Wednesday, April 29, 2015


It's recently come to my attention that I hadn't done an official review of one of my favorite restaurants in Winston-Salem. Mozelle's is one of the best places to get lunch with your gals, brunch with your folks, and dinner with a sweetheart before a show downtown. I've never had a bad meal here. The staff is friendly, the atmosphere is cozy and the seasonally-inspired menu is on point. Owner Jennifer Smith couldn't be a more charming Southern belle, and she has an extraordinary thing going.

Tomato Pie. My happy place.
Mozelle's is known for their Tomato Pie. You're making a huge mistake if you don't order this your first time dining there. However, you'll probably never get anything else, so it's best if you go with someone so you can at least sample something else from their awesome menu. The Tomato Pie reminds you of an over-the-top pizza. The buttery crust is filled with a Pimento Cheese-type sharp Cheddar and it pops with tomatoes. The creamed succotash that comes alongside it in the summer is sinful (opt for the Brussels and Fennel if you're feeling health-conscious.)
Isn't this Meatloaf just mouth-watering?!

I tend to alternate between the Tomato Pie and my other favorite: the Gourmet Meatloaf. It will absolutely knock you backwards. The meatloaf is a highly explosive flavor bomb, loaded with a combination of the big 3: Pork, Veal and Beef. The dish is enough for two people, but you won't want to share. Two 3-ounce (approximately) meatloaf slices are wrapped with Bacon and topped with a tangy Tomato Marmalade (you don't need ketchup here, folks!) and melted Havarti Cheese rests on top, to add to the decadence. Spicy Collards are a nice tangy bite to cut the richness, while Cheese Grits are another note of glorious richness.

Freekah is a grain not unlike Barley or Quinoa, and when paired with Marcona Almonds, Mixed Greens, Haricot Verts, Broccoli, Feta and a Red Wine Vinaigrette, it's quite satisfying. I love clean food like this, and Mozelle's rotates their fresh salad options. Meat isn't necessary but if you ask me, grilled shrimp makes anything better.

I freek for the Freekah.
Brunch offers unique twists on classic dishes. They do a fantastic Quiche. Take the same buttery crust from the Tomato Pie and fill it with Ham, Roasted Brussel Sprouts, Caramelized Onions and Gruyere Cheese (the best cheese on the planet). You can't go wrong. Mozelle's also has the best sauteed Kale in town. It's vinegary, it's garlicky - it's heaven. Add a little Sherry and you get a slightly sweet base for Poached Eggs and Butternut Squash. Not your average brunch.

If you fill out a postcard up on paying, you'll get a free dessert coupon in the mail for your birthday and anniversary (put a friend's anniversary if you're single like me.) The Coconut Cream Pie is a solid choice - and it's huge. It's packed with creamy coconut flavor and a shortbread pie crust. You also must try the Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding with a lip-smackingly good Caramel sauce. I was very close to licking the plate to get every last drop. It's in a cute cupcake shape and it's studded with Pecans and Golden Raisins. This comes very close to my favorite Bread Pudding in the world (Restaurant R'evolution in New Orleans). I can't say it enough: Mozelle's is a favorite. It's safe to say I'm dangerously obsessed.
Bourbon Pecan Bread Pudding!

Sunday, April 19, 2015


If you're like me and peruse copies of Southern Living, Bon Appetit, Garden & Gun magazines and the like, no doubt you've heard of Rhubarb, the hottest new restaurant in Asheville (though they get one every week it seems). Chef John Fleer has been praised for this new downtown staple, and during a recent trip West, I decided I couldn't leave town without stopping by. The open kitchen and well-lit restaurant is inviting, not stuffy at all. Conversations are lively as people are clearly enjoying themselves, and as expected, every morsel I consumed was exquisite.

Lobster Corn Dogs!

I ordered an Ilkley Siberia Rhubarb Saison. When in Rome. I can't think of a better appetite whetter than the Lobster Corn Dogs with Comeback Sauce. This spicy rendition of the classic sauce lives up to its name. It's creamy, tomatoey and dangerous, especially when you dunk hush puppy-shaped Lobster balls in it. They are fried, producing a crunchy and slightly sweet exterior, like Corn Dog batter. It doesn't get much better than this. 

Scallop Perfection.

I was lucky to negotiate a trade with one of my dining partners - a Lobster Corn Dog for a Meyer Lemon-Crusted Scallop. I'm a SS1 (John Batchelor may be the only one to get this reference). The Scallops are plump and delicate, perfectly cooked. Peas and Butter Beans add a nice pop and color, Country Ham adds a necessary saltiness to cut through the creamy Buttermilk sauce, and Dill adds a fresh earthiness. This is my kind of food.

I always love when a vegetarian dish makes me forget that it lacks meat. The Goat Cheese Gnudi is exceptional. It would make me get gnude. Five tender dumplings are bursting with flavor and literally oozing with cheese, but it's not runny, it's creamy. (There's a difference.) Oyster Mushrooms and Braised Cabbage guest star, and I believe I was subbed Butter Beans for what were supposed to be Pumpkin Seeds, but I preferred the beans! Cheers! I cleaned my plate. I could rave about these dumplings all day. Outstanding. 
I'd get gnude for this gnudi.
The Malted Mudslide is a lovely sweet note to end on. Chocolate Cookies with White Chocolate Chips are soft and have a brownie texture. I love a soft cookie. A scoop of soft Vanilla Malt Ice Cream sits atop and is so much sexier than plain ole vanilla. Cocoa Nib Brittle is a slightly nutty crunch, and I could drink a gallon of the Sierra Nevada Stout Caramel. This dessert has everything. Except a photo. Apologies.

Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit!
I have to throw an honorable mention breakfast bone to Asheville's Biscuit Head. This place is unbelievable. I would love to try and eat through their entire menu. They have gravy flights (!) and several jams and sauces for you to sample. The Mimosa-Fried Chicken Biscuit is a Sunday buffet in itself. The Biscuit stands alone though - fluffy, buttery, the best I've had in a Southern restaurant in a while. The Mimosa-Fried Chicken tasted slightly sweet, but all the toppings made it difficult to detect a sweet or citrus flavor. Toppings included Sweet Potato Butter, Sriracha Saw and a Poached Egg on top. This was also before I added a little Sriracha Honey, Rhubarb-Strawberry Jam and Coconut Vanilla spread. I tell you, this place is a condiment lovers' dream (me and mine).

Incredibly long story short, I look forward to eating and drinking more of what A'town has to offer. I have a crush on this city and its culture.

Monday, April 13, 2015

The Longest Ride

Starring: Scott Eastwood, Britt Robertson, Jack Huston, Alan Alda
Director: George Tillman, Jr.
Running Time: 2 hours, 19 minutes
Rating: PG-13

I'm not ashamed to admit that I was heavily influenced by Nicholas Sparks' love stories of the late 1990s. I think I can speak for nearly every 12 year old girl that read The Notebook, A Walk To Remember, Nights in Rodanthe and the like, and discovered something genuine and true about love (as well as a few sensual pages that I couldn't help but re-read and wonder what it was like to be a grown-up.) "The Longest Ride" is the latest of several film adaptations of a Sparks book, and it rises highly above adaptations in recent years. Is it corny to say that it made me boo hoo? Is it pitiful to admit that it makes me believe in love again? Is it vulgar for me to admit the things I'd like to do to Scott Eastwood (spoiler alert: A LOT)? Though I only spotted myself for a millisecond (my dad and I got to be extras during the rodeo scene filmed at Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem!) I caught myself smiling throughout the entire film, even when tears were streaming down my face.

Can I get an "Amen"?
Photo Courtesy Daily Mail
Oh. I just. Have me.
Photo Courtesy E! Online
First off, if you're thinking I'm writing about the film "The Longest Yard," either the Sandler or Reynolds version, you should probably stop reading further. (That's a hilarious cinema joke, by the way.) Professional bull rider Luke Collins meets Wake Forest University student/NYC internship-bound Sophia Danko. They're both gorgeous. Sparks fly. Romance ensues. A tragedy leads them to Ira Levinson (the fabulous Alan Alda...or is it Arkin? I can't keep them straight). This is where we get a little "Notebook-y." But we're hooked, and going wherever this story takes us.

In flashbacks, we learn how young Ira (the dashing Jack Huston) meets Ruth, the love of his life. Their relationship is tainted when he goes off to war and returns unable to give her the family she has always wanted. Ira and Ruth's story is as engaging and tear-jerking as present day Luke and Sophia's, including an especially touching moment when Ira and Ruth try to adopt a malnourished, forgotten boy in her classroom. The four main stars have such chemistry. These performances are incredibly honest and palpable.

While it seems Luke's fate rests on top of a bull, it ultimately rests in his own hands. As his mother points out, "the ride is only 8 seconds, but she could be the rest of your life." It gives me chills just typing that! I thoroughly enjoyed this film. Men and women alike will appreciate the eye candy galore, intense bull riding scenes and a wonderful takeaway. This film and story reminds us that life is the longest ride. It reminds us of what we all go through to endure and enjoy it. And finally, it reminds us that it's best when someone is along with you for the ride.