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Giacomo’s

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Giacomo's

Best kept secret in Greensboro, and I have no idea why it’s still a secret.

Counter

This is one of those places where M and I go in expecting to just get lunch and come out with $40 worth of other stuff. You’ve been warned. Giacomo’s has a counter where you can get sandwiches and deli stuff, and also a cold section where you can get quarts of housemade tomato sauce, fresh pasta, etc. They also have a meat counter with meatballs, italian sausage, veal cutlets, etc…

so tasty

No doubt, the stars of the show are the sandwiches though. Let me tell you what you’re looking at in the above picture. On the right you’ve got some house cured prosciutto and other salami. In the middle is a nice slice of provolone. On the left is grilled and pickled eggplant. (This is the very best part of the sandwich. I went through 10-15 eggplants last summer easy trying to replicate this at home.) Some roasted red peppers on the bottom and you have yourself one heck of a sandwich.

If you haven’t been, GO RIGHT NOW!

Menu

Olives

Salamis

Pasta and stuff

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Mosaic Festival – Food and Music

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M and I had a chance to check out Mosaic this year and it was awesome.

Tacos

With vendors representing Palestine, Bhutan, Burma, Vietnam, Korea, the Caribbean, Iraq, the Congo, and others I’m forgetting plus two food trucks, there was a lot of food to try!

Chiba Chiba Dumpling and Taco Corner dishing out the goods.
Trucks

Killer dumplings and Hong Kong sausage from Chiba Chiba
Dumplings

Burmese Banana Cake
Banana Leaves

banana cake

Kabobs, somosas, and Congo-style scotch eggs plus killer pili pili hot sauce
Congo

Hibiscus and Ginger drinks from the Caribbean – pro tip from the Jamaican friend we made, mix the two 50:50.
hibiscus and ginger

Hummus, falafel and some stuffed and fried dumpling from Iraq
Iraq

Strange soda from Korea – awesome tagline!
Milki

Vendors
Vendors

The crowd
Mosiac

All in all it was a lot of fun. Good music too, a Jewish bluegrass band, some singers from Nepal, and one heck of a Bollywood dancer doing his thing. Be sure you’re there next there!

Greensboro Curb Market

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Farmer’s Markets can be unexpected venues for wonderful food. The Ferry Building in San Francisco and The North Market in Columbus, Ohio are two great examples. Greensboro is no different with its Curb Market, located on Yanceyville Street across from the old baseball stadium.

One of the things I love most about the Curb Market is the wide variety of different ethnic foods packed in such a small space. M and I are here every Saturday, wandering from booth to booth and assembling a breakfast as we go. Here’s some of our favorite vendors:

Nora Glanz Bakery

Maker of the wonderful empanadas posted above, Nora is from Argentina. The guava and feta empanadas and the quiches she sells are very good. If you’re going to eat them there, ask her to heat them for you.

Zaytoon
Zaytoon

Zaytoon offers Palestinian and Mediterranean dips, breads and cookies. Their green fava bean dip is ridiculous. It’s lucky if it lasts a day at our house.

African Sister
African Sister

She’s usually selling traditional West African dishes like greens with peanut butter and red beans and rice. She also sells some beignets that look great, but I’ve never tried them. The ginger tea is very sweet and very ginger-y. Great way to wake up your senses.

Laura’s Goodies
Laura's Goodies

Laura’s goodies will make you wish you brought more cash. Both because it’s expensive and because it’s unbelievably good. The french macaroons are eyes-rolling-back-in-your-head yummy, especially the passionfruit-chocolate and lemon verbena-chocolate. Yes, you read that right.

Loaf Bakery
Loaf

Loaf does traditional European breads and pastries. This is my favorite breakfast spot. The focaccia is delicious.

Calico Cheese
Calico cheese

Calico started off as your average small scale cheese producer. Apparently back in the day a Hispanic guy was working for them and convinced them to do some traditional Hispanic cheeses. Fast forward to today and they sell cheese from here to the beach in all the small Hispanic markets. Their queso fresco is great crumbled over tacos and black beans, and while it might not be “ethnic,” I could eat an entire package of their jalepeno skillet cheese.

Get over there and support the local food scene!

Saigon

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I’d read on Yelp that this was one of the best Vietnamese restaurants in Greensboro.

I’d have to agree.  Saigon is on the corner of High Point Rd and Merritt.  Located in a nondescript building, the inside is much nicer than the outside, similar to the experience we had at Seoul Garden.

The menu consisted of mainly noodle and stirfry dishes, with the majority of prices around $11-$13.

We started with the papaya rolls, which were very good.  The Nuoc Mam dipping sauce was nice.  It’s usually a mixture of fish sauce, sugar, chilies, and vinegar.  It hits all the right salty sweet hot tangy notes.

I ordered the Caramelized Pork, which was served with rice and what looks like a chef salad.

The salad was actually full of basil and cilantro leaves though, and was a nice fresh compliment to the saltiness and heat of the pork.  The pork itself was a little tough, but I still enjoyed it.

M ordered the Hot and Sour soup.

This was really similar to Thai Tom Yum Gai soup.  Redolent of lemongrass and fish sauce, the soup was packed with pineapple, chicken and a bunch of other vegetables.  It was really good.  Served with a side of rice, two people could viably split it.

Their lunch menu looked good too, with cheaper prices and some interesting options.

We took the opportunity to cruise through some shopping centers on High Point Rd on the way back and found a couple other ethnic restaurants that we’ll be checking out soon!

 

El Camino Real

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It’s crazy that we haven’t reviewed this place yet, as it’s our favorite Mexican restaurant in Greensboro.

El Camino Real is on Spring Garden across from the Food Lion shopping center and right next to Church’s Chicken.

While the menu features plenty of “Americanized” classics, this places puts out some seriously good tacos, sopes, and tortas too.  I have a hard time not ordering tacos each time we eat there, especially the chorizo and carnitas.  They do a really good job with the chorizo, getting it nice and crispy and not as greasy as some other places.

Another plus is El Camino Real serves horchata.

Horchata is usually a rice-based drink with lots of cinnamon.  They make theirs in house and it is awesome.  Warning, if you try it, you’ll get hooked.

This is another place that makes fresh tortillas.  I’ve decided that I can eat anything and enjoy it if it’s wrapped up in a warm fresh tortilla.  They get the rolls for their tortas from El Mercadito up the street, so those are nice and fresh too.  The owner is actually from El Salvador, so they have papusas on the menu as well, which are pretty solid.

Sorry for the lack of pictures –  all I order are the tacos!  Anyone know some other restaurants in Greensboro that could compete for “Top Taco” ?

Seoul Garden

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Never judge an ethnic restaurant by its cover.

I had driven by Seoul Garden countless times and for whatever reason had never tried it.  Something about the dingy exterior and the Korean BBQ Steakhouse sign had me thinking it would be your basic low-rent, cliche Japanese steakhouse experience.  No sir.  Not Seoul Garden.

This place is far from American-ized and each time I’ve been, there’s been a healthy percentage of Koreans eating there.  Always a reassuring sign.  The lunch menu consists of a number of soups, such as the excellent pork and kimchi soup above, a few rice and noodle dishes, and some bento-box type options like below.  Prices are usually in the $5.99 – $8.99 range, a great deal.

I’ve been three times now and ordered a kimchi soup each time, once with pork and twice with beef short rib.  Even though I want to try other things (like this funky tofu and egg soup) I can’t not order the kimchi soup.  Something about the unctuousness of the long-cooked fatty pieces of beef or pork and the sharpness and heat of the kimchi… Man.  Good stuff.

Typical of Korean restaurants, the meal starts off with banchan – little plates of snacks and condiments.

And typical of banchan, it’s pretty hit or miss.  The funky apple and noodle slaw type stuff in the bottom left is awesome, some of the others are kinda ehh.

They end the meal with a little bowl of what’s basically a cinnamon granita (or cinnamon slushie as my 11 year old sister called it.)  It’s basic and there’s not much to it, but it’s tasty and a nice way to end the meal.

Seoul Garden is on W. Market up the road from Super G mart and some of the other restaurants we’ve tried.

Cleopatra’s Restaurant

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Baba ganouj > hummus.

And if you like either, try Cleopatra’s.  It’s located in the shopping center beside Chipotle, where Basil and Co used to be.  It was recently opened by an Egyptian guy in Greensboro who, according to their website, was inspired by the revolutions in Egypt and wanted to share his culture.

Disclaimer: I think was my first time eating Egyptian.  However, I’ve tried the cuisines from most of the surrounding countries in Africa and around the Mediterranean.  A lot of it was familiar in one form or the other – hummus, baba ganouj, labneh, shwarma, tagines, etc.  Sadly, what were most excited about fell short of our expectations: the pita.  Middle Eastern pita is slightly different than the pita we’re used to.  Instead of flat and dense, it’s more like a warm, delicious whoopie cushion.  Like this .  Visually, it was spot on, however the texture was much tougher and drier than what I’ve had before.  This might just be how Egyptian pita is for all I know.  I still ate it (and M’s.)  Also, it was pretty soon after they opened and they might have still been working out some kinks.

M got a chicken and rice dish that didn’t do much for us.  It was a lot like…chicken and rice.

Neither of us would order that again – not bad, just bland.  The dips and appetizers though were awesome.  Especially that baba ganouj. They claim on the menu that it’s the world’s best. I believe them.