- Mac & Cheese Fest @ Old Winston Social Club
It’s time for my favorite annual Triad food event! This Saturday, Old Winston Social Club hosts its 2017 mac & cheese fest, beginning at 3:30 p.m. The best part — it’s free. This is the sixth year that the Burke Street neighborhood bar (which is sometimes overrun by Wake Forest students on weekend nights) hosts the contest, where locals bring their best mac to compete for cheesy glory. It’s free to the public, which means that if you show up at 3:30 — or a little early, to be safe — you can try a dozen or so different recipes at no cost. Literal heaven.
My sister has earnestly considering flying into town to attend, but the Mac & Cheese Fest always seems to sneak up on me. Don’t let it slip by you, too.
If you’re somehow still hungry the next day, the Porch Kitchen & Cantina is hosting a family-style Friendsgiving; see Facebook for details about both events.
- Honey tasting @ Colony Urban Farm
Chances are that you, like me, have a list of places you’ve been meaning to check out, but never get around to it. And then when you’re presented with free time, you can’t remember any of the ideas you had because you failed to write them down. Don’t beat yourself up — I’ve got you covered.
Colony Urban Farm is arguably the most interesting food-oriented retail space in the city this year. The store offers a pretty wide variety of products, from beekeeping tools to natural soap, but the honey is the real draw. If eating lobster mac & cheese at OWSC wasn’t decadent enough for you, come taste a few of the 30 varieties of honey sold at the store. This is not a drill: Colony Urban Farm offers honey on tap.
If you’re too busy for that, you need to seriously reevaluate your life choices.
Related: If you haven’t been to Black Mountain Chocolate on Trade Street yet, we can’t be friends.
- Eat dessert @ Humble Bee Shoppe
Let’s stick with the sweet end of the spectrum for a moment here, and the whole pollinator-inspired name thing. This West End bakery specializes in cookies, and people bring it up to me constantly. Winston-Salem loves its treats — home of Dewey’s, Krispy Kreme, a chocolate factory, a downtown candy store and more — and Humble Bee fits right in.
The bakery takes gluten-free baking seriously, with separate aprons and utensils used for making flourless items. But unlike some specialty operations in the Triad, that’s not all it does. Whether its fresh flowers on cakes or pumpkin butter macarons, Humble Bee distinguishes itself with beautiful and distinctive products. Maybe that’s part of the reason it has a perfect 5.0 rating on Facebook.
Find more at thehumblebeeshoppe.co.
- Drink a Pretty Boy Croix @ Bar Piña
The latest from John William Tate is still pretty young, but it has already received attention from the venerable Bitter Southerner. Though the out-of-town author mistakenly claims that it’s the first tiki bar in Winston-Salem (let’s acknowledge the recently-defunct Luna Lounge, or even Harry’s Kahuna Tiki Grill in wayyy west Winston), there’s a reason Bar Piña is attracting attention.
Most obviously, Tate. The man behind Tate’s Craft Cocktails and the beloved (but also defunct) Honey Pot brings us a sleek rooftop space with a scintillating draft cocktail menu — a mule, a paloma and sherry limeade — as well as a starting lineup of “cold bevvies.” Take the first cocktail on the menu, for example; where else can you find a drink with Cristal rum, limon verde, sugar, fresh spearmint and the lime La Croix?! Peak hipster achieved.
If that isn’t enough to convince you, search the location tag on Instagram and look at the moody, neon-infused photos, soak in the rooftop vibes or plan what you’ll wear to pose for a selfie in front of the leafy wallpaper.
- Mac & cheese bar @ Small Batch
Yeah, more mac & cheese. Get over it.
I’ll admit to being pretty pissed when I learned that Small Batch Beer Co. has a build-your-own mac & cheese bar.
I text with co-owner Ryan Blain semi-regularly (usually answering his questions about where to eat with his family in Greensboro, since they live in Winston-Salem), so when I showed up at Small Batch for a drink after snagging some first-rate pasta at Quanto Basta, I arrived on a full stomach. I wouldn’t trade experiences — plan a date at QB right now if you haven’t been in a minute — but I did feel mildly betrayed and slightly stupid that I didn’t already know about this miraculous new menu offering.
“You didn’t tell me y’all have a MAC AND CHEESE BAR. Dude,” I texted Blain from my barstool that night.
“Yes sir,” he wrote back. “Because there’s nothing like mac n cheese with pork belly and a beer washed down with a milkshake.”
If anywhere in town was going to do something like this, it’s no surprise that it’s coming from the kitchen at Small Batch. Few places put as much thought into their bar snacks; they’re the best of any brewery in the Triad. (Runner up: Foothills, or Crafted/Preyer and the Porch/Hoots, though those don’t truly count.)
And arguably nobody understands the Instagram-ready angle locally than the purveyors of Burger Batch next door (same team, adjoining space) where a sleek diner and sort of ridiculous milkshakes meet. If you’re trying to be Insta-famous, eat dinner here and then walk to Bar Piña for drinks. Or go ham and knock out everything on this list over the weekend — it would be remarkably cheap, and would definitely make everyone jealous. Even me.