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!

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 37

In Episode #37, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Mo Owen, Crystal Flores and Ryan Oberle are in to talk about the new Dogwood Hops & Crops.
  • Finnigans Wake is still down and reconstructing the inside of the bar/restaurant.
  • Chef Tim Grandinetti is looking for experienced and able Garde Manger/Saute Station and other kitchen spots for both Quanto Basta locations.
  • Tim & Stephanie went to Tijuana Flats. More to come about that.
  • 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 35

In Episode #35, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

Don’t forget my sponsor, 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 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 34

In Episode #34, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Quiet Pint gets a parking lot makeover.
  • Providence Restaurant and Triad Community Kitchen hold Fresh Start Full Plates Gala
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget my sponsor, 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 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 #33

Mike Rothman (©Winston-Salem Journal)

In Episode #33, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Hope du Jour is tonight!
  • Mission Pizza holds Knife Fight Vol. 3 on May 8.
  • Skippy’s founder, Mike Rothman passes away.
  • Food holidays and history.

Don’t forget my sponsor, 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 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 #30

In Episode #30, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

Don’t forget my sponsor, 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 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).

Slàinte mhath!

Happy 25th Rooster’s: A Noble Grille

This past weekend, Stephanie and I attended the 25th Anniversary Celebration of Rooster’s: A Noble Grille.

Guafrette (top), Lamb liver (bottom)

It was a pretty big day for them. I’d say around 200-300 people were in attendance throughout the day. Draft beer and a fine selection of wines were there and flowing freely, both in the physical and financial senses of the word. Fantastic appetizers and hors d’oeuvres like NC Oyster salad bites wrapped in a spinach leaf. Great crunch to the oyster while leaving it soft on the inside. Stauber Farms lamb liver mousse crostini with an onion jam. The liver was creamy and smooth with just that hint of tang that you’d expect plus the onion jam was added, too. Wow. And the Sunburst Farms smoked trout dip with roe on guafrettes. I think this was my favorite because of the saltiness the waffle chip brought to the savory trout and eggs.

Oyster salad bite

When the time came for the main attraction food, they had a large outdoor buffet setup next to a cooker that was almost as large as my en suite bathroom in my house. It was massive. There were cold and hot items on the buffets.

On the cold side they had a kale, farro, pickled apples, chevre, almonds, champagne honey and rye salad. They also had a spinach, roasted beets, walnuts, candied shallots, basil, balsamic vinaigrette salad. And, to finish it off, a purple sweet potatoes, pea shoots, pickled ramps salad with a collard pesto and toasted seeds. I steered clear of that one because I don’t like sweet potatoes. I ate my way around the walnuts and beets in the spinach salad. All that I had was very crisp and flavorful. Tangy dressings and lush greens. Very nice.

Plate of goodness

The hot buffet was the attraction, though. There was prime brisket done Texas bbq style and pork butt done Lexington style. There was an Eastern and a Western slaw. Housemade pickled jalapeno hushpuppies (they were really good), a very creamy and cheesy mac-n-cheese and pan-fried corn were also some faves of mine. There was wood fired beets with sherry and sea salt (again, I don’t eat beets), fried pickled cauliflower with amaranth, chilies and yogurt that I also stayed away from. One thing that I really did like was the toasted curry, basil, potato nest and ginger oil gnocchi. The curry was spicy but not hot. I’d actually say it was spiced to more accurate.

For dessert there was Moravian sugar cake bread pudding, currant Courvoisier caramel and vanilla gelato. The currant Courvoisier caramel was divine! Thick, warm and saucy, it started to melt the gelato just a tad so it was perfect with the pudding.

Moravian sugar cake bread pudding

I really want to thank Chef John Bobby, Chef Jim Noble and their staff for the invitation and for having this restaurant available for the community. Here’s hoping they’re here for another 25 years, at least. Cheers!

You can find more about Rooster’s: A Noble Grille on their website and select the Winston-Salem location or one of the other locations, if you’re so inclined. Roosters in Winston-Salem is located at 380 Knollwood Street. Go have some deliciousness and tell them that I sent you!

Skippy’s Reopens Today

Making one of my two dogs

Skippy’s Hot Dogs reopened today under the Whitley family’s watch. It has old Skippy’s dog mainstays and yes, the pretzel buns are back. I want to talk a little bit about my experience today. Now, as I said, today is the first day open so there’s a lot of kinks to work out. I’m definitely gonna be fair about this.

Let’s start with the menu.

There’s no fries. That’s okay. I’m not a huge fan of fries. I am huge but just not a huge fan of fries. There were some fresh-baked cookies for sale, though. They have canned drinks, just like in the old days (from here in for this blog post only, “the old days” will refer to the old Skippy’s). One thing that is definitely missing, though, is the Pennsylvania Dutch Birch Beer. I don’t know if it’s hard to get around here, they didn’t know where to look, or they just abandoned the idea. They do have Cheerwine which is a fine, local substitute, but not quite the same. Either way, I always thought the birch beer was the best option for the pretzel buns. Speaking of which…

They hadn’t perfected the pretzel bun recipe, prior to opening. They were a little extra crispy, a little tough and really lacking any real pretzel flavor. I trust they’ll get some more practice and hone that skill, as I believe it certainly is a skill to make those things. They will get it. However, for my trip today, and again… it’s the first day, so I understand… the buns actually detracted from the overall flavor of the hot dogs. In the old days, the buns were softer, chewier and their flavor accentuated the dogs. The dogs today were kind of bland. And thin, perhaps slightly overcooked.

Making a Chicago-style dog.

The real side choices for today (other than the cookies) were small bags of Lays chips and Doritos. If you’re only going to offer chips, that’s fine, but get creative. Get some Cape Cods or some gourmet chips; anything other than the same old thing you can buy in bulk at Costco (which I’m sure is where those came from). That’s not a bad thing, just nothing special about it. You’re reopening up a recently designated WSNC “treasure,” you want to do something to make it shine, not plain.

The dog choices are the Reuben (with spicy mustard, kraut and swiss cheese), the Chicago-“style” (with tomatoes, banana pepper, salt, onions, pickles), a chili dog, Mike’s Favorite (or special or something – I just thought it was cool they named something after him) that had kraut, pickle and spicy mustard. There’s also a slew of hot dog fixin’s to do a “make-your-own” dog. The hot dog choices aren’t vast but the fixin’s offer a plethora of creative options.  I had the Reuben and the Chicago-style (yes, Michael Hastings I had onions on it, but “light” on them). The dog didn’t have time to melt the cheese on the Reuben and the bun was overpowering on the rest of the flavor. The Chicago dog was decent, I would have rather them stuff the peppers and tomatoes in a little bit and, as with the Reuben, the bun distracted from the overall dog experience. I still think, though, there’s promise in the dogs, the buns and overall flavor. The dogs are $3.50 each.

The familiar old yellow walls are now bright white and they haven’t completed their addition (the old photography studio), yet so it’s still gonna be a bit crowded and very limited seating until that happens. That’s okay, it will be a lot better when that side expands the restaurant, I’m sure.

Chicago-style (l) and the Reuben (r)

Ordering (even with a slightly limited menu) seems to have been overwhelming for the staff creating the dogs on opening day. They’ll figure it out and that will be smoother. I was surprised that there wasn’t more people there when I got there, a little past 11am.

My assessment is that there’s plenty of potential and there’s plenty of growth opportunity for the restaurant, both in size and in quality. I’m not going to rate anything because I plan on going back in a few weeks to see if there are a few less kinks in the system. I won’t say it wasn’t good, because it was. It was just “green” and has a bit of company growing to do. That’s just my opinion and I hope great things for the establishment and the Whitleys. I’ll let you know what I think after a few weeks go by. 

You can find Skippy’s Hot Dogs at 624 W 4th Street, downtown Winston-Salem. Check them out, support local!

Listen to the latest podcast HERE.

Thanks for reading!
Slàinte!