We're relieved that Lent is upon us, because we've been partying like it's Mardi Gras for the past week. Charleston knows how to host amazing celebrations, and this week we checked out two events that had us reaching for the aspirin the next morning.
Normally, Duvall Catering and Event Design puts on other people's parties, but last Thursday, they threw a fête to celebrate their 35th anniversary. They've certainly learned a thing or two in all those years of service, and the shindig showed off all their tricks. Duvall's office on Azalea Road was transformed into a maze of themed parties and cuisines. The weather was gloomy and wet, so covered golf carts were utilized to escort guests from their vehicles to the front door. Upon arrival, we were greeted with a glass of champagne accented with a small scoop of lemon sorbet. We explored the space and were amazed that a concrete warehouse could be turned into a Pinterest-worthy scene. Colorful umbrellas hung from the ceiling over the sushi table in the back room as hungry attendees grabbed pieces of fresh tuna rolls and nigiri. For those with a sweet tooth, a station was set up for instant ice cream. The cook looked like a mad scientist as he employed a giant tank of liquid nitrogen to freeze three different flavors. Searching for more substantial eats, we ducked into the Duvall kitchen room. Reminiscent of scenes from Top Chef, overhead cameras captured the movements of the employees and we watched our dinner being prepared. Small plates of mushroom risotto, yellow tilefish, and pork tenderloin were quickly snapped up as they were laid out.
Growlers of local beers were set up at another station, and the bartender offered samples as well as pairings. Coast's Carnie Fire Red was paired with a pimento cheese-stuffed hushpuppy, so we couldn't resist. The last room we wandered into had a casual, summertime vibe. The Outta My Huevos food truck pulled up to an opening in the building and fed guests steak and eggs from their window. The Travis Allison Band played and didn't even skip a beat when the power unexpectedly went out. The lights quickly came back on and everyone cheered as the party continued.
Barely recovered from the throwdown on Thursday, we headed to the Gibbes Museum of Art on Friday. Habañero Rhythm was the Society of 1858's winter party celebrating the exhibition Vibrant Vision: The Collection of Jonathan Green and Richard Weedman. To pay homage to the work, the theme of the party was Afro-Cuban. Guests were greeted with a champagne mojito and then pulled into the space by the live music of the Garage Cuban Band. Attendees made a beeline for the bar and catering table. Canapés and rice and beans from Moe's Southwest Grill fed the crowd, and in keeping with the Cuban theme, cigars were offered in one of the galleries. Traditional African dancers and drummers performed for the crowd in the upstairs gallery, while downstairs, guests were also making moves. Later in the evening, we caught everyone dancing to the band — it seemed as if the mojitos put everyone in a grooving mood. Heels were tossed off as the older patrons led the group in the saucy dance steps.