Tag Archives: pub

The Marshall Free House: Tour/Tasting

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We were graciously invited to tour the new The Marshall Free House  (1211 Battleground Ave, Greensboro) and get a tasting of some of their signature items this week. This was our first dinner at The MFH, though we had visited at brunch a few months back. This UK style gastropub has transformed the old …eh–it’s been so many things it’s hard to remember…next to the Carousel Theatre into something truly unique, with an amazing Olde Worlde decor and a seriously cool whiskey bar/laboratory. That’s right, laboratory. We didn’t go for “dranks” but many do and we’ll talk about that in a bit (stay tuned for info about a giveway), but first–the FOOD!

One of The Marshall Free House’s signature items came first, the Scotch Eggs, a boiled egg wrapped in a sausage and then breaded and fried. Have you ever tried them? LOVE Scotch Eggs and these were so scrumptious with a perfectly crispy exterior and the egg was very soft as in, what I like to call “dippy.” So, so yummy. The way they are served they are perfect for sharing. I could make a meal out of them, but they are so decadent, they are mostly suited for sharing. Oh, and the girl kidlet LOVED. I’m already liking this place!

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It’s not a British pub experience without some Bangers & Mash. The perfectly cooked sausage with its rich gravy on top of the “mash” (potatoes)—indeedy. Delightful. Total man food!

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We also were surprised by a wonderful Shrimp & Grits. Not something you typically think of at a British style pub, but Chef Derek Fontenot is from Louisiana so he’s having some fun with his roots. And let me tell you, mr. foodie says they were the BEST Shrimp & Grits he’s ever eaten. I’d definitely agree they are way up there. There packed with andouille sausage in a very rich, slighly tomato-y, spicy sauce. Old Mill of Guilford grits were perfectly cooked and just soaking up that sauce and getting happy. By now, so were we!

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Of course, it’s not a true UK experience without Fish & Chips. One of my favorite things in the whole wide world. And these, these fish and chips…I gotta say, though on the bit of the pricey side for such an entree, are every single bit worth it. Plus it’s huge and you could totally share. Instead of cod, chef is using 10 oz. of Haddock and it’s denser and flaky, a bit more like flounder, and they batter it in Everclear and Stella Artois beer. The exterior is completely adhered to the fish and if you love fish and chips you know that this matters. Whatever is happening with that Everclear and beer is righteously suited for that fish. And..AND! The kidlets ate the fish. I mean, I nearly fell off my chair. Even THEY couldn’t believe they were eating fish. This beautiful entree is served with handcut fries and mashed peas. I’d go back and get just that again and again.

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For a taste of something a bit different, we were also introduced to the  MFH Chicken Sandwich, but not just any chicken sandwich. This grilled chicken was packed between two buttery crispy pieces of toast and melded together with gouda, prosciutto, roquette, pistachio pesto mayo and its crowning glory–tomato confit–tomatoes cooked all day into this wonderfully rich “jam,” for lack of a better word. Served with chips, of course. A beautiful sandwich and scrumptious.

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And you know Shepherd’s Pie at a pub like The Marshall Free House is also a given. This pie is the way it’s supposed to be made. Braised lamb shank, shredded and mixed with veggies like peas then topped with mashed potatoes that have been enhanced with the braised lamb drippings. The fragrance of that dish. Heavenly on a cold day and a very large serving as well. You don’t go home hungry here.

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And not to be outdone, Chef Fontenot also brought out what they say is one of the highlights of their menu and we’d have to agree. Pork Cheeks cooked in aromatics like anise and herbs and sitting in a rich gravy on more mashed potatoes. These are hardy people in the UK and they like their taters. Served with asparagus and just warm and tender. If you’ve never had pork cheeks, then you owe it to yourself to try this beautiful aspect of the piggy. My children liked the pork cheeks as well. I’d say we have a winner.

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At this point (or 2 entrees ago) you pretty much could’ve rolled me out of there but they didn’t stop there and here comes a beautiful Banana Pudding with a homemade pastry crust, a delicate pudding and fresh whipped cream all made in-house by their pastry chef (as all their desserts are). Loved it and so did the kiddos even though it was not our “southern” banana pudding. And next, Sticky Toffee Pudding. My first ever. I’ve always wanted to try it and not many people make it. It’s rich and just swimming in a caramel sauce and so amazing. The chef also brought out some Chocolate Cake for the kidlets. So nice. Of course, they gorged themselves on that and afterward I believe we were ALL in a near food coma.

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Now, I know my blog is not about the bad and the ugly and I have pretty much maintained my goal to only post yumminess here. And I was a guest in their “House,” but seriously nothing that came out of the kitchen wasn’t short of amazing and most of the entrees that came out were dishes that I already really love and some I’ve made at home so we know what we like. And when possible, Chef Fontenot is using local ingredients and you know that makes the foodies happy.

Let’s talk a bit about the decor and the bar. In one area of MFH, you’ll see the pub area…there’s no seating at the high bar, much like a traditional UK pub–the better to mix and mingle. Across from there is the speakeasy style Whiskey Bar stocked with all kinds of liquor, but get this— 160 different whiskeys! And you can’t miss the beautiful laboratory where the magic happens.  In this Molecular Mixology Lab, you can see drinks even if you are standing outside. We didn’t really get a chance to partake there (who had room?) but it’s definitely something to consider for a future night out.

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A view of the Mixology lab from outside

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Chef Derek Fontenot

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Our server, Graham

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GM, Sean O’Brien

Speaking of, Bar Director Lentz Ison, who was voted BEST Bartender at the Bartender’s Ball, will be holding a cocktail class and pairing dinner on Wednesday, December 3 and I have 2 tickets to give away to this four-course dinner which will feature an amazing menu, cocktails and instructions on how to make house-made bitters, incredible cocktails and all the elements going into each and every drink of the evening. The class is $75 per person so what an awesome opportunity!  Just comment below and let me know what your favorite UK-style food or drink is. Good luck!

Cocktail Class Dinner

For more information about The Marshall Free House, click here. Details about the Cocktail Dinner & Class are on the site as well as all their other events and info. Also, check out their sister properties, Pig Pounder Brewery, Burger Warfare and Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill (the one and only, last-remaining and locally-owned of its kind).

And here are some pics of our brunch from a few weeks ago. Also LOTS of winning items on the menu and not to be missed, the Nutella & Bananas Foster Pancakes. Get the table an order and chow down for a sweet complement o their other savory items like Yorkies, Sausage and Eggs. Everyone at least once in the lives should try a “Real English Breakfast,” and if they ever have Welsh Rarebit. Get it, get it!

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Know going in that The Marshall Free House has kind of “elevated” the idea of typical pub fare or even “gastropub fare.” It’s considered slightly more upscale and the prices will reflect that. But the attention to detail and the service make it worth it. The items are very sharable and it’s fun to try appetizers and split entrees and that’s just one of the ways we try to make eating local and eating well more budget-friendly. We will definitely be going back. I mean, the microfoodies loved it so, I have to…lest they starve. 🙂
Marshall Free House on Urbanspoon

triadfoodies were invited guests of The Marshall Free House for a tour and tasting and the dinner was provided gratis. We were not paid for this review. This blog post is based on our own, honest opinions.

The Eddy Pub

IMG_5084Foodies, we just had the best dinner at a place I’d NEVER heard of until the night before I tried it. We were trying to find eats somewhere halfway between Raleigh and Kvegas. Burlington, Mebane? Saxapahaw is not it. I mean, it IS an equal driving distance, but it’s not your typical halfway point…it’s more adventurous…?  I did not mind it one bit though after I ate the cuisine and met the awesome chef at The Eddy Pub.

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The Eddy is situated in the Rivermill Village, a completely restored Cottonmill and Dye House complex along the Haw River. It is beautiful and the folks in and around Saxapahaw are very proud of this little jewel and also of the Haw. I remember a few years back, in my news reporter days, taking a tour of this gutted mill and hearing officials romanticize about returning the old mill to its former glory and turning it into lofts and businesses. Old beams and pipes and doors and furnaces were cleaned up and still remain to this day as the restoration finally happened and now Saxapahaw is an actual “place to BE.” The view from the The Eddy’s patio is amazing, especially if you arrive near sunset.

Chef Isaiah Allen is the Executive Chef and supreme talent in the kitchen. He came out and introduced himself and, unexpectedly, promised our table a few tastings so that we know what   his kitchen is all about. And foodies, you know I love it when the chef is chef-ing and you also know I love it when the chef and the farmer are close knit. And Chef Isaiah (it just feels better using his first name) knows his local food. And when you order your meal, you know you are eating ingredients sourced from very close to The Eddy. And on top of it all, it tastes fresh and completely delicious.

Chef Isaiah Allen and owner, Claire Haslem

Chef Isaiah Allen and owner, Claire Haslem

The Eddy has a no-fuss type pub fare for sure, from fish and chips to meat loaf, beef stroganoff, burgers, chops and sandwiches. All local, local, LOCAL. The fruits and veggies? Local! From farms in Alamance and neighboring counties, some from Chef Isaiah’s own Rocky Run Farm in Hillsborough, where he grows tomatoes, peppers, among others and where he’s nurturing the nearly forgotten Pawpaw fruit into becoming a local reality. This is a chef who is certified in Sustainable Agriculture. He calls himself a “Soil Nerd.” He’s also a pretty good kitchen nerd too ;).

We enjoyed jazz by Mahalo Arts while the culinary crew did their magic.

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Chef Isaiah’s team brought for us to try a NC flounder dusted with cornmeal from Lindley Mill and served atop local succotash with truffled popcorn for some fun and crunch. Wonderful and fresh. And…have you ever truffled your popcorn? Put that on your thing-to-do list.

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Next he let us try a sampling of one of the night’s specials, a cashew crusted chicken on spaetzle in a sauce that was deeply soy and sweet with fresh crispy local veg and cilantro.  This, foodies, was fabulous. And the boy kidlet ate it and the rest of his sister’s. Well, he ate the chicken and the sauce and that’s saying a lot!

Cashew Chicken on Spaetzle
Finally, the chef brought out a wonderfully seared local pork belly on a crispy green and white pole bean and apple salad. With some beautiful sweet figs from basically across the street. I love figs. Eye-rolling good. I love pork belly too.

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And here’s where I should’ve stopped eating and I hadn’t even received my entree yet so I knew tonight I’d get full and happy :).

I ordered the NC flounder special with a roasted poblano pepper and peach yogurt sauce. It was served on a bed of seasoned rice.

IMG_5112 Ha! I instagram’d that one. Better, huh?

Mr. foodie ordered the highly recommended meatloaf which is made with Braeburn beef, house sausage and ricotta on garlic mashed potatoes and broccoli. It was like a homemade blue plate special…you know, in the BEST way. Our friend, Dennis, got the meatloaf too.

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My friend Sally, his wife, ordered the local Beef Stroganoff, which was interestingly served on a longer noodle but not the traditional egg noodle. Also yummy. With parmesan.

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And the kids, well they WISH they’d ordered the chicken but they got the kids grilled cheese which was a white cheddar on a beautifully grilled thick bread and the lil boy even ate the crust. The crust!

IMG_5100  The kitchen split it for them to share.

And even though we were pretty full at this point, we promised the kidlets chocolate cake (which they got) and we dove right in there and got the signature dessert, the Tres Leches. I LOVE Tres Leches cake. So creamy and sweet. And The Eddy’s was no exception.

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Chocolate Cake

Tres Leches Cake

Tres Leches Cake

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention the coffee, which is roasted in Carrboro and they bring it to you in your own personal French press. They give you a timer so you know how long to let it dwell. We like to flip our timer a couple of times for boldness.

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On this night, Chef Isaiah cooked a chicken in celebration of the first successful chicken harvest for Liz Coore and Katie Nunn of Bushy Tail Farm, which is now raising Poulet Rouge chickens. This is a lovely, succulent chicken, a smaller, heritage breed that is so tasty and juicy. Doesn’t it look it? Chef says he de-boned it, stuffed it with roasted eggplant, squash and peppers and roasted it with fresh herbs and garlic. Gorgeous. And he served to them on a silver platter. The ladies at the celebration pretty much ate the entire chicken in about 5 minutes flat.

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And just so you know how The Eddy gets its seafood…Phil Campbell of Core Banks will call Chef Isaiah as he’s on the docks or boat of the NC coast. The chef will order from Phil what is fresh right then and then tailors the menu around what’s available, which keeps him motivated and thinking outside of the box, rather than creating the menu and finding the seafood to fill it.  He uses every bit of the fish, for instance, Grouper CHEEKS because they are so fab. And he uses it in different ways to make interesting options for the diners who come to the pub.

Check out the list of The Eddy’s local farms.

Potatoes, Blueberries – Peaceful River
Squash, Pole Beans –  Bushy Tail
Beef- Braeburn Farm
Chicken- T5 Farms
Eggs- Latta’s Farm
Pork- Cane Creek
Flour- Lindley Mill
Potato, Onions – Sunset
Tomatoes, basil, peppers- Rocky Run

Chef Isaiah says The Eddy is striving to eat, breath and sleep the food movement. Their food waste goes to supplement the food source for hog farms. The fish bones are used to create a fish emulsion for the soil on Chef Isaiah’s farm. Things are really happening in Saxapahaw with a community that is proud of their land and they know how to make the most of it. And The Eddy is certainly a spot that utilizes the amazing local resources that we have right here in our own backyard. And it’s the absolute best reason to un-chain yourself and try more places like this wonderful local pub. And if you have a free Saturday afternoon, take the 1/2 hour to hour’s drive to Saxapahaw and dive into the local goodness of the farmer’s market and other businesses in the area. It’s completely charming with a hip industrial feel.

For more information about The Eddy Pub click here.

The Eddy Pub & Restaurant

1715 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd, Saxapahaw, NC
336-525-2010
Open Tues-Sat 4-until
Sunday 3-10pm

The Eddy on Urbanspoon