Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2015 - 28


right around here."
Among the dinner offerings is
cornmeal-coated North Carolina
Rainbow Trout, served with a lemoncaper salsa and a side of creamy
polenta. Upscale? Perhaps. But
Wendy and Ken warn, "This is not
haute cuisine."
However you label it, Gamekeeper
food has attracted a loyal following
in this part of North Carolina. We
were there on a bitterly cold January
night, and the place was completely
The GamekeepeR has a Boone addRess,
BuT iT's aCTually CloseR To BlowinG
RoCk, noRTh CaRolina. The addRess is
3005 shull's mill Road.
828-963-7400; GamekeepeR-nC.Com

Louisiana Flavors in Ski Country

C├║rate Chef katie Button brings spanish flavors to asheville.

Now he's moved from fast-food
fries to twice-baked potatoes stuffed
with Stilton and goat cheeses.
Wendy has taken a time-tested
chow-chow recipe and sparked it
with a liberal sprinkling of cumin
and other spices from India.
"She's always slipping in Asian
things," Ken interjects.
"We have a good time. We're not
real serious," Wendy adds.
For a special Halloween dinner
one year, they crafted eyeballs out
of radishes and stuffed them with
olives and formed mashed-potato
ghosts with black-bean eyes and
sun-dried tomato devil horns.
A stuffed pheasant peers over
the stone fireplace in this 1920s
residence and former girls' camp

that was converted into a restaurant in the mid-1980s, but the
game theme is only one part of the
restaurant's offerings.
Ken and Wendy grill as many
vegetables over that hickory fire as
they do meats, and they use as
much locally grown, organic produce as possible. A grower in Lenoir
sells them oyster, chanterelle and
Hen of the Woods mushrooms, and
it's not unusual for locals to come
in with baskets they have foraged
on the mountainsides.
Wendy and Ken call their fare
"modern mountain cuisine."
"Our first season, we got ramps
from Chicago," recalls Wendy.
"Now, come June, we use them in
everything, and they're all picked

Ken and Wendy grill as many vegetables
over that hickory fire as they do
meats, and they use as much locally
grown, organic produce as possible.

Diners disagree about first impressions at Louisiana Purchase Food and
Spirits in Banner Elk, North Carolina.
Which is more welcoming, the
engaging staff or the alluring aromas
from the kitchen?
Building on the wave of popularity of Cajun and Creole cookery,
Louisiana Purchase first fired up its
ovens back in 1984. The spirited cuisine of south Louisiana has been
served in the North Carolina high
country ever since.
Skiers fresh off the Western North
Carolina slopes warm up with bowls
of chicken and Andouille sausage
Mumbo Gumbo and sherry-laced
shrimp bisque. Although the
Louisiana Purchase menu changes
by the season, a constant feature is
Barbecue North Carolina Shrimp
with a spicy sherry and herb butter
sauce, on an Andouille sausage and
cheddar grit cake.
The lively flavors of Louisiana
come together in the restaurant's
Creole Jambalaya, also a menu constant, featuring rice, shrimp,
chicken, crawfish, Andouille sausage, all baked in a creole sauce.
Louisiana Purchase Food and
Spirits has earned several Wine
Spectator awards over the years and
currently offers 14 wines by the
glass, using a Cruvinet wine pre-


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Blue Ridge Country - May/June 2015