Saturday, October 25, 2008

Fun in Charleston, SC with Personal Chefs Network

I had the pleasure of attending the national gathering of personal chefs at the Denise Vivaldo, who brought along copies of her new book, Do It for Less Weddings. I am not going to start doing weddings, but her menus and catering tips were definitely worth the price of the book.

Legendary cooking teacher Anne Willan also did a demonstration and shared some recipes. I am looking forward to recreating her beef daube recipe tomorrow because it is down right chilly here, especially after spending a week in the south.

The keynote speaker was fellow Northeast Ohio resident, writer and Iron Chef America judge, Michael Rulhman. I am regular reader of his blog and it was great to hear him speak in person.

There are a lot a great places to eat in Charleston. My favorite meal, and probably one of the best I've ever had in my life was at McCradys. Everything was perfect - the ambiance, the service and the food.

The first picture is my first course - Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Caramelized White Chocolate, Pears, Parnip and Coffee. The second is my sister's entree of Snake River Farms Karabuto Pork with cornbread, Heirloom Field Peas and Root Beer. For dessert I had a peanut butter cake that came with some some dried apple chips in liquid nitrogen. The server put a spoonful on the plate and instructed us to put it in our mouths quickly and breathe through the nose. They popped like pop rocks! It was a killer meal and they were gracious enough to provide a chef signed menu when I asked.

I also had great meals at Ansons, FIG, and High Cotton. Try the Shrimp and Grits fritters at High Cotton if you get a chance.

Another great discovery was Firefly Sweet Tea Infused Vodka. It's a locally produced concoction that is delicious. I enjoyed it in a take on a Long Island Iced Tea at High Cotton - a little Madiera, some lemonade, some tea and fresh mint, as well as in martini form at a rooftop bar. It can't be shipped, but I did manage to find the package store and had the shipping store wrap mine in bubble wrap and it survived the flight in my suitcase.

There is also a fabulous cook's store, Charleston Cooks, and PCN kindly provided 10% coupons to shop there. Needless to say I found gagdgets that I didn't have but I will save those for the next post.