Spoonfed (Raleigh)

Mark Petko photographs Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill's culinary scene.

Archive for the ‘Downtown Raleigh’ Category

Mandolin | Raleigh NC | Chef Sean Fowler

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All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here to request permission)

Tilefish, Hot and Sour Consommé, Eggplant Croquettes, Seabeans, Broccoli, Lotus Root

All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here to request permission)

Mandolin

2519 Fairview Road

Raleigh, NC 27608

919.322.0365 (reservations)

www.mandolinraleigh.com (link)

I had been itching to visit Mandolin to shoot for some time now, ever since first hearing about their opening.  The desire started early on by following their twitter account @MandolinNC last fall.  They wisely chose to begin collecting a following before opening and tempted all of us with some construction photos during the progress of renovating their space, which I’ll have to say, is very tastefully  done.  When mixing brick floors, pine paneled walls and multiple fixture details with flower topped, white linen tables and ivory upholstered chairs the result is comfortably sophisticated.  This aesthetic seems in-line with the presentation of Chef Sean Fowler’s dishes, ‘Down Home’ enough to not alienate the average diner yet skillfully elevated enough to create a unique experience.  A native son to Raleigh, Mandolin is Fowler’s debut restaurant after polishing his skills at multiple heavyweight restaurants, most recently with a stint at Pittsboro’s Fearrington House.

Through speaking with Sean during the shoot, I found his passion for food obvious, not only in his descriptions to me about menu items like an ever changing trio of sorbets based on what ever is in season but with minor details on the finishing touches like the use of begonia petals as garnish that not only add beautiful color but a bright punch of flavor to the most recent Gray Snapper dish (seen below).  Fowler also supports his local vendors as he promotes the use of local ingredients with a chalkboard list of recently acquired goods alongside the farms they came from displayed next to the hosting station as you enter the space.

In addition to Mandolin’s regular fare they are also open for weekend brunch Saturdays and Sundays 11am-2:30pm as well as offering Wine Tastings on Wednesdays from 6pm-7pm with wine director Charles Kirkwood.

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Grilled Shrimp, Watermelon, Cucumber, Cous Cous, Cilantro

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Pan Seared Gray Snapper, Grilled Cucumbers, Herbed Hominy, Muscadine Grapes, Caper Berries, Preserved Lemon

detail from above: (shot with smart phone): cucamelon, also called pepquiño, mouse melon, Mexican sour gherkin, and sandía de ratón.

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Fig Pudding, Brown Butter Cake, Lavender-Black Pepper Tuile, Sage, Orange Sherbet

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Chef Chris Malito expedites the pass

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August 16th, 2012 at 8:51 am

Capital Club 16 | Raleigh NC | Chef Jake Wolf

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Skillet Mac and Cheese-Blended Vermont white cheddar, Gouda, and Jarlsberg, Bratwurst, Roasted Spring Squash. W/Market Greens and Fruit.

With his long locks all a’shagged by his commute, a sleepy ride, Johnny swaggered in wearing black and white checkerboard scoots.  He took an initial look over my equipment strewn all across his one year old restaurant and mumbled something excitedly in a foreign language that I could not comprehend.  I could tell he was intrigued as to what was going on.  I sensed he wanted to investigate without apprehension, yet hesitated, as if he somehow knew he was being watched.  He acted nonchalant as he passed me to the kitchen.  Immediately, I could tell his presence was felt by the others there that day.  As Johnny  appeared on the other side, I heard Chef Jake Wolf’s greeting and praise from behind the glass block and pulled curtain that separates the kitchen from the dining room.  Certain restaurateurs just carry themselves in a way that demands notice when entering a room and it was then obvious to me that Johnny was one of those men.

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As she introduced herself, Shannon Wolf, who made a point to always be no more than a step or two away from Johnny during his inspection of the restaurant, even took her affiliation a bit further as she donned a necklace with his name scrolled in smooth, shiny gold.  Her style didn’t seem one for flashy jewelry especially considering her background in the fashion industry but it showed true devotion towards her partner in the restaurant.  Her taste shows gracefully as she designed much of the environment we were in, making sure to appreciate the architectural structure but also utilizing it as a canvas to reinforce a classy, non-kitschy, immigrant populated, Americana.  Just the right amount of bric-a-brac hangs and sits paying homage to family, sport, and a little rock and roll.  Small jars of flowers accent the marble and wood tables.  It truly feels like a warm and familiar establishment out of the late 1800′s or early 1900′s, rustic yet polished.  She shook my hand yet shifted attention as Johnny re-entered the temporary photo-studio, atop a red antique scooter.  The boss rolls like that.  He took another look at me and all my gear and I could just feel his inquisitive ‘need’ to touch everything.  He stood up and scanned the room before giving me one last check, from toe to head.  I could tell he was about to step in and really engage me as to ‘why the heck, who the heck, and what the heck are you’ but luckily a slight turn of his head revealed a more desirable target.  He was distracted by some of the plates of food that we had been working to capture before his arrival, upon which, one had a softened lump of vanilla ice cream.   To him my presence vanished as the allure of a mid-day treat of cold, sweet cream consumed him.  He pointed, looked at Shannon and again verbalized something that I didn’t understand verbatim, although I grasped the meaning of his message considering the context.  I too, turn to melt in the presence of ice cream.

“Would you like some?”  Shannon asked as she led her 18 month old son to sit at a table not too far from our production.  As they sat and enjoyed a simple pleasure I continued with my work, occasionally glancing in their direction and meeting eyes with the tyke, content in sweet bliss, ice cream all over his face.  He would look my direction periodically, still curious but just a little less considering his current status, as if to say “I’m busy now…but I’ll get back to you…a little later…” Johnny, owner, ice cream eater.

Capital Club 16

16 W. Martin St.

Raleigh, NC 27601

919.747.9345

www.capitalclub16.com (link)

All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here to request permission)

i got photo-bombed

Capital Club 16 has just recently celebrated their first year anniversary of being open for business, yet Chef Wolf’s culinary experience goes back much further.  From and early start in North Carolina, a middle, traveling thru Atlanta, Germany, and New York, the Wolf’s decided to live the next chapter moving closer to home in Raleigh, to open Capital Club 16 and to focus on the raising of a family.  It becomes clear, ‘the importance of family’ to the Wolf’s.  For a chef based in New York to leave such a food heavy town and open a restaurant in Raleigh would be like a country musician in Nashville taking his twang to ‘make it’ in Jamaica.  Yet, it only took a few moments speaking with Jake before I realized his success will not be tethered to a specific geographic location.  He greeted me at the bar near the front door at the tail end of a lunch service.  As we discussed the process and specific dishes to shoot he would periodically interrupt the discussion as he opened the door and thanked every customer upon their exit of sharing a meal.  He makes mention of some of the background of his upbringing, coming from a family of cooks and food industry entrepreneurs.  He describes how some of the dishes are based on family recipes from both his and his wife’s sides.  He encourages me to visit the wall of photographs that pay homage to this background.  He describes his menu as Classic American but in that definition is the realization that old world influences are through and through as in any one’s American heritage.  So it all seems to fit, the food on the menu, weighted with German influences but open to others, paying homage to simplicity.  The decor that places one in a mindset of an earlier time, and the importance of family, which at the foundation is how one is treated and the reason for Capital Club 16′s existence.

All content ©Mark Petko Photography (click here to request permission)

Check Out Our Sister Site ‘Your Kitchen Camera’ to learn how to photograph food.

Although the vibe at Capital Club 16 roots itself in tradition that’s not to say it disregards modern Americana.  During the day it’s easy to find a business casual lunch crowd that commuted by foot from offices downtown and at night, as the workday tempers, the ties come off as young professionals get relaxed and enjoy an evening on the town.  The menu, has many selections and specials that stem from what is fresh and local from the market and artisanal such as the often delivered Schaller & Webber meats.  They also keep modern with their options based on some of Shannon’s vegetarian diet influences.

Garden Sandwich- Vermont cheddar, butter lettuce, spinach, tomato, avocado, red onion, red beets and paprika aioli on French Country

mmmmm.....Spaten....

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The Butcher Plate w/Schaller & Webber Artisanal Sausages and Meats: Mixed Grilled Sausages, smoked pork chop, griddled belly w/ sauerkraut, hand cut spaetzle and gravy, sauteed apples and house mustard

Check Out Our Sister Site ‘Your Kitchen Camera’ to learn how to photograph food.

Right around the same time as their one year anniversary, Capital Club 16 won your vote as “Best New Restaurant” Wake County in the yearly Indy Poll.  It would seem that as they have made Raleigh their home and invited you as a part of their family, we have accepted, graciously.

You voted..."Best New Restaurant, Wake County, 2011"

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August 1st, 2011 at 2:15 pm

Downtown Raleigh Apiary Project | Market Restaurant | Chad McIntyre

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All content © 2011 Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)

“Getting on the roof…it’s easy.” He says, then wears upon his face a grinning ‘expression of uncertainty’ that doesn’t necessarily reinforce the words.  ”You can watch how I do it.”

Chad McIntyre, chef/owner of Market Restaurant in Raleigh rounds the corner with a twelve foot aluminium extension ladder and places it on the front side of the building, right at the demarcation line between the awnings of his restaurant and his cooperative neighbor’s business, Escazu Chocolates.  A few clanks sound as he extends the ladder to maximum reach just below the gutter, a few inches short of my comfort zone learned from years of working with my father as an electrician.  He climbs to the top and lays the torso of his body flat on the roof, legs removed from the ladder, dangling over the edge, and finally spins them in a half-shimmy-roll to safety.  I stare up the ladder to an empty sky…pause…and am suddenly thrown back to the feeling of being a kid, hanging out with friends, being the last one to attempt some ridiculous feat that I’m for certain is not ‘Mother approved’.  A quick inhale, and a reassuring speech to myself, “Here you go ass.  You asked for this.” and up the ladder I go.  As I get to the top Chad lends a hand catching camera equipment for easier maneuvering of my very own virgin half-shimmy-roll attempt.  ”You can hold on to the gutter,” he says with confidence, not knowing that I’ve watched my fair-share of ‘America’s Funniest Videos‘ fully aware of the possible…and likely outcome.  As I reach the top most rung on the ladder, it wobbles from side to side as if it were made of licorice, nicely softened by the already 85° sun.  I ponder what my past experience has taught me; that the issues ever encountered while climbing a ladder ‘up’ are two-fold, if not more, for the journey down.  ”Almost there” I think to myself, “one more maneuver and you will be that much closer to being trapped on a roof…in the middle of summer…with a swarm of bees.  Great idea, Mark! and why are you doing this?”…

a’ Just Bee Cause.  The Downtown Raleigh Apiary Project.

All content © 2011 Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)

Chef Chad and the other’s at Market Restaurant in collaboration with beekeeper Ben “Mr. Buzz” Crawley and with the help of their neighbors Escazu Chocolates are looking to expand their bee hive project in Downtown Raleigh.  Since the recent tornado in Downtown Raleigh demolished one of their two bee hives,  Chad is hoping to add up to 5 more boxes to increase the amount of bees. In keeping with Market Restaurant’s mission of serving whole, all natural, unprocessed foods from local sources, the expansion of their bee hive project will not only provide them (and Escazu) with great product with which to create edible masterpieces but they also plan on participating in educational programs that show the importance of local bee keeping.  They hope to offer insights to interested educational groups and eventually have a live camera feed so that anyone can view what there bees are up to at any given moment.  Their bee hive project will play a major roll in the local ecology due to the bees ability to pollinate.  Since they began they have already been informed of an increase in activity and hope to possibly play a role when the Raleigh City Farm project takes shape a few blocks away.  Chad hopes to eventually make this project into a full CSApiary (Community Supported) in which members can opt in at certain levels to gain rewards such as honey and access to special dinner events.

To raise awareness of not only their project but also to educate the public on the importance of bees, Market Restaurant is hosting a FREE screening of the documentary film covering the current issues of the ‘Vanishing of the  Bees’ this Wednesday, July 27th with Live Music from The Saucy Crawtails.  Event starts at 6pm and the film shows at 9:15pm.  Chef Chad will be providing some honey-centric dishes and beverages to coincide with the event.

ALSO: In hopes raise money for the project Market has opened a fund raising page on Kickstarter (HERE).  There is a deadline ending this Friday, July 29th, 10:12PM EST.  If Market does not reach it’s ultimate fundraising goal of $2,800 then they will have to forfeit anything pledged below that amount.  One can donate any amount but there are also some rewards for certain donations, including Escazu Chocolates, jars of honey, and tickets to a Special Bee Dinner.

All content © 2011 Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)

Here is a quick and easy recipe from Chef Chad that he uses in the restaurant that uses some of his rooftop honey.

All content © 2011 Mark Petko Photography (click here for permission)

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Crumb | Raleigh

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Hogwash hickory smoked porter chocolate cake, cherries, and chocolate buttercream.

Crumb

Raleigh, NC

info@justcrumb.com

919.413.8134

www.justcrumb.com (link)

I’ve been itching to get these guys ‘on the books’ for some time now.  Crumb features the creations of Carrie Nickerson and David Menestres who currently do not have a brick and mortar location but have been gaining much notoriety as of late, supplying upon order, many options for cakes, cupcakes, muffins, pies, and other delights.  I was able to get this shot due to a new offering that they have in conjunction with Escazu.  It seems every Thursday Escazu will be offering slices of a Crumb-made cake using Escazu chocolate.  Get some details here on their blog.  This particular trifecta includes Fullsteam’s Hogwash hickory smoked porter, that’s right Crumb, Escazu and Fullsteam in one bite.

Escazu website

Fullsteam website

We’ve Moved!  Check out the updated website with new coverage of food photography in your city at The Spoon Feeds.com