Tag Archives: lonerider brewery

Trial By Fire: Battle – Christopher vs. Ryan


logo2How it works: Paying guests get to sample each course in a blind tasting alongside a panel of culinary and celebrity judges in a series of 15 dinner competitions hosted in the four regions of the state. Each evening, two restaurants “battle” it out side-by-side in a single elimination format. Guests savor a six-course menu (three dishes from each chef without knowing whose food they’re tasting) created around a “secret” ingredient. For almost all series, the secret ingredient will come from a North Carolina source. The secret ingredient is revealed to the chefs only an hour before they start cooking and it must be used in each of their three courses Diners, alongside culinary and guest judges, will rate each dish and determine who moves to the next round and who goes home. Semi-Final Round – both chefs had competed and won in the first round of competition.

Contestants: Chef Christopher Hill of Faire and Chef Ryan Conklin CEC from Rex Healthcare At stake is a grand prize of $2,500 and a coveted red chef jacket.

Location: Fire in the Triangle takes place in Raleigh, at 1705 Prime, E Millbrook.

Secret Ingredient #1: The incredible edible North Carolina Egg

10995903_894144763975816_8967496200503378977_oNorth Carolina Egg Association Representing NC Farmers. Egg production is an important segment of the agriculture industry in North Carolina. The Egg Industry ranks 7th in North Carolina commodity receipts.

Our egg farmers are located all over the state from Dare County to Cherokee County. We have approximately 9 million birds which lay about 7 ½ million eggs a day. That is about one bird per person North Carolina. And since the average person eats about 255 eggs per year, we produce enough eggs to feed our residents. Hens lay an egg about once every 26 hours and usually skip a day in the week.

Secret Ingredient #2: Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchokes

11004591_894144213975871_11912609820241294_oPoplar Ridge Farm is a North Carolina Organic Certified Farm Established in 1995 – Owner/Mgr Marianne Battistone – Contrib Expert SELF Magazine since 1980. Poplar Ridge Farm is a Certified Organic Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) farm offering produce & flower memberships, weekly online orders, an open to the public on-farm market stand, and deliveries to Charlotte metro restaurants.

A sunchoke is a tuber, like a potato, and is often prepared and eaten as a root vegetable. Light brown and bumpy on the outside and white inside, the sunchoke looks somewhat like a small potato or ginger root. It is native to North America and was cultivated by Native Americans prior to the arrival of European settlers. Also called a Jerusalem artichoke, its name can be a source of confusion because the plant is not closely related to the artichoke; rather, it is a member of the same flower family as the sunflower. With a nutty, somewhat sweet flavor, many cooks enjoy adding bits of the crunchy, raw vegetable to salads or salsas, while others prefer them roasted or mashed.

lonerider Topo Distillery, LoneRider Brewery and the North Carolina Beer Guys supplied drinks. I loved my spicy Bloody Mary again last night. While we were waiting a basket of bread supplied by La Farm Bakery was placed on our table. Ymm! Belle enjoyed her Shotgun Betty Hefeweizen.

Table 13, a change from my favorite table #4, consisted Linda Barnes, Belle of Triangle Street Eats, Lisa and Jeff, Katey and Matt, John and his date, Christy and Cole and myself. Everyone was excited to be at the dinner. Lisa and Jeff had attended the competition with cocoa nibs. Katey and Matt recently had a baby girl, and were on a date celebrating their anniversary (wink wink) and Linda was celebrating her birthday. They received glasses from Libbey.

First Course: Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchoke-Sweet Potato Steam Bun, Spicy Braised Octopus, Cheshire Pork Belly, Sunchoke-Collard Kimchi, Anaheim Pepper Purée, Sunchoke-Carrot Hoisin. Prepared by Chef Hill receiving a score of 21.85

Second Course: Roasted Veal Medallions, Black Truffle, NC Egg Hollandaise, Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchoke-Bacon, Homemade Mac & Cheese, Rainbow Chard, Perry Lowe Orchard Apples, Sunchokes prepared by Chef Conklin; receiving a score of 29.5

Third Course: Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchoke-Black Garlic Glazed Certified Angus Beef Bistro Steak, Goat Lady Dairy Goat Cheese-Bacon-Caramelized Onion NC Egg Tortellini, Black Truffle Lacinato Kale, Sunchoke, and Veal Glace Cream prepared by Chef Hill; receiving a score of 25.64

Fourth Course: Rack of Lamb, Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchoke-Potato- NC Egg Puff, Tomato-Shiitake Jam, and Lacinato Kale Salsa Verde prepared by Chef Conklin; with a score of 23.94

Fifth Course: Coffee-Choclate IncredibleEggs, NCEgg Cake, Burnt Italian Meringue, Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchoke Caramel, Cabernet Fluid Gel, and Sunchoke Graham Cracker Butter Cookie prepared by Chef Hill with a score of 25.92

Sixth Course: Poplar Ridge Farm Sunchoke & Sweet Potato Beignet, Milke Chocoalate Glacé, Apple Cider- NC Egg Sabayon, Candied Pistachio Crumbs, and Salted Caramel prepared by Chef Conklin; with a score of 30.94

The winner was Chef Ryan Conklin CEC of Rex Healthcare with a score of 28.14 over Chef Christopher Hill with a score of 24.47. It was a battle to the end, who both chefs preparing an outstanding culinary experience, Conklin’s Chocolate Ice cream was the winning course that pushed his score over the top.

The final battle will be between Chef Ryan Conklin of Rex Healthcare and Curt Shelvey of Curts Cucina on March 9. It will be a great competition between two great competitors!

Additional Sponsors:

  • Hitstech
  • NC Agriculture
  • JoyceFarms
  • Pepsi
  • Certified Angus beef
  • SouthernFoods NC
  • Whole harvest

mary_smUntil next time – The Traveler

Bam Pow Chow at LoneRider Brewery


bampowBelle and I decided to start the New Year with both; the new and familiar. We were able to do this by a return visit to The Saturday Market at Rebus Works in historic Boylan Heights. Belle wanted to replenish our stores with some meat selections from a local farm, Cooterville Farms. Both of us wanted to try “rookie of the year food truck” nominee, Bam Chow Pow, which just happen to be serving at the market on this Saturday. We wanted to sample their signature tacos, which consist of a half-folded deep fried egg roll wrapper, with a choice of; beef and bacon, cold smoked catfish, pulled pork or mushrooms with arugula and roasted red peppers. We ordered the sampler so we could taste each of the tacos. Our favorite taco was the beef, with the pork coming in second.

When we got to the window to place our order, Belle and I introduced ourselves to Chef Sean and his wife Lauire. Before ordering we discussed the inspiration behind their food truck and selections they offer in addition to how they liked the Triangle Area. Sean took this opportunity to tell us about an event he was eager to serve at LoneRider Brewing Company this upcoming Wednesday night. He was planning a menu to compliment the special cask tapping. When he described the menu, Duck leg confit ravioli with Swiss chard, butternut squash puree, pickled onions, five-spice veal jus and basil foam, we were fascinated. This was the opportunity Belle and I had been waiting for – pairing a visit to ‘The Hideout’ with something as decedent as duck leg confit ravioli seemed serendipitous.

loneriderWednesday was a brisk night for Raleigh but Belle and I ventured out to one of the Triangle Area’s admired breweries, LoneRider Brewing Company. We had put off this visit, but knew full well an opportunity to visit would present itself. As it happened this would be the night. There would be a special cask of ‘Sweet Josie Brown Ale’ infused with raspberries and chipotle, and a special food pairing of duck leg confit ravioli, an amazing presentation from Bam Pow Chow’s Chef Sean to complement this cask.

Since it would be a while before the special cask would be tapped, I started out with a Sweet Josie Brown Ale, a favorite that I had enjoyed on several occasions at area establishments, and took this opportunity to take in the ambiance. Ironically, ‘The Hideout’ reminded me of many of the dive bars dotted all along the Overseas Highway, from one end of the Florida Keys to the other, I had frequented in my youth. With the exception that The Hideout is devoid of boat-drinks and Hemmingway look-alikes. Most of the patrons seemed like regulars, and weren’t hiding under a palm tree, or an assumed name – for that matter. Our bar tender, Christina Osier, seemed professional and popular among her guests.

dishBefore long, the Sweet Josie Brown Ale infused with raspberries and chipotle was tapped and portioned out to eager, thirsty patrons. Next, Lauire came in from the cold, took our orders, and promised to return promptly. While waiting, I sampled the Sweet Josie Brown Ale special. It was rich with subtle tones of raspberries and a slight hint of the chipotle, nothing overpowering. Soon Lauire returned carrying two foil-covered plates. Peeling back the foil, what I found was astonishing; three crispy-fried raviolis, the size of beer coasters, elegantly flanked with butternut squash puree, garnished with pickled cherries, atop a veal jus and basil foam. It was by far the most impressive entrée that I have ever seen from a food truck to date! The ravioli were so plump with duck leg confit, that when I broke them open, seemed to expand two fold. To say that the portion was ample would be an understatement! I found the entrée to be incredibly balanced in every aspect, including texture. This was gourmet by every standard that my limited palate understood it to be, but there was more. No sooner than we had finished the Ravioli, when Lauire returned with dessert. Chef Sean had also prepared a Black Forest Cronut with a dark chocolate mousse, also garnished with brandied cherries. This meal had started splendid, but finished decadent.

The Belle and I left the Hideout, appreciating Chef Sean was a true culinary master in every aspect of the phrase. What is most amazing is the fact that he has chosen the simplest of conduits – a food truck – to convey his appreciation for culinary art to the people of the Triangle Area. I advise everyone to make an effort to sample Chef Sean’s culinary talents for themselves. Check out Bam Pow Chow’s calendar for locations near you. I promise, you will be amazed, even delighted but not disappointed!

bruce_smStay hungry my friends…Badboy