by Jeff Allen
It lived up to the billing. Last night's diversity dinner was a six course extravaganza up @181Palmer —interesting people, pretty good food, and a the best dessert course of the festival so far. Andrea Immer/Robinson attended, as did many leaders from the African-American community. And while everyone was ultimately there to eat, the diversity, when juxtaposed against other settings in Charleston, made an important point.
Interestingly enough, diversity seems to bring spice — and I mean real spice. We had chicken and tamales from Mexico that lit up the table, Szechuan dry-rubbed lamb, and then cooled things down with Al Stephens carrots-less take on carrot cake. Stephens heads up pastry operations for famed chef Todd English and was easily the most accomplished chef in the room — rare that one sees the pastry guy take all the attention, but the proof was on the plate (check out the tweet stream for some pics...).
After all that food, two days of wine and beer, and very little sleep, I left the after party at FIG to others and headed home — took a brief swing by Bubbles and Sweets, which was rocking as usual, and called it a night. So, today I'm rested, feeling like a champ, ready for some Gospel Brunch action and then my all time favorite event: BBQ, Blues, and Brew. See you there!