You knew this moment was coming, but the question is, are you ready to plunk down your hard-earned cash yet? Charleston Wine + Food tickets are on sale now, and the festival is packed with events designed to stuff you full of good food, wine, and beer too.
My top 7 events:
1) I'm going to go ahead and plug the City Paper-sponsored events, because we got to pick the coolest ones of the bunch (in my humble opinion). The Waffle House Smackdown will feature three of the hottest guys in food: Mike Lata (FIG), Andrew Knowlton (Bon Appetit), and Ed Lee (Top Chef). We fully expect the chefs to be scattering, smothering, and covering some hashbrowns as they compete in making signature Waffle House dishes. At the end of the event, maybe you'll get to dig into some Bert's Chili or Walt's Soup when they serve some of the classics. This event is $30 and happens on Saturday, March 2 at the culinary tent in Marion Square.
2) Another fun event we're sponsoring is the Brew Hops Shuttle, because we think the local craft beer scene is awesome and deserves some attention. Beer man Timmons Pettigrew and our own Eric Doksa will host the shuttle bus as they take guests to COAST, Holy City Brewing, Palmetto, and Westbrook where they'll get to sample beer and and eat some tasty fare from Caviar & Bananas. Two shuttles will be available from Marion Square. To get on board, it's $85.
3) If you like fried chicken, boy, is there an event for you this year. Hominy Grill will once again team up with John T. Edge of Southern Foodways Alliance to explore a quintessential Southern dish. This time it's fried chicken in all its permutations from Southeast Asia to the Southeastern United States.
4) If you want to explore the bleeding age of sustainable, foraged, modern cookery, then you'll want to be at the McCrady's Global Modern Cuisine Dinner where our own Sean Brock will welcome back Daniel Patterson of Coi in San Francisco. This magical duo will be joined by Ben Shewry, chef at Attica, the Melbourne restaurant that came in at No. 63 on San Pellegrino's annual list.
5) For nostalgia's sake, longtime Charlestonians might want to make plans to attend the Perfectly Paired dinner at Magnolias, where Don Drake will welcome home Louis Osteen, the chef who started Charleston Grill and pioneered the New Southern movement back in the 80s. He's moved back to Pawley's Island after being away for many years, and fans and friends ought to be happy to see him pay a visit to a local kitchen.
6) Our vote for sleeper hit of the Perfectly Paired dinners is the Andrew Michael pairing at Trattoria Lucca. Ken Vedrinski will be joined by the talented duo of Andy Ticer and Michael Hudman from Andrew Michael's Italian Kitchen in Memphis along with Jeffrey Michaud of Osteria and Amis.
7) The New and Notables Dinner at McCrady's on Sat. March 2 teams up our own notable Jeremiah Langhorne (Chef de Cuisine at McCrady's) with Katie Button of the fabulous Curaté in Asheville, Sarah Simmons of City Grit in NYC, and Ryan Smith from Empire State South in Atlanta. They'll be joined by pastry chef Matt Tinder from Coi in San Francisco.