Thursday, July 14, 2016

Return to The Shack - New Impressions

The Shack
105 S Coalter St, Staunton, VA 24401

An opportunity to eat at a good restaurant shouldn't be passed up. This is especially true when the restaurant is hours away from your home. As fate would have it, I had the opportunity to drop my son off at Boy Scout camp in Goshen, VA, which happens to be very near to a restaurant that holds a favored position in my book - The Shack.
If you'd like to read my previous post about it here's a link.
I'll start by saying that the pictures are much better in this post because I actually at there while the sun was out! Normally I'm travelling through there late at night, but this time it was around 6:00pm and the patio was open. Al fresco was the choice.
We got the 4-item tasting menu...because you should.
Cheryl started out with the pimiento cheese and benne biscuit crackers. I've never heard of them, but they were perfect with the cheese. Yes, that is a lot of cheese.
 I had the corn with queso fresco. It was slathered with spicy mayo and scallions. It was as good as it sounded. Note: this is not first-date approved food. I was only one course in and asking for extra napkins.
 From there we moved on to the starters. Fried green tomato with burrata and garlic confit. The garlic and cheese were excellent slathered on the crispy tomato. I would like Chef to mail me a mason jar full of that garlic please. Thx.
 This dish knocked my socks off. This was the first time I had been at The Shack during the summer. Chef has a way with fresh, local produce that you have to experience yourself. The dish was fresh pea salad with Esmontonian cheese (made at a farm not too far from The Shack), soft egg, and pickled onions. Great combination of flavors.
 Cheryl's entree was the crispy pork confit with creamed corn, leeks, morels, and sweet peas. There was a very Asian-vibe to the pork, but Southern to the sides.
 My entree was a work of art. Shrimp and fermented grits with pickled chilis and soft egg. The grits were a little too wet for my liking, but that's a personal thing. It had heat, and the twang from the fermented grits was stupendous.
Dessert was off-the-hook, as I've come to expect here. Last time I had an apple hand-pie that brought me right back to my childhood, but with a much higher level of gustatory finesse. This marvel was caramelized banana ice cream with miso banana bread and chocolate pudding.  The banana bread and pudding were both dark and bitter, while the ice cream was as sweet as could be. When you got a spoon full of all three ingredients at once it was heaven. Seriously. This ranks in the top 5 desserts I've tasted. That's saying something as I've had more than my share.
 Last, but not least, was Cheryl's dessert: Whipped cheesecake with Bing cherries, cucumber/lime granita and spruce syrup. These cheesecake wasn't overly sweet and played well with the granita. 
So what's the lesson learned? Eat at The Shack while there is fresh, local produce available. It's in a beautiful part of the state and isn't far from the highway. If you go be sure to tell Chef I said hello and that you read about it here.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Table & Main - Simple, Southern, Local and Good!

Table & Main
1028 Canton St.
Roswell, GA 30075
I've been busy. Sorry for not posting for so long! I've had these pictures in a draft and have been meaning to get to them.
Enough about that, how about Roswell GA? It's quaint. The main drag has a bunch of interesting restaurants and shops. This trip I got to eat at Table & Main.  Chef Woolery Back is at the helm here and he's got some chops.
Hey, I've got some dining companions! My son and friend.
Pork belly with cauliflower puree and pomegranate honey. it was very pretty. More akin to bacon than what I would consider pork belly. Same piece of the pig, just a different preparation. It wasn't melty and unctuous like I was expecting. More firm, but no less tasty.
The cream of crab soup was excellent. It was a bit too spicy for my wife, but that just meant more for me. Nice touch with the chili oil and sherry. 
The fried chicken was up there with the best of the best anywhere. I've never had Keller's, but it couldn't be that much better.
My entree was caught-yesterday swordfish with fresh local veg. Very nice.
This would have been my second choice: The Shrimp and Grits. The tomato-bacon sauce had just the right amount of heat.
Cheryl's dish was my favorite of the evening: Local trout with Creole-mustard spaetzle and lemon trout roe vinaigrette. 
Nothing like homemade dark chocolate pudding.
The carrot cake with pureed carrot. Nice cream cheese frosting.
Winning dessert of the evening: a hand-made honey-bun with orange royal icing and cardamom ice cream. Just like the ones you used to buy in the plastic wrapper in the gas station when you were a kid but 1000 times better. Nice.

There are so many restaurants in this little strip of bliss in northern Georgia. If you find yourself anywhere near there make a detour. You won't be disappointed.
Hope you enjoyed!