West End Cafe Update

From West End Café:


Good afternoon everyone!

By now you all must be aware of Mayor Allen Joines “Stay At Home Order” issued yesterday which takes effect Friday, March 27th at 5:00 pm. In consideration of this order, and out of concern for the health and safety of our staff and customers, West End Cafe will cease offering to go orders effective Friday, March 27th at 5:00 pm, or when we run out food, whichever comes first. We will reopen upon the expiration of this order on April 16th.

Although Mayor Joines’ order allows us to remain open for to-go orders by following the strict guidelines in the order, we feel that just because we can doesn’t mean we should. To remain open would seem to run contrary to the purpose and intent of the order and the need to “flatten the curve” of the spread of the COVID19 Virus. We do not make this decision lightly. We are ceasing operations out of an abundance of caution for our staff and our customers who have been so wonderful and loyal since the late Rob Shay opened the Cafe in 1980. Throughout this time, we have repeatedly asked ourselves “What would Rob do?” We have no doubt that Rob would put the health and safety of customers and staff first, and would close our doors until the order is lifted.

Upon the expiration of this order, West End Cafe will reopen and will be offering a BRAND NEW DINNER MENU and an updated wine list. We hope that you will all join us then to jump-start a new era of great food and service at West End Cafe. Until then, stay put, stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t forget about us, or the rest of the service and hospitality businesses that have been so adversely affected by this virus.

We would also like to express our immense gratitude for our patrons who have supported us during this trying time. Your warmth and generosity have given us a newfound faith in humanity. We simply cannot thank you enough, and we hope to see you all soon!


I have every reason to believe that when we reach the “other side” that we will have an even-better West End Café which is saying something because they are pretty awesome, to begin with. When I have info, I will pass it along!

A Delicious by Shereen Update

©Shereen Gomaa

I had a short email conversation with Shereen Gomaa from Delicious by Shereen about her operations. Here is what she said:

We’ve had challenges in finding adequate supplies (we had to drive to Greensboro just to find chicken and there is almost no rice in the market) – we’re going to hold off on any delivery orders for the time being so that we can ensure we continue to provide the quality (and quantity) that people have come to expect from Delicious. 

We will plan on continuing normal catering operations once the situation improves and may consider centralized pickup, and are working on revamping our business model to accommodate delivery orders in the future.

When the crisis is over and things get back to business, you can contact her by sending an email to info@deliciousbyshereen and visiting her website or her Facebook page. Check back often to see if her status has changed and you can also follow The Man Who Ate the Town status list.

What To Do With the Food?

In light of Governor Cooper’s executive order to close bars and dine-in restaurants, I have a question. Well, actually, it was posed by my friend and fellow foodie, Tracy Bush (a/k/a Nutrimom), what will the restaurants do with the food they won’t be able to use?

I know that there will be takeout and delivery orders, but I’m pretty sure that most of the restaurants won’t be overrun with business from that. Which, of course, is a horrible thought. But, since we’re all having to face a new reality right now, let’s just put this on the minds of those who “can.”

I hope they donate to the food banks and other locations like that. Food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, schools, wherever they can. Perhaps employees that will be “laid off” indefinitely?

I don’t want this to be a debate, I’m not even asking for answers. I’m just curious as to what will happen with this.

As always, wash your hands, diligently, and stay safe.

Dinner Guest – The Man Who Ate the Town

It was again my turn to contribute to the Dinner Guest column for Triad City Bites over at Triad City Beat, the alt-weekly magazine.

This quarter I talked about my five years and counting without traditional fast food.

You can read the article HERE. I would appreciate it and I am pretty sure Brian, Jordan and the folks over at TCB would, too.

Thanks, TCB!

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 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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 50

©Mary Haglund

In Episode #50, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:

  • Larry Haglund, a pillar of the culinary and public community, passes away.
  • Hoots Beer Company having 4th Annual Zinzendorf Oktoberfest/Anniversary Shindig 9/30
  • 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 49

©Bar Piña

In Episode #49, 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!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 48

In Episode #48, 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!