Entries Tagged as 'Restaurants'

Review: Cold Stone Cupcakes

coldstone_cupcakes I have to say that Cold Stone Creamery has hit on something big. Like seriously needs to go into their repertoire quick.

Currently, they’re promoting a $9.99USD limited time special for six ice cream cupcakes. From left to right, we have Sweet Cream, Cake Batter Delux, and Double Chocolate Devotion.

The technical of these cupcakes are actually pretty simple. It’s a chocolate shell, where the cake goes on the bottom, the ice cream above it, and then topped with frosting and some type of topping. But it truly is something that has a lot of weight on hot sunny afternoons and with the current cupcake craze around the United States, it’s bound to do well.

  • Sweet Cream: yellow cake, fudge & sweet cream ice cream, white frosting, milk and white chocolate curl.
  • Cake Batter Delux: red velvet cake, fudge & cake batter ice cream, pink frosting, rainbow sprinkles.
  • Double Chocolate Devotion: devil’s food cake, fudge & chocolate ice cream, white frosting, Oreo cookie.

Truly pick your poison. If regular cupcakes at bakeries can sell for $3USD a piece, then these things are tremendously under-valued and under-priced. In all truthfulness, I could actually seeing paying up to $5USD for a custom cupcake. Think about it. Most of the ingredients are already set up, so that you can already have shells with cake ready to go, pick your own ice cream, frosting, and topping. It’s a lovely move from a business perspective, and turns long hot summer days into something wonderful.

What’s even better is that there is also the possibility of say hot fudge for colder weather. There’s definitely a lot of maneuvering room for the product manager that is in charge of this one. Currently? You pay about $1.70USD per cupcake, and from what I saw they usually make about two batches a day since they sell out in about half day. I don’t think it’s caught on yet how awesome these things are, but believe me… anyone that touches these will not stop at one.

Restaurant Review: Oriental Cafe

orientalcafe I have to admit that I have yet to try all of the food yet. Only been there twice, and both times I insisted on Japanese since that’s what I usually crave since it’s a bit more difficult to get good Japanese food in the South unless you’re a big fan of hibachi. But I have to admit, I found a new favorite place for my tummy.

And what the tummy wants, the tummy gets. To a degree. In any case, the decor on the inside was fabulous, and well done. Something that you’d never would have known from the outside decor due to the fact that it’s in a strip mall. From a cuisine perspective, you’re probably looking at a decent valued meal unless you go ballistic and order several of the ten dollar rolls. They serve Thai, Chinese, and Japanese cuisine and all of the waitresses are extremely friendly. I actually had a chance to meet the owner at one of my NAAAP meetings and found that we actually knew a mutual friend. In either case, the food was great, the value is good, and you really can’t get anything better than this around the Winston-Salem area. At least not to my knowledge.

There are definitely other reviews out there so don’t take my word for it. But I can tell you that both my wife and I have found a new restaurant that we adore. Oh, and one other thing since the Triad restaurants always have incredible crazy wait times during the Friday and Saturday dinner crowds. You don’t have to wait here. It’s one of those diamonds in the rough that people haven’t discovered yet. Nestled in the shadow of the Hanes Mall across from Allegacy credit union, this place is definitely an asian foodie’s choice.

Winston-Salem Rocks the Block

rocktheblock2008.jpg Well, that was definitely interesting. It does also show that some festivals and such can go very well if they’re consistent and are done right.
Rock the Block is a free event that happens every year since 2002 and was entirely hopping. I mean 4th Street was packed by the time we got there. What was interesting was that there was parking everywhere that was filling up and a lot of it was for $4 or so. But a nice police officer pointed us to a parking garage right on 4th St that was free. Nice. Probably something to note for next year.
The live bands were pretty good, but we were drawn more towards the Rock Stage that was sponsored by Foothills Brewery. Caught music from both Jews & Catholics and the Eric Dodd Band. Personally, this was my favorite live music area of all of them, but that was just personal tastes. There were five different stages, each separating out the area with two capping off 4th and the others capping the main streets in the middle (Spruce, Marshall, and Cherry).
There was a street basketball area by the Kids section (inflatable fun stuff), where they were showcasing the Winston-Salem Storm. This is the semi-pro basketball team in the resurrected ABA (American Basketball Association) league. Just reading about the league itself is pretty interesting, but it’s nice to see some push for sports around the Triad. Speaking of sports, The Rush was handing out free trial memberships or something for the downtown facility. I didn’t pick one up since I already have a gym membership elsewhere, but their staff was out there handing out cards of some sort to anyone that was willing to glance their direction.
We did roam all the way down 4th and looked at the vendors, smelled the delicious food, and watched as a whole bunch of people streamed in and out of that area. Vendors of notable mention would probably be the Holston Company. For some reason, their beadwork was very unique (croqueted), and the name of the company seemed downright familiar. Perhaps some sort of relationship with Jonna Holston from the Bead and Button magazine? I have to say that it’s one of the most festive nights that I’ve seen in WS at all where people were jam packed together and it was difficult to move from one area to another. All of the restaurants had overflow seating outside and it was still super crowded.
All in all, it was a good time. Being that it was in a conversation I had with a friend about live music performance licensing, I did notice that some of the bands were playing cover songs. Whether or not the City of Winston-Salem actually paid attention to this, it might be good to make sure that the bands have the licensing to play covers in case of legal issues. This aside, I have to admit that Eric Dodd’s version of Tom Petty’s Free Falling was outstanding. Better than Tom Petty, I’d have to say. I did find it enjoyable that Winston would actually have such an event, and that it would be a lot more fun if it was a few more blocks wide and not just 4th Street. Maybe something like Asheville’s Belechere. Of course, Belechere has had over twenty five years to perfect its image. For its sixth year, Rock the Block definitely set the bar for a one night street event.

Plan ahead pizza? Go with Papa John’s

Never ever used the service before, but I ordered pizza tonight. Been doing it online with Papa John’s since college, but this was the first time ever that I planned ahead for the pizza. And boy was it ever the greatest thing.
Here’s the problem. Usually on a Friday or Saturday, dinner plans are usually terrible since every restaurant from border to border in the state seems to be crowded and the waits are from an hour to maybe more than two. There are a few restaurants that allow pick-up, but delivery is scarce and even then, the wait is at least forty-five to fifty minutes.
So pizza? We ordered and set a time. Figuring it would be thirty minutes or so past the time that we set, we would at least save fifteen minutes on the food by planning ahead. Three minutes past the deadline, the doorbell rings. PIZZA!
No way. They got the driver out with the delivery within five minutes on either side of the deadline? Dang. That’s some good service.

Phoenix Asian Cuisine is mmm mmm good

Some time ago, I had a little friendly tiff with the local food critic, Taste of the Triad, on his review of Phoenix Asian Cuisine, and how it compared to P.F. Chang’s. Okay okay, so I’ve been busy seeing that it was back in 2005. But this past New Year’s Eve, I went to Phoenix. And it was salivating good.

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Green Tea Sushi Bar and Restaurant

Green Tea used to go by the name of Sushi-do and we have eaten there from the beginning. This is one of the more affordable college hangouts of sushi in the fair city of Asheville. During its time as Sushi-do the chef (one of the original owners) was always sending us complementary sushi dishes. Now under different ownership, it is still doing as well as its inception. The only other place in North Carolina that had this ecstasy on my tastebuds has been the now defunct Sushi Rock of Greensboro and Rousan’s of Charlotte.
The decor is very soothing to the eye, the service is wonderful and they roll those sushi rolls with the best of them. As of the last year or so, they also added two tatami seatings. It’s always a delight to go there. Visit them if you’re in the area at 2 Regent Park Blvd, Asheville, NC.

Taste of the Triad – Gauntlet is thrown at River Birch Lodge!

Actually, not really, but I would love a professional to give their opinions about this restaurant. I for one, am delighted another great restaurant to choose from in this town of one hour waits.
From TriadDiner:

Defining itself as mountain casual dining, River Birch Lodge offers an exciting and diverse menu promising to offer “familiar” foods never seen in the Triad before! Great steaks, seafood, pork and poultry, pizzas, salads, sandwiches…something for everyone.

River Birch Lodge just opened a while back off of Robinhood Road in Winston-Salem. While a bit far out of the way for most, this is definitely a diamond in the rough. It’s one of those places that open up and you never would think it was so good until you stepped through the doors. Thank goodness for those few initial hungry whiffs when you’re taking some Lowe’s Food groceries out to the car to make your mouth instantly water.

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Taste of the Triad with glowing review of local Chinese restaurant

The anonymous restaurant critic from the Taste of the Triad gave glowing remarks to Phoenix Asian Cuisine off of New Garden Road. Unfortunately, I’m wary of the authenticity and definition of “first-rate Chinese” when the critic compares the restaurant to P.F. Chang’s China Bistro. Little bells went off in my head:

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