Say ‘cheese’ – both for the camera, sandwich

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 4, 2011

Our daughter graduated from medical school at Wake Forest University a couple weeks ago, and her father and I were delighted to see this happen, and for her to finally be off the payroll. We, of course, had many good meals in Winston-Salem, some with only our daughter and some with the whole family. The graduation was a time of celebration and joy…I will probably not have another child to become a doctor.

Our first evening was a wonderful meal at Noble’s Grille. It was one of the first restaurants we visited four years ago in Winston-Salem for one of our daughter’s birthdays. The meal was highlighted by the restaurant’s signature dish, tomato bisque. I was told from Phil Barnes, who sent me the recipe, that it has been used for 20 years. It is probably the best tomato bisque I have ever eaten. Phil’s recipe serves many, many people, so I have worked out the ingredients to serve around eight people. Recipe to follow. To get a reservation at Noble’s Grille you can e-mail at or call 336-777-8477.

After the baccalaureate service, which was given by Rebecca Chopp, president of Swarthmore College, we went to another nice restaurant for lunch called the River Birch Lodge. Now, my daughter tells me that almost every restaurant in Winston-Salem has pimento cheese on the menu in one form or another, and the River Birch Lodge, sure enough, had an appetizer of smoked pimento cheese. It was good, but they were not nice enough to give me the recipe, so I came home and created one of my own. Perhaps not quite as good. Ha!

Sunday afternoon, we attended the hooding ceremony. Yes, a heavy hood is put upon the shoulders of the new doctors. You can get the symbolism of the heavy hood. The color of the hood designates the field of study, green for medicine.

My sons and daughter-in-law flew up from New Orleans to attend the hooding ceremony, and my daughter had chosen her favorite fun restaurant, 6th and Vine, for her graduation party. No reservations taken, so we ate outside in the courtyard and had a great array of flatbreads, satays, salads, some plates of brown butter scallops and seared tuna. Many martinis were had by all, and one could not have asked for a more beautiful evening.

Graduation for the university was on the lawn of Wait Chapel Monday morning. Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, spoke of the challenges on her remarkable rise to the top spot at Pepsi. The medical class then reassembled nearby for the conferring of diplomas. It was now official. We said congratulations and good-byes and headed back home.

Tomato Bisque

(Noble’s Grille of Winston-Salem)

Serves 8

Mirepoix (a French-base for soups using finely chopped vegetables) I used 6 carrots, ½ bunch of celery, and 1 large onion (the usual trio for mirepoix)

2 cans, 28 oz. very good canned tomatoes

1 head of garlic chopped

1/3 cup Basmati rice

2 sticks unsalted butter

20 oz. heavy cream

1 cup basil, freshly chopped

1 oz. salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Goat cheese for garnishing in the final soup


In a large pot sweat mirepoix and garlic, then add tomatoes. Bring to a simmer, stirring often. Add rice and seasonings. Let stand on very low heat for 20-25 minutes. Add basil and heavy cream, Purée thoroughly and chill. Reheat before serving and add a dollop of goat cheese in the center of the bowl before pouring the soup into the bowl.

To get the large recipe, go to Noble’s Grille website.

Smoked Pimento Cheese Spread

Serves 8 as an appetizer

1 pound smoked cheddar cheese

½ small can of pimentos

1 tablespoon mayonnaise

Grate cheese and mix in other ingredients. Warm. Serve with baguette slices that have been toasted with some shreds of cheddar cheese as they did at River Birch, or can be served with crackers.