Hooper Schultz and photographer Anna Ward got the chance to experience an evening of adventurous cuisine from some of the Southeast's most well-known restaurants (and one New York establishment) and beverages from several regional purveyors when we were invited to Charleston Wine + Food's The Roasted Goat event last night.
The words "roasted goat" give off a definite earthy, rustic, unpredictable vibe, and that feeling is exactly right for Thursday night's event at 652 King St., in the High Wire Distillery building. Meat roasted on open flames filled the air with mouth-watering smoke that mixed with the music from local group The Rising Star Fife and Drum Band, whose syncopated rhythms upped the party vibe. We sampled booze from Fullsteam Brewery of Durham, North Carolina, Foggy Ridge Cider of Virginia, and Blackberry Farm of Tennessee among other winery and craft cocktail choices helped this already laid-back event become a real party. It was a complete flip to the casual side of the Holy City coin from Wednesday night's cocktail-attire opening.
Goat roasted over an open flame served up by Wisebuck — photograph by Anna Ward
Our perennial favorite beer, especially with the smoky, meaty dishes on this goat-heavy menu, is a good IPA. Fullsteam Brewery had the perfect beer for our night with their Rabbit Eye Blueberry Rye IPA. The brew isn't too berry-flavored like so many other blueberry-themed beers, and the rye isn't overdone either. It's a good mild IPA and was our drink of choice for the night.
Fullsteam Brewery had Coffee is for Closers Iced Coffee Porter and Rabbit Eye Blueberry Rye IPA on tap — photograph by Anna Ward
As for food, there were two stars of the show—one was simple and classically Southern, and the other was a bit more ambitious.
Chef Ethan pendley of Nashville, TN, eatery Urban Grub, prepared Nashville hot chicken thighs all night. This take on classic Southern fried chicken prepared the Nashville way was beautiful in its low-brow nature—hot fried chicken on white bread, with mayonnaise and pepper-pickle garnish. It was fantastic. We went back for seconds!
Nashville hot chicken thighs by Urban Grub — photograph by Anna Ward
Chefs Jeff McInnis and Janine Booth, both of Root & Bone, the New York Times-lauded Southern restaurant in the Alphabet City area of Manhattan, came out swinging last night. Their goat meatloaf with crunchy puffed rice and toasted coconut was covered in an amazing curry sauce that was accented by pieces of pomegranate. The complex taste was an exotic step away from the South-centric being peddled by most of the other outfit. It paid off. This is the one dish we are still thinking about. If NYC isn't your style, McInnis and Booth are opening up a new restaurant, Sarsparilla Club, in Miami.
McInnis and Booth's goat meat loaf with curry sauce — photograph by Anna Ward
Overall, we have to say that this event totally beat our expectations and shows how diverse and multi-faceted our food scene—and the crowd that accompanies it—is. Well played, Wine + Food, well played.
If you haven't already taken part in this awesome festival, tickets are still on sale for this weekend's daily Culinary Village at Marion Square. Tickets are $70 for locals on Sunday. Catch 'em here.