A Week Off

Hiya folks. There is no The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast this week as we continued the long holiday weekend. You can listen to other The Less Desirables Network shows The Beer Dads and The Less Desirables. Just check out the Network website. I hope you had a great holiday weekend and I’ll see you next Tuesday!

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!

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!

A Movie Review: The Missing Ingredient

I was given the opportunity to screen and review a film for the RiverRun International Film Festival. You may ask yourself, why am I reading a movie review on a food blog? Well, it’s because the film is about food, sort of. It’s about two restaurants in New York City; one that was an “institution” and well known with a large repeat clientele and one that is MIngr_posternewer, still trying to find its place and purpose. The film is a documentary called The Missing Ingredient (2015), directed by Michael Sparaga.

Two restaurants. Two stories.

Gino’s, a multi-decade establishment (it opened in 1945), a staple in Manhattan’s Upper East Side achieved international status, partially due to its food, mostly because of the atmosphere and practically because of its red wallpaper adorned with two zebras, the smaller missing a stripe with arrows. It was a busy, no reservation, hipster haven (when being a hipster was cool in the 60s and 70s) that drew celebrities, dignitaries and other important people and was a way of life; probably more than being a restaurant.

Pescatore, is a Midtown Italian restaurant that has been somewhat popular since 1993, but just can’t gain traction and is dealing with stiff competition of other restaurants that are moving in around it, especially since the focus of the neighborhood has shifted. Now, that Charles Divigne, the new restaurateur of Pescatore wants to try other tactics, a different approach to attract new business to his establishment. He decides to “borrow” something from Gino’s. The move is controversial and the reaction is mixed. This film examines why only a handful of eateries of over 24,000, especially in New York, ever reach the status of “institution.” I don’t know that it ever finds its answer but the question is interesting.

The film interviews the former owners, other restaurateurs and long-time regulars of Gino’s about what made the now closed establishment an “institution.” The film explores the reasons for that closure and the emptiness left in the lives of those who called it their second home. Conversely, you hear the perspective of Devigne about his decision-making and the designers quitting in the process, searching for the “missing ingredient” to put his restaurant on the map. You do have to suffer the arrogance of the executive chef of Pescatore (whose name I don’t recall ever being mentioned) and Gael Green, former food critic for New Yorker magazine, but mostly the documentary felt genuine, even when you yourself may question why Devigne does what he does.

Being a lover of food and also being a fan of the behind-the-scenes aspect, this film gave me a lot to go on. I think you’ll enjoy it, too. The film is being shown at 1:00 pm, at the Hanesbrand Theatre, located at 209 North Spruce Street in Winston-Salem. Tickets can be purchased at the Stevens Center Box office or by visiting RiverRunFilm.com.

Bon Appetit!

Restaurant Week is Back

The Downtown Winston-Salem Partnership’s Restaurant Week is almost here! The new restaurant weekannual event is running this year from Monday, February 22 through Sunday, February 28. The event is to highlight the restaurants as well as our beloved downtown and its fantastic aesthetic and diverse nightlife. Each location will offer specials intended to entice you to try their wares as well as that of their colleagues.

The list of restaurants in the downtown Winston-Salem area is out and available for your perusing. You can see the full details of the event here. To highlight just a few of the establishments and a sample of their specials to whet your whistle:

DiLisio’s Italian Restaurant$30 Special – 1 shared Appetizer, 2 Baked Dishes, 1 Shared Canoli.

Willow’s Bistro & Bar:
$20 Special – 
1st Course: cup of soup or salad
2nd Course: Grilled Scottish Salmon: over wild mushroom risotto, asparagus coins, shaved manchego.
3rd Course: Makers Mark creme brulee with fresh berries

$30 Special –
1st Course: roasted veggies or grilled romaine
2nd Course: Grilled 8oz. Cafe Steak: over gouda mac n cheese, grilled asparagus, & fried onion rings
3rd Course: Sous Vide Banana Pudding

King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar:
$20 Special – Full Bucket – Dreamy Steamy Bucket: steamed mix of spiced up snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters

$30 Special – Bucket for Two – Dreamy Steamy Bucket: steamed mix of spiced up snow crab legs, shrimp, mussels, clams, oysters

Meridian:
$30 Per Person –
Choice of Starters:
Soup du Jour
Little Gem Artisan Lettuce Salad: with roasted tomato, English cucumber, house made crouton & aged red wine vinaigrette

Choice of Entree:
House Made Pasta of the day(eg. Ravioli, Lasagna, Manicotti)
Pan Seared NC Mountain Trout: with starch, vegetable & sauce
Grass Fed Bistro Steak Lyonnaise: with pommes frites, dressed artisan lettuce & Meridian steak sauce

Choice of Housse Made Dessert:
Bread Pudding: with caramel & creme chantilly
Vanilla Bean Creme Brulee
Dark Chocolate Torte with ganache & creme chantilly

Mellow Mushroom:
$20 Dinner for Two –
Choice of 2 lil’ salads (tossed or caesar)
1 medium 1-topping pizza to share
1 brownie sundae to share

$30 Dinner for Two –
Choice of Hummus or Bruschetta appetizer to share
1 large specialty pizza to share
1 brownie sundae to share

Mission Pizza:
$20 Special –
1 pizza of your choice, green salad, and daily dessert

$30 Special –
2 pizzas of your choice OR 1 pizza of your choice and 1 plate of your choice, and dessert

Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar:
Classic Spring House: $20 –
Choice of seasonal soup or HOUSE salad
The Colonel 2.0.16: crispy buttermilk fried chicken atop corn waffle with brown sugar smoked apple infused maple drizzle
Warm Bread Pudding
**please no substitutions

Winter’s Bounty: $30 –
Shrimp and Crab Beignets with Red Beet and Horseradish Remoulade
Choice of seasonal soup or HOUSE salad
Fred Flintstone’s Pork Shank: Savannah inspired red rice with lemon, parsley and dijon bread crumbs and HOUSE pepper jelly
**please no substitutions

Camino Bakery:
$20 Special –
Bag of Krankies whole coffee beans and a loaf of bread of your choice

$30 Special –
Bag of Krankies whole coffee beans, loaf of bread of your choice, and a bottle of Honoro Vera Garnacha

There are plenty more wonderful restaurants participating. Again, see the full list on the DWSP website.

A few disclaimers that are very important here:

*Restaurant Week Specials are dine-in only so, no take outs.
*Restaurant Specials are subject to change and that’s a possibilty. The prices exclude tax and tip. Take care of those who take care of you.
*If you’ve a food allergy, questions about ingredients or any other special restrictions, please check with individual restaurants.
*Restaurant Week Specials are subject to availability; they may, and often do, run out of the Special.
*Please check with restaurants prior to dining if you have questions about the Specials; don’t call the DWSP about it, they’re not in control of that info.
*If they run out of the Special, the restaurant is not obligated to provided a replacement dish.
*Coupons are not accepted in conjunction with these specials. Check with restaurants for coupon policies.

If there is an error on this page, the official restaurant special at the Restaurant is correct; I’m but a guide through the awesome food land and I have been known to almost make a mistake a time or two.

The important thing here? Go enjoy delicious food and support local establishments. You never know who you may see out there!

Former Winston-Salem Shop Gets AMBUSHed

When Justin and Sarah Hummell were in Winston-Salem, they owned Cafe Roche Coffee Shop in Ardmore (where Ardmore Coffee is now). They were the “Official Coffee Sponsor” of the pop culture podcast that I produce called The Less Desirables. We were heartbroken when they moved away to start SiP Bistro, but we were glad they were following their dreams. They are now in Holly Springs, NC.

This past week, SiP was taken over by the Food Network’s makeover show, “Restaurant Impossible: AMBUSH” hosted by Chef Robert Irvine and produced by former Double Dare (and Family Double Dare) host, Marc Summers. They were featured in the Triangle, NC’s own News & Observer. I’ll let that article speak for itself. Be warned, the article was kind of poorly written, but it tells the story. Enjoy! And, much congratulations to Justin and Sarah! We miss you guys!

Read the article here.

Famed Chef Paul Prudhomme has Died

by Timothy G Beeman II

I’ve never been to New Orleans. I know as a “foodie” (if that’s what we really are) that’s almost sacrilege but it’s true. I’d love to go someday and for no other reason but for the food. One place that I’d really like to go to would be K-Paul’s

Chef Paul (photo ©ChefPaul.com)

Chef Paul (photo ©ChefPaul.com)

Louisiana Kitchen. From what I have heard (and not being there and experiencing it) that pretty much changed the rules for a lot of things in the culinary world. I can still go there but it won’t be the same without Chef Paul Prudhomme. Instead of trying to make up something I really don’t know about I’m going to include a link to the article I read about his passing. Enjoy!

http://www.nola.com/dining/index.ssf/2015/10/paul_prudhomme_dies.html

All rights reserved to the owner/writer/publisher of the article as listed within

Empty Bowls: Ending Hunger One Artfully Crafted Bowl at a Time

By Timothy G Beeman II

Have you ever eaten out of a piece of art?  I’m not talking about an old McDonald’s Happy Meal box with drawings and games on the outside.  I mean an actual piece of art?  On Wednesday, April 22, you’ll get your chance. The following excerpts are from the SHFBNWNC press release:

“Foodies and art lovers alike are anticipating the wildly popular 14th annual Empty Bowls, the signature event for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina.

“The drop-in luncheon, presented by Texas Pete® Sauces, will be held from 11am until 2pm at the Millennium Center in downtown Winston-Salem. Tickets are $25 in advance and $35 at the door, and include lunch donated by the area’s top restaurants and a choice of one bowl from a selection of handcrafted and painted pottery bowls donated by area artists.

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Empty Bowls 2015

“‘The bowl that each guest selects is not used at the event,’ explains James Caldwell, Development Manger of Special Events for Second Harvest Food Bank. ‘It remains empty as a reminder of our neighbors struggling against hunger.’

“The event will also feature a fabulous silent auction and the Empty Bowls Store, filled with an array of hand crafts, Empty Bowls branded items and stocks of sweet and savory selections prepared by Providence Catering of Triad Community Kitchen. All event proceeds support Second Harvest Food Bank’s food distribution programs and special meal programs for children, including the BackPack Program, commemorating 10 years of making hunger-free weekends possible for kids in need; Kids Cafes; School Pantries and summer feeding initiatives.

“Free parking and shuttle service are available at the event. To purchase tickets online, visit: hungernwnc.org.”

Tim Beeman (of this food blog, the food news and views podcast, Tart & Tangy Triad and the pop culture podcast, The Less Desirables) will be a “Floor Ambassador” for the event from 10:30 until 12:30 (or beyond).  He hopes to see you out there and to shake your hand and get you set up with a meal for a great cause.

SHFBNWNC also wants to bring attention to the event’s generous sponsors: Presenting sponsor – Texas Pete® Sauces; Signature sponsor – Food Lion; Potter’s Wheel sponsors The Abe & Miriam Brenner Foundation, BB&T, Harris Teeter, Reynolds American, Inc., The Sawtooth School for Visual Art and Wells Fargo & Company; Media sponsor – The Winston-Salem Journal; and Contributing sponsors An Originals By You, The Millennium Center and Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest NC is the leading hunger relief organization for an 18 county service area (Alamance, Alexander, Alleghany, Ashe, Caldwell, Caswell, Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Iredell, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes, Surry, Watauga, Wilkes and Yadkin), working in partnership with more than 400 local food assistance programs that include food pantries, soup kitchens, emergency shelters and special feeding programs for children and seniors. Together they provide critical nutritional support for nearly 300,000 neighbors in need each year, including 100,000 children, as we passionately pursue an end to hunger through outreach, education and advocacy. Special Second Harvest Food Bank programs include special initiatives to combat childhood hunger, the Triad Community Kitchen culinary job training program, Nutrition Education Services and others. To learn more, visit hungerncnwnc.org. Find them on Facebook and Twitter.  Second Harvest Food Bank is part of Feeding America.

Make a date to end hunger on April 22.

Small Batch Beer Releasing Beer Based on Old Salem

From the Small Batch Beer Facebook Invite:

“Small Batch and Old Salem Museums & Gardens have teamed up to offer a limited edition beer based on a historic recipe that dates to the late 1700’s. In celebration of NC Beer Month we are releasing this limited supply for all to try!”

View the invite here.