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Also featured in this month’s Issue: Cilantro gratin
Restaurants and likker laws: Legislature fixes something that is actually broken
have always the task this year of modernizing our likker said that “governregulations and, I hope, moving us closer ment” has nothing to the time when distilled spirits will be against “likker.” It treated in much the same manner as beer just wants its cut! And and wine. It is a powerful industry group its cut comes from and its membership includes some, but not taxes. We have never enough, of our better locally owned restaubeen too keen on rants. Likker sales are vital to their bottom by Carroll Leggett paying taxes on likker lines and dealing with ABC regs has long here in North Carolina. And the feds have been a daily hassle. Thanks to NCRLA’s never had reservations about using force efforts, 26 changes were made in the curto collect them. The examples are legion. rent session of the General Assembly. They hanged some patriots in Alamance Here are some “for instances.” County in the 18th Century — “Regulators,” Remember that in any business, time is they called them — and with guns blazing money. Restaurants can now use electronthey have chased otherwise law-abiding, ic payment for their liquor orders and use good ole boys through briars, brambles, online forms to order. ABC stores can now riverbottoms and mountain hollows all make deliveries to restaurants, or restauover the Old North State. They have even rants can contract with a delivery service. locked up for a time some of our most Local ABC Boards are not required to celebrated citizens, such as NASCAR make deliveries but have the option. Reslegend Junior Johnson and inventor David taurants already pay a huge premium of Marshall “Carbine” Williams. To be fair, a each bottle –— dollars more than the ordideputy sheriff did get in the nary patron — so they should way of one’s of Carbine’s bulextend this service like any We have never lets. Carbine shot him dead! other purveyor. They even got one of our Food halls can now secure been too keen food heroes, Carson Barnes, a permit that all vendors can who died a few years ago. on paying taxes share in common spaces. He was the state’s largest Restaurants can purchase on likker in producer of sweet potatoes individual bottles of distilled and a leader in the industry. North Carolina. spirits through the specialI heard Carson say, “I got order process. Currently the out of jail AGAIN for making minimum purchase is typilikker and my friends came to cally a full case. me and told me I had to find a legal way to And the new regulations decree that make a living. It turned out to be raising restaurants can serve distilled spirits in sweet potatoes.” indoor and outdoor areas that the permitAll of this is to say that government tee controls. people take likker seriously — from federal Someone said that the most uncommon revenuers to deputy sheriffs inadept at thing in the world is common sense. It was dodging bullets and even state legislators. past time for legislators to take a commonSo when you start trying to fool around sense approach to our liquor laws, and with the likker laws in our state, you have NCRLA helped them do that. an entrenched bureaucracy that still thinks At least to me, it seems that legislators government, particularly the state and spend a lot of time fixing things that aren’t local ABC Boards, ought to operate pretty broken. So this is a refreshing change. much as they please. This is not that Now it is time to give a hard look at uncommon for bureaucrats, but our ABC whether the state should continue to have laws are especially archaic; our model has a monopoly on the sale of distilled spirbeen scuttled in most other states. And, its, or “likker” as I call it, through its ABC well, as to restaurants that serve likker, stores. they have just had to grin and bear it. So kudos for the North Carolina Restaurant and Lodging Association for taking on
Triad City Bites
6th and Vine $-$$
6thandvine.com 209 W. Sixth St. WS, 336.725.5577
With the end of long summer nights and comfortable fall evenings on the horizon, now is the perfect time to explore the outdoor patio options at 6th and Vine. Reserve a table for two or invite a group for a casual dinner under the gazebo. Make the most out of outdoor dining season on the patio by trying new seasonal menu items, nightly specials or a new-to-you wine varietal. This old favorite is the quintessential gathering spot for friends, family or the distinguished business traveler. Nestled at the intersection of Sixth and Trade Streets, right in the heart the Arts District, there’s room for everyone at the table. Keep an eye out for a new, updated wine list to commemorate the restaurant’s 15th anniversary coming up next year. While the traditional 15-year gifts are rubies and crystal, you should treat yourself to a new-to-you red or a sparkling option from the curated list. This wine list will be a culmination of favorites over the last 15 years. Be prepared to enjoy yourself while you sip and dine alfresco at this quintessential Camel City haunt.
Juice Batch $-$$
Juicebatch.com 2758 NC 68 HP 336.875.4107 Gather your crew and say Aloha to Juice Batch, where smoothies, acai bowls and poké bowls rule supreme. It’s time to squeeze the day and check out the Hawaiian-inspired fresh-pressed juices, customized smoothies and stylized poké bowl shop in Heron Village in High Point, right next to sister restaurant Small Batch. Try the Southern-inspired Yallmondmylk, which is a blend of almond, cashew and coconut water. Get a spicy kick from the Kickin’ Karot Gold made with carrot, ginger, coconut and pineapple. Can you get a Kale Yeah? Absolutely. Kale, spinach, cucumber and pineapple lead the trend report in this thirst-quenching, nutrient-rich juice. Check out the Beach Vibes smoothie with pineapple, apple, kale, matcha powder and coconut milk. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, try the OG poké bowl with spicy tuna, cucumber, pineapple and crispy garlic or customize your own bowl and toss in wonton crisps, pickled ginger and a sprinkle of togarashi seasoning. Grab and go with a fresh pressed juice or go with a Smoothie Bomb topped with chia seeds, granola and raw honey. When you’re ready to power up and head to High Point to fill up on good-for-you eats and drinks, Juice Batch is open and ready for business.
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours $$ WS and GSO tastecarolina.net 919.237.2254 Tours start at $59 per person
Taste Carolina is your passport to local and global cuisine in the Triad. Be a tourist in your own town and embark on a culinary journey of downtown Greensboro or WinstonSalem this weekend. Dive into a savory, flaky, buttery tomato pie; explore the Middle East with a taste of hummus made from fresh garbanzo beans; visit one of the oldest restaurants in Guilford County; savor the complexity of hops in a local craft beer; meet chefs that hail from the bayou of Louisiana; chat with managers from countries that no longer exist; learn techniques from classically trained pastry chefs. Along the way, you’ll visit the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement or the first building to have air-conditioning in the Southeast. Support a handful of local businesses in one fell swoop during your adventurous afternoon walking tour. Summer isn’t over when you book with Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours. Ready your belly.
Greensboro Farmers Curb Market $-$$ gsofarmersmarket.org 501 Yanceyville St. GSO
Coast to Curb Seafood Celebration will take place Saturday, Sept. 21 from 4-7 p.m. This first ever Sea To Table event will raise vital funds for the Market’s food-security programs that increase fresh-food access and provide nutritious foods to those in need in the Triad. The picnic dinner will feature an opening reception with “snack”-tails including locally sourced appetizers, hushpuppies made with Old Mill Guilford cornmeal and Red Hots from Bright Leaf Hot Dogs of Smithfield. The main course will include a generous portion of shrimp, crab, roasted oysters, potatoes, corn and cole slaw. Tickets ($35 for adults, $15 for children 10 and under) per person and can be purchased on online, at the market, Saturdays 7 a.m.-noon or Wednesdays 8 a.m.-noon. A variety of libations including complimentary fruit and herbal-infused waters will be served, along with a cash bar for beer and wine. Tickets for the cash bar can be purchased the day of for $5 each. A limited number of reserved tables for (seating for six) are available for $250. Reserved table donors receive a gift bag full of NC regional specialties and goodies. Patrons will enjoy live music at the event. Guitarist, singer, and songwriter Andy Squint will be performing Cajun, zydeco, blues and classic coastal music during the dinner. For more info, visit gsofarmersmarket.org.
Triad City Bites
A New Chef in Town: K
One of the amenities that lured new Krankies Chef James Nacommunity. quin away from Durham was the Apple and Green City Farm. “We were all stoked about James,” Britt says You can see the curves and angles of the Winston-Salem skyfood and cooking goes along with everything w line from the farm, just south of downtown, and you can sense Food has always been a part of the picture a the ghosts of Old Salem just a couple blocks away. in-house coffee-roasting to the downstairs bake But it’s quiet out here at Apple and Green, where the good ally evolved into Camino. The proper kitchen h stuff grows: a half-acre or so of corn, a few boxes of herbs, long enough for regulars to develop menu favo baby watermelons hiding under leafy blankets, eggplants and neighborhood changes, the Krankies crew reco squashes growing among the wildflowers, a hundred tomatoes game changes, too. plumping on the vine, a couple empty That’s where the ne plots under tarps, sweating through the Naquin started winn summer. bons in 4H cooking co Wednesday, Sept. 18 6 pm It’s more than just a farm, Mitchell he was just a boy in H Britt explains. breezed through the c Fonta Flora Brewery x River “Regenerative agriculture has been a at Asheville-Buncome big driving force of Krankies since 2005 Ridge Organics x Krankies years, then set to work when we bought the coffee roaster,” butcher counters and Beer Dinner he says, “and in 2006 we started what state before landing a would become the Cobblestone Market A whole-hog barbecue feaBakery, Café & Bierga in our parking lot.” where he focused on c turing longtime Werehouse The garden, he says, is just another Then Mitchell Britt to way to integrate the storyline between challenge at Krankies: resident Jay Dunbar of River our farms, our chefs and our food. the things that are wor Mitchell manages the farm with partRidge and Todd Boera of Fon- lunch, signature coffee new ways of expressin ners Sam Shapiro, Bekah Downing and spirit that still jibe with Jacob Myrick as a source of education, ta Flora. and tastings. Events. E a means to preserve the state’s food entrées. Charcuterie. And then Naquin saw the stories and even a seed bank, which has become an integral and Green. part of the enterprise. “I started connecting with things as soon as I “I guess I’m a farmer first, a seed-saver second and a butcher says. third,” Britt says. “The whole point of this is to restore our culture He was out there this morning, filling his bask — especially our food culture, which is so vital in the South.” for pickling, eggplants that he’ll dice and sautée Naquin fits in with the ethos described by Britt and Krankies cream, pattypan squash that will become a gra partners John Bryan and David Franklin: sustainability, quality,
Triad City Bites
Krankies $-$$ 211 E. Third St. W-S Krankiescoffee.com
s. “His approach to we’ve been doing.” at Krankies, from ery that eventuhas been open orites, but as the ognized that the
ew chef comes in. ning blue ribompetitions when Houma, La. He culinary program e Tech in a couple k in kitchens, groceries in the at Guglhupf Artisan arten in Durham, charcuterie. old him about the : to upscale all rking — brunch, e — and create ng the Krankies h the old. Dinners Experimental e garden at Apple
I saw it,” Naquin
ket with peppers e with shrimp and atin. He’s got a
picture on his phone. “This is how you elevate ingredients and cook seasonally,” he says. He’s ordering more from local farms — he says he’s got a slew of them willing to pull up to Krankies twice a week — and he’s hitting the farmers market himself a couple times a week. And he’s at the company farm every day to see what’s ready. Last week he got a couple dozen Old Salem apples that he served with a Hickory Nut Gap pork tenderloin. And he’s already got plans for the sweet potatoes, which he knows grow all year round in North Carolina. He’s keeping the favorites, he says, but he will be slowly adding new items to the menu, targeting the dinner hour for experimentation, events and surprises. It’s what’s next at Krankies.
Triad City Bites
Local 27101 $
thelocal.ws 310 W. Fourth St. WS, 336.725.3900
North Point Grill $-$$
7843 North Point Blvd, WS 336.896.0500 northpointgrill.com This time of year signals the end of summer and the beginning of the back-to-school grind. The brand-new month brings brand-new changes to the menu at North Point Grill too. Added entrées include a pimiento-cheese bacon burger, chargrilled hot dogs, egg-salad sandwich and fried bologna sandwich along with sides such as sautéed mixed vegetables, pasta salad and a mixed fruit bowl. While constantly trying to adapt and change the menu to the wants and needs of new and longtime customers, trendy offerings have found a way onto the menu that fits along with the casual dining restaurant style as well. The expanded burger section now accommodates the requests of local customers who are always on the lookout for carnivorous alternatives. Close out National Sandwich Month with the Impossible Burger, which is part of one of the hottest trends in food right now. A quarter-pound plant and soy-based patty has the same look, taste and juiciness as a traditional ground-beef patty. Included are your choice of toppings, including avocado slices, your choice of side and an optional upgrade to a gluten-free bun. While conquering the casual dining game one menu item at a time, North Point Grill is ready to cater to your culinary whims.
Triad City Bites
There’s nothing revolutionary about Local 27101. It’s a lunch place on Fourth Street, right in the heart of downtown Winston-Salem’s Restaurant Row. The menu, as created by Executive Chef Patrick Rafferty and owner Greg Carlyle, has a stable of classic lunch dishes: Burgers with seasoned crinkle-cut and sweet-potato fries. A legendary hot dog. Fresh shrimp and oysters for po-boys. Made-to-order salads that go beyond the basic. It’s fresh food made fast, and Local 27101 stands by that promise with in-house delivery throughout downtown and the West End during lunch service — order from the restaurant or online at thelocal.ws for speedy and free service. Catering is available either through the Local or on-site at the Millennium Center. Call for details.
Mindfully Made $ Mayamike.com
Marie Sharp is best known in this country for her array of hot sauces rooted in deep Scoville territory by virtue of the noble habanero pepper. But in her home country of Belize, the line of tropical jams and jellies shares equal billing. Look for green or red habanero jellies, mango chutney and jams of banana, pineapple and papaya. Order it online at mayamike.com.
Flash in the pan
The international flavor of green
e is the whole taco package. Verde sauce and everything, cilantro included. Whole ass man and I don’t even deserve him.” — Hunter Marie, via Twitter
I can’t guarantee that every bite of verde will be as exciting as new love, as it was there on Hunter Marie’s social medium. But verde, like love, can be very good, and the above declaration says as much about the taco sauce as it does the taco. by Ari LeVaux It goes without saying that the literal verde sauce to which the gentleman is compared is the Taco Bell variety, packages of which began disappearing about three years ago, when it was discontinued in order to make way for Diablo Sauce. Despite the protests, petitions, and all forms of unrest, the Taco Bell Verde Sauce has not returned. Verde, which means “green” in the Latin-based languages, appears nearly everywhere they are spoken, made from whatever ingredients are available, providing they are also tasty and green. In keeping it green we are limited to ingredients that contain chlorophyll, which isn’t much of a limitation at all. Taco Bell Tomatillo is one of many shades and flavors of green. Like the Latin root, viridi, verde first appeared in the Mediterranean. In Spain, France and Italy the sauce was made with parsley, and that practice made it across the pond to the south of South America, where the parsley-based version known as chimichurri incorporated a New World plant known as the chile pepper. In the American Southwest, you can distinguish Mexican vs. New Mexican restaurants by the little bowl of verde sauce that comes with the obligatory basket of corn chips. Mexican verde hits you with the sour acid of tomatillo, while New Mexican green, as the locals call it, packs the fiery musk of roasted green chile. Both chile and tomatillos are nightshades, the New World family of plants that also includes tomatoes, potatoes and eggplant. The herb-based Old Country verde and the nightshade-based American verde converge daily at a pizzeria called Biga in Missoula, Mont. whose Meatball Verde Pizza is topped with chopped broccoli rabe, beef meatball and mascarpone cheese, then drenched in a cilantro jalapeño verde. With both herbs and peppers, this sauce is a blend of old- and new-world concepts. Biga Pizza’s owner and chef Bob Marshall doesn’t admit to intentionally tapping into any of this history. “I just wanted to make a taco pizza,” he told me. Marshall chops the mild, tender leaves and stems, then lets them cook on the pie. “The bitter and astringent qualities balance the richness of the mascarpone and beef,” he says. The way the rabe cooks down so perfectly in the oven, he adds, contributes to how the whole thing holds together. “And it adds green to the verde.” Meanwhile, Marshall could not have picked a better pepper than the jalapeño for his verde. The jalapeño has a smoky flavor, even fresh off the vine, is found on Mexican and New Mexican menus alike, and is the official state pepper of Texas. As for the cilantro, you either love it or hate it. Haters can substitute parsley. But the power of the pungent green herb is matched by the jalapeño, garlic and vinegar, resulting in a bright sauce that, juxtaposed against the heavier parts of the pizza, creates magic in your mouth as you eat. As soon as he opened Biga, in 2006, Marshall began making the most of his 600-degree oven. “My cooking style is Old World,” he says. “We have only one heat source in this entire restaurant. Everything happens in the oven.” Marshall’s Meatball Verde pizza is so popular there would be a protest if it left the summer menu. It was inevitable that he’d end up in the finals of “Guy Fieri’s Pizza Play-Offs” on Food Network. I asked Marshall if he would show me a simple way of using his verde for those of us without pizza ovens at home. He suggested roasted roots, tossed with breadcrumbs baked into a gratin. As potatoes, cauliflower and carrots roasted in the oven, Bob got to work converting a house-made focaccia into breadcrumbs, slicing, toasting and blending the bread into pieces. It was the Biga kitchen, after all, and nothing makes it out of there without at least a kiss of “biga,” an Italian word that refers to the starter from yesterday’s dough, a little of which is used every morning by Italian bakers like Marshall in the mixing of a new batch.
“You could make an argument that we are a bakery,” he says. “We make 300 pounds of dough every day.” Finally, he made the verde in a Vitamix. it took less than five minutes. He combined the roots, crumbs and verde, and baked until it had a golden crust. That, technically speaking, is a gratin, and cheese is optional. Marshall wasn’t in the mood that day, but he agreed it wouldn’t be verde gratuitous to add cheese to the gratin.
Cilantro Gratin Two servings The gratin can be made vegan, as we did that day, or with added proteins. I have been enjoying it with cheese curds and chopped bits of browned meat. Marshall recommends mushrooms as a meaty alternative. 2 cups carrots, cut into inch rounds 2 cups potatoes, cut into inch chunks 2 cups cauliflower, separated into florets about an inch across 1 teaspoon salt 2 teaspoons pepper 3 tablespoons olive oil 2 cups bread crumbs ½ cup Biga Verde (recipe follows) Optional: proteins, like cheese, meat or mushrooms Soak the cut potatoes for 30 minutes in water, and drain. Toss the carrots and potatoes in olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread out evenly on the pan, filling all space. Bake at 450 until everything is golden, soft and puffy. Don’t stir. When the roots are still warm but cool enough to work with, toss them with the crumbs, and then lightly toss in the verde and optional proteins, but don’t totally mix it up. There should be patches of unmixed, non-green roots. Spoon into ramekins and bake until the top develops a crust. Biga Verde Yield: 2 cups Gratin is but one vehicle for this verde. It’s a great finishing sauce, dip, marinade and dressing. Just don’t overdo it, as a little goes a long way. Cilantro haters and skeptics should substitute parsley. ½ cup onion, thinly sliced 3 jalapeños, seeded and sliced 1 cup rice vinegar 2 teaspoons cumin 1 fat garlic clove 2 tablespoons olive oil ¾ pound cilantro, including stems as long as they are not too woody 1 teaspoon salt Add the sliced jalapeños and onions to the rice vinegar, either a few hours or a few days before making the verde, which will allow the onions and jalapeños to pickle. Add the jalapenos, vinegar and onions to a blender, along with the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth. Will last up to a week, well-sealed in the fridge.
Triad City Bites
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In the Weeds
iki and Gayla are waiting for me as I arrive to open the bar. We open at 4 p.m., and day-shifters are punctual about their postwork beverages. It’s not uncommon to have some regulars sitting on the stoop at 3:45, smoking, checking their phones and waiting on bartendby James Douglas ers who are consistently late. Niceties exchanged, I grab them a pint and a cocktail and start flipping on lights, pouring ice and slicing fruit as I eavesdrop on their conversation. (NOTE: Bartenders eavesdrop. We drop eaves.) They’re nice enough to include me in the conversation, though, so I commiserate while waiting for other customers to arrive. The toughest women I ever encountered on ranches out west would find their match with Niki Farrington. Height notwithstanding, her presence evokes a toughness, a wherewithal. Gayla Maready posesses a fearsome charisma as well. They work well together — some friends can hit that zone at work and it just… clicks. Niki and Gayla have a unique work situation. You might know Niki’s Pickles, their product, from seeing around town, and if you haven’t, do yourself a favor and track them down. They’re also the head chef and sous at Silo Bistro and Bar in Reynolda Village. It’s one of the few restaurant kitchens in the Triad run by women. You may have guessed, but most kitchens are staffed by men. From the dishwasher to the head chef, restaurant kitchens can be a testosterone fueled rage fest of thrown food and hurt feelings. I’ve seen plenty of women work back of house, but they’re generally in the minority. Silo has six women and one man on the line, plus two male dishwashers. It’s an anomaly. And it works. Now we’re talking about a discussion I had in the day, with a friend who told me that she had to quit her job at a food truck. She mentioned how hard it was for women who work in kitchens primarily staffed by men. I’d never really thought about that, what it meant. I brought up the subject to Niki and Gayla, and they proceeded to regale me with horror stories. “It’s not just the dick jokes, those are whatever, it’s a kitchen, you hear that stuff,” Gayla said. “It’s the, ‘Girl,
honey, baby.’ It’s the touching me on the small of my back, unnecessary things that make me uncomfortable.” She’s not saying that touching has no place in a kitchen. Some kitchens are so small, a brush-up is inevitable. But in all my time in restaurant kitchens, I can’t remember a time when anyone has caressed the small of my back as they were passing by. It’s a curt, “Behind,” a pat on the shoulder or nothing at all. Niki agreed. And elaborated. “I’ve stood in rooms shoulder-to-shoulder with other chefs and listened to others go down the line acknowledging each of us: ‘Chef, Chef, Chef, Niki, Chef,’” she offers. Niki’s been in the game 10 years now. She’s seen delivery people approach the dishwasher because he was the “only guy in there wearing a white coat.” The pay grade can be discriminatory as well. At one restaurant, Gayla had been in kitchens for five years and started at the same pay rate as a new male hire with no experience. Far from being happenstance, it’s indicative of the nature of a male dominated business. Why the big difference in a kitchen run and staffed primarily by women? Niki takes a drag of her smoke and smiles. “Let’s call it ‘emotional regulation,’” she says. “I’ve seen that women tend to diffuse tense situations better than men.” She’s got a point. I’ve seen meltdowns. I’ve seen owners and chefs barking orders at the expo on a busy lunch and making everyone in that kitchen get as tense as a chihuahua at a fireworks show. “We don’t have that,” Gayla agreed. There are quite a few women-owned and women-operated ventures in downtown WinstonSalem. Mary’s, Sweet Potatoes, Humble Bee Bakery, Alma Mexicana and Bulls Tavern (to name a few) are all popular staples with the local scene. Everybody says the same thing about these places and the women behind them: Powerful. Kind. Wonderful. Necessary. But they all experience similar cultural speedbumps in an industry littered with fragile male egos. A female-run kitchen is a remarkable thing. It shouldn’t be. We are having this discussion because this is against the norm, and there’s still work to do. But there’s hope. Niki and Gayla cash out and say their goodbyes. I’ll catch them the next time they need a post-work shifty, and the powerful catharsis that comes with it.
Niki and Gayla have one of the few restaurant kitchens in the Triad run by women.
Working women in a man’s world
Interested in Triad City Bites? Call Brian at 336.681.0704 to find out more.
Krankies' new chef, cilantro gratin, women in kitchens and short reviews of the best restaurants in the Triad.