Tag Archives: High Country

We’re on the Rock & a new Chef’s Table

Foodies!

We have moved.

We have followed our hearts and our dream of living in the absolutely stunning North Carolina mountains. Specifically right up near Banner Elk. And man oh man, is it beee-uuuu-teeee-ful!

And seriously, I’ll explain it all later but the most important thing right now is to let you know that we have jumped right in and we’re kicking off this new journey in life with another Chef’s Table...this one with Chef Sam Ratchford of Vidalia Restaurant and Wine Bar. 

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I met Chef Sam a few years ago when he walked away with the coveted Red Chef’s Jacket at Competition Dining in Winston-Salem. I’ve eaten at his restaurant too, which is why it’s so obvious that we’d want to inaugural Rockfoodies Chef’s Table to be at Vidalia, where Sam and his wife, Alyce, do classic southern dishes with a twist. And their dedication to local farms is impressive.

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Here’s where you can get your tickets! Seating is limited and we look forward to seeing you there!

PS: I promise a blog  post about the move and why we did it and the house that was supposed to be THE house and our kitchen update (which is about to happen, along with getting a pantry) is coming soon!

XOXO

 

beyond the triad: Over Yonder

We recently took a family trip to the mountains to go skiing/snow boarding. I’m not much of a skiier, more of a faller,  but I wasn’t about to waste an opportunity to cross the bridge to H’Appyness and spend the afternoon in my beloved Blue Ridge Mountains with my beloveds. After an afternoon at Sugar Mountain Ski Resort where I fell ONLY ONCE (queue applause, thank you!), I suggested to mr. foodie a warm and cozy dinner at Over Yonder in historic Valle Crucis (3608 NC Hwy 194). It really didn’t take much persuasion. We’ve been there before and blogged about it, but at the time the restaurant was known as 1816 Farmhouse and just about everything about the restaurant has changed, new ownership, now under Mast Farm Inn and a new menu. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the gorgeous ambiance of the old restored farmhouse in which they are all nestled. They allowed us to choose our table next to the fireplace in the BAR and even turned the fireplace on for us.

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The first thing about the menu we noticed is that it is more casual with prices to reflect it. By the way, we were wearing ski clothes and though I’m sure you could go dressy to Over Yonder, they certainly made us feel welcome in our most laid-back attire and hat hair. Menu items range from Pork Skins to Grit Skillets, salads and sandwiches to a selection of entrees all under $17. The NC Trout special was the highest price item on the menu and it was still under $20. Really great prices with the average about $12.

We were starving, obviously, after several hours of skiing, so we ordered the Pork Belly special appetizer with sorghum glaze, red onion slaw and some candied almonds. I actually missed the description as I wasn’t at the table at the time, but I trusted mr. foodie. The pork belly skin was crispy and the meat was silky and decadent and everything it should be. There was the smokiness to the meat and the sweetness of the sorghum that combined so wonderfully with crisp veggies and it lent a slightly Asian flavor while keeping its southern essence. And was it ever pretty.

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For my entree, I went with their custom grit skillet. There are a number of options to choose from and I chose Over Yonder’s House-made Ginger & Sage Sausage with Caramelized Onions, Peppers & Provolone, piled onto some hot and perfectly cooked Adluh grits. Just the thing after being on the slopes.

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mr. foodie ordered the Griddled Pork & Beef Meatloaf with Cheerwine BBQ Sauce with Cheesy Grits and Butterbeans.  It doesn’t get much “over yonder” than that. The meatloaf was so tender and really just melted in you mouth. No knife required.

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The boy kidlet was with us and he ordered Kid’s Grilled Cheese. It was really good and cheddar-y on my fave, Texas Toast. He also ordered the applesauce as a side. It was a chunky applesauce and he wasn’t a fan because he’s just like that, but it was delicious applesauce. He likes apples and we tried to explain, but he is who he is. :/

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And though I tried not to do it, I just had to get the Banana Pudding. The BEST banana pudding I’ve ever had was right there at 1816 Farmhouse so I was curious if this version would live up to my memory. It was every bit as good with a fresh whipped cream and a beautiful wafer toffee crumb rather than the traditional vanilla wafers. They stayed crispy in the pudding, which totally worked with these particular wafers. And was it ever pretty.

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mr. enjoyed a lovely Apple Cobbler with Buttermilk Ice Cream. Also delicious. You can pretty much count on a cobbler on the dessert menu at Over Yonder. The microfoodie got ice cream, of course.

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There were so many items on the menu I wanted to try…it wasn’t an overwhelming menu at all, just that everything looked really, really good with lots of local ingredients. And Over Yonder is open for lunch and Sunday brunch so if you are traveling they are definitely a place to check out. Be sure to make note of their hours below as it changes when it warms up. Of course, the Mast Farm Inn, their Mama Bear, is another place on my bucket list.

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What’s your favorite place to stay at and eat in our gorgeous NC Mountains?

Over Yonder
3608 North Carolina Highway 194
Historic Valle Crucis
Sugar Grove, North Carolina
(828) 963-6301
Hours
Jan-March: Wed-Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun: 11am-3pm
April-Dec: Mon, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat, 11am-8pm; Sun: Noon-8pm

The New Public House & Hotel

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When we recently vacationed in the High Country, we were so delighted to see the former Crippens, which was sold earlier this year, open as a brand new restaurant. The adventurous owners behind Gideon Ridge and Bistro Roca (a triadfoodies fave) just that week opened The New Public House & Hotel as a casual and inviting tapas restaurant, with a boutique hotel following close behind. And these tapas all feature farm-to-table ingredients by the talented, award-winning, chef Michael Foreman.

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The restaurant had literally been open a day, so they didn’t officially consider themselves up and running until the very night we arrived! I don’t usually hit a restaurant so early on…give them a few weeks to get all the kinks out. But I figured with Michael Foreman heading the kitchen…well, this ain’t his first rodeo.

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Management says the place has been totally redone and I noticed a good bit of freshening up, new paint, art and fixtures, but it still has the same homey comfy-ness of its predecessor, which had a higher price-point.  There’s nothing on the menu at The New Public House more than $13. And the tapas are all shareable. You can select from Bites (slightly smaller), Garden (veggie selections), Sea, Pasture, and Mountain (a selection of mountain fare like Wild Mushrooms, etc and a few items that look like they’d belong in the Pasture category, but I’m not picking on them) :). There’s also a lovely wine bar in the center of the dining room where a wine steward expedites orders from the wait staff, which alleviates pressure from the bar. If you haven’t been to Blowing Rock, the folks who live there and travel there love their wine and cocktails, so this is a good call. It keeps the wine flowing.

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Manager Will provided us with a nice sample of his Rose to get us started along with Chef Michael’s delicious house-made bread that looked like pumpernickel but was really a rye with hints of cocoa and molasses. It’s served alongside butter and black-eyed pea hummus. And those kidlets ate that bread!

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Chef Michael sent out a gorgeous Sweet Corn Grits Tamale with local corn, grits, wrapped in corn husk. It was beautifully presented with perfectly cooked grits and sween corn and red onion. My little girl ate that! Thanks, Chef…for sure delicious and gorgeous.

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We ordered the Southern Fried Chicken wrapped in bacon (!), Fried Green Tomatoes and the Trout Cakes. If you ever get chance to order trout IN the mountains, please do. Unless they are literally driving that trout from the water to you, it won’t be nearly as fresh as you can get it there.  Simply fabulous trout. These trout cakes were no exception.

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The fried green tomatoes were fresh, firm with a coating that stay on it (important to me) and a bacon horseradish mayo which was a nice departure from the typical aioli. It was like a spicy BLT when you included them with the accompanying greens.

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I must say something about that chicken though. The little drumsticks were frenched..so you just had that adorable skinny little leg and the meat itself had been wrapped in…yes…BACON. Hello! Total satisfaction. Served with watermelon and greens.

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Finally for dessert we ordered the ice cream which featured these adorable little sugar cones ON TOP of a tiny scoop of bourbon brown sugar ice cream, all accented with fresh berries. It looked like a sweet, neat little circus.

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All in all, I’d say the kinks were no issue on the first weekend night of The New Public Ale House. The place was already pretty full by the time we left so I think the folks in the area have been looking to return to this beloved address. I’d like to go back and try a few more interesting things on the menu. And take note, it’s all very seasonal so the menu will likely change a good bit, which makes farm to table cuisine all the more exciting, especially on the Rock.

The New Public House
239 Sunset Drive, Blowing Rock, NC
828-295-3487
The New Public House & Hotel on Urbanspoon