Tag Archives: Greensboro

A Lao Chef’s Table

Hi, foodies…

I want to make sure you get our recaps of our Chef’s Table when they happen…and …um…I might be a bit behind. But here’s a look at our event from May 6, with Lao Restaurant + Bar. It was an amazing evening of courses shared family style, as is the Lao tradition.  This story ran in YES! Weekly!  but of course I’m gonna lay it all out for you here too.

Fresh off YES! Weekly’s Triad’s Best, Lao Restaurant + Bar is basking in the glory of being named Best Restaurant in Guilford County. The Laotian restaurant opened with much anticipation and excitement last summer and they’ve feeling the love. What’s interesting is that for YEARS I’ve been saying a restaurant like Lao would kill it in Winston-Salem. Well, Greensboro beat WS to the punch and the city still remains the place to be for great Asian cuisine. 

Fifty guests of a recent sold out Chef’s Table at Lao prove that even further.  Here’s a little of how it went down (paraphrasing):

Me: I’d love to feature you at a Chef’s Table in the future.

Vonne: But I’m not a chef.

Me: It matters, not. This is about you, your restaurant and your delicious food.

Vonne: Let’s do it on Monday, May 6.

Me: Great!  (creates event, tickets go live, tickets sell quickly–all the while thinking “huh…they’re closed on Monday so that’s cool that she’s doing something special”)

Vonne the next morning (less than 12 hours later): Uh oh, I messed up. We’re closed on Mondays. Ooops. But maybe we can still do it, depending on ticket sales.

Me: Well, it’s sold out at 25 tickets so…now what?

Vonne: Add 25 more tickets!

And in the end the Lao Chef’s Table, with the additional 25 tickets, was sold in out 24 hours. So owner Vonne Keobouala closed her restaurant for all 53 of us as she and her team gave us an exclusive peek at some of her favorite Lao dishes. By the way, the restaurant is now open on Mondays.

Vonne Keobouala was born in Laos, which is in Southeast Asia between Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam. At age seven and as a result of the Vietnam war, her family moved to California.

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photo by Wong Kim

She grew up surrounded by a community who enjoyed their culture’s food. But as time went on, they adapted to the American way of life and eating. Still, Vonne says it has always been important to her to share the culture and cuisine of Southeast Asia.  When her brother, Matt “Jit” Lothakoun, moved to North Carolina, she followed soon after and they opened Simply Thai in Elon, with a focus on Thai food and sushi.  Ten years have passed and they have since expanded to a location in Jamestown. But it was the food of Laos that Vonne says needed celebrating. “Here, there are Asian restaurants. We see Chinese and Thai, but not the food of Laos, not the food of my mother. But I think people are ready to accept our cuisine. Food brings people together and we want to introduce our culture through our food.”

What makes Lao food different is the vibrant colors and unique textures of the dishes. The freshest herbs and produce make for meal that’s pleasing to the palate while you enjoy working with your hands. And that’s mostly how the guests at Chef’s Table enjoyed their meal. Hands washed, enjoying a family-style meal of lettuce wraps and other hand-held items that were crispy, crunchy, spicy, sticky and just tantalizing in so many ways.

Guests were greeted upon arrival with platters of Shrimp Crisps. They looked like colorful pork skins with a similar crispy texture but they were made with shrimp. They were great for snacking and conversation.

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Appetizer
Vegetable Spring Rolls & Sakoo Sai Moo
Tapioca dumpling pouches filled with pork peanuts, caramelized palm sugar and fried garlic

You can’t go wrong by starting out with the quintessential spring roll and Lao’s is one of the best around.  The Sakoo Sai Moo were sticky little dumplings with a little chili kick and we wrapped them in beautiful lettuce leaves for a fresh yet sticky, sweet, salty, spicy bite.

First Course (photo by Wong Kim)
Nam Khao
Lettuce wraps, crispy rice, coconut flakes, peanuts, sour pork, with fresh cilantro, green onions

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More eating with our hands. These wraps were similar to what you might find in a great Chinese restaurant with lots of cilantro and onions. The crispy rice in this dish helps it stand out.

Second Course
Chicken Laab
Chopped roasted chicken seasoned with spicy lime sauce and fresh herbs

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This popular Laotian larb was fantastic as well.  Served with a bowl of sticky rice, which acted as your vessel from hand to mouth. You made a bowl in your hand with the rice and placed the chicken mixture inside. If you like playing with your food, this dish is for you. “Laotians use sticky rice like bread,” Vonne told us.

Third Course
Lao Sausage & Beef Seen Lod
Jeow Dipping Sauce
Sticky rice

The sausage and beef may also play nicely as an appetizer. Like a Lao charcuterie board, the spicy sausage was so full of flavor and the Beef is considered to be like jerky.  The dish was served with more sticky rice and a delicious dipping sauce.

Fourth Course
Aom
Chicken Herbal stew with fresh dill, green long beans and Lao eggplant

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The description says it all. The stew was hot and herbaceous and filled with chunky chicken and veggies. Great for a cold day.

Dessert
Nom Vaan Lorm
Mixed flavored jellies, cantaloupe and corn, served in sweetened coconut milk

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Now this little dessert might read odd. Flavored jellies? Corn? But it was fantastic to me. It tasted like a coconut infused cereal milk. You know how Sugar Smacks taste? That’s what it reminded me of…but with the freshest of real fruit  mixed in.

To say that the Chef’s Table guests were stuffed and blown away is putting it mildly. And Vonne says she loves seeing the faces of happy customers enjoying the cuisine of family’s heritage.  “Seeing people come in, meeting them and knowing they are so happy to be here and enjoy the food and then they continue to support us…that’s the biggest reward.”

I just love her.

Lao Restaurant + Bar is located at 219-A South Elm Street, Greensboro.

Click here for my podcast with Vonne on the Triad Podcast Network

 

Check out my podcast with Chef Jody Morphis of Blue Denim

Good afternoon, foodies!

My podcast with Chef Jody Morphis of Blue Denim is live. You can listen here.IMG_6490.jpeg

Jody is the featured chef of my next Chef’s Table on March 26. We can’t wait to find out what is in store.  I love talking to chefs and finding out how they got where they are.

And it sounds like, Chef Jody is doing exactly what he feels called to do.

Read more abut Blue Denim here. by visiting their website and seeing the menu!  We’ll have a complete recap of our Chef’s Table next week in YES! Weekly.

If you’ve got some time to spare (while you’re driving or cleaning), all of my podcasts are on the Triad PodcastNetwork along with a lot of great podcasts by local businesses.  Outlook-1495762201.jpg

Join us for A Chef’s Table with Chef James Patterson

We’re going back….to Sedgefield Country Club…two years after Chef James Patterson nearly floored us with five courses of incredible cuisine. We hope you join us on Tuesday, May 28, at we visit the culinary home of one of the Triad’s rising stars on the food scene.  Well, if you ask us, Chef James has already risen to superstar status!

This Chef’s Table is very special. Why? Because not everybody gets to walk through the doors of Sedgefield Country Club and have an amazing meal. When Chef James hosted us in 2017, you almost had to roll us out of the dining room. Each dish was masterfully detailed, wonderfully delicious and expressed James’ and his cooking team’s incredible talents. And as always, Chef James Patterson will be dazzling us with a few surprises throughout the night. That’s how he rolls and that’s how we like it at our Chef’s Table. We let the chef surprise us!

4th Course

If you’re curious about the last Chef’s Table with Chef James, click here to read the recap.

1st Course

Here’s how it works:

Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Tuesday, May 28 at 7:00pm. A reminder of our pricing: Your ticket price of $40 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. A reminder that seating will be limited. We’ll see you on May 28! Come early for drinks and relax for a bit.
** It’s super fun to attend Chef’s Tables with friends! We totally get it. However if you are unable to arrive early and all at once with your party, please let us know in advance that you’d like to be seated together and we’ll make every effort to accommodate your request. This is especially helpful if your tickets were not purchased under one name.

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

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 

Our next Chef’s Table: B. Christopher’s Steakhouse on Feb. 19

I had to update this before it went out on its scheduled post. Less than ten tickets left!

We’re so thrilled that our February Chef’s Table features Chris Russell, a chef that has been an inspiration to so many, not to mention so incredibly talented. This venue has definitely been on our “must haves.”  Click here to get your ticket! 

B. Christopher’s Steakhouse has been a hit in Downtown Greensboro since moving from Burlington a few years ago. Such a gain! We love the cozy feel of his restaurant and oh my, the steak is perfection. In additon to being a successful chef and restauranteur, Chef been a mentor to other chefs who now have successful restaurants themselves, like our beloved Chef Kristina Fuller of Crafted.

Let’s let Chef Chris surprise us with multiple courses.  He’s excited about seeing you! Please join us on Monday, February 19.

Here’s how it works:
Reserve with a ticket here and you’ll join us at our table on Monday, February 19. Please note our start time of 7:00 (a bit earlier than our last dinner). 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 is limited.

We’ll see you on February 19!

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