SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
Mozzarella Fellas: Traditional Italian, and then Also featured in this month’s Issue: Apple Jack-o’-Lanterns
Social media no substitute for a website
only online presence, and this goes double for restaurant is a restaurants. Yes, it’s free (unless you’re paying creative endeavor them for access to your own customers). Yes, with a lot of movsocial media reaches some of your patrons, but ing parts. It is easy to most of them will never see your posts. Meanget caught up in menu while there are real bodies out there looking for ideation, interior design, places to eat. staffing and forget about Ever heard of Fixin’s American Craft Eatery in by Nikki Miller-Ka the nuts and bolts of the High Point? I tried to eat there for two years, but operation. A website is not a part of the window I could never get a handle on the menu, or the dressing. It’s literally a window into the whole format — was it fast-casual or sit-down tables? enterprise. I never knew; they did not have a dedicated A great deal of independent restaurants in the website loaded with an online menu. It closed Triad use Facebook as if it’s a substitute for a before I ever booked a table. website. Facebook is not a website. Instagram Don’t get me started on Instagram. Instagram is not a website. Technically, both are websites, is hot right now, and while it is my personal as they can be accessed via web browser, but favorite platform, too many joints miss the opin actuality they are not the same as a standportunity to provide basic information, things alone site with a custom URL. It matters for like city and ZIP code. legitimacy, for direct access to customers, for Peyton Smith, owner of Mission Pizza Napodata analysis, for search engine optimization letana, went on vacation in July, but not before (the thing that makes your establishment pop posting on his social media that the restauup first in search engines) and, of course, a rant would be closed during that time. But not place for your customers to find out information everybody got the message. A Yelp reviewer about you. happened to stop by the shop. He A restaurant without a website landposted a review with one star, quesFacebook is ing page neglects everyone who is tioning whether or not the eatery not on social media — believe it or no substitute was permanently closed. not, most people don’t look at FaceEven after losing a potential book every day — and a key outlet for for a website. customer and taking the hit on Yelp, potential customers to receive content, Smith still has no regrets. But he’s especially the most important pieces of just like that. the puzzle: the menu and hours of operation. It didn’t have to be this way. A large part of my job as a restaurant writer A restaurant with a dedicated website creates and food professional is to seek out, research a static home for updates, new information and and amplify restaurant endeavors — online, frequently asked questions. It helps diners conin print, on the street, at events. I know that nect to the physical place in a deeper way. many restaurants change their menu seasonHere’s some free advice from a pro: Pay for ally, monthly and sometimes even daily. As a a website URL with the restaurant’s name in it. person with a limited budget, who lives with lifeDon’t get cute. Pay for hosting your site on an threatening food allergies and who will walk 500 external server. Schedule social media posts miles for a bowl of steamed mussels and crusty using apps such as Tailwind, Hootsuite, Buffer, bread, I need to know every possible detail of a Social Oomph or Sprout Social. They all have restaurant’s offerings. dedicated websites. Look them up. Most are Yes, social media is a good place to update free and for a nominal fee, upgrade to a paid some fans and followers with everyday changaccount. All allow you to manage multiple social es, but the core of connecting with the public on profiles with the ability to schedule content a day-to-day basis outside of the dining room and suggests the perfect times per day to post lies within a simple formula: HAVE A WEBSITE. based on follower activity. Do most business owners know that the Simply put, there is no marketing alternative business page they see on their social-media to a website that will allow you a better shot at platforms are not the same as the ones the usreaching customers. If you don’t have a webers see? Some users might not see your daily site, it’s as if you don’t exist. While social media lunch special post until a week later. Facebook, is the new word of mouth, it all stems from your Instagram, Twitter and other social media platwebsite, the basic way to communicate your forms change their algorithms all the time, often existence. Make sure it’s a good one. Give your not for the business owner’s benefit. corner of the world wide web a chance. No business can rely on social media as its
Triad City Bites
6th and Vine $-$$
6thandvine.com 209 W. Sixth St. W-S, 336.725.5577
Now that fall is here, it’s time to explore the new outdoor patio options at 6th and Vine. Reserve a table for two or invite a group for an intimate and cozy dinner around the new firepit tables. As the cooler weather hits, enjoy the plush couch areas inside as well. Look to Winston-Salem’s original wine bar to book your holiday parties. Reserve the comfortable cocktail area filled with couches for a casual event or dining area in the back for a sit-down dinner. Make the most out of the rest of the outdoor dining season by trying the new fall cocktail menu, nightly specials or a new-to-you wine varietal. The quintessential gathering spot for friends, family or the distinguished business traveler is nestled at the intersection of Sixth and Trade streets, right in the heart the Arts District. The new wine list is a culmination of favorites over the last 15 years. Often voted the best wine list in town, this one is sure to please.
The Tasting Room $-$$$
B. Christopher’s $$-$$$
The Tasting Room, with both Greensboro and Winston Salem locations, is perfect for girls’ nights, date nights, social gatherings and work meetings! The staff is extremely knowledgeable and love to introduce people to new varietals with an unintimidating approach. They showcase small, quality production, unique wines from all over the world with a diverse retail wine selection. Tasting Room staff takes the guessing out of your wine shopping — like having a personal wine shopper. Love wine or new to wine, the Barrel Club membership offers a huge value that includes tastings, discounts and two bottles of wine per month — a great way to shop local for your holiday wine needs! Custom selections for your holiday gatherings, gift bottles for the collector in your life too. Special ordering available.
A classic, an original, a steakhouse. Owned and operated by Executive Chef Chris Russell, B. Christopher’s is located on the ground floor of Greensboro’s iconic Center Pointe building. Guests are treated with views of Center City Park and an unforgettable dining experience. An upscale bar scene, a selection of private dining rooms, each with a unique atmosphere and art by local artists, all define the physical accoutrement of the restaurant. The approachable menu features hand-selected steaks, fresh-caught seafood and freerange poultry all combine with fresh flavors and classic favorites. In addition to its indulgent dishes, the culinary team takes pride in its partnerships with local farms, sourcing local ingredients, all yielding superior freshness and quality with classic steakhouse preparations. Every detail puts B. Christopher’s in a class all its own.
631 N. Trade St. W-S 901 S. Chapman St. GSO
201 N. Elm St. GSO
Krankies $-$$ 211 E. Third St. W-S krankiescoffee.com
This bar, kitchen and Downtown Winston-Salem hangout serves breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and brunch on the weekend. While known for its fresh-roasted coffee, the restaurant is the heart and soul of Krankies Café. The menu and the façade have changed over the years, but the core remains the same: a commitment to using local ingredients and fostering relationships with farmers, producers, artisans and customers. The original space for the Cobblestone Farmers Market, Krankies Café has blossomed into a place where the community comes to eat, drink and be merry. A prominent force of both the breakfast and weekend brunch menus is the chicken biscuit. A hand-cut chicken breast is, brined, breaded, deep fried and doused with Texas Petespiked honey or smothered and covered with a house-made rich and unctuous sausage gravy. The crisp, buttery edges of the biscuit give way to a hot and crispy union unlike any other. Don’t miss the wine and beer dinners in collaboration with local vintners and brewers. These signature events invite guests to the Krankies Café experience, which above all else is approachable, affordable and tastes good too.
Triad City Bites
MOZZARELLA FELLAS: TRADITIONAL I Behind every great Italian restaurant, there is an Italian grandmother or two. Brian Ricciardi, chef and owner of Mozzarella Fellas in WinstonSalem, was taught everything he knows right in his own kitchen growing up. “As much as the food matters, it’s really something more” Brian says. “Good is good, right?”. There is a very special feeling surrounded by family, getting together for the holidays, birthdays and Sunday dinners, he remembers. His grandma would spend all day in the kitchen. “She would never sit down,” he says. “She still doesn’t sit down, but she has more help these days thanks to her.” That special feeling is something Brian is in constant pursuit of, and the burning passion behind Mozzarella Fellas. “Most owners are giving you a huge piece of who we are,” he says. “We are sharing our story.” You will find the traditional southern Italian dishes of his childhood mixed in with his current lifestyle written all over his menu. Brian became vegan five years ago, to live a healthier lifestyle in the beginning, but as he’s progressed he considers the ethical ramifications of his choice more and more. “We do some sick things in pursuit of our diet, and the way we get our food,” he says. “Most people don’t want to be inconvenienced, it’s not easy taking the road less traveled.” But Brian comes from a long line of people who did things the hard way: grew their own food, made their own sausages and
Triad City Bites
fresh pastas, cooked big pot all in pursuit of a culinary ide his ingredients, picky about h layout and just about anythin quite deliberate in the direct “My great grandfather was years old to come to America for him,” he says. “I refuse to That means constant evolu still adhering to the tents lea The fall menu has everythin pizzas, calzones and strombo red and cream sauces, seafoo from an old family recipe. Bu pasta. Pizzas can come on a fers. And there are ingenious standards. The fried “calama made with oyster mushroom appeal to anyone who’s seen prepping, vegan or not. “Firs says. “We tried a few differen worked perfectly — the textu a vegan version of chicken p Lion’s Mane mushrooms inste And, he says, for his Sunday ens as time-honored as the s
ITALIAN, AND THEN SOME
ts of red sauce on the stove for days, eal. He’s a particular man, picky about his lighting, thermostats, tables, ng you can put a finger on. And he’s tion of his restaurant. s separated from his mother at 5 a because she wanted the best life o do anything my heart’s not in.” ution, reinvention and change while arned in his grandmothers’ kitchens. ng one would expect from such: oli from a brick oven; pastas with od, sausages, a Bolognese sauce ut there’s a gluten-free option on the cauliflower crust, if the diner pres substitutions on southern Italian ari” appetizer at Mozzarella Fellas is ms instead of squid — which might n that particular cephalopod before st, we wanted to be different,” Brian nt things. Those oyster mushrooms ure, the smell; it tastes great. There’s piccata and chicken parm that uses ead of a traditional chicken cutlet. gravy — a tradition in Italian kitchseven fishes on Christmas Eve — he
Mozzarella Fellas $-$$ 336 Summit Square Blvd. W-S mozzarellafellas.com
uses jackfruit instead of pork, a suitable plant substitute that finds its way all over the vegan side of the menu. There are jackfruit nachos and a vegan BBQ jackfruit sandwich, among other variations. And while customers can still order traditional chicken parm, pasta Bolognese and other dishes for which all great Italian restaurants are known, they can also find comparable, healthier choices on the menu. Within his own vegan lifestyle, Brian says, he doesn’t miss too many of the foods he grew up eating. A lot of his Italian relatives are now also vegan, and new culinary traditions have already begun in those old kitchens in New York, and here in WinstonSalem. “Cheese is the hardest,” he says. So, of course, Mozzarella Fellas still has copious quantities of the delicacy for which it’s named, available in all manner of cooked and raw forms. But just this month the restaurant debuted a vegan version of its most popular dish: vegan fried mozzarella. It took him a while to figure it out, but he finally did. “My restaurant, my food is not always going to hit home with everyone. My grandmother didn’t always hit home with me,” he says smiling. “But she’s still the best cook I know.”
Triad City Bites
North Point Grill $-$$
7843 North Point Blvd, W-S 336.896.0500 northpointgrill.com Open since 2005, this award-winning, familyowned operation is home to one of the best homestyle menus in WinstonSalem. From juicy burgers to seafood, pasta, a large variety of sandwiches and oversized salads, you won’t leave hungry. For those who can’t get away from the office or prefer to dine at home, Uber Eats, Door Dash, Postmates and Take Out Central are all ready to take your North Point Grill order. Open six days a week, with daily dinner specials, steak and chicken plates served with a choice of over 20 sides, there’s something for everyone. Don’t want the hassle of cooking during the holidays? Does your church group, civic club or office need a catered luncheon? North Point Grill can handle your culinary needs and space requirements. A full catering menu is also available. From single items, food trays, box lunches or a full dinner list it will be an honor to provide for your next event.
Juice Batch $-$$
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.
Triad City Bites
Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours $$ W-S and GSO tastecarolina.net 919.237.2254
It’s almost holiday gift season and what a better way to celebrate than to give a loved one, co-worker or a friend a gift certificate for a Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tour. Certificates are good for any tour in any city on any weekend, and they never expire. Be a party hero and let Taste Carolina help! Whether it’s a private tour for 10 people or 200, let Taste Carolina plan an unforgettable experience for you. Explore new fall menus while strolling down sidewalks on a culinary journey of Downtown Greensboro or Winston-Salem. Enjoy and support multiple restaurants and foodie shops in one afternoon. Tours start at $59 per person.
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
Liking them apples
or the candy industry, Halloween is like Christmas. The five biggest candy-shopping days of the year are all in October, as All Hallows’ Eve sells more candy than any other holiday. Before being co-opted by big sugar in the 1950s, the roots of Halloween extend back to a Celtic tradition called Samhain, which honors that moment each year when fall blows in. Samhain’s founding observers saw by Ari LeVaux it as a time when the boundaries between the living and spirit worlds became porous, allowing the ghosts to come bang on your door like neighborhood trick-or-treaters. As time passed and history was written, Samhain absorbed other holidays that also reflected the characteristics of the season, including harvest, death, wind and the abundance of sweet fruits dangling from trees. Appropriately enough, after the Celts were conquered by the Romans, Samhain was combined with Pomona, a celebration of the Roman goddess of the harvest, according to History.com. Today, while nature’s candy dangles from trees like a real-life fairy tale, we spend more than $9 billion each year on plastic sacks filled with little shiny bits of chocolate-stuffed packaging. Apples are the second-most popular fruit in America, after bananas. But fruit, alas, is not as popular as candy. The same way Samhain opens the door to the world of the dead, candy opens the floodgates for evil sugar spirits to enter the bodies of children. The sweetness of an apple, by contrast, doesn’t turn kids into little poltergeists, and the fruit has long been used as a barometer of hunger. Growing up, many people of certain generations were told, “If you aren’t hungry enough to eat an apple, you aren’t really hungry.” The same has never been said about candy. I’m not suggesting people give out apples for Halloween. That would be irresponsible. By convention, and for everyone’s peace of mind and legal protection, all sugar toxins distributed to trick or treaters must be hermetically sealed for safety. I have an apple tree that produces McIntosh-like apples, blushing dark red with a piercing flavor that’s like an arms race between sweet and tart. Most of the apples go through the cider press, but I’ve saved a few boxes of the biggest, most beautiful individuals to eat the old fashioned way. I’ve been thinking a lot about the apple hunger test, and noticing that when I’m hungry enough to eat an apple, the fruit’s characteristics become extra vivid. The perfume, sharpness and sweetness all become more enticing. With cider, any fruit without a worm is a bonus. But if you don’t have access to a cider press, another option for apples — blemished or otherwise — is to carve them into apple Jack-o’-Lanterns. Essentially, treat an apple like a mini-pumpkin, and then let it dry and shrivel into something that resembles a shrunken head. Apple is softer and more forgiving than pumpkin, and you can snack on the bits that you carve away. If you live in a sunny climate, you can shrink apple heads on a windowsill in about a week. You can also use an oven on the lowest setting, or proximity to a heater. But these won’t be edible like a dehydrated apple jack-o’-lantern. My family carved a bunch of apples one night. The next day, when my son was at school, I took a nibble off the corner of one of his, and my eyes got as big as his ghoul’s. We had rubbed them with lime juice to keep the apple jack-o-lanterns from browning, and that, it turns out, adds extra zing that is shockingly delicious. I like them apples better than candy. But good luck convincing the trick or treaters.
Apple Jack-o’-Lanterns A dehydrator with shelving you can space widely enough to accommodate an entire apple is the device of choice with which to make these sweet and sassy skulls. If this project becomes the impetus to buy a dehydrator, you won’t be sorry. Also extremely helpful: a tomato corer, or similar cutting spoon. Serves an army of spooky undead shrunken-headed zombies Apples, the bigger the better Lime or lemon juice Peel the apple, going around its “equator,” while leaving a bit of peel around the stem end and its opposite “pole.” When peeled, look at the apple and decide where the face should be. Then use the coring spoon to scoop out the core from the opposite side, leaving a big hole in the back of the shrunken head. Scooping the insides allows the apple jack-o’lanterns to dry more quickly. Next, carve the mouth, otherwise you might not have enough room below the eyes and nose. That is the extent of any artistic advice that I should be giving, other than to make sure the nose is smaller than the eyes. Rub the carved apple with lemon or lime juice and place in the center of a dehydrator, with the temperature at 135, for about 12 hours. If using an oven, set it on the lowest setting, with convection on if you’ve got it, and keep a watchful eye on them apples for about 2-6 hours, depending on the situation. Whatever equipment you employ, you should test your process all the way through with just an apple or two before carving your personal army of sweet ghouls. You are not only testing your gear, but your technique and process. Learn how it dries, with or without pieces of peel. If a big scary mouth clenches into a grimace, pry it open into more of a primordial scream. Little touches like that can make all the difference on Halloween.
Triad City Bites
SPECIAL ADVERTISING SECTION
In the Weeds
Fernet me not
ernet is a dark spirit. Bitter, pungent darkness floats in the rocks glass in front of me. I can smell it wafting in a thick cloud, like those wavy lines you see emanating from a strong bit of cheese in an old cartoon, ready by James Douglas to hit you in the face with a sledgehammer that miraculously forms itself from the void. The smell alone can turn a lot of people off. Most people I introduce to it, I see their noses crinkle up and it’s immediately pushed away. It doesn’t judge. It knows what it is. It knows they’ll get curious and take that first sip. Most do. The first time I ever really noticed it, I was in Buenos Aires. I thought my time there would consist of eating steaks the size of Volkswagens and hunting down elderly Nazis. I made time for both and added drinking into the schedule to keep it interesting. The Argentine version of the Cuba libre is fernet and Coke. And if they’re not drinking yerba mate out of gourds hung around their necks (each includes a funky silver straw and a red-hot water bottle underneath it straight from grandma’s medicine cabinet to keep it warm), they’re drinking fernet, usually with Coca-Cola. So, when in Buenos Aires, do as the ugly Americans do: Incorporate cultural habits to take back with the intent of impressing/annoying your less-than-cosmopolitan friends. Upon returning, I was eager to impart my nowworldly views on drinking to the peasants I left behind. That didn’t happen. I did learn what the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is, though. Also known as “Frequency Bias,” the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon is what happens when you run across something you think is relatively obscure, and then immediately see it everywhere you go. This could be a word, an object and, in my case, it was Fernet-Branca. It turns out I had missed the boat on fernet by a half-decade or so. I now saw it everywhere. Every bar had it, suddenly everyone held a fernet in their hand, downing a shot to start a shift or pouring a couple of fingers to finish one. A short history: Fernet is part of the Amaro class of liqueurs. An Italian digestif, they’re made from herbs, roots and flowers. Usually served neat, they make a nice sipper with a citrus wedge. Where fernet differs is the popularity within the bar and server culture.
Known as the “Bartender’s Handshake,” it’s now normal to see off-duty barkeeps start a night with a shot of the vicious stuff. My God, it’s been here all this time? It serves as a wink and a nudge if you go to a new bar in a new town. It signifies that you belong to the club, and there’s no membership, no dues, no handbook, nothing but the fernet judging you as it stares up patiently. There’s a calling card though: a simple coin, highly coveted among aficionados, rare as a raw steak. It’s a throwback to World War II squadrons who used personalized coins from their units to one-up each other, and to get out of hefty bar tabs. Notoriously hard to get, they must be given, and with each comes an understanding that, if challenged, you must produce yours or pay for the round. About the size of an old Eisenhower dollar, it exists with the “Fernet-Branca” logo on one side and some event or regional signifier on the other. It’s a mark, an identifier, like a tattoo you carry in your pocket. Pretentious? Perhaps. I had one random guy come in and slam down his coin like he expected me to let him drink free all night. That’s pretentious. My advice to coinholders is: Don’t say shit. Order a drink, talk bar stuff. Be normal. Christ, be an adult. There are conventions that happen all over the world now, just for bartenders. There are camps that take groups to tour distilleries, breweries, farms, and build camaraderie around the career. There are competitions that bring “mixologists” together to work and learn new methods and share ideas, much like any other industry. Even here in Winston-Salem, I know of many bartenders who travel regularly to spread their know-how and learn other’s ways. There’s a nod, an understanding between them. Even something as simple as a once obscure Italian drink (and its coin) breeds a kinship. Over the years since I’ve encountered it, fernet has become legion. It’s become so popular with the service industry now, I serve it just about every night. Some bartenders, that’s all they drink. As I sit here at 3 a.m. in this closed bar with SunRa gently playing in the background (instrumental shit helps me write), I’m contemplating the last bit of fernet in my glass. And as the last taste of that potent mix burns down my throat to warm my stomach, I shut off the lights before going home, I think about that first encounter. Beats hunting Nazis.
Local 27101 $
thelocal.ws 310 W. Fourth St. W-S, 336.725.3900
There’s nothing revolutionary about Local 27101. It’s a lunch place on Fourth Street, right in the heart of downtown WinstonSalem’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.
Interested in Triad City Bites? Call Brian at 336.681.0704 to find out more.
Mozzarella Fellas' vegan take on classic Italian, plus apple jack-o-lanterns with Ari Levaux, James Douglas' fernet odyssey, social media wo...
Published on Oct 31, 2019
Mozzarella Fellas' vegan take on classic Italian, plus apple jack-o-lanterns with Ari Levaux, James Douglas' fernet odyssey, social media wo...