Dining in The King’s Kitchen (recipe: Southern Pimento Cheese with Lavash Crackers)

by Julie Ruble on December 5, 2010 · 104 comments

I was floored to find out that, because of your votes, I was not only 1 of only 12 blogs to move on to round 9 of Project Food Blog, but was also Readers’ Choice! FLOORED. Thank you times a million for your amazing support! Challenge #9 was to write a restaurant review. After telling you about my head-on collision with the homelessness epidemic in San Francisco, I heard about The King’s Kitchen and its mission to “feed the hungry and heal the brokenhearted.” Please read my review below and consider supporting me in this round! VOTING IS NOW OPEN! Please sign in to your Foodbuzz.com account (or register if you don’t already have one). Then go to my official entry here and vote by clicking the heart next to the words “Vote for this Entry.” I’d be so grateful for your continued support.

Dorothea sat across from me, a child of God in the kitchen of the King, and wore a sweet grin on her face, though she was recounting times in her life that were anything but happy. She described herself as a character, and you could see by the way she lit up her coworkers’ faces that it was true. She’s worked her way up from dishwasher to prep cook at The King’s Kitchen, a new restaurant in uptown Charlotte, but what she was remembering during our conversation were the times before she had this opportunity — darker days of her life.

“I was wild, a troublemaker,” she said, and “it was a hard struggle to get back. People do make mistakes, and when you want to do what’s right, it’s hard because [jobs] look at your background, not realizing that we all make mistakes.” But The King’s Kitchen, a restaurant that donates 100% of its profits to help feed the hungry and employs workers others might consider “unemployable,” recognized that all she needed was an opportunity.


After my first anonymous visit to the restaurant, I returned to get to know some of its amazing staff. From L to R: Dorothea, Sous Chef Sam Stachon, and my fantastic server, Charity.

When we got up so that I could take a photograph of Dorothea, she pulled Sous Chef Sam Stachon along with her, saying affectionately, “I want a picture with my chef, my chef.” Her words seemed to communicate a particular emotion to me, but I reflected on them all night before finally recognizing what it was: acceptance. The King’s Kitchen is a family, and Dorothea is — as she deserves to be — a beloved member.

* * * *

Restaurants are part of the broader hospitality industry — but what does hospitality mean in the world today? In America? In my city, in my neighborhood, in my heart? Does it mean good food, attentive service, a comfortable seat, a cordial smile? Maybe all of those things, but even more than that, hospitality carries with it a deeper sense of welcome. It’s an opening of one’s space and talents, an expression of love, and a willingness to serve. As Dorothea’s story illustrates, both the staff and the customers have found hospitality in The King’s Kitchen.


The King’s Kitchen

The ninth (!) challenge of Project Food Blog is to write a restaurant review — something that’s never happened on Willow Bird Baking! Especially after listening to the judges talk about exploring the “folklore of the meal,” I felt inspired to resist the traditional tone of restaurant reviews. The point of this blog is not to write to you from an expert standpoint — it’s to talk to you, one home cook to another, and to tell you my stories.

A WBB style restaurant review will tell you, first off, about a place that touched my heart — and I hope you’re already seeing how The King’s Kitchen did just that. Second off, a review here will tell you about my honest, individual experience with the food a restaurant served and the atmosphere they created. Finally, it just wouldn’t be a Willow Bird Baking post without a recipe. Sous Chef Sam Stachon gave me one of my favorite King’s Kitchen recipes to make at home and share with you: Southern Pimento Cheese with Lavash Crackers.

The Food:


One of my favorite dishes: Fried Flounder with Butter Beans, Macaroni and Cheese, and Coleslaw

The King’s Kitchen serves comfort food that amplified, for me, the feeling of hospitality. Every dish became an allusion to something in my past, some memory of home or family. I sampled biscuits, cornbread, one appetizer, three entrées, six side dishes, and two desserts in all. And apart from feeling a little humiliated to have just admitted that on the internet, I had a fantastic experience.

The Fried Flounder, for instance, had a light and flavorful breading and was served with a tangy, house-made tartar sauce with capers. Another entrée, Aunt Beaut’s Fried Chicken, transported me to the Fridays in high school when my dad would bring fried chicken by my summer job as a special lunch. It was juicy, crisp, and nestled next to a bank of corn and perfectly flavored collard greens.


Aunt Beaut’s Fried Chicken with Collard Greens, Macaroni and Cheese, and Corn

The Shrimp and Grits were unexpected. They had a more intense tomato flavor and were lighter than a typical spicy andouille sausage incarnation. As Mike and I ate this dish, I remembered Charleston and cobblestones, buying a bouquet of flowers from a peddler in the night — flowers I still have tucked away somewhere. Mike enjoyed the dish more than I did, but we both agreed that there didn’t seem to be a way to go too wrong when choosing anything on the menu. Everything felt like home.


Shrimp and Grits

Other odds and ends at our table were also impressive. The biscuits were fluffy and make-your-knees-buckle good when slathered with the housemade strawberry jam. The veggie side items were all fresh and perfectly seasoned. And one of my favorites, the pimento cheese on housemade lavash crackers, reminded me of many a fond moment spent devouring pimento cheese from a spoon over my sink — except it was handmade and had a much better flavor than the sort from a plastic tub.


Odds and Ends (from top L, going clockwise): Pimento Cheese and Lavash Crackers, Biscuits with fresh housemade Jam, Butter Beans and Macaroni and Cheese, and Aunt Beaut’s Chicken and Collard Greens

Finally, the dessert options at The King’s Kitchen are exciting and varied. My pet peeve about some restaurant dining is that many a restaurant neglects the dessert menu, offering pedestrian dishes that are meant to appease rather than delight. Dessert is important, y’all, and The King’s Kitchen boasted plenty of it: Banana Pudding with housemade vanilla wafers, Coconut Chess Pie, Deep Dish Apple Pie, Pecan Pie, Chocolate Pie, and Aunt Esther’s Brown Sugar Pound Cake.

Mike and I come from families with legendary banana pudding recipes, so we were a bit biased. We found the Banana Pudding with toasted marshmallow topping a little too sweet and would’ve loved more wafers. The Coconut Chess Pie, however — which was made by Dorothea herself! — was a work of art with a flaky crust and a dense, coconut filling.


Banana Pudding (top row) and Coconut Chess Pie (bottom)

The Atmosphere:

The food was matched by the exceptional, warm service and comfortable atmosphere. Matt, our first server, was always ready with recommendations or a refill of the best fountain soda everrr (side note: hurray for fantastic fountain drinks). When I returned alone to meet some of the staff, Charity was equally attentive and kind.

More than just the servers’ personalities, though, the mission of the restaurant creates its environment. Even as you sit in the beautifully appointed dining room with lovely upholstered booths, a glossy bar, and, now, a shining Christmas tree, there’s a sense that you’re not the center of the universe, but part of a broader community — a web of people who have and have not, people of all races and classes, and people who are necessarily interdependent. In addition to enjoying the nostalgic food, I so appreciated the opportunity to be a part of something bigger than myself.

Pocket-Sized Review:


  • Location: 129 W Trade St #100, Charlotte, NC 28202-5305; on the web; or by phone: (704) 375-1990 ‎
  • Hours: Lunch is served Monday through Friday, 11 am-2:30 pm; Dinner is served Monday through Saturday, 5 pm until
  • Cuisine: Southern soul food (lunch menu; dinner menu)
  • Price Range: Dinner appetizers: $4-13, Dinner sandwiches: $8-13, Dinner entrées: $12-24, Desserts: $7.5
  • Favorite Picks: Aunt Beaut’s Fried Chicken, Collard Greens, Fried Flounder, and Coconut Chess Pie
  • Cool Notes: The King’s Kitchen donates 100% of its profits to feed the homeless, and also employs and trains members of society who others may consider “unemployable.”
  • Dress: Casual
  • Parking: Parking is relatively easy to find. We parked in a lot just behind the restaurant on Trade Street that was $6-7 for evening parking. There are also metered spaces nearby.
  • Overall Willow Bird Baking Rating: 4.5 out of 5 spoons

If you’d like to enjoy a little bit of The King’s Kitchen in your own home, whip up some homemade pimento cheese and lavash crackers. The recipe below is simple and satisfying.

What small choice could you make to show hospitality to someone today?


The King’s Kitchen Pimento Cheese and Lavash Crackers — this time made in my own kitchen!

Southern Pimento Cheese with Lavash Crackers



Recipe by: Adapted from The King’s Kitchen
Yield: about 4 servings of crackers, about 2 cups of pimento cheese

Lavash Cracker Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon dry active yeast
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled
1/3 to 1/2 cup room temperature water
water for misting

Southern Pimento Cheese:
2 cups extra sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 cup gouda, shredded
1/2 cup roasted red peppers, diced (I used half pimentos)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:
Make the lavash crackers: Sprinkle yeast into 1/3 cup room temperature water to dissolve for 5 minutes. It should start to foam a bit. Combine this yeast mixture, flour, salt, honey, and melted butter in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine into a ball. You can add up to 1/4 cup more water if needed, but add the smallest amount needed.

Flour your counter and knead the dough on the counter for 10 minutes until it has medium firmness, is not tacky at all, and is supple enough to stretch if you pull it. Place the kneaded dough into an oiled bowl, cover it, and place it in a draft-free area for around 90 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray the counter with cooking spray and transfer the dough onto it. Roll it out until it’s paper thin, stretching the corners periodically, and about 15 x 12 inches, so it’ll fit on a sheet pan. Stop every now and then to allow the gluten to relax if needed. Let it relax for 5 minutes once finished rolling, then transfer it carefully onto a baking sheet. Trim any excess that falls over the side of the pan with scissors.

At this point, you can mist your sheet of dough with water and coat it with sesame seeds, black sesame seeds, cayenne pepper (go easy!), cumin, poppy seeds, or scores of other fun things.

Bake for 13-20 minutes, watching carefully to ensure your crackers don’t burn (full disclosure: I was distracted and some of mine did!), before pulling them out and letting them cool on the pan for 10 minutes. Break them into shards.

Make the pimento cheese: Mix everything together in a bowl. Allow to chill for at least 20 minutes or so for the flavors to meld before serving. Sprinkle with fresh cheddar shreds to serve (and serving on lettuce is a nice touch).


Lavash Crackers with various toppings

P.S. One blog I love is Evangitality, where Kamille charges herself to share the love of Christ (with her family and others) through hospitality. Go see and be inspired!

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{ 103 comments… read them below or add one }

Katie Dean December 5, 2010 at 6:46 pm

I have never had pimento cheese, but just looking at that ingredient list, I will be making it now!
Congratulations on your advancement. The story of The King’s Kitchen of of the employee you interviewed is so touching.
If and when I find myself in NC that’s where I will be heading.

Thank you for your review. It was wonderful.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Thank you, Katie! It really was an amazing place.

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spabettie December 5, 2010 at 6:48 pm

this looks wonderful… I have always LOVED pimento cheese and it’s one of my favorite things to make for gatherings.

I loved your review! congrats on making it this far and you have my vote this time as well! :D

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 5, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Thank you! I’m SUCH a pimento cheese fan, as well!

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June g. December 5, 2010 at 6:58 pm

I just read that you’re in NC. Me too:) moyock isn’t tooooo far from Charlotte.
The king’s kitchen looks yummy!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 5, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Thanks, June! Fun — we’re neighbors!

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Dmarie December 5, 2010 at 7:29 pm

great pics and love your descriptions. Signed up on FoodBuzz just so I could VOTE for you. Congrats, well deserved!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Thank you SO much Dmarie!! I so appreciate it!

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Meggie Wallace December 5, 2010 at 7:51 pm

Yay for advancing!! I am so happy! I mean, your cake of doom looked amazing, so you know…
I have been voting every round for you, and am so happy :3

This is a wonderful review!!! I want a big ol’ hunk of that coconut chess pie, and some of that mac n cheese about now…. ;p

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

THANK YOU, Meggie! I want more of that mac and cheese right now, myself!

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Hot Polka Dot's Mom December 5, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Julie, I applaud your decision to profile such a worthy venture as the King’s Kitchen and the people associated with it. Food touches many aspects of life, from basic sustenance to nourishing the soul. Well done.

Judy

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

I love the way you put that, Judy! So true! Thank you!

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Kamille December 7, 2010 at 1:41 pm

I like that Judy!

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Jennifer December 6, 2010 at 3:17 am

Love it! I love restaurants that have wonderful stories like that. There are too many places where servers, cooks, etc are ‘just employees’. There needs to be more “family like” places like this!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Thank you so much, Jennifer! I agree!

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Sherry December 6, 2010 at 8:07 am

I did not know of this restaurant and I am only in Gastonia. This is a wonderful idea and I can’t wait to go there. Thanks so much for sharing the story and I look forward to helping you WIN the foodblog challenge!
Sherry

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 6:27 pm

Thank you so much, Sherry!! I hope you’ll enjoy it!

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amelia from Z Tasty Life December 6, 2010 at 11:02 am

Congrats on making readers’ choice! This is a thoughtful choice: what a special place. I also like the pocked-sized review and the recipe addition.
(This draft is my would-be review: http://tinyurl.com/2cvfm7q)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 11:04 am

Thank you so much, Amelia! Can’t wait to see your review.

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PJ Mullen December 6, 2010 at 11:18 am

Congrats on the advancement. Love King’s Kitchen, Jim Noble is doing a great thing there. Off to vote again.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 11:21 am

Thanks so much, PJ!!

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The Mom Chef December 6, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Hi there. I’ve never read your stuff before and am only on #4 of 12, but you’ve got my first of 3 votes. This was an outstanding restaurant review. Very passionate, focused and honest. I’m totally impressed with your writing, style, and food savvy. You deserve to advance!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

What a wonderful comment to receive! Thank you so much!

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Jules December 6, 2010 at 12:33 pm

I love that you chose such a wonderful restaurant to review. And I love that you talked about something more meaningful than decor. Keep up the good work!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Thank you so much, Jules! I wanted to really get at the heart of the matter.

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cathy/ShowFoodChef December 6, 2010 at 12:35 pm

Oh good Lord, pimento cheese? You just took me back to NC, also! My grandmother whipped it up so fast, but also from a plastic tub and spread on toasted white bread. Wonderful write up, lovely tone and great spirit. Best of Luck :D

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 12:37 pm

Thank you, Cathy! Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff from that tub spread on white bread — but this is much better :D

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sippitysup December 6, 2010 at 12:47 pm

Beautiful. The love and generosity in your heart comes shining through. GREG

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 12:48 pm

Aw, thank you so much, Greg!

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Susi Matthews December 6, 2010 at 1:08 pm

See, I’m a damned Yankee but this SO made me want to go there and enjoy both the hospitality and the gorgeous food. I just love the idea of this place and the work they’re doing; nothing is better in this world than true hospitality that literally changes lives and makes it a better place. All mention of religion aside, this establishment is what I would call “Faith in Action” and warms my heart. That’s truly what it’s about and you show it so well.

Thanks so much for writing about this, competition aside (you deserve to win, far as I”m concerned) you wrote like you were sitting across my kitchen table, chatting with me about it and I love that.

I’m SO going to try that recipe!

Susi

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 1:23 pm

Thank you SO much, Susi! What a totally sweet comment!

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Vivian (AKA Mom) December 6, 2010 at 1:19 pm

I never knew about this place!! Wonderful review. I have plans to visit this place VERY soon!! :) What a wonderful concept!!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Thanks, Mom! It was great — you will love it! Tell Daddy to get the chicken!

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Christy Ruble December 6, 2010 at 2:35 pm

What a great place, cause and post Julie! Jason and I will definitely eat here the next time we are in Charlotte! I’m going to try that recipe too. We have just recently learned of the awesomeness of homemade southern pimento cheese!

Good luck this round! I personally think you should get readers choice again!

Love,
Christy

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Hurray! Hope you all love it, Christy! THANK YOU so much! Love you!

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Amanda @ bakingwithoutabox December 6, 2010 at 3:05 pm

You found not only a restaurant that speaks to the heart to review. But food that speaks to my heart. Good old fashioned Southern comfort food. Being so far from home at the holidays and kind of emotional this morning, I darn near cried. You better believe I clicked the heart button to vote as quick as I finished sniffing.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 3:39 pm

Aw, Amanda! Thank you so much <3

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Jessica H. December 6, 2010 at 3:40 pm

Absolutely incredible choice of restaurant to review! I voted as quickly as I could. You have my heart!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

Thank you so much, Jessica!

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Heather December 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Mmmm…this recipe is reminding me of my visit to Weaver D’s in Athens, GA. Soooo tasty! The biscuits in this review (well, and the chicken, of course) are making MY knees buckle and I can’t even taste them. ;)

This was a lovely and heartwarming review.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 3:58 pm

Thank you so much, Heather!

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theteachercooks December 6, 2010 at 4:20 pm

I love type of restaurant. Good luck!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 4:29 pm

Thank you!!

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Joyce December 6, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Hi Julie,
First I want to tell you what an amazing blog you have! I’ve been following your posts for a while from Livejournal, and each one is just amazing and the recipes are great! I love your enthusiasm and your genuine desire to spread the love of baking and cooking with others. I’ve been voting for you throughout the competition, and I’ve enjoyed seeing your commitment to your own goals throughout the challenges. This post, however, was fantastic! Thank you so much for sharing this amazing restaurant with us, and congrats on all your success. Good luck with the rest of the competition, but you have definitely proven yourself to be formidable presence in the world of cooking and baking blogs.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Aw <3 Thank you SO much, Joyce! What a sweet comment!!

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swimmykimy December 6, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Congrats on being the reader’s choice winner, Julie!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Thank you, swimmykimmy :)

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emily (a nutritionist eats) December 6, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I love this story! You’ve got my vote!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 7:27 pm

Thank you, Emily!!

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Rebecca December 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm

This post exemplifies what food should be about: community, memory, and creation. Reading this was as heartwarming as a big bowl of soup and a thick warm slice of homemade bread in the kitchen of a loved one. Thank you.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 7:36 pm

Thank you SO much, Rebecca!!

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Donna December 6, 2010 at 8:21 pm

Thank-you so much for sharing this heartwarming story Julie ! And congratulations on being chosen Reader’s Choice and your advancement to this next round. You have my vote again!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Thank you SO much, Donna!!!

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edible cville December 6, 2010 at 11:00 pm

I read a quote a long time ago by Ruth Reichel that said every GOOD restaurant review has a story behind it. Because you can only write about food alone for so long before people get bored. I always try to emulate that, and girlfriend, you’ve done it. This is one helluva story. I loved it. VOTED!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 11:48 pm

Aw, thank you SO much!!

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Tiny Urban Kitchen December 6, 2010 at 11:01 pm

Julie, I loved how you chose such a unique restaurant when deciding which place to review. Thanks for helping us to understand a bit more about places like this. I clicked back to your SF post and I totally agree. I walk through the city every day to work and I similarly feel overwhelmed.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 6, 2010 at 11:47 pm

Thanks so much! I loved your post, too.

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Betty @ scrambled hen fruit December 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

Congratulations on making it through another round. This is a fabulous post as well, and I hope you continue on in the competition. :) (And that pimento cheese looks great!)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 7, 2010 at 12:21 am

Thank you so much, Betty!

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Sue December 7, 2010 at 3:11 am

What a unique and wonderful restaurant! Great review!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:04 am

Thank you, Sue!

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Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table December 7, 2010 at 3:20 am

I LOVE that you did a pocket-sized review and a recipe! Very creative. Best of luck!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:04 am

Thank you, Laura!

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eataduckimust December 7, 2010 at 3:37 am

i have a dear friend who works at a similar type restaurant establishment so i have incredible and deep respect for places such as King’s Kitchen and all that they strive to do. thank you so much for sharing and i really hope more places like this open up!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:04 am

Thanks so much! Your review was beautiful.

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Mariko December 7, 2010 at 4:12 am

I’ve never had collard greens, and I’ve wanted to try them for a while now.
I like the personal nature of your review. Good work.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:05 am

Thank you so much, Mariko!

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Beth December 7, 2010 at 7:03 am

Loved your post, and I voted for you. Good luck!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:05 am

Thank you SO much, Beth!

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Jenni December 7, 2010 at 9:34 am

Thank you for spotlighting such a great restaurant, and the mission behind it. And thank you for an unpretentious, honest review. Well done, Julie! :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:06 am

Thank you so much, Jenni!

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Noelle December 7, 2010 at 10:06 am

Congrats on getting Reader’s Choice! You created such a beautiful masterpiece in the last round. Even though I am vegan, I love how artistic food can be and you shared and showed it.

I really loved the personal story behind King’s Kitchen. It is definitely hard to find a place that is so generous. Thank you for delivering such a beautiful review.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:07 am

Thank you so much, Noelle <3

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Jackie December 7, 2010 at 1:01 pm

I’ve been voting for you from day 1. Don’t know, once I read your profile and peruse your website, I was drawn in by your candor. I hope you make it to the end. I just voted for you again.. This meal above looks incredible!! And the review was on point.. Good luck. Jackie H

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:08 am

How totally sweet! Thank you so much, Jackie!

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norma December 7, 2010 at 2:01 pm

You do have my vote and also congrats….well done!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:08 am

Thank you so much, Norma!

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Perry P Perkins December 7, 2010 at 2:24 pm

You got my vote!

Blessings,

-Perry
http://www.burninloveblog.com

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 12:09 am

Thank you so much, Perry!

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Stay-At-Home-Chef December 7, 2010 at 4:03 pm

What a wonderful, heartwarming post. Lovely to read! Good luck :)

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 8, 2010 at 2:12 am

Thank you so much! :)

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Lisa Orgler December 7, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Beautiful writing, wonderful perspective and very engaging. Great job!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Thank you, Lisa!!

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Annie December 7, 2010 at 7:30 pm

Great review! Now if you really want to go off the deep end, chill small patties of the pimento cheese and stick them in the center of your next burger…. Good luck!

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Ooh, this totally does make me want to go RIGHT off the deep end!! LOVE it! Thanks for the inspiration, Annie!

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Bryan December 7, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Great review. I’ve been wanting to get down there for a while. My daughter got to go to King’s Kitchen this past spring at their dinner opening with her Girl Scout troop. She thought the food was really good and the staff very polite. The chef came out to talk to them. It was a great experience for them.

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Julie @ Willow Bird Baking December 10, 2010 at 1:58 am

Thanks, Bryan! They’re such great people.

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Joan Nova December 7, 2010 at 11:22 pm

You have such heart! Another wonderful story. Congratulations on all you’ve done thus far and good luck.

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Jennifer-The Adventuresome Kitchen December 8, 2010 at 12:00 am

What an incredible and moving story. “what small choice could you make today to show somebody hospitality?” That is a powerful question that will sit with me for some time. Thank you thank you for your words today.

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Cora December 8, 2010 at 11:59 am

Julie, your thoughtfulness and appreciation of this “comfort-food” cuisine is heart-warming. This is the food that makes folks feel good. It doesn’t get any better than that. I’m on my way to get ingredients for your Southern Pimento Cheese to take to friends tonight. We grow the most beautiful red peppers down here in Boquete and I can’t wait to get them on the fire! Thanks very much, and best of luck!

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Charlotte b December 8, 2010 at 7:10 pm

I voted so did my friend elizabeth go ms r!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Lee December 8, 2010 at 9:42 pm

I’m so proud of you, Julie! xoxox

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Becca December 8, 2010 at 11:59 pm

I’m so glad to hear about a place like this! And of course, to hear of you moving on so far!!!!! :) You definitely deserve it!

p.s. We are still working on the program I’d mentioned before through the church I go to to link people who need help with church members and affiliates (friends and family) who are willing to volunteer time/services/resources, etc to help meet needs of various community members. I’m going to keep you in the loop just cause I think you’d like to be. :)

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Vivian (AKA Mom) December 9, 2010 at 7:44 am

(from Dad) Julie, it is 5:45 a.m., but the fried chicken, mac and cheese and all the rest looks wonderful. I am proud of you. You deserve to win. I love you.

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Avanika (Yumsilicious Bakes) December 9, 2010 at 10:52 am

I just voted for you!! So glad you’ve made it to level 9, and I’m sure you’re going to win this one! It was an awesome post :)

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Liren December 9, 2010 at 1:53 pm

Very touching, Julie, what a special place! Excellent choice for this challenge, there should be more restaurants like this.

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mochacocinera December 9, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Go Willow Bird! The choice of foods to display show a great skill in the art of food. You can advance and make endless possibilities!

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Lori Lynn December 9, 2010 at 5:33 pm

Hi Julie – A restaurant review that comes from the heart! Love it! Good luck! Fingers crossed for you!
LL

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Clare December 9, 2010 at 8:14 pm

You totally pwned !!! You have my vote as well as my classmates!! Go Ms. R!!

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Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella December 13, 2010 at 1:47 am

Julie, I’m not a bit surprised that you also write restaurant reviews wonderfully! And I’m not surprised that you were reader’s choice too! :D

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halojakarta December 14, 2010 at 3:12 am

I agree with you .. with the theme that you give to a name of the restaurant brought me happy and you deserve applause and respect for you, you accepted the love of good intentions to others.

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Monica H December 16, 2010 at 4:24 am

I can’t remember if I commented on this or not, but I just wanted to let you know how awesome I think you are. You are such a beautiful person and I’m glad you thought outside the box and did something different, yet beneficial. I just think you rock Julie!

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Kamille January 2, 2011 at 1:00 am

Julie–thank you for your kind words about me and my blog. This review was so sweet and heartfelt. I hope your Christmas was wonderful and this next year is even more wonderful!

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