Skip to main content

Taste Test: Vidalia – Boone, North Carolina

vidalia a foodies delight in north carolina
Image used with permission by copyright holder
I don’t normally want to buck etiquette rules to lick my plate at the end of dinner, but that’s exactly what I wanted to do while dining at Vidalia in Boone, N.C. While I had heard from locals about how good the place is I still wasn’t prepared for the flavor explosion when I savored a plate of pecan herb breaded North Carolina trout topped with lemony celery and green Napa cabbage slaw. It’s normally served up on a heaping mound of stone ground grits. Even though I’m a southern girl, grits just aren’t my thing, so they gladly substituted some amazing mashed potatoes.

This small, cozy foodie paradise located near Appalachian State University is the creation of Chef Samuel Ratchford and his wife, Alyce. He’s really keen on using locally grown produce and meats as much as possible and has a flair for creating dishes that keep the house packed with appreciative diners. Fast service – not especially, but this is a slow food dining experience.

Located across the street from the Watauga County Courthouse, the space offers intimate seating at tables and on barstools around the open kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work.

Some of the other choices include creole battered southern fried chicken served with waffles, pan sautéed lump crab cakes, and sesame coriander tuna. There’s a decent wine list and tantalizing desserts. Make sure to save some room to try one (or do as I did and share a couple of different treats with friends). The choices change nightly, but feature homemade ice creams (one is called Captain Crunch and delicious), apple turnover, creme brulee, tiramisu, and a chocolate praline tart.

Vidalia is located at 831 W. King Street in Boone, North Carolina. Visit them online at www.vidaliaofboonenc.com

Marla Milling
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Marla Hardee Milling is a full-time freelance writer living in a place often called the Paris of the South, Sante Fe of the…
The best whiskey options to make your Manhattan drink recipe even better
Rye whiskey is classic, but not the only option
Manhattan

The Manhattan is one of the most well-known classic cocktails ever created. Like many famous mixed drinks, its history is a bit mysterious. One version of the story says that the drink was made at New York City’s Manhattan Club in the 1870s by a bartender named Iain Marshall. There is a mention of the drink in the later 1800s in a book written by bartender Wiliam F. Mulhall. Regardless of who created it, this whiskey-driven cocktail has stood the test of time.

Whiskey matters
This iconic drink is similar to the Old Fashioned, except instead of whiskey, sugar, water, and Angostura bitters, the Manhattan is made with whiskey, Angostura bitters, and sweet vermouth. While the other ingredients are important, the whisky is the key. The bitters add a bit of spice to the mix, and the vermouth adds a fruity sweetness, but the big, bold flavor is the whisky. The other ingredients are only there so the whiskey can shine through.

Read more
This is why your bourbon tastes sweet even though there’s no added sugar
Why does bourbon taste sweet?
Whiskey glass

There’s a reason America’s “native spirit” is so popular. Bourbon is well-known for its mellow, easy-drinking, sweet flavor. For those new to the truly American whiskey, to be considered a bourbon, all distillers must follow a few rules and regulations.

To get the title of bourbon whiskey, the spirit must be made from a mash bill of at least 51% corn; it must be aged in new, charred oak barrels, it must be made in the US (but not just Kentucky, regardless of what a bourbon purist might tell you), distilled to a maximum of 160-proof, barreled at a maximum of 125-proof, and bottled at a minimum of 80-proof.

Read more
Intuitive eating is different from any other diet: 5 tips you need to know to succeed
Intuitive eating: Solutions to common obstacles
Friends sharing a meal in a restaurant

Intuitive eating is not just another fad diet; it's a whole new way of approaching food and your relationship with it. Instead of relying on external rules and restrictions, intuitive eating empowers you to listen to your body's inner wisdom and trust its cues for hunger, fullness, and satisfaction. 

Instead of adhering to diet mentalities that promote quick weight loss, it is about embracing self-compassion and honoring your body.

Read more