by Erin Perkins
One of the biggest parties of the Charleston Wine + Food Festival is always the After Hours event. This year, the Art Institute of Charleston hosted a Party Around the World fête at the Visitors Center Bus Shed. A variety of countries were represented in decoration, dance, food, and drinks. The entire space was packed with different tastes from almost every big name restaurant in Charleston. We had trouble trying them all.
We started with a pork skin noodle bowl with spicy red pepper shiitake broth from Husk and were impressed that they were poaching eggs on site. Our favorite bite was the braised oxtail empanadilla with chimichurri and local radish from Barsa Tapas Lounge and Bar. It was perfectly fried with a rich and savory filling and had a nice crunch from the radish. Fuel had a lighter offering of local shrimp and veggie escabeche lettuce wraps. The most creative use of ingredients was Hamby Catering’s shrimp and grit sushi with spicy tasso mayo. By the time we got to the Caviar and Bananas tent, we were feeling too full to finish their marinated white beans with garlic poached shrimp. However, we did leave a little room for something sweet, and ended with a Mexican chocolate and dulce de leche crepe from the Charleston Crepe Company.
Taking a break from eating, we watched the Flamenco dancers contort into positions we couldn’t even think of recreating. After the performance, guests filled the dance floor for their chance to show off their best moves. We chose to rest in one of the lounge areas and contemplated if we could possibly consume anymore. Next year, we might bring a to-go container.