Welcome to Local Dish Winston-Salem.

This blog is paired with a Facebook Group where people can post pictures and talk about food and beverages they have had at local W-S restaurants and bars. Pictures from the group will be added here so it can be used as a great resource for local places for everyone to enjoy.

You won't find the negative points here; we focus on the good, the great, and the best.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Midtown Cafe & Dessertery: Breakfast for Dinner

Midtown Cafe Dessertery is a good destination for breakfast at night.
When Fall begins and the weather is cool and rainy we like eggs, bacon or sausage, pancakes with warm maple syrup, and hashbrowns or grits. Sadly Midtown stops serving grits at noon. That's my only gentle reminder for the owners. It's a Southern thing ya'll.
-Contributed by Doug G.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

River Birch Lodge: Lunch on a Time Crunch

I was on my own for lunch today. The weather inspired soup so I tried to think of a place that I had not been to in a while, but I knew had good soups on the menu. Today’s lunch destination was River Birch Lodge. I work on the eastern edge of downtown, so the risk of getting to and from River Birch (halfway across town) and eating originally gave me some concern, but I had a few minutes to play with today so I risked it. I left the office at 12:05. When I got to the parking lot at 12:15, my apprehension continued because there was not a parking space to be found. Because River Birch is in a shopping center, I was able to find parking easily behind the restaurant. By doing so, I noticed they have a patio! Not really a patio day but I will keep that in the back of my mind. Inside, the place was packed. (Evidently, just because I don’t come here often on a Wednesday during lunch, it doesn’t mean that everyone else doesn’t.)

I told the hostess that I was alone and I requested to sit at the bar. The bar area has a long bar and several tables as well. The bartender, Paul, was waiting on two six-tops (tables of six) and another table of two. The bar itself was all mine so I took a seat and waited less than a minute for Paul to take my order. Let me tell you, this guy can multitask! He asked if I would like some bread while I waited and even though I didn’t need it, I said yes. The bread was warm and the butter was soft. We are off to a great start.

12:20: I ordered the soup and ½ sandwich. I decided to try the soup of the day, a vegetarian black bean chili with their homemade chicken salad sandwich. The meal also comes with a side and I had the fresh fruit. I spent some time checking e-mail on my phone, watching ESPN on one of their two TVs in the bar, and watching Paul buzz about the bar area filling drinks, boxing food to go, and making drink orders for the wait staff. It was quite impressive. After running some food to one of the bar tables, Travis -the Executive Chef, stopped by the bar to ask how I was doing. Travis did not know who I was, so I found this to be just another area where the service at River Birch excels.

12:34: My food arrives and it is delicious! The black bean vegetarian chili was fantastic. It was loaded with fresh vegetables and tons of black beans. The soup was exactly what I wanted when I started my quest for soup. The chicken salad is made with oven roasted sage-pesto chicken and served on wheat bread with lettuce and tomato. This is a hearty sandwich, not to mayonaisey and great roasted flavor from the chicken. The fruit was a great medley for this time of year- including melons, blackberries, strawberries and fresh pineapple.

12:55: I ask for my check as I finish up the last of my meal. Paul asks me if I would like an iced tea to go and I accept. He makes me a fresh iced tea and left the lid slightly ajar so that I can add my yellow sweetener before I head on my way. It was that little extra something that made my experience that much more memorable.

1:06: Back in the office, enjoying my tea from River Birch. My hunger and craving for soup are both satisfied. I was extremely impressed with the food, speed, and quality of service.

3:00 Update: I am usually reaching for a snack around 3pm in the office, I am still satisfied from the half a sandwich, soup, and fruit.

You can visit River Birch Lodge at 3324 Robinhood Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27106 (in the parking lot of Sherwood Plaza Shopping Center)

Taco Truck

I've been eating tacos and other Mexican lunches from a taco truck that is parked on Polo Rd between Cherry and Indiana Ave in a small strip mall. The food is great and authenic. Luciano cooks the food fresh every morning and sets up for lunch and is open into the evenings and late at night on the weekends. He serves all the standards; tacos, tortas, burritos, etc. My favorite is the Barbacoa Torta (BBQ sandwich) but it is all good. We have had him cater a lunch at work and everyone loved the food. Probably best to take out but he has a small table that can be used. Soft drinks include mango and other Mexican bottled sodas.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Midtown Cafe and Dessertery: Dinner and Dessert

We have been to Midtown Cafe and Dessertery many times for breakfast and dessert (not during the same visit), but thought that we would try it for dinner. Our eyes have never diverted from the breakfast menu so it we took a few extra minutes with the menu.

Our server, Jessica, was very helpful and helped me choose the Grilled Grouper Sandwich, which is covered with melted Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato and homemade tarter sauce and served with house-cut fries. The grouper had great flavor and was tender.  The house-cut fries were cooked perfectly, lightly crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. I am not sure what kind of oil they use but the flavor was excellent.

Joe enjoyed the the chicken quesadilla, which is one of the September specials. It had diced, grilled chicken with a mild Mexican spice, Monterrey jack cheese, fresh black beans and crisp white corn. The crunch from the corn and the fresh black beans gave the quesadilla a wonderful texture and crunch. A side of salsa gave it some extra spice and complimented the flavors.

I made the mistake of sitting on the side of the table that faced the chalkboard that listed all of the desserts. Cakes, pies, cookies...how was a girl to choose? Joe helped me decide on the German chocolate cake. Chocolate and coconut together is a wonderful combination. I'm not sure which German created this particular cake but danke schoen. The cake was moist and had a great cocoa flavor. The frosting was to die for, all coconuty and carmelly, and pieces of pecans. We made the right choice, but we will have to try the others on future visits...just to be sure.

151 S. Stratford Road
Stratford Village Shopping Center

Wolfies: Root Beer Floating

I know that it has been a while and now that there was an article about the blog in the Winston-Salem Journal, it is time to clean out my photo file in my phone and get this thing updated.

First on the list is the root beer float at Wolfie's. Joe is a traditionalist and enjoyed the rootbeer float with vanilla frozen custard. In his defense, I am not sure if there is another flavor that would taste that good with rootbeer.

Root beer floats remind me of summer vacations spent on the Pamlico River with my family. We would sit on the porch as my mom would give each of us our own jelly glass with our favorite cartoon characters (very popular in the 1970s), dad would follow her with the vanilla ice cream and give us each a scoop that we would press down to the bottom of the glass with our spoons. Mom would follow with the root beer, giving us just enough delicious foam so that it reached the brim of our glasses. We would devour them in minutes.

I love it when the flavors of food can bring back memories that are so vibrant and happy.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Breakfast of Course: Labor Day of Love

The long Labor Day weekend gave us an opportunity to have Monday Brunch at Breakfast of Course, Mary's Too. I was in the mood for something sweet and was trying to choose between the waffle and the French toast. The French toast won the coin toss, oh happy day! Stars aligned, kismet kicked in and it was a perfect example of syrupdipity.

The French toast starts with the most incredible cinnamon bread that is baked fresh by the ladies of Three Sisters Artisan Bakery.  The bread has more than a hint of cinnamon, but giant ribbons of cinnamony goodness throughout each thick slice. The bread is firm which is important, because soggy French is the worst. The BOC lightly egg washes the bread and then cooks it to perfection. Slightly crunchy on the outside but fully cooked on the inside. It was amazing and I ate every single bite. I was not ashamed; I was happy.

Joe had the Breakfast Club, which is a favorite on the Local Dish Facebook Page.  The club is like a BLT with the addition of a fried egg, avocado and some light pesto mayo. This sandwich combines three of Joe's favorite flavors (pesto, avacado, and bacon) that Joe loves so this was bound to be a hit.

We are extremely thankful to Mary and the gang for giving up their Labor Day so that we could start our day in a state of euphoria. We really, REALLY appreciate it.

Both items are available on the regular menu so you can get it whenever they are open. YeeHaw!

Breakfast of Course (Mary's Too)

Let me begin by saying that I don't like change. Who does? I firmly believe that those who profess to embrace change really mean they like change that they initiate.

I loved Mary's of Course - the kitsch, the food, the staff, the tables arranged too close together. It was MY place.

The restaurant has now moved locations. I still refer to the restaurant as "Mary's," although my niece does me one better and refers to the new restaurant as "new Mary's." I love this place too.

O ordered a daily special, which consisted of a sweet potato biscuit and sausage gravy. I ordered an egg and cheese sandwich with avocado. I then splurged on dessert at 9am because it was the whole reason I came in.

I have adjusted slowly to the change. I love that Mary (or somebody)
updates facebook with the specials. I have gone there specifically for things I've seen posted on facebook (most of them involve fruit and sugar, but also vegetarian specials and vegetarian soups).

The new place is huge, there is plenty of room between the tables. Some of the old staff is still there and newbies are growing on me. The kitsch is gone, but probably wouldn't have felt right in the new place and I still love Mary and her food.