by Susan Cohen
There was no one in the dining room at Butcher & Bee when I arrived for Lowcountry Local First’s All-You-Should-Eat Breakfast on Saturday. It was 10 a.m., which meant there was only an hour left to the event, but I didn’t think I was that late. After this initial confusion, and some quick herding by LLF volunteers, I realized that a steady group of guests was actually just out back, sitting at set tables among the restaurant’s raised herb gardens on an exquisite 70-degree day.
While the name of the event may have conjured images of a decadent buffet, instead guests were given the choice between two plates: the vegetarian (poached eggs over sweet potato hash with asparagus and hollandaise) or the omnivore (fried eggs over grits with a chorizo patty, mustard greens, and ranchero sauce). Each came with a cute Blue Pearl Farms blueberry muffin on the side, as well as a duo of strawberries. Charleston Mix Bloody Marys were available at an additional cost.
Since I arrived with a friend, we got one order of both options and split them. As guests ate, farmers like Maria Baldwin wandered among the tables, explaining that the chorizo sausage we were eating came from her first pigs of the year. And as someone who can hardly afford the luxury of local asparagus, which I saw at the farmers market later that day for about $7 a serving, the chance to eat the bright spears was unrivaled. But there were certainly a couple of kinks at the breakfast. It was hard getting a “server’s” attention, and water carafes were few and far between. And with all the runny yolks, offering a basket of local bread at each table was a missed opportunity.
Still, all in all, the fresh flavors of the Lowcountry made waking up early on a Saturday well worth it.