Moved under-cover due to the threat of rain, Thursday's Wine + Food Festival ticket launch party at the Charleston Harbor Resort and Marina was a bit gloomy Thursday evening. Luckily, it was brightened by a generous amount of wine tastings and nibbles from local chefs.
After grabbing our wine glass, we made our way into the first room, which seemed to have more of a casual, down-home flavor, with generous barbecue sandwiches from Home Team BBQ, fancy meatloaf from JB's Smokeshack, and bratwurst tartine from Todd Garrigan at the soon-to-open Craftsmen Kitchen & Tap House. JB's cheesy broccoli casserole had us craving Granny's cookin', while Circa 1886's honey truffle risotto pudding with pea anglaise garnered mixed reviews.
We headed outside onto the covered porch area just in time to hear W+F reps like Angel Postell gush about how well ticket sales are going — some events have already sold out! We found some of the best dishes outside, like Ken Vedrinski's cold burrata soup with crunchy crouton-y bits — we could have eaten a few bowls of that stuff. Travis Grimes represented Husk with a pork belly pastrami, sweet pickled veggies, and johnny cakes — it tasted a little like a fancy pizza pie. Charleston Grill's Michelle Weaver ran out of her cucumber gazpacho, but the marinated cherry tomatoes with crab and dill were delicious on their own. Tristan's Amanee Neirouz blew us away with her pineapple upside down cheesecake, and Andrea Upchurch (Magnolia's, Blossom) almond amaretto macarons with peach butter cream were divine as well. The "Italian mojito," though tasty, had us scratching our heads — we were told it was a combo of vodka and lemonade. Not exactly mojito materials.
We felt like we'd won the lottery when we discovered another room inside with Cru's famous chicken and waffles (fried chicken nuggets on a mini waffle cone) and a super potent drink from the Gin Joint utilizing Sailor Jerry rum. Though we were feeling mighty full, the Glass Onion's Chris Stewart insisted we try their just-made Caw Caw Creek suckling pig sausage with farro and butterbean salad — we didn't regret it.
The festival isn't until March, but you'd be wise to snag your tickets now if you don't want to be left out in the cold. Here's where you can get them.