Ancestral Peanut Debuts at Old Village Post House Dinner

crab When guests reached the second course of the Carolina Rice Kitchen Dinner — presented last night by the Old Village Post House – table conversations veered sharply to the first softshell crabs of the season, superbly flash-fried by chef Forrest Parker’s team. The supporting Sea Island Guinea flint grits from sponsor Anson Mills barely merited a mention.

The grits’ fade-out was a kind of triumph for Anson Mills’ Glenn Roberts and University of South Carolina professor David Shields, who have jointly spearheaded the effort to resurrect Carolina gold rice and the crops which completed the agricultural system surrounding it. The results of their work, including Chinquapin chestnuts, benne seeds and James Island peas, formed the core of the Rice Kitchen Dinner menu.

But the revivalists’ overarching goal is for the nearly-forgotten grains to attain standard ingredient status. Roberts and Shields have no interest in making the plants cultivated generations ago by Lowcountry growers into untouchable relics; using heirloom grits in service of another regional delicacy is very much in line with their strategy. Continue reading

Tristan Hosts Blind Tasting Dinner

Wine dinner announcements typically tout the wines scheduled for pouring, but for its “Smack Down” supper next Tuesday, Tristan is keeping the featured wines a secret.

Guests at the $95 dinner will blind taste two wines with each of the five courses, then vote on which wine they prefer. The menu includes charred spot prawns; veal breast lasagna and five-spice cannoli.

Representatives from Constellation Brands and RNDC will select the wines.

For reservations, call 534-2155.

Tristan Celebrates Truffles and Hazelnuts With 5-Course Dinner

Italian ingredients and an Italian chef are the starring players in Tristan’s next wine dinner, scheduled for Jan. 19.

Tristan’s chef, Nate Whiting, is collaborating with Villa San Carlo Hotel and Restaurant’s Carlo Zarri on a five-course meal featuring black truffles and hazelnuts. The menu includes king prawn tails fried in hazelnut tempura; truffle risotto and hazelnut sponge cake with pear custard.

The cost of the 6:30 p.m. dinner is $140. For reservations, call 534-2155 or email rachael@tristandining.com.