Eat

Friday, March 5, 2010

Gullah Lunch report

Posted by Jeff Allen on Fri, Mar 5, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Fresh off a little shut eye, here's a rundown of the day's action:

The culinary village is better than ever. We spent the morning checking out the vendors in the tents and then took a seat at the new Gullah tribute lunch that saw an impromptu auction of colorful hats, signed by Johnathan Green, bringing in hundreds of dollars. Highlights in the village included Anson's fresh vegetable stand where they were popping out some decent pimento cheese and Bertolini's pasta raviolis paired with Mepkin Abbey mushrooms - yum.

Also, enough cannot be said about the Rice and Beans project. The four murals created by CCSD school of the arts students are absolutely stunning. Mike Lata's may look a bit like he has a black eye, but despite than that minor detail they should bring in some good money for the charities. Speaking of that, you can bid online for those things at the festival or from the festival website.

The Gullah lunch event is new this year, and we enjoyed quite a few good dishes. I scarfed down some of Ms. Martha Lou's okra soup, then followed with some bbq ribs, a bowl of conch chowder (which was definitely an acquired taste judging from Barna's reaction), and then the jewel of the table, Alluette's lamb, falling from the bone, paired with Frank Stitt's collards and white beans — absolutely delish.

It was nice to see so many people of color taking part, not just from behind the apron, but as patrons — something that has been lacking in previous festivals. We were treated to Gullah spirituals sung by a local group, and Johnathon Green gave a rousing lecture on what being lowcountry means to him. Mitchell Crosby, always the crowd-pleasing gentleman, conducted the impromptu auction, and did a fine job selling off the decor - colorful hats reminiscence of Green's paintings, right off the back wall.

I'd go back to another one of these. even if it doesn't have the sizzle of a Bobby Flay burger cookoff, it somehow felt more appropriate. More like what Charleston ought to be, and less like a taping of Rachel Ray.


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