Detox with spices

Often times “spice” is used synonymously with “heat.” Spices are generally used to impart flavors to food, and not all spices are hot. When people refer to spicy food, they are thinking curry, red chili and strong flavors. But the truth is cinnamon and nutmeg are as much as a spice as are cumin and turmeric. There is a reason why spices have been used across cultures for thousands of years. Most spices have some advantages for the body and have been used to treat illnesses, prevent diseases and detox. For example, turmeric is a natural anti septic and Alzheimer’s preventer, while black pepper and curry powder help prevent breast cancer. Continue reading “Detox with spices”

A Christmas Tree family tradition

Escape to the mountains, sit by a cozy fire, bite into a peppermint soufflé and visit a Christmas tree farm. Picture a better Christmas tree family tradition? I recently experienced the perfect weekend holiday-season getaway at the Old Edwards Inn in Highlands, North Carolina. Continue reading “A Christmas Tree family tradition”

Oak Street Cafe

Located off Main Street in downtown Highlands, is a restaurant you will make sure not to miss. A tiny doorway leads you to a staircase to the first floor of Oak Street Cafe where a casual dining room playing Gypsy King music awaits you. A cheerful server greets you and seats you to your table overlooking the most popular street in town.

The menu is deceptive at first. You see is Hummus, Fried Green Tomatoes and Escargot…what is theme here? The menu has traditional American, European and Southern influences but everything is well prepared and authentic to it’s flavors. You order a glass of wine from a carefully selected wine list and contemplate your next move.

In the kitchen is a 25 year old chef who apprenticed with former Executive Chef of Oak Street Cafe, Mark Hibbs. Hibbs was nominated for the Best Chef of South East by Prestigious James Beard Foundation in 2009 and has left his legacy behind at the restaurant.

The signature Mushroom Bisque is acclaimed among the locals so you have to give it a try. Simple, light and flavorful, the mushrooms tease your taste buds while preparing your appetite for greater things to come.

Next is another uncomplicated Apple and Walnut Salad Mixed Greens, with sliced green apples, spiced walnuts, crumbled blue cheese and dried cranberries tossed in a mild vinaigrette. It is the perfect blend of sweet, tangy, smooth and crisp. It feels like the radicchio dressed appropriately for the occasion.

For entree comes Carolina’s favorite Shrimp and Grits. No southern meal goes complete without it so why should you leave before tasting the succulent sauteed shrimp resting on melt-in your-mouth creamy Cheese Grits drizzled with scallions, mushrooms and bacon swimming in a delicate lobster broth.

And if you are still not satisfied with the perfectly cooked dishes so far, the Chicken Kiev will transport you back to a home in Eastern Europe. Stuffed With cheese, Garlic Butter and Herbs Served With Julienne Vegetables and Roasted Potatoes. A chicken breast is stuffed with cheddar cheese, garlic butter and herbs, and fried leaving the meat juicy and tender, with  a gooey cheesy interior that makes it wonderful comfort food.

A sweet ending is a must to round out this meal, so you get oh nothing fancy, just a good old Creme Brulee. It’s made home style and has just the right amount of burned sugar to crack with your spoon and is  just plain delicious.

Oak Street Cafe

332 Main Street, Highlands, NC

828.787.2200