Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eat Here Now - Dining in Lake Lure and Chimney Rock NC

A Birthday Surprise!
I had no idea where we were headed, only that it was a three day getaway planned my husband, Tom  Billotto as a way to celebrate my birthday.
Our travels took us to a beautiful little cabin in the mountanside that surrounds Lake Lure - Sugar Bush cabin was our home away from home for the better part of last week.

While the cabin was beautifully appointed and we could have cooked in - we opted for the most part to dine out exploring lots of little restaurants in the area.

Our first lunch was at Larkin's on the Lake and we sat outside on a deck at water's edge - my burger was great and Tom's blackened fish sandwich equally satisfying - needless to say we made short work of the sweet potato fries that accompanied each sandwich.

That night we ate in - a big salad of mixed greens from Tega Hill Farms we brought along in the cooler served under the stars on the cabin's lower deck.

Next lunch at Medinas Village Bistro on Main Street in Chimney Rock - a hightly recomended spot, everything here is homemade and delicious and we would most certainly go back again. I enjoyed a homemade clam chower with a pressed Cuban sandwich while Tom opted for the fish sandwich special - both very nicely done.

After some exploring and antiquing around town we walked into the Lake Lure Inn and Spa - and enjoyed a slice of history in the gorgeous old lobby. We spent about an hour just looking at the antiques and old magazine aricles framed and on the wall . Built in 1928, these old beautiful walls had a lot of stories to tell and we both thought it would be a fun place to stay next time we are in need of another get away.

This time we opted to come back for dinner and while our plans were to enjoy a drink at the bar and then go into the dining room, we wound up eating at the bar as well enjoying the company of several locals and a very friendly bartender who after hearing it was my birthday, brought a slice of cake with candle for our dessert..
The food was good but the surroundings were even better and the company made for an entertaining evening.

Dinner on Thursday night was the icing on the birthday cake. A gorgeous restaurant and Inn call Esmeralda's. Located just past the little downtown of Chimney Rock, this is another place we would both love to stay sometime.
Dinner was superb - starting with an amuse of a wonton stuffed with cheese and served with a chili sauce; then an order of fried oysters and fried green tomatoes, and a tasty bruschetta with cilantro, tomatoes and slightly spicy chopped peppers atop a two bite toast.
I enjoyed the roast quail and Tom the mountain trout as entree - both perfectly done.



Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Heidi Billotto Cooks - April and May Cooking Classes in Charlotte NC

Anyone can cook,
Let Heidi Billotto show you how to make it Fun!
On the Farm Cooking Classes with
Charlotte Culinary Expert Heidi Billotto
Make plans now to join Mindy and Mark Robinson of Tega Hill Farms and Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto at the farm on Saturday April 27 from 2-6 pm for a fabulous On the Farm cooking class and farm tour!
tega hill
The class will start with an aperitif and an hors d'oeuvre as we begin the fun and fascinating walking tour of this unique farm comprised of hydroponic greenhouses - then we'll settle back among the microgreens for a Springtime Hors D'oeuvre and First Course Cooking Class featuring everything in season at Tega Hill Farms, lots of other local product.
Plus as as added bonus in this class, we'll enjoy a special guest appearance from Sophie Bingley of Pour Olive, an artisanal olive oil shop on East Blvd in Charlotte.
Sophie will bring along a host of current harvest extra virgin olive oils and artisan balsamic vinegars for us to cook with, to taste and to purchase to take home and enjoy.
We'll prepare four different dishes in class and our good friend Josh Villapando from The Sorting Table on 7th in Uptown Charlotte will provide wine tastings for each dish.
The class promises to be a spectacular way to spend a Saturday afternoon.
Class participants will be able to purchase produce and microgreens from the farm while you are there. Wine, olive oil and vinegar will also be available for sale.
Cost is $75 per person - payment by cash, check or credit card
To make your advance reservation, simply email Heidi at and she'll get back to you with the details
in the greenshouse

Cooking ON THE FARM with
Charlotte Culinary Expert, Heidi Billotto
My unique On the Farm Classes are held at various farms in and around Charlotte.
Each starts with a walking Farm Tour and then we settle into the farm kitchen to cook with whatever is in season.
You really just have to experience these classes for yourself, there is indeed something quite special about being on all these local farms...
Class size is limited depending upon the size of the farm. After the farm tour, we cook and eat and drink and you and your fellow classmates can watch or lend a hand if you'd like and together will learn to chop, slice, simmer and saute along the way.
On the Farm classes in April -
Saturday April 27 - Tega Hill Farms Hydroponic greenhouses and microgreens PLUS Sophie Bingley from Pour Olive will be joining us for this class to talk about current harvest extra virgin olives oils and artisan balsamic vinegars with all the great greens at Tega Hill Farms - its going to be spectacular!
2-6 pm. Cost $75
Email Heidi to make your reservations
On the Farm classes in May -
Saturday May 4 -a great alternative way to spend this Saturday if you are not into all the golf taking place in town. Come to class at New Town Farms for a Country Italian theme - featuring Sammy's own recipe for Family Piza night pizza - don't miss it!
11 am - 4 pm. Cost $75
Email Heidi to make your reservations
Saturday May 18 - Windcrest Farm Organics - cooking striaght out of the certified organic greenhouses with whatever Mary has in season! veggie and herb plants will also be available for sale at class. 11 am - 3 pm. Cost $75
Email Heidi to make your reservations
NEW - Saturday May 25 -11 am - 3 pm. At Chester Farms - I am very exicted about this newsest addition to my On the Farm class line up - Chester Farms
produces eggs of all kinds from chicken eggs in a rainbow of colors to quail and duck eggs and we'll be cooking with them all. Taste the difference and enjoy cooking with local eggs!
Cost is $75
Email Heidi to make your reservations
On the Farm classes in June -
NEW DATE - Saturday June 1 - On the Farm at Proffitt Cattle Co, 3-7:30 pm Cost is $75
On the Farm classes in July -
Saturday July 20 - New Town Farms
11 am - 4 pm Cost $75
Never to soon to make your reservations - we'll plan menus as time gets closer and we have a better idea of what is available for harvest.
May At Home with Heidi Cooking Classes
Here's how it works:
May class descriptives follow...
cooking class You and your fellow classmates can watch or lend a hand if you'd like and together will learn to chop, slice, simmer and saute along the way.
It's always a blast! Classes are held at my South Charlotte home in my kitchen. Once you make your reservations I will send out directions to our home,
pat and heidi Wine parings with every dish, recipes packets and wine notes for each class participant. Cost is $65 - $75 per person. Class size is limited - your advance reservations via email gets you on the class list and advance payment confirms your space in class
Tip Top Tapas
Wednesday May 8
6:30-9:30 pm
Cost $65
Tapas in my estimations a fine way to dine for spring and summer - lots of little plate of lots of delicious meats, seafoods, chicken and veggies - all prepared with Spanish spice and flavor. Spanish and South American wines to go with each dish - delish!
Springtime Hors D'oeuvres
Tuesday May 14
6:30-9:30 pm
Cost $65
A whole new menu of Springtime flavors to try out for your next dinner party or the next time you need food to served with cocktails on the patio. Five great hors d'oeuvres -four wine pairings and an aperitif upon arrival.
Grilling out
Sunday May 19
2-5 pm
Cost $65
Come and learn all the ins and outs of cooking out of doors on your backyard grill. We'll do beef, chicken, seafood, veggies and of course my infamous Grilled Krispy Kreme doughuts - wonder what wine Josh will pari with that dessert?