morning afterYou know it’s been a heck of a weekend if, on Sunday night, you’re craving a salad and a shower.

Last weekend The Kid and I drove down to Greenville, SC and attended the 12th annual food, drink and music festival, Euphoria.  It was an all-you-can-eat, drink, and listen extravaganza.

So, we did.

Saturday afternoon we went to the “Feast by the Field” held in and around Fluor Field on the West End, the stadium for Greenville’s minor league baseball the Drive.  Chefs from all around the country cooked up tempting bites that represented them and their style.


The duck, with those amazing collards.

The first bite was one of my favorites of the weekend.  It was an empanada filled with slow cooked short rib and served with a green tomato relish and microgreens.  Another favorite was a cornbread toast point with duck confit, the best braised collards I’ve ever eaten, and topped with crispy duck cracklings.  I asked for the collard recipe, but unfortunately, it came the chef’s grandmother and was not for sharing.

My favorite offering of the event was mini cupcakes.  I chose a salted caramel one.

I ate it in two bites.Saturday night was the inaugural Big Easy Bash.  It was held in a town near Greenville which is undergoing a kind of renaissance, Traveler’s Rest (is that a cute name for a little town, or what?).  It was a celebration of all things New Orleans.

The band, Soda City Brass Band was talented and playful.  One of my favorite moments of the night came when the trumpet player broke out his digeridoo and played some jazz.

The band came out into the crowd and a large portion of the of the crowd paraded in front and behind.  This is called “Second Line”.  My child and I joined the Lousiana and danced our hearts out.  The consumption of numerous, brightly colored cocktails may or may not have played a part in our decision.

Chef Tariq Hanna

Tariq Hanna, sugar wizard, and creator of brown butter ganache.

My favorite dish of the night was no surprise, a dessert.  The pastry chef actually works in N’awlins and his creation was totally traditional, and at the same time, completely insane.  It was a tart, about 3-inches long by ½-inch wide, filled with bread pudding.

So that is unique enough.  But he then along the top he piped a line of something I’d never heard of, but which now resides on my short list of favorite foods.


How is it that I never heard of this ambrosia?  Can you imagine the buckets of it that I have missed eating because I only just discovered it this late in the game?  It’s just too depressing to even contemplate.


John Lewis of Lewis Barbecue in Charleston.  The Best Short Ribs ever, and the best bite at Euphoria.

Sunday though, was my favorite event.  The reason?  It was brunch, a delicious hybrid of breakfast foods, lunch fare, and a slice of melon.  With an emphasis on barbecue, it was called “Fired Up!”.

And here I discovered and devoured my two favorite of the weekend: pork belly tacos, and short ribs that were so amazing, I told the chef to call me if he ever needed a kidney.  Next to him was a pile of stripped bovine rib bones so massive it looked like the aftermath of a cookout at Fred Flintstone’s house.We were lucky enough to have a VIP ticket.  It conferred upon us exclusive events, early admissions, and entry to the VIP lounge.

I’ve never been a VIP before.  But I have a sneaking suspicion that after this weekend, it’s gonna be tough going back to being a mere “P”.

Chef Crenn

The Kid and I were so honored to meet Chef Dominique Crenn.  What a weekend!

Thanks for your time.


Three to get ready

This is week three of our conversation with Chef Dominique Crenn, 2016’s world best female chef and participant in this year’s Euphoria food and wine festival in Greenville SC, on the weekend of September 21-24.  Along with other chefs, including La Farm’s Master Baker Lionel Vatinet, Chef Dominique’s innovative and imaginative cuisine will be showcased Saturday evening at the Seeing Stars dinner.

Iron Chef America is a competition series based on the hit Japanese show.  It pits a stable of chefs; dubbed “Iron Chefs”, against chef-challengers.  The two go head to head in Kitchen Stadium.  Using a mystery theme ingredient, a culinary battle ensues during which each chef creates a minimum of five dishes.New Iron Chefs were anointed in The Next Iron Chef, a single elimination series with ten of America’s premiere chefs competing for the title.  In 2009, Chef Dominique competed in season two, which eventually saw Jose Garces winning the title.

In a case of sweet, sweet karma, in 2010 she competed on Iron Chef America where she trounced Chef Michael Symon in battle yogurt.

Chef Michael Symon.  He’s not just unhappy about that ugly jacket he’s wearing…

Chef Crenn and I recently had a phone interview.  This is the third and final part of that conversation.

Iron Chef; where by the way you were robbed, Oh, you are sweet, but I didn’t want to.  Oh Really?  Looking back, I am not someone who would be happy doing that.How did you keep coming up with such imaginative and original dishes during the competition?  You know, I’d just look at the ingredient and try to understand what the ingredient is about.  Kind of like, go back, deep into your memories, and do things that perhaps, you have eaten before; maybe what you mother used to cook, and you’re just being creative, you know?  And it’s quite interesting, because you compete with others that don’t have the same background that you have or come from the same country.  Obviously, this is not France, and that was my point of reference.  Then you are judged by those that are not French at all, so I try to connect with them.  It was a lot of fun–it was a lot of fun.Things that you guys came up with, week after week, some of them should have been classics.  You wonder why someone hadn’t come up with that fifty years ago.  One time they gave me a sea cucumber to cook.  But they didn’t give me fresh, they gave me frozen sea cucumber, and I’m like, “Really?  Are you serious?”  So, anyway.

I have one more question for you, and I won’t steal any more of your time.  What is one thing about you, that no one would ever guess?  I used to be a little ballerina.  Yeah, I was not disciplined enough, I guess.  And, I was so bored.  Yeah.Chef, thank you so very much for taking time for this.

Chef Dominique Crenn may not have had the discipline for ballet, but she had enough to earn a baccalaureate in economics and a bachelor’s degree in international business from the Academy of International Commerce of Paris, then move to San Francisco and start her education all over in some of the best restaurants and under the tutelage of its best chefs.  And only nine years later she was so well regarded she moved to Indonesia as the area’s first female executive chef.

I’ll bet, on that journey, she was never bored.Next week is the last pre-Euphoria chef chat.  Chef Trey Bell, of Greensboro’s LaRue Elm, will be under the microscope.Thanks for your time.