Category Archives: Greensboro

REVIEW: Capra’s Deli – High Point

Deli sandwiches have been playing a huge role in my on-the-go eating lifestyle lately as I try to keep up with my hectic schedule which hasn’t really revolved around food like everything in life should. Mostly, it has been the cheap & quick (Jersey Mike’s, Jimmy John’s, Harris Teeter, & NOT Subway because that place is a joke). I must have gotten used to the generic sandwiches that I could crush in the car when I didn’t have time to stop in anywhere for a 30 minute lunch.

My mom was the first person to take me to Capra’s Deli back when I was growing up. Back then, I probably was screaming at her to take me to Subway because I wanted a meatball sub or something stupid that little kids say. She probably told me that I could get a meatball sub at Capra’s and I didn’t care because there wasn’t a comic book store located next to Capra’s. I was an idiot. Luckily, she didn’t succumb to my whining and we went to Capra’s and I tried their meatball parmigiana sub. It was in a completely different league than Subway’s version.

Capra’s Deli has a small market in the restaurant with a bunch of high end spreads, a deli case and a take and bake case. They also offer a variety of pastas that you can eat in-store. There is a gelato case with a few rotating flavors and a dessert case with items like cheesecake, baklava, cannoli and tiramisu. I have yet to try any of the sweets at Capra’s but I imagine they are delicious.

The ‘Italian II’ (Salami, Mortadella, Proscuittini, Provolone, lettuce, tomato, onions and o/v) has been my go-to order at Capra’s for the two years that I did a lot of business right down the street from there. The sandwich comes with thick cuts of Boar’s Head meat & cheeses which they have been serving long before Boar’s Head was easily accessible at your grocery store’s deli. They toss on a combination of crisp onions, shredded lettuce and tomato slices on top of the meat. The bread is probably the showoff part of the sandwich. The crispy, flaky Italian bread

There are two things that really stand out about Capra’s Deli for me. First, I enjoy the attention to detail that they give each order. My sandwich has never been tossed together sloppily or hurriedly like it does at the chain places. Second, the high quality of the ingredients is something that puts them leagues above the rest. The complimentary chips that come with the sandwiches are lacking a little bit but you can always upgrade to one of the deli salads for $0.95. I will be going back sometime soon and will be ordering either a steak & cheese or the Luigi Special…or I just may stick with my ol’ faithful, the Italian II. It’s so damn good.

Capra’s is located between High Point and Greensboro on Highway 68. It is only about 2 or 3 miles off of I-40 (exit 210) and would be a great place to stop in from a road trip. I would recommend that you eat it at the restaurant because a Capra’s Deli sandwich is not the easiest thing to consume on the road due to size and the flakiness of the bread. The sandwich prices are right in line with Jersey Mike’s and this is not the kind of place serving Five Dollar Footlong quality. You definitely get your money’s worth at Capra’s and I am sure that you won’t be disappointed.

Capra's Italian Deli Products on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Caffe Peroni – South Boston, VA

Jim W. on Yelp.com

I have been making a few trips outside of the North Carolina state lines to Virginia for work and, as always, I am on the lookout for good local eateries. I usually jump on my phone and hit up Urbanspoon and Foodspotting to see what restaurants everyone is talking about in the area. I have run across some decent places so far but nothing worth blogging about until I went up to South Boston, VA a few weeks ago and found out about a place called Caffe Peroni in downtown South Boston.

The 95% Urbanspoon rating was what stood out first to me about Caffe Peroni followed by one or two reviews which mentioned the “slow food movement” that Caffe Peroni has incorporated into its cooking so you can sit back and enjoy the restaurant instead of “being served, billed and thanked in less than 20 minutes” like Bath Piatti wrote in their review on Urbanspoon. I had about 2 hours before I had to be anywhere and it sounded like a good way to check out some local food and kill some time.

Caffe Peroni has been open in South Boston since 2008 and the owners’ intention was to recreate the Italian home cooking that they remember from their childhood. They start every meal from scratch when ordered plus the chef cooks it right in front of you in an open air kitchen near the dining room (I took a picture of this but it turned out blurry).

As soon as I stepped through the door at Caffe Peroni, I had the feeling it was going to be a neat place to eat at. There was a young couple already seated enjoying an early dinner which was surprising because it was 4:45 p.m. and I tend to beat even the early birds when I eat dinner while out on the road. The space that Caffe Peroni fills reminds me a lot of an old bookstore minus all the books. It had a very relaxed atmosphere where you could come do some work on the computer while having a coffee or just curl up and read a book on one of their couches while munching on a little bit of gelato.

I ordered the Insalata della casa ($3.95) which came with a bottle of both olive oil and balsamic vinegar as a dressing. I believe that you can choose from a variety of dressings but I was trying to be health conscious since I already knew what my entree was going to be. The presentation of the salad was nice and the ingredients were fresh as well as plentiful which is what I look for in a salad. They diced the tomatoes & onions then tossed them together with some Parmesan and croutons on then laid it over the lettuce. Each bite had a little bit of everything from the salad in it. I might be doing this at home from now on when I make salads.

 

I ordered the Porcini Ravioli cremolati which is a ravioli dish made with porcini mushrooms and then placed in a heavy cream sauce. Caffe Peroni’s version adds a good amount of pancetta and prosciutto making it a little bit heartier that usual. The prosciutto that they added wasn’t the thin, sticky type that you find in the grocery store or on sandwiches from national chains. This was close to the thickness of sliced ham for a sandwich and it not only added a delicious salty taste to the dish but also added a great texture to contrast the softness of the ravioli. (NOTE: Prosciutto dipped in cream sauce can become heavily addicting.) The pancetta in the dish mainly sunk to the bottom of the cream sauce so I didn’t start getting to mix its taste in until about halfway through the meal but it was worth it when I hit the proverbial gold mine of pancetta.

The highlight of the dish for me was the ravioli which was cooked al dente but was still soft enough that a knife was unnecessary. I have been a big mushroom fan since back in the day more than likely because I saw Mario eat them while trying to save peach and gain superpowers. In hindsight, I am pretty sure that Mario was munching on hallucinogenics the entire time as its the only logical explanation for the storyline…but I digress. The filling had a lot of taste that was overshadowed a bit by the cream sauce but I was able to pull some out of one of the pockets and it had a fantastic taste on its own which could allow it to be served with a lighter sauce if you weren’t feeling the cream. The dish was loaded with 16-20 ravioli pieces making it a behemoth of a meal and I was very surprised with myself that I was able to finish it.

Everything about my experience at Caffe Peroni was amazing. The service was outstanding. The food was on target. The atmosphere was friendly and warm. The holiday lights in downtown South Boston were stunning in that Mayberry sense that a small town can have. I couldn’t have asked for a better overall experience at a restaurant and I have since recommended to various couples in the Greensboro area that I know to head up to South Boston one night on a date night because it would be well worth the 30 to 45 minute drive.

Caffe Peroni on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Gnam Gnam Gelato – Greensboro

When I purchased a $10 Groupon to Gnam Gnam Gelato in Greensboro, I thought that I was going to use it on $10 worth of gelato. I had never really branched out into the frozen world of gelato before, partly, because the little spoons that you eat it with make me feel like a giant but I figured it was as good of a time as ever since I’m not planning on jumping on this ridiculous fro-yo bandwagon anytime soon.

I did a little bit of research online to figure out what types of gelato people enjoyed up there and how much gelato I could get for $10. I found out that Gnam Gnam serves more than just gelato including some breakfast items, sandwiches and salads at lunch and a variety of coffee items. I also found out after eating there that they have started serving Donut World donuts which is a huge plus if you are on the way to work and looking for a quick cup of good coffee & donut.

Gnam Gnam Gelato has a cozy atmosphere with a few booths and tables. The colors are very inviting and it is a relaxing place to sit around and have a light lunch or frozen snack. I went in around 2 p.m. to avoid any kind of lunch rush and there were still a few families in there trying to escape the heat wave that hit North Carolina  a few weeks ago with some gelato.

 

I ordered the Gobbler Panini which is turkey, fresh avocado, lettuce, tomato and onion with chipotle mayo ($7.50). I wasn’t too excited when my order came out because, at first glance, it didn’t seem like this was a sandwich that was going to fill me up especially since I was eating so late in the day. However, this panini turned out to be both extremely tasty and surprisingly filling. The quality of the sandwich ingredients were top notch although I would hope for more options on the potato chips or maybe some sides like pasta salad or fresh fruit for a healthier alternative to the somewhat greasy bag of chips.

I ordered it as a combo which meant that I got my choice of any panini on the menu with a bag of chips plus two scoops of gelato for $8.75. They have several different combo options that you come can choose from giving you the option to get a little bit of everything on the menu with two options offering gelato included with your meal.

They offer a variety of interesting flavors including Almond Joy, Amarena Cherry, Tiramisu and Pistachio just to name a few. Gnam Gnam also has several seasonal flavors that you can order as well  as a few different flavors of sorbetto. They posted the other day about an avocado and cilantro gelato which sounds interesting.  They also have some special gelato dishes like spaghetti gelato or Pinocchio gelato where the gelato is served in a creative fun way that children will definitely enjoy!

I ordered a combination of the caramel latte and some kind of crazy chocolate/banana flavor after getting the advice of the server. It only took me two bites of the gelato for me to know that I had become a fan of both gelato and Gnam Gnam Gelato in particular. It was so smooth and refreshing and the perfect accompaniment to the book that I was reading during a relaxing lunch break.

You should stop in to Gnam Gnam Gelato soon and grab some gelato before we start getting cold weather because it is a great and inexpensive way to beat the heat. I am glad that I did because I am now on the gelato bandwagon. Gnam Gnam Gelato also has a cart that travels around Greensboro to weddings, parks and local businesses. Follow them on Facebook or Twitter to keep up with where the cart will be!

 Gnam Gnam Gelato • Bistro on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Josephine’s Bistro – Greensboro

Photo Credit: Josephine's Bistro Facebook Page

Josephine’s Bistro, located on Spring Garden Street, has been open in Greensboro for a little over a year now. It is the sister restaurant of Lindley Park Filling Station and both are run by Chef Chris Blackburn and Sarah Keith. The restaurant has a very relaxed atmosphere with local beers and fine wines as well as some cool patio seating. I had been once before and was excited to try their food again. My brother and his wife took me out for my birthday dinner there and we had a fantastic time.

The complimentary bread at Josephine’s is great. They serve it in a little aluminum pail with an olive oil mixture for dipping. The olive oil mixture wasn’t just olive oil and Italian seasoning or cracked pepper blended in like a lot of restaurants tend to serve. Instead, it was a zesty, tomato based olive oil mixture with various spices and a lot of taste.  The bread is freshly baked and soft with a slightly crunchy exterior. We munched through the first basket pretty quickly and our waitress was nice enough to bring another one to our table. That basket got dominated almost as quickly as the first one.

We started out the night with an order of fried green tomatoes ($9) which came with a local peach puree, country ham, Parmesan pimiento cheese and tarragon as well as some sprouts on top. They were fantastic and perfect for our party of three because we each got one. I am a sucker for fried green tomatoes but these are some of the best that I’ve had in a while and the peach puree added a very subtle sweet profile to the richness of the pimiento cheese. The saltiness of the country ham also played a part but didn’t stand out as much to my palate as the peach did.

AK ordered the bistro flatiron steak ($21.80) with homemade green tomato cabbage spice chow chow and a cracked pepper thyme demi glace. The dish came with a side of herb Parmesan potato au gratin but she decided to substitute that for truffle-dusted pomme frites because her favorite word is Pom because of her dog, Lily, who is a Pomapoo (Pomeranian Poodle mix). I had a bite of the steak with the chow chow and it was awesome. Chow chow, not the dog breed, is a Southern relish that consists of a variety of pickled vegetables with mustard. It added a lot of flavor to the steak while not overwhelming it. Here is a recipe if you are interested in making chow chow at home.

My brother, Will, ordered the sauteed flounder ($25) which was served over a bean scallion ponzu cake and covered in a spiced yuzu pineapple basil sauce with sesame, tomato and broccoli. I tried a bite of all of it and I enjoyed it. It had a mixture of flavors varying from the earth taste of the black beans, the sweetness of the pineapple and the funkiness of the scallion. It was an interesting combination that worked well with flounder and I think would do the same with most fish.

Let’s get to my favorite part of the meal: my dish. I ordered the Herbed Pork Milanese ($23.90) which is served with smoked housemade mozzarella, anasazi beans, heirloom tomatoes, sage yuzu brown butter and a corn mixed green salad then it is drizzled with a little balsamic. It is basically a fancified fried pork chop but that doesn’t even begin to describe it. This was one of the best pork dishes that I have ever had and cleaned the plate except for the bone where there was no trace of any meat left on it. This is probably the best dish that I have had so far in 2011 and can’t wait to go back so I can order it again. I just hope it will be on the menu.

We ordered the carrot cake (my choice because it was my birthday) which was absolutely delicious and came with a side of ice cream and was covered in walnuts. It had a bit of an orange spice to it but I hate that I can’t be too descriptive on the dessert because I forgot (read as: too full to) write down any of the dessert descriptions. I thought it was fantastic and would order it again. I love carrot cake.

We also ordered the flourless chocolate chipotle cake. It had a great taste but was pretty damn spicy. The whipped cream was a nice compliment because it helped cut a little bit of the spice from the cake. The white chocolate and raspberry sauces were a delicious addition to the plate giving it nice flavor as well as a psychedelic Grateful Dead-like presentation on the plate.

Josephine’s is open from 5pm to 9pm on Monday and 5pm to 10pm on Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed on Sunday. They offer an early bird special from Monday through Thursday where you can dine for $11 before 6pm and choose between three entries. Click here to check out the rest of their weekly specials ranging from half-priced appetizers to martini Tuesdays.

Josephine’s Bistro is some of the best food that I have found in Greensboro. I definitely recommend it to as you as a nice place to take a date or just a place to go sit down and hang out with some friends. The staff is very friendly and the ambiance is relaxed. I don’t think you will be disappointed and you will more than likely find one of your favorite restaurants in North Carolina here.

Josephine's on Urbanspoon

 

REVIEW: Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli – Greensboro

Jack’s Corner is one of the local spots in Greensboro that you shouldn’t miss. It is adjacent to the entrance of the campus of UNC-Greensboro near a lot of student housing so a lot of the clientele consists of college students. When school is in session, try to time your stop at Jack’s Corner while the students are still in class because it can get pretty hectic over there in between classes.

The one issue with Jack’s Corner is the parking. They have a very odd shaped lot in front of the restaurant and the shape makes it a little hard to maneuver into a parking spot especially if there are a few cars in there. They is another lot off of Aycock Street behind the restaurant for an additional parking in case you can’t get into the lot up front. The city also added a median in front of the Spring Garden entrance limiting the number of directions that you can enter the restaurant.

Once you get over the parking problem at Jack’s Corner and get inside the restaurant, everything is smooth sailing from there. They have a couple of the menu items pictured on the wall like the gyro platter and the steak & cheese combo. They also have a giant menu printed and posted on the wall so you can figure out what you want without ever flipping through an actual paper menu. Place your order, pay for it and then sit down & wait for your name to be called and they will bring it out to your table.

I am a huge fan of hors d’oeuvre especially the kind that are served in triangles at parties. Growing up, I didn’t really know what I was eating when I was filling up my plate with the flaky triangle pastries filled with spinach, onions and feta that I found out later in life were known as spanakopita. I didn’t realize that the traditional form of spanakopita actually came in the pan instead of in those little delectable triangle parcels. Jack’s Corner gives you a little bit of both worlds with their spanakopita because they cook it in the pan but cut it into triangles and then serve it.

While I enjoyed their spanakopita, I don’t know if I would drop $2.09 on it again. It was decent sized and crispy just the way that I liked it when I was little but it just didn’t blow me away. I will probably get the falafels or grape leaves next time I am in there and feeling an appetizer. I am no expert on spanakopita so give it a try and let me know what you think.

I ordered the chicken gyro platter ($6.99) which comes with fries and a Greek salad. The chicken gyro has lettuce, tomato and cucumber sauce which is wrapped in a grilled pita. The warm, homemade pita and the fresh lettuce and tomato are great fillers for this hefty gyro but the spiced chicken strips were what give it so much taste. The chicken strips are very thin and grilled tender. They are covered in some “old world aromatic spices” which give them a salty and tangy flavor with a bit of kick. The strips are about the length of the pita so you taste a little bit in every bite.

I was glad that I ordered the platter instead of the combo because it came with the Greek salad. It was anything huge but the greens were fresh and the tomato was juicy making it a great side salad. The sprinkled feta crumbles and heavy oil & vinegar dressing made it pretty strong but I still dug it. The French fries were absolutely on point: crispy, hot and seasoned. It may sound a little sketchy but dipping them in the cucumber sauce turned out to be better to me than dipping than in ketchup.

One thing you may notice about Jack’s Corner is that they serve everything on paper plates. They are the strong Hefty type that hold up under moisture so you don’t have to worry about them folding under the pressure of whatever you are eating. It probably isn’t the best thing for the environment but I guess it works better for them in the kitchen as they are probably spending more money washing dishes.

There were a few complaints on Yelp about the cost of the meal compared to the portion size but I have never walked out of Jack’s Corner still hungry and irritated that I spent too much. I don’t understand it because most of the combos or plates are only about one dollar more than a combo at McDonald’s. Adding hummus or baba ghanouj ($3.99 for a plate & pita bread for either) to your meal will definitely tack on some money but that is just the nature of the restaurant industry.

Jack’s Corner Mediterranean Deli is one of Greensboro’s best kept secrets. You can be in and out of there fairly quickly with a great meal in your stomach plus you will supporting a family owned and operated restaurant. I suggest getting the gyros because they are fantastic but everything I have heard says to get some falafels whether it be in a basket or in a wrap. If you dig good Greek food, I think you will love Jack’s Corner.

Jack's Corner Mediterranean on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Sushi Republic – Greensboro

 

Sushi Republic is one of many locally owned sushi restaurants in Greensboro. It is located between UNC-Greensboro and Greensboro College on Tate Street near most of the UNC-Greensboro eateries. I used to live about a block away from the restaurant on Mendenhall when I first moved to Greensboro which is pretty much UNC-Greensboro off campus housing. I was living with my brother, Will, who is a bit of a sushi nut so we would walk down to Sushi Republic occasionally to grab a few rolls.

My brother got married last weekend so we went out to grab a bite to eat together and relax before the wedding . Since Sushi Republic is one of my brother’s favorite restaurants in Greensboro, we went there. I love sushi but I don’t like spending a whole lot of money on it. This was an exception since it was the last time that the two of us were going to be able to sit down together over dinner before he got hitched.

The interior of Sushi Republic is very dark which I find appealing. It wasn’t dark like a restaurant where it is hard to read the menu. It is dark in all areas except for the sushi bar and the tabletops so that the food being prepared and on the table is in the spotlight. I don’t think this would be the place that you would go to lunch to read a book unless it was a nice day and you were sitting out on their great patio that overlooks Tate Street. The patio is a great place to people watch when school is in session.

I had jumped on Yelp while we were deciding what to order and I saw someone had mentioned that their sake mojitos were incredible so we both ordered one. It was a very easy drinking cocktail that could easily catch up with you after one or two. It tasted like a drink that you would get at a Sonic Drive-Thru or something and was very refreshing.

We ordered them after the appetizer so they came out with the meal even though the paragraph placement in this blog post might imply otherwise.\Next time, I will order it right when I get there so I can sip on it while I look through the menu. It is great drink for a hot day especially if you are sitting on the patio at Sushi Republic.

Here is a recipe from Food & Wine Magazine for a sake mojito:

  • 6 mint leaves, plus 1 mint sprig
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/2 lime, cut into pieces
  • Ice
  • 5 ounces sake
  • 1 ounce chilled club soda

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the sugar and lime pieces. Add ice and the sake and shake well. Strain into a highball glass filled with ice, top with the club soda and garnish with the mint sprig.

 

We started out with an appetizer of shrimp sumai which are steamed shrimp dumplings served with a gyoza sauce. The dumplings are a little smaller than ping pong balls and served on a bed of shredded cabbage with carrot ribbons on the side. The gyoza dipping sauce had a nice flavor to it with a spicy flavor profile that didn’t rely too much on the soy sauce for taste. There are a few other appetizers that I want to try at Sushi Republic but I would be hard pressed not to order these again next time.

I am a sucker for dumplings. I even bought an Asian dumpling cookbook written by Andrea Nguyen because I love them so much. I am going to try to make shrimp sumai at home very soon and I hope they will taste just as good as Sushi Republic’s.

My brother’s favorite roll at Sushi Republic ($9.75) is the Rolls Royce. It is a California roll topped with diced tuna, tomato & radish sprout and then covered in a sweet ponzu sauce which is a citrus-based sauce commonly used in Japanese cuisine (via Wikipedia). While researching ponzu sauce on the Interwebs, I noticed that it tends to look more like soy sauce or gyoza sauce. Sushi Republic’s ponzu sauce is more soup-like which I think is a better pairing to the sushi because it meant that the roll wasn’t sitting in a bath of sodium. The chunks of raw tuna and tomato turns the Rolls Royce from a simple roll into an entire meal.

 

I ordered the Sushi Republic roll ($8.95) and my brother ordered the Kamikaze roll ($9.95) which they placed on a plate together. I really enjoyed the presentation of these two rolls together. The Sushi Republic roll is tempura fried tuna, asparagus and grab with yamagobo sauce with a spicy aioli. The Kamikaze roll is spicy yellowtail tuna, avocado, cucumber, asparagus  and crab that is tempura fried and then covered in eel sauce. We ended up trading pieces of each of the rolls so I got to try both of them. The Sushi Republic roll (yellow sauce) was my favorite of the two because it wasn’t so greasy. The tuna was the only thing tempura fried in the Sushi Republic roll and then rolled up versus the Kamikaze roll which was tempura fried whole after it was rolled together.

The slightly fuzzy picture above is the seafood yakisoba ($12.95) which is a stir-fried egg noodles with vegetables and mixed seafood laid on top of a banana leaf. I think it was a banana leaf but I am not well versed on my leaves.  The mixed seafood consisted of shrimp and calamari rings. I was impressed with the shrimp. They were de-shelled all the way down to the base of the tail while leaving the tail on which allows you to eat every bit of meat on the shrimp. The calamari rings were a little chewy for my liking and would have preferred scallops instead. I love Asian noodles and, for a little more than the price of a higher end specialty roll, I can get my fill of sushi and noodles for right around twenty bucks. I gave my brother a good amount of the noodles and seafood and still had plenty left over for myself.

Sushi Republic is one of my favorite places to go in Greensboro for sushi. It is a little pricey but that is sushi in general. I don’t think you will be disappointed in the selection of sushi items or sashimi. If you are looking for sushi in Greensboro, Sushi Republic should be your first stop.

Sushi Republic on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Brown-Gardiner Drugstore – Greensboro

Brown-Gardiner is one of those places that hasn’t changed much since it first opened in Greensboro. It is one of the few remaining family-owned pharmacies with a lunch counter that I have come across during my food adventures.  For me, Brown-Gardiner is a place that I just can fathom how I haven’t been there before. A few years ago, I drove by it hundreds and hundreds of times going back and forth from my apartment and my office without ever realizing that it was a restaurant.

It wasn’t until a few months ago that I finally found out about Brown-Gardiner and decided to head up there for lunch one day. I went up there with my friend, Elliot, and one of his buddies for a quick bite to eat. Elliot’s girlfriend, Ashley, grew up in Greensboro and told me that it was a place I need to review for Eat It, North Carolina. I am glad she told me about it because I don’t think I would have ever made it there if she didn’t say anything about it.

Brown-Gardiner is a gathering place for many different people in Greensboro ranging from local high school students to some of the most influential politicians in Greensboro. It is more than just a place where people eat lunch. People go to Brown-Gardiner to be a part of the Greensboro community and to spend time with each other. It is a very family-oriented place that is the local hot spot for grabbing a quick bite to eat with friends.

Elliot went with a cheeseburger combo with lettuce & tomato which came with a size of large crispy crinkle-cut fries. The lettuce and tomato were both fresh and looked great. The burger itself is pretty small and similar in size to a value cheeseburger from McDonald’s or Wendy’s.  They cook the patties on a flat top grill that has been there for ages. Elliot saw one of the burgers come out and decided to get an additional hot dog. He said the additional hot dog was a good idea because he didn’t think the burger combo would have filled him up. He said the hot dog was pretty good albeit a little sloppy.

 

I asked the waitress what I should order and she said, without hesitation, that I needed to try the Nanny Special. This is the signature sandwich which is named after Imogene “Nanny” Sells, who ran the soda fountain for 23 years until she recently passed away in 2008. The sandwich actually sounds a little sketchy on the menu and I was a little hesitant about ordering it. The description for the sandwich is “Steak’um, grilled onions, Swiss cheese, special sauce on a hoagie.”

It doesn’t sound very appealing and didn’t actually look that good when it came to the table either. Frankly, I was a little disappointed at both myself and the waitress who suggested it. I guess I shouldn’t judge a book by its cover because although this sandwich looked sketchy, it had an awesome taste  to it.  Nanny Special would have just been an ordinary steak sandwich if it wasn’t for the special sauce which was like a hybrid barbecue sauce/ketchup that was interesting for the first bit or two and then just turned extremely delicious for the rest of the sandwich. I wish they would get away from Steak’um and use some real meat for the sandwich but, for what its worth, it was still pretty good.

I would consider Brown-Gardiner Drug Store more of a food experience at a historically relevant place in Greensboro as opposed to a must-go place because of the food. They have delicious hand-squeezed orangeade served over pebble ice which is a must if you go. Brown-Gardiner is one of those places that you should go to take in the community & fun and enjoy a fairly inexpensive, lunch counter. It won’t be the best lunch that you’ve ever eaten but I have the feeling you will have a good experience up there!

Brown Gardiner Fountain on Urbanspoon

REVIEW: Donut World – Greensboro

In the land of Krispy Kreme, opening a donut shop would be considered foolish to many. However, Lean Ly and her family moved here from California with the drive to open up Greensboro’s best donut shop and a surefire recipe for the best donuts that you have had. Ly and her family opened up the first Donut World location sometime back in January or February of 2010 on West Market Street. They opened a second location a few months ago on Battleground Avenue.

The interior of Donut World isn’t anything fancy. They have a large donut display case, a few tables, a coffee station and a drink cooler. The donuts are made in the back and fresh ones are constantly being brought up front. Donut World is very minimal which another reason why I love this place. They rely on the quality of the product that they are selling instead of the frills that come with it and this is why I think Donut World works in the land of Krispy Kreme.

Donut World offers a huge selection of donuts: French crullers, bear claws, maple bars, old fashions, glazed, buttermilks, blueberry, jelly donuts, cinnamon rolls, donut holes, sugar raised, twists and apple fritters. When I used to buy them for the office, I would always have trouble trying to figure out which types I wanted to get in my dozen. I think I have tried at least one of every donut from Donut World and haven’t had a bad one yet. Their donuts all have some body so they are great to eat alongside a hot cup of coffee.

I know that some people will always stay true to the wispy, sugar-coated doughnuts from Kripy Kreme. It is turn down the “Hot Doughnuts Now” sign when it is lit up outside the store. Those things just melt in your mouth. I grew up on them and still love them. I don’t eat donuts very much but, when I do, I have been by-passing Krispy Kreme for Donut World and I am happy with my decision each time that I do it.

If I were to pick a favorite item that I get from Donut World, it would have to be their apple fritter. These things are pure goodness although they might actually take a year off of your life a la Paula Deen with the amount of butter and sugar that each one has. They also have fresh apples so you can sell that fact to your guilty conscience while you take it down. The picture above doesn’t do it justice so make sure you get one if you go to Donut World. It will be the best $1.45 that you have ever spent.

Donut World’s coffee station looks a little weak at first glance but they actually have good coffee there. It isn’t fancy like a Starbucks or Port City Java type of coffee. Don’t try to order your non-fat soy milk latte because they just have regular coffee that is brewed right each time. However, their coffee cups aren’t the greatest (styrofoam with the old school foldback tab) which doesn’t really make it very friendly on the drive into work in the morning.

Get outside of the Krispy Kreme box and give Donut World a try. I promise that you won’t be disappointed and I have the feeling that you will become a fan. The original Donut World location is in the same shopping center as the DMV on West Market Street so you might be able to kill two birds with one stone if you need to renew your driver’s license.

Donut World on Urbanspoon

LINK: Taste, on Tour at Watt’s Grocery in Durham

Photo Credit: Joe Kwon – TasteOnTour.com

I have no idea how I have missed Joe Kwon’s food blog called Taste, on Tour. He plays cello for a band, The Avett Brothers, that has been on constant rotation on my iPod for the past four or five years. Kwon has been playing with The Avett Brothers since they asked him to join them in the studio on their album, Emotionalism, which would be a part of my “My Top Five Desert Island Albums” list for a blog post if I ran a music blog. He has been playing with them ever since and traveling from city to city on their massive nationwide and international tours. I am a little envious of him and all the places that he gets to visit while on tour.

On Taste on Tour, Kwon blogs a lot like we do (except he also has posts a lot about his exploits in his kitchen which is our next step in North Carolina food domination). He doesn’t review places. Instead, he shares places that the restaurants that he enjoys with the readers and posts about them. He doesn’t critique the restaurants nor does he need to because his food-tography speaks for itself. This guy knows good food.

Kwon was born in Korea but his parents moved to  High Point by the time he turned one. He grew up in North Carolina but left for boarding school during high school. He came back here when he attended UNC-Chapel on a music scholarship. Growing up in North Carolina and touring with his North Carolina-based folk rock group has led to an impressive archive of blog posts about restaurants across the world with a heavy concentration of them in the Old North State.

Kwon was asked to create some limited-time menu items for the Laurel Market Deli in Charlotte using The Avett Brothers as inspiration. He created three signature sandwiches including the Kick Drum Heart, the Pretty Girl and the Gimmeakiss (descriptions below). I’m not sure how much longer these items will be on Laurel Market’s menu but I hope to give them a try the next time I am down in Charlotte. Kwon definitely came up with some cool sandwiches.

  • Gimmeakiss (Genoa salami, pastrami, mayo, jalapeno, sweet pickles, cucumber, red onion, fresh cilantro on a baguette)
  • Kick Drum Heart (avocado, an egg over easy, spicy mustard, Bibb lettuce, tomato, salt & pepper on toasted sourdough
  • Pretty Girl (prosciutto, fresh mozzarella, fresh basil, horseradish sauce on cranberry walnut bread)

We hope that Kwon will think about joining us at a local restaurant in Greensboro when The Avett Brothers come play Greensboro Coliseum’s new White Oak Amphitheatre in October. He has already hit up a few of our favorite places like Sticks & Stones (review coming soon), Lindley Park Filling Station and Banh mi Saigon (need to go again soon and take some pictures) but I have a couple of other great places that he definitely needs to try out in Greensboro.

Check out Joe Kwon’s blog post about Watt’s Grocery in Durham on TasteOnTour.com…

 

REVIEW: Fincastle’s Diner – Greensboro


We have all had a restaurant that has been in close proximity to where we live that we don’t eat enough even though their food is delicious. For me, that place is Fincastle’s Diner in downtown Greensboro. I worked in downtown Greensboro for three and a half years and never ate there until about two weeks ago. I had take out while at work one day but it was cold and kind of gross by the time it came back to the office so I don’t consider that eating there. I had always heard great things but I never really ventured that far down Elm Street while at work.

Luckily, my friends, Alex and Jackie, invited me along to eat with them on a Friday about two or three weeks ago and they had picked Fincastle’s. Fincastle’s Diner is probably most known for its burgers and their singing waiter named Jaybird but one thing that stood out to me was the New Orleans influence on the restaurant’s menu and atmosphere. I had just come back from a long weekend down in New Orleans so I decided to stick with the burgers and would come back to try some of their New Orleans cuisine like po’boys and jambalaya the next time that I come back.

Fried pickles are something that probably got a huge boost in sales after J-Woww and Snookie ordered them during their road trip through the South on the season premiere of the second season of Jersey Shore when Snookie proclaimed them to be “a life-changing experience”. I’m sure a lot of people are hesitant to order fried pickles because they sounds like something that you would order at the state fair but these little things are amazing especially if you order them at Fincastle’s in Greensboro.

The fried pickles at Fincastle’s are covered in a tangy batter and then deep fried to a crisp accompanied with a side of ranch similar to Ham’s style (that means it is awesome). One order of fried pickles is massive and will feed the whole table. If you order it solo, you will be hard pressed to finish it. I definitely recommend ordering these guys if you go to Fincastle’s.

As I have written before, one great thing about living in North Carolina is the presence of Cheerwine, a cherry-flavored soda made in Salisbury, at many local restaurants. I have drank Cheerwine in almost every way they serve it (bottled, canned, fountain, ice cream, Slushie…didn’t try the Krispy Kreme’s Cheerwine doughnut though) and I have to say that Cheerwine is best served from either a glass bottle or from the fountain in pebble ice.

I ordered a bottled Cheerwine which came with the combo that I ordered and the waiter presented it to me like a bottle of wine and then twisted the top off like it was an art. It was by far the most impressive presentation of any soft drink that I have ever had only making the experience at Fincastle’s that much better.

I ordered the Delta Burger which has apple smoked bacon, pimento cheese, fried green tomato, lettuce and a remoulade sauce on Anna Mae Breads‘ sourdough roll. This burger is pretty much what I would make if someone gave me a list of every ingredient that I could put on a burger and told me to make myself a burger. I hit the burger with a little too much of my camera’s flash so it came out a little bright so my apologies for the shoddy picture.

At Fincastle’s, the burgers don’t start out in patties. They use what the smash burger technique which is when they create a ball out of the ground beef, place it on the grill and then smash it with a spatula so it cooked throughout. I tend to prefer a burger patty because it doesn’t fall together as easily. However, the burger that I had at Fincastle’s held together fairly well even with all of the ingredients that were on it. I was impressed with the structure of it.

Alex ordered the Fall Burger which is baby Swiss, red onion compote, herb roasted tomato and rosemary-infused ketchup on Anna Mae Breads’ sourdough roll. He didn’t get a combo so his burger looked a little lonely on the big ass plate. You would think they would serve it on a smaller plate or  He said that it was one of the better burgers that he has ever had at a restaurant. He mentioned that the red onion compote was a nice sweet addition and the rosemary-infused ketchup  added a different flavor that he wasn’t used to when eating a burger. I tasted the rosemary-infused ketchup and it was potent but that is just what rosemary does.

Jackie ordered the Magnolia Burger which is Muenster cheese, onion straws, lettuce, tomato, apple smoked bacon and comeback sauce (a spicy Mississippi condiment) on Anna Mae Breads’ sourdough roll.  The combination of toppings on this burger sounding amazing and I came very close to ordering it. The onion straws were a lighter, less breaded version of tobacco onions that Jackie said were delicious. She got the sweet potato fries on the side which were great (I stole a few…). The fries were thick enough so you could actually taste the sweet potato inside them as opposed to other versions that I’ve tried which are so skinny that the grease cooks the taste out of them.

Fincastle’s Diner recently received the Best Lunch award in Yes! Weekly’s Best of the Triad 2011 awards which is voted on by the readers which I think is deserved. Eating at Fincastle’s is an experience with a cool downtown atmosphere and a waiter who will serenade you with R&B and Stax classics. It is a fun place to eat and the food is great. Make sure that you head downtown to check out Fincastle’s on your next trip to Greensboro.

Fincastles Restaurant on Urbanspoon

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