Friday, September 30, 2011

A Taste of the South #euphoriagreenville

My weekend at euphoria was about music, food, wine and Greenville, South Carolina.  One of the highlights was Friday evening's "Taste of the South" at sunset along the Reedy River.

Where to start???? As I stood on the steps looking down at the Peace Center Amphitheatre, Maia Sharp was on stage with a friend, two women, two guitars and beautiful music.

To my left was the Wyche Pavillion filled with local restaurants showing off their interpretation of a "Taste of the South".   My mouth was watering and I was on a mission:  GRITS.  To me, everything else was simply bonus.  To my right were beer and wine purveyors; it was a feast and I hadn't even taken a bite yet.

I made my way to the pavilion.  My first stop, Stella's Southern Bistro.  I had made their Shrimp and Grits recipe last month and it was a BIG hit.  They started me off right with a delicious Dirty Cheese Grit & Cornbread Souffle with Smoked Chicken Gumbo & Crispy Country Ham - now that was a mouthful!

Slowly, I worked my way around the Pavilion. As much as I wanted to, I couldn't eat everything.  I was on a quest for grits, but other things tempted me along the way.  Rick Erwin's West End Grille's Butternut Squash Pasty was a quick bite of happiness.

In a far corner, I found it, my holy grail, The Plaid Pelican's Shrimp and Grits.  I smiled, was handed a plate and then ran off to a quiet place to savor each bite. (I was so into eating that I forgot to take a picture!).

Then I stumbled across Victoria Moore, Executive Chef at the Lazy Goat stirring paella. Cooking is theater and I was very happy to watch! But I knew that there were more grits ahead....

I hesitated when I saw that The Nose Dive Gastro Pub had Bacon Brownies and I'm kicking myself for not trying them, but I did grab one of their delicious Smoked Deviled Eggs with Smoked Trout.

I barely missed a stride though because just ahead at The American Grocery Restaurant, I saw a sign for Caw-Caw Pork Belly, Anson Mills Grits & Bourbon Maple. Thursday night's songwriter's recipe made me a fan of Bourbon, and, well, anything with pork.... (why don't you finish that sentence for me)

I watched as chef Joe Clarke drizzled the Bourbon Maple glaze on a dish.  (I wasn't stalking, I swear!)

I patiently waited for a plate to make it to the table.  (This was the longest line that I waited for, and I was third in line... those 30 seconds seemed to last for days...), then just as I did with my Plaid Pelican Shrimp & Grits, I ran off to savor the sweet, meaty, creamy porkbelly/grits goodness.

It was time for a drink.  There were barrels of ice cold Fiji Water bottles everywhere, but there were also "adult libations".  Oh the choices.  Should it be beer?  Should it be wine?  A pouring from the cute volunteer bartender in the VIP section? I decided to try Sour Grapes Wine's Weingut Martinshoff  Hans & Franz Keg Zweigelt Rose`10 from Weinviertel, Austria.  This was my second foray into Zweigelt. hmmm.  My next stop was the Belgian Beer Cafe, where I gave into the temptation of a Hoegaarden Original White Ale.

I stopped to listen to Will Hoge rock the sunset, chatted with some new friends then made my second trip to the pavilion for dessert.

Dessert was the highly  recommended Spiced Carrot Cupcakes with Split Creek Farm Goat Cheese Frosting & Salted Caramel from Stella's Southern Bistro.  We'd come full circle, there are pictures below in the slideshow of everything that I missed. (which would be about 80% of what was on offer) I had to pace myself, and I was ready to sit down with some friends and listen to Edwin McCain sing.

I hadn't tasted nearly as much as I could have, but, my day started with a Historic Walking Tour, then to the BMW Performance Driving School (the adrenaline raced through my body all night!) and there was a VIP after party at the Cigar Warehouse... all I can say is what happens at the after party, stays at the after party!  (a good time was had by all)

My "Taste of the South" slideshow:

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