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Carnival time with
UNCLE BUZZY’S FRIED FOOD
Also featured in this month’s Issue: The best sangria recipe
Bourdain and me, and the ham
n the weeks following his suicide in France, pieces about Anthony Bourdain filled my computer screen like the chicken tray at the last Popeye’s all-you-caneat buffet in Lafayette, La. by Brian Clarey — at which, the internet tells me, Bourdain once dined for three days straight. Sadly, most of what I knew about Bourdain came from memes that quote his breakthrough book, Kitchen Confidential, true backstage stories of New York City’s restaurant scene that hurtled him into the public eye. I think I caught the show a couple times. I admired his candor, what I knew of it, and his disrespect for authority which became legendary since he hit the bigs. I suppose I was a fan in the way I’m a fan of the strange South African hip-hop weirdoes Die Antwoord — that is to say, in a general way and without all that much familiarity with the work. His death saddened me, though, in ways I couldn’t explain: the hard work, the late-life success, the no-nonsense reporting all came to an end in a lonely French hotel room. I don’t think I could ever live up to the life of Anthony Bourdain, but I’m not hubristic enough to believe that it couldn’t have ended in similar fashion. I bought the book last week, almost 20 years too late, and I’m tearing through it faster than a bowl of hot noodles on a cold day. What strikes me hardest is how, at times, Bourdain’s story rhymes with my own, except his features more talent, harder drugs, a different stratosphere of success and, perhaps, one or two decisions at key moments in life that sent him one way and me another. Like Bourdain, I remember the one thing I ate that got me interested in food. Bourdain’s first piece was an oyster, slurped fresh out of the shell on the coast of France. Mine was a
ham sandwich. But this was like no other ham sandwich I had ever eaten up to that point, which was about 1984, before bougie sandwiches existed. Besides a few fantastic New York deli classics, most sandwiches I had ever eaten from home kitchens came on square, gummy white bread. This sandwich, made by my friend Scott’s mother right there in her kitchen while I watched her do it, was on dense, brown bread, the kind that’s all over the place now but in 1984 was as obscure as black truffles. The ham came not from some pre-packaged lot or a deli man’s slicer, but in thick slabs off an actual ham. The cheese, too — Swiss, I believe — seemed cut specifically for the purpose of laying on my sandwich. A little bit of mayo, yes, and Dijon mustard, of course. But then there were — get this — sprouts on this sandwich. I had never in all my 14 years seen such a thing, had never in fact even tasted a sprout. They were crunchy and tasted slightly of the earth, and held the dressings marvelously. From that moment, I became an insufferable food snob, scoffing at the Oscar Mayer garbage my parents’ were peddling and blowing my lunch money on quarter-pound cups of whatever looked interesting behind the glass at the German deli, things with names I didn’t recognize at the Kosher deli. At seafood restaurants, I veered away from the fried stuff, leaning more towards food in the shell: clams raw and roasted, steamers dipped in broth and butter, lobster whenever I could get it and shrimp when I couldn’t. I didn’t get my first taste of real raw oyster until a few years later, after I’d left home for New Orleans. It happened at Cooter Brown’s, and like Bourdain, I found it to be salty and succulent, and hinting at the answers to all of life’s mysteries. Unlike Bourdain, I still have not had my fill.
1618 Downtown $$-$$$ 1618downtown.com 312 S. Elm St. GSO 336.312.4143
Bourdain’s first piece was an oyster, slurped fresh out of the shell off the coast of France. Mine was a ham sandwich.
Triad City Bites
1618 Downtown has the look and feel of a boutique restaurant in Uptown Manhattan, with a long bar and a narrow dining room filled most nights with small and large plates, and exciting chatter. “I believe in downtown Greensboro,” co-owner Nick Wilson says. “It’s really amazing, the last 10 or 12 years, people have been starting to see the bigger picture. They’re starting to get it.” With a new summer menu unveiled this month, daily “fun” drink specials and the busiest power-lunch crowd in town, 1618 Downtown has made its mark. “The Elm Street restaurant has a kind of central, downtown, bigcity feel,” Wilson says. “It’s the kind of place where you can push the envelope a little more because it’s not as much of a commitment. If you want to try something different you don’t have to get a full entrée that’s out of your comfort zone.”
Undercurrent Restaurant $$$ undercurrentrestaurant.com 327 Battleground Ave. GSO, 336.370.1266
Undercurrent Restaurant, celebrating 20 years in downtown Greensboro, offers a lush, private, patio-dining experience. Flanked by a vibrant urban pollinator garden, the patio is not only a relaxing place to enjoy a special meal, but is also a seasonal entertainment space for 24-35 people (weather permitting). Undercurrent remains the downtown destination for private events, specialty dinners, business meetings and informal gatherings. Brothers Wesley and Chris Wheeler proudly continue the flavorful tradition of providing a beautiful seasonal dining experience and pride themselves on making your private event as elegant and effortless as possible. Bring your colleagues, friends, the love of your life or a good book. Undercurrent Restaurant provides a perfect spot to unwind and enjoy a fresh farm-to-table meal. They are open for lunch, cocktails and dinner as well as brunch on Sunday. Reservation suggested not required.
Burger Batch $-$$
burgerbatch.com 2760 NC 68 HP 336.875.4082 237 W. 5th St. WS 336.893.6395
The Kitchen + Market $$-$$$ nattygreeneskitchenandmarket.com 2003 Yanceyville St. GSO 336.656.2410
The Kitchen + Market makes everything on the menu from the beginning, right down to the cuts of meat. Their in-house Butcher, Taylor Armstrong, spends his days cutting steaks of Braveheart Farms Aged Black Angus Prime Beef, stuffing sausage and grinding chops for the hand-pattied burgers. Half of the items go to the kitchen, to be cooked to order for diners, the rest goes into the Market and, eventually, to backyard grills or kitchen broilers. Guests can also find local cheeses, veggies, Homeland Creamery milk, candy, craft beers, wine, everyday sundries, apparel and local gifts in the Market where Market Manager Andrew Dudek stands ready to arm guests with everything they’ll need for a memorable meal. He knows about cook times and temps, wine pairings and the secret to the perfect cut, so the handcrafted experience can be enjoyed at home.
Known for Instagram-worthy milkshakes and towering burgers, Tim Walker’s corner joint Burger Batch is now offering a brunch menu tailor-made for a Funday Sunday with last night’s crew, with live music every weekend designed to kick the day into gear. The cocktail menu is straightforward — mimosas, Bloody Marys and two special shots — but never shies away from decadent adornments like the leaning tower of chicken and waffles atop the drinkably spicy Breakfast Bloody. A champagne flight includes a range of refreshing juices from classic orange to smooth, sweet pineapple, all presented on wooden board shaped like the Old North State. Aside from boozy concoctions, Burger Batch’s newest menu is packed with playful touches like the complementary can of PBR with a cheeky-titled “Hangover” entrée. Small Batch takes presentation and portion size seriously; no one will go home hungry and bacon adorns cocktails and entrees alike. And that’s part of what’s so enjoyable about the Small Batch enterprise and Burger Batch’s newest menu — light-hearted and unapologetic indulgence.
Triad City Bites
The Quiet Pint $$
facebook.com/quietpinttavern 1420 W. First St. WS, 336.893.6881
Mission Pizza $-$$
missionpizzanapoletana.com 707 Trade St. WS, 336.893.8217 Pizza is pizza. Dough, tomatoes, cheese. What’s the big deal? As the Carolinas’ first Neapolitan pizzeria (real Neapolitan, not fake Neapolitan), Mission Pizza Napoletana aims to change the conversation about what pizza is and what pizza can be. You should demand no less from your pizza. Our mission starts with (insert part about insistence on passion and commitment to quality here), and shows in our (buzzword claims about our product quality and provenance). Not to mention, (marketing drivel, dubious proclamation, exaggerated bio, obligatory claim of authenticity, inconclusive assertion, humblebrag), separates us from the rest! Just come try the pizza, make up your own mind. While you’re here, don’t sleep on the pasta, salads, veg and specials. That would be a mistake.
Melt Kitchen & Bar $-$$
Gather at the Quiet Pint for pub trivia hosted by Geeks Who Drink every Tuesday evening at 7:30 p.m. This is team trivia and winning teams will be awarded prizes in the form of Quiet Pint gift cards and craft-beer schwag. Follow the beer menu in real-time with the TapHunter App and receive notifications when new beers are tapped. Live music season will be starting soon — follow the Quiet Pint on Facebook to see the schedule.
Triad City Bites
meltkitchenandbar.com 1941 New Garden Road # 116 GSO 336.763.5445 Melt made its name with a top-shelf panini menu that utilized fresh ingredients, fresh cheese and bread baked expressly for the purpose of being hot-pressed into a crispy, gooey work of art. In its new location on New Garden Road, Melt has twice the seating space, bar and lounge seating and a bigger kitchen, enabling an expansion of the menu. All the favorites remain: the duck-fat fries, the “Almost Famous” Brussels sprouts, the housemade pimiento cheese, the award-winning BLT. But the burger and taco menus have swelled with new items; there are more small-plate options to share or start the meal, a new slate of salads, vegan-friendly options and more. No need to make a reservation — just come on by.
Mary’s Gourmet Diner $$ marysgourmetdiner.net 723 Trade St. WS, 336.723.7239
Bites & Pints Gastropub $
bitesandpintsgastropub.com 2503 Spring Garden St. GSO, 336.617.5185
Mary Haglund owns breakfast in Winston-Salem. Her first venture, Mary’s of Course! Which opened in 2000, was the original farm-to-fork restaurant in the city. There she solidified her relationships with local purveyors and her commitment to real, local ingredients, as well as her biscuit recipe. Her egg dishes are legendary, her pancakes sublime. And the specials board always has something interesting. Open only for breakfast and lunch and the sweet spot in between, Mary’s Gourmet Diner is a Winston-Salem original.
Jerusalem Market $$
jerusalemmarket.com 310 S. Elm St. GSO, 336.279.7025 5002 High Point Road GSO, 336.547.0220 Since 1989, the Triad’s favorite Middle Eastern Grocery built a loyal following near Adams Farm with its international market and sandwich counter in the back. Jerusalem Market specializes in imported groceries and ingredients, and the most unusual soft-drink cooler in town. It’s newest location, downtown on South Elm Street, carries a full board of specialty sandwiches using ingredients like Italian mortadella and salami, Turkish dried sausage and in-house butchered lamb and beef. Fresh-made baba ghanouj, tabouleh and “the best hummos in the world” every day, with organic produce and locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible. Open for lunch and dinner. “You will be pleased.”
Chef Kris Fuller, queen of the Crafted empire in Greensboro and Winston-Salem, joined with longtime Westerwood Tavern owner Mike Bosco to create Greensboro’s only true gastropub. Fuller’s menu takes bar food to the next level, with an eclectic slate of delectables suitable for sharing or grubbing down solo: boiled peanuts, shrimp tempura, chicken and waffles, melts, salads, a full component of burgers and hot dogs and even a kids’ menu. Bosco’s bar has all the necessary accoutrements. Open every day in the Lindley Park section of Spring Garden Street.
Triad City Bites
Carnival time with
FRIED FOOD “I think I finally found it,” Dave Hillman says. “The perfect concept.” His first Winston-Salem venture was a more intuitive piece of supply meeting demand: a pizza place on Burke Street, back when the strip held most of the city’s nightlife. He stayed open late, made a great pie and sold cold beer and that was pretty much that. The Quiet Pint he envisioned as a neighborhood bar on a street that didn’t yet have one. As it flourished, Dave began to look seriously at the property down the road. “I saw this building vacant for 20 years,” he says. “It’s a perfect location.” After the concept for Uncle Buzzy’s came to him last year, he made his move. Uncle Buzzy’s will specialize in carnival food: burgers, hot dogs, ice-cream tacos and the sort of deep-fried experimentation for which the genre is becoming famous: candy bars, cookies, butter itself. “Everybody wants to go to the fair,” Dave says, “because they want to try crazy stuff.” But behind the folly is a kitchen with serious ambition. Hillman partnered with Chef Brian Duffy, best known as the kitchen guy from the television show “Bar Rescue,” to flesh out the carnival-food concept and add classic American street food. A Nashville chicken sandwich. Disco fries. Poutine. There’s a smoker in the kitchen for pork shoulder and anything else the guys want to experiment with. Beef gets roasted in house and served four ways: Italian-style, a Chicago favorite with a jus-soaked bun; shaved into a Philly cheesesteak; served on a salty kummelweck roll for the Buffalo, NY favorite beef on weck; and done exactly like Dave remembers it from the original Buzzy’s in Boston, the First Street Bomber.
Triad City Bites
“The roast beef is going to be what people come here for first” Dave says. Today Duffy’s prepared the pork in a porchetta style: slow-cooked with garlic and rosemary, and he piles some atop a bed of house-cut fries, a cheddar sauce and a bacon-ranch he makes with emulsified bacon fat. All the sauces, including ketchup, country gravy, aiolis and dressings are made in this kitchen, that’s also equipped with a couple deep-fryers, a flash-fryer, waffle iron, soft-serve machine and bathtub-sized griddle. The two of them have been at it at the new spot on 1st Street for weeks — tweaking menu items, perfecting processes, training staff. The excitement is as
Uncle Buzzy’s Fried Food
1510 1st St. WS Opening mid-July
palpable as if the carnival really was coming to town. “I’ve done every kind of concept you can think of,” Duffy says. “Diner. Gastropub. Dive bar. Fine Dining. Pizza. Everything is getting so pretentious. This is just fun.” He’s got a big tray of mac and cheese that’s been through the smoker. It’s cold now; Duffy shows a kitchen hand how to cut it into bricks that need to be doused with water and dipped in flour before being introduced to the deep fryer. He shaves a few slices off a roast and slides them on the grill with some
chopped mushrooms and onions, lays a couple slices of provolone atop and then a dip of jus before he flips it, chops it and places it in a buttered, grilled hoagie roll with a couple of sweet peppers. For Duffy, who hails from Philadelphia, making a cheesesteak is second nature. For now, Duffy is experimenting in the kitchen while Dave washes dishes and they shout ideas back and forth, sweating from the heat of the fryers and the smoker and the steam from the griddle, smiling like a couple of kids who are just about to get on the roller coaster. It takes a lot of work to have this much fun.
Triad City Bites
Flash in the Pan:
he summer solstice has snuck by, again. Depressing, I know, but as our hemisphere prepares for its date with winter, there is no need to overthink the situation. The roses are still fragrant, and the tomatoes are still ripening, by Ari LeVaux because the heat has only just begun, and we can’t lose sight of the big picture: this is a very good time to drink sangria. By sangria, I mean a spectrum of wine and fruit-based cold drinks, some of which have more merit than others. At one end is sangria itself, the a famous Spanish punch made of wine, fruit, juice and liquor that’s adored by sun worshippers, tourists and underaged drinkers. This end of the spectrum is one of incomprehensible complexity, as there are too many permutations of all of these ingredients, plus shots of simple syrup, 7-Up and the like to keep track of. One popular variation, for example, is the Italian-American version of the Eastern Seaboard, which contains brandy, triple sec and peach schnapps, along with the fruit. You will find these ingredients in the award-winning sangria pitchers of Spain Restaurant in Cranston, RI, and in the shared kitchen of a certain Cape Cod vacation spot, where a certain clan of Italian families shows up every solstice like clockwork to share a kitchen with my family (long story). One of the clan matriarchs told me her recipe, and shared this nugget: While most recipes call for merlot or cabernet, she advises a red burgundy. It’s drier, she says, and “has that woody taste.” I enjoyed the fact that a celebrated French wine is the secret ingredient in the Italian-American version of a Spanish drink, and filed it away just in case. But to be honest, I was having trouble getting excited about her sangria. It was both too delicious and too alcoholic. This may sound like a win-win but I find
Triad City Bites
it counterproductive to add extra sugar so you can add extra booze. Summer may be gone in the blink of an eye, but it’s also a grind, and I want to keep cool, keep hydrated, and keep going. When I keep going with the Italian sangria, I wake up sunburnt in a pool chair. I prefer the other end of the sangria spectrum. The side that’s bitter, simple, and bubbly. It’s called Tinto de Verano. Tinto de verano translates to “red wine of summer.” In Spain, it’s what the locals have settled on as the ideal antidote for the Iberian heat. Credit for its creation is given to the Andalusian restaurateur and bullfight promoter Federico Vargas, but credit is hardly due. It’s such a simple recipe that its creation was inevitable.
Tinto de Verano
ingredients Red wine Sprite (or the Spanish equivalent) procedure Open both items, mix, and serve chilled. This much is found pre-mixed in Spain, because they know a thing or two about beating the heat. For this task, Tinto de Verano is an absolute beast. The lemon and lime fine-tune the flavor, as the cold and bubbles do their things. It’s numbing and stimulating. Pleasantly exhilarating. This simple drink can be doctored in many ways. Ice, for example, is a great way to chill it if your glass and ingredients were not already frigid. Squeezed slices of lemon and lime, meanwhile, will significantly enhance the citrus pizzaz. A shot of lemonade here, a dash of vermouth there — to the point that you have basically made sangria. And as the Italians and others have shown, there is plenty of room for exploration on the busy, fruity side of this continuum. Not so much on the dry side of the sangria spectrum, although the use of lemon/lime soda, while clever, does leave an opportunity to improve. After all, that Sprite is still added sugar, which enables the intake of more booze. By replacing it with lemon and lime juice and bubbly water we can let the bitter flavors out to play. Bubbly. For some it’s like a seventh flavor. The way some people want hot sauce on their
food, bubble lovers want bubbles in their drink. I’m a sometimes bubbles person, but I find them absolutely essential here. Bubbles enhance the bitter tones of lemon, lime, oak and tannin, and stimulate the tongue in the absence of sugar. This version is a legit “session” beverage, one that you can drain and repeat for the duration of most any event without issue, from game day to corporate retreat, clam bake to safety break. Without the sugar highs or alcohol lows, you can keep the ship steady. On a whim, I dropped into Vintage MV Wine & Spirits in Edgartown, Mass., to see if they had any burgundy. Based on what Diane had said, I figured it had a place on the sangria spectrum. But red burgundy is spendy, explained the owner, John Clift, and finding a good value is tough. For my purposes, he advised, go with a pinot noir (the “Burgundy” grape; the name means “black pine”) grown outside the region. Alternatively: a non-pinot red from within Burgundy, such as a Gamay, which produces a wine that’s similarly dry and lusty, and at a much better price. I went with the Gamay, and as I’d hoped, my drink got even drier. Here is my recipe for extra-dry Tinto de Verano. It is optimized for maximum hydration, minimal added sugars and just the right level of buzz to keep you going, not slowing. I call it Verano Seca, which means “dry summer.” If you have access to unsprayed roses, wild or domestic, I recommend harvesting some petals and using them in this drink.
ingredients Burgundy Bubbly water (unsweetened) Lemon and lime slices Ice Rose petals (optional but highly recommended) procedure Add ice first, then bubbles, followed by the squeezed citrus slices. Finally, add the wine. When added in this order, the wine stays atop the bubbly. The taste is so dry you can actually sweeten it with more wine, or a squeeze of citrus. The roses don’t add sweetness, but they do have a sweet smell that you you can enjoy while you’re drinking the Verano Seco. Because when you’re smelling roses while drinking sangria, you are ready for summer.
Triad City Bites
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Burke Street Pizza $
burkestreetpizza.com 1140 Burke St. WS, 336.721.0011 3352 Robinhood Road WS, 336.760.4888 2223 Fleming Road GSO, 336.500.8781
Cheesecakes by Alex $ cheesecakesbyalex.com 315 S. Elm St. GSO, 336.273.0970 It took months for Alex Amoroso to make the perfect cheesecake. That was in 2002, just before he opened the bakery and coffeeshop on South Elm Street in downtown Greensboro. The kitchen is prolific, turning out cookies, brownies, cupcakes, cakes and pastry — and even bread. But the menu leans heavily on Amoroso’s signature cheesecake recipe, now available in 22 flavors and three sizes. The downtown bakery has expanded into the storefront next door, becoming a regular spot for quick morning grabs and afternoon coffee meetings. And the cheesecakes are available anytime online at cheesecakesbyalex. com.
Burke Street Pizza has gone green at all its locations. No more plastic straws, Styrofoam take-out containers, plastic bags or foil and plastic trays, with a pledge to eliminate most of its plastic waste in the coming months. They’ve installed highefficiency LED lighting and switched to pizza boxes and napkins made from recycled materials. In celebration, BSP has partnered with A/perture Cinema for a screening of A Plastic Ocean, about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, a miles-wide mass of free-floating plastic garbage in the North Pacific. Showtime is Tuesday, July 10 at A/perture at 7 p.m. Find the event on Facebook. And visit Burke Street Pizza at its original location on Burke Street, or the one Robinhood Road, or the Greensboro shop in the Cardinal neighborhood.
Don’t see your business? Call Brian at 336.681.0704 to get listed.
Carnival Time with Uncle Buzzy's Fried Food