The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 45

In Episode #44, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Jordan Keiper is in to talk about being a North Carolina Spirit Ambassador, what it means and what it does for the state’s spirit industry. Jordan is also co-host of Sipping NC: The Art of Drinking with Tim
  • Krispy Kreme to have chocolate glaze this weekend through Monday to commemorate the eclipse.
  • Trade Street Diner to open for lunch and dinner in old Sweet Potatoes location.
  • Chefs Jeff Bacon and Travis Myers win honors at the “Local Luv” event at Luv Luv Festival
  • Food Holidays and History

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

 

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 44

In Episode #44, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Chef Mark Grohman is on to talk about Meridian Restaurant and its 10th Annual Seafood Festival
  • A creperie is rumored to be going in the now-closed Dioli’s and former Pane e Vino location in Reynolda Village.
  • A new “fast food” restaurant has filed a petition to change zoning to City of WSNC ordinance for drive-thru windows.
  • A reminder of Luv Luv Festival
  • Food Holidays and History

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

 

Giving a New Taco a Try

(l to r: chorizo, tripe, barbacoa, al pastor)

My friend and fellow food writer, Eric Ginsburg of Triad City Beat had written about El Rancho Taqueria and their tacos in the last week or so. He speculated that “these might be the best tacos in the Triad” about them in that article. I’d like to think that as a good “foodie” that I take suggestions from my peers and run with them… or taste them.  So, when my son Trey said that he wanted tacos, I thought, well, now’s the time.

We went in and it was nothing remarkable. It was just a restaurant space with run-of-the-mill furniture and very plain interior. But, the ambiance isn’t the star here. That would be the food. They have tacos, burritos, gordita, ACP,  Carne Asada, quesadilla and all the usual fare you’d expect at a typical Mexican restaurant.

This isn’t your strip mall chain Mexican, though. You know the stuff. You sit down and get your free chips and salsa, order whatever it is you want and have it “piping hot” and “freshly made” within five minutes. The food is fairly decent, definitely hot, and you go home full. I’ll admit, I like that, but this…?

This is fresh stuff that is truly authentic. All of it. Lots of limes, cilantro and onions. Yes, I said onions. There’s a good bit to choose from, too. Lots of meat choices. Carne Asada (beef), Pollo (chicken) chorizo, al pastor (usually lamb), barbacoa (barbecued meat), Cabeza (usually from roasted heads of beef), Lengua (tongue) and tripa (tripe – stomach of beef). There may be a few more, but I think that covers it; you get the picture. I have had tongue before, but don’t remember if I liked it so I opted out of that tonight, only because I wanted to try some of the other stuff.

In my four taco plate, I got one each of the chorizo, barbacoa, al pastor and tripa. Yes, tripe. I had never had tripe before and definitely wanted to try it. When they brought out the plate, about 15 minutes later (meaning it was cooked fresh and they took the time to do it right), it was covered with cilantro and onions (light, as I requested), sliced radishes, five or six limes and a roasted jalapeno. In this bed of green, white and red sat four tacos. I asked which was which of the server who laughed nervously and indicated she didn’t really know. She pointed at what I thought looked like chorizo and said it was the tripe. Turns out it wasn’t. The tripe was next to it and I had already gone through that before I realized it. I asked another server about it and she brought me out a small plate with a good bit of tripe on it for Trey and me to try. It was pretty good. Lots of flavor. Kind of like chicken liver but without the foulness that comes with it and also without the grittiness that liver has. I don’t like liver, but I liked this; beef-like in its flavor.

The barbacoa had a tanginess to it that went well with the meat beneath the sauce. The chorizo was a little dry but that’s the way it is most of the places I’ve had it. I fixed that with the ranchero and Rojas sauces. Just a bit, I wanted to taste the tacos. The al pastor was probably my least favorite but was still pretty good. I liked the tripe taco and, as I said, I didn’t realize what it was until it was gone. A little crispy but beefy in flavor so I think that’s why I mistook it after being shown the chorizo one to be it. No worries, it was still delicious. The onions and cilantro were nothing more than accent. Cilantro, to me, creates a very vibrant, crisp and fresh flavor to everything. I cook with it often because of this. But, they didn’t overtake the flavor of the meat within the fluffy corn folds of the tortillas. I did sprinkle a bit of lime juice over the tacos to add that acid, but again, not too much. These are some darned fine tacos. Next time I go, I’ll try some of the other items on the list but tonight we were there, specifically, for the tacos.

The place was jam-packed with people and it was truly a very diverse crowd. All of them noshing, waiting or just enjoying the afterglow of fantastic tacos, having great conversation and loving life. I left there loving life. I think, though, my elation was mostly that I had tripe and liked it. But, the tacos were really that good. I can’t wait to take Stephanie for her first time and Trey back again.

El Rancho Taqueria is located at 613 E Sprague St in the Waughtown neighborhood of Winston-Salem.  You can find more about them on their Facebook page. I highly recommend trying this great place if you’re into more authentic Mexican food and especially if you’re not so much “Americanized” Mexican food. Just go try it. Let me know what you think.

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 43

In Episode #43, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Something is cooking in the old Sweet Potatoes Location
  • A reminder of Luv Luv Festival
  • Meridian‘s 10th Annual Seafood Festival is August 12
  • Food Holidays and History

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

 

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 42

In Episode #42, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Executive Chefs from The Historic Brookstown Inn, Hubby and wife duo, Chefs Ali Utley and Paul McGee to open Cotton Mill Lounge in the Inn’s lower level.
  • Bahtmobile brings Thai food in a Food Truck.
  • Food Holidays and History.

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

 

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 41

Chef Adam Barnett (Photo © Katharine Brasserie and Bar

In Episode #41, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

Happy Fourth!

Hiya folks! There is no podcast this week as Stephanie and I are celebrating Independence Day with the fam. The show will be back next week. Tell me what your family’s food tradition is to celebrate your July 4th holiday. We’re doing something different this weekend: tacos. Woot! Have a great week and I’ll see you a week from today!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 40

In Episode #40, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!

Lowes Foods Brings New Concept to Triad

Tomato Bar

The Triad is no stranger to Lowes Foods, the little grocery chain that seemingly reinvents itself with every up fit, remodel or in this case, new builds. Afterall, Lowes Foods started in Wilkesboro, just west of here and is now headquartered in Winston-Salem with a little over 80 stores under that brand. Its newest and perhaps coolest store opened Wednesday at 240 Market View Drive in Kernersville. This store is unlike any other store in North Carolina, as we were told by company President, Tim Lowe, on our walking tour,  it is “the first of its kind in North Carolina.”

I, along with a few other food folks, got to tour the new facility on Tuesday and let me tell you, it was like walking into a magical land of food, fun, and frolic. The moment I walked in the door, the shopper is met with a waft of smoking meat. For meat lovers such as myself, it was alluring, like in the cartoons where a character is picked up and carried toward the source of the smell by whispered fragrance trails. But, I digress, more on that shortly.

A small sample of the cheese shop selection

I was introduced to something that just a few years ago I would not have been interested in, at all. Before me there stood a tomato bar. What makes a tomato bar unique? I did not care for tomatoes until just a few years ago. We all have seen many “olive bars” in grocery stores where you can mix-and-match your olives. This is the first time I have seen a tomato mix-and-match station. Cherry, grape, Conchita and so on. Put what you want together and off you go. But, there was more to it than that. There was a great variety of larger tomatoes to choose from as well. To top all of that off, there was a potato and onion bar to match.

A clip your own herb garden is there for the home chef wanting only the freshest herbs possible. Rosemary, oregano, mint, parsley, and thyme. Ready to be clipped and taken home. Let me tell you it smelled amazing over there. A lot of time, we are sold “fresh” herbs that have been delivered from who-knows-where and labeled “fresh” when in reality it is not.

Spice Bazaar

Up next on the tour is a station that was one of the things I was most drawn to in this wonderland: Cheese. There is a “cheese shop” right past the veggies. Where does this cheese shop reside? Why, right by the wine, of course. Whole wheels, large wedges, mass quantities. I do not know if I have ever seen such a selection outside of the cheese shop in Brussels we visited a few years back. There are plenty of cracker options and even sun-dried tomatoes there as well. The shop is surrounded on all four sides by cheese. I was offered a chunk of Vermont white cheddar that had been aged for two years. My mouth waters now, days later, thinking of it. Rich, creamy and sharp, just the way you’d want it to be.

We then went through the Spice Bazaar. Unlike the regular spice area in grocery stores (and Lowes has that, too), the Spice Bazaar makes it easier for you to put together special blends of spices for mixes or dips. Featured are five categories of herbs and spices: leaves; seeds; flowers and fruit; roots; bulbs and bark. It smelled great there, as well. There you will also find a large selection of dried fruits and veggies along with a variety of nuts and other dried foods. Plus, an olive oil bar. Who knew? Remember when I said I was being carried away by the olfactory enticement of smoked meats?

Meats waiting to be smoked

Two concepts right next to each other in the back corner of the store are the SausageWorks and the Smokehouse. SausageWorks features locally made pork, beef and poultry sausages in a vast variety of flavor options. As Lowes says: “from the familiar crowd-pleasers to the ‘are they insane?’ combinations.” I did not ask but I wonder if they can custom make sausage for me?

The Smokehouse offers plenty of wood-smoked meats, again, including beef, pork, chicken and salmon, using a variety of woods to infuse flavor; rotated daily. You can grab them ready to eat or take home and cook yourself. I will say that my mouth watered the entire time we were in that area. There were many prepackaged sausages and smoked meats, as well. And, of course, there’s the regular butcher shop so you can still get your steaks, pork and other meats the way you need them cut.

Another concept is the bakery or “Cakery.” This is almost like a scene out of a movie. The people working in that area were having way too much fun. We tasted icings. We got little spoons handed to us with cream cheese, chocolate and vanilla icings that go on top of cupcakes, cake squares and probably things we were not even privy to. After our samples were done, we were told to make wishes and dispose of the spoons in a depository made specifically for that. Then we blew out “candles” that were located on top of the Cakery. Again, this was surreal but so very fun. It was more than just cakes and spongy things. It was fruit tarts and pastries as well. Delightful stuff. Then, next to that is the Blue Ridge Bakery where you have cookies (which we all got one to try), muffins and other bakery items. The cookies were chewy and fantastic.

The “birthday candles” on top of The Cakery

But, in addition to the bakery, there is the Bread Crumb. It features fresh-baked artisanal bread that is hand- crafted, all natural and have no preservatives. Lowes Foods’ signature Cobblestone loaves of bread are baked fresh throughout the day. There are savory breads, muffuletta-style breads, and cheesy breads. Have I mentioned that I think cheese is one of nature’s perfect foods? Lowes Foods’ Hot Fresh Bread program offers fresh loaves from 4:30 pm to 7:30 pm every day. That is just the right time for dinner. There is also a bicycle that has a real bread basket on it and someone will ride around the store offering bread to shoppers.

The Kernersville Deli has all your fresh cut deli meats and cheeses, just as you’d expect but they also have a sushi bar with premade (on site) or rolls made to order.

The Chicken Kitchen includes a variety of prepared chicken that is fresh and never frozen, locally sourced and raised organically without antibiotics. When the chicken comes out of the rotisserie, there is an animated chandelier with a chicken on it that cranks up and the “hosts” (what Lowes Foods calls its employees) come out from whatever they are doing to do a special version of the “Chicken Dance.”And, there is a humongous box that will hold up to 50 pieces of chicken. FIFTY! The price of the box will also include the sides and fixin’s.

Sammy’s

Sammy’s is a sandwich shop, but it is not your typical sandwich shop. You can custom order sandwiches using ingredients from Smokehouse, SausageWorks and the Chicken Kitchen or have one of their original selections. They have pizzas and paninis that can be heated and ready to eat in just 90 seconds. That’s great for those “I worked late and need something quick for dinner” meals.

There is a Community Table which is a place where shoppers can gather and be inspired to try something new. The table is made of reclaimed wood from local barns and it serves as a place for recipe sampling, activities for children and workshops for lifestyles such as gluten-free eating and so on. There is also a Pick & Prep offering for shoppers. Pick what you need for your recipes and the fine folks at Lowes Food will chop, cut, slice, dice, mince and cube your fruits and veggies the way you want or need. Do it while you shop or pick up some veggies that have been cut throughout the day, always fresh. That is a great option for someone like my wife, Stephanie, who does not care for the prep. She would rather just cook. I like to prep, but I am not always around. This would be great for her.

Tim Lowe, President of Lowes Foods

Then, right across from a wall of beer, there is The Beer Den. Craft drafts, a “growler station” and expert knowledge of craft brews. That is what you find here. They have seasonal offerings of unique beers, special events and have “tap takeovers.” Lowes Foods is a “sip and shop” where you can go straight to The Beer Den, get your pint of beer (or a cup of wine) and imbibe as you shop. I do not think you can beat that. In fact, I know you cannot. The Beer Den has been one of my favorite parts of Lowes Foods offerings since it became “a thing.” In addition to all that I have written about, Lowes Foods offers its very popular “Lowes Foods-To-Go” personal shopping service.

All of this is fine and good, well… wonderful. And, it makes the shopping experience more of just that: an experience. But, the important thing to remember about Lowes Foods is its commitment to everything local. As Tim Lowe says, “like all of our Lowes Foods stores, our new Kernersville store will be very focused on supporting all things local. Our commitment to local includes offering produce sourced through our partnership with more than 200 local farmers and featuring a wide assortment of unique local products found throughout the store.”

This is the new flagship store for Lowes Foods and will be a benefit to the town of Kernersville and the Triad. When are we getting one in Winston-Salem like this? Bring it!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 39

Kelly Bone of Willows Bistro

In Episode #39, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Kelly Bone of Willows Bistro is in to talk about the new drink menu at Willows.
  • Clair Calvin of The Porch to open a new modern Mexican restaurant in the Innovation Quarter.
  • The Honey Bee Shoppe had their soft opening this week.
  • Finnigan’s Wake continues its reconstruction and should reopen on June 29.
  • Sweet Potatoes has opened its new space; Miss Ora’s Kitchen yet to come.
  • Brand new state-of-the-art Lowe’s Foods to open this week in Kernersville.
  • Food Holidays and History.

Don’t forget my sponsors:

Washington Perk & Provision Company. Better than a convenience store but not quite a grocery store, in the heart of Washington Park and Downtown WSNC.

The Humble Bee Shoppe is challenging your perception of scratch made and leaving you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! With inventive flavor combos and a sense of artistry, The Humble Bee Shoppe isn’t your average bakery.

The Man Who Ate the Town is part of The Less Desirables Network. Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn, basically anywhere you can listen to podcasts. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the post).

Bon Appetit!