Street carts are so last year. The latest foodie obsession seems to be insider-y events that you have to be 'on the list' to know about.
If you spend any time online at food-oriented websites, you've seen the ads for the Patrón Secret Dining Society. None have popped up in Charleston yet (give us time), but local chef Brett McKee hosted one recently in Charlotte, where he is opening 15 North Roadside Kitchen. The event is designed, first and foremost, to highlight the delights of the high-end Patrón tequila. But it's done so cleverly most attendees don't realize they're taking part in one huge interactive advertisement. And they probably don't care much, considering they're being treated to a lavish tequila-paired, multi-course feast.
The Charlotte dinner began with attendees receiving an e-mail that they were selected to attend the free dinner. The details of the event unfolded, scavenger-hunt like, as the lucky chosen were sent to an address where they obtained a cocktail napkin with the handwritten address for the dinner's ultimate location. Fun.
At the Patrón Social Club site, they have a video of the event with interviews of McKee and the mixologist Chip Townsend. They also talk to guests and show the dishes and drinks that were served, paying particular attention to the cocktails created with Patrón. The most innovative drink of the night looked to be a Fleur de Patrón, which mixed Silver and Anejo with elderflower liqueur and Txacoli (a bubbly Spanish white wine). Sounds nice.
It's a modern, social media approach to marketing, and one we'll probably be seeing more of as events like these prove successful.
As for Charleston's own underground supper club scene, it looks like host extraordinaire Jimihatt has some new competition, and from a chef who cooked for a Guerrilla Cuisine dinner in July. Renata Dos Santos has launched LIME, "Charleston's newest underground experience." It's different from Guerrilla Cuisine in a few key ways. First, the chefs will all be Culinary Institute of Charleston grads or students. Second, the dinner will include drinks paired by either a sommelier or a mixologist. And third, LIME will benefit one charity, the Simply Divine Garden, which puts gardens in the yards of cancer patients. The cost per dinner is also a lot higher, at $125 per event.
Other than that, it's a similar concept with the event location being kept secret until two days before the dinner. The first one will be held Sat. Sept. 18. For more information, visit www.limeincharleston.com.