Roanoke Times: Fridge Magnet

Fridge Magnet


Recent Articles

Tuesday 03/03/2015
Exciting changes ahead for Roanoke Times food coverage
Posted: March 03, 2015 - 3:28 pm

Hello, cherished readers.

Friday 02/27/2015
Fridge Magnet writer waves goodbye
Posted: February 27, 2015 - 5:30 am

Roughly a year ago, I penned my first food piece for The Roanoke Times. Looking back, there was so much I didn’t know about the city’s food scene.

Thursday 02/26/2015
Botetourt mom wins place on Cheddar's menu (with recipe)
Posted: February 26, 2015 - 8:00 am

Good things come to those who wait ... in line for lunch at Cheddar’s Scratch Kitchen.

Wednesday 02/25/2015
Fridge Magnet: Delighting in doughnuts
Posted: February 25, 2015 - 12:00 am

It might be the smell that gets me. Doughy and sugary. Warm and thick.

Wednesday 02/18/2015
Fridge Magnet: Not cheesy to love pimiento cheese
Posted: February 18, 2015 - 12:00 am

Michelle Bennett moved to Roanoke in the late ’80s, when about the only place to get a decent scoop of pimiento cheese was Tinnell’s Finer Foods in South Roanoke.

Tuesday 02/17/2015
Snow cream and hot chocolate
Posted: February 17, 2015 - 3:15 pm

I don’t know about you but this snow thing sorta snuck up on me. Up until Sunday evening I didn’t know any white stuff at all was supposed to fall. But now that it’s here, all 9 to 12 inches of it, there are certain foods that must be made. Namely, snow cream and hot chocolate.

Monday 02/16/2015
King cake for Mardi Gras
Posted: February 16, 2015 - 10:15 pm

When I lived in Durham, N.C., a co-worker and neighbor of mine hailed from New Orleans and, man, did he know how to throw a party.

Friday 02/13/2015
Sourdough bread, take 2 (with recipes)
Posted: February 13, 2015 - 5:30 am

Often when I write a story, I hear from readers all kinds of tips and resources, personal stories and recipes. But when I wrote about learning to bake with sourdough starter two weeks ago, the response was like a fast-rising dough spilling over the edges of its bowl. Dozens of you emailed and messaged.

Tuesday 02/10/2015
Virginia Tech chef wins culinary prize (with recipe)
Posted: February 10, 2015 - 1:15 pm

Want to cook like a champ?

Friday 02/06/2015
A February filled with food
Posted: February 06, 2015 - 6:15 am

There’s so much great food going on these days. You've got Valentine’s Day and Mardis Gras. Later in the month, the Big Lick Cocktail Classic brings the talent and know-how of 10 local bartenders to Roanoke’s City Market. Plus cooking classes galore. Read on for details. And let me know if you know of a February food event that I missed.

Thursday 02/05/2015
A taste for turnips
Posted: February 05, 2015 - 5:30 am

What does a locavore eat in Southwest Virginia in February?

Wednesday 02/04/2015
Fridge Magnet: Healthy chocolates? Do sell!
Posted: February 04, 2015 - 12:00 am

Gayla D’Gaia stands at a makeshift counter in her tiny, tidy kitchen.

Friday 01/30/2015
Restaurant review: Al’s Metro Deli elevates Christiansburg's sandwich options
Posted: January 30, 2015 - 2:45 pm

The search for a good sandwich in Christiansburg got a little easier when Al’s Metro Deli opened. Located in a strip mall on Roanoke Street, the deli is a well-lit, clean, open space with not quite enough tables to fill the large dining area.

Thursday 01/29/2015
Pass the pimento cheese
Posted: January 29, 2015 - 5:30 am

It’s on the menu at CUPS Coffee & Tea but also The River and Rail. At the newly opened Henry’s Public House and at the downtown stalwart, Billy’s. Grandin Road’s M & K Food Shop makes their’s in-house and so does Tinnell’s Finer Foods. It’s everywhere, for lunch and dinner, fine dining and take-out. You may even have a tub in your fridge right now. I'm talking pimento cheese.

Wednesday 01/28/2015
Fridge Magnet: Sourdough starter
Posted: January 28, 2015 - 12:00 am

When it’s time to make bread at my house these days, the first thing I do is open the fridge, reach way to the back, and grab my wide-mouth glass bowl and the gluey mess that it holds.

Wednesday 01/21/2015
Fridge magnet: Indian food spices up cooking routine
Posted: January 21, 2015 - 12:00 am

It’s bleak out. Cold and bare, with virtually nothing growing in garden, orchard or trellis.

Tuesday 01/20/2015
Five favorite and least favorite grocery store finds
Posted: January 20, 2015 - 5:30 am

I feel like I’ve sampled a lot of new food items lately.

Friday 01/16/2015
It's Restaurant Week in Roanoke
Posted: January 16, 2015 - 8:15 am

The buzz is starting to build.

Restaurant review: The Black Hen
Posted: January 16, 2015 - 12:00 am

The Black Hen, tucked away in an intimate space on Jackson Street, brings fine dining to Blacksburg via chefs — and spouses — Linda and Cunninghame West. The Wests have redone the interior of their new space in a black-and-white modern rustic motif, featuring black hen tapestries on the walls. White curtains and tablecloths add to the sense of openness despite the small dimensions.

Wednesday 01/14/2015
Don't be afraid of tofu
Posted: January 14, 2015 - 12:00 am

The season of indulgence is over. Now, we’re all about getting healthy, dropping pounds and eating right.

Tuesday 01/13/2015
Tofu tutorial
Posted: January 13, 2015 - 5:30 am

Nancy Maurelli knows her tofu.

Monday 01/12/2015
Five food trends of 2015
Posted: January 12, 2015 - 5:30 am

People with their fingers much more on the pulse of the food/restaurant industry than I have complied pages upon pages of predictions for what we'll be eating this year.

Friday 01/09/2015
Cookbook giveaway, Day 5: Our final winner!
Posted: January 09, 2015 - 5:30 am

Wow, this was tough. So many of you responded, some even making impassioned pleas for why you should win Sean Brock's new cookbook. And yet the outcome was entirely up to chance.

How'd it go? My 12 days of GREAT eating.
Posted: January 09, 2015 - 5:30 am

Whew! Twelve new recipes in 12 days was intense. Even on winter break. Even during a holiday known for cooking and entertaining.

Thursday 01/08/2015
Cookbook giveaway, Day 4: Another winner!
Posted: January 08, 2015 - 5:30 am

Today's randomly chosen cookbook winner is ... M & K Food Shop co-owner and Fridge Magnet reader Karen Ayyildiz. Congrats! Karen, if you'll email me your street address, I'll put the cookbook in the mail. My email:

Restaurant review: Piety devoted to love of pastry
Posted: January 08, 2015 - 12:00 am

With another holiday season behind us, we think back wistfully on the roast turkeys and casseroles, the eggnog and Christmas cookies, and, of course, the pies. Piety bakeshop, located next to The Fresh Market at Towers Shopping Center in Roanoke, can help with that last longing.

Wednesday 01/07/2015
Cookbook giveaway, Day 3: Today's winner!
Posted: January 07, 2015 - 5:30 am

Today's randomly chosen cookbook winner is ... Justin Miller! Congrats! Justin, if you'll email me your street address, I'll put the cookbook in the mail. My email:

Tuesday 01/06/2015
Cookbook givewaway, Day 2: Today's winner is ...
Posted: January 06, 2015 - 5:30 am

Today's randomly chosen cookbook winner is ... Linda Maxey! Congrats! Linda, if you'll email me your street address, I'll put the cookbook in the mail. My email:

Monday 01/05/2015
Cookbook giveaway, Day 1: We've got a winner!
Posted: January 05, 2015 - 9:30 am

And the winner is ... Kelly McDaniel Whitney! Kelly, if you'll email me your street address, I'll put the cookbook in the mail. My email:

How to be gluten-free
Posted: January 05, 2015 - 5:30 am

I've heard from so many of you that moving to a gluten-free diet has been helpful, but hard. Today, guest blogger Laura Latham tells her story of learning to live without gluten.

Wednesday 12/24/2014
Fridge Magnet: 12 days of good eating
Posted: December 24, 2014 - 12:00 am

By now, you’ve lived through Kroger’s 12 Days of Deals, Ellen Degeneres’ 12 Days of Giveaways and the Food Network’s 12 Days of Cookies.

Monday 12/22/2014
A recipe for reindeer
Posted: December 22, 2014 - 9:30 am

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.

Friday 12/19/2014
An entertaining appetizer
Posted: December 19, 2014 - 5:30 am

Today, I’m once again turning the Fridge Magnet over to a great foodie in our midst. Meet Rachel Chitwood, who, with her sister, Maddy Chitwood, lives in Blacksburg and blogs about craft beer at Barley Babes.

Wednesday 12/17/2014
Cookie recipes? I got 'em!
Posted: December 17, 2014 - 9:30 am

With friends like these, who needs cook books?

Fridge Magnet: Cookies make the holidays special
Posted: December 17, 2014 - 12:15 am

Some of my most enduring holiday memories are not of unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning or attending church on Christmas Eve, but of standing in front of the kitchen stove stirring a golden, bubbling brew of melted marshmallows and sugar.

Monday 12/15/2014
A taste of Christmas (recipes included)
Posted: December 15, 2014 - 9:30 am

Wednesday’s column will be an ode to the Christmas cookie. I’ll share my fond memories of making them and the cookie stories and recipes that you sent my way.

Friday 12/12/2014
Visions of sugar gowns
Posted: December 12, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Last year, La De Da, downtown’s seller of upscale whimsy, took its fantastical window displays to a new level when employees created a party dress made completely of candy.

Thursday 12/11/2014
Restaurant review: Rancho Viejo
Posted: December 11, 2014 - 12:00 am

I read an article a few years ago proclaiming that Mexican restaurants were replacing the classic American diner, meaning tacos and fajitas are easier to find in some small towns than tuna melts and milkshakes. If downtown Roanoke is any indication, I’d say that trend is here to stay. The downtown scene now boasts four Mexican-inspired establishments: Alejandros, Go Taco, Queso Southwestern Grill and the newest addition, Rancho Viejo. So what, if anything, sets this new spot apart? I stopped in recently to find out.

Wednesday 12/10/2014
Fridge Magnet: Ideas for local food gifts
Posted: December 10, 2014 - 12:00 am

“Buy Local” is big this year. Eating local has been hip for a while. Why not combine the two by shopping for local food gifts during this season of giving?

Monday 12/08/2014
Favorite cookie recipe: You share yours, I'll share mine.
Posted: December 08, 2014 - 5:30 am

It was in December, probably six years ago or so. I remember being surprised by a knock on the door.

Friday 12/05/2014
A Christmas dinner disaster
Posted: December 05, 2014 - 5:30 am

What's your biggest kitchen misadventure and how did you turn it around? Today, guest blogger Jeff Fitzgerald writes about one crazy Christmas dinner. Share your cooking tales with us as a comment or at

Restaurant Review: Fat Spoon
Posted: December 05, 2014 - 12:00 am

We don’t shy away from the opportunity to drive Virginia 8 to Floyd, so the trek to the Fat Spoon Cafe was not a chore. We found the cafe tucked into the Carter Complex about a half-mile south of the lone stoplight in Floyd.

Wednesday 12/03/2014
Fridge Magnet: Southwest Virginia's grounds-breaking coffee shops
Posted: December 03, 2014 - 12:00 am

Just beyond the concrete horseshoe that is Little Green Hive Coffee and Smoothie Bar, owner Amy Tuggle sets her sweetgrass basket on the table and begins to explain.

Monday 12/01/2014
Put this dinner in heavy rotation (with recipe)
Posted: December 01, 2014 - 9:45 am

I went over the river and through the woods to grandmother's house this weekend. So guest blogger Amy McGinnis will be sharing her thoughts and tips on how to make a homemade dinner happen -- even on a manic Monday. 

Friday 11/28/2014
Turkey, take 2 (with recipes)
Posted: November 28, 2014 - 5:30 am

In all likelihood you’ve eaten your roast turkey. And a few turkey sandwiches. And there’s still a good bit of bird left in the fridge.

Monday 11/24/2014
Brunch in Britain UPDATE
Posted: November 24, 2014 - 5:30 am

This event has sold out as of 11/25/14. 

Friday 11/21/2014
Restaurant review: Social House serves up fusion cuisine in a 'casual-nice' atmosphere
Posted: November 21, 2014 - 1:05 pm

Featuring bright umbrellas and a porch with curb appeal, the outside of Social House, located on South Main in downtown Blacksburg, does a good job of enticing passersby to come inside. The interior showcases hand-painted murals, restored floors and other architectural elements indicative of a loving renovation. Social House’s menu is a sampling of unique, multicultural items along with some standard American fare.

Making The Fridge Magnet your own
Posted: November 21, 2014 - 5:00 am

Roughly seven months ago I stepped up to the Fridge Magnet plate and began researching, writing, testing and tasting all things food in the Roanoke Valley.

Wednesday 11/19/2014
A pie by any other name
Posted: November 19, 2014 - 12:00 am

It's not a pie, technically. The crust is a bit sweeter, the filling a bit less so. But if you've got some time and focus this Pear Almond Tart could be the stand-out of your holiday meal.

Fridge Magnet: Pass the pie!
Posted: November 19, 2014 - 12:00 am

Lisa Lusk wasn’t thinking of Thanksgiving when she opened her newest sweets shop in August, but maybe she should have been.

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