Friday, May 23, 2014

Mad Hatter

Mad Hatter Bar and Grill may be the best kept brunch secret in Greensboro. And they offer it on Saturday AND Sunday!! I've visited for lunch, dinner and brunch, and though they do all well, they do brunch best. Mark Weddle's specialty Bloody Marys are a must. (Seriously - Mark placed #1 in the Absolut Vodka Best Bloody Mary competition, and went on to compete nationally!) I chose the Mary Pickleford, featuring Mark's Bloody Mary Mix with Whiskey, Blue Cheese-Stuffed Olives, a piece of Bacon, a Dill Pickle and a Beef Jerky straw, which you sip the Bloody through. It's served with a shot of Pickle Juice on the side. This is essentially a meal. I can't wait to try their Tequila and PBR versions!

The Vegetarian Benedict shakes up the most boring brunch item to ever cross a menu (Eggs Benedict) and totally blew my mind. A Chickpea Polenta Cake serves as the base, and it's topped with garlicky, sauteed Spinach, Goat Cheese, two Poached Eggs and Romesco Sauce. The flavor combination sings. It's sensational. Every bite works. This is one of the most unique and satisfying brunch dishes I have ever encountered. All other Benedicts should bow before this dish.

For other meals, the NadaBurger - a Turkey Burger with Provolone, Pesto and Dijon - is a great concept, but a little too wet. I had trouble with the bun and all the condiments staying together. Stick with the Hot Pimento Cheese Dip and Pizzas (the Pulled Pork variety is especially good), Salads or their fabulous Brunch. You really can't go wrong with brunch. I'll be returning as soon as humanly possible.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fire in the Triad: Guest Blogging for Nik Snacks!

I was so thrilled when local blogger, my friend, Chef Nikki Miller-Ka asked me to guest blog for her at TWO Fire in the Triad Battles!

When I saw her at the event, I thought something was "fishy," but turns out, it was NUTS! Nikki's allergy prevented her partaking in two battles, featuring Gibsonville's High Rock Farm Chestnut Flour, so she asked me to fill in. It was an honor - these events are always such a party!

Nikki and me at a battle in 2013!
The posts are on her blog,

Saturday, May 10, 2014


Starring: Seth Rogen, Zac Efron, Rose Byrne, Dave Franco
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Running Time: 1 hour, 36 minutes
Rating: R

"Neighbors" confirms several things. First, Seth Rogen's improvised comedy never fails to make me laugh out loud. Secondly, "kids" these days are big time into EDM and weed. Finally, Zac Efron is an Adonis. This film is in the same bloodline as "This is the End" and "Knocked Up" - glorifying mushrooms, lots of F bombs, and absolutely hilarious sequences. The improv is so apparent (and fantastic) that you wonder if there was even a script to begin with.
Seriously, he's almost TOO perfect. Photo Courtesy - Everybody Knows

Seth Rogen and Rose Byrne are new parents Mac and Kelly, who get a surprise when their new neighbors turn out to be none other than the brotastic fraternity Delta Psi, with Teddy (Efron) at the helm. After struggling with maintaining an appearance of being the "cool parents," Mac and Kelly wind up calling the cops after several nights in a row of Delta Psi's partying. War ensues.

Notable scenes include a Robert DeNiro party, the climactic fight scene, and a "milking" incident (I'll leave it at that.) I was excited to see so many cameos - Lisa Kudrow, Ike "Morgan Tookers, RN" Barinholtz, Andy Samberg, Jake Johnson - in my mind, comedians are all best friends and guest star in each others' movies for free, for fun. I'm so jealous.

One prank tops the next, and after some seriously absurd antics, these new parents realize they don't miss their partying days, they're just a bit bored and having trouble adjusting to their new role in life. The bros discover that beer pong scores (and scoring in general) won't matter after graduation, and resolve to seek out their own destinies, even if that includes being a jean model at Abercrombie & Fitch. Everyone grows up a little, but the laughs sure are fun along the way.

**I'm so excited to announce that I'll be guest blogging for the Official Fire in the Triad Blogger, Nikki Miller-Ka, at next Tuesday and Wednesday nights' battles! Check out her blog, and read more about Competition Dining here! Nikki live tweets during the battles and blogs about them the next day. If reading her recaps don't make you salivate and purchase tickets immediately, seek medical help.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Van Loi II

Hole in the wall restaurants can surprise you. 9 times out of 10, the food is incredible - it's just a matter of taking the chance and trying it out. I've had Van Loi II on my radar since I moved to Greensboro nearly two years ago. I decided to venture for lunch one day, and upon entering the High Point Road spot, your eyes dart towards the hanging BBQ ducks. But don't be afraid - people are ordering them like crazy. And try not to let the dishes that include heart, blood, kidney and feet deter you. This is a terrific secret spot, but not for the weak-stomached.
Clockwise from Top Left: Verm Bowl! BBQ Ducks, Avocado Shake

I've had a taste for a Vermicelli Bowl ever since I had that mind-blowing dish from Mai's in Houston, so out of obligation, I ordered one at Van Loi. The flavorful, tender meat; crunchy vegetables; cold noodles; hot, fried Spring Roll; sprinkling of fresh Cilantro; salty Peanuts - this dish is so well-rounded. It is close to perfection. The sundry condiments sang to my heart. I doused my noodles with Fish Sauce, Sriracha, and a little Soy Sauce (why not?)

Though I'm not a huge Pho-head, I sampled my dining partner's and the broth is money. The beef is tender; exactly what Pho fans would want. I didn't slurp too much, because I knew I had to save room for the Avocado Shake. Yes, you read me right. This creamy, luscious, not-too-sweet concoction seems so obvious - how had I not thought of this before? I encourage you to pull out your blender right now...or better yet, head to Van Loi. Branch out. It will be a wonderful surprise.