The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode #28

In Episode #28, 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!

Restaurant News January 13, 2017

I have already done a podcast this week and this info all came out after that, or at least I heard about it after. I figured it was better to give you the info now instead of waiting because time is of the essence.

We, the foodie community, were presented with a press release from the Honey Pot restaurant’s owner, Beau Tate. The press release reads as follows:

Friends, guests, and partners

It’s with a heavy heart that I share this news, but Saturday March 4th will be our last dinner service at The Honey Pot. This ride has been nearly three years long and we have consistently been humbled by the warm reception that we’ve received from the Winston Salem dining community. Our tables have been filled with friends and supporters who share in our endeavor: to showcase the amazing food that’s produced or grown in the Triad, to drink well in good company, and to celebrate life. Unfortunately, the financial end of this endeavor is a tough one. We’ve spent the last year making changes to keep the pulse alive but unfortunately our efforts have fallen short. We’re really proud of the food that we’ve put across the table and the memories that have been created at The Honey Pot. It has been an honor and privilege to welcome you through our doors, and it’s bitterly disappointing to know that it’s drawing to a close.

I couldn’t be more proud of the team that we’ve grown over the years and the work that they’ve collectively accomplished. THP has been built brick by brick through staff contributions, learning, and personal growth that our team has shared with guests on a daily basis. It’s a source of great personal pride for all of us and has been the most rewarding facet of my career to date. To anybody looking for employees with a diamond work ethic and an amazing passion for taking care of people, these are your folks. Call them, or call me and I’ll put you in touch with them.

To the growers and producers with whom we’ve had the pleasure of working, you all are a local treasure. Your dedication to producing the highest quality product in an ethical and sustainable manner is a source of inspiration and is changing Winston Salem’s relationship with food. Day by day you’re showing us that it is possible to make a life by working the land, and you’re living the change we hope to see in the world. We commend you and are deeply sorry not to be able to purchase your food in a professional capacity on an on-going basis, but we look forward to seeing you often at market.

Most importantly, thank you to our guests who have chosen to spend your hard-earned money and moreover your time at The Honey Pot. You’ve made it a special journey and there are no words sufficient to express the gratitude that we feel for your support. We’d love to see each of your faces over the coming weeks for a final meal at THP and a hug before we begin our next chapter. Until March 4th we’ll be doing what we love to do: putting forth food with heart and enjoying you all enjoying yourselves. There will most certainly be a celebration of everything that we’ve accomplished at THP at some point in the near future so stay tuned. If you’re unable to make it in before our last service please come visit at Tate’s and we can reminisce over a cocktail.

So, if you’re a fan of Honey Pot, you have until March 4 to enjoy it. It’s sad to see things close. I know a lot of people enjoyed the restaurant. I’ll admit that Stephanie and I haven’t been there since Chef Harrison Littell arrived on the scene and I know he’s top notch, but it was never a place that we wanted to eat. We tried a few times and weren’t impressed. Again, that was a while back and I do want to get there before they close because I want to get more acquainted with Chef Harrison’s cooking. You can get by there before they close by visiting 285 W 4th Street in WSNC. Good luck to all involved in their future endeavors.

In other news, I haven’t confirmed this, yet, but it seems that King’s Crab Shack & Oyster Bar is set to be franchised. Will and I are friends and we talk about food, but he hasn’t mentioned this to me. When I talk to him I can get the details and report more on it. But, I think it’s pretty cool that the place is doing well enough, and have the reputation to expand. I believe they’ll stick close to the area and let them all in the awesomeness that is King’s Crab Shack. Again, as I know more, you’ll know more. I’ll keep you informed. Currently, the only location is at 239 W 4th Street in WSNC. I recommend just about everything on the menu. Congratulations to Will and Norb, if this is true.

Thanks for reading!

Farm 2 Fourth Harvest Dinner a Success for Downtown WSNC

I recorded a podcast of this this past Tuesday (see previous post). 14095926_10154296661620490_1926267465363315423_nThis past Sunday, Stephanie and I were lucky enough to get tickets to the very first “Farm 2 Fourth Harvest Dinner” event hosted by the Winston-Salem Journal’s own, food editor, Michael Hastings. The event was a highlighting of local chefs using only local ingredients from local farms and making basically, a seven course feast for 140 diners to enjoy. Before I talk about the food, I do want to say that there were RayLen and Childress wines and port and, of course, the official “liquid reward” of The Man Who Walked the Town, as well as Presenting Sponsor of The Beer Dads, Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Company brews on hand. We had plenty of that, too. Now, on to the food!

The hors d’oeuvres were from Chef Lucas McGill, of Hutch & Harris. It was crostini with country ham, farmers’ cheese and radish sprouts. I had two of them and Stephanie one, at the insistence of one of the service captains; they had two left they needed rid of. Very good, not overly salty and the microgreens were right on spot. Good stuff. 14079830_10154302032545490_2702548163340851777_nQuaint but delicious. Chef McGill does great stuff over at Hutch & Harris.

Next came a very colorful and flavor-packed morsel of cherry bomb compressed watermelon with balsamic-basil syrup prepared by Chef Jeff Bacon of Providence Restaurant and Catering. The color was vibrant red, almost glowingly so and the bright greens on top with the darker balsamic-basil syrup created an almost mind-blowingly beautiful square of wonderful. The flavor of the greens disappeared mostly but the crunch they left behind was what the melon needed to balance the soft texture and spiced vinegar glaze. If I’m not mistaken there were tiny chunks of walnuts and feta or some other soft cheese to accompany the dish. Chef Bacon loves his watermelons and this was his pièce de résistance.

Chefs Christian Froelich of The Hearth at Sanders Ridge and Richard Miller of Graze prepared a fantastic veggie 14102433_10154302082135490_840297715253272217_nbaba ghanoush with red onion and cucumber relish and homemade naan. Baba Ghanoush (or ghanouj) is generally eggplant, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil. I can only suppose that was what was in there. I do believe I tasted the eggplant, so I figure they stayed true to form on it. Yes, for those of you wondering, I did eat the pickled red onion and cucumber relish. There were also beets and microgreens on top. The naan was firm but not leathery or tough, it was still soft and delicious. Michael Hastings of the Journal made sure to get a picture of me eating the onions as anyone who knows me knows that I hate onions. But, for the benefit and integrity of the dish and festivities, I ate them. Pickled, they’re not that bad. Not something I’d want all the time but in this dish, it was definitely outshined by the baba ghanoush. Chef Christian couldn’t be there because of another commitment but Chef Richard Miller handled it quite nicely. It was delicious.

14192188_10154302097210490_4766992602351391198_nNext up, Chef Jared Keiper of the Tavern in Old Salem provided us with basil marinated goat cheese, charred red onion and heirloom green tomato pie. Now, again, with the onions, I ate them because they weren’t prevalent. And, neither was the green tomatoes. I’m not a huge fan of those either. But, don’t hear me wrong; I loved this dish. I’d have this dish again and again. The Tavern in Old Salem is always a fantastic place to dine and the wit and skills of Chef Jared are what makes it so. That combined with his brother, Jordan creating some of the best craft cocktails, made from the best local and regional spirits he (or we) can find. The Tavern is tough to beat. The crust of the pie was flaky, yet firm, great tasting and when topped with the heirloom cherry/grape tomatoes and microgreens (you know I love me some microgreens) and the tangy, tangy goat cheese (I also love me some goat cheese)? Holy smokes. Another winner!

Chef Harrison Littell of Honey Pot provided the sides for the night. This was a roasted potato hash (which I didn’t get14141643_10154302122435490_3872696077436112559_n a picture of because it was already being passed around before I could get to it) and Hoots braised greens and green bean salad with feta cheese. The seasoning on the potatoes were perfect. It was salty without being overbearing. The seasoning on the bean salad was kicked up a few notches. It was some spicy stuff. Not too spicy for me, but when you’re not expecting it, it can be a surprise. The cauliflower was from my pal Niki Farrington’s Niki’s Pickles. I am quite sure that’s where the spicy came from. Chef Littell held nothing back on this dish. Vibrant colors, punchy taste, smiling faces afterward. I’d say it was a hit. The “greens” came after as well and I had it with the next dish.

The main course for the evening was a combo dish from Chef Travis Myers (my buddy) of Willow’s Bistro and Chef John Bobby of Rooster’s: A Noble Grille. 14100398_10154302174700490_353053953512636586_nChef Travis smoked a porchetta and the meat was banging. I don’t usually use that word with food, but it was. Tender with the meaty middle and the crisp skin on the outside. The flavor was right on point; hearty. Chef Bobby made smoked lamb with chimichurri. He made it both in slices and in “pulled’ style. Both were great and seasoned just right. Both Chefs Travis and John shared the smoker and it is always fun watching Chef Travis use his knife skills. It was also fun watching Michael Hastings come around getting “privilege tastes” of everything. This, of course, was my favorite dish. Why? Because this food had a mother. Kudos to both Chef Travis and Chef John Bobby.

Then it was time for dessert. Dessert was also a tag-team effort. Chef Janis Karathanas of Providence Restaurant made a mascarpone cheesecake with a port wine reduction. She told us all what she made this of and I had no time to write it down. Plus, I was too busy tasting it. Even though I don’t know exactly what was in it, I can tell you it melted 14088459_10154302224620490_649515975873410144_nin your mouth and if you have it, you won’t care what was in it. I promise. Also on the plate was a sea-salt caramel stuffed fig dipped in dark chocolate and a honey ganache truffle prepared by Chef Tirra Cowen of Black Mountain Chocolate. The sea-salt caramel was that sweet, salty deliciousness that you knew you were going to get and the honey ganache truffle was perfect. To see these two desserts on the same plate lined 140 en masse on the old Community Arts Café bar? That was a thing of beauty. And the flavors were even more beautiful than the taste. Hat tip to Chef Janis and Chef Tirra.

And hats off to Michael Hastings, Justin Gomez and all the Winston-Salem Journal staff on hand to make this a wonderful event. And to all the chef and local growers, farmers and suppliers, thank you for all that you do for us in food fandom. You make us so very happy and we can’t thank you enough. The volunteer staff and restaurateurs were fabulous, as well. This event was a first for Winston-Salem but Michael Hastings said they were definitely doing it next year. I refuse to call anything “First Annual” because how do you know, really? You don’t. So, next year can be the “second annual” edition. I loved it.