Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Euphoric in Greenville

            Have you been to Greenville lately?  If you still think of it as Charleston’s little sister, you’d be surprised to see how she’s grown up.  She’s popular, beautiful and full of surprises.  Downtown is revitalized and pulsing with things to do:  local shops, art galleries, museums, upscale hotels and a variety of restaurants that boast contemporary cuisine with a hearty dollop of Southern hospitality.  The best time to visit may be coming up at the end of September when the city presents the seventh annual food festival Euphoria. 
            Since the 1970’s Greenville has worked tirelessly to revitalize its downtown.  An innovative public/corporate partnership transformed blocks of vacant storefronts into a cultural and shopping destination.  When my husband and I exited the Hyatt Regency Hotel onto Main Street we were immediately swept up in a lively crowd.  The entire street was closed to cars.  A band was setting up on a concert stage.  People were arriving with chairs, strollers and wheelchairs.  Jump castles entertained the children while parents enjoyed outdoor dining nearby.  Walking towards the food festival, we encountered an outdoor artists’ market where we bought petite handmade mugs from Michelle Wright at her Frolicking Frog Pottery.  A block later was the farmer’s market where a table of multi-colored peppers were worthy of Monet.  And we hadn’t even arrived at our destination yet! 



            Greenville stages Euphoria in its transformed venues near the Reedy River and at area restaurants and hotels.  The anchor is The Peace Center for the Performing Arts which rose like a phoenix from a languishing industrial area.  The Wyche Pavillion, reinvented from an old warehouse, carves a stylish facade along the scenic river.  At Friday’s “Taste of the South” over 20 chefs and dozens of vendors whipped up food from the imaginative to the familiar.  Our favorite morsel was from the Nosedive Restaurant:  a pork taco with cilantro and kimchee. 
As we mingled with the crowd we struck up a conversation with a young couple about living in Greenville.  They told us they’d moved from Charleston with regret.  “How could we leave Charleston?  But this is why:  for young professionals it’s incredibly cheap to live here.  I can walk to work.  There are festivals like this twice a month and it’s only three hours to Charleston.”  Greenville native and Euphoria founding board member Edwin McCain was last year’s headliner.  While we sat on the pavilion steps listening to this “great American romantic”, colorful lights illuminated a backdrop of office buildings and apartments.  Sitting next to me on the pavilion steps was a woman who said she’d booked a flight to Greenville a year ago after reading about Euphoria in a travel magazine.  She had planned well.
            Among the weekend’s culinary highlights was a lively cooking competition where we watched Charleston chef Craig Diehl compete while a commentator narrated like it was a sporting event.  Saturday night’s Guest Chef Dinner at the Lazy Goat featured creations by George Mendes and Victoria Moore after which we truly felt euphoric.  New this year is a full pig roast, French Bistro and music from Traffic Jam.  Like little sisters everywhere, Greenville is borrowing some of Charleston’s ideas.  But its event is less crowded and less expensive than the larger BB&T Charleston Wine + Food festival. 
            You have to strategize for the non-stop eating or else you feel like you’ve gone into a restaurant and ordered everything on the menu.  Wine tastings, cook-offs, jazz brunch, VIP events, after parties, restaurant dinners and demonstrations can be a little overwhelming.  A quick remedy is a short walk further up Main Street across the river to Greenville’s most impressive accomplishment:  Falls Park on the Reedy.  Walking paths go over Liberty Bridge, a one of a kind pedestrian bridge suspended over  waterfalls.  The Swamp Rabbit Trail continues on for more than 17 miles past the beautiful Governor’s School for the Arts.  Pedestrians and bicyclists enjoy the trail’s easy access to and from downtown’s schools and businesses.  Many other hiking and biking trails and waterfalls are nearby. 
         We closed out the weekend at the Sunday morning Jazz Brunch where a rockin’ New Orleans style band was the soundtrack for a staggering array of food vendors.  Mardi Gras beads and paraphernalia abounded.  Vats of gumbo, crab cakes, mountains of pastries, variations of Bloody Marys…Intrepidly, we continued our research with journalistic dedication.  But as the unexpected sound of a didgeridoo joined the band for a unique rendition of  “Summertime” we finally said “uncle”. 
 
If You Go:

Greenville information:  www.TheUpcountry.com


 Recipes from the chefs

Kenny Callaghan's Blue Smoke Salt and Pepper Beef Ribs
Executive Chef/Pitmaster/Partner, Blue Smoke & Jazz Standard, New York, NY
 
2 Racks of beef back ribs (with membrane removed from underside of ribs)

Rub:
 
2 Tablespoons butcher ground black

pepper

2 Tablespoon Kosher salt

1 Tablespoon dark brown sugar

1 teaspoon Spanish paprika
 
 
Preheat oven to 200°.
In a medium-sized bowl, mix all of the Rub ingredients together, making sure to break up the brown sugar. Take the rub and coat
both sides of the beef ribs evenly. Place ribs on a baking pan in the oven, and cook for 6 ½ to 7 hours (or until tender). Serve immediately. Each rack can be wrapped individually in plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to three days. To serve, simply reheat in the oven or on the grill.

Fountain of Youth Cocktail 

1.5 oz Van Gogh Acai
Blueberry Vodka
.5 oz Yellow Chartreuse
1 oz Honey Syrup
1 oz Lemon Juice
1 Dash Fee Brothers
Celery Bitters
Top Off With 1 oz
La Marca Prosecco
 
Garnish:
Lemon Twist
 
 
 



directions


1. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water
by 2 inches.
2. Add a good amount of salt (6 tbl) and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender.
4. Drain and reserve at room temperature.
5. When cool enough to touch, cut into ½ inch rings and
place in large bowl.
6. Sauté bacon in thick-bottomed pan until
beginning to get crispy.
7. Add sugar, and cook to caramelize sugar in the
rendered fat.
8. Add vinegar and mustard, then bring to a boil.
9. Pour over potatoes and toss to coat. Season with
salt & pepper.
10. When room temperature, fold in red onion, green
onion,
parsley & tarragon.

Linton Hopkins' Fingerling Potato, Bacon and Mustard Salad
 
ingredients

2 lb fingerling potato such as
Russian banana or French
½ cup shaved red onion
3 tbl whole grain mustard
3 tbl red wine vinegar
1 tbl sugar
½ cup slab bacon cut into 1/4” pieces
¼ cup Italian parsley leaves
1 tbl tarragon, minced
2 green onions, shaved very thin
kosher salt
fresh ground black pepper
directions
1. Place potatoes in large pot and cover with water by 2 inches.
2. Add a good amount of salt (6 tbl) and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce to simmer and cook until tender.
4. Drain and reserve at room temperature.
5. When cool enough to touch, cut into ½ inch rings and place in large bowl.
6. Sauté bacon in thick-bottomed pan until beginning to get crispy.
7. Add sugar, and cook to caramelize sugar in the rendered fat.
8. Add vinegar and mustard, then bring to a boil.
9. Pour over potatoes and toss to coat. Season with salt & pepper.
10. When room temperature, fold in red onion, green onion, parsley & tarragon.



Chef/Owner, Restaurant Eugene, Atlanta, GA
 
 
 

No comments:

Post a Comment