Boone · Charlotte · Lincolnton · Restaurants

Best of Restaurants: Veal and Lamb

Roasted Veal with mushrooms and blue potatoes from Roosters in Charlotte

 

Lamb Lollipops from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Osso Buco at The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

 

Boone · Denver · Gainesville · Mooresville · Restaurants

The Best of Restaurants: Salads

What makes a good salad?  For me it’s all about the dressing.  It *has* to be homemade.  I can spot a bottled dressing a mile away.  The toppings are also important.  Here are some of my favorites:

The Black and Blue Filet Salad from Fresh Chef in Mooresville, NC

Insalata del giorno from Alino’s in Mooresville, NC

Tuscan Caesar at Paramount Grill in Gainesville, FL

The Wedge Salad from Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Green salad from The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

 

Boone · Charlotte · FL · Gaffney SC · Gainesville · Vale

Best of Restaurants: Steak

Steak is one of my favorite proteins.  The problem for me has always been that my dad and now my son make such good steaks, I find any I have in restaurants to be lacking.  Not the case with these picks:

Filet Mignon at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Mills Family Farm Ribeye Steak with beef jus from Heirloom in Charlotte, NC

Pan roasted barrel cut Angus filet with roasted portabellos, puff pastry & a white-truffle sherry reduction from Paramount Grill in Gainesville, FL

Steak dinner at Willow Creek Inn in Vale

Ray’s Mixed Grill (The elk was my favorite!) at the Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Asheville · Boone · Charlotte · Davidson · Denver · Gaffney SC · Lincolnton · Mooresville · Myrtle Beach · Savannah · Statesville

Best of Restaurant Desserts

Chocolate Souffle’ at Aix en Provence in Charlotte

Creme Brulee at Baron’s Steakhouse in Myrtle Beach

Roasted Apple Galette at Kindred in Davidson

Chocolate Layer Cake at Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

Rolled Ice Cream at Below Zero in Savannah, GA

Apple Pie Wontons at The Cowfish in Charlotte, NC

S’Mores Trifle at 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Brownie Sundae at Carolina Cones in Davidson, NC

Crepe Suzette from Crepe Cellar

Milk Chocolate Liquid Truffle from French Broad Chocolate Lounge in Asheville, NC

Pecan Pie a la mode at Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Coconut Cake from Chillfire in Denver, NC

Nutella and Strawberry Crepe from The Crispy Crepe in Charlotte

Apple Cobbler a la mode at Carolina Cafe in Gaffney, SC

Milk Bread Cinnamon Rolls at Kindred in Davidson

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Strawberry Basil Shortbread from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Doughnuts from Reigning Doughnuts in Charlotte, NC

Bourbon Brioche Bread Pudding with Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream from Bistro La Bon in Charlotte

Bread Pudding from The Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Fritti (dessert calzone) from Salty Caper in Mooresville

 

 

Asheville · Boone · Charleston SC · Charlotte · Cornelius · Davidson · Destin · Isle of Palms · Lincolnton · Morganton · Rock Hill SC · Savannah

Best of Restaurants: Appetizers

Appetizers are my very favorite part of the meal.  Not a big commitment, you can be adventurous and not break the bank.  Here is a list of my favorites:

Spinach and Artichoke Crostini from Crafted Southern Speakeasy in Lincolnton, NC

Caramelized Gnocchi from Aria Tuscan Grill

Fried Green Tomatoes at Huey’s Southern Eats in Isle of Palms

Mert’s Soul Rolls at Mert’s Heart and Soul in Charlotte

Homemade Lime Tortilla Chips served with Pineapple Mango Salsa from Caterer extraordinaire Food Junkie

Spinach and Artichoke Dip from Food Junkie

Filipino-style Pork Eggrolls with Spicy Apricot Dipping Sauce from Food Junkie

Funghi Repieni at Caruso’s in Mooresville

Peirogies from Twisted Oak Bar and Grill in Statesville, NC

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Manchego Skillet at Tybee Island Social Club in Tybee Island, GA

Warm Pimento Cheese & Jumbo Lump Crab Cake  from Tupelo Honey in Charlotte, NC

&

Oysters Rockefeller at the Oak Steakhouse in Charleston, SC

Shrimp Flatbread from 5 Church in Charlotte, NC

Stuffed Portabello Mushroom at Chillfire Grill in Denver, NC

Beggar’s Purse with Cream Cheese and Salmon, Rock Shrimp & Fried Calamari with Vegetables from Wasabi in Asheville

Smoked Tuna Dip from Louisiana Lagniappe

Prime Rib Stuffed Mushrooms from Alton’s Kitchen and Cocktails in Cornelius, NC

Escargot with Lemon and Sweet Pea Risotto from Flatiron Kitchen and Taphouse in Davidson

Crispy Pork Rinds with Pimiento Cheese and Valentina Hot Sauce from Root +Vine in Morganton

Shrimp Cocktail at the Pump House in Rock Hill, SC

Escargot at Gamekeeper in Boone, NC

Boone · Boone

Restaurant Review: GameKeeper in Boone, NC & Chetola Lodge

Boone and Blowing Rock are two of our treasures near the Piedmont.  Dustin and I took a little trip up to stay at Chetola Lodge for a long weekend at Valentine’s Day.  We were able to get out only the first night, when we visited the Gamekeeper Restaurant, but the next night we got snowed in.  It was beautiful, and cozy.  A really magical evening!

Chetola Resort

800-CHETOLA (243-8652) :: 828-295-5500

info@chetola.com 

185 Chetola Lake Drive :: Blowing Rock, NC 28605

http://www.chetola.com

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The grounds of this gorgeous resort are worth a visit, even if you park and walk around a bit.  Ponds, swans, walking trails…very natural and peaceful.

We stayed in the Bob Timberlake Inn and it was so personal.  They have cozy (if a tiny bit outdated in decor) rooms with fireplaces and whirlpool tubs and they have a wine and cheese tasting every evening.  We also enjoyed the indoor pool while it snowed outside.  Magical!

Gamekeeper Restaurant

3005 Shulls Mill Road
Boone, North Carolina 28607
828.963.7400

http://gamekeeper-nc.com

Gamekeeper Restaurant on Urbanspoon

First thing you should know is you need a reservation.  The winter hours are scarce and the tables were full when we were there.  Second thing you need to know is that if it is winter, you’ll need to call to make sure the restaurant is open.  The drive up is curvy and scary on a snowy road.  But…it certainly is charming in a snowy setting once you reach your destination.

As you might suspect, the restaurant has a glamorous hunting lodge feel.  There are fireplaces blazing inside and twigs along with eclectic artwork and low lighting.  It’s easy on the eyes and comfortable.  We were seated immediately and enjoyed wonderful service all night.

gamekeeper mixed game grill app

We started our meal with the Mixed Game Grill which had a variety of (chef’s choice) grilled game meats, sausages and dipping sauces.  On the night we visited, we got grilled ostrich and elk, yak and emu sausages, and mustard, horseradish and a peach-pear barbecue sauce for dipping.  All of these meats were topped with some hand-cut seasoned fries.  The grilled ostrich was crispy and hearty, not too gamey, as I was afraid.  The elk was absolutely the best thing I ate all night; it was grilled to perfection with a smoky crust.  I’d order a plateful of that.  The yak sausage was cooked crispy but it was dry and quite gamey tasting.  Not my favorite.  The emu sausage was better, with a creamier texture.  The fries were without question the best I’ve had.  They were planks of starchy deliciousness, seasoned properly.

A perfect accompaniment to this dish were the sauces that were served with it.  First there was a mustard sauce that was thick with whole mustard seeds; very bold!  There was also a horseradish sauce that was creamy and had just enough bite.  My favorite was the peach pear barbecue sauce.  It was sweet and matched perfectly with the char on the grilled meats.

gamekeeper pheasant pot pie

I had the Pheasant Pot Pie.  It was surprisingly good, but I’m not sure everyone would like it as much as I did.  The filling tasted a little “gluey” but it was so flavorful I overlooked the somewhat unpleasant texture.  The pheasant itself was cooked beautifully, and tasted like…wait for it…chicken.  But incredibly flavorful and tender chicken!  The pastry shell was flaky and perfect.  I also loved the accompanying vegetables with just a bit of char on them.  My only real criticism was that the whole dish lacked salt and it wasn’t provided on the table.  That is a bold move on a chef’s part, and in this case the move was the wrong one.  Chefs:  put salt and pepper on your tables.  We won’t think less of you for it.

gamekeeper bison hangar steak

 

Dustin had the Grilled Bison Hangar Steak, served with roasted potatoes and root vegetables.  Honestly, his was a little gamey tasting for me, but it was cooked well.  Again, we found the dish lacked seasoning.   Still, it was an experience.

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My girlfriends and I went back for a visit and it was even better than the first time.  Service was amazing and the food was phenomenal.  Here are some pics we took: