You haven't lived until you've seen a grown man sucking shots of Fireball Whisky out of a unicorn's ass. But if you attended last night's Charleston City Paper Best of Charleston party, that's exactly what you saw.
OK. We have to admit that the unicorn in question was actually a giant ice luge that had been shaped into the mystical one-horned creature. But that doesn't change the fact that eager drinkers were putting their lips on the tail of the beast as cold shots of whisky flowed down the sculpture's backside and into their mouths. It was hilarious.
Of course, there was more to the BOC 2012 party at Red's Ice House and next-door neighbor the Lighthouse than doing dirty deeds with unicorns. There was plenty to eat and drink, thanks to several Readers' Pick winners.
Not suprisingly, O-Ku's sushi table was popular. In fact, within seconds of plating, hungry ticketholders swarmed the setup and began gorging on the joint's tasty creations; the tuna rolls didn't make it through the night while the potato-wrapped rolls were gobbled up by attendees. As usual, Wasabi delivered a stellar spread, offering up two Mexican-inspired dishes: tuna tartare in a tiny tortilla scoop and a mound of crab on top of a massive chip. More than a mouthful and oh-so delicious. The perennial Best of Charleston party favorite also served up fried rice and chicken.
We were bummed Cru Catering didn't bring their mac and cheese — it's without a doubt the best in world — but they were easily forgiven. Their offerings were not only tasty but imaginative, in particular the rainbow-colored, mini-layer cakes and the mini chicken-and-waffle cones.
Other popular eats: Red's Ice House's barbecue-bacon-wrapped scallops and raw oysters, Santi's massive bowl of guacamole, Fiery Ron's barbecue and collards, Five Guys' burgers and fries, and Kaminsky's desserts. Black Bean took care of the healthy, vegetarian sector. Butcher & Bee had some meaty roast beef sandwiches that seemed to be gone very early.
On the drinking front, Cocktail Club served a seriously delish blueberry-infused tequila, Sweetwater had their classic 420 ale on tap, Holy City Brewing tapped their signature Pluff Mud Porter, Charleston's own Virgil Kaine doled out its ginger bourbon, and Gnarly Head kept the wine flowing.
However, the biggest hit of the night had to be the location on beautiful Shem Creek. Unlike some previous Best Of parties, attendees has plenty of room to spread out. In fact, throughout the night we were continually finding new nooks and crannies at Red's to hang out and chat.
Over the course of the evening, lucky ticketholders mixed and mingled. Rob Fowler, Harve Jacobs, and Keke Collins were huddled together. The Shop Talk guys, Sman and PC, were treated like celebrities as they moved through the crowd, enthusiastically shaking hands and smiling. We spotted former TV host Ryan Nelson, philanthropist and businesswoman Anita Zucker, City Councilman Mike Seekings, Charleston County's Elliott Summey, state Rep. Leon Stavrinakis, celebuchef Jeremiah Bacon, jazz singer Leah Suárez and jazz man Charlton Singleton, Martha Gadsden of Martha Lou's, and artist Nathan Durfee, but, alas, no Catherine Bell, the Readers' Pick winner for best local actress.
Speaking of Bell, no Best of Charleston party would be complete without some eye candy, and boy did we get plenty of that thanks to the Lowcountry HighRollers, the Generation X pole dancers, and a shirtless Chelsie Ravenell, who was advertising the Bytox hangover-cure patch. The purported prevention patch was being passed out at the entrance, and most attendees eagerly slapped one on in anticipation of the debauchery to come. Judging by how we're feeling at City Paper offices this morning, we probably should've given one a try.