In the interest of full disclosure, I did help plan the event I’m about to go all ga-ga over. So there’s that.
But I can put you in touch with 79 other guests who I’m pretty sure would verify my claim that Capitol Market’s inaugural farm-to-table dinner this past weekend was a smashing success.
Featuring a champagne reception, phenomenal food and a gorgeous storybook setting under strings of white lights, “The Market Table” welcomed 80 guests during Saturday night’s al fresco celebration.
A large white linen-topped table stretching nearly 100 feet down the market’s main aisle — dressed with living lettuce centerpieces and surrounded by stalls of gorgeous plants and flowers — offered a stunning welcome when guests arrived, no doubt.
But it was the food to follow that left me speechless.
Chef Paul Smith from Buzz Food Service led a team of rock-star chefs who knocked it out of the park with a stunning four-course dinner — including two of the best dishes I’ve had in quite some time.
The first, a fresh citrus-marinated shrimp ceviche with local julienned farm peppers, was unfathomably good. I like shrimp. I like ceviche. I like fresh peppers. But this combination, gorgeously presented in a martini glass adorned with vibrant edible flowers, was delicious.
After eating the shrimp and peppers, someone at our table asked if it was bad manners to drink the rest of the marinade from the glass.
“I will if you will,” another said.
One by one, everyone started shooting their leftover ceviche juice. It was that good.
The beet salad that came next featured a perfectly fried goat cheese mousse-stuffed squash blossom that I could have eaten for days.
That was followed by a large entree featuring grilled filet of rib-eye with diver scallops and deconstructed ratatouille over West Virginia bloody butcher grits and red wine demi. A grilled pound cake topped with Muscat-macerated seasonal berries and fresh whipped cream rounded out the meal. (The cake being a tad dry was the only hiccup we noticed, and a small one at that.)
I’m telling you, it was a “magical” night — a word I heard from several guests over and over.
As a member of the board of directors, I was proud of Capitol Market’s foray into the farm-to-table movement. Another dinner is planned for this September, so stay tuned for more details. Ask anyone who was there Saturday night: you don’t want to miss it!
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If you’re looking for a way to celebrate the arrival of summer with some good tunes and good eats — also al fresco — you’ll be happy to know Charleston Town Center has teamed up with several restaurants to once again host another monthlong “Court Street Live” outdoor concert series.
From 4 to 6 p.m. each Friday in June, you can enjoy live music at the mall’s Court Street entrance, preferably while sipping and savoring tasty flavors on the Tidewater Grill’s street-side patio.
I did just that for three of the four weeks last year, so you can bet I’ll be there again this month.
I hated to miss last week’s kickoff concert featuring The Horse Traders, but this year’s remaining music (and accompanying $6.95 Tidewater food specials) includes:
Friday — Qiet, with a clams and mussel low boil with red-skinned potatoes and corn.
June 16 — The Ryan Kennedy Trio and 3 Men and a Baby (Grand), with coconut shrimp
June 23 — Rubber Soul, with salt-and-pepper tuna appetizers
June 30 — Beggars Clan, with grilled shrimp kabobs
In addition to Tidewater Grill’s food specials, Chili’s will offer free chips and salsa on the patio with purchase of an entree, Outback Steakhouse will feature $5 appetizers and $1 off draft beer and house wine, and Qdoba Mexican Grill has “2 for $20 meal deals” (two entrees, two drinks, chips and queso).
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Remember when I celebrated all of the “B” restaurants who brought their “A” game to last week’s Taste-of-ALL Charleston festival at the Four Points by Sheraton?
Well, reader Bobbi Holland said I forgot one.
“You missed another ‘B’ from Taste-of-ALL. Big Joe’s Kale Tortellini Soup was my favorite, by far! I’ve never eaten there before, but will definitely be giving it a try in the future,” she said.
“As an Uber driver, I’ve given Big Joe rides and we were discussing his food (I had heard they do their pastrami from scratch) and he told me everything they make is from scratch. If their soup is any indication, I can’t wait to try other items.”
Actually, Bobbi, you’re right. That soup is pretty fantastic. The only reason I didn’t single it out this year is because I had given in a shout-out during last year’s Taste-of-ALL coverage.
I’m with you on the “can’t wait to try” other items at his restaurant, though. I’ve been hearing Big Joe’s serves up some pretty righteous sandwiches and burgers, so I’ve got to make it down that way soon.
Steven Keith writes a weekly food column for the Charleston Gazette-Mail and an occasional food blog at blogs.wvgazettemail.com/foodguy. He can be reached at 304-380-6096 or by email at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Facebook as “WV Food Guy” and on Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest as “WVFoodGuy.”