Euphoria Event – To the Root of It All
Hello again, Foodie Friends 🙂 Hope you’ve had a great week so far! For this special edition of Foodie Adventures, I’m giving you a behind-the-scenes tour and review of an amazing Euphoria Greenville event from last week, “To the Root of It All”, featuring Chef Carrie from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and hosted by Oak Hill Café & Farm! 🙌
Mixing & Mingling
Oak Hill Café & Farm, Greenville, SC
There are many things that I would consider bucket list events I’d like to do in the next couple years. Some are more local, some are National, and some are Global things that would require me to travel or hop on a plane. Living in the Upstate, SC area for three years this June, the Euphoria Greenville events have always been ones that I’ve looked at with admiration, and the foodie that I am really wanted to go.
So when our friend Amanda from Perfect Pitch Productions Company reached out to us at Pimento & Prose with an invitation to one of these Euphoria dinner events, I shamelessly waited no less than 10 minutes to email her back, excitedly confirming my yes to go! I then spent 6pm to almost 11 pm last Thursday night wining and dining with some of Greenville’s finest food writers and food-minded folks at this awesome food-focused event.
“To the Root of it All” was in essence, a collaboration between Carrie Morey from Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit in Charleston, SC; David Porras & team from Oak Hill Café & Farm here in Greenville; and a partnership with Certified South Carolina from Columbia, SC.
We are fortunate to live in South Carolina, where there is an abundance of locally sourced ingredients, especially at this time of year. Those fresh ingredients shined bright, as the chefs used them to highlight the roots of these great dishes at this multi-course farm-to-table dining experience. Their goal was to utilize the best and most local ingredients that South Carolina had to offer, and they definitely succeeded!
This event was attended by at least five or six people that evening from the Department of Agriculture in Columbia, who spent hours talking to me about different seed varietals and what kind of Agriculture-based marketing went on in the state. I went back and forth with Michelle and Eva, the Marketing Director and Communications Director, respectively, about how farmers and restaurants work together to collaborate on marketing when it came to different types of seasonal produce or techniques, which was so interesting to me. Michelle and I also connected on having loved ones with gluten intolerances, so I made sure to tell her some of my favorite places that were gluten free friendly in case she got to visit any before she left.
I also briefly got to meet Matt Lee of the famous Lee Brothers (pictured left and with David and Carrie above) and spoke with him about the South Beach Wine and Food Festival, how it compared to the Charleston Wine and Food Festival, and his amazing chicken and waffles sneakers he was wearing. Jackie from Off the Grid Greenville was there, who is one of my favorite people, along with Ariel Turner, who writes for Off the Grid occasionally, along with Town Magazine and quite a few other publications. Stephanie Burnette from At Home Magazine was probably one of the most interesting people I’ve ever spoken with and was an absolute wealth of knowledge when it came to anything food, marketing, or anything locally really. She had a great understanding of how long restaurants had been here, and who was owned locally, and how everything was tied together and she seemed like somebody that I could just talk to for hours!
Lastly, two of my favorite people I got to meet in person were Grace and Ana from GVL Today. As someone that spends most of their life interacting with people on Instagram, but not always getting to interact with people face-to-face, it’s always awesome to finally put a face to a name. So it was really cool to hang out with them and we talked nonstop the whole night. They were such fun people and I absolutely loved talking to them about their jobs, what they did, how they got started, and their favorite places in Greenville. But enough chitchat, onto the good stuff – the food! 😋
You all know my love for rhubarb already! I’ve told you stories about how my grandma used to grow it in her garden in Massachusetts. So I was really happy to find that the first drink of the night as we walked in was a strawberry rhubarb old-fashioned. It was made with local Six-and-twenty bourbon whiskey-infused strawberry rhubarb syrup and had vanilla bitters in it. It was absolutely delicious and I would order that at a bar somewhere if they had it. As we were mingling, next came the cheddar biscuits and ham. These were buttermilk biscuits with chopped ham and a Dijon mustard butter on the inside, which gave a really nice sharpness to contrast the richness of the biscuit.
One of everyone’s favorite bites of the night was the pimento cheese empanadas. Being from Costa Rica, Chef David is known for his empanadas, and regularly features different versions of them on his menus. These were made with corn Masa dough and Carrie’s homemade pimento cheese!
The next course was a Ceviche made with South Carolina Royal Red Shrimp, with tomato, bell pepper, and onion puree topped with cilantro and lime juice. I am a huge fan of Ceviche; the last time we had it was in Miami at a little Peruvian restaurant in South Beach and it was phenomenal. I wish this would have been a bigger portion because I swear I ate this in two bites! I’m glad all the portion sizes were smaller though, because by the time this whole event was over, I felt like I had eaten about 18 to 20 courses (exaggerating, obviously). This is probably one of the first times that I had eaten a multi-course menu like this, so as much as I would have loved to have gone back for certain versions of more bites, I think it was smart to limit courses to prevent people from overeating throughout the night.
This is also the first course that had a wine that went with it. Matt, who owns the only local wine distributor in the area, Mission Grape, located in Greer, is the main housing and stopping point for all the wine that’s collected before it goes to bigger cities like Charlotte, Charleston, Atlanta, etc. So if there are any local wines or smaller ones that are harder to obtain, he would be the one that would know about them and works with local vineyards and farms to get them! The first wine was a white wine from France call Fichet Cremant. I didn’t try this one, as I was still drinking my rhubarb and strawberry, but I made sure to try the next one. Each of the wines was specially curated by Matt to the menus and flavor notes within the courses.
Next came the salad course! Typically, during a normal 3-course dinner, I usually skip the salad, as I don’t want to waste precious room with filler that could be used up by other yummier things. However, the salads here were definitely worth the extra nibbles!
The first was a summer salad with local Oak Hill Farms mixed greens, snap peas, white corn, and a raspberry vinaigrette. They were very good about people with allergies that night, accounting for folks with gluten intolerances, dairy intolerances, and vegetarian folks. The regular salads would have included Ashe County gouda cheese along with Callie’s Hot little buttermilk biscuit croutons on top of theirs, but mine came without those last two.
The next salad was a salt-roasted beet salad, a very earthy and savory note compared to the light and springy salad that we ate previously. This had little Pepita (pumpkin) sheets and shaved fennel on top, and would have come with house-made ricotta cheese for the non-lactose intolerant folks.
This was when I was introduced to my favorite wine of the night, and my favorite story about a winery of the night. This was the Sybille Kuntz Qualitatswien Trocken Riesling from Germany which was a 2019 bottle. The story goes that Sybille was the first woman to not only buy her own farm but also become the president of her own company and run her own winery out of Germany, which is awesome! This riesling was a little drier than typical rieslings are; it almost to me felt closer to the dryness of a Sauvignon Blanc. So this would be great as a bottle of drinking wine and a great cooking wine if added to say a fish dish or a sauce for an Italian pasta. Would absolutely buy a bottle of this if I could find it in a store!
Next came the entree course. This was a three-tiered section that started out with a couple of versions of a grilled quail.
First came the grilled quail legs, which were coated with a Dijon and whole grain mustard. These were from local Manchester Farms in Columbia, SC.
Next were the quail breasts which were also served with a mustard sauce, which was super rich and velvety compared to the bite of the whole grain mustard from the first version of the quail.
They were served with Marsh Hen Mill Carolina gold rice grits, which were grits made out of chopped rice pieces instead of ground cornmeal. Mine, of course, was separate from the family-sized portion on the table, which I assume had either cheese or cream in it, but the bowl and spoon were still family-sized (although my portion was not).
So, of course, my table, who had all become fast friends by now, wanted me to comically eat my tiny portion with my massive spoon and bowl. Please enjoy this goofy photo here. 😁😂 Mine ended up tasting more along the lines of a rice pilaf, as it tasted like it had a richer chicken stock or more poultry base to them.
As a palate cleanser and side for the quail, we also had Caroline’s slaw that was on the idea of a Chow Chow relish, along with a pickled cucumber and onion mixture.
We also got Carrie’s famous biscuits, both the buttermilk and sharp cheddar versions. These were served with savory thyme butter and a vegan butter for me (the one pictured above), which honestly, I couldn’t tell the difference between this butter and the regular butter, so they did a fantastic job with whatever it was. It might have been some sort of nut butter, like cashew, because it had that same kind of creaminess that a cashew has.
They also brought in a pork loin with a really great lima bean, broccoli, and lemon salad. At this point, I was absolutely getting full and I ended up taking this portion of the course home to Jamie, since I really wanted to save room for dessert! I did have a couple of bites each of the pork and the salad though. The salad was definitely my favorite of the two.
Finally, it was time for dessert! We ended with some of Carrie’s absolutely delicious lemon shortcake topped with blueberries, which tasted like if you crossed a biscuit with a shortcake, which was absolutely fantastic.
I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing and saved some for Jamie.
There was also a Six and Twenty Carolina cream drink that came out as well, which was not dairy-free. It was basically the equivalent of a locally-made Bailey’s Irish Cream. I did have a taste of it and it was delicious, if they did make one that was dairy-free, that would be amazing!
This was definitely an awesome experience, and I so enjoyed getting to interact and talk with the folks that I did. Thanks again to Amanda for the invitation and for including Pimento & Prose in such a great event!
Bonus! More about the Chefs:
I was fortunate to be able to spend a few minutes after the dinner speaking with Guest Chef Carrie Morey, owner of Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit and star of the new show “How She Rolls”, which is now airing on PBS. We spoke at length about recipe testing and how much she loved putting thought and effort into all the mixes that have gone into stores now, and her excitement for her new show. The show talks about her running a new biscuit truck and how she started her initial biscuit empire as a mom, along with being an entrepreneur and raising three girls. I loved watching one of the videos from her website, which ended with this motto – “Be a biscuit – Rise tall, be open to anyone’s jam, and be warm and buttery on the inside!” 💜
James Beard-nominated chef David Porras of Oak Hill Café & Farm is the co-owner and executive chef, originally from Costa Rica. David “earned a diploma in culinary arts at Latina University; was certified in hydrocolloids and avant-garde techniques at the French Culinary Institute in New York City; and obtained a Master’s in cuisine, techniques, and products from the renowned Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian, Spain”.
So how was your weekend, Foodie Friends? Are you excited about Euphoria and more food festivals coming up in the fall? Sound out in the comments below to let us know your suggestions of what dishes to make or places we should visit next. As always, feel free to like, comment, & share 🤗