A week or so ago I saw an event mentioned on Facebook (I think) to celebrate the upcoming release of Andrew and Michael's (of Andrew Michael's Italian Kitchen) new cookbook, Collards and Carbonara. The event featured some of the best (and my favorite) chefs of the region, bourbon, wine, and signed books. Given the scope of the event I didn't think the price was terrible at $125/each, but with the Asheville trip the weekend before I didn't think it would be feasible. I emailed Bryan the link with a note saying "I want to go to there!" He responded that it was too much. But then immediately responded back that he was kidding he called and made our reservation. I just about freaked out.We both eagerly looked forward to the event. And it definitely delivered.
I left work a little early so we could arrive nearly in time for the 5:30 start. We gathered on Andrew Michael's back patio to sip Pappy Van Winkle Manhattans and snack on fancy appetizers.
Bryan is now spoiled forever after having tasted the Pappy Van Winkle goodness. We shall be in financial ruin.
We visited with some friends and acquaintances and smiled for the society pages photographer before heading across the street to Hog and Hominy.
We were told the meal would be served family style, but we weren't sure how they were going to execute it. They had set up several long tables and assigned seats. It was kind of a relief because trying to figure out who you want to sit by is too much pressure and feelings get hurt.
Before they served the food John T. Edge with the Southern Foodways Alliance got up to speak for a few minutes. The event was to benefit the Alliance. He showed a short film on Helen's BBQ in Brownsville. She's my hero. Seriously, watch this video. We are planning a road trip on Saturday.
So there were four courses. At each course the guest chef would prepare a dish and Andrew and Michael would prepare a dish.
Course 1: the best oyster of my life.
I sort of cut it up before I remembered to take a picture, so forgive how un-pretty it looks. Fried green tomato with pulled pork and coleslaw on top. Heavenly.
Course 2: The best shrimp of my life. This was served over butter bean puree with pickled celery. Bryan was flipping out over the pickled celery and I'm trying to figure out how I can pull off butter bean purees.
Seared brocoli with the most moist and tender tofu I've ever had.
The remains of my short rib. It was served with an avocado puree and watermelon chunks. So tasty.
The best collard greens of my life. I got seconds.
Kelly English's lamb belly. Amazing. It was served with a sweet tomato marmalade that I need to find.
After the meal the chefs thanked everyone and introduced the guest chefs. It was an incredible night and Bryan and I both feel so lucky to have been able to attend.