Tag Archives: restaurants

The Marshall Free House: Tour/Tasting

IMG_0698

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!

IMG_0670

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!

IMG_0671

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!

IMG_0675

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.

IMG_0680

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.

IMG_0690

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.

IMG_0681

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.

IMG_0691

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.

IMG_0704 IMG_0702 IMG_0705

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.

IMG_0701

A view of the Mixology lab from outside

IMG_0699 IMG_0661 IMG_0660 IMG_0662 IMG_0663 IMG_0665

IMG_0683

Chef Derek Fontenot

IMG_0669

Our server, Graham

IMG_0667

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!

IMG_2219 IMG_2221 IMG_2222 IMG_2226

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.

Winston-Salem Dishcrawl Debut

IMG_5519

As you know, in addition to triadfoodies,  I’m also the Winston-Salem Dishcrawl Ambassador. We had a blast at our debut! Here’s the blog post from last night’s SOLD OUT experience. Enjoy! And don’t delay! Join us on September 10 for Dishcrawling 4 Restaurants on 4th Street!

 

Crafted The Art Of The Taco

IMG_2397

Few things are more fun and casual to eat than a taco. And sure, you can find them in plenty of Mexican restaurants. Downtown Greensboro has been graced with Crafted The Art of the Taco, and it is NOT a Mexican restaurant, it’s a TACO JOINT. And you can have just about any custom taco with side combination you desire, but it won’t be served with an enchilada, baby. It WILL be served with another taco…and pico…and maybe a salad and some other really cool stuff.  And here’s almost the best part, UNDER 10 bucks.

The foodies really, REALLY have been wanting to go on a date to Crafted The Art of the Taco (we’ll just call it Crafted for a bit). We didn’t think it would be a place where kidlets who only like PBJ and rice and honey dipped bacon would appreciate, but we took them anyway. You’ll see why later 🙂

These folks know what we are about to learn….

IMG_2332

First, the place was PACKED. There was about a half hour wait and that’s usually too long for waiting in a crowded place with hungry kids but we stuck it out. Plus there’s this really neat, long hallway where you wait and can watch the kitchen and it has a chalkboard so your kids can stick their fingers all over it OR draw and write, depending on their inclination.

IMG_2331

We chatted with some folks for a bit, snapped a few pics and were seated in what seemed like LESS than 30 minutes. The joint is casual, festive and the decor is very cool with remnants from what looked like old farm houses, like cabinet doors, armoires…just neat and interesting. And the ceiling kind of reminded me of those umbrellas at the Palazzo in Las Vegas.

IMG_2345 IMG_2344 IMG_2338  Fresh ingredients !!IMG_2341

As for libations, only wine and beer are served here at Crafted and the draft beers (and non-alcoholic bevs) are poured into a mason jar. Our beers came in bottles but we had to be cool like everyone else and asked for jars.

IMG_2349

This has inspired me to break out some mason jars at home (I was saving them to make DIY lanterns, yeah right) and pretend I live in the progressive farm house of my dreams.  So after much perusing and discussing, Mr. foodie and I decided to order 3 plates of tacos. You can build your own custom taco with your choice of meat like tuna, shrimp ceviche, chicken, pork, beef and even tofu or falafel or scrambled egg with the customary toppings or you can see what Crafted is really all about at dig into some truly mouthwatering options. We chose the 1) FIXIE…Beef brisket, grilled pineapple, sweet chili sauce & coconut aioli…they say it’s “effin’ spicy but it was totally tolerable 2) WAYFARER…Pulled pork, hoisin BBQ glaze, pickled red onion & bok choy slaw and 3) BOW TIE…Beer battered fish, roasted corn salsa & sweet chipotle aioli.

IMG_2352Clockwise from left: Fixie, Bowtie and Wayfarer. Here are some closeups…

IMG_2356 IMG_2358 IMG_2357About the flavors. HOLY guacamole! By far, some of the best tacos I’ve ever had. The Fixie was the favorite between the three followed by Wayfarer and Bowtie. I loved the creamy coconut aioli on the Fixie and how it offset any heat (it wasn’t at all a bother) along with crunchy, juicy bits of pineapple. It tasted like vacation. The Wayfarer’s pulled pork and bok choy slaw tasted like an Asian street taco.  I think one of the unsung heroes of tacos and nacho fabulousness is pulled pork. Fantastic.  And the Bowtie was just what you’d expect from a fish taco. It might have needed a bit of salt is all. You can add that yourself.  You get your choice of sides like black beans, sweet potato chips or fresh pico de gallo with homemade chips. These chips are are hot and puffy, crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside and ruined the rest of the dinner for my kids, for whom we ordered a cheese quesadilla (not on the menu…they just helped us out with that). Now the nice folks at Crafted, including owner Rhonda, know how my kids felt about their quesadilla. It could’ve used a little work but they loved those chips. Chips simply come as a side so you don’t fill up on all that gloriousness and be too shamefully full for tacos.

Now Crafted doesn’t offer desserts and if you are like us and get 3 (!) orders of tacos then you might not have room for dessert. I ate as many tacos as my man (3 of 6) without so much as a blink.  When we were looking at the appetizers, though, we saw something that could be dessert….a high protein dessert. Yeah, that’s what I told myself. It’s the Mason of Bacon. Applewood bacon, salted caramel, cracked pepper & spicy chocolate (for dipping). Do you think my kidlets liked THAT?

IMG_2362

Yes, indeedy.  This mason of bacon was gone in like 3.5 seconds. I didn’t even get a chance to see what bacon dipped in chocolate tasted like with a Toasted Coconut Porter.

IMG_2378

IMG_2372
This kid and bacon….he is my son for sure except for the not liking much of anything else part.
IMG_2383

Crafted the Art of the Taco is a venture by daughter-mother team, Kristina and Rhonda Fuller, who also own sister restaurant, The Bistro at Adams Farm in Greensboro. Chef Fuller participated and made even more of a name for herself at Fire in the Triad last September, part of Competition Dining Series.  I must say that this foodie visit has prompted me to make haste to The Bistro soon.

IMG_2339     IMG_2324

If tacos aren’t your thing (which I can’t fathom), then you can try the nachos, stuffed avocado or a burger. Here’s what I DO wish Crafted had…a taco combo plate…you know one Fixie and one Wayfarer instead of 2 tacos of the same. Maybe for lunch? They have a great selection of craft beers that are local and regional by the bottle or on tap and a small selection of domestics. It’s great fun and so delicious and I know where I’m going the next time I get a craving for a taco. And “dessert” bacon.

www.craftedtheartofthetaco.com

219-A South Elm Street, Greensboro, NC
336.273-0030
Open Tuesday-Saturday Lunch and Dinner
Crafted The Art of The Taco on Urbanspoon