Sunday of euphoria food, wine, and music festival goes something like this:
The morning starts with some well-earned and worth-it pain from the previous three days — pain from dehydration, pain from not being 22 anymore, pain from eating way too much because it was all right there in the open and no one was judging.
And then there’s the pep talk — you’re a professional and an adult, you’ve previously met adversity with vigor and pizzaz, so why should the next eight hours of eating and drinking be a problem? (See above for reasons.)
But, regardless, you arrive Sept. 23 to the tents near Fluor Field for the outdoor Sunday Brunch, which is the best deal of the weekend, and you are suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to drink a blood orange mimosa, which you chase down with a cup of Due South Coffee cold brew. Solid move.
Then it’s on to the food. Barbecue was the theme, but it wasn’t just about the meat. Two of the most refreshing bites were a salmon lox with marinated cucumbers and salmon roe from The Darling Oyster Bar (Charleston) and a quickled (quick-pickled) cucumber, shallot, and preserved summer chillies from Watershed (Atlanta).
But this is no time to focuss on health food. In terms of the meat, hands-down the best bite of the day was Elliott Moss’ (Buxton Hall Barbecue, Asheville) whole hog barbecue with greens and green beans. And to be clear, the greens and beans were absolutely the best part because they were cooked under the hog in those magical salty, fatty drippings.
Meanwhile, South Carolina Chef Ambassador Sarah McClure of Southside Smoke House (Landrum), turned out a “Figgy Pig Slider” that Charleston food blogger and published author Candice Townsend said was her favorite bite during brunch. Neither of us is wrong.
Another function of these big tent events is to introduce new talent coming to the Greenville market. HenDough from Hendersonville gave us a sneak peak at the doughnuts they will soon be slinging at Gather GVL food hall in the West End. Another new HenDough concept coming to Gather, Mercado Cantina, showed off its Mexican-inspired chilaquiles.
The brunch-time entertainment was provided by the killer acoustic band My Girl My Whiskey & Me, who elicited cheers and whoops after almost every inventive cover they played.
Not to be outdone, over on the main stage, the Greenville County Schools Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown showed off the culinary talents of four current students and their Michelin-starred sous chefs. The winner, with a hoisin-glazed salmon, was William Stephenson of Mauldin High and his side-kick chef Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s (San Francisco). Stephenson’s winning recipe will be added to the Greenville County Schools menu for the duration of the 2018-2019 school year.
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photo by Kavin Bradner
photo by Kavin Bradner
photos by Kavin Bradner
After a brief hiatus between events, it’s time for Sunday Supper. There’s a reason this event sells out quickly every year. The family-style dinner at the Wyche Pavilion on the Reedy River with the chefs cooking on a stage at the end of the structure closest to Larkin’s is the perfect showcase of Greenville as both a tourist location and food destination.
There’s also a reason those who bought tickets early either don’t show or give their tickets away. Two-ish words: couldn’t hang. But for those of us brave (or stupid) enough to push through the euphoric exhaustion, there’s no other place we’d rather be.
This year, North Carolina chefs Joe Kindred of Kindred restaurant and Craid Deihl of Hello, Sailor showed why they continue to receive high praise from national press. The dishes, such as deviled hamachi collar, Grandfather’s Pickles, a watermelon salad with puffed black rice, Greenbrier Farms porchetta, and whole roasted snapper were approachable but certainly not ordinary.
The Lazy Goat’s chef Wilbert Sauceda rounded out the chef crew, adding an eggplant zalouk “lasagna,” along with green beans and roasted cauliflower.
After 14 savory dishes were served with accompanying bourbon cocktails, it was time for three desserts (and yet another cocktail) from Kindred and Hello, Sailor corporate pastry chef Justin Burke-Samson and The Lazy Goat pastry chef Tania Harris.
By the end of the night, the sun had set, the tipsy folks were cheers-ing to anything that came to mind, and the country tunes of up-and-comers Reverie Lane reverberated from the pavilion in a final send-off.
Cheers to another successful, sensory-overloading, and perfectly exhausting euphoria weekend. Bring on the juice cleanse.