Luv to Luv You: Part 2

Day three (my night #2) of the Sweet Summer Luv Luv Festival started off very sweet indeed. Wednesday night's guest chef was Ted Reader from Toronto, Canada. He brought fun, creativity, sass, sauce and I am a happier woman because of it.
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After enjoying the 'House signature cocktail, Candied Southern Peach, in the Library Bar, we were directed outside to the tent for dinner. Much to my chagrin, another cocktail was waiting for us to be expertly paired with the first course of the evening.

Candied Southern Peach: Peaches, Southern Comfort, Grand Marnier, Orange w/ orange licorice garnish

First Course: Pulled pork stuffed doughnut, Crazy Canuck Ghost Pepper BBQ Sauce on pimiento cheese

That's right folks--a pork-filled doughnut. It was spelled "donut" on the menu, but this is the land of Krispy Kreme, so I've spelled it correctly here, of course. As you know, I like stuffed things. Doughnuts stuffed with barbecue get top billing in my book. The accompanying ghost pepper sauce scared me a little. Ghost peppers are nearly the hottest peppers on the planet. Registering a blazing 1,000,000 on the Scoville Unit Scale, their mere existence burns holes in the hearts of men. BUT--this sauce was not hot, just spicy. The pimiento cheese was tangy and a VERY Southern addition to the plate. We southerners will put pimiento cheese on everything. By George, I believe this Crazy Canuck knows what he's doing!

Second Course: Pork belly & sea scallop ceviche on marinated watermelon with dill, nasturtium, & carrot salad paired with Mother Earth Endless River beer, a Kolsh-style ale
Special treat: cucumber flowers from Spring Houses's own garden!
I am a huge fan of the pork belly. In the south, we don't see it much on menus. Why? We have barbeque, we have bacon and we don't mix the two. Pork belly is like Bacon Plus. It's a slab of uncured bacon with extra meat attached to it. Lots of Southerners think you're trying to fool them by calling bacon "pork belly" and up-charging $30 per plate (kind like calling ham hocks "pork osso bucco" and getting away with more menu robbery) charging. I digress...
This piece of pork belly was perfect. The fat melts in your mouth like no other substance on earth. It flavors the meat and keeps it juicy. The tiny piece that is presented won't hurt you. It will only uplift you and prepare you for what's ahead: sea salt & olive oil marinated watermelon. Juicy, salty, smooth in texture--this was the best plank of watermelon I've ever consumed. Contrary to popular belief, I do not like watermelon. I don't like the flavor or the texture. Now that I have had Ted's watermelon, I will think twice.

Surprise Third Course: Grilled Shrimp with Yellow Tomato Jam, Invisible Bloody Caesar 
(Canada's version of Bloody Mary) rimmed with Bone Dust
Hands down, the best course of the night. It was over before it began properly. This course was a surprise to everyone. It wasn't listed on the menu and it was so simple, it couldn't have possibly blown me away--or so I thought. The shrimp had been grilled, chilled and was set atop this beautiful yellow tomato confiture of jam. (Jam! Oh, jam! Jam!)The shot of Caesar was smooth going down and the last bit of Bone Dust clinging to my lips reminded me that the flavor explosion of this course was indeed over. *Tear*

I forgot to mention: Chef Ted brought his World Famous BBQ Sauce as a gift to all of us. He's got 5 sauces and I managed to snag two: Beerlicious and Apple Brown Betty (Chef Ted told me I should put it on vanilla ice cream...)

Fourth Course: Smoked NY Strip, fresh pickled green beans with fire-roasted red onions & fingerling potatoes with maple-smoked brie (all served on a maple plank) paired with Mother Earth Dark Cloud, a Munich-style Dunkel Lager

I have some news about this course: I don't have a photo of it. By the time we were served, it was too dark to take a quality photo and if you know anything about this blog, you know all of my photos are taken with my cell phone. My phone may be smart, but it does not have a flash. Don't worry--there are still some pics to come.
Maple-smoked brie! Real porn. Right on the plank! One of the most amazing things I've ever witnessed.
All of the meat (beef) was provided by Shire Gate Farms out of Owensville, Mo. I got to meet Deanna who is responsible for purchasing cattle, sheep, goats and selling beef for the Farm. She ate dinner with us each night and it was truly a privilege to be able to tell her how delicious the grass-fed beef was.
The pickled green beans were my favorite (next to the AMAZING smoked brie). They were crisp, crunchy, fresh and the onion jam--I smeared it on the steak, on the beans, on the potatoes and I'm positive some made its way onto the front of my shirt.

Fifth Course: Twinkie Bread Pudding injected with peach and white chocolate, featuring bourbon peach confiture, butterscotch and sweet cream paired with a miniature Godiva White Chocolate martini

Photo courtesy of Chef Travis Myers of River Birch Lodge in Winston-Salem
Hoe. Lee. Before Wednesday night, I'd never had a Twinkie before. Case and point: My mom was the one who issued bean sprouts for a snack instead of potato chips when I was a child.
Not only was my first Twinkie experience at 30 years of age, it was smoked on a maple plank and injected with a sweet symphony and dusted with toasted oats and rested on a nest of peaches. I didn't care for the smoky maple flavor that was imparted into the golden sponge cake, but I did like the dish.

So... basically, Chef Ted swooped down from Canadia and made NC products his b*tch. By sharing his love of the grill, food and Jack--Chef Ted made an indelible mark on Winston-Salem. Thank you, sir. Thank you.

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About the author

Nikki Miller-Ka

Nikki Miller-Ka

Ms. Miller-Ka is a classically trained chef with a BA in English from East Carolina University and a Culinary Arts Associate Degree from Le Cordon Bleu-Miami.

Formerly, she’s worked as a researcher, an editorial assistant, reporter and guest blogger for various publications and outlets in the Southeast. She has also worked as a catering chef, a pastry chef, a butcher, a baker, and a biscuit-maker. Presently, she is a food editor, freelance food writer, and a tour guide for Taste Carolina Gourmet Food Tours.

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