The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode #7

In episode #7:

Food and restaurant news including accolades for a local food staple.14095926_10154296661620490_1926267465363315423_n

Food holidays and history for the week of August 29- September 4.

Big news for Pablo del Valle and his Atelier on Trade. New menu coming for The Tavern in Old Salem. A review of Farm 2 Fourth Harvest Dinner that happened this past Sunday.

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 page).

Bon appetit!

Beer vs. Wine: the Debate Continues at 1703 Restaurant

On Sunday, August 14, Stephanie and I had the opportunity to sit at the blogger’s table for Chef Curtis Hackaday’s Beer vs wine dinner at 1703 Restaurant in Winston-Salem. Chef Curtis is a superb chef that creates not only delicious dishes, he creates edible works of art. I know that can get thrown around easily but it’s really true here. When the blog post comes out, you can see the pictures. It’s lovely stuff.

The purpose of this dinner, outside of having delightful food, was to answer an age old question: beer or wine? Is it beer that goes with dinner better or is it wine? We’re about to find out. There were several clusters of people in the 2016-08-23 15.20.26restaurant and since it was a small crowd, they separated us to get “groups” opinions. We would vote after each meal and see who came out on top.

Ms. Jackie Biggs of Mutual Distribution Company was our wine sommelier and Mr. Andrew Turner was our beer sommelier (yes, that’s a thing). He is a scientist and co-owner (according to his Facebook page) of Mystery Brewing which was who provided all the beer for this evening.

First Course: Grilled Avocado, Curtido Crab Shrimp Salad, Arugula and Radish Sprouts.

I didn’t know you could grill an avocado. My question to Chef Curtis, the next time I see him, is going to be how the heck did he peel them to grill them? Never mind that he grilled it and it stayed together, I can’t ever peel it without crushing it. Then again, I’m no chef. The avocado was still very tender to have been peeled and grilled, but it was definitely firm. Surprisingly, too, the crab shrimp salad was warm and not cold as everyone at the table expected it to be.  It was quite flavorful, too and the crunchy, peppery arugula was an excellent first layer topping for the salad but then add the bright stalks of the radish sprouts on top? Man… that was some great stuff. The sprouts made it pop. One of my favorite adjectives with food construction, pop. It did here.

The beer was Mystery Brewing’s Gentlemen’s Preference Belgium Blonde and the wine was Hall Sauvignon Blanc. I thought the beer went better with the overall dish. The wine brought bright things out in the food, but I was more 2016-08-23 15.21.48about the depth that the beer brought. I voted for the beer. I was the only one at the table who did so. Wine won that round, en masse.

Second course: Gigante Bean Cassoulet, Tiny Veggies, Chanterelle Focaccia & Shiso Microgreens.

To take from Wikipedia: “Cassoulet is a rich, slow-cooked casserole originating in the south of France, containing meat, pork skin and white beans. The dish is named after its traditional cooking vessel, the cassole, a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides.” This was good, it had some giant beans (hence the Gigante) and itty-bitty carrots and onions in there. Two things of note here is that Stephanie has an aversion to beans and she ate nearly the whole thing and I have an aversion to onions and I ate all of the wee ones in my dish. The focaccia biscuit was very nice and helped sop up the extra cassoulet juices. And my new favorite word in food: microgreens. A bright accent on top of the hearty bean dish was an added, textural bonus. It made the dish.

The beer was Mystery’s Evangeline Rye Saison and the wine was the Susana Balboa Signature Malbec from Argentina. I believe that Stephanie and I have decided that Malbecs are our new favorite red. We like “jammy” and that’s what you get with Malbec. It’s not necessarily sweet, but it’s not dry either. Just good. This particular one was very good for that. We purchased a bottle to bring home. The Evangeline Rye saison was high in ABV (8.1% – which I love) and deep amber in color but easy to drink. I thought the wine and beer were neck and neck on what went better 2016-08-23 15.23.00with the dish. When a tie happens, it’s always beer for me. Again, I was out voted. Wine won the dish.

Third Course: Porchetta, Watermelon, Shaved Fennel, Baby Vegetable Tops, Peach Mustard Hot Sauce, Pickled Ramps, Okra Straws, Micro Basil and Peaches.

Whew, there was a lot going on in this dish. First off, porchetta is a big, fat piece of pork roast. And what a wonderful thing that is, too! The watermelon cubes, baby veggies, peaches, shaved fennel, all culminated in a bombastic finish, especially when you drag it through the peach mustard hot sauce schmear. I am not a fan of okra, but I liked the okra straws. The pickled ramps were good, too. I usually steer clear of those but not tonight. The pork center was very tender and the belly was chewy and delicious. The skin was very crunchy! We all remarked about how loud we each were chewing; it was that loud. Overall, it was my first time having porchetta, I think, and it was by far my favorite course of the evening. Then again, I’m a meat eater and this dish once had a mother.

Mystery’s beer was Lockwood’s Retreat West Coast IPA and the wine was Zaccagnini Cerasuolo d’Abruzzo’s Rose di Montepulciano from Italy. Now, I have mentioned many times that I’m over IPAs and I’m hopped out. This wasn’t that kind of IPA. Sure, there was some hoppiness to it and it was definitely noticeable but it certainly did not attack my tongue. It was a smooth drink and I enjoyed it. I also enjoyed the rose and thought the light fruit of it went perfectly with the pork and the watermelon and peaches. So, believe it or not, I went with the wine for the dinner. Again, surprisingly, I was outvoted. Most everyone at the table went beer, even Stephanie. Beer won that dish.

Dessert Course: Matcha Beer Pound Cake, Carrot Ganache, Macerated Cherries, Chocolate Crumble, Peach Honey Sorbet and Lacy Pistachio.

To me, and I believe to everyone at the table this was two completely different desserts. The green tea and beer cake with the cherries on top on one side and the chocolate crumble, peach-honey sorbet and lacy pistachio on the other; both on top of a schmear of carrot ganache. The cake was very moist and the green tea mixed wonderfully with the cherries and those both went quite well with the beer that I’ll mention in a bit. The chocolate crumble was rich 2016-08-23 15.24.05but not too much so. And, the deliciously sweet sorbet with a lacy pistachio “cookie” dipped in it was a mix of warm and cold; deep and tart all at the same time. I thought it paired best with the wine that I’ll mention. I liked the carrot ganache but I think it would have been okay if it wasn’t there. Not bad mouthing it, just didn’t think it was absolutely necessary for the dish to work. Or should I say ‘dishes?’

The beer was Mystery’s Papa Bois Foreign Export Stout and the wine was Gerard Bertrand Banyuls from France. The blackberry and woody taste of the wine made it a great choice for me when it came to the chocolate crumble and sorbet part. And, the deep rich coffee-esque flavor of the stout made the green tea and beer stand out in the Matcha cake and cherries. Because it was, as I said, considered two different desserts on one plate and I thought that the beverage choices were each right for one of the components, I split my vote to a tie.  That happened with several of the diners, but overall for that course, beer won out. That made the overall consensus; 2 courses for wine and 2 courses for beer.

We bought the Banyuls and the Malbec as well as Mystery’s Gentlemen’s Preference Belgium Blonde and the Papa Bois Stout. I think all were fantastic but those were our favorites.

Chef Curtis, I tip my hat to you, brother, you did a fantastic and amazing job with the courses. Your food artistry is amazing. I appreciate you having us there and we will be returning to dine with you more often. It’s added to the ‘rotation,’ if you will.

1703 Restaurant owner, Molly Curran, said that they were going to have these kinds of dinners every second Sunday of the month. If you’re interested in participating in a future pairing or just having some of Chef Curtis’ wares, you can find more on their website. They’re located at 1703 Robinhood Rd in Winston-Salem. I highly recommend you do check them out.

Kudos Chef Curtis and Molly!

Bon appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode #6

In episode #6:

Food and restaurant news including accolades for a local food staple.2016-08-23 15.21.48

Food holidays and history for the week of August 22-28.

I also review our great experience at 1703 Restaurant and their “beer vs. wine” dinner from Chef Curtis Hackaday. There will be a blog post about that on Thursday.

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.

Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the page).

Bon appetit!

Feeling the Luv Luv

2016-08-14 12.07.26

Amuse Bouche

I podcasted about this this week, but, Stephanie and I had the privilege of attending not one but four different food events his past week. I say four but it was really only three different events but four different days. Today I’m going to talk about Chef Tim Grandinetti’s Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival that is held every year at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen & Bar. We went two nights, Monday, which wasn’t officially part of the festival and we took 10 of our good friends with us to enjoy the local celebs that we call chefs in and around WSNC. That will come soon, but the review today, t is about the event that we attended on Friday. Luv Luv brings chefs from all around the country, some of Chef Tim’s best chef buddies, if you will.

This night’s guest chef is Chef Tim Recher who is the Executive Chef of the Army Navy Club in Washington DC, so he’s used to cooking for 4-star generals and Admirals. We were lucky to have him here.

2016-08-16 12.25.30The night started with a little amuse bouche of a beef meatball, steamed shrimp (wrapped in foil with heirloom grape tomatoes and herbs) and a deviled egg that had a familiar flavor but I cannot for the life of me figure out what it was. It was pickled or vinegary. I loved it though.

The first course was a Sweet Corn Vichyssoise with Maine lobster, hearts of palm from Hawaii, Fresno chile to add some spice, a lengthy brioche with parsley oil. This was a sweet, cold soup. The chunks of lobster were just that, chunks, and an ample amount of it, too. The Fresno chile gave a little bite to cut through the sweetness of the corn. The Hearts of Palm added a little texture to the soup as did the brioche. Fantastic dish, this.2016-08-16 12.26.42

The fish course was Milk Poached Halibut with Parisian gnocchi, asparagus (which I promptly put on Stephanie’s plate as I cannot eat it and live with myself), pearl onion, which, surprisingly, I ate and the whole plate was garnished with pea tendrils. The fish was quite flaky, which is always good and there was a light foam, I’m guessing from the milk on the top and I’m unable to say enough good things about microgreens and the pea tendrils had a great light crunch and bright flavor to add, as well. I thought the gnocchi was tender but not doughy as some can feel to me. The flavor of them was nicely done, as well. They’re a little different than normal potato-based dough treats you may think of with gnocchi. I just loved the fish with the microgreens.

2016-08-16 12.27.52The next course was different for me. Another food that I just can’t get into is beets. Some may complain that a foodie needs to eat them. Well, not this foodie. They taste like dirt and I don’t mean they taste dirty, I mean they taste like dirt. It is somewhat the bane of my existence that they have become a fad as of late. Chefs need to experiment and get that, just leave me out of it. So, this course, was Smoked Beat Salad. It included aerated coriander yogurt, curried cashews, upland cress and a beet fluid gel. One thing I have to say about this dish is that it was very colorful and beautiful. It was probably the most colorful and “pretty” dish of the day. But, beets are beets and regardless of using the gold or red beets (chef Tim used both), they taste like dirt to me. I did like the curried cashews, though. Stephanie did eat some of hers and she preferred the gold beets, earthy, not like dirt but warm & hearty like yellow curry. She also said they had a brighter 2016-08-16 12.29.11flavor, especially with the upland cress microgreens, which I also ate from my plate, because microgreens.

My favorite dish was next, Zabuton Wagyu Beef Steak. It was accompanied by beef short rib in a potato pavè, heirloom veggies, truffle reduction, soubise, coffee soil and crispy bone marrow butter. The beef was prepared medium rare, as it should be (if not rare) and had a bit of the soubise and ruffle reduction around it. The coffee soil, the best I can tell, is what formed the delightful crust on the beef. The crispy bone marrow butter was very hearty with a rich meaty flavor, I liked it. The potato pave was tender, it looked firmer than it was but the flavor with the short rib inside and even with the heirloom veggies, which when I can, I do eat, was a fantastic side. I thought the flavors melded great and was a 2016-08-16 12.30.39fantastic overall dish.

The dessert course was Soft Chocolate & Raspberries. It included a chocolate soil, a housemade raspberry gel, chocolate crumble and spearmint. The soft chocolate, to me was like pudding and was melting. It wasn’t just because of the heat, but by design. The raspberry gel was thick and tart, but oh so good, especially when mixed with the melting chocolate and the chocolate crumbles. If you have a sweet tooth, I’m pretty sure this would have hit the spot. I found it delicious and with the bright spearmint at the end (I love eating mint) the whole plate popped.

I want to thank, again, Chef Tim Grandinetti for hosting this fantastic event, which over the course of the week saw seven guest chefs from around the country and Canada and around 10 of the best chefs we have here locally in Winston-Salem. I’d also like to thank Chef Tim Recher for bringing his talents to Winston for a night to thrill those who got to experience his cooking style, which for Stephanie and I, our second year in a row with Chef Tim. Next year, if you’re not at Luv Luv, then you don’t love food. Find out more about Spring House by visiting their website HERE.


The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 5

Second post for today, sorry about that.  This show wasn’t recorded at Test Pattern Studios but you should check out their Facebook page anyway; good stuff is on its way, there!

For show #5:2016-08-16 12.29.11

Food and restaurant news including the death of a popular chef from Washington DC, a local food truck finally sells and a chain could be closing here locally.

Food holidays and history for the week of August 15-21.

I also review our great time at Friday night’s Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival at Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar featuring Chef Tim Recher of the Army/Navy Club in Washington DC.

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.

Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn. Or you can listen here (at the bottom of the page).

Bon appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 4

Recorded at Test Pattern Studios, the fourth episode of The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast was actually out two weeks ago but I didn’t post it here, for whatever reason. It was posted on the site and through the RSS feeds. Oh well. I’m releasing both #4 and #5 today. Listen when you want. 2016-08-16 17.52.53

For show #4:

I bring back the food holidays and history that Stephanie used to do on Tart & Tangy Triad.

I also review a recent visit to West End Cafe.

Don’t forget my sponsor, Washington Perk & Provision Company.

Give it a listen on iTunes, Stitcher, Podcast Addict and TuneIn. Or you can listen here.

Bon appetit!