Monday, February 10, 2014

Dishcrawl: Battledish

There's no better way to spend a Saturday than with good friends, good food, and good drinks. A gorgeous blue sky set the background for Dishcrawl's Battledish in downtown Winston-Salem, and it was an absolutely awesome day. I can't wait to attend more of these foodie-only events in the Triad! The Battledish premise is simple: you purchase tickets, sample dishes and drinks from 6 downtown restaurants, and then vote on the following categories:
Most Creative
Best Modern
Most Authentic
Best Cocktail

And we're off!

Top: Millionare's Row Marg   Bottom: Filet, Linguine with Egg
My group checked in at Spring House, and received our first dish/drink. What a way to kick off the day. Seriously, they set the bar insanely high with their trio of bites. A plump Butter Poached Lobster Tail sat atop a Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, and for not being a crab cake gal, this was so tasty! Beside this was a Breadcrumb-crusted Soft Cooked Egg on a nest of Linguine with Shaved Asparagus and Parmesan Cream sauce - holy cow - this was so rich, and I know the idea was for the runny yolk to add to the sauce, but sadly my egg was over-cooked so it didn't run. Finally, a fire-roasted Filet was doused with Bacon Jam and Pearl Onions. The meat was incredibly tender, and I decided it was best to merge all three presentations into one extravagant money bite. The Millionare's Row Margarita totally added to this decadence, featuring 150-year-old Grand Marnier "Foam" and Hawaiian Black Sea Salt. This meal actually makes you feel like a trillion bucks.

We trekked our way to the next stop, and walked into a busy Foothills Brewing. I was excited to see so many people out and about on such a lovely Saturday! I wasn't as impressed with their Ginger Lemongrass Hot Toddy, because I really couldn't taste any alcohol. The Jim Beam and Domaine De Canton (Ginger Liqueur) were lost underneath the house-made Lemongrass syrup and honey flavors. Curry Duck Breast with Lentils was a beautiful presentation, with an outstanding Coconut Sauce. The slight heat from the Curry was enough to warm the back of your throat, and I loved the uniqueness of this dish. On to stop #3!

Clockwise from Top Left: Foothills Brewing, Carolina Tap Room,
Bib's Downtown, Small Batch Beer Co.
Carolina Tap Room is relatively new to downtown Winston, and their dish description really proves that they're trying to make a name for themselves. Braised NC Pork Belly was topped with a zingy Chipotle Cheerwine Glaze, served with local Sweet Potato Puree and a tangy, vinegary Slaw. Brown Butter Toasted Sugar Croutons top the Sweet Potatoes - yum - which is like a dessert in itself! The cocktail paired beautifully with it, though we missed some of the promised garnish. Pear Nectar, Lemon Juice, lots of Rosemary and Cardamom are combined, and topped with Prosecco. Notes of honey make it extra sweet and yummy!

Time for an Intermezzo - a "Head Trip" cocktail at Jeffrey Adams on Fourth. Lemon Juice, Grey Goose, St. Germaine, Lavender House Syrup and Champagne make a nice, but familiar martini. St. Germaine has made its way onto every cocktail bar out there, so I wasn't surprised to see this pop up.

When we walked into Millenium Artisan Restaurant, I knew we were in for a treat. The owner was out on the floor, speaking to participants at each of the tables, thanking them for coming and supporting Dishcrawl and Downtown Winston-Salem. I was really impressed with this, and he was the only chef/owner that introduced himself. If Spring House set the bar, Millenium Artisan met the bar. The Lemon Barney was my second favorite cocktail of the day. Thyme is heavily infused in Gin, with Limoncello, Lemon Juice and Prosecco rounding out the drink. I was also blown away by the dish - Joyce Farms Duck lays next to a bed of custard-like Bread Pudding, but this isn't your everyday Bread Pudding - this features Lobster and Leeks, and is spectacular. Savory Bread Puddings are my new jam. The Fowl Demi Glace and Lobster Jus, brightened by notes of citrus make you want to lick the plate. All of my dining partners were in heaven. It was the bomb.

Stop #5 was at Small Batch Beer Company, another new addition to the downtown Winston scene. I had been most excited about this cocktail, a Blood Orange Margarita, but was kind of let down. What was supposed to be Ancho Chile-Infused Tequila with Cointreau Noir and Blood Orange Juice was totally masked by the house made sour mix. It made me so sour to miss all of those promised flavors. Their dish was quite lovely though, and makes anyone afraid of trying Rabbit a fan. Timmermans Cherry Lambic Braised Ashley Farms Rabbit tastes so much like chicken it's scary, and is accompanied by a slightly sweet Sunchoke Puree and a Roasted Carrot. The sweetness of these sides highlight the sweetness in the Cherry Lambic braise. We all stretched before making our way to the last stop!

Bib's Downtown Barbeque considers itself "not Eastern, not Western, but Bestern!" I've eaten many fun and tasty meals at Bib's, but wasn't crazy about their tacos today. It may have been because I had eaten so much gourmet food all afternoon, so a Pulled Pork Taco and Smoked Brisket Taco left me wondering "where's the foie?" (The Pulled Pork Taco is definitely the winner of the two, by the way.)

An exhilarating afternoon had come to a close, and the winners are...

Most Creative: Millenium Artisan
Best Modern: Spring House
Most Authentic: Carolina Tap Room
Best Cocktail: Spring House

I can't wait for more adventures like this. Join me for the next one!

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