Staff food favorites
Brian Clarey, editor. RED OAK BEER, available in fine bars everywhere Ask anybody: I like my beer, though I’m not what you would call a “beer snob” by any stretch. I’ll drink whatever’s cheap or on special. But I do like my craft beers as well. And my favorite is made right here in the Triad. I first tasted Red Oak shiortly after I moved to town, when I interviewed the brewmaster, Christian Booze, at the now-defunct brewpub on Guilford College Road. It was fresh, rich, malty and contained so many B vitamins that Booze told me two of them satisfies the whole USRDA. Longtime fans will tell you that Red Oak’s signature beer, one of only three the brewery makes, is not as good as it used to be. And maybe they’re right — I don’t know. I just know that when I see that familiar tap handle at a bar, I know exactly what I’m ordering.
Jennie Bridges, marketing executive. EGGPLANT MARINARA FLATBREAD; Mozelle’s Fresh Southern Bistro; 878 W. 4th St., Winston-Salem; 336.703.5400; mozelles.com. This is an open-faced sandwich which is built on warmed, soft flatbread, topped with perfectly seasoned marinara sauce. Atop the marinara are two healthy slices of eggplant, which are also delightfully seasoned. Both sides are topped with a heaping portion of goat cheese. Put this with a side of spicy greens and you have the perfect mid-day fare. Yummm.
Ryan Snyder, music writer. CHICKEN WINGS; Minj Grille; 310 S. Elm St., Greensboro; 336.273.5393. When it comes to wings around town, some places try to hook you with TVs so massive they’re obscured by ceiling fixtures, waitresses in degrading attire or 30 different lab-made flavors with names like Peanut Butter Chipolte or Ranch-adilla. Not Minj Grille. For $1.25, you can get a wing so good that you’ll forget other places exist. That might sound pricy for one wing, but keep in mind they don’t split them at the joint like other places. It’s one big piece of poultry that’s perfectly crispy on the outside and like heaven on the inside. Then there’s the sauce. Lawdamercy, the sauce. Let’s just say that Minj is like the Phil Niekro of wing places: They only need one. Their blend of honey, brown sugar and an indiscernible spice will have you sopping up the remainder with an onion ring, which, by the way, is both enormous and delicious.
Michelle Lanteri, advertising director. BANANA PUDDING; Carter Brothers; 2305 N. Main St., High Point; 336.869.9948; www.carterbrothersbbq.com. More like layered custard, this pudding features Nilla Wafers, delicate banana pudding and fresh slices of banana encased in an light envelope of whipped cream. Upon consuming a small portion of this NC delicacy, I enter a state of pure bliss. This particular banana pudding is highly recommended to be an instant mood uplifter, during breakfast or late afternoon hours.
Loren Bailey, graphic designer. AVOCADO GELATO; Caffe Prada; 390 N. Broad St., Winston-Salem; 336.793.2468; www.caffeprada.com. On a warm evening this past summer, I felt daring and tried the avocado gelato from Caffe Prada in Winton-Salem. If avocado isn’t your thing, this probably isn’t the dessert for you, but if you do, you are in for a treat! In addition to the refreshing, yet subtle, favor, the consistency was velvety smooth. Apparently this is because avocados have a relatively higher fat content than most fruits (the “good” kind of fat) and that makes for a creamier texture. Add a dollop of lemon gelato to the top and enjoy this savory dessert!
Devender Sellars, art director. BANH MI; Banh Mi Saigon; 3808 High Point Road, Greensboro; 336.856.7667 The small, unassuming storefront on High Point Road in Greensboro hides a wonderful blend of Vietnamese and French cuisine. Banh Mi Saigon offers seven or eight lunch offerings, with the best being the restaurant namesake. The banh mi sandwich features a crispy rice flour baguette, the hard surface of which hides the fluffy perfection only found in fresh bread. The sandwich is filled with a flavorful mix of roast pork, patÃ©, cilantro, carrots and cucumbers. At once fresh and filling, savory and slightly sweet, this foot-long sub is a three-dollar steal.
Jordan Green, news editor. STEAK FAJITA SALAD; Poblano’s; 5710 High Point Road, Greensboro; 336.316.1212; poblanosmexicangrill.com. I’ve been a steadfast devotee of Poblano’s Sonora burritos, which qualifies as some kind of Americanized version of Mexican comfort food, for several years now. That fixation may be broken now. Following the example of my friend, Becky, I decided to try the fajita salad. It is delectable and filling at the same time. Strips of succulent steak complemented by dashes of guacamole and mild red salsa are the centerpiece, placed on a bed of shredded lettuce and cube tomatoes, all encompassed by a flaky bread bowl whose demolition and ingestion comprises the final stage of the feast. With locations in the Adams Farm Shopping Center and the Friendly Shopping Center, Poblano’s is fast gaining a loyal following in Greensboro.
Jordan Owens, creative assistant. VEGETARIAN “CHICKEN” CURRY Binh Minh, 5211 W. Market St. C, Greensboro; 336.851.1527 With winter approaching, I’m reminded of my favorite local cold-weather comfort food, vegetarian “chicken” curry from Binh Minh in Greensboro. When the temperature drops, I look forward to settling into a booth with a bowl full of soupy red curry, seiten “chicken”, bamboo shoots, potatoes and onions. It’s served with a ginger side salad and a steaming plate of rice to pour the curry over. Follow it with a cup of jasmine green tea for a cozy and satisfying wintertime meal.
Keith T. Barber, staff writer. SWEET POTATO; Sweet Potatoes; 529 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem; 336.727.4844; sweetpotatoes-arestaurant.com. Sweet potatoes have a number of health benefits and they are a tasty treat, especially when prepared by the chefs at Sweet Potatoes. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids, which help stabilize blood-sugar levels and lower insulin resistance, which can help with your metabolism. Sweet potatoes are fat-free, full of fiber, rich in vitamin C and only 90 calories apiece, so health-food fanatics love the gourd closely associated with Thanksgiving. At Sweet Potatoes, I like to order the basic sweet potato with butter and brown sugar. The butter and sugar add a few calories but the aroma and taste of the sweet potato bring back memories of Sunday dinners at my grandmother’s house and that is a beautiful memory indeed.
Charles Womack, publisher. GRANNY SMITH CHICKEN SANDWICH; Finnegan’s Wake Irish Pub and Kitchen; 620 N. Trade St., Winston- Salem; 336.723.0322 Finnegan’s, in the Heart of the Downtown Arts District, features one of my all-time favorite sandwiches. The Granny Smith chicken sandwich, priced at $7.75, features a grilled chicken breast topped with Granny Smith apple slices, melted provolone, lettuce, tomato and honey mustard on a toasted bun. The pairing of the grilled chicken, the apples and the honey mustard are fantastic, but if you bring in a side of sweet-potato fries you’ll be feeling the luck of the Irish.