Category Archives: Dining in Highlands NC and Cashiers NC

Highlands NC: King of the Mountain Chef’s Challenge

It’s hard to resist something with an epic title like King of the Mountain Chef’s Challenge.

When you learn that the event not only features four of the area’s most celebrated chefs dueling it out in an Iron Chef-style competition, but also includes a Champagne greeting, appetizers throughout the event prepared by the participating chefs, a cash bar, a four-course buffet with the four competing chefs cooking for you in the main hall right in front of you and live music – well, you have all the ingredients for an unforgettable evening.

The 2012 King of the Mountain Chef’s Challenge will be staged at the new Barn Pavilion at the Old Edwards Inn and Spa starting at 3:00 p.m. Saturday, March 17th.

It’ll pit the 2011 winner, Old Edwards Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr, against Cyprus Restaurant Chef Nick Figel (the 2010 King of the Mountain Chefs); The Gamekeeper’s Tavern’s Mathew Kowal and John Fleer of Canyon Kitchen Restaurant. The four will compete in a one-on-one Iron Chef competition in which two chefs face off. Once the Mystery Ingredients are announced, the chefs have just 40 minutes to prepare their meal for the four guest judges. Points are awarded for taste, use of the mystery ingredients, presentation and originality.

In addition, there’ll be selected junior chefs showing off their culinary talents. It’s a marvelous opportunity to sample the creations of a new generation of kitchen stars.

Patrons will be welcomed at 3:00 p.m. with a serving of Champagne and the battle begins at 3:30 p.m. At 7:25 p.m., the King of the Mountain will be chosen and everyone will be treated to a lavish meal and live entertainment.

General seating during competition and dinner is $135. For more information and tickets, call (828) 526-2909.

by Luke Osteen

Breakfast with Santa in Highlands NC

Breakfast with Santa, slated for 8:30 a.m. Saturday, December 10th at Highlands United Methodist Church, sets the tone for the holiday season.

For a number of years the children of the Highlands Community have enjoyed a special treat as they gather at the Highlands United Methodist Church at 315 Main Street to meet Santa.  That may not sound like a big deal to us old folks or to the children who live in the major metropolitan areas that have large shopping malls where Santa’s Helpers are ever present.  But Santa thinks that it’s a big deal for all the children of our area and he’s glad to welcome the children of Highlands here.

On Saturday, December 10th, bring your children or grandchildren for a delicious hot breakfast prepared by two dads, Johannes Klapdohr and Patrick Leonard.   If you know these two guys you know that they love food and that breakfast will be great.  Johannes is Executive Chef for Old Edwards Inn and Spa and Patrick definitely knows his way around the kitchen, too.

Breakfast is served from 8:30 a.m. until 10:00 a.m.  The suggested donation is $10 per family.  Make reservations by calling the church no later than Wednesday, December 7th at (828) 526-3376.

The children will have plenty of time to share their Christmas list with Santa and to have pictures made.  There will also be a fun craft project-decorating Christmas cookies as a souvenir of this exciting event.

No Christmas get together would be complete without time for a favorite Christmas story and Christmas carols.

Make your reservations early and come out for a stellar holiday celebration with Santa.

by Wiley Sloan | Photo by A Moment in Time Photography

Southern Belles Restaurant in Highlands NC

Start your day with a hearty breakfast your grandmother would be proud of.  Whether you are looking for eggs and bacon with grits and biscuits or delicious yogurt topped with granola, fruit and walnuts or something in between, you’ll want to head to Southern Belles. Pancake lovers rave about the Belles’ cakes, which can be infused with fresh fruit. Choose your favorite ingredients and design your own omelet. Accompanied by hash browns and hot biscuits, it’ll be a breakfast to remember.

At lunchtime they always offer a “lunch special” that includes a meat and fresh vegetables.    Sweet potatoes are really good this time of year, as well as, green beans, squash casserole or fried okra.  Owners Sherry and Buddy Kremser have lived in Highlands all of their lives so they know where all the best gardens are.  They search out the “u-pick” farms to bring you the freshest items possible.

Their son Kirtis is the Chef.  He has trained in numerous locations across the southeast to hone the skills that he uses today.   He starts with the freshest ingredients available and then adds special techniques and spices to turn out the taste-tempting treats that you demand at Southern Belles.

Hamburgers at Southern Belles are customer favorites. Start with a quarter pound of quality Angus sirloin and add your favorite toppings. The Philly Steak sandwich, the grilled chicken sandwich, the French Dip, the Reuben,   and the classic BLT offer good alternatives when you prefer something other than burgers.   Choose a side of fries or the house special-German Potato salad or fresh slaw.   Homemade pickles and applesauce are available too.

Try out the flounder with fresh fruit chutney or one of the Belles’ great salads.    Folks looking for a lighter fare enjoy the fresh salads. They have a variety to choose from so stop by often and try them all.   The chicken salad plate is a real crowd pleaser, too.

Be sure to save room for one of the Belles’ homemade desserts. Fresh fruit pies (in season) and, banana pudding are customer favorites. Sweet potato pies fill the bill in autumn.

When you need a tasty meal, think about Southern Belles Restaurant.  Gentlemen, let the ladies sleep in.  Come on out and have a hearty breakfast. Ladies, Southern Belles is the perfect spot to gather with friends; birthdays, girls-day-out, even bridesmaid luncheons and more. Need to have a business meeting?  There’s plenty of room for you and your clients to gather. There’s Wi-Fi, too. Lunch after church is always special when you stop at Southern Belles.

When the crowds begin to descend on you, call Southern Belles to help you prepare your meals.  Any of their fabulous entrees, vegetables or desserts can be prepared for takeout.  Just call ahead and they’ll have it ready for you. Yum! Yum!

Stop by any day from Tuesday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at 3601 Cashiers Road (next door to Community Bible Church).   Call them at (828)-787-2299.

by Wiley Sloan

Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson to Visit Highlands NC

Hugh Acheson is the Chef/Partner of Five & Ten and The National in Athens, GA and Empire State South in Atlanta, GA. Acheson’s experience includes working under Chef Rob McDonald at the renowned Henri Burger Restaurant in Ottawa and in San Francisco as The Chef de Cuisine with Chef Mike Fennelly at Mecca, and later as Sous Chef with famed Chef Gary Danko.

The south’s hottest chef, Hugh Acheson, will host a wine dinner and book signing at The Farm at Old Edwards Inn on Friday, December 16th, 2011. Guests will enjoy a sumptuous feast from his upcoming cookbook prepared by Madison’s culinary team with wine pairings by Sommelier Curt Christiansen. They will also receive a personal signed copy of Hugh’s new cookbook, A New Turn in the South: Southern Flavors Reinvented for Your Kitchen released October 18th. The evening will take place in the southern mountain ambiance of wood, stone and cozy fires at the new Farm Pavilion at Old Edwards.

Acheson is the winner of Food & Wine’s 2002 Best New Chef award, five-time Beard Award nominee. His cookbook focuses on classic French techniques, Southern cuisine and local ingredients.

The menu will include:

Oysters on the Half Shell with Cocktail Sauce, Dill Pickle Mignonette and Sesame Crackers;

Lyonnaise Salad with Bacon Vinaigrette, Poached Local Egg and Apple;

Roasted Cauliflower Soup with Brown Butter, Bread Crumbs, Capers and Dill Whipped Cream;

Rib Eye with Shaved Morels and Salsa Verde;

“Not Your Mama’s” Brussels Sprouts and Saffron Braised Celery;

Apple Brown Betty with Sorghum Zabaglione

Chef Acheson says, “I am excited to do a book dinner in the Highlands, a town that is very near and dear to our hearts and most especially to have it at the Farm at The Old Edwards Inn. The Old Edwards Inn is a place that believes wholeheartedly in the Southern Hospitality that has driven my career. I thank them for all they do and look forward to partnering with Chef Johannes on December 16th.”

Limited seating available. For more information call (828) 787-2625 or visit www.oldedwardsinn.com/HughAcheson. The dinner is $160 per person exclusive of taxes and gratuities. Dinner price includes wine and signed cookbook.

Highlands NC Annual Christmas Dinner

A sumptuous Christmas Dinner, set for Highlands Country Club’s Hudson House, promises an unforgettable meal and vital funds for a pair of local charities. For reservations, call (828) 526-5102.

For the tenth time, Highlanders and visitors will be treated to a fabulous, traditional Christmas meal prepared by one of Highlands’ finest chefs, Lakeside Restaurant owner, Marty Rosenfield. The Dinner has become a tradition for many here, and has served as a fundraiser for many Highlands local non-profits.  Over the last 10 years close to $70,000 has been donated to local organizations that serve the Highlands community.

This year, we will be donating our proceeds to R.E.A.C.H. of Macon County and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Highlands. R.E.A.C.H. provides a safe haven and shelter to women and children who are victims of domestic violence and abuse while Big Brothers Big Sisters helps improve the lives of children by offering a safe, professionally supervised and monitored “one on one” mentoring program.

The Dinner features a buffet of turkey, ham, and tenderloin, and all the “fixins” in the quiet elegance of the Hudson House at Highlands Country Club.  Donna Woods contributes her now famous dressing, an absolute favorite over the years. Martha Porter will insure a sweet ending with her mouthwatering deserts. Marty Rosenfield is one of Highlands iconic Chefs and everything he prepares is sheer excellence.  Dinner will be served from 11:00 a.m. ‘til 5:00 p.m. and is by reservation only. The buffet is $35 for adults, $15.00 for children 11 and under, and kids 5 and under eats free.

Call Ricky Siegel today at (828) 526-5102 to reserve your table, and join all your friends and neighbors at this Highlands tradition: Fabulous fare; all money goes to local non-profits; and best of all, no dishes to wash! What better gift on Christmas Day?

Highlands NC History: And Visions of Surgarplums

The Miller family plowing their field in 1897. Courtesy of the Highlands Historical Society.

As a kid, on the night before Christmas I could not conjure up a single dancing sugarplum. The best I could muster was an image of the Sugarplum Fairy from The Nutcracker. I desperately wanted some delicious sweet meat to do the fandango, if not in my head, at least on my tongue. Alas, peppermint sticks and homemade fondant were as plumy as my mom could manage.  She hadn’t a sugarplum clue either.

Recently I did some research and discovered that sugarplums go back to the 1600s. Resembling comfits (sugary seeded confections) they were the size of plums and sweet. There the similarity to plums ends.  They were made of chopped dried fruits like currants figs, and raisins, mixed with sugar and pungent seeds like anise or cardamom, then boiled, shaped into a ball, molded onto a wire stalk, and rolled in sugar. To me a cherry dipped in Ghirardelli would be the quintessential sugarplum, but in 1600, long before chocolate laid claim to our palates, sugarcoated ground-up fruits were quite the rage.

Candies and sweets have gone through a huge evolution since the 1600s. When the sugar industry kicked into high gear and refrigeration became accessible, ice cream shops popped up everywhere. In 1939 Bill Holt, son of a local businessman, opened Highlands’ first ice cream parlor, Bill’s Soda Shop on the corner of 4th and Main. It is where Highlands Deli is today (formerly House of Wong).

Each week Bill would run an ad in the paper inviting folks to drop in for a “rich, creamy milkshake or a bracing three-dip ice cream soda,” His shop would fill with sweet-seekers who would sit and sip and socialize.

Bill sold sandwiches, magazines and newspapers, and he even provided curb service to cars parked outside. In his shop’s early days carbonated water was made by hand, turning a crank to mix soda and water.

In the back of the shop, there were pinball machines for entertainment. Bill sold cigars, cigarettes, and candies. He served cherry cokes and smashes and something called ammonia coke. Ammonium carbonate and ammonium hydroxide (though not the kitchen cleaning kind) were mixed with a touch of alcohol and essential oils of lemon, nutmeg and lavender to give coke a zing. Sounds a bit like spring cleaning for the gastros.

Bills’ Soda Shop closed in 1972. Today Kilwin’s handmade ice cream and chocolates and Sweet Treats satisfy Highlands’ sweet tooth, but for over three decades the sweets at Bill’s Soda Shop were what danced in children’s heads at Christmas… and all year long.

To read more sweet stories about Highlands, check out Heart of the Blue Ridge by Ran Shaffner. Or visit Highlands Historical Society online at www.highlandshistory.com.

by Donna Rhodes

Nick’s Fine Foods

Nick’s Fine Foods is setting a place for you at 108 Main Street in Highlands. For more information or reservations, call (828) 526-2706.

Generations of Highlanders have relied on Nick’s Fine Foods for delicious, delectable meals. In their present location at 108 Main Street (corner of Dillard Road and Main Street) in Highlands, they offer great food in a comfortable, intimate setting.  Lunch is served daily Tuesday through Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; dinner begins at 5:30 p.m. Sunday Brunch is served from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

There’s something for everyone at Nick’s. For those folks who enjoy a lighter fare, Nick’s Signature salads fit the bill.  Choose from the Grilled or Cajun Chicken salad or the Fried Green Tomato salad. There’s also their Greek Salad and the Salad of the Day Platter, plus you can enjoy a cup of one of their delicious soups and half a sandwich.

Nick’s hearty lunch specials are always a hit. Choose from seafood including  flounder, trout or clam strips, Pastas including Fettuccini Alfredo or Pasta Pomadora. There are so many wonderful sandwiches that I always struggle to make up my mind.    Which do I prefer-the Pot Roast sandwich, the Reuben, the Bacon Cheeseburger, the Gyro or the Pita or Panini of the day?   Sometimes I just close my eyes and choose one, then plan to come back soon for another of my favorites.

Dinner at Nick’s is truly a memorable experience. Have you tried their Rack of Lamb?  You should. Comments like “Out of this World,” or “Wow! Best I’ve had anywhere” are just two of the comments from recent customers. Steak lovers rave about the Sterling Silver Beef that they find at Nick’s.  Yes, they have seafood, too, including salmon, grouper, and mahi mahi plus a new fish called “trigger fish.”  Owner Dori Moschoris claims that trigger fish is her favorite fish.  The dinner menu also includes customer favorites like Veal Picatta, Mountain Trout, Duckling, Frog Legs, Prime Rib, and Steak Au Poivre.   Accompanied by your favorite soup or salad and a vegetable, you’ve got a meal to remember.

Be sure to leave room for one of Patti’s homemade desserts. Select a piece of Key Lime pie, coconut crème pie, peanut butter pie, buttermilk pie or a slice of the Chocolate Ghirardelli Chip Mousse cake along with a cup of piping hot coffee and you have the perfect ending to a delectable meal.

With four cozy dining rooms, a beautiful terrace, a full bar and a TV for all the football fans, Nick’s is the place to be for any occasion. It’s a winning combination-a pleasing atmosphere, attentive service and mouth-watering food. That’s what you will find at Nick’s.

There’s no better place for a holiday party than Nick’s. Call them now to reserve your space. Dinner reservations are definitely recommended. Nick’s lives up to its motto, “Fine Food for Particular People.”  Call them at (828) 526-2706 or check out their website at www.nicksofhighlands.com.

by Wiley Sloan  |  Photos by Sarah Valentine

Highlands Culinary Weekend Opening Night Celebration and Sip & Stroll

Highlands Culinary Weekend’s Opening Celebration will be held at Highlands Country Club on Thursday evening, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. The annual Sip & Stroll will feature local merchants Saturday, November 12th beginning at 11:00 a.m.

This year’s Opening Night Celebration will be held at the esteemed Highlands Country Club on Thursday evening, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. Participating restaurants, chefs and wineries will be on hand to ignite taste buds and prepare you for all the weekend’s festivities. The Opening Night Celebration will also feature special guests, The Saucy Sisters, offering colorful commentary and Wacky Wine Quizzes with special prizes. Local artist, Virginia Parrott will also be on hand painting wine portraits inspired by the evening. This entire experience will be a chance to embrace an amazing night of food, wine and fun in the beautiful mountains of Highlands, North Carolina.

Tickets to the Opening Night Celebration are $75 and can be purchased in advance via the website www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com or by calling The Chamber of Commerce at (866) 526-5841.

Not to be missed is the annual Sip & Stroll, held Saturday, November 12th from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in Highlands’ beautiful downtown area. Enjoy a glass of wine and a special treat at each of these participants: Acorns, Alyxandra’s on Main, The Christmas Tree, Drake’s Diamond Gallery, Highlands Fine Art and Estate Jewelry, John Collette Fine Art, Mountain Fresh Grocery, Oakleaf Flowers and Garden, Two the Nines, Vivance & Vivance, Too, Xtreme Threads and ending up at The Ugly Dog.

Tickets to the Opening Night Celebration are $75 and tickets for Saturday’s Sip & Stroll are $35. Both can be purchased in advance via the website www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com or by calling the chamber of commerce at (866) 526-5841.

Highlands Community Thanksgiving

The Highlands Community Dinner is set for 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Tuesday, November 22nd.

It’s a chance to recognize the blessings of the past year and a hopeful look to the days to come – the Highlands Community Dinner is set for 6:00 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day, Tuesday, November 22nd, at the Highlands Civic Center.

A group of community churches pool their culinary resources to provide a traditional Thanksgiving feast. Turkey with all of its dressings, mouth watering side dishes, and homemade pies are all lovingly prepared by the area’s congregations.

Each year, a different church plays ‘host’ to this event. This year, The First Baptist Church has that role and they have been busy coordinating this occasion for thanks.

There will be acknowledgment of the blessings of the season by Dr. Charles Harris and a hearty serving of the warm fellowship and song that’s become a hallmark of the event.

The Highlands Community Dinner has been taking place well over a decade and still remains free to anyone wishing to delight in the food and friendship.

The Highlands Civic Center is located on Hwy. 64.  For more information call (828) 526-0542.

Southern Belles

Sherry and Buddy Kremser have been Highlanders all of their lives and they both grew up with a deep appreciation for Southern foods. So it just makes good logic that the restaurant they opened this spring is a reflection of that heritage.

It was by nature and nurture that Kremser’s son Kirtis grew into a love for the culinary arts. Kirtis is the valued chef behind Southern Belles.

Southern Belles Restaurant boasts a breakfast that you expect when you’re visiting a Southern icon. Homemade sausage and gravy, pancakes and, of course, butter-me-licious grits.

Their lunch entrees will leave you full as tick yet cravin’ for more. The famous Highlander Burger is a great choice for a hearty appetite.

Ask about the made fresh daily dessert. You may recognize  the familiar faces waiting on you as one of the former Mountaineer Restaurant’s own ‘belles.’

Southern Belles Restaurant is open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday. They are located at 3601 Cashiers road and can be reached at (828)787-2299.

 

Sallie’s Greatest at The Hen House

Stop The Hen House by Saturday November 12th to meet Sallie and sample her delicious jams.

The Hen House invites you to a “Southern Drop In.” As part of Highlands’ Culinary Weekend, Sallie Dent Porth will be at the Hen House offering samples of her famous Sallie’s Greatest Jams. On Saturday, November 12th from 10:00 am. to 4:00 p.m., “Drop In” the Hen House to discover for yourself why Garden and Gun magazine named Sallie’s delectable creations as a ‘Made in the South’ award winner.

“In 2004, I returned to my roots and found myself living in the middle of a huge field with a garden-loving husband in my hometown of Cameron, SC, where farming is a mainstay. One perk of my time in corporate America was an expense account which afforded me the opportunity to experience fine dining across the country, cultivating my knowledge of unique food and flavor combinations. This interest in flavor pairings combined with my creative nature and life in the field led to the creation of Sallie’s Greatest,” explains Sallie.

Sallie makes herbal fruit jams from scratch the old-fashioned way. Just hearing the flavor descriptions will make your mouth water. Some of our favorites include Strawberry and Basil; Blueberry Lemon and Thyme; Peach Pepper and Ginger; and Blueberry with Lavender. These tempting toppings will be served with artisan goat cheese and mouth-watering pork tenderloin.

Stop by Saturday, November 12th to meet Sallie and sample her delicious jams. The Hen House is located on 488 Main Street and can be reached by calling (828) 787-2473.

Jorge’s Place

Jorge’s Place offers quick bites, hearty meals and a healthy serving of Cuban charm. For more information, visit this Caribbean oasis in Glenville (1.6 miles north of the Cashiers Crossroads) or call (828) 743-4175. Trust us, you’ll want to visit.

Whether you are looking for a hearty breakfast, a tasty lunch, or a sumptuous dinner in a casual dining environment, there’s no better place for you to go than Jorge’s Place just a short 1.6 miles north of the Cashiers Crossroads (toward Glenville).

In addition to a broad array of menu items, Jorge’s offers 12 different blends of specialty coffees that are roasted fresh daily.  Choose from Ethiopian, Kenyan, or Columbian just to name a few.  Yes, there is decaf coffee, too. Enjoy a freshly brewed cup with your meal or take a bag of beans home with you.  Looking for your favorite brew?  Check out Jorge’s beer coolers where you will find more than sixty different varieties of beer. It’s not a rumor that Jorge has wines-great wines of every kind. At last count their wine inventory included more than 360 different labels.  Jorge’s also offers a full service bar.

Enjoy a combination of Cuban, Cajun and traditional American favorites as you visit with your friends at Jorge’s. Start your day off with a hot, hearty breakfast. Eggs, any style, bacon or sausage and biscuits or toast. Lunch favorites include a variety of sandwiches or salads.  Choose from hamburgers made from lean beef or try the Cuban burger which is a combination of beef and pork. The Blackened Prime Rib sandwich and the Cuban sandwich are two customer favorites.    The Mojito Trout, BLT salad, and the Black Bean Cake salad offer great flavor at reasonable prices.  Children love the many choices that they find at Jorge’s.

From the “Small Plates and Bar Menu” folks can enjoy green plantains, Pasteles (meat or Guava stuffed Cuban pastries).  The Seafood Beignets (crabmeat and shrimp stuffing Cajun seasoned, breaded and deep fried), chicken wings and the smoked Trout dip offer exciting choices as you wait for your meal.

Dinner at Jorge’s offers many exciting options.  Choose from Jambalaya (shrimp, oysters, and scallops, Andouille sausage with fresh vegetables, rice and herbs) or Arroz Con Pollo-2 chicken breasts atop Cuban seasoned yellow rice.  Boloche-beef eye of round stuffed with chorizo, fresh veggies and chimichurri sauce over rice appeals to beef lovers.  Jorge’s Filet Mignon is eight ounces of the finest aged beef available.  

Jorge’s bakery provides you with delicious, freshly-baked bread daily and some of the tastiest desserts you will find in the area.  A sampling of dessert items available at Jorge’s include Key Lime pie, pecan pie, fresh apple pie, brownies, chocolate cheesecake and more.   

Breakfast begins at 7:00 a.m. Lunch is available from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and dinner begins at 5:00 p.m. Come enjoy a roaring fire (either indoors or out).   There are also Putt-Putt golf and clay tennis courts.  Great food, a relaxing, comfortable environment and your favorite beverage.  What more could you want?  Call (828) 743-4175 for reservations or for more information.  Visit Jorge’s at 1846 Highway 107 N. in Cashiers.

by Wiley Sloan

Culinary Weekend Opening Night Celebration and Sip & Stroll

Highlands Culinary Weekend’s Opening Celebration will be held at Highlands Country Club on Thursday evening, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. The annual Sip & Stroll will feature local merchants Saturday, November 12th beginning at noon.

This year’s Opening Night Celebration will be held at the esteemed Highlands Country Club on Thursday evening, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. Participating restaurants, chefs and wineries will be on hand to ignite taste buds and prepare you all for the weekend’s festivities. The Opening Night Celebration will also feature special guests, The Saucy Sisters, offering colorful commentary and Wacky Wine Quizzes with special prizes. Local artists, Virginia Parrott will also be on hand painting wine portraits inspired by the evening. This entire experience will be a chance to embrace an amazing night of food, wine and fun in the beautiful mountains of Highlands, North Carolina. 

Tickets to the Opening Night Celebration are $75 and can be purchased in advance via the website www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com or by calling The Chamber of Commerce at (866) 526-5841.

Not to be missed is the annual Sip & Stroll, held Saturday, November 12th from 12:00 p.m. until 4:00 p.m. in Highlands’ beautiful downtown area. Enjoy a glass of wine and a special treat at each of these participants: Acorns, Alexandras on Main, The Christmas Tree, Drake’s Diamond Gallery, Highlands Fine Art and Estate Jewelry, John Collette Fine Art, Mtn. Fresh Grocery, Oakleaf Flowers and Garden, Two the Nines, Vivance & Vivance Too, Xtreme Threads and ending up The Ugly Dog.

Tickets to the Opening Night Celebration are $75 and tickets for Saturday’s Sip & Stroll are $35. Both can be purchased in advance via the website www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com or by calling The Chamber of Commerce at (866) 526-5841.

For more information please call (866) 526-5841 or (828) 526-5841 or view the event webpage at www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com

 

 

Skyline Lodge’s Octoberfest

Chef Jimmy Buzza is setting a place for you at his deeply indulgent Oktoberfest at Skyline Lodge, 11:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. Sunday, October 9th.

You don’t have to be of German descent to enjoy the delicious food and drink at Oktoberfest — especially if you’re celebrating at Skyline Lodge here in Highlands. Mark your calendars, invite your friends to join you, and come out on Sunday, October 9th from 11:30 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. This celebration is “pocketbook friendly.”

For the set price of only $10 for the meal, how can you go wrong?

Master Chef Jimmy Buzza from the famous Karling’s-Inn Restaurant in Deleon Springs, Florida, is preparing many of the delicious foods that we’ve all come to expect from Oktoberfest.

Yes, there will definitely be great German beers too, including Warsteiner — a beer that Germans have cherished since 1753.

Take the short drive out the Cashiers Highway, turn left at Flat Mountain Road and follow the signs. There’s no reason to limit your visits to Skyline to just the Oktoberfest celebration. Any time of year is a good time to visit the Lodge. There’s nothing more relaxing than to drive out for a meal (breakfast, lunch or dinner) or to join friends for a quiet drink on the beautiful stone patio. There are so many wonderful items to choose from. Everything is made from only the freshest ingredients. The pumpkin soup is a real crowd pleaser, as is Foie Gras Pate. With Jimmy’s German background you’ll want to sample the Rahm schnitzel (prime cut veal or pork) served with mushrooms in a creamy white wine sauce. Complete your meal with one of the mouth-watering desserts. Hint: you haven’t had chocolate mousse until you’ve had the Lodge’s mouse.

Call them at (828) 526-2121. Sunday Champagne Brunch is served 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; Lunch from 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday; and Dinner 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday; until 11:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday. Reservations recommended.

by Wiley Sloan

Pescado’s Mexican Restaurant

 

Pescado’s Mexican Restaurant serves up South of the Border flavors with a Highlands twist.

by Wiley Sloan

For more than eight years lovers of Mexican food have flocked to Pescado’s Mexican Restaurant located at 226 South 4th Street “On the Hill” in Highlands.  Owner, Mick Cook, prides himself on serving only the freshest ingredients.    “If you are on a schedule, Pescado’s is the place for you,” Mick says.  “We offer fast food that is tasty and good for you,” he continues.

Whether you are looking for a tasty salad, a cup of soup and a burrito, or a hearty quesadilla, Pescado’s is the restaurant for you.  Build your own taco.  Fill the corn or flour tortilla with your choice of steak, roast pork, chicken or ground beef.  Seafood tacos include blackened tilapia or shrimp.  Vegans prefer the beans and then add cheese, lettuce or spinach, olives, jalapenos, cilantro and salsa.  Top it all off with sour cream and guacamole.

There is no better way to quell a mighty appetite than with one of Pescado’s’ burritos.  Fill a 12” tortilla with your choice meats (see list above), add your favorite condiments plus homemade guacamole and sour cream and you have a meal like no other.

I almost always go for one of the quesadillas.  To me there is nothing better than a flour tortilla with cheese and my favorite meat or seafood.  Warm right off the grill, topped with salsa fresca, yum, yum.  A dollop of guacamole adds the crowning flavor.

The taco salad is one of my wife’s favorites.  She has a choice of lettuce or spinach to fill her tortilla bowl, and then tops it off with her choice of meat or seafood and her favorite toppings.  There’s nothing better than a fresh salad on a warm day.

Nacho lovers rave about Pescado’s. Start with chips and cheese dip, add jalapenos and salsa fresca, plus your favorite meats or seafood.  You know the drill: guacamole and sour cream complete the meal.  When you have the munchies, there’s nothing quite like Chips and Dip to quench that hankering.  Choose from a variety of toppings like cheese dip and spinach, Pico de Gallo, or guacamole.

Mick always has a variety of fresh cookies waiting by the checkout for that perfect ending for a tasty meal.  Choose your favorite beverage and then elect to dine on the pet-friendly terrace or indoors.  

Youngsters love Pescado’s too. They love the food plus the casual atmosphere means they can enjoy their meal without having to be too prim and proper.  Open year round, Pescado’s is your “go-to” place for a meal that won’t break the bank.  Daily specials help you stay on your budget. Got hungry mouths to feed and short on time?  Drop by Pescado’s and let them help you. Open daily for lunch at 11:00 a.m.   Call them at (828) 526-9313 for hours of operation.

Wine & Dine in Highlands

 

 

The 5th Annual Culinary Weekend is set for November 10th-13th, 2011

Contributed by Laura Huerta

The 5th Annual Culinary Weekend takes place Thursday, November 10th through Sunday, November 13th. Join us as we embrace an amazing weekend of food, wine and fun in the beautiful mountains of Highlands, North Carolina.

Kick off the weekend at the Opening Night Celebration, Thursday, November 10th at 7:00 p.m., held at the esteemed Highlands Country Club. Enjoy fine wines and delectable cuisine of Highlands’ local chefs. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, fill your itineraries with an array of activities, tastings and dinners hosted by local restaurants, merchants and accommodations. Plan to attend the annual Sip & Stroll Saturday, November 12th from 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. in our beautiful downtown area.

This year’s participating restaurants include; Cyprus International Cuisine, Fresser’s Eatery, Kilwin’s, Lakeside Restaurant, Old Edwards Inn & Spa, On The Verandah, Ruka’s Table, The Smokehouse, The Ugly Dog Pub, The Gamekeeper’s Tavern, Jorge’s Restaurant and Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro. Participating Wineries include; Tryon Distributors, Juice, Dionysus Wine Distributors, Empire Distributing Company, Mutual Distributing, Pahlmeyer, Opus One, Vine Connections, Tryon Craft Beer, Frederick Wildman and Mollydooker. Sip & Stroll participants include; Acorns, Alexandra’s on Main, The Christmas Tree on the Hill, Drake’s Diamond Gallery, Highlands Fine Art and Estate Jewelry, Hen House, John Collette Fine Art, Mountain Fresh Grocery, Oakleaf Flower & Garden, Two the Nines, Vivace & Vivace Too and Xtreme Threads.

“Culinary Weekend is just around the corner,” said Laura Huerta, Manager of Lakeside Restaurant and Chair of Highlands Culinary Weekend Committee. “Our website is updated with this year’s events. We’re excited to showcase this great line up of local chefs and wineries. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of this special weekend.”

Tickets to the Opening Night Celebration are $75 and can be purchased in advance via the website www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com or by calling The Chamber of Commerce at (866) 526-5841.

The Highlands Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is presenting sponsor of Culinary Weekend. Event sponsors include; The Laurel Magazine, Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Drake’s Diamond Gallery, WHLC 104.5, The Highlander newspaper, Inland Seafood, A Moment In Time Photography, Raffa Design, Acorns, The Hen House, Lakeside Restaurant, Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro and Nellis Communities.

The Highlands Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is a catalyst for planning, programs and services that promote a favorable business and visitors climate while nurturing the natural beauty and cultivating the uniqueness that is Highlands. The Highlands Visitor Center is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to be a part of the 5th Annual Culinary Weekend, please call (866) 526-5841 or (828) 526-5841 or view the event webpage at www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com


Scaly Mountain’s Pancake Breakfast

 

The Scaly Mountain Women’s Club is serving up breakfast at the old Scaly School House.

Contributed by Betty Bandy

If you haven’t this year, plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the newly remodeled historic old Scaly School House.  

These breakfasts are held on the fourth Saturday – through October from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club, who are known for their culinary skills, have sponsored these breakfasts. 

Breakfast will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice in the historic old Scaly School House. It is on the corner of North Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in downtown Scaly.  

Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be served by club members or you may order takeout, if you choose.  Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain community.  

Come to the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston, (828) 526-9952 or visit www.scalymountainwomensclub.org.

Remaining dates for the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club breakfasts for 2011 are September 24th and October 22nd.

Mountain Fresh is For Wine Lovers

by Wiley Sloan

We’ve watched with excitement over the past four years as JT Fields and company have transformed our beloved Mountain Fresh Grocery from “the corner grocery store” into the “go-to place” for a favorite meal, the freshest aromatic coffee in Highlands and our favorite wines.  

Have you browsed the huge selection of wines from around the world found at Mountain Fresh?  With  more than six hundred  wines – in all price ranges you’ll find your favorite wine from Napa Valley or the Willamette Valley plus wines from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Germany, Portugal, Spain, South America and much more.  Whether you are just a casual wine drinker or a wine connoisseur   who has specific tastes, there’s something here for you. Donna Woods who many of you know from Lakeside Restaurant and JT both love wines and enjoy offering great wines at reasonable prices at Mountain Fresh.  With more than forty years of combined food and wine experience, they can help you pair the right wine to your specific requirements.  

As you stroll the aisles of the Wine Market you’ll recognize many of the wines but you’ll also find many new wines to try.  Let JT help you find the wine that best suits your taste buds.  “There is nothing more fun than to learn the wine preferences of our customers,” JT intones.  “When I find a new wine that I think would please one of our regulars, I give them a call and tell them about it,” he continues.

If you have enjoyed a wine at a friend’s house or your favorite restaurant and want to have it in your cellar, bring the empty bottle or the name and info to JT and he will work diligently to find it for you.  I really know very little about wines-only what I like and don’t like, so it is comforting to know that I can come to Mountain Fresh and let JT help me find the perfect wine to accompany any meal.   Whether I want to spend $10 a bottle or $125 a bottle, I can find a wine that is just right for the occasion.

Stop by Mountain Fresh on Saturday afternoons from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. for their Wine Tastings.  If you are having a burger from the deli or your favorite salad, select a wine from the Mountain Fresh Wine Market and enjoy a glass with your meal.  Yes, you may even uncork a bottle and enjoy a glass as you stroll the aisles selecting your groceries.  Tired from a busy day on the Plateau?  Stop by Mountain Fresh mid-afternoon for a glass of your favorite wine.

Mountain Fresh Grocery and Wine Market located at 521 Main Street.  (828)-526-2400. Open daily from 7:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. Monday through Saturday and Sundays 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.

…on the Verandah’s Musical Fare

..on the Verandah serves up beautiful music with its exquisite dishes.

by Wiley Sloan

…on the Verandah Restaurant is well known for its tantalizing foods. Chef Andrew Figel enjoys learning about the cuisines of other countries so the menu often includes exciting new options in addition to the tried and true.

While waiting for a table, visit the Dugout Bar to hear talented Rebecca White. A native North Carolinian, Rebecca is a classically-trained violinist and vocalist. One summer Rebecca planned to wait tables at Yellowstone Park but when the hotel’s pianist cancelled, Rebecca quickly filled that slot.  She honed her keyboard skills and learned every Frank Sinatra song she could find. That was a truly memorable summer for Rebecca because she met her husband at Yellowstone. At the end of each performance Rebecca plays “Good Night Irene,” the song that she played that summer that caught her husband’s attention.

Stop by on Tuesday or Thursday evening to hear Rebecca as she entertains you on the piano, guitar and the Appalachian fiddle.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights you’ll find musician and songwriter Chad Reed.  For more than twelve years, Chad has been wowing the audiences in the Dugout Lounge. He plays five instruments:  piano, guitar, concertina, harmonica and the Indian flute.

While writing the music and directing at a cabaret theatre on Amelia Island, Chad was recruited to develop the theatre for Bryson City. He was honored by the Eastman Reynolds Foundation when he received a grant to write and perform a story entitled “A Road through the Past” highlighting the lives of three key North Carolinians.

Like Rebecca, Chad is trained in classical music but has expanded his repertoire to include jazz, ragtime, country music and popular show tunes.  He prides himself on being able to play most of the requests that he receives from the audiences at …on the Verandah.    New this year Chad is offering “The Song Writer’s Sing-along.”  “This will be a time I will offer low risk and risqué songs from my knapsack of tunes,” Chad says.  The Sing Along will be Friday and Saturday nights through September 17th. Come to …on the Verandah, Highland’s most scenic dining spot for a memorable dining experience.  Located at 1536 Franklin Road, just a short drive from Main Street Highlands this scenic setting is one you don’t want to miss.  Call (828) 526-2338 for reservations.

Rosewood Market

Whether you’re stocking up for an intimate dinner or a to-the-nines feast, Rosewood Market is your bill of fare. For more information or to place an order, call (828) 526-0383.

The folks at Rosewood Market have been a part of the Highlands social scene for many years.  If you are planning a party or are just expecting a gathering of the family, you’ll want to call on Rosewood Market to make sure that you have food for the crew.

The menu at Rosewood Market offers more than 150 items so you will find something for even the most discriminating palettes.  Taste tempting soups, salads made from the freshest ingredients, tasty hors d’oeuvres, a wide variety of entrees, sandwiches and desserts, Rosewood Market can do as much or as little as you wish.  Be sure to give them adequate notice so that you won’t be disappointed.

Keep a menu near the phone.  Call them 48 hours ahead and they can have your favorite dishes ready for you.  If you don’t have time to plan ahead, just drop by the market and check out the fresh items waiting in the cases that line the market.

The folks at Rosewood Market are constantly on the lookout for exciting new menu items.  That doesn’t mean that they will abandon the “old tried and true” that their customers demand.    Customer favorites include the Apricot chicken salad, and chicken curry.  These are menu staples along with Italian Meat Lasagna and the Chicken Portabella Stack with Gruyere.  Pork Rib-eye with orange ginger and the new Trout BLT are crowd pleasers too.

Need some tasty hors d’oeuvres to serve during cocktail hour?  Try the Bourbon Cheddar spread or the Sun-dried Tomato Feta.  The Black bean dip & Artichoke and Tomato Pesto-Goat Cheese Torta always gets rave reviews from my friends.

Looking for a tasty lunch to take home? Pick up some of their tasty shrimp bisque and a grilled cheese sandwich featuring Rosewood’s White Cheddar Pimento Cheese spread. There are more than 50 different poultry and meat entrees to choose from.  Guaranteed crowd pleasers include Lemon-Caper Chicken, creamy Chicken Pot Pie or Grilled Southwest Chicken.  Looking for tasty seafood?  Try the flavorful Salmon with Cherry Balsamic or the Baked Halibut.  Shrimp Creole with rice is a favorite with our family; also the Scallop Linguine with Tomato Pesto.

Rosewood’s desserts are renowned crowd pleasers.    People clamor for the Buttermilk pie or Carrot cake, Chocolate Pecan Pie or Chocolate Fudge cake.  Date Nut bars, Raspberry Walnut bars or Chocolate Oatmeal bars are items that you want to keep nearby, “just-in-case” someone drops by unexpectedly.  Tim’s birthday cakes are highly sought after-true signature specialties.

When you are looking for someone to cater your next event, call Rosewood Market.  They can take the hassle out of entertaining and let you enjoy your family and friends. Not sure what you want to serve?   Just let Tim Lundy and his capable, dependable staff help you decide on the menu.

Located at 117 Franklin Road, next door to the Citgo station, Rosewood Market is there when you need good food.  Call (828) 526-0383 or email:  rosewoodgourmet@gmail.com Market hours are 11:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Cyprus Cooking Class

Cyprus owner Nicholas Figel shares the secrets of his storied menu with a few lucky students.

Over the last nine years, Cyprus Restaurant has built a reputation for serving the treasured dishes of traditional cuisines from around the world. That means that the meals that come from its Old-World style display kitchen are fresh and exciting and unmistakably authentic. And that is why it is always exciting when Chefs Nicholas Figel and Christopher DuPont offer their exclusive Cooking Classes. It is a chance for impassioned foodies to learn the secrets of creating what Nicholas calls “real, authentic peasant food.”

On Saturday, August 13th, Cyprus will host a hands-on class on the intricacies and art of French Alsatian Cuisine. “Our vibrant open kitchen is the perfect setting to combine a casual getaway with a fun and informative cooking class,” says Nicholas. “Whether you’re an experienced home cook or are just beginning, our French culinary luncheon at Cyprus can help take your cooking to the next level.”

The class is limited to 30 participants, which allows for personalized team instruction. It will utilize the traditional techniques of French cooking. Knives, tools and equipment are provided. All you need to bring is your appetite for knowledge and fun.

The class will be held in Cyprus’ professionally-equipped kitchen from noon to 2:30 p.m.  $99 per person includes class, luncheon and wine. Reservations are required – call (828) 526-4429.

Scaly Mountain’s Pancake Breakfast

The Scaly Mountain Women’s Club is serving up breakfast at the old Scaly School House.

Plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the newly remodeled  historic old Scaly School House.

These breakfasts are held on the fourth Saturday – through October from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club, who are known for their culinary skills, have sponsored these breakfasts.

Breakfast will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice in the historic old Scaly School House. It is on the corner of North Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in downtown Scaly.

Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be served by club members or you may order takeout, if you choose.  Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain community.

Come to the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston, (828) 526-9952 or visit www.scalymountainwomensclub.org.

Remaining dates for the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club breakfasts for 2011 are August 27th, September 24th and October 22nd.

Fifth Annual Culinary Weekend

This coming fall, Highlands will celebrate its 5th Annual Culinary Weekend. This four- day destination event highlights Highlands’ majestic mountain location, unique retail shops, appealing accommodations and extraordinary cuisine.

We are excited to announce that this year’s Opening Night Celebration will be held at the esteemed Highlands Country Club on Thursday evening, November 10th at 7:00 p.m. Participating restaurants, chefs and wineries will be on hand to ignite taste buds and prepare you all for the weekend’s festivities. The Opening Night Celebration will also feature special guests, The Saucy Sisters, offering colorful commentary and Wacky Wine Quizzes with special prizes. Local artists, Virginia Parrott will also be on hand painting wine portraits inspired by the evening. This entire experience will be a chance to embrace an amazing night of food, wine and fun in the beautiful mountains of Highlands, North Carolina.

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, there will be an array of activities to choose from. Whether you are up for a farm to table wine dinner, singing and suds or a cooking demonstration, there’s something to inspire everyone! In addition to all the wonderful offerings, plan to attend the annual Sip & Stroll, Saturday, November 12th from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. in our beautiful downtown area.

“The Highlands community has joined together to create a spectacular lineup of events for this special weekend,” said Laura Huerta, Manager of Lakeside Restaurant and Chair of Highlands Culinary Weekend. “Fall in beautiful Highlands has never looked better!”

The Highlands Area Chamber of Commerce is the presenting sponsor of Culinary Weekend. Event sponsors include The Laurel Magazine, Drakes Diamond Gallery, WHLC 104.5, The Highlander Newspaper, Old Edwards Inn & Spa, Inland Seafood & Mountain Fresh Grocery.

For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to be a part of the 5th Annual Highlands Culinary Weekend, please call (866) 526-5841 or (828) 526-5841 or view the event webpage at www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com.

Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro

Chef Wolfgang Green is preparing an unforgettable meal for you (his wife Mindy makes sure).

For 18 years, Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro has been nurturing a reputation for remarkable meals and memorable celebrations.

When they opened their landmark restaurant on Main Street, Owners Wolfgang and Mindy Green offered a wine menu of 20 labels. Nowadays their cellar boasts nearly 700. Chef Wolfgang’s wine selections are the perfect complement to the exquisite New Orleans and European dishes that stream out of his kitchen.

When those meals are served up by a warm, quietly attentive waitstaff, the effect is magical. In addition to drawing a loyal local following, Wolfgang’s has become a favorite of knowing gourmands from across the Southeast.

That fan base has grown even larger with the October 2010 issue of Southern Living Magazine’s selection of Wolfgang’s as “The Best Place in Highlands for Dinner.”

“It’s easy to find the perfect wine to go with one of Wolfgang’s specialties, such as grilled venison tenderloin (wrapped in applewood-smoked bacon with a sun-dried cherry demiglace) or Cajun barbecued shrimp (a variation of the dish he once made at Commander’s Palace),” notes the magazine.

In fact, Southern Living isn’t the first publication to fall for Wolfgang’s ambience – Our State named the restaurant “The Place You Must Eat In For Macon County.” That’s on top of being named OpenTable.com’s Diner’s Choice Winner for 2010 in the categories: Fit for Foodies, Most Booked, Notable Wine List, and Romantic Special Occasion.

In The Highlander’s Reader’s Choice Awards, local diners selected Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro for Best Restaurant and Best Wine List honors.

Of course, if you’d like to sample the splendid dishes and discerning service that has made Wolfgang’s such an honored part of Highlands’ culinary landscape, the bistro opens at 4:00 p.m. and dinner is served nightly starting at 5:30.

For reservations or to learn more about Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Bistro, call (828) 526-3807. Wolfgang’s is located at 474 Main Street in Highlands.

Evenings at Lakeside

Marty Rosenfield

Owners Marty Rosenfield and Donna Woods are once again excited to offer their Wednesday night benefit, Evenings at Lakeside. It’s one way to “give back” to the community in which they live and work. These unique events offer local non-profits a chance to fundraise in a delicious, fun manner.

When making your reservation be sure and specify that you’re dining to support the non-profit. After a successful evening, the organization receives 15 percent of the gross sales from its supporters.

Join Marty, Donna and their staff to support the Highlands Cashiers Chamber Music Festival on Wednesday, August 3rd; the Highlands-Cashiers Hospital Foundation on Wednesday, August 17th; and the Cashiers-Highlands Humane Society on Wednesday, August 31st.

For more information or to make a reservation, call (828) 526-9419. Lakeside Restaurant is located at 531 Smallwood Avenue in Highlands.

Wild Thyme in Cashiers

Wild Thyme Cafe in Cashiers is the place where food is celebrated with friends and family.  “Our goal is to meet every expectation of Creativity, Freshness and Quality, We honor local farming, and the bounty of delicious foods available from the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Conveniently located just two blocks from the Cashiers crossroads, Wild Thyme is  excited to announce the opening of their new outdoor garden patio, where a gentle breeze and mountain sunsets accompany a fabulous meal. Wild Thyme serves a delicious Southern cuisine mingled with fresh Mediterranean flavors. View their menus at http://thelaurelmagazine.com/cashiersnc_dining.php.

Wild Thyme is open for lunch seven days a week  11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. and Thursday – Monday nights 5:30 – 9:00 p.m.

Find them off Highway 107 South at 25 Frank Allen Road in Cashiers, NC. For takeout, please call (828) 743-5452.

Jorge’s Place

Jorge’s Place, just 1.6 miles north of the Cashiers Crossroads, feels like a million miles from the bustle of the Summer Season.

Jorge’s Place offers Cuban, Cajun and traditional American cuisine for lunch and dinner, served in an atmosphere that’s family-friendly and attentive.

“I promise the best Cuban Sandwich north of Miami and the best Po’ Boy this side of New Orleans,” says Chef Michael.

Complementing those monumental sandwiches are a full coffee bar, a mindboggling selection of wines (350 labels at last count), beer on tap, and the incredible products of a marvelously creative bakery chef (cakes, pies, and pastry surprises).

If you’d like to enjoy a sunny, languid day, Jorge’s Place offers casual outside dining, red clay tennis courts and even an 18-hole miniature golf course.

Jorge’s has full ABC permits and in-house catering service is available.

If you’d like to learn more, call (828) 743-4175 or, better yet, stop in for a bite – 1846 Highway 107.

Chef Mark Hibbs and Oak Street Café

As a young boy growing up on a small Pennsylvania farm, Mark watched as his mother prepared meals utilizing fresh vegetables, meats and wild game.  His mother soon recognized his interest in cooking and starting letting him experiment even though he needed to stand on a chair to reach the kitchen stove.

As he matured he continued his interest in cooking. At age 16 he took his first restaurant job. Under the careful eye of Chef Claude Picard at the University Club  and Chef Frederic Lange at the Seacatch Restaurant in Washington, D.C.,   Mark began to develop the skills that are the foundation of his culinary expertise today.  Mark states, “Both of these French-born chefs have had a major influence on the types of cuisine that I create today”.  He honed his skills as Executive Chef of Anton’s 1201 Club where he enamored many clients before moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was immediately before coming to Highlands.  Mark’s modesty keeps him from telling you about the honor bestowed upon him in Charlotte.  He was nominated as the Best Chef in the Southeast by the prestigious James Beard Foundation in 2009.  Some of you may recognize Mark from his numerous appearances on Fox News, WBTV, N.C. Weekend on WTVI or Time Warner Cable.

Since July 2010 Mark has been preparing tantalizing items for the clients of Oak Street Café here in Highlands.  No matter which menu item you choose, rest assured that it will be prepared using only the freshest ingredients available.  Mark likes to update the menu regularly to take advantage of what is currently in season, but sometimes that is hard.  “People don’t like to see their favorite items taken off the menu.  No matter the season, customers clamor for shrimp & grits or our signature mushroom bisque,” Mark intones.

In addition to long-time favorites like stuffed Trout Carolina (mountain trout stuffed with artichokes and spinach), Mark is introducing some world cuisine items to the menu. “You’ll want to try the Korean-style calamari-spicy-but’not-too-hot; but can be’”, Mark says.  Another new offering is the Vietnamese Squid salad and the duck.  Oak Street offers a wide range of wines to compliment your favorite appetizer or entrée.  A choice that Mark finds especially pleasing is Belle Provençale Rose Cotes du Ventoux.

Oak Street’s Sunday Mimosa Brunch is a long-standing favorite. Be sure to get there early to beat the crowd. Mark’s training in French cuisine serves him well. Come enjoy a delicious meal in the quiet ambience of the café.  You’ll love the updated look of the lounge and the large covered patio easily accessible without steps from Oak Street.  You’ll want to enjoy dinner at Oak Street before attending the plays at the Highlands Playhouse this year.  Open daily for lunch for 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.; dinner nightly beginning at 5:30 p.m.  Call (828) 787-2200 for reservations.  For more information go to www.oakstreetcafeinhighlands.com.

Culinary Weekend’s Sip and Stroll

Galleries, jewelry, home décor, clothing, flowers, Oh My! Shopping in downtown Highlands does not disappoint! On Saturday November 12th, Highlands Culinary Weekend Annual Sip & Stroll from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m., has a fabulous line up of retailers. Acorn’s, Alyxandra’s on Main, The Christmas Tree on the Hill, Drake’s Diamond Gallery, The Hen House, Highlands Fine Art & Estate Jewelry, John Collette Fine Art, Oakleaf Flowers & Garden, To the Nines, Vivace & Vivace, Too, and Xtreme Threads. This year’s Sip & Stroll is “especially special” for the participants! Each stroller will start at the Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Visitor’s Center to receive a detailed map and their own souvenir wine glass with special carry bag. There will be a limit of twelve merchants this year which will encourage everyone to linger a while longer and enjoy the homemade hors d’oeuvres, cheeses, and of course the wonderful selections of wines. There’s also an added bonus to visiting each merchant on the map. Strollers having completed the tour will be eligible for wonderful prizes including fine dining certificates, pottery and specialty wines. Sip, Stroll and Shop till you drop while enjoying everything fabulous in our beautiful downtown of Highlands, NC.

Highlands 5th Annual Culinary Weekend kicks off with the not to be missed Opening Night Celebration, Thursday November 10th, at 7:00 p.m. Guests will enjoy fine wines and the delectable cuisine of Highlands’ local chefs. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday, fill your itineraries with an array of activities, tastings and dinners hosted by local restaurants, merchants and accommodations of Highlands.

“Events are being scheduled and plans are falling into place for this year’s line up of activities,” said Laura Huerta, Manager of Lakeside Restaurant and Chair of Highlands Culinary Weekend. “We’re excited to unveil a beautiful new poster design which will soon grace the windows of our downtown. Brochures and the website with event listings are all being prepared. It’s a great time to be involved in this community wide event.”

The Highlands Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center is a catalyst for planning, programs, and services that promote a favorable business and visitor’s climate while nurturing the natural beauty and cultivating the uniqueness that is Highlands. The Highlands Visitor Center is open Monday-Friday from 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. and Saturday from 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to be a part of the Fourth Annual Highlands Culinary Weekend, please call (866) 526-5841 or (828) 526-5841 or view the event webpage at www.highlandsculinaryweekend.com.

Chef Jimmy Davis at Main Street Bistro Chef

Chef Jimmy infuses the cherished traditons of the Bistro on Main with exciting new taste sensations.

There’s nothing more “True Highlands” than to grab a table at the Bistro on Main under the brightly colored umbrellas, order your favorite beverage and people watch as you peruse the menu. Chef Jimmy Davis brings years of experience and innate talent to the Bistro.

Growing up in a family that loved to cook, Jimmy started exploring early on combining different ingredients to create the unique tastes that are his signature today. His mom’s specialty was “just down-home” country-style cooking served family style.  Jimmy enjoys that food but has expanded his talents to include French and Italian cuisine that is so popular today. Customers consistently enjoy the Trout Meuniere-fresh sunburst mountain trout sautéed in lemon butter sauce, white wine and shallots. The Red Pepper Gouda Soup and Lobster Bisque are two of the soups that draw customers to the Bistro on cool mountain evenings.

Many of you will know Jimmy from his days as Executive Chef of the Cedar Creek in Cashiers or when he owned the Black Bear Café.  Jimmy tried living and working in Asheville for a while but has decided that he prefers the slower pace of the mountains.

The Bistro’s Signature Berry lemonade is a real crowd pleaser. Take fresh made lemonade, add blackberries, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries; mix all together and infuse with rosemary; a local favorite. Prefer to have a glass of wine, beer or cocktail? That’s all available too!

The Bistro’s buffet breakfast on Saturdays and Sundays a crowd pleaser.  Choose for two styles of eggs, a meat, grits and either French toast, waffles or pancakes, fresh fruit, biscuits, homemade baked goods and piping hot coffee.  The menu varies daily.

For Breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s no better choice than the Bistro on Main. Call (828) 526-2590 or check the website www.mainstreet-inn.com for Bistro hours. The food is tasty, prices reasonable and the tables on the hill offer “pet-friendly” dining. Enhance your trip to the mountains with a visit to the Bistro on Main at The Main Street Inn, also a great place to stay!

Scaly Mountain’s Pancake Breakfast

The Scaly Mountain Women’s Club is serving up breakfast at the old Scaly School House.

Plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the newly remodeled  historic old Scaly School House.

These breakfasts are held on the fourth Saturday – through October from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club, who are known for their culinary skills, have sponsored these breakfasts.

Breakfast will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice in the historic old Scaly School House. It is on the corner of North Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in downtown Scaly.

Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be served by club members or you may order takeout, if you choose.  Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain community.

Come to the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston, (828) 526-9952 or visit www.scalymountainwomensclub.org.

Remaining dates for the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club breakfasts for 2011 are July 23rd, August 27th, September 24th and October 22nd.

Dusty’s Offers a Wide Selection of Beer and Wine

Dusty’s backs up its savory offerings with a deep complement of beer and wine.

Many of us have long relied on Dusty’s for a wide array of select meats, savory appetizers and desserts plus much more. You are hooked on their lunch menu that offers taste-tempting sandwiches and wraps.  Many even start their day at Dusty’s with beignets just like you would find in New Orleans.

But did you know that Dusty’s offers a wide selection of beer and wine?

Their beers are unique and represent some of the best “craft” beers from the best small breweries around.  Ladies claim that “The Original Sin” is not really a beer but a refreshing hard cider that brings out the flavors of whatever you pair it with. Lovers of Duck Rabbit milt stout go for the intense flavor of dark beers. Another area favorite is the beers from the Bells Brewery. Bells offers a wide variety of beers but their flagship beer is made from mostly pale malt with some Munich and caramel malts. This gives the beer a slightly sweet flavor that is balanced by a mélange of American hops. These are just a sample of some of the many unique beers available at Dusty’s. Even non beer lovers enjoy Liefman’s Belgian Fruit beer.  Pour it over ice cream to make a refreshing float.

Wine lovers thank Dusty’s for their wide range of reasonably-priced wines.  Whether you prefer American wines from the Napa Valley or the Oregon coast or you crave wines from the Pacific Rim, the Willamette Valley or something from Argentina or Australia, you’ll find what you are looking for at Dusty’s. Looking for a little higher priced wine to celebrate a special occasion or for a gift for a special friend?  Ask the folks at Dusty’s to help you.

Dusty’s is located at 493 Dillard Road. Open daily, Monday through Saturday 8:00 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Call them at (828) 526-2762.  Be sure to watch the Laurel for info on Dusty’s Beer and Wine tastings. Not only will you have a chance to try great beer and vino, they have delicious hors d’oeuvres and it is all free.

Fressers Eatery

Chef/Owner Debbie Grossman ensures that there’s always room at Fressers Eatery, especially with a new deck.

Fressers Eatery opened in Highlands Village Square in 1999. It quickly won a loyal following of devoted diners and just as quickly grew out of its space.

Chef/Owner Debbie Grossman relocated her little restaurant to its expansive Helen’s Barn location, and sure enough, the patrons followed.

That’s because no matter where she set up her kitchen, Debbie adhered to a simple philosophy: Meals should be fabulous, fun and funky.

“The food should not only look and taste great, but it should make you feel great, too,” she says. “When you come to Fressers, we want you to think, ‘Wow, that was amazing!’”

Fressers’ atmosphere is casual and family-friendly, yet Debbie ensures that everything that comes out of her kitchen is five-star.  She is a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America.

Some of the favorites at Fressers Eatery include Angus burgers, gazpacho, personal pizzas, unforgettable pan-seared trout finished with lemon caper butter, Turkish turkey burgers (fresh ground turkey, dried apricots, red onion and Turkish spices), Greek chicken and a new favorite, tropical salmon topped with Chef Debbie’s award winning roasted tomatillo and mango salsa.

Finally back on the menu, Thursday nights only, it’s fried chicken!  Let’s not forget Fressers amazing brunch menu along with all-day breakfast items, too. Debbie’s knowledge of special diets is encyclopedic and allows her to offer gluten-free, vegan, and low-sodium options.

This season the Fressers Experience is even richer with the introduction of al fresco dining.

Wondering what became of the original Fressers location?

Well, Debbie’s never been one to miss an opportunity. It is now Fressers Express, where all of the production for The Bakery takes place.

Of course catering is always available, at Fressers Eatery or in your home. It doesn’t get much easier than that.

For more information or to place a special order, call (828) 526-4188. Take out is always available.

The Mouth of the South

When Pat Allen moved to Highlands 17 years ago and opened the Morning Star Inn, she always planned to do a cookbook.

Despite her passion for cooking, she took a circuitous route to get to the cookbook.

It took a writer from Victoria Magazine who happened to stay at the inn to convince her to lead a series of cooking classes. Subsequently, three women from the test kitchen of Southern Living Magazine came to take her classes for a two-day weekend.

“Talk about nervous,” says Pat. “We had a great time resulting in a two-page story in Southern Living!”

Pat has always had an appreciation for good food and great restaurants. She was a food critic for the Macon Telegraph in Macon, Georgia, for three years and readers looked forward to her suggestions.

In her last month of culinary school Pat, did an apprenticeship with Chef Tell Earhardt in the Cayman Islands.

“I learned to appreciate fresh salsa on fish with mango or whatever was on hand that day. It opened my eyes to how creative you can be with food and flavors”, says Pat.

Pat’s first book, “Whisk Upon a Star,” was published in 1998 and sold out quickly. The book’s success was built upon Pat’s recipes, favorite dishes from local restaurants, and cherished recipes shared by guests at the Morning Star Inn.

Her latest book, “Mouth of the South,” was finished in December and has already won a following.

When asked where the title comes from, Pat explains that all she has to do is speak and the Southern accent comes right out!  She’s also won a reputation for giving her opinion, like it or not!

One of her best experiences was being in the kitchen with Paula Deen for 3 weeks at the Lady and Son’s Restaurant in Savannah, Georgia, before beginning her real estate career.

“Can you picture the two of us together with these accents?” asks Pat. “It was a hoot and a fun memory while researching for my cookbook. The pastry chef was out sick on my first day so I was ‘it’ and we served 1,000 people that day! That is a lot of banana pudding and peach cobbler.”

“Mouth of the South” features many of the oldies from “Whisk Upon a Star,” including Pat’s granola that won first place for the best granola of any bed and breakfast in the country by the National Baking Association. Other favorites are Southwestern Eggs, Yum Yum Cornbread, Black Olive Dip, the other Pat’s Hummus Recipe and Dr. Pat’s Bread Pudding with Whisky Sauce.

Local restaurant recipes include Madison’s Shrimp and Grits, Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro’s Stuffed Portobello Mushroom, …on the Veranda’s famous Crème Brulee,  Wild Thyme’s Penne with Spinach and Prosciutto, Oak Street Café’s Signature Mushroom Bisque, Old Edwards Club’s Sweet Potato Tartar Sauce, SweeTreat’s Chicken Salad, Paoletti’s Calamari and Mountain Fresh’s Cous Cous – a family favorite from JT.

“Mouth of the South” is available at the Dry Sink and Mountain Fresh Grocery in Highlands, Chapter 2 Book Store in Cashiers, and GJ Ford’s Bookshop in St. Simons. Pat can be reached at (828) 200-9179 or at Pat Allen Realty Group at (828) 526-8784.

Cyprus, An Exciting Dining Destination

Chef Nick Figel and Cyprus’ tantalizing menu offers a cook’s tour of the world.

The scene remains vibrant, exciting and creative.  Olive, sage and orange-colored walls surround a small copper bar tucked in a corner  with rich red shadows.  Tables appropriately spaced, soft music, intimate lighting-all characteristic of any busy downtown urban restaurant, yet it is here in Highlands.  Cyprus is as popular today as it was when it opened nine years ago. Longtime Highlands’ culinary entrepreneur, Nicholas Figel, continues to entice diners with taste-tempting, traditional, international, peasant-inflected cuisine.

He searches tirelessly for the freshest and most authentic traditional ingredients by day and then actively works the restaurant each evening to ensure the high quality, tantalizing dishes that we have come to expect from Cyprus.  Nick welcomes guests as they arrive while creating the amazing specials in the vibrant open-kitchen.  An award-winning chef with more than 25 years of experience, Nick has trained extensively, including apprenticeships in Milan and Venice.  Supporting Nick and adding their own unique talents to the Cyprus Culinary team are Kelley Barbato and Chris DuPont.  This year’s exciting menu would not be the same without their influence.

There’s no need for you to drive to Atlanta or Charlotte to enjoy cuisines of the world.  Enjoy dishes from Italy, Cambodia, Indonesia and beyond here in Highlands.  Nick Figel incorporates a traditional approach to food as he prepares Capelini Aglio e Olio.   Fresh angel hair pasta made with the same care and techniques as was done in Italy more than 120 years ago is the center of the dish.  Delicately blended with Renieris Estate Olive oil and fresh spices, this appetizer offers a perfect beginning for a memorable meal.

Whether you choose Curried Goat ‘Roti” from Surinam or Anise-Scented Beefsteak from Laos, or Osso Bucco Milanese from Italy, you will find all dishes authentically represent the foods of the region from which they originated.   Whatever you are craving-from ethereal lightness to very rich, there are menu options to please the most discriminating taste buds.  In the mood for a hearty steak or lamb, or maybe a fresh fish or tasty chicken dish?   These are all available here, too.  Cyprus prides itself on offering the freshest fish in the region.

“It takes a little more effort, but I regularly shop the ethnic markets in Atlanta to ensure that we maintain uncompromised quality in each dish that we serve”, Nick states.  “In the kitchen, we go the extra mile to express ideas in food which are sincere, and we remain mindful that our food is a vessel for communication with you,”  Nick continues.

Each evening the Cyprus chefs prepare a menu of regional specialties including Italian, Thai, Mediterranean, French, South American, Pan-Asian and Caribbean food specialties.  The desserts are delicate ranging from lavender ice cream to a spiced chocolate Quetzalcoatl dream.  Enjoy a memorable meal from 5:00 p.m. until 10:00 p.m. nightly.  Located on Dillard Road, 4/10ths mile from Main Street.  Call (828) 526-4429 or visit cyprushighlands.com for reservations.  The most exciting dining destination in Highlands-Cyprus-see for yourself.

Pancake Breakfast

The Scaly Mountain Women’s Club is serving up breakfast at the old Scaly School House.

Plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the newly remodeled  historic old Scaly School House.

These breakfasts are held on the fourth Saturday – May through October from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club, who are known for their culinary skills, have sponsored these breakfasts.

Breakfast will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice in the historic old Scaly School House. It is on the corner of North Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in downtown Scaly.

Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be served by club members or you may order takeout, if you choose.  Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain community.

Come to the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston, (828) 526-9952 or visit www.scalymountainwomensclub.org.

Remaining dates for the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club breakfasts for 2011 are June 25th, July 23rd, August 27th, September 24th and October 22nd.

Breakfast at Mountain Fresh

The secret of Mountain Fresh’s breakfast and lunch menus? Choice ingredients and owner J.T. Fields and his team’s attention to detail.

Brighten your morning with a hearty breakfast at Mountain Fresh Grocery.   Over the past three years Mountain Fresh has built a reputation for being one of the best lunch spots in town.  This winter they began providing delicious “take out” dinners and now they are expanding into the breakfast arena.

Enjoy “fresh,  hot-from-the-kitchen items” including eggs with a choice of grits or potatoes, toast or biscuit, and waffles, pancakes or French toast; muffins too.   Add fruit or your choice of meat: sausage patties, country ham, or bacon.   Put your egg on a biscuit with cheese, add sausage. Eat your eggs and bacon, then top your hot biscuit with gravy. You may want to try the biscuit with chicken. You decide.

Don’t you just love the aroma of fresh coffee brewing at Mountain Fresh?  Their coffees are organic, imported from around the world and are roasted on site.  MF takes pride in being Highlands’ only micro-roaster. They roast in small quantities as business demands.  You have the choice of single origin or blends.  Find the coffee that is right for you.

Grab a cup of coffee and enjoy your favorite blend as you wait just a short minute or two for your freshly prepared breakfast items.  Be sure to buy some coffee beans to take home so you can enjoy your favorite blend there too.  Enjoy espressos, lattes, cappuccinos.

Owner JT Fields and the Mountain Fresh team have worked diligently to create a breakfast menu that offers tasty, fresh foods and a fair price.  The sausage is made from a private recipe;  the fruit is fresh-straight from the produce department and the maple syrup is real maple syrup-no artificial preservatives.

The rooster’s strutting cause he is mighty proud of the delicious breakfasts that folks are enjoying here at Mountain Fresh.  As JT says, “We offer deceptively simple foods, always fresh, always tasty.  We offer you food just like we like to eat.  We hope you like it too.”

Mountain Fresh Grocery and Wine Market is located at 521 Main Street.  (828) 526-2400. Breakfast is served daily from 7:00 p.m.-10:30 a.m. and Sundays 8:00 a.m.-10:30 a.m.

Evenings at Lakeside Restaurant

Lakeside Restaurant is celebrating its 22nd season in Highlands. Owners, Marty Rosenfield and Donna Woods are once again excited to offer their Wednesday night benefit, “Evenings at Lakeside.” These unique events offer local non-profits a chance to fundraise in a delicious, fun manner. When making your reservation be sure and specify that you’re dining to support the non-profit. After a successful evening, the organization receives 15 percent of the gross sales from its supporters.

Upcoming Schedule:

Wednesday, June 15th- Scaly Mountain Women’s Club

Wednesday, July 6th- Literacy Council

Wednesday, July 13th- Highlands Playhouse

Wednesday, July 20th- REACH of Macon County

Wednesday, July 27th- The Bascom

Wednesday, August 3rd- Highlands-Cashiers Chamber Music Festival

Skyline Lodge Welcomes Chef Buzza

Chef Jimmy Buzza and his wife, Lilly

Chef Jimmy Buzza, who’s made a name for himself at his restaurant in the Karling’s Inn in Florida, has opened the exciting Altitudes Restaurant at Skyline Lodge in Highlands.

For lunch and dinner, he’ll be offering some of the favorites from Karling’s Inn with some new choices for the Highlands crowd.

“We always are coming up with new items for the menu,” Chef Jimmy says. “I have a passion for creating new assortments of flavors and enticingly refreshing original appetizers, soups, and entrees, as well as desserts. We plan on creating special menu items weekly.”

Diners can expect to find appetizers like celery cake with chilled beet mousse, plump green cake with a wondrous texture and crunch with slight celery seed and garlic undertones, ruby-colored mousse frozen yogurt on the tongue — cool and creamy with a sweet-tart finish.

For entrees, consider The Florida grouper show-stopper with two jumbo shrimp poised on top of the nice-sized fillet presented in cream sauce studded with roasted red peppers, pine nuts and olives.

There’s the roast duck, a traditional German favorite and a Karling’s signature dish. The ample pool of thick, deeply flavored Montmorency cherry sauce doesn’t hold back with its red wine infusion. The duck skin is crunchy-crisp and the meat underneath retains a rich, succulent flavor.

A large golden, pumpkin-shaped puff pastry bowl cradles the traditional beef stroganoff. Strips of filet mignon are lavishly bathed in sour cream mushroom sauce.

For dessert, the cinnamon-scented apple strudel rises from a tender flaky pastry and the Key lime baked Alaska is a delicious throwback.

“We wanted to offer the Highlands a little taste of Europe and to add a little contrast to the southern cooking emphasis that the South is largely praised for with a German cuisine and dining experience,” Chef Jimmy explains. “Competition is not what it’s about; we have put our hearts and souls into this business and we hope people can experience the genuine mindset and passion we have for our business. Also we hope to introduce an experience that people have not yet tasted in German cuisine and the whole dining experience in general. In the end it’s all about giving the guest something original, produced with the highest of quality produce, and made fresh just for them.”

Altitudes Restaurant opens June 1st and will be open for lunch (something new for Skyline Lodge) from 11:30 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. and for dinner from 4:30 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.  They will also be open for Sunday brunch beginning at 11:30 a.m..

Karlings Altitude Restaurant is located at Skyline Lodge. For more informaiton, give them a call at (828) 526-2121 or visit thm on the web at www.skylinelodge.com.

Sports Page Sandwich Shoppe

Each spring as visitors return to Highlands for the season, they look for the changes that occurred during the winter months.

Bobby and Kristy Lewis of The Sports Page Sandwich Shoppe were especially busy this winter expanding and renovating their restaurant.  Now with seats for up to 105 customers, an expanded counter area covered with delicious desserts, and an expanded full commercial kitchen, Sports Page can certainly satisfy your lunch cravings.

Sports Page has been a Highlands lunchtime tradition for over 20 years. For years the Lewises had discussed an expansion to alleviate the wait for tables.

“Now, with 105 seats, we have room to seat everyone,” says Kristy. “Plus, the extra space means that customers can eat at a more relaxed pace instead of rushing because of people waiting for tables.”

Bobby adds, “Our expanded kitchen gives us the opportunity to expand our current offerings and make even fresher items for our customers. Daily lunch specials, new desserts, new soups…who knows what’s gonna come out of this kitchen? We are very excited. Like us on Facebook to follow our daily specials.”

Newly-renovated space with the same great food and the same fabulous service — that is what Sports Page is all about.  Whether you have a Goliath-sized appetite or are working to keep your girlish figure, the right menu item is here for you at Sports Page.  For example, their Pick Two Lunch Special includes your choice of two menu items from a cup of soup, a small garden salad, or a half-deli sandwich.  Looking for their most popular items? Try the fresh Chicken Salad made daily or the fabulous Reuben. Salad lovers delight in the Sports Page’s numerous salads.  Each of the more than 20 tasty sandwiches includes a side item and pickle.   And, if your appetite is big enough, try the loaded baked potato. It begins with a one-pound spud  loaded with your choice of up to three toppings. Yes, you can have a plain potato, too.  The Kids menu (also known as the Not-So-Hungry-Adults menu) is there to make a visit to Sports Page a truly family experience.   Be sure to plan to enjoy one of their mouth-watering desserts: cakes, pies, brownies, and cookies.

Did you know that Bobby and Kristy cater from the Sports Page?  They can help you with your next meal with a lot more than just sandwiches.  When you have a need for food at your spot, talk to Bobby and Kristy. They can make your life so much easier with their delicious, homemade items.

The Sports Page is open daily from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at 314 Main Street.  Plans are in the works for longer hours after Memorial Day, so check back.  Call them at (828) 526-3555 for hours, to go orders, or catering, you can also visit www.sportspagesandwichshoppe.com  Bring your friends for a meal everyone will enjoy.

 

Pancake Breakfast

It must be Spring – the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club is serving up breakfast at the old Scaly School House.

Plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the newly remodeled  historic old Scaly School House.

These breakfasts are held on the fourth Saturday – May through October from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club, who are known for their culinary skills, have sponsored these breakfasts.

The first breakfast is planned for May 28th. It will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice in the historic old Scaly School House. It is on the corner of North Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in downtown Scaly.

Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be served by club members or you may order takeout, if you choose.  Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain community.

Come to all six of the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston, (828) 526-9952 or visit www.scalymountainwomensclub.org.

Dates for the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club breakfasts for 2011 are May 28th, June 25th, July 23rd, August 27th, September 24th and October 22nd.

 

Man vs. Beast

Think your man enough to tackle the beast?? Bella’s Kitchen has a special offer for their customers. Order the Beast, a bacon and egg cheese sandwich cradled between six cheeseburgers topped with lettuce, tomato, sauteéd onions and mayonaise, all paired with a pound of fries, then chow it down in 20 minutes or less and its free. Plus you win a T-shirt and get your picture on the wall of fame at this popular Cashiers restaurant. Do it in 30 minutes and you pay, but you still win a T-shirt.

For more information, call Bella’s Kitchen at  (828) 743-5355, or join them for lunch Thursday through Tuesday from 11:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m.,  for dinner Monday, Thursday, Friday or Saturday night from 5:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m., and for breakfast beginning at 9:00 a.m. on Saturday and Monday. Bella’s is located in the Mountain Laurel Shoppes on Slabtown Road in Cashiers.

 

April’s Cover Artist Thomas Arvid

Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro and Old Edwards Inn and Spa invite you to Wine and Dine on the Mountain

Wine and Dine on the Mountain will kick off the 2011 culinary season in Highlands, April 29th through May 1st, by pulling together a sizzling line-up of fine wines, superb food and fine art. Guests of all events will watch the wines come to life, as Thomas Arvid paints for the occasions.

The “Wine and Dine on the Mountain” weekend is a sensory extravaganza that begins with a “Blue Jeans, Bluegrass Spring Harvest Barn Dinner” at the Farm at Old Edwards on Friday. Whitehall Lane Wines will be on the tables throughout the dinner. On Saturday, Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro will host W.H. Smith Winery 4-course wine dinner starting at 7:00 p.m. On Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., a Live brunch at Madison’s Restaurant will top off the weekend.

Named one of the top “25 Artists You Should Know” by US Art magazine, Thomas Arvid receives critical acclaim for his monumental compositions of wine and his mastery of light, depth and reflection. Inspired by the grace and hospitality of the southern culture in which he lives, Arvid’s compositions are an invitation to take the time to appreciate sharing a great bottle and good conversation with friends.

“I can’t think of a better place to spend an evening with great friends,” says Arvid. “Highlands and events like this – with wonderful food, wine and culture – truly foster camaraderie, similar to what I try to evoke in each of my paintings.  I’ll have my easel with me; it’s going to be another inspiring weekend in the mountains.”

Throughout the weekend, guests will enjoy art, music and wine-inclusive culinary —including:

· Blue Jeans, Bluegrass and Spring Harvest Barn Dinner, The Farm at Old Edwards with Thomas Arvid painting live and featuring Whitehall Lane Winery and Vineyards

· W.H. Smith Winery Wine Dinner Saturday at Wolfgang’s with Thomas Arvid painting live and featuring live music

· Jazz, Wine, Art and Brunch at Madison’s Sunday. Wines included in brunch price.

· Special Spa and shopping discounts throughout the weekend.

“Last year’s event really set the bar for a fun weekend of wine and food,” says Richard Delany, President of the Old Edwards Inn and Spa. “We’re looking forward this year to offering an even more diverse assortment of experiences, all tied together with great wine, food and music.”

Wolfgang Green, owner of Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro, says, “We’ve always had great success with our wine weekends, and last year’s Thomas Arvid event was no exception. By partnering with other businesses like the Old Edwards Inn and Spa, we can pull together offerings to celebrate spring by bringing guests to Highlands for some art, music, superb wine and fine dining—an unbeatable combination!”

Limited seating available. To reserve today, call (828) 787-2625 or (828) 526-3807. For more information, visit www.oldedwardsinn.com/wineanddine.

Chef Johannes Klapdohr Captures the Throne

Chef Wolfgang Green, Chef Jonathan Reid, Chef Mitch Sheppard, Chef Johannes Klapdohr and Chef Nick Figel Photo by Sarah Valentine

After three zealous battles in a day-long culinary competition, internationally acclaimed Chef Johannes Klapdohr—Executive Chef at Old Edwards Inn & Spa—secured the crown in the 2011 King of the Mountain Chef’s Challenge. In this ‘Iron Chef’ style competition, four chefs battle the clock—and each other—to produce several mouth-watering dishes in front of a live audience in an open kitchen. Each round of the competition ensues for a full forty-five minutes after the chefs discover the three mystery ingredients (per round), which are pre-selected by Chef Wolfgang Green of Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro.

The Competition:

Unlike the Food Network show where the Chefs have forty-five minutes to ponder their creations prior to the event, the King of the Mountain Chef Challenge keeps the mystery ingredients a secret until the very moment that each heat begins. The chefs then go to work, making notes, grabbing ingredients and equipment, and assembling their menus in their heads. The gas-stove flames jump to life, and the heat is on.

In the first round, Chef Johannes Klapdohr secured his spot in the finals by defeating Chef Jonathan Reid, Executive Chef of Gamekeeper’s Tavern. Chef Johannes created a full five courses around flank steak and other mystery ingredients, each of which amazed the judges with their originality and focus on the distinct flavors—a signature talent of the German-born, field-to-table chef.

In round two, Nick Figel of Cyprus Restaurant successfully defended his 2010 crown against newcomer challenger Chef Mitch Sheppard of Ruka’s Table. Figel created three courses around the pork tenderloin and Brussels sprouts theme that the judges called “exquisite, masterly prepared and a culinary delight.”

That left the two 2010 finalists—Figel and Klapdohr—duking it out over scallops and shiitake mushrooms. Figel pulled out all the stops in his signature showmanship style in an attempt to overcome Chef Klapdohr’s meticulous clean and classic method of what he calls “honest food.” When awarding the crystal Sam’s Cup and the King of the Mountain title to Chef Klapdohr, the judges announced, “Such an exceptional meal in this short a time is an unbelievable culinary achievement of which we have never seen before.”

Event host, co-creator and “Sam’s Cup” Sponsor Matthew Eberz of Sam Call Productions says, “Watching these chefs battle each other and create these stunning dishes was exhilarating. I was amazed at the audience engagement and excitement throughout all rounds of the competition. And, just when you thought the event couldn’t get any better, the talented chefs provided a four-course meal that rocked your taste buds. I’m in awe of the culinary talent that we have on the Highlands-Cashiers Plateau.”

Judges:

All three culinary competitions were judged by three exceptionally talented and accomplish culinary experts including:

Ms. Shelley Skiles Sawyer, Managing Food Editor, Flavors Magazine;

Chef Hugh Acheson, owner and Executive Chef 5 & 10 Restaurant and The National in Athens, Georgia, and Empire South in Atlanta;

Chef Daniel Lindley, St. John’s Hospitality Group, Chattanooga, Tennessee.

Janet Poleski, Food Contributor TALK Greenville Magazine, provided color commentary.  After the competition the audience enjoyed a four-course meal, each course prepared by a competing chef.

Chef Klapdohr will defend his title at the 2012 King of the Mountain Chef’s Challenge on April 14, 2012 in Highlands North Carolina. One competitor vying for the crown will be James Beard Foundation Award finalist Chef John Fleer of Canyon Kitchen in Lonesome Valley.

Scaly Mountain’s Pancake Breakfast

It must be Spring – the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club is serving up breakfast at the old Scaly School House.

Plan to bring your family and friends to Scaly Mountain for a scrumptious breakfast in the mountains at the newly remodeled  historic old Scaly School House.  These breakfasts are held on the fourth Saturday – May through October from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. This is the seventh year that the women in Scaly Mountain Women’s Club, who are known for their culinary  skills,  have sponsored these breakfasts.

The first breakfast is planned for May 28th. It will feature a full meal of piping hot homemade pancakes (with or without blueberries), patty sausage, coffee and juice in the historic old Scaly School House. It is on the corner of North Highway 106 and Buck Knob Road in downtown Scaly.  Guests will be treated to a seated meal either in the old school house or on the deck overlooking the mountains. Cost is $5.50 for adults and $3.50 for children. The breakfast will be served by club members or you may order takeout, if you choose.  Proceeds from the event provide scholarships for local students of all ages who wish to continue their post-secondary education. They also benefit area non-profit human service agencies that serve the Scaly Mountain  community.  Come to all six of the breakfasts and join the best cooks in Western North Carolina for a morning of fun enjoying the friendly folks in Scaly Mountain and an unforgettable breakfast. For additional information, contact Susan Bankston, (828) 526-9952 or visit www.scalymountainwomensclub.org.

Dates for the Scaly Mountain Women’s Club breakfasts the summer of 2011 are May 28th, June 25th, July 23rd, August 27th, September 24th and October 22nd.

King of the Mountain

The Blue Ridge Mountains Village of Highlands, North Carolina inspires artists of every genre—especially culinary. On Saturday, March 5th, four of the town’s top chefs will face-off in a competition modeled after the popular “Iron Chef” program on The Food Network. Using mystery ingredients, the chefs will race against the clock to create the winning culinary dish and be crowned “King of the Mountain.”
As winner of the 2010 King of the Mountain Chefs Challenge, Nick Figel will defend his title against:
Chef Johannes Klapdohr of Madison’s Restaurant at The Old Edwards Inn; Chef Jonathan Reid of the Gamekeeper’s Tavern; and Chef Mitch Sheppard of Ruka’s Table.
The competition will take place at Cyprus Restaurant, which features an open kitchen and an open iced display case where the mystery ingredients will be unveiled for each round of the competition.
Matthew Eberz of Sam Call Productions will be the emcee. Providing color commentary during the three segments of the competition will be Janet Poleski, Food writer for  Talk Greenville Magazine. Selecting and procuring the mystery ingredients that the chefs will use during the face-off will be Chef Wolfgang of Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro.
After two preliminary heats in the afternoon, the main competition will take place between two finalists.  Each competing chef will also create an appetizer to be enjoyed by the audience during the competition, along with wine and a cash bar.  Guests who choose to stay for the dinner that follows will also sample one course from each of the competing chefs.
Three  professional judges will sample the creations and decide which chef deserves to be crowned “King of the Mountain.”  They are: Chef Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten Restaurant, Athens, Georgia; Chef Daniel Lindley, St. John’s Restaurant of Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Shelley Skiles Sawyer, Managing Food Editor of Flavors.
The fourth judge will be chosen from the audience.
The competition itinerary and costs are as follows:
Cost is $118.00 for the Chef’s Challenge and dinner. This includes:
1. Access to “the event” which is all three competitions (3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and the final heat at 6:00 p.m.)
2. Champagne greeting
3. Two beverage tickets
4.  Hors d’oeuvres through-
out the events, one of which will be provided by each of the participating restaurants
5. Four course gourmet dinner with one course created by each of the chef competitors.
Event pricing does not include taxes. Dinner pricing does not include taxes, gratuities or alcoholic beverages at dinner.
Seating is limited, and there are seven “close-to-the-action VIP counter seats” available during the event for $159. For information and tickets to the event and/or dinner, call (828) 787-2625. or visit www.winterinhighlands.com.

St. Patricks Day at Old Edwards

Old Edwards Inn & Spa will hold the most authentic St. Patrick’s celebration this side of the Emerald Isle, March 17th-20th. To register or for more information, call (828) 787-2625 or visit www.oldedwardsinn.com/St.Patricks.

Leave it to the good folks at Old Edwards Inn and Spa to remind us of the true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day Weekend at Old Edwards – music, laughter, generous portions of comfort food, and lots and lots of spirits.
The Four-Star Inn and Spa will host an Irish weekend March 17th through the 20th.
Local musician Cy Timmons will perform live over the weekend singing Irish favorites. Madison’s Restaurant will feature special Irish dishes with an Old Edwards twist. Special Irish beers and cocktails like the Black Velvet and Whiskey Tonic will be featured on drink menus decorated with Irish jokes, quotes and interesting historical and cultural tidbits.
Guests of Old Edwards will enjoy an authentic Irish Whiskey Tasting Friday, March 18th and Saturday, March 19th from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in the Hummingbird Lounge. You’ll be able to compare Whiskey from the three main distilleries of Ireland with some favorite American Whiskeys and comparable brands of Scotch.
Old Edwards’ Irish Laddie Thomas Keenan will present an authentic Irish Coffee-Making Experience at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 19th. A Pot O’ Gold—including an overnight stay at Old Edwards — awaits the winner.
Complimentary Irish hors o’oeuvres will be served in the Hummingbird Lounge Friday and Saturday evening from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. True to its Irish roots, the weekend will also offer complimentary Irish “after party” hors d’oeuvres in the Hummingbird Lounge Friday and Saturday from 10:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.
And in a display of the hospitality cultivated on the Emerald Isle, there’ll be special turndown amenities throughout the weekend.
For more information, call (828) 787-2625 or visit thewww.oldedwardsinn.com/St.Patricks.

Vive La France

Jane Smithers delivers an easy panache to The Old Edwards Inn and Spa.

The Old Edwards Inn and Spa has always enjoyed an ineffable je ne sais quoi.
It’s an easy charm that’s earned the landmark status as Condé Nast Traveler’s Number One Hotel Spa in North America for 2010 with the First Ever Perfect Score in the 20-Year History of the Reader’s Survey, inclusion on AAA’s Four-Diamond List and a berth on the National Registry of Historic Places.
The Inn and Spa will celebrate that panache with a full French immersion experience with Global French Impressionist Jane Smithers, January 21st through the 23rd.
Guests will join Jane as she recreates her summers in France through stories, music, art, and favorite foods from the  village  of  Villars, France. Enjoy this full immersion weekend where attendees can try their hand at creating French foods and art. Participants will learn how to experience their surroundings by fully engaging their five senses so that they can then express themselves through art and art journaling. Guests will leave with a personalized journal of French memoirs, a rich sense of the French culture and an experience they will want to recreate for their friends at home. Workshop materials, including a personal journal, will be supplied.
Jane will base this event on excerpts from her own journals from her summers in France where she teaches art at a French Chateau and travels the countryside for her inspiration. She will recreate the sights, sounds, tastes, smells and overall feel of life in this charming French village.
This unforgettable French experience will also draw upon the talents of  Executive Chef Johannes Klapdohr and Sommelier Curt Christiansen.
Cost is $225.
The Inn and Spa is offering an Accommodation Special — $350 for two nights for two in deluxe accommodations, including a Welcome Reception on Friday, January 21st, in the Hummingbird Lounge.
Jane will host a special French Wine Dinner on Saturday, January 22nd, for 11 guests. By the time the evening ends, you’ll feel like you’ve been truly immersed in French culture — and you’ll take away a yearning to learn more about French food and art, as well as the beautiful, expressive language.
Make plans now to experience the beauty of French culture at Old Edwards. Dining space is limited. Call (866) 787-2625. For more information, visit www.oldedwardsinn.com/FrenchImmersion.

King of the Mountain

The King of the Mountain Chefs Challenge, set for Saturday, March 5th, at Cyprus Restaurant, tests the culinary mettle of some of the Plateau’s finest chefs.

The Blue Ridge Mountains Village of Highlands, North Carolina inspires artists of every genre—especially culinary. On Saturday, March 5th, four of the town’s top chefs will face-off in a competition modeled after the popular “Iron Chef” program on The Food Network. Using mystery ingredients, the chefs will race against the clock to create the winning culinary dish and be crowned “King of the Mountain.”
As winner of the 2010 King of the Mountain Chefs Challenge, Nick Figel will defend his title against:
Chef Johannes Klapdohr of Madison’s Restaurant” at The Old Edwards Inn; Chef Jonathan Reid of the Gamekeeper’s Tavern; and Chef Mitch Shepard of Ruka’s Table.
The competition will take place at Cyprus Restaurant, which features an open kitchen and an open iced display case where the mystery ingredients will be unveiled for each round of the competition.
Providing color commentary during the three segments of the competition will be Shelley Skiles Sawyer, Managing Food Editor, Flavors. Selecting and procuring the mystery ingredients that the chefs will use during the face-off will be Chef Wolfgang of Wolfgang’s Restaurant & Wine Bistro.
After two preliminary heats in the afternoon, the main competition will take place between two finalists.  Each competing chef will also create an appetizer to be enjoyed by the audience during the competition, along with wine and a cash bar.  Guests who chose to stay for the dinner that follows will also sample one course from each of the competing chefs.
Three judges will sample the creations and decide which chef deserves to be crowned “King of the Mountain.”  They are: Chef Hugh Acheson, Five & Ten Restaurant, Athens, Georgia; Chef Daniel Lindley, St. John’s Restaurant of Chattanooga, Tennessee; and Janet Poleski, Food Writer, Talk Greenville Magazine.
The competition itinerary and costs are as follows:
Cost is $118.00 for the Chef’s Challenge and dinner. This includes:
1. Access to “the event” which is all three competitions (3:30 p.m., 5:00 p.m., and the final heat at 6:00 p.m.)
2. Champagne greeting
3. Two beverage tickets
4.  Hors d’oeuvres through-
out the events, one of which will be provided by each of the participating restaurants
5. Four course gourmet dinner with one course created by each of the chef competitors.
Event pricing does not include taxes. Dinner pricing does not include taxes, gratuities or alcoholic beverages at dinner.
Seating is limited, and there are seven “close-to-the-action VIP counter seats” available during the event for $159. For information and tickets to the event and/or dinner, call (828) 787-2625. or visit www.winterinhighlands.com.

Wolfgang’s Winter Wonderland

Drop by Wolfgang’s on December 4th for holiday entertaining ideas.

It’s easy to celebrate the magic of the season with the Winter Wonderland at Wolfgang’s, slated for immediately after the Highlands Olde Mountain Christmas Parade on Saturday, December 4th.
Wander into the Winter Wonderland and gather ideas for your holiday entertaining from The Christmas Tree, Cyrano’s Bookshop and, of course, Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bistro.
Enjoy sumptuous seasonal hors d’oeuvres and desserts prepared by Chef Wolfgang. A special holiday demonstration will take place in the Main Dining Room. Select wines will be paired with seasonal food from Germany and the Deep South. Take away recipe cards for each hors d’oeuvres and dessert dish. Great entertaining wines will be available for purchase by the bottle or the case at special holiday price.
Decorative ideas and gifts from The Christmas Tree, including exquisite nutcrackers from Germany and traditional American ornaments, will be displayed around the restaurant to give you ideas on how to decorate for your holiday parties.
Wolfgang’s Restaurant and Wine Bar is located at 474 Main Street in Highlands. J