50 Shades of Grey Culinary Guide: Village Voice

You could skip through 50 Shades of Grey, reading only the sex scenes, but you’d miss out on so much. Like witty email exchanges between the main characters, Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, or extensive three-way discussion between Steele, her inner goddess, and her subconscious about whether she should let billionaire Grey spank her or not.

But let’s be real: You would, most importantly, miss all of the steamy food moments. Food is a big thing in 50 Shades of Grey and not in an erotic way, so don’t get excited/grossed out (depending on your inclinations).

Read more of this post on the Village Voice’s food blog, Fork in the Road


Hand pulled vs Knife Peeled Noodles: Village Voice

If someone plopped down two steaming bowls of noodle soup and asked you which was knife-peeled and which was hand-pulled, what would you do? What if they said your life depended on correctly identifying which is which?

You would panic. Then you would wish you had barged into the kitchen and demanded to watch the chef’s every move while they were being made. For the knife-peeled noodles, you would’ve seen the chef shaving thin sheets of dough off of a giant log, kind of like pulling off slivers of the world’s largest string cheese with a knife.

If they were hand-pulled, you would have been mesmerized by the chef’s twisting and swinging of noodles around like a jump rope, occasionally slapping them against the counter in a way that may remind you of a really unfortunate deep tissue massage you once had.

Read more of this post on the Village Voice’s food blog, Fork in the Road

Halloumi Cheese: Village Voice

If Halloumi was single and it had an online dating profile, it would probably say, “Hi, I’m a cheese from Cyprus. My friends describe me as salty, crispy, chewy, and squeaky.”

And it’d be true: Halloumi is all of those delightful things, which is lucky because it isn’t exactly pretty. Typically packaged in shrink wrap and slapped with a text-heavy label (“The Grilling Cheese of Cyprus!” or “The taste of tradition!”), it looks more like a misshapen block of tofu than an exotic imported cheese.

You should know, before you get all judgmental, that Halloumi is actually a heavily regulated cheese, required to meet standards and certifications much like its fancy French friends. Nonetheless, you’ll find it at hanging out in the fluorescent harshness of the milk and yogurt section of your local cheese shop, not the posh, temperature-controlled display case where those little turds of ash-covered goat cheese luxuriate.

Read more of this post on the Village Voice’s food blog, Fork in the Road

DIY Wonton Soup: Village Voice

Wonton soup is a love/hate kind of soup. Sloppy in a good way, filling, cheap, feels like a healthier choice than pork fried rice–it seems to be a great idea.

Then it arrives by bicycle, and there are too few wontons (now shredded into confetti), debris of micro-diced mystery meat, some oil-slicked broth, and maybe some scallion driftwood, if ordered from a fancy joint. You eat it anyway, but you know this will happen again and again and again. Delicate-skinned wontons were just not made for road trips.

There has to be a better way, right? Like making your own with store-bought wonton wrappers! Giada de Laurentis uses wonton wrappers to make ravioli pretty much every show, and she does it in like, 5 minutes, tops. It’ll be easy and delicious, right?

Wrong. Well, about one of those things.

Read more of this post on the Village Voice’s food blog, Fork in the Road

Driftaway Cafe: South Magazine

Kirk Blaine has an advantage over most chefs. Every evening, he walks through Driftaway Cafe’s dining room and knows what customers will order even before they open a menu. “Our customer base comes in here five to seven times a week,” Blaine says enthusiastically. “We pack the house every night—not many restaurants can say that.” But there’s another reason Blaine knows all of the hungry faces lining Driftaway’s mural-painted walls: he’s been working there since he was 16 years old. He left for a short time to attend the Culinary Institute of America in New York City, but before long he was back in Savannah—mostly because he hated the cold, but also because of his loyalty to Driftaway owners Robin and Michelle Quartlebaum. “They are amazing owners who have given me the opportunity to explore with food.”

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

T-Rex Mex: South Magazine

If you aren’t looking for T-Rex Mex Restaurant, you just might miss it as the restaurant is tucked deep beneath the pavement of Broughton Street, off the well-worn tourist track. However, the one thing that does stand out is its glass door painted with a ferocious, lime-green Tyrannosaurus in a sombrero, and it’s just a taste of what lurks inside.

Owners Anton and Tammy Withington brought their burrito-brimming menu to life about a year and a half ago, after eight years working in a burrito restaurant in Atlanta. Their inspiration for the theme of the restaurant was twofold: first, their son, Thurston Rex (the initials behind the T-Rex moniker) and second, their friends who happen to be artists.

“When we started, this place was just four walls,” Tammy Withington says, gesturing to the warm, ragged brick walls that envelop the restaurant.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

Masterpiece Meals: South Magazine

Two artists at the Telfair Museum’s Jepson Center work under a particularly challenging set of circumstances: Their paintbrushes are sharp and made of metal, their paints are perishable and from the earth, and they create their artwork every day, in a tiny, hot studio for a set of buyers with a seemingly insatiable hunger for their work. Their names are John Deaderick and Michael Pritchard, and together they’re the chefs behind Café Zeum.

Last year, when the Jepson Center decided to open up their in-museum cafe to outside restaurateurs, Pritchard and Deaderick were high on their culinary wish list and approached the pair with the idea. Evidenced by a cult like following at their other restaurant, the Starland Cafe, the chefs were comfortable with the lunchtime setting, but had their doubts about how they would fit into the museum environment. “We walked into the meeting just to see what they had to say,” Deaderick says. “For about an hour and a half, they described our business and our philosophy. It was a perfect fit.”

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

The Golden Goose: South Magazine

Express Cafe and Bakery has been a Savannah staple for decades, but longtime regulars turned owners, Beth and Michael Meeks, are shaking things up a bit. The couple recently changed the name (although not the soul food) and decided to cook up a whole new business plan.

Before Beth and Michael Meeks shared a last name, they spent many a date in the dining room of the Express Café and Bakery, a quaint breakfast/lunch/brunch restaurant tucked to the side of Broughton on Barnard. “This restaurant has been here for 24 years and was a really special place for us.” Michael says. “Everyone has a Café Express story.” The Meeks’ story however is a little different from most.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.

Can’t Stand the Heat: South Magazine

Leave it to Roberto Leoci, the sizzlin’ Sicilian who specializes in homemade pastas, fresh fish and all other ingredients necessary to bring a traditional trattoria to Savannah.

Walk into Leoci’s Trattoria on a Saturday or Sunday night, or Monday or Tuesday or any day for that matter, and you’ll find the same scene: the dark, slickly appointed dining room humming from the duos and trios of diners, and the lamplit patio, lined with long tables stretching under massive umbrellas, smelling of bubbling cheese and crisping crust as the smoke from the pizza oven wafts overhead.

Everywhere discrete waiters circle patrons, blending into the dark-walled restaurant until they emerge from the tiny, open kitchen with a white plate heavy with dewy pasta or fragrant mussels. Watch the food disappear, and sooner or later you’ll see a man in chef’s whites circling the restaurant, shaking hands, and clapping people on the back. It’s Chef Roberto Leoci, and this restaurant is his baby.

Read more of article post on in South Magazine.