From my latest story in YES! Weekly, which I haven’t been really consistent on posting each week. But I’m excited about this one. We visited and chatted with StrEAT Provisions, The Whisk and Tin Food Truck, and The Bahtmobile. Go read about them and find them on social media. Because that’s how you’ll know where to find them.
Crafted-The Art of the Taco opened today (Wednesday) in Winston-Salem.
Let me just say that I have waited FOREVS for this day. Well it seems like forevs ..it’s actually been four years. For some of us anyway. The folks in WS have only had to wait about 6 months.
Keep reading because I’m giving you the scoop and if you visit Crafted in Winston-Salem this Thursday through Saturday you have a chance to win a $25 gift card for a future visit to Crafted.
The restaurant that’s a taco joint, not a Mexican restaurant has been the most anticipated new arrival in downtown Winston in quite a while. We were there on Saturday to check things out and again when they officially opened at lunch today. I have been talking to Chef Kris Fuller and her business partner and mom, Rhonda, for a couple of years about bringing themselves to Winston. I sent photos, contacts…I’d scope out a place for lease and text her the info. And it finally happened on Liberty Street in the Arts District. I just love it. It’s cozy, modern, chic, girlie and industrial all in one. And the food is an experience in and of itself.
On the menu…tacos of course. But true to owner, Chef Kris Fuller’s nature, she added a few new things to this location as well because as she says, she likes each new restaurant to feel like it’s own thing. “We added three new burgers so now we have a pretty solid burger menu and because spaces allows for it, you can also make any taco a burger or a rice bowl.” Fuller says because of the lack of space in Greensboro, there have been things she’s been wanting to do that she simply can’t there.
There are a dozen tacos that you can mix and match for a tantalizing duo. I especially love The Fixie, with beef brisket, grilled pineapple, spicy sweet chili sauce and coconut aioli. Mmm..my fave. Also don’t miss the Baja Style, which comes with your choice of protein like grilled or battered fish, seared tuna, chorizo, braised chicken, pulled pork, braised beef, and a half dozen vegetarian options too like sweet potato, tofu and falafel. We went with the tuna and I highly recommend it. Seafood lovers would also love the Bowtie which features beer battered fish, roasted corn and poblano salsa, sweet chipotle aioli and honey mustard. There’s certainly a taco and a burger to make you happy. As for appetizers, try the stuffed avocado with chorizo, queso and pico de gallo served with fried flour tortilla chips that are flaky and scrumptious. The taquitos are really great too. You also can’t go wrong with a mason of bacon…heck it’s got Mexican chocolate drizzled on it and it actually perfect for dessert. There are salads on the menu and a few kid items as well.
Fuller, who opened up the first Crafted in Greensboro four years ago and Crafted-The Art of Street Food last year, says this day feels really good. “In Greensboro we were really busy right out of the gate and they showed us a lot of support, but with Winston knowing who we were and coming to the area, I can’t tell you the amount of love and support I see daily.” She says, “Even when we we’d go out to other restaurants around here, we’d get that excitement. It’s been quite amazing.” We knew it would be like that because Winston is a community…there’s just no other way to say it.
Fuller comes from a fine dining background (remember The Bistro at Adams Farm?) and says she hopes to use the Winston-Salem location as her creative outlet for future pop-ups and wine dinners. I think that would be super fun and the Winston-Salem location will be a great location for it. But for now, Fuller says her full concentration is getting Winston’s Crafted settled. “We do have a five year plan and we have a couple of other cities in mind.” I’m thinking Durham but I did not ask because I like to be surprised, foodies.
But for now, Chef says it’s just one restaurant at a time and that means getting cozy with Winston-Salem. And you know it’s already happening because Winston-Salem isn’t just the city of Arts and Innovation. It’s also a city of foodie love and we think she is the perfect fit!
Welcome Fullers and the entire Crafted Team! I love these ladies. Support this great restaurant and team, foodies.
Now!! Want to win a prize???
Visit Crafted between now and Saturday at 11pm, check in or tag @triadfoodies on Facebook with a photo of what you are eating or you and your friends. Remember to tag @triadfoodies. If you don’t like us on Facebook, well my feelings are hurt. Anyway…Go over and like us on Facebook (you can follow us on Twitter and Instagram too). Tag @triadfoodies and you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $25 gift card for a future visit.
The Fresh Market recently underwent some “freshening up” …take a look!
The company, based out of Greensboro, has always had a top-notch almost specialty type store. You could go there for great local items, that awesome butcher shop, fresh seasonal produce, hard to find oils, sauces…a stellar cheese section, etc. But you couldn’t just find your common every day items (think common name brand toilet paper and name brand laundry detergent, a baby section or Cheerios). TFM took a cue from customers and expanded their offerings, including a baby section AND a vitamin and body shop. There’s also a huge focus on more local items, highlighting the farms that supply them and easy signage for gluten-free, non-gmo and organics. I was at the Grand Re-Opening on Highwoods in Greensboro and they took me on a tour. You’ll find a similar change at the other two Triad stores (Winston-Salem and on Lawndale in Greensboro) and eventually they’ll roll out the Raleigh area and Charlotte in late November and in continuing waves throughout the country through early 2018.
Here’s a sneak peek at what has changed. But you should check them out in person. I think you’ll be happy about what you’ll find.
Local, highlighting the farms in the region….
Same great items you’ve loved plus a new vitamin and body section with a staff member for that section to answer your questions…this used to be the wine section which is now stacked and categorized nearby…
And now you can do your shopping in one place with those non-specialty items that you probably had to go make a run for at a 2nd stop like baby items, pet and paper products…
I love going to The Fresh Market. I always have. I joke with my kids that they take away from the experience because they are always rushing me (when I don’t want to be rushed…not there). Then there’s the whole bribing with a chocolate chip cookie, etc. So you know what we’re dealing with here. But the chocolate chip cookie is so worth it 🙂 The most dramatic change is apparent when you nl longer see the bins and antiques full of the bulk candies and nuts. Those items now have their own row to make room for new rows of the expanded offerings.
One thing I loved is the great sampling and pre-prepped foods area right in front. You don’t have to go to the back. Get in and out with your chopped veggies and some chicken kabobs or meatballs, and turn around and check out and you’re out the door without walking more than 25 feet. The recipes and samplings change every week. Dinner is prepped and all you have to do is cook it. Also special to the Highwoods store, is a juice and smoothie bar out front.
It’s almost like The Fresh Market took a little bit about what we love from some of our favorite grocery chains. The fun and ease of specially priced items, pre-chopped and ready to cook meals like you’ll find at Publix, easy identifiable organic, non-gmo and gluten-free as we’d find at Whole Foods, and lots more local items marked “local” and now the every day items. They’ve also lowered prices on thousands of items while keeping that awesome cheese shop, bakery, butchery and deli that you’ve loved for years. Nothing was taken away, just added awesomeness. Just a note…if you don’t see something there that you know is a must, you can visit their website and make a suggestion.
So foodies, they’ve given me a $50 gift card to giveaway to a lucky reader. Just comment below or on my social media pages what your favorite item is at The Fresh Market. I’ll draw next Friday!
Win this $50 Gift Card!
As seen in YES! Weekly Aug. 10, 2016 with a bit more chatter and photos here!
Goodness and healthy eating await in Winston-Salem….
… it’s quite the departure from what we’re used to. Where you once would just grab and go, now you can order and sit. Village Juice Company has gone from a juice truck to a tiny storefront, to a full-fledged counter service restaurant now at 205 South Stratford Road in the Towers Shopping Center. The shop literally all happened hiding in plain sight.
Village Juice Co. was founded by Lonnie Atkinson. She started selling her juice out of the food truck while using Beta Verde’s commercial kitchen. “My passion was always health and wellness…and was always to have something bigger than just the truck. I have worked in larger cities, where something like this is readily available. I knew there was a need for it here, so I decided to build the brand, with the juice first.”
About a year ago, business partner, Elizabeth Lucas-Averett joined the mix, “We are both super passionate about the concept, but we both have different skill sets. Lonnie is the one with the food background who can come up with the creations and make them amazing. I come from a business background. I wanted to do this concept before I met Lonnie, but the timing wasn’t right, so I just waited for the universe to connect me with an expert at all things that I am not.”
Then came the tiny little juice shop with just juices in a refrigerator, but magic was happening behind the temporary wall they set up. Atkinson says, “We were building our kitchen and upfitting the entire space while continuing to produce elsewhere. Then, we moved into our kitchen, the wall came down and people were amazed to see what we were up to.”
What you’ll find…just about your heart’s desire in a bright, chic modern setting where everything is made from scratch. There’s a large selection of the original cold-pressed juices filled with healthy fruits and vegetables. Nut milks infused with all kinds of ingredients like cocoa, coffee or matcha, sweetened only with dates. There’s even a Charcoal Lemonade made with activated charcoal called Black Magic; the activated charcoal reportedly removes toxins from the body. It looks interesting – it’s black! – and I did see a gentleman enjoying it. That’s on the “to try” list for me. You can get locally made Caldero bone broth from the case, too.
For a quick meal to go, there’s a menu of filling whole foods-based smoothies, toasts and salads. My favorite are the smoothie bowls…which range from $9-12. I especially loved the Dragonfruit Bowl, which is made from organic pitaya, fruit, house made almond milk and topped with organic seasonal fruits, shredded coconut and bananas. I added some collagen for extra protein. “The smoothie bowls are 22 ounces of fruit with nut butters and toppings, made with 100% raw, house made coconut milk or almond milk. There’s lots of fiber and our portions are larger than most, so your body gets that full feeling,” Atkinson said. And there are plenty of add-ons like the collagen and protein powders plus superfoods you’ll likely not find anywhere else. It is indeed filling, with incredible color. It feels downright indulgent.
They also have a selection of made-to-order creative salads that you can select or “build your own.” I had the herb and pumpkin seed salad with organic arugula, organic kale, organic parsley, cilantro, mint & basil blend, organic cucumber, organic tomato, avocado, pumpkin seed, local Gnomestead Hollow curtido,Fair Share Farms micro greens. They recommend the citrus vinaigrette as a dressing. I’d have to agree…the kale likes a zippy, tangy dressing. Just in the past couple of weeks, new grain bowls have been added with hearty quinoa, etc.
And then there are the toasts Avocado toasts, BLT with Avocado, Pear and Goat Cheese, Nut Butter and Banana – all great for someone who wants something with some chew, but not a salad. The toasts are also made to order, and even the dressings and spreads are house made. From the folks I’ve talked to the Avocado Goddess dressing is a popular one.
The company also strives to find the cleanest ingredients possible, right down to the oil for their dressings, such as coconut oil and pumpkinseed oil, something quite hard to find in your typical restaurant. Lucas-Averett adds, “Our greens are organic always. Everything that is listed on the menu as organic is always organic. Clean, sustainably produced whole foods are very important to us. We have high personal standards for this that inspired us to start this business in the first place.”
The team says that people are driving from all over the Triad to get a taste of their healthy “treats and eats.” When I was there, there was a constant stream of customers. Some a bit curious, grabbed a juice from the case, or tried a free sample and went on their way. But many more placed their order and waited for their colorful smoothie, salad or toast to arrive. Some of the smoothie bowls and salads are large enough to share. Atkinson says reception has been terrific. “The thing we’ve seen about our customers is they love coming in trying something they’ve never tried before.”
Though the VJC team is at the helm of a very healthy ship that is very “raw” and vegan-friendly, they’re not about the labels. “We’ve tried every label on personally and we’ve thrown them all out. We’re really just whole foodies,” Lucas-Averett told me. “I’m a mostly-vegetarian who dabbles in bacon and bone broth…there’s not a label for that. We wanted to create a space where anybody could find something they could eat.” Atkinson added, “I did the raw and the vegan lifestyles, and they were great, but I feel the most balanced just eating real food. However, I think I had to go to that extreme to understand the benefits, as well as to relate to what people might go through who are eliminating specific foods from their diet.”
Atkinson says they’re interested in changing the way people view healthy food. “A lot of what’s known as health food is dry or flavorless and tastes like cardboard. We want to shift that so people know you can get something that’s very filling and tastes amazing and is really good for you. We want our customer to leave here and feel good about themselves. There’s that mental thing, and then the actual physical reaction from eating something healthy.” Lucas-Averett adds, “We’re both interested in bringing wellness to as many people as possible and showing that good healthy food isn’t for that “other” person, whomever they may be but that it’s accessible to everyone and that it tastes really, freaking good! You don’t have to count calories. Count nutrients. It’s a huge leap of faith for us, but we really believe that people want and need this.”
I can tell you that once you go, you’ll probably find yourself craving a smoothie bowl or a toast. I can’t wait to go back. I think you’ll really enjoy it. #triadfoodiesapproved!
Oh and the truck is still available for festivals and such.
Village Juice Co. Shop: 205 S. Stratford Rd, WS
Village Juice Truck: 1208 Reynolda Road, (Krankies Coffee Park)
Village Juice Box: 525@Vine Atrium, Wake Forest Innovation Quarter villagejuicecompany.com
When we say you should, we so mean it. I wouldn’t steer you wrong, foodies. Chef Curtis Hackaday is showing how he’s inspired by his former Hawaii with another 2nd Supper Wine versus Beer Dinner…this one Luau focused. We just know it’s going to be great!
1703 Restaurant & Catering is continuing with their 2nd Sunday Supper, this time with a rematch of their Beer v. Wine Dinner. The dinner will be paired with a Luau as Chef Curtis roasts a whole pig. The event is this Sunday, September 11 at 6:30pm.
We went to the last one and omg…it was amazing. We had to judge how each of the 5 courses paired with beers from Mystery Brewing of Hillsborough versus some hand-picked wine selections. Overall, it was a tie. Kind of strange. But it was so fun to really taste the nuances in the wine or beer and how it complemented the dishes. For instance, part of the dessert really liked the wine. But another part of the dessert liked the beer. Plus we got a great education from the rep from Mystery Brewing. After declaring a tie, it only makes sense for a rematch. “I’ll continue to do the versus dinners because I want both beer and wine drinkers to come. It seems to bring a happy discussion to the table,”Curtis told me today.
As for the Luau theme, it just seems natural. Curtis says Hawaii is near and dear to him as he lived there for four years as a child. “It has had the most impact on my style of cooking. Visions of whole ducks and sides of pork in the window at a mall eatery are still entrenched in my memory. Hawaiian food is a melting pot of the Pacific and a Luau is their version of a party or feast so this should be a lot of fun.”
Chef has already given his new Latin style pig roaster a trial run by cooking a suckling pig and handing out free pork sandwiches. Everyone who endured the heat to see the unveiling and tasting of the pig says it was fantastic. Chef Curtis Hackaday is arguably one of the most creative chefs in the Triad and we’re sure this event will be no less impressive. He’s like the chef you watch on Chef’s Table, but it’s not hundreds of dollars per person. 😀
Seating is limited, $55 per person. Call for reservations (336) 725-5767.