No Podcast This Week

Hi there, readers/listeners/friends!

There will be no The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast this week. Ray and I will be back next week.

Meanwhile, you can go back and listen to old episodes or even check out some of our sister podcasts on The Less Desirables Network.

The Less Desirables, The Beer Dads, Fan Interference, Apartment 5B, Beeswax Vinyl & More has two eps and we are getting ready to record more and there are old episodes (loaded with valuable info) of Sipping NC: The Art of Drinking which is also preparing its comeback. And, we have a few new things coming soon.

As always, I really would appreciate if you visited our sponsors, Carrabba’s Italian Grill, The Humblebee Shoppe and Washington Perk. They make it possible for us to bring you this podcast/blog.

I appreciate your listening and reading!

The Beer Dads Go To Cúrate

I know that Winston-Salem is “the town” in The Man Who Ate the Town. But, every once in a while you have to step outside the box. Sometimes that’s to Greensboro or High Point. Sometimes it’s further out. This time it is Asheville, NC.

Yep, Stephanie and I went up the hill (I can’t call NC mountains “mountains” being as I’m from WV; these are hills) but we didn’t go alone. We met up with my cohorts from The Beer Dads, Jon Lowder and Paul Jones and their pilots Celeste and Susan (respectively). We were going up to celebrate Susan’s birthday month. It was a milestone one and I won’t get into which milestone that is. We set out to have a grand time with some great food, great drinks, and especially great company. We got all of that in abundance.

But, this post is about one restaurant in particular. This restaurant is called Cúrate (pronounced coo – rah – tay). Cúrate means to cure yourself in Spanish, or according to their website, to eat Spanish tapas. That’s what the restaurant specializes in, tapas. It has a reputation for being amazing and I must say, it didn’t disappoint. Paul and Susan had been there before and the restaurant had changed a bit, expanded, since then.


Our server, Michael, got drink orders from us all, which we opted for the pitcher of red sangria. The glasses were kind of small but perfect for the setting and the service. Each pitcher got us about two glasses each and there were six of us. Twelve glasses is a good amount for a pitcher. The sangria wasn’t overly boozy and it also wasn’t overly winey. The fruit didn’t take over either. To me, it was a perfect blend. It was very refreshing and light but you still felt like you were getting your drink on.

Tabla de Jamónes

Michael then explained to us the concept of the “Spanish Experience.” That is where Michael and the chefs come up with a custom menu for the table, ensuring we all get to try each item, and they bring until we say we can’t have anymore. We decided, as a table, that this was the right course for us. Basically, he asks us questions like: are there any food allergies or is there anything you just won’t eat? The answer to both was no. I was willing to eat (around) asparagus had it come out on a plate. I don’t know how much asparagus is used in Spanish cooking. Something to research, I guess. Paul ate octopus and while it wasn’t his favorite dish, he said it wasn’t “bad.” Props for that. And, I think we were all ready to experiment and just try new stuff. That’s the point, right?

Pan de Cristal con Tomate

Before we got into the heart of the meal, we did order something from the “para el aperitivo” (appetizers) and “charcuteria y quesos” (charcuterie and cheeses). We had the tabla de jamónes or a selection of all four of their cured hams. Most of these were Ibérico pigs. The difference in the four was the length of aging and the cut of meat. They ranged from being cured one year up to three years. The nutty flavor of the Ibérico and the stronger flavor of the longer aged pig was magnificent. We got that at the same time we also had the pan de cristal con tomate which is toasted crispy bread with fresh tomato, garlic, and olive oil. With that, we got the manchego cheese. So, let me explain something. When you take the manchego cheese and have that with the Ibérico ham and the chase it with the tomato bread… magnífico!

Gambas al Ajillo

Then came the fantastic Spanish Experience.

First, we had the gambas al ajillo which was sautéed shrimp with sliced garlic, sherry, and a chili. To me, the one thing that made this one of my favorite dishes of the night was that broth! The broth was spiced just right, the right consistency, garlicky, and when they bring you sliced bread, you sop that broth up – greedily. I was moaning and laughing I was so giddy and the table laughed at me for it. I deserved the laugh but it was so good. The shrimp was perfectly cooked, not overcooked and it was tender. The garlic slices were sautéeed with the shrimp in the sherry and I just shuddered writing this. This dish was so darned good.

Berenjenas con Miel

Berenjenas con Miel
One of the surprises of the night! This was fried eggplant drizzled with wild mountain bees honey and garnished with rosemary. I’m not the biggest fan of eggplant but ¡Dios mío! this was great stuff. The eggplant, fried, wasn’t watery but it wasn’t chewy, either. It was easy to cut through with a knife but firm. The wild bees honey was so sweet but savory as well. Add the rosemary and those flavors burst in your mouth. It was one of the dishes that we all talked about the rest of the night and some of the next day. Stephanie is a huge fan of eggplant so it was definitely one of her faves.

Pulpo a la Gallega

Pulpo a la Gallega
Galician-style octopus served warm with sea salt, olive oil, Spanish paprika, and Yukon Gold potato purée. This was the oddest dish of the evening. I enjoy octopus. It’s a little chewy but usually flavorful. This was indeed that. It had a warmth from the Spanish paprika and it was prominent. That spicy was a little offset by the sea salt and olive oil. The meat itself was chewy but it wasn’t overly so. It was near-perfect consistency. The potato purée was very smooth. Almost too smooth to know it was even potatoes. Almost. They were buttery and were a nice compliment to the octopus. I believe it was the least favorite of the table. It was my least favorite but I also didn’t mind it.

Pimientos de Piquillo Rellenos

Pimientos de Piquillo Rellenos
This was one of my favorite dishes, as well. Roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with Spanish goat cheese. The peppers were sweet and powerful while the goat cheese was creamy, earthy and only subtlely tart. It was a perfect marriage of those flavor profiles. I have mentioned many times about how I’m a sucker for microgreens and there were some nice earthy microgreens on this dish. I couldn’t believe the deep red color of the peppers. Their texture was fleshy as you’d want a pepper but so very tender. I can’t write enough adjectives to describe how good this was.

Pincho Moruno

Pincho Moruno
Moorish spice marinated lamb skewers carry a little of its marinating juices on a plate with housemade pickled cucumbers. The lamb was good bite-sized morsels that were cooked to a medium rare temperature. It was so succulent and juicy. I could taste hints of cumin, cilantro (or coriander), cinnamon, anise, and nutmeg in there among others. The meat wasn’t at all chewy. In fact, when I held it in my mouth, it melted. Of course, I sopped up some of the spice marinade, too. The pickles reminded me of Niki’s Pickles but they were made there. A briny concoction that wasn’t too sweet and wasn’t too heavy on the dill. I like pickles that are a good balance of the in-between of those profiles. There was none of this left.

Migas con Verduras

Migas con Verduras
Another odd dish for me and one of my least favorites, but others around the table were oohing and aahing over it. Still, I did like what I had, I just didn’t want a lot of it. It was fried breadcrumbs with roasted brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and raisins finished with a celery root/yogurt mousse. The meal was crunchy and you didn’t taste the oil, you tasted the bread, the veggies, and the fruit. Sometimes fried things leave too much of the oily taste from its cooking. The mousse was creamy and earthy, but the lemon zest on top of it gave it a fresh and vibrant kick. Like I said it wasn’t my fave but I did think it was done well. The next three items came out about the same time.

Migas con Verduras

Setas al Jerez
Sautéed mushrooms with a splash of sherry. I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms but I have really started to get into the oyster mushrooms from our own local Gnomestead Hollow and these had both oyster mushrooms and shiitake mushrooms. There was a third variety in there and I don’t remember what that was. The sherry made a sort of umami-flavored sauce that coated the mushrooms, adding to their earthy flavor. The mushrooms were very tender and had a slight hint of saltiness.

Patatas Bravas
These crispy fried potatoes were topped with a slightly spicy tomato and garlic sauce. They were a bit red and its color was beautiful. Unfortunately, my picture for these didn’t come out very well, so I left that out. The potatoes were indeed crispy but not too hard. I don’t like my potatoes nuggets of rocks, I like them to be firm on the outside and soft on the inside. These were that, just with a bit of a bite on the back end. The potatoes weren’t spicy hot but were spicy “warm.” You could still taste the potatoes through the sauce. That’s a plus.

Cerdo Ibérico a las Finas Hierbas

Cerdo Ibérico a las Finas Hierbas
Another of my personal faves of the evening. Grilled Fermin pure Ibérico pork “skirt steak” with fresh rosemary and thyme. Oh. My…! This was great stuff. The pork steaks were perfectly medium/medium rare and there was this crust around the tips. Wow. The herbs were so prevalent in the flavor, too. Thin slices but, oh so juicy. I fell in love the first time I had Ibérico pork at Spring House. This made me fall in love all over again. There is nothing like Ibérico pigs from Salamanca. Now, the trick here was to have a piece of the potato, a bit of the mushroom mixture and this at the same time. Luckily, everyone was getting full and they were keeping back a bit. That left room for me (the fat guy) to have a little bit extra. Man…

Flan de Huevo


Flan de Huevo
Orange-saffron egg flan with smoked caramel and sherry poached raisins. This delightful, sweet custard was warm but cool at the same time and the whipped cream made it extra fluffy. The sherry poached raisins were thick and saucy, too. Great addition.

Tarta de Manzana
Apple tart with roasted apple butter, goat milk pastry cream, hazelnut praline and crème fraîche. The glaze of the roasted apple butter was amazing. It was tart and the goat milk pastry cream, tangy. If this was had earlier in the evening, it would have been even better but we were all getting stuffed by this point.

Tarta de Manzana

So, our one pitcher of sangria turned into two. Susan had a couple of beers and then I had to do something silly (but fun). I tried the Spanish porrón, which is a drinking vessel that is a lot like a watering can for your indoor plants. Some call it a wine bong and that’s pretty much what it is. A filling shaft, a belly, and a pouring spout. It’s meant to be used communally so the idea is to pour it into your mouth, extend your arm, still pouring and then bring it back. Well, all that is well and good except the bringing it back. That was kind of difficult. I was really the only one to pull it away from my face. I ended up with shandy (Estrella lager mixed with lemonade) all in my beard, up my nose, in my lap and so on. The table close to us was having a ball watching me.

Tim doing the Porrón

So, the night came to a close and we did a communal check divided three ways. We were all bracing for the worst because we didn’t hold back. It was a celebration, it was meant to be a blowout and we expected it to be really bad. Divided three ways, it came down to (pre-tip) about $118 per couple. I was expecting $120 per person with all that, but it wasn’t. The food was really reasonably priced and so very good. We were all in shock.

Michael took such good care of us, never letting our water glasses get empty, pouring the sangria when someone was low, choosing our food, expediting that food (with the help of his friends) and entertaining us. He also helped me keep track of what we were having on the giant menus I got to bring home.

I have dined in Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels, Bruges, London, Edinburgh, Walt Disney World, Costa Rica, Charlotte, Wilmington, and so on. I’ve been a few places. This was a Top FIVE dining experience for me. The food, the service, the ambiance, the experience. Five stars over here. I think we were all taken aback by the amazing time they provided for us.


I will say that I believe you should experience this restaurant in a larger group, say six or more people. I believe if you’re just two people your choices will be more limited because you’ll eat more at once and not spread it out. It’s a great time with your friends. It was a great time with mine! Memories we won’t soon forget. I told the assistant manager that.

Cúrate is located at 13 Biltmore Ave, in Asheville. Find more about them on their website and on Facebook. We are already talking about our next Beer Dads trip there and taking even more friends!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 52

In Episode #52, proudly recorded at 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).

This episode is archived. Contact Tim if you need to hear it. 

Bon Appetit!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode 51

In Episode #51, proudly recorded at Test Pattern Studios:

  • Willows Bistro and Wise Man Brewing are having a beer dinner at Willows on October 22. RSVP NOW!! TMWATT and The Beer Dads will be there!
  • Bar Piña and Trade Street Diner are now open!
  • 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).

This episode is archived. Contact Tim if you need to hear it. 

Bon Appetit!

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!!

Cheers! Cin Cin Burger Bar is Quite Beefy

On Saturday, Stephanie and I had the pleasure of hanging out with my friend Paul Jones and his son, Parker. Parker, it seems was in the mood for a burger and Paul suggested Cin Cin Burger Bar.

Stephanie and I had tried to go to Cin Cin twice before. But, after driving around the very tight parking lot twice each time, we couldn’t find parking and we are just not ready to park away and walk there, no matter how much that neighborhood is picking up. So, we ended up going somewhere else. This time, though, we were able to find one pretty quickly. Paul was running a little late and I went in to get us on the list. I told them five people total as I didn’t know if Paul’s wife was coming or not. They were ready to seat us right away. Paul, then sent back that there was only going to be four of us, and I told them that. Well, that changed things. We were moved from “ready to seat” status to an hour wait.

No Beer – No Work: Fontina and mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato, fries, slaw and honey chipotle mayo on sourdough

Luckily, it was a lovely evening and the weather was really nice, so we sat outside waiting for our seating assignment. Paul and Parker came and we had good conversation talking about life and other things. We were finally seated and we got settled in. The decor of the place is bright and light and runs off a very subtle but defined “speakeasy” theme. They fit a lot of people in that dining room. If you ever ate at the Twin City Diner, the building’s previous tenant, then this is a big departure from that. Twin City Diner sat a good amount of people but this seems to be even more. Plus, there is outdoor seating on the large patio with ample seating out there, too. They were using it this night and it was still packed out.

Our server was Brian (Bryan) and he was both very nice and very helpful. He was knowledgeable about the menu, the ingredients and how to find what someone may want based on their preferences. Paul and I ordered our beer (Hop Cocoa from Wicked Weed) and after he returned with those brews, Brian was ready to take our food order.

Parker is a simple order-kind of guy. He ordered a plain burger with fries. Paul ordered the special Red Dragon Bison Burger with onion rings. Stephanie ordered the No Beer – No Work burger with eggplant fries. I ordered the Bootlegger’s Bourbon Burger with Creamy Gorgonzola Fries.  I will say that these burgers were quite beefy and huge. The pictures I included will not provide an accurate descriptor for how large or good they looked. There was no way of maneuvering the light to capture the burger in its full glory. Now, I understand the listing of them doesn’t describe anything. I’ll elaborate.

Bootleggers Bourbon Burger: Bourbon molasses glazed with caramelized onions, bacon and pimento cheese

The Red Dragon Bison Burger is Red Dragon Cheese, caramelized onions and mushrooms, roasted garlic aioli, shredded lettuce and tomato. Red Dragon Cheese is like a sharp cheddar but with brown ale and mustard seeds to give it a little kick, not too spicy, from what Paul said. The No Beer – No Work burger is fontina and mozzarella cheese, lettuce, tomato, fries, slaw and honey chipotle mayo on sourdough. It is a mountain of a sandwich and it is funny that the smallest of us all is the one who had it. The Bootlegger’s Bourbon Burger is Bourbon molasses glazed with caramelized onions, bacon and pimento cheese. Yes, believe it or not, I left the caramelized onions on the burger. It was quite juicy and the onions didn’t overpower, nor was it prominent in the flavor. You could tell they were there, but it was not too strong. Juicy burger, it was. Bourbon-inspired but the burger was able to “speak” for itself; it was near perfect.

If the specialty burgers (called “Speakeasy Burgers”) are not your speed, you can always build your own burger. The list is extensive and so are the possibilities to have your very own burger. Other items on the menu include sandwiches like ahi tuna wraps, chicken and cream cheese melts, Reubens, Philly Cheesesteaks. Entrees include a cherry chipotle salmon, South Side Ribeye, chicken and waffles, bourbon meatloaf and Coco Chanel Filet. Eight different salads that, if the burgers are any indication, are huge. There are appetizers and small plates to whet the appetite or just have a small portioned meal. Of course, since Cin Cin Burger Bar is owned by the same folk that own Waldo’s Wings, then they will definitely have those on the menu.

One thing that the servers (I knew a few of them) said that we should try, but we did not, are the adult milkshakes. There are several to choose between ranging from bourbon and butterscotch schnapps (YiaYia’s Secret) to an alcoholic s’mores drink (Kumbayah My S’mores). There are plenty more for your brainfreeze headaches to endure. You can find more of their menu – I have not even scratched the surface of it, here – by clicking on the “Menu” tab to the left of this page.

I want to talk just a second more about the staff. While I do think that an hour wait, okay, a 45-minute wait, is way too long for a cheeseburger, the helpfulness of our server, Brian, the kitchen and their very juicy and very tasty burgers, and the ambiance were worth the wait. I don’t know that I’d wait that long again, but to try it and get in, along with the company made the night a great night out. Brian even dissuaded us from trying a “side” that Paul and I were going to order. He said we wouldn’t like it and that Mama Zoe (the owner) was going to take it off the menu. I asked if I could at least give it a taste – I had to know, after all – and he brought back a little ramekin and, while I thought the side was decent, I wouldn’t have wanted a full size side of it. I appreciate him setting us straight. I’m not going to say which side it is because I want you to try things, not shy from them.

Cin Cin has a great “speakeasy” cocktail list, too. They have classic drinks that range historically from 1823 (Pimm’s Cup #7) up to 1920 (several including Giggle Water, the Bees Knees and the Mary Pickford). They have quite a few of their own craft creation cocktails and a decent draft beer list and a craft bottle list. They also have the standard “beer” (Bud Light, et al) for people that cannot handle or do not want real beer. And their wine list is not shabby, at all.

Overall, my assessment of Cin Cin Burger Bar is that it is a great burger joint. I can’t speak for anything else, yet, but I will be going back; most likely during the week and possibly during lunch. When I go back, I will report my findings, as you know I will. I recommend trying to get there early as the line will form and get backed up fairly quickly and there is no reservations or call-ahead seating; it is first-come-first-serve. This was at 6:30pm, yes a Saturday, but still early in the evening. I hope you get Brian (it still could be Bryan) because he is pretty smooth. I had heard conflicting reviews about Cin Cin but I am going to give my assessment that it is quite a great burger.

You can find Cin Cin Burger Bar at 1425 W 1st Street in Winston-Salem. Again, look up their menu via our menu directory on this page.

Happy eating, slàinte!

Hoots Celebrates Three Years

This Saturday, October 1st, Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Company will be celebrating their third anniversary. Three years of hop and malt goodness. Eric Weyer and Eric Swaim have made this location a destination. Not only with great brews but with a cozy, unique atmosphere. Kid friendly (they make their own sodas, after all), pet friendly, people friendly. All good ways to describe Hoots.

There’s not many festivals and other happenings around town that you won’t find Hoots distributing their lovely wares. If there’s a function, then you’ll likely find Hoots, usually an Eric, slinging beer. But, it’s not just about the beer, believe it or not. They have the good fortune to have Tim Nolan on staff and he is not a bartender, he’s not a mixologist, he’s a concocter of alcoholic alchemy. The man can create some serious libations. Other bartenders are very apt and suited for their roles in Hoots’ lore. Maggie knows we here at The Man Who Ate/Walked the Town are glad we know her!14264893_10207071490921406_4100916479075819383_n

Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Company is the presenting sponsor of The Beer Dads Podcast. They are also the “Liquid Reward” for The Man Who Walked the Town. We are certainly proud to be part of the Hoots Family.

So, what is happening for this Anniversary? Well, they are throwing a shindig!

Doors open at 2pm for the official release of their 3rd annual ZINZENDORF OKTOBERFEST! This is not to be missed!
There will be brats & German sides by Krankies starting at 2pm, until it’s gone (which may not be long).
Then, the Late Night DANCE PARTY starting at 10pm. It’s definitely on!

We here at “Man About Town” and The Less Desirables Network of podcasts/blogs/vlogs wish Hoots Roller Bar and Beer Company many, many, many more anniversaries.

You can find Hoots Roller Bar & Beer Company at 840 Millworks Street (formerly Manly St.) down in the West End area of WSNC, off of Northwest Blvd.

Beer Dad Paul and myself, along with our Pilots, will be there around 2pm until our old behinds get tired. Hunt us down and say hi!

The Man Who Ate the Town Podcast Episode #9

In Episode #9, proudly recorded from Test Pattern Studios:cowboy-brazilian-steakhouse-logo-400x74-31

  • Food holidays and history for the week of September 19-25.
  • Jordan Keiper of Tavern at Old Salem receives accolades.
  • Cowboy Brazilian Steakhouse pursues a new location.
  • A brief mention of Katharine Brasserie.

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).

Due to server space restrictions, we have removed this episode from the server. However, we have every episode in “storage.” If you need or want this episode, hit Tim up.

Bon appetit!

The Last of the Luv Luv with Much Love

-Timothy G. Beeman II

On Saturday, Stephanie and myself were invited to accompany friends of ours to the Annual Luv Luv Festival, the brainchild of Tim Grandinetti, the co-owner/head chef of Spring House Restaurant, Kitchen and Bar. The Luv Luv Festival is a culinary showcase of chefs from all over with great live music. We hadn’t, unfortunately, ever attended the Luv Luv Festival but we had wanted to. This was our first time ever and let’s just say we loved it. Let’s make clear, too that it’s not the last ever festival but the last day of this year’s festival.


The Beer Dads and Their Pilots


The Menu

First of all, we have to start with the company we kept during this festival. Paul & Susan Jones along with Jon & Celeste Lowder were our tablemates and we’re no strangers to each other. In fact, Paul, Jon and I do a podcast called The Beer Dads which is part of The Less Desirables Podcast Network. So we hang out, talk about being dads and drink, you guessed it, beer every week. Our wives have become good friends so we had a very, very fun table. Also, former local DJ personality and Master of Ceremonies of the event, Bob Campbell (who also happens to be the voice over talent for The Beer Dads) sat with us as did our guest of honor, the wife of this evening’s guest chef (Tim Recher), Alicia Recher. We were guests of the Lowders and can’t thank them enough for having us. Good wine, liquor and beer as “the beer dad” ladies had more than a few glasses of white wine and the guys a mixture of cocktails and beer. I believe Paul and Jon preferred the Sisters of the Moon IPA from Mother Earth Brewing while I had one of those and then switched to the Vanilla Porter from Breckenridge. But, as much as we like to think that it is sometimes, the alcohol wasn’t the star attraction of the night. It was the food.

Starting off the whole night was a plate of hummus with pita triangles alongside of tomatoes straight from the garden of Chef Grandinetti. This was followed by a large plate of oysters and cocktail shrimp from Rappahannock Oyster Company. The oysters 11891148_10153437332285490_984877909746256410_nwere raw and delicious. Also served with them were some hot peppers with a sweet glaze of hoisin and sesame seeds. Jon and a few of the ladies mentioned they thought they were hot. I ate several of them and got nothing more than great flavor. I found them to be very mild and almost no heat. Perhaps one of us got lucky, you decide.

Course 1

Course #1 Chicken & Dumplings

The first course “Chicken & Dumplings” was quail, black summer truffle mousse, gnocchi, chive velouté and herb biscuit. This was a fantastic course. The “chicken” seemed to be a combo of quail and other meats that were served sausage style and while I’m generally not one for quail, not only did I eat all of this, I picked it up and ate the bones like they were a chicken leg. Of course, I was nibbling, but it was so good and the velouté sauce was like gravy and light enough to not overpower but perfect for accentuation. It was easy to sop up the extra velouté sauce with the biscuit and the gnocchi were tender. Let’s say that my plate (with the exception of the bones of the quail) had nothing left on it. It was clean. Wonderful course.

Course 2

Course #2 English Pea Soup with Sea Bass

Course #2 was “Chilled English Pea Soup and Seared Sea Bass.” Described as coriander, Fresno chili, warm mushroom-shallot-pea salad, Arbequine olive oil, fennel pollen. When you cut into the fish, it fell apart being a wonderful flaky morsel of flavor. Seasoning wasn’t anything to mask the fish, you got full “sea bass” (or Patagonian Tooth Fish) flavor and that’s a good thing. The peas under the fish were quite fresh and even had Susan Jones, who doesn’t eat peas cleaning her plate of them. As simple as it is, the cress on top, really set a freshness that I can’t explain in words to the entire plate. The pea soup had the distinctive coriander and chili flavor as it was a tad savory and I loved it. It was topped with the fennel pollen. I had to drink it like a shot because there really was no way to get a spoon in there. But, I think that was the point. I had no problem shooting that soup. Delicious.

Course 3

Course #3 Beet Salad

Course #3 was “Roasted Baby Heirloom Beet Salad.” Belgium endive, frisée (another kind of endive, which along with Belgium endive can be called chicory here in the US, at least from my research), upland cress, pickle apple, curried cashews, beet vinaigrette, aerated coriander yogurt. I’ll have to be honest, was my least favorite course, but when you don’t like beets, or many other like-vegetables (I’m adapting as I get older), then that’s understandable; at least in my mind. I did enjoy the pickled apple and curried cashews. I did eat all the leaves but left some of the endives and most of the beets. Again, the cashews and pickled apple were good.

Course 4

Course #4 Back Yard BBQ

Course #4 was, to me, the pièce de résistance. It was “Back Yard Steak.” Coffee rubbed bison. Vidalia onion ash inlay. Sous vide smoked brisket & potato croquette. Seasonal vegetables, sweet corn puree, bbq jus lie and smoked black garlic.This cut of bison meat was so tender and juicy that a regular table knife could cut right through it with no problem. It was medium rare and the outsides were perfectly charred and seasoned with the coffee rub. The baby carrot and corn was a nice addition as was the jus lie (pronounced zhoo lee-AY) and vidalia onion inlay. That coffee rub and the meat itself was such a flood of flavor that I ate it with my eyes closed most of the time, enjoying each individual bite. Generally, I’ll tear through food like I’m being graded on it but I took my time and every single chew was documented by my brain. Let’s just say that it was so good that not only did I eat all of mine, I also had the bonus of half of Stephanie’s. She loved it as well, but was filling up. This was a definite 5 on a 5 scale.

Course 5

Course #5 S’Mores

Course #5 was the dessert course which was “S’mores.” Dark chocolate crémeux, molasses spice graham cracker cookie, toasted marshmallows, salted caramel gelato, toasted caramel. Stephanie got her second wind enough to eat this. I thought the crémeux was the absolute best thing about it. It was like eating a very soft, but still firm, piece of fudge. The tiny toasted marshmallow squares were a nice accompaniment for the crémeux. The gelato was a bit melted away by the time I got to it but what I got of it was delicious. I love caramel, so this was a nice finish.

Chef Tim Recher, of the Army/Navy Country Club in DC, really brought a wonderful menu and Chef Tim Grandinetti and his team both in the kitchen and the outside wait staff were fantastic support, making this event a true 5 star dinner treat to anyone who was privileged enough to be there. Spring House is always a class act and this was no different. Many thanks to Chef Grandinetti for hosting. Spring House can be found at 450 North Spring Street in downtown Winston-Salem. They’re on the web at