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Old 07-02-2017, 11:38 AM   #1
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Dinner at Chef and the Farmer, Kinston, NC

I thought this would be a good place to describe the wonderful dinner we had at Chef & the Farmer Friday night. The chef, Vivian Howard, and her husband, Ben Knight, have a documentary/cooking show on PBS called A Chef's Life, about the making of the restaurant, and its sister the Boiler Room Oyster Bar. She uses traditional ingredients from eastern North Carolina in innovative ways, supporting local farmers and participating in the rebirth of Kinston, where she grew up.

We started with cocktails. I had an Esoteric Monk with Absolut Citron, lemon, egg whites, Jägermeister, and jalapeño simple syrup. So good! DH had a vodka tonic with a twist of lime.
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We shared the appetizers. DH ordered the Tom Thumb, which is an old-timey recipe for spicy pork sausage stuffed into the appendix. They slice it and grill it on the flat top. It was served with a cabbage pancake, shredded cooked apples and a drizzle of Duke's mayo. It has a funky flavor that took me some getting used to, but DH loved it from the first bite.
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I ordered the chilled sweet corn soup with pickled shrimp, basil chili oil and chervil. It was creamy and corny with a pop from the shrimp. Really good.
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For mains, DH ordered North Carolina flounder served with stewed tomatoes, charred okra and squash and basil pesto. He thought he didn't like okra till he tried this
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I ordered the pork chop. It was cooked to medium - nice and juicy, yum - with great charred flavor on the outside. It was served with braised carrots, charred green beans (picked a little too late, my only quibble - they were tough) and a delicious blueberry mostarda.
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We decided to go to the Boiler Room Oyster Bar, their more casual restaurant across the street, to have a savory finish instead of dessert.

Nightcaps: I ordered My Pear Lady with St. Germain and pear purée. I don't think I've ever had St. Germain before. I loved it 😍 DH had some kind of IPA
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DH got a dish called the Rooster from the oyster bar. House-made pork rinds topped with house-made tartar sauce, spicy cocktail sauce, a steamed oyster and a pickled jalapeño pepper. I tried one and it was really good.
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And finally, I had the Southern Poutine with pulled pork, brown gravy and cheddar cheese curds over the fries, and a vinegary dipping sauce. Yum yum yum
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Highly, highly recommended. We will be back next year, maybe in August or September to see what they offer during another part of the season.

For more info:
- http://www.achefslifeseries.com/

- http://www.achefslifeseries.com/recipes/

- http://www.vivianhoward.com/deep-run-roots/[/
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:01 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
I thought this would be a good place to describe the wonderful dinner we had at Chef & the Farmer Friday night. The chef, Vivian Howard, and her husband, Ben Knight, have a documentary/cooking show on PBS called A Chef's Life, about the making of the restaurant, and its sister the Boiler Room Oyster Bar. She uses traditional ingredients from eastern North Carolina in innovative ways, supporting local farmers and participating in the rebirth of Kinston, where she grew up.
[/
Wow, wow, WOW!!!
GG, I love Miss Vivian, her food looks so inviting. A big leap from what our household is use to eating, but I do like North Carolina's cuisine.
I'm with your husband, I never thought that I'd like Okra, until I had "Southern" food, YUM!!!
What a special treat, I'm so jealous.
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Old 07-02-2017, 02:04 PM   #3
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Sounds like great meals and a lovely night out.
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Old 07-02-2017, 03:30 PM   #4
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Looks like you had a fabulous time!
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Old 07-02-2017, 03:54 PM   #5
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It all looks wonderful! I'm glad you guys had such a great Christmas...and on my kind of schedule, too! I'm a good one for Christmas in July.

Looking at the photos before the caption, at first glance I thought the flounder might have been pork belly. Hmm, wrong. I also thought your chop was breaded and baked. Turns out that was grilled? Wrong again. Going to exit this thread before I'm called out on strikes.
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:15 PM   #6
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Thanks for taking us along GG. How I wish I could have actually been there!!
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:26 PM   #7
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It all looks wonderful, GG!
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:46 PM   #8
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Nice. Fabulous, actually.
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Old 07-02-2017, 04:57 PM   #9
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I love that show! I really like how they show both the good and bad in the restaurant and personal lives. I find it so interesting that with her background that she would end up back in Kinston, but it seems like she's really made a great go of it.
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Old 07-02-2017, 05:26 PM   #10
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I love that show! I really like how they show both the good and bad in the restaurant and personal lives. I find it so interesting that with her background that she would end up back in Kinston, but it seems like she's really made a great go of it.
Thanks, all! It was great fun.

Bakechef, did you know she worked at WD-40 with Wylie Dufresne when she was in New York? I'm sure she picked up some amazing tips from him.

They seem to be doing really well. You have to make a reservation at least a month or six weeks in advance. The restaurant is beautiful inside, with Ben's paintings on most of the walls.

There are barstools overlooking the flat top and part of the prep area (not ingredient prep - I guess it would be garde manger). I think we'll reserve seats there next time, so we can watch the action more closely
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Old 07-02-2017, 05:27 PM   #11
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CG, it was "grilled" on the flat top grill, so I guess it's more like pan-seared without a pan
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Old 07-02-2017, 05:29 PM   #12
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Thanks, all! It was great fun.

Bakechef, did you know she worked at WD40 with Wylie Dufresne? I'm sure she picked up some amazing tips from him.

They seem to be doing really well. You have to make a reservation at least a month or six weeks in advance. The restaurant is beautiful inside, with Ben's paintings on most of the walls.

There are barstools overlooking the flat top and part of the prep area (not ingredient prep - I guess it would be garde manger). I think we'll reserve seats there next time, so we can watch the action more closely
No I did not, that's pretty interesting.

We'll have to try it sometime. We rarely head east, but this sounds like it would be worth it. It's still surprising that it does so well, all the way out in Kinston, not near any big towns, it's awesome!
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