The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 92

In Episode #91, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

Tim and Ray talk about:

  • Quanto Basta closing one and opening one location.
  • Campus Gas opens.
  • Food holidays and history

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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 89

©Manginas Family (via WGHP)

In Episode #89, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

Tim and Ray talk about:

  • Evangelos Manginas’ tragic passing
  • 1703 Restaurant’s “Stock Your Cellar” wine event
  • WSNC restaurants open for or on Thanksgiving
  • The direction of the podcast, so we need your help!

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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 88

In Episode #88, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

Tim and Ray talk about:

  • New co-host, Ray Morgan
  • Graze changes name.
  • Carmine’s 901 temporarily closed.
  • Di Lisio’s closed until Nov 1 for rennovations.
  • Ardmore Neighborhood having a chili cookoff Saturday, November 3.
  • The Big Sip is Sunday, November 11.

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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 87

In Episode #87, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

Tim talks about:

  • Bahtmobile’s Chef Pleasants going to Earl’s
  • Ardmore Neighborhood Assn having a chili cookoff
  • Crazy Crab.
  • Red Crab.
  • Zesto Burgers and Ice Cream.
  • 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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 85

In Episode #85, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

“The Tims” talk about:

  • Tequila Time with Tim featuring Casamigo’s Reposado.
  • The Bar on 4th has sold and closed. New location named Thirsty Palette hoping to open this weekend.
  • Billy Bob’s Silver Diner to be demolished and replaced with new Breakfastime.
  • Crazy Crab & Seafood to open in old Hero House location on Peters Creek.
  • Humble Bee Shoppe featured on WGHP.
  • Tim B talks a little about Honky Tonk Smokehouse.
  • Tim B talks about Urban Soul on the Farm event by Soul Food Sessions
  • 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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 84

©Sweet Aromaz

In Episode #84, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

Tim B flies solo and talks about:

  • Sweet Aromaz moves into the old Atelier on Trade Space.
  • Tim & Stephanie ate at Providence Kitchen at BB&T.
  • Tim & Stephanie ate at Honky Tonk Smokehouse and Tim talks about the blog post that was published for the tasting.
  • 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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 82

Warm butter lobster roll from Rabia’s in Boston

In Episode #82, proudly recorded at The Lab at Industry Hill:

The Tims talk about:

  • Chef Travis Myers named Chef of the Year by the NCRLA
  • Mary’s Gourmet Diner updates hours and a new menu coming September 17.
  • Tim and Stephanie visit Boston.
  • 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!

Les Secrets de Fromage Revealed

I had the distinct honor of attending the Winston-Salem Open yesterday with my good pal, Jim Young. However, our journey there was not for tennis. While that is thrilling, I am sure, for some people, I was there for one reason only. Cheese!

What do they have in common, cheese and tennis? I have no clue. However, being at an event like the WSO, and seeing the cheeses in the environment — all the pomp, circumstance, grandeur and so on — it made perfect sense. 

I have long said that cheese is nature’s perfect food. Yes, I understand that while things with cheese making happen naturally, it is really a man-made thing. You get the picture, though. So, when I received an invitation from the representatives of Cheeses of Europe to attend this expo of cheese, I couldn’t, and wouldn’t turn that offer down.

Jim and I were treated to the finest of French cow’s milk cheese and were guided by Richard Clarke of 15° Marketing who represents the Cheeses of Europe and is also an admitted, avid cheese connoisseur.

We tried the Emmental, which is a Swiss-style cheese that is mild and easy to eat, but it is savory as well. It was creamy. That was one thing that we found with most of these cheeses: creamy.

Mimolette

Brie

Next up was a strange and unique cheese to me, the Mimolette. The Mimolette is a bright orange cheese, at least this one was, which comes from the addition of the seasoning annatto. The taste was a flavor punch at first, pungent but pleasant and then hints of butterscotch and nuttiness came through.  This cheese was a 12-month aged cheese. The 24-month aged was banned by the USDA because the cheese mites could cause allergic reactions if consumed in large quantities. It surpassed the “mite-per-inch” rule. The 12-month, however, is perfectly fine and it is perfectly delicious. It was a bit denser in texture.

We then moved to the creamier brie styles of cheese. There were two brands of the regular brie and I wish I had written down (or had them write them down) the names. The first was good and creamy but the second was even creamier and it had hints of that “ammonia” that I actually like in brie cheeses. Do not read that and be turned off. The mold that is added to make that beautiful white rind is what causes that smell. As Richard, Jim and I talked about, the smellier the cheese, the more potent the flavor. The rind gave the cheese a good texture as well.

Triple-Crème Brie

After those “ordinary” brie we moved on to the Triple Crème Brie. Again, two different brands and each with its own qualities. The first was creamier and had a milder flavor. The one thing I did not care for was the bread they put the cheeses on. It is my understanding that they were given the bread. I think even they liked it better plain. In and reality, I like cheese on its own. I do not need a lot of pairings to make me happy. Then again, I do not turn down a good wine or beer when the opportunity arises. I believe of the two and possibly the entire selection, this was Jim’s favorite cheese.

Comté

The second Triple Crème was my favorite of the two. It was a little cakier and more pungent, which is how I like my brie. Again, the stronger the cheese the more flavor, at least by the general rule. I have come to really enjoy brie more and more. When I first tried it some 15 years ago, I could not get past that ammonia flavor but, I persevered and here we are and it is one of my favorite styles. I think that cheese would be great on a grilled cheese sandwich. Add some balsamic or even bourbon braised stonefruit and dark chocolate to it, put it on a nice Italian or French bread and grill it up. Now my mouth is watering.

Next up was the Comté. Comté is traditionally a little denser and is smoky or nutty. This that we tried had those qualities, but also a little fruity and silky in texture. I have always enjoyed comté cheese.

But, the best, in my opinion, was yet to come. I have to say bleu cheese is my favorite kind of cheese and that’s saying a lot as I really like all cheese, at least that I have tried. The Roquefort almost made my eyes roll back in my head it was so pungent and acidic, salty and tangy, dreamy and creamy. This stuff was everything a cheese lover could want in a cheese. There are not enough words in the English language to describe how delicious this cheese was. Again, it was better without the bread. The color was bright and the texture silky and crumbly. It fell all over the place as I was eating it. My evening was made right then.

Delicious Bleu

And, while not cheese, I have to say if you have never had Président® French butter, you’ve never had butter. It is like eating flavorful velvet and there is an ever-so-soft hit of nutty in there. That was on the table as well. Try it. Thank me later.

After the wonderful tasting tour, we sat down with Richard Clarke and had a nice conversation with him. I asked him about his history with cheese. “I think it was probably more happenstance, but my father used to bring home different things on Friday night and he and I enjoyed it together. That was our thing,” he said. “He would bring home some ‘stinky cheese’ and I would try those with him. I didn’t always like it but it was always fun to try things and spend time with him. There was one time he made a bleu cheese, diced onion and butter mixture and we put it on our steak. And, from that point on, I could never eat steak without it.”

Tim (me): “So that stinky cheese that you didn’t like so much, at the time, do you like them now?”
R: “Absolutely, I do. That’s the bleu cheese we talked about, and I eat it a lot.”
T: “What is your favorite kind of cheese?”
R: “I kind of like the hard, nutty, textured cheese like Parmesan, Comté, even the Mimolette. But, the Bleus are the ones that put me over the top.”

I asked him about the perfect cheese board with a wine pairing. He said, “If you’re going to a party and you really want to impress people, bring a bottle of rosé, bring a creamy cheese like a Triple Crème, bring a hard cheese like the Mimolette or Comté, and bring some bleu just to round out the flavors. Bring about 5 cheeses. Also, bring a little story about them.”

The cheeses that Richard promotes can be found in just about any major grocer’s cheese section. Richard is from New York, but is traveling with the US Open series and said he likes to visit the local grocery stores and check out their selections. The three that he mentioned by name were Harris Teeter, Publix, and Whole Foods, but I can guarantee you that most of the chains around town and including specialty shops and stores will have these cheeses. If not, Richard said to absolutely ask the cheesemonger about getting it for you.

Richard Clarke (Photo ©15°)

Jim asked about the public’s aversion to stinky cheese and Richard’s argument was spot on. As I mentioned earlier in this article, the stinkier the cheese the more flavorful the cheese, you just have to make it past the smell. He says, “with cheese, you want to see it, smell it, feel it. The smell of it is so important to how it tastes. A lot of people at our sampling today who say they don’t want to try it because it may smell a little bit. But, after I convince them to just try it, it becomes their favorite cheese.”

I mentioned in the interview that people are looking for something to “wow” them and while the tamer cheeses are certainly delicious, you need the stronger aromatics of “stinky cheese” to get that “Wow Factor.” Richard agreed.

Richard asked how many times we have gone to a party and tried a cheese we had never had before and found that you really loved it? Well, because I am a “foodie” and a self-proclaimed “cheese lover,” that happens a good bit. Cheeses of Europe now have an amazing app that acts as an amazing resource for trying, tracking and pairing your favorite, or new favorite cheeses. You can get it for both iPhone and Android devices. I equate it to Untappd, except for cheese.

Richard and his crew did a phenomenal job at presenting one of my favorite things, cheese. They are quite knowledgeable and helpful when it comes to these creamy, pungent and yes, sometimes stinky treats. They will be in the USTA tent through this Saturday, August 25. So grab your tickets, talk with them about fromage (that is French for cheese) and enjoy some tennis. If you don’t make it out to that, download the app and start your own cheese journey. It is the cheesiest! Bon appétit! Oh, and tell them I sent you!

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!