Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chefs of the Mountains

Chefs of the Mountains: Restaurants and Recipes from Western North Carolina (Winston-Salem: John F. Blair, Publisher, 2012) is a collection of feature articles about chefs and their restaurants, plus recipes supplied by the chefs. 329 pages plus index of names and index of recipes, over 200 color photographs. Restaurants are located from the Asheville area through Blowing Rock, Boone, and Banner Elk. To order an autographed copy from the author, send an e-mail to john.e.batchelor@gmail.com

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Lunch with culinary students at Alamance Community College

I recently attended a lunch at Alamance Community College as a guest of Ed Williams, who also writes the wine column for the Greensboro News and Record. Student chefs Teddi Neal and Erin Kerns prepared the meal, assisted by second year classmates in the culinary program. First year students served the tables. The first course consisted of either Leek and Mushroom Napoleon or Roasted Quail with lentil salad and orange gastrique, followed by a choice of Chilled Tomato Consomme with mint and watermelon or Roasted Tri-Color Beet Salad with fried summer squash, toasted almonds, and balsamic reduction. Grilled Salmon ladled with Champagne beurre blanc sauce, joined by basmati rice, peas, and summer vegetable medley was the entree. Dessert consisted of Almond Layer Cake or Fig Tart with goat cheese ice cream and apricot sauce. The experience was a credit to the student chefs as well as their instructors, a meal worthy of any fine dining restaurant. The restaurant that hires Teddi Neal and Erin Kerns after they graduate will be gaining a significant addition for the kitchen staff!

Great Meals in the Sandhills

I have heard rumors that certain people engage in unspeakable acts with little white balls out in the open, where anyone can see! One of the nation's most prominent locations for such activities is Pinehurst and Southern Pines, North Carolina. While I would never engage in such activities myself, I can recommend restaurants in the region. In fact, some of the best meals I have had in the last year occurred in the area. Elliott's on Linden (905 Linden Road Pinehurst, NC 28374 (910) 215-0775, www.elliottsonlinden.com) centers its concept on local ingredients. Owner-Chef Mark Elliott, a Brit, owns a refrigerated truck. He visits area farms and buys whole lambs and other produce. The wine list is one of the best I have seen, with selections from Helen Turley. And servers know the food. The 1895 Grill at Holly Inn (c/o Pinehurst Resort, 80 Carolina Vista Drive, Pinehurst, NC 28374, (855) 235-8507; restaurant reservations (910) 235-8434, www.pinehurst.com/luxury-north-carolina-hotels.php) is elegant, in a charming, turn of the century resort way. See websites for menus.

Monday, June 4, 2012

New Bridge Bank Park food

Entertainment is abundant for baseball games at New Bridge Bank Park. From cats that play the piano to chickens that dance (televised) to Black Labs that chase baseballs, there's never a dull moment. Oh, and they play baseball here, too. And the Hoppers are a winning team! I've checked out the food, and I have a few recommendations. There's plenty of beer, but I think the best are the Natty Greene drafts. The bratwursts and sausages from the Giacommo's stand are very good. And you can't go to a ball game without eating peanuts, available from the main concessions.