Monthly Archives: November 2012

REVIEW: Emerywood Fine Foods – High Point

I have been wanting to write a piece on Emerywood Fine Foods for a long time. I eat there about once every two months when I go home and visit my family in High Point. EFF, as it is known around my house, never disappoints and my dad has pretty much become a regular there which makes me feel like a celebrity every time I walk in. The reason I have written anything is that my pictures had turned out sub-par every time that I’ve tried

They have a great beer and wine selection. I tend to go more towards the beer and they have six taps that have been rotating delicious craft brews. I was impressed to see them have the 21st Amendment’s Hell or High Watermelon wheat beer on tap as well as some local North Carolina taps included Foothills and Highland. Hell or High Watermelon is a summer beer so it was surprising to see it on tap in November but it was a warm day and I really enjoyed it.

I’ve ordered a little bit of everything on the menu since I’ve been eating there for the past few years. The salads are delicious with the North Carolina fried oyster salad ($15) being my favorite. Huge chunks of blue cheese, massive bacon crumbles and piping hot oysters cover a bed of greens with Roma tomatoes and red onions. The pizzas are also top notch. Try the beef tenderloin pizza. I dig it.

My dad and I joined Wil Elder, the president and CEO of the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival and the Triad Stage of Winston-Salem, for dinner. Wil ordered the chicken scallopini which came with three large pieces of Ashley Farms chicken out of Winston-Salem. The portions at Emerywood Fine Foods are massive as you can tell with three pieces of chicken on a single plate. I had a bite and it was fantastic. The panko crust was on point.

My dad ordered a crab cake salad. As you can tell, it came out more like a crab cake entree with a side salad on the far left of the picture but I don’t know anyone in their right mind that would complain about this outcome! The crab cakes are massive with an impressive amount of lump crab in them. They are not the style that we are used to in North Carolina but they have a lot of flavor and the crunch of the panko bread crumbs adds a lot to the salad according to my dad. He was generous enough to split one of his crab cakes with me.

I ordered the Seafood Pasta which came with lump crab, scallops, shrimp and calamari over pasta. The sauce was very rich and hearty and the pasta had a great thickness plus it was limp and overcooked like what is served at many other restaurants. The spinach was a nice addition to the meal giving it added flavor and texture as well as a visually appealing color which helped the presentation. It was a great dish that I would order again.

Emerywood Fine Foods on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: The Happy Belly Deli – Clinton

The Happy Belly Deli is not only fun to say but it is also a delightful, little sandwich shop in Clinton, NC. I was in town to do a little work a few months ago and asked a local banker at the Wells Fargo for some advice on a good local place to eat. Normally, the recommendations that I receive tend to point me towards the less-than-healthy places serving cheeseburgers, cheese steaks, fried chicken and lots of other deliciousness. He did recommend one place that I was both less-than-healthy that I checked out first that was serving “the best fried chicken in the area” but it was cash-only and I didn’t have enough time to run back to the ATM at the bank that I had just left. I am going to try that place next time I am back in Clinton.

I ordered the Italian Club which comes with ham Genoa salami, capicola, provolone, cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, oil, vinegar, salt, pepper and oregano on white bread. I saw their sun-dried tomato roll and decided to make a switch over to that for an additional flavor explosion.  The sandwich was very refreshing. The bread was freshly baked and incredibly soft. The meats were piled on and the lettuce and tomato were on point. It was one of the better sandwiches that I’ve had in the last few months. I recommend that you stop in and check it out if you are in the area and looking for a laid back, casually delicious lunch.

The Happy Belly Deli on Urbanspoon

RECIPE: Angus Barn Stuffed Potatoes

I really enjoy Facebook but the past couple of weeks has been brutal with all of the political back and forth between people. However, there was the occasional shining light that popped up in my news feed and that included an update from The Angus Barn in Raleigh. They shared their recipe for one of their side items: Angus Barn Stuffed Potato.

Here it is verbatim except for my correction of a spelling error:

Who needs some Angus Barn Stuffed Potato in their life? Here’s the recipe for one of our favorite sides. Note: this recipe yields 10 servings, so invite guests for dinner!

3 lb. RED BLISS POTATOES
½ lb. BUTTER — SOFTENED
1 ½ CUPS SOUR CREAM
½ CUP BACON BITS
½ CUP CHIVES
SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE
½ CUP PARMESAN CHEESE

BOIL POTATOES IN LIGHTLY SALTED WATER UNTIL FALLING APART TENDER. ADD SOFTENED BUTTER, SOUR CREAM, BACON BITS AND CHIVES. ADD SALT AND PEPPER TO TASTE. PLACE IN BAKING DISH AND SPRINKLE WITH PARMESAN CHEESE. BAKE AT 350º UNTIL TOP IS BROWNED.

I think that they forgot to mention that you need to mash the potatoes at some point in the process. You could also serve this in small ramekins for individual servings. Don’t buy Bacon Bits…just cook some crispy bacon and then crumble it up.

What North Carolina restaurants do you enjoy following on Facebook and Twitter?

RECIPE: Grilled N.C. Tomato & Roasted Onion Gazpacho, Avocado Sorbet

I was searching for some recipes for North Carolina tomatoes and came across the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services website which has some pretty cool recipes from local North Carolina restaurants. The following recipe is from their tomato page as a marketing tool. It was from the kitchen at the now defunct Fiore’s Ristorante Toscana which closed in February after a dispute between the restaurant owner (son) and property owner (father). The son, chef Anthony Cerrato, has since opened Strada in Asheville.

Here is the recipe:

Grilled North Carolina Tomato & Roasted Onion Gazpacho, Avocado Sorbet

  • 4 Yellow NC tomatoes
  • 4 Red NC tomatoes
  • 1 seedless cucumber
  • 2 medium red onions
  • ¼ t kosher salt
  • 1/8 t fresh black pepper
  • ¼ t celery salt
  • 1 ½ T Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce

Peel and cut onion into ¼ inch rings. Lightly coat with olive oil and roast in a 350-degree oven until very tender. Remove from oven and allow to completely cool.

Cut all of the tomatoes into ¼ inch slices.  On a low flame, grill the yellow tomatoes, approximately 45 seconds on each side. Immediately remove and place into a bowl and allow to cool.

Finely julienne and dice the cucumber.    Small chop the roasted onion.

Combine all of the ingredients together. Adjust seasoning if needed.

Avocado Sorbet

  • 2 ripe avocados
  • juice of ¼ lemon
  • ½ cup water
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until smooth. Remove and “turn” in an ice cream maker until set. Keep covered in the freezer.

To serve: Place 6 ounces of gazpacho into each bowl. Top each with one quenelle of sorbet. Garnish with chive stems.

REVIEW: Jibarra Modern Mexican & Tequila Lounge

Eating Mexican food at an old train depot may not sound like the thing to do when celebrating the birthday of one of your best friends. It doesn’t really sound like a good way to celebrate the birthday of someone you barely know. However, the birthday celebraish for one of my best friends that took place at a Mexican restaurant in an old train depot turned out to be a great night.

Jibarra, a modern Mexican and tequila lounge located in the historic Raleigh Depot, is best places that I’ve been since I moved to Raleigh since August ’11. It offers a variety of upscale Latin American food ranging a variety of guacamoles, chef specialties, tacos and salads for dinner as well as a top shelf cocktail and tequila menu.  They also offer separate brunch and lunch menus which are lower priced.

The restaurant moved from North Raleigh to downtown Raleigh in 2008 after several nightclubs closed down and has been a huge part in revitalizing the area since its move. It is joined in a great neighborhood food scene by places like 5 Star, Humble Pie, Poole’s Diner and The Pit.

We started out the night with a pitcher of chipotle-mango margaritas for the table. It was definitely a little emasculating to be drinking such a pink drink in public but my feeling went away after the first sip. It was overly sweet but the salt & chile piquin on the rim and chipotle in the drink balanced the drink perfectly. The price tag on the pitcher is steep but it was a high quality drink. We ended up getting two but you can’t put a price tag on memories or lack thereof.

We ordered an appetizer of queso dip and added chorizo to it. It is really hard to take a picture of cheese dip. I’ve tried to do it at various places and it never turns out looking as good as it tastes. This was a great cheese dip and the addition of the jalapenos and chorizo added a lot of outside flavor. Unlike many places, the chef or line cook made the right decision to strain most of the grease out of the chorizo before putting it in the cheese. This is a simple step that is often skipped at places and can ruin the dip. It was fairly inexpensive ($5) which kind of blew my mind because it is comparable to most other run-of-the-mill Mexican places.

Brock ordered the Camarón BLT tacos which have shrimp, avocado, crisp bacon, lettuce, tomato & “michelada” sauce. The michelada sauce is based on a common Mexican cocktail made with beer, lime juice, and assorted sauces, spices, and peppers. I believe that their sauce was just a michelada that was reduced and thickened into a sauce or just used the base ingredients of the drink to make a sauce. Brock was nice enough to offer me one of his three tacos and I can’t turn down a taco. It was good. The shrimp were pretty small for an $18 dish but the flavors made up for it plus I love bacon and shrimp together. The black beans and Mexican rice were hefty portions and made three tacos and a side a pretty filling meal.

I ordered the Birria de Borrego which is lamb osso bucco comes with yucca mashed potatoes covered in a birria sauce and tomatoes. The term, “birria”, comes from a region in Mexico and is a meat stew typically made with goat, lamb or mutton (or “borrego”). Jibarra’s version of the dish is not soupy at all in presentation although it may have been cooked that way. The osso bucco is served on top of the yucca mashed potatoes and then covered in the au jus or en zumo or in its own juice depending on what language you want to go with.

The term, “osso bucco”, is Italian meaning bone with a hole. I know…too many different languages right now. The hole should contain bone marrow which is considered a rich delicacy by some but probably disgusting to everyone else. Some people will try to pull it out with a knife but the easiest and probably least polite way is to slurp it out. The meat fell right off the bone as it should and had the perfect tenderness. The meat also had substantial flavor from the birria and that char that gives meat so much more flavor.

The birthday boy ordered the tacos de arrachera which consisted of grilled skirt steak, cilantro, onions, grilled scallions, chiles toreados  and guacatillo salsa. The picture doesn’t really help sell them. The steak just doesn’t look crispy enough to me. I did split one of the tacos with Brock and it was good. I would have gone with corn tortillas which you probably already know about me if you read any other post about tacos by me on this blog.

Editor’s Note: This could actually be tacos al pastor which commonly has grilled onions and is cooked differently then the steak. Actually…I am pretty sure that it is now. I marked through the crispy reference above because it makes more sense now. However, I still would serve them with corn tortillas.

Liz ordered a salad which doesn’t seem to be on their current menu and Jo Beth ordered the fish tacos which were delicious but pretty effin’ spicy. Neither of the pictures of their dishes turned out very well.

I’m currently waiting on another special occasion excuse to be able to go back down to Jibarra and try some more of the chef’s specialties. Would I order the tacos? Probably not. I feel like a local taqueria would come close to matching the taste for almost a fifth of the price. I want to try their herb-crusted chuletas (pork chops) or their pato (duck) en fig mole or just go one more round with the osso bucco. If I am going to be spending upwards of $20 on something, I will be getting something crazy delicious.

Don’t get me wrong though. Their tacos are great but my wallet and my conscience just won’t let me do it.

Jibarra on Urbanspoon

 

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