

IMG_2593

Mary and Neal Pruett, Magic Beans LLC

Though guests at Chef’s Table are usually responsible for purchasing their own beverages, which makes it unlike a wine dinner, what we love about Caleb Flint is that he takes advantage of owning a wine shop and offers everyone a taste of what the shop has to offer. Each of the 27 guests were allowed to share bottles of bubbly rose on the tables. And each setting was made even more charming by the varying coffee mugs at each place. Those attention to details is what keeps me coming back to Vin 205 and what will bring us back there again, possibly in the summer, for another Chef’s Table to let Chef Oren surprise us, yet again.

Wanna go? Vin 205 is located at 205 S. Stratford Road, Winston-Salem. Open for dinner Tuesday  through Thursday 4-9:30pm; Friday Lunch and Dinner 11:30am to 9:30pm, Saturday Brunch 10am-3pm; Saturday Dinner 5-9:30pm, Sunday Brunch 10:00-3:00. Wine Merchants is open Tuesday-Saturday 10am-9pm, Sunday 10am-3pm. vin205.com

PS: Foodies, our next Chef’s Table at B. Christopher’s sold out in 24 hours. We are so thrilled you are supporting our local chefs. We’ll announce a new Chef’s Table soon!  Where would you like to see us?

Vin 205 Farm to Table Bistro

Foooooodies.

OMG. Please eat here. ‘Nuf said if you ask me  but I’ll go a touch further.

I’ve enjoyed a few great meals with mr. foodie at Vin 205 recently. One was a Wine and Swine Dinner that blew us away and blew our wine budget too, lol…because we bought some great new wine.

So good, in fact, that we decided to bring Chef Oren Feuerberg in on one of our Chef’s Tables. Four courses, family-style, with a great group of foodies and friends.

Read about it here in my latest food column in YES! Weekly! 

IMG_4861

Vin 205 has a little wine market with all kinds of lovely wine,  plus local meats, boutique cheese, chocolates and wine accessories and they have plans to add even more. Vin 205 also has a great-looking brunch. Check them out!
Our next Triadfoodies Chef’s Table will be announced later this week. We’ll be doing a special kick-off of our High Country Events in October with Vidalia (date announced soon) and our November Chef’s Table returns to the Triad at Sophie’s Cork & Ale in Lexington on November 13. You’ll see that update in a future email.

Cheers!

 

foodie b’eat: Sweet! Chef Harrison Littell Joins The Honey Pot

This is an expanded and slightly more personalized story from today’s earlier blog post in YES! Weekly

In what might be one of the most closely guarded secrets in recent months in Winston-Salem, The Honey Pot has finally announced who will be taking over the kitchen and we won’t keep you waiting like they did to the rest of us…

IMG_2087

Chef Harrison Littell Photo credit: Andrea Littell/TowniesWS

Harrison Littell has been welcomed as Executive Chef!  The suspense was killing some of us. But we are super duper excited because he’s totally awesome and nice and just flat out TALENTED! 

Chef Littell is a Winston-Salem native and after a stint in the Northeast, has been executive chef at Five Loaves Catering.  He’s been getting around town a good bit with chef collaborations, like at Mission Pizza Napoletana’s Knife Fight among other things. And generally being on the scene with his wife, Andrea. They’re fabulous. I met them at Knife Fight and enjoyed dinner with them a couple of weeks later at a tasting to introduce The Katherine Brasserie at The Kimpton Cardinal in WS.  And I saw them again not long after at the Industry Crawfish Boil that you can read about here.

IMG_0368

Getting ready for Mission: Knife Fight with Chef John Bobby of Rooster’s-A Noble Grille

The Honey Pot announced via its Facebook page  that Littell’s connection with the local community of farmers and purveyors along with his time at acclaimed restaurants puts him in a unique position to lead The Honey Pot into its next phase, “As I’ve gotten to know Harrison over the past month or so, I’ve been really excited about how aligned we are in our philosophies on everything from sourcing to working with people. Not to mention he has an incredible palate and aesthetic,” announced Honey Pot GM, Beau Tate via his Facebook page.

Chef Littell told me earlier, “It’s going to be a great platform for me to get back to doing some food that’s close to my soul. They have a great reputation and following as well as a great staff. I’m super stoked to be working with Beau as well.”

Littell will start the 3rd week in July. “I’ll work for a couple weeks to get my feet wet and then we will go through a full menu change to celebrate the height of the summer! We plan on continuing the mission there and utilizing as much as we can locally. I’m fortunate to step into a kitchen that is working uniformly. Matt had done a great job there and I look forward to continuing the growth.”

Littell will fill the position being vacated by Matthew Pleasants who intends to travel and expand his culinary horizons. I can’t wait to go back to The Honey Pot to  see what chef does to the menu. If you’re curious about The Honey Pot, definitely go check them out. I did a review for YES! Weekly about a year ago. You can read it here.

Tate and Littell both say that we should expect to see some “really exciting news in the next few months including the new menu launch, some additional lighter snack fare, farm dinners, wine dinners and much more.”

You can get to know a little bit more about the Littells over at their blog TowniesWS. It’s a pretty great space about the happenings in the town of #WSNC.

IMG_0678

From TowniesWS…Chef Harrison and Andrea Littell

Eat local, foodies!