This, our 29th neighborhood letter, is food focused. What’s more fun than that? We asked Chefs Leigh Hesling (GVG and PWB) and Jay Pierce (L32SK) to jot down some of their thoughts about this culinary season and to share some of their favorite summer recipes. On a separate page, I ramble on about how we employ our “Frame of Reference” program (decoded: taking wonderful trips to visit great hotels and restaurants). In January, Leigh, Jay, Nancy and I went to London with the mission of not just expanding our frame of reference, but of having—at least partially—a common experience. (In case you are wondering, yes, the restaurant food in London is good…although many say it didn’t used to be!)
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Cheers! Dennis Quaintance & Nancy King Quaintance
Kid in the Candy Store
Growing up on a farm in Australia definitely spoiled me. I grew up in the tropics, and my family had a crazy amount of homegrown goodness. Anything grew—from peaches to persimmons—and where food came from was never a mystery. Looking back, I can now appreciate being sent to the garden to pick beans. We also raised a variety of animals, including cows that provided plenty of fresh milk. I watched my mother and grandma make jams and can vegetables and fruit, which taught me the importance of food preservation. So, this trendy local food movement isn’t foreign to me. It’s sort of like déjà vu all over again.
Farming is in my blood, so I love being with farmers. Luckily, we have more than one great farmers’ market nearby. At the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market, farmers set up daily, so I’m able to score great finds all the time. The cool stuff I find gets to ride back in comfort and style in my London “veggie” taxi. Give a wave if you see me scooting around town in this iconic jalopy…it’s really slick!
While the growing season got a late start this year, the markets finally are rocking! Strawberries have been here, and peaches, squash, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes are starting to come in. I bet I’ll work with at least 20 farmers this summer, and I’ve built some special relationships with awesome folks like those at Burton Farms, Little River Produce, Parker Farms and Whitaker Farms.
May brings garlic scapes from Plum Granny Farm. Scapes are the flowering stalks of the garlic plant, and they are awesome grilled and chopped up in salads or omelets. The season for garlic scapes is short, so I’ll special them like crazy. As always, the Carolina strawberries have been so delicious. People can’t wait for PWB’s Strawberry Bibb Salad with roasted pecans, farmer’s cheese and rhubarb vinaigrette.
Every summer, guests absolutely freak out about the Moroccan Spiced Tilapia over a Greek salad of fresh peppers, cucumbers, onions, tomatoes, olives and feta cheese at GVG. Seriously, it’s life-changing stuff! The summer fruit crostata—also at GVG—is always a hit, changing depending on what fruit is at its peak. I’ll visit the market three to five times a week to find the best peaches, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries. We will be making all kinds of jellies like they’re going out of fashion! One of my favorites is Concord grape jelly. Fresh corn is another highlight of summer, and GVG’s smoked paprika scallops with creamed corn and spinach is an absolute must.
Now I am going to dedicate a whole paragraph to tomatoes. I could write a book, I love them so! Our guests could definitely taste the difference if we didn’t use locally grown tomatoes. Carrie, the “godmother” of the Triad Market, is my main tomato supplier. I use her gems in as many things as possible. At both restaurants, the tomato sampler will return, changing according to what varieties of tomatoes I can get at the market. There are so many different types, shapes and sizes of tomatoes, but hands-down my favorite is the Cherokee Purple. PWB will have a savory tomato bread pudding and tomato basil tart with zucchini chips. GVG lunch-goers really dig the grilled cheese sandwich made with homemade bread, heirloom tomatoes and vintage aged cheddar.
Last year, the coolest thing that happened to me was my apple guy selling me chicken of the woods mushrooms. Surprise! When I find something interesting, I create a special, like the wild-foraged mushroom risotto at PWB. I hope we’ll get to do that again at the end of summer and in early fall. However, Mother Nature’s calendar doesn’t always mesh with our six-week menu cycle! That really used to wig me out, but now I roll with the punches when it comes to my finds at the market. And I’ve realized that the farmers and our guests are really appreciative of this mentality.
Another cool story is that I buy a whole cow about every two weeks from Bobby at Bradds Family Farm. It’s a sustainable relationship, because we don’t leave Bobby with parts he can’t sell. The reason the Darn Good Burgers at GVG are so darn good is because the meat is from a single-origin, happy cow that comes from right down the road. We also make our own pâté at PWB and use the prime cuts over at GVG for wood-fired rotisserie specials.
I’m like a kid in a candy store at the market! I can’t wait to see how the season unfolds.
New! Weddings Blog: See photos, videos and details about the magical weddings held at our hotels at greensborodreamweddings.com.
It’s a must-have guide for tips and ideas for the big day…or a wedding voyeur’s delight. If you feel inspired to renew your vows, celebrate an anniversary, or get hitched, give our sales team a call at 336-544-9615.
Cooking Classes: Chef Leigh Hesling has five more cooking classes scheduled in 2013: at Print Works Bistro on July 13, September 28 and October 12; and at Green Valley Grill on June 15 (sold out) and September 14. Tickets are $75 per guest or mix-and-match a three-class package for $200. Enjoy a seasonal beverage during a cooking demonstration, and then savor the food during a three-course meal with wine. For tickets, contact Lee Healy at 336-478-9126 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mussels-Wine-Music: Reservations are recommended for Wednesday evenings at Print Works Bistro when we feature our mussels special for $15, five wines from $10 to $15 a bottle and live acoustic music by AM rOdeO from 7-10 PM, showcasing the extraordinary talents of Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn.
Skillet-Fried Chicken: From 4 PM until we run out on Wednesdays in Cary and on Tuesdays in Greensboro, indulge yourself with cooked-to-order Skillet-Fried Chicken, in addition to our regular full menu. We have some beers and wines at special prices. On Tuesdays in Greensboro, the chicken is topped with amazing live music by the very talented Laurelyn Dossett, some of her friends or both, from 6:30-9:30 PM (no cover charge).
Summer in Greensboro
Here are ten great reasons for a romantic escape or to share some quality time with family and friends in our fair city…even if you live here. Just pretend that you traveled farther than you did! (Note: SP=Shameless Plug)
Summer Weekend Getaway at O.Henry: Travel back to an era of Old World hospitality. Use the $30 voucher toward afternoon tea in the lobby or dinner with the European flavors at Green Valley Grill. Sleep in late and awaken to a hot, delicious Southern-style breakfast buffet. Bask in the sunshine by our pool, then shop next door at Friendly Center. This getaway is available most Fridays and Saturdays, June 1-August 31. $219 plus taxes. To reserve, please call 336-854-2000 or book online at ohenryhotel.com.
Sustainable Summer Getaway at Proximity: Check out one of our bikes and ride on the Greenway or just lounge by the pool. Use your $30 voucher toward an al fresco sunset dinner at Print Works Bistro. Toast your memorable getaway at the bar before taking the elevator “home” to your Loft King Room. Sleep in with our late checkout! This getaway is offered most Fridays and Saturdays, June 1-August 31. $219 plus taxes. To reserve, please call 336-379-8200 or book online at proximityhotel.com.
Summer Cooking with Voodoo Sauce
Remember, you can now get jars of our “table sauce for grownups” to add to your recipes at home! In addition to picking it up at either Lucky’s, buy it at all The Fresh Markets and Whole Foods nearest each Lucky’s. Chef Jay Pierce recommends mixing Voodoo Sauce into your burgers, making a “Voodoo Vinny” vinaigrette for salads and raw veggies and basting foods just as you are pulling them off the grill. He says it’s a must for babyback ribs! See more recipes and tips at lucky32.com.
Thoughts of Summer
As summer is right around the corner, our thoughts turn to the bounty of this fertile region we call home. All year long, we serve locally sourced food, but the truly tasty stuff really starts to roll in about now. You can see (and buy) some of it on the Veggie Cart near the front door at both Lucky’s (or inside, if it is raining). Here is a list of some of my “summer thoughts,” plus some news about our upcoming seasonal menus:
See some of Chef Jay Pierce's favorite Summer recipes + more.
Menus & Reservations
Visit printworksbistro.com, greenvalleygrill.com and lucky32.com for the current seasonal menus, the latest wine list and online reservations. With larger parties we offer pre-ordering to expedite service so you have more time to enjoy your visit.
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