The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 80

In Episode #80, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

We welcome Tim Johnson (that’s right, “The Tims”) to the show as new co-host until Kelly is able to get back to us. The Tims talk about:

  • King’s Crab Shack and Oyster Bar opens its second location today.
  • Tim and Stephanie visit Mozzarella Fellas.
  • Food Holidays.

No poll this week.

Don’t forget our sponsors:

DiLisio’s Italian Family Restaurant Italian food like you’re sitting, eating in Naples. Wonderful Italian dishes from traditional spaghetti and lasagna to contemporary delights. Rich, flavorful sauces, a variety of pasta options, seafood, meat and more. Just south of Downtown and Business 40 (SOB40).

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!

Want To Be On a Podcast?

Hiya listeners, readers and soon-to-be-viewers of everything The Man Who Ate the Town. 

As you probably know, Kelly Bone hasn’t been on the podcast in a while. She has not left the podcast. She is still very much the cohost of the show. What she has been doing is working a lot more, she got injured a few weeks back and she’s working on a major life and work project in which she has asked for a little time off. So, with her permission, I’m going to look for a “stand-in” to help me with the podcast until she is able to return.

What am I looking for in a cohost? Well, you need to know about food. Preferably you have at least a slight knowledge of the food scene here in Winston-Salem, or maybe even another town. But, we obviously talk about food and want to make sure that the host(s) are at least as knowledgeable as I am, which could be perceived to be “not much.”

You have to be able to record during the day. Right now, I try to record on Mondays around 3 pm, however, I can do it on Tuesday early afternoon as well. Monday is my preference.

This is a non-paid gig. I make very little money doing what I do and Kelly is a “volunteer.” Any prospective cohosts would need to be as well. You may get some perks but that’s not guaranteed.

This is on an “as-needed” timeline. The moment Kelly is back in the game, the seat is hers. Now, prospective cohosts may be asked to join as a three-person crew, but that isn’t guaranteed.

Prospects must be willing to be on mic, potentially on camera and do some research for the show. It’s not incredibly time-consuming but I do need the cohost(s) to come prepared.

I don’t know how long this gig will go on. I am willing to break it up among several cohosts but my preference is that it be one person willing to sit in.

I don’t care if you are male or female. Just be a good match.

If you have any questions, comments, ideas, or suggestions as to cohosts, send me an email.

Thank you in advance!!

Break

The podcast for The Man Who Ate the Town is going to take the next couple of weeks off. As I said last week, a lot of the food happenings around town are a bit slow. But, don’t worry. The podcast will be back, soon. And, if food news comes along, you can certainly get that news here. The site will still be updated regularly.

Four things that aren’t going anywhere? That’s DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant, The Humblebee Shoppe, Washington Perk and The Lab at Industry Hill!

Dilisio’s Italian Restaurant is the Italian Restaurant in town. The richest, most flavorful sauces with the freshest of ingredients can’t be beaten. Tony and Maria know what they are doing and once you’ve had Dilisio’s, you’ll crave more and not want any other Italian food in Winston-Salem. Find them on social media and on their website. Or, you know what? Just go to 300 Brookstown Ave. and see what I’m talking about!

The Humblebee Shoppe is located at 1003 Brookstown Ave in the West End of Downtown. Visit the bakery for cookies, cakes, pies and other dessert goodies, made just for you. Everything is carefully crafted and made 100% from scratch. The Humblebee Shoppe wants to challenge your perception of scratch made and leave you with an experience you couldn’t possibly forget! For more information follow them on Facebook and visit the website. Tell Brittany we said, “hi!”

Washington Perk is located at 301 W 4th Street. Wolfies Custard. Larry’s Beans Coffee. Eggs, milk and cheese. Condiments. Bread. Beer and Wine. Need we say more? The Perk has them all. Washington Perk is better than a convenience store, not quite a grocery store.

Industry Hill is a business-minded neighborhood in the former Warehouse District. In the district is Mary’s Gourmet Diner, Black Mountain Chocolate, Broad Branch Distillery, Sunshine Beverages, two breweries, The Ramkat and more to come. To find out more follow them on social media or visit the area’s website. Thanks so much to Industry Hill for having a place for us to bring you our podcasts.

Again, keep an eye on this blog and ears out for the podcast. If we need to break in for “breaking news,” you know we will!

Taking My Place at the Table for a Second Helping

I was honored to be a guest contributor to Triad City Beat, for their “Dinner Guest” column in “Triad City Bites.”

This time around I stayed with the minimalizing sodium theme and talked about making spaghetti sauce. Executive Editor, Brian Clarey, allowed me to use my humor in it and I was proud of the result.

So, if you’ll do me the favor, you can read the article either in the print form, which can be found all around the Triad, or you can read it on their website, and you can do that HERE.

Thank you so very much Brian and Triad City Beat for the opportunity.

And, thank you to our readers and listeners for supporting our blog and podcast.

Pho Hien Vuong Aboard the Triad Touring Tasters Express

Scallops at Willows Bistro

I wrote on Monday that Stephanie and I would be going on a little journey and that I would write about it this week. Today is that day.

We started out at our home base, Willows Bistro, and met up with Mary Lacklen and Deanna Watson, both from Triad Local First and Triad Touring Tasters. We had a fantastic appetizer of scallops with roasted red peppers and oddly enough, lima beans. Stephanie even ate the lima beans, which isn’t something she usually does. And, we also were treated to a lovely beverage of our choice and we both chose the sangrias because they are the best in town.

After the warm-up, we jumped on a beautiful bus with horseshoed seats, lights and a great stereo system. It looked new. The bus was provided by Matt Logan, Inc. and I — The Man Who Ate the Town — recommend them for your business transfers or “party bus” situations.

Group photo @Mary Lacklen

The bus took us to Greensboro to Pho Hien Vuong where we met co-owner Trang Trinh (she along with her brother, Ben own this lovely culinary palace) and several friends and fans of the Triad Touring Tasters. Pho Hien Vuong has been around for a while and has become a favorite among Greensboro diners as well as Winston-Salemites willing to cross the dreaded “Sandy Ridge Line” to get their Pho “eat on.” I can see why it has become so popular.

Trang made sure we were comfortable and took wonderful care of us.

Appetizers from Pho Hien Vuong

The tasting adventure included a round of appetizers featuring “The Appetizer Tray” including a few different styles of wings like Spicy Buffalo and Thai Style Basil, fried and fresh spring rolls, shrimp rolls and fried tofu. I had never had tofu and I tried it. I don’t really care for it but Stephanie does and she said it was good. So, if you’re into tofu, absolutely this is a great place to get it. But, the introduction wasn’t finished there. The rest of the appetizers were delicious. I’m a sucker for peanut sauce and the sauce at Pho Hien Vuong was very good.

We all got what Stephanie and I thought were full bowls of their meatball Pho. Turns out this was a smaller portion than the full bowl. The Pho alone could have been a full meal. Most of the dinner guests had to get to go boxes at the end of the evening. The Pho was so deep in flavor with a cinnamony broth that wasn’t too thick but it wasn’t watery, either. The meatballs were flavorful and seasoned and the clear noodles were so tender. The onions and scallions were a magic touch. This was so good. I am craving more as I type this.

Pad Thai with Seafood

But, wait, there’s more!

Caramelized Chicken w/Ginger

Then came the entrees. Stephanie ordered the Caramelized Chicken with Ginger. This is boneless dark meat chicken slowly simmered in traditional Vietnamese caramel sauce. Pho Hien Vuong uses white meat chicken almost exclusively. The only exception is this dish which uses dark meat. It’s cooked in a caramel sauce and you should know that Vietnamese caramel sauce isn’t the same as American dessert caramel. It’s still a little sweet but is known more for its smokey flavor. The dish was really good.

I was going to order something else, but Trang talked me out of it only because it wasn’t “Thai” but “Hawaiian” and I wanted to try more Asian-style. So, instead, I ordered the Veggie Pad Thai and added seafood to it. This pad thai featured stir-fried noodles with sprouts, scallions, and eggs. Now, I didn’t find a lot of sprouts in mine, which is okay. But, the flavors were slightly salty, sweet, sour and slightly spicy. Topped with ground peanuts added that nutty flavor that I think Thai food should have. Someone asked me about it and I said it was “fantastic.” They said they most they figure from pad thai is that it’s “good” but “fantastic?” I ate all of it, even after all the apps and Pho.

Sticky Rice & Banana

For dessert, we had a sticky rice with banana pudding. Sweet and sticky, just how it was supposed to be. It was in a banana leaf “bowl.”

We were at Pho Hien Vuong on a tour, but we will definitely go back again. The staff was polite and friendly. The ownership was amazing. The company vibrant and fun. And, they had real chopsticks, not bamboo sticks that leave splinters in your mouth.

Triad Touring Tasters (TTT) is part of the Triad Local First concept. The folks in Greensboro don’t want to come to Winston-Salem. Winston-Salemites don’t travel to High Point. Asheboro folks don’t travel far to eat. At least that’s what the overall consensus is. TTT is hoping to at least blur that “Sandy Ridge Line” if not eliminate it altogether. To be clear, the Sandy Ridge Line isn’t just between Winston-Salem and Greensboro, it’s the imaginary magnet that repels all the other culinary magnets in the Piedmont/Triad area.

Winston-Salem talks about having such a great culinary scene, and I agree with “them.” But, our idea of “ethnic” food is Mexican, Italian and “Asian Fusion.” I love all that, but it’s overdone. There are a few places here that have Pho but, it’s not very exciting. Greensboro has a reputation for having a lot of ethnic options but their overall culinary scene is lacking. That may be a myth, it may be a fact. But, we each need to meet one another in the middle while meeting each other on our own turf when it comes to our culinary scenes. We have a lot to learn from each other and what better way to do that than actually get out and try it.

I get it, I don’t feel like driving to Greensboro, High Point and especially not Asheboro to eat, have an adult beverage or two and then have to drive back. But, I don’t mind when there are others with me and we are having good conversations and none of us have to concentrate on the road or worry about getting pulled for intoxicated driving. That’s where TTT comes in.

For one price, you get your gathering location apps and/or beverages and then you transfer via a bus to a place in another city where you’ll try something different than where you started. Your alcoholic beverages are generally extra. There may be other charges but you’ll be informed of those ahead of time. The idea is to introduce the residents of one place to the culinary scenes that surround them that they may never have known about.

So, I’m glad that my first foray into this experience tour was to Pho Hien Vuong because I know this is a place that I can actually frequent when I decide to cross the SRL. Why? Because it is amazing. And, Stephanie works in Greensboro, so she can go there when she wants.

Triad Local First is a non-profit membership organization based in Greensboro, North Carolina, with over 360 members – retail shops, real estate agents, insurance brokers, marketing and advertising firms, accountants, dentists, restaurants, farmers, breweries, and more.

The Mission of Triad Local First, a network of locally owned and independent businesses in North Carolina’s Triad, is to share a commitment to building a strong local economy and a vibrant, unique community.

Pho Hien Vuong is located at 4109 Spring Garden Street in Greensboro.

Willows Bistro is located at 300 S Liberty Street in Winston-Salem.

The Triad Touring Tasters Express

Tonight, Stephanie and I will be riding on the TTT Express from Willows Bistro to Pho Hien Vuong in Greensboro. 

TTT, while partly associated with Triad Local First, this isn’t necessarily affiliated with that. According to Mary Lacklen, “Our mission is to bring people out of their ‘bubble; and explore what our vibrant community has to offer in the food and beverage world.  We are very fortunate to have the use (at this time) of the bus to transport folks back and forth.  We would like to see Greensboro, HP, WS, and Asheboro restaurants and more collaborate more to promote all things local, share resources and promote the farmers.”

The invite for the event states: Triad Touring Tasters, or the “Triple T Express” is taking off to transport curious food lovers and their friends from Winston-Salem to Greensboro on Monday, July 23rd, beginning with a beverage at 6:00 pm at Willows Bistro, 300 S Liberty St, Suite 125 in Winston-Salem. We will board the bus at 6:30 pm and head out for an amazing dinner! Our destination is Pho Hien Vuong, at 4109 Spring Garden St in Greensboro. Serving Southeastern Vietnamese and Thai dishes made with the freshest ingredients and native spices, diners will enjoy their famous Pho and sample some of the delicious appetizers. All diners will be able to order off of the menu so we can accommodate everyone’s dietary needs. After dinner, a traditional Vietnamese dessert will be served.

This is the first of these that I’ve been on so I’m not sure what to expect. But you can be sure there will be pictures as I’m charging my phone, now.

Stay tuned!

Willows Bistro’s Chef Travis Myers is Ready to Take on the Competition

Chef Travis’ entry dish

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast past-guest, Chef Travis Myers of Willows Bistro, will be competing in the finals of the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association’s (NCRLA) third annual Chef Showdown. He gets that distinction along with Chef Cody Middleton of the Forsyth Country Club.

They both will compete with 19 other chefs Aug. 27 at Aria at Founders Hall in the Bank of America Center in Charlotte.

I’m not sure what Chef Cody prepared to get into the finals but Chef Travis made was Whiskey Chip-Smoked Crispy Duck and “Same Bird” Confit Leg with Celery Root Purée, Foraged Sochan & Serviceberry, Mostarda with Maitake.

The whiskey chips were from Topo Organic Spirits. The duck and celery root were from Harmony Ridge Farms. The Sochan and Serviceberries were from New Appalachia Food which were foraged from around NC. The Serviceberry Mostarda is homemade by Chef Travis made, in part, from Serviceberries, Lusty Monk Mustard and Boots N Bees Honey. And, the maitake mushrooms were from Urban Gourmet Farms.

“I think it’s a great event to showcase farms and local foragers. It’s a whos-who of chefs and restaurateurs statewide. I’m just honored to be part of it. I’ve already met several chefs that I’ve never known before. It’s a great opportunity to meet new folks and get the word out about the farms in NC. We want to move the supply chain from commercial to local,” says Chef Travis.

The finalists are sorted into savory and sweet food categories and are vying for the “Chef of the Year” and “Pastry Chef of the Year” awards. Chef Travis is in the savory category and Chef Cody is in the pastry category. We want to wish both of them much luck in this competition. I think Chef Travis should win, but then again, I’m biased.

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 79

In Episode #79, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

©NCRLA/Travis Myers

Tim flies solo.

  • ChefSmart closing their doors after 15 years.
  • Chef Travis Myers and Chef Cody Middleton will be competing in the NC Restaurant and Lodging Association’s third annual Chef Showdown.
  • Food Holidays.

No poll this week.

The Man Who Ate the Town Featured in Winston-Salem Monthly Magazine

So, I’ve known about this for a while but I’ve held off on saying anything until I had actual “proof” of it.

©Jay Sinclair

I was featured in the Winston-Salem Monthly Magazine this month, which is “unofficially” their food issue.

Michael Breedlove contacted me to put my two cents in about meals/dishes/etc in Winston-Salem that I just couldn’t live without. They contacted a few of my foodie friends/blogger friends and asked them the same things. Chef Travis Myers and Willows Bistro got my vote (well several of them did, but this was the one that was highlighted as “mine.”). But, that wasn’t the end of it.

Michael also interviewed me about this blog and the podcast that goes with it. So, instead of me doing a lot of “self-horn-honking” I’m just going to point you over that way, for those who aren’t subscribers to Winston-Salem Monthly, which, unfortunately, I am not. But, you should be! It’s a great little publication.

I’ve gotten a few shoutouts because of it. I’m proud of it, I must say. And, I got a Kelly Bone mention in, too!

Here’s the article. Thanks, Michael, Suzy, Jay and all others over at Winston-Salem Monthly!

Biscuitville’s 2018 Bake-Off Championship

Two weeks ago, I was privileged to attend the Biscuitville 2018 Bake-Off Championship Finals (for Management) at Biscuitville’s headquarters.

©Biscuitville

Now, when I’ve thought of biscuits in the past, I didn’t think of anything exciting or outstanding or really even interesting. Before I got into the “food blogging” business, I didn’t think about biscuits at all, really. But, now that I’m fascinated with food and the food process (not to be confused with processed food), I totally rethink everything food. Even down to basics.

I was invited down and there and enjoyed watching the management finalists do their thing. I know what you’re thinking. Biscuits are flour, shortening, and milk, right? Yes, this is true. But, in that room, where we were all watching a big screen connected to a webcam that was showing us everything going on in this kitchen, all eyes were glued to the “action” happening.

It truly was fascinating.

So, what was going on, here, you may ask? You see, Biscuitville has “certified biscuit makers.” This means that biscuit that you get at Biscuitville isn’t made from any ol’ joe. It’s made from people with extensive training and, well, certification. From what I understand it’s a bit of a rigorous process that takes time and dedication. You don’t just get up to the counter and start making biscuits. And, once a year the company holds a bake-off competition, both with regular employees and with management which includes shift leaders and “operators,” which is Biscuitville’s name for the managers of their restaurants.

The science behind the making of these biscuits kind of goes unnoticed until you realize that they’re all doing it the same way and that the techniques are all identical. But, each person does add their own little twists and flair. It was interesting to watch all the contestants watching the others closely. They’re all friends and were cheering each other on, but it was played off as “ribbing.” They were supportive of each other but each wanted to win.

Contestant Amie Cook on the screen we observed from

There were six entrants and to watch them set up the station to their preferred, personal, comfortable workflow status was actually very interesting. While they were all doing the same thing, some put their sifter in a different spot or placed their shortening in a little corner that made them comfortable. Then, we watched them measure their flour (the timer started with the flour hit the scale), add the shortening, mix the two before adding the milk, all the way to flouring the work surface and rolling out the dough, it was truly a spectacle. Again, each identical but each different in their own ways. Then the contestants that were observing from the meeting room would count how many biscuit discs were cut out from the dough, then reworked and then recut until all but a small ball of dough was left.

“She got 22 on that first cut, wow!” I heard.

Claps and applause were given after each contestant came from the kitchen, so yes it is a competition but there was plenty of professional courtesy going on.

What were the stakes, you may ask? Well, first there’s bragging rights. These biscuit makers take this really seriously. The contestant, along with the restaurant they’re representing gets to say, “look we did this!” It also lets the customer know their “home store’s” biscuit makers are top notch.

Another thing is the prestige. Biscuitville makes sure that their certified biscuit makers are recognized, even if they don’t win the competition.

And, there’s money. The winner gets cash money. I won’t say how much but it’s substantial. Actually, being as this was the finals, each of the contestants was already winners. They had won the semifinals to reach this spot and each finalist also got cash prizes just for getting through to this round.

Winner, Maria Cabrera with Tim

The winner was Maria Cabrera who just became a US citizen a few months before and also was starting her vacation on that day. She was rated on speed, efficiency and who got closest to the “ideal biscuit,” which included, height, weight, a flat bottom and a ridged top. The flavor should speak for itself, as the same ingredients go into each, but the biscuit itself was the grading standard. This was Maria’s first time participating in the competition at all. According to her bio, she has been a part of the Biscuitville FRESH SOUTHERN® family since 2013. Starting as a Shift Manager in Mebane, she later transferred to Maple Avenue where she became an Assistant Manager. Maria then continued in that role at Alamance Road for almost a year before becoming Operator there. She says that Michael, her husband of 16 years, and their three children are what brought her to Biscuitville. Her family keeps her motivated, and there’s nothing she enjoys more than seeing happy customers and motivating people to their full potential.

Second place was Amie Cook. Amie is the operator of the Riverside Road in Danville restaurant (past Management Champion in 2011 and 2012; finalist in 2016, 2017).

Third place was James Cline.  James is the operator of the West Market Street in Greensboro restaurant (past Management finalist in 2017).

The other three contestants were: Ruben Negron, the operator at the Walkertown restaurant. This was his first year as a finalist.

Velma Hailey, the operator of the Aberdeen restaurant and past Management finalist in 2009, 2010, 2015, 2016, 2017.

Heather Mabe, the operator of the English Road restaurant in High Point restaurant and this was her first year as a finalist.

I have to say that what impressed me the most was the passion by with all of the contestants showed in their skills. It’s not just biscuit making to them. It’s a way of life and I don’t feel that any of that is too cliche. They poured their soul into making those biscuits, not just the ingredients. They busted their tails to get there and they take their jobs seriously. Even beyond the competition, the finalists want, collectively, for your Biscuitville experience to be a remarkable experience.

I apologize for not taking pictures of the actual event (other than to show what our perspective was), but while I was given an opportunity to glance into this remarkable event, I am going to leave some things to the imagination. You can watch the biscuits being made at your local Bicuitville.

I appreciate the opportunity to be able to observe and talk about it on this blog (and the podcast this week). Thank you, Kelly, at Biscuitville and Scott, Steve and Rebecca at Capture.