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GREAT FOOD IN GREENVILLE, SOUTH CAROLINA by John MarianiNEW YORK CORNER: BRASSERIE COGNAC by John Mariani
FINDING GREENVILLE (the one in South Carolina)
by John Mariani
Greenville's Liberty Bridge across The Reedy River
I've got to
be honest and say
that, upon being invited to the city of Greenville, I
sure which of the Carolinas it was in and for a moment mistook it for
Greensboro, then the Greenville in North
Carolina. But after a visit to this historic and utterly
charming, thriving South Carolina city, I came away with not only fond
memories of a new place but a corroboration of my claim that you can
now eat exceedingly well just about anywhere in the United States.
looks will only get you so far in the resto business, and
Deveraux's certainly has them going for it: Located in the historic
American Cigar Factory (circa 1902), it draws on the vastness of that
enterprise's spaciousness, retaining the exposed brick and beams while
giving it good lighting and modern art.
Deveraux's is open
Tues.-Sun. Appetizers run $8-$16, entrees $22-$34.
The food at
Soby's, now 12 years old, is described as "New South Cuisine,"
which is easy enough to understand when presented with a menu of dishes
like pimiento cheese hushpuppies with jalapeño honey butter, and
Gullah shrimp and grits with bacon and grilled bread that serves to mop
up all the goodness on the plate. There's terrific she crab soup
splashed with sherry, a dish that reminds you how Southern food can be
as good as America's best at a place like Soby's, when all tooften
elsewhere that same food is made with mediocre or poor ingredients and
lackluster preparation that don't show the real virtues of the cookery.
Soby's is open for dinner daily, with Sunday brunch. Appetizers run $4.5-$8.50, entrees $14.50-$26.50.
THE LAZY GOAT
Lazy Goat's trademarked motto is, "Time well wasted," and you get the
drift as you enter this wrap-around, sprawling restaurant on
the river that bisects and meanders through the downtown. Huge windows,
an outdoor patio, and walls decked out with old clocks and antiques all
make this is a convivial place where you are indeed tempted just to
linger on long after your meal or to extend it with more food.
Open Mon.-Sat. for
lunch and dinner.
family-owned restaurants; indeed, I promote them as eagerly and as
often as I can.
And Stella's Southern Bistro, located some miles outside of Greenville,
is worth a trip not just for the good food but to meet two people who
obviously love what they do and love the fact that you've come to be
To get a
fine sense of Greenville's historic Southern charms, by all means stay
at its best hotel, the 12-story Westin
Poinsett, right on Main Street. Built in 1925 by New York
architect W. L. Stoddard, the hotel's classic décor has been
maintained in the public rooms, including the beautiful
lobby (right), where
scenes for the George Clooney movie "Leatherheads" were filmed, with 90
percent of the original windows retained, and damaged
terracotta decorative pieces and ironwork restored. As a result, the
hotel has received a Historic Preservation Award, By the
same token, the
all been refurbished with every modern amenity.
between a bistro and brasserie are not so readily distinguished as they
once were when the latter were opened in Paris after Alsatians poured
into the capital after the Franco-Prussian War, bringing their own
concept and cuisine of a big beer hall with them. The old-fashioned
dishes like choucroute and baekoffe endured,
while at the smaller bistros, which began dotting Paris after the fall
of Napoleon, families from various regions of France cooked in their
own style and at a considerable cut above the food at a café, if
not in the
haute cuisine class.
Brasserie Cognac is
open every day. Dinner appetizers range from $8-$15, main courses
rescued Anthony Abruzzese after he fell more than 30 feet into a silo
(right) housing flour for
blueberry waffles at a Kellogg’s plant in Winslow
Township, Camden, NJ, where he was employed. He got stuck
in the silo when he went to check the
flour levels, and there was concern that the flour could ignite.
GET HER STARTED ON THE SUBJECT OF GORGONZOLA!
On the subject of gelato: "The oral
neurosis of the Italians appears to desport the whole of its weight in
this realm of frozen childhood pleasure."--Rachel Cusk, The Last Supper: A Summer in Italy.
* From June 11-16, Chicago Chefs For Choice will host the "2009 Foie Gras Fest," with specially-created $10 Foie Gras dishes, at restaurants that incl. Cyrano's Bistrot & Wine Bar, Café Bernard, Café Matou, Carlos, David Burke’s Primehouse, May Street Market, and Hemmingway’s Bistro. Call Chef Didier Durand 312-467-1850 for more info.
* On June
16, Chiara Bistro in Westwood, MA, has invited Susie
Selby of Selby Winery in Healdsburg, CA to host a 5-Course Chef's
Tasting Menu featuring 6 wines. $75 pp. Call of her winemaking
award winning wines. Call 781-461-8118; www.ChiaraBistro.com.
* On June 18 in NYC, Sora Lella will hold special wine dinners pairing the restaurant’s signature dishes with the best wines of Lazio in a 5-courses with 5 wines from Sergio Mottura. $70 pp. Call 212-366-4749; visit www.soralellanyc.com.
* On June 19 in Washington,
DC, Zola Wine &
Kitchen extends an opportunity to wine and dine with Wine
& Spirits Professional Terry Theise of Terry Theise Estate
Selections, created by Executive Chef Bryan Moscatello, at $115
pp. Call 202-654-2855.
* On June 19 in Chappaqua,
NY, Crabtree's Kittle House
will hold a dinner of Pahlmeyer wines with special guest Director
of Winegrowing dinner with Pahlmeyer Wines, with winemaker Erin Green.
$150 pp. Call 914-666-8044.
On June 22, in Miami Beach,
Blue Door at Delano
presents a 6-course wine dinner featuring the wines of Duckhorn and
the cuisine of executive Chef Maria Manso, priced at
$150 pp. Call 305-674-6400.
On June 22 in NYC, Hearth holds a 4-course Riesling
dinner focusing on the wines of Johannes Leitz in the Rheingau
region, above the town of Rüdesheim. $99 pp/ . Call
646-602-1300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
* On June 23 in Las Vegas, the first of a new
series of Beer Pairing Dinners is being held at Daniel Boulud Brasserie at Wynn Las
Vegas, with bexecutive Chef
Wesley Holton and wine manager Sur
Lucero, as well as Michael Smith of Unibroue Brewery. . $85 pp. Call
702-770-DINE. Visit by Daniel
Boulud Brasserie’s executive Chef Wesley Holton and wine manager Sur
Lucero, as well as Michael Smith of Unibroue Brewery; www.wynnlasvegas.com.
* On June 23 in NYC, City Harvest’s young professionals group, Generation Harvest, will host its annual Summer in the City Restaurant Tasting and Cocktail Party at the Metropolitan Pavilion with Tasting & Silent Auction Tix range from $125 - $200 pp and sponsorship packages from $2,500 - $25,000. Call 917-351-8716 or email@example.com.
* On June 24 in Chicago, Chefs on the Grill brings
together renowned chefs of the Millennium Valley at The Plaza at
Park Grill. Attendees will interact with the chefs then vote on the
best-grilled dish of the evening. Guests will also enjoy food, drink
and special take-away prizes all under Chicago’s famous “bean.”
will benefit the Grant Park Conservancy. Chefs incl. Bernie Laskowski
of Park Grill, Cliff Ostrowski of China Grill, Michael Fiorello of
Mercat a la Planxa, Ben Walanka and Daniel Romero of Rhapsody, et al. $55 pp. Call
312-521-PARK; or visit www.parkgrillchicago.com.
* On June 24 in Venice, CA, Piccolo presents "13a Cena al
Contrario"-- a "reversal dinner" because instead of first
choosing the food then picking wine to complement your choice, you’ll
choose the wine first and chef Roberto Ivan will pair it with the
food. Chooose either 3 or 5 wines from a list of about 30 new
labelspicked exclusively for the evening by sommelier Pietro
Biondi. $70 for 3 wines and 3 plates; $110 for 5. Call 310-314-3222.
* On June 24 in Alexandria, VA, Bastille Restaurant has partnered with The Winery, a local wine shop in Old Town Alexandria, along with Elite Wines Imports to bring “France on a Budget” Wine Dinner by Executive Chef Christophe Poteaux and Pastry Chef Michelle Garbee Poteaux, 5 courses at $85 pp. Call 703-519-3776.
* On June 25 in Clayton, GA, Persimmon Creek Vineyards welcomes Virginia Willis, chef/author of "Bon Appetit Y’all, Three Generations of Southern Cooking" and Tasia Malakasis artisan cheese maker from Belle Chevre, for an evening of Southern cuisine and wines, in a multi-course meal of seasonal specialties from her book, paired with Persimmon Creek Vineyards wines. $95 pp. Call 706-212-7380; visit www.persimmoncreekwine.com. . . . On June 27, "A Purple Haze" dinner will be held by Chef Kristian Holbrook, formerly of Blackberry Farm, and now g-m the Cottages at Persimmon Creek Vineyards. $85 pp.
On June 25 in Milburn, NJ,
Anna Maria Sorrentino of Shop Wine
and Dine-Food & Wine Travel Concepts has joined
with Semolina Restaurant,
for an all Sicilian, tasting menu dinner paired with Sicilian wines, at
$95 pp.Net proceeds will be donated to the Italian American Museum
Earthquake Relief Fund 2009. Contact
firstname.lastname@example.org or 973-467-4418.
On June 27 at Elysian
Park/Montecillo Old Lodge, LA, the 29th Annual Picnic Des Chefs
Presented by Club Culinaire of French Cuisine will be held, with games
and rffle, silent and live auction, hotel packages, and
100+ Gift Certificates from our Chefs’ Restaurants. $50 Adults;
Children 10 to 21 $20; under 10 free. Call 949-295-0505 or visit
On June 27 in Atherton, CA,
Vintage Affaire, one of
California's largest wine auctions, is to be held in the gardens of a
private estate, to benefit Vista Center for the Blind and Visually
Impaired in Palo Alto. Events incl. an array of silent auction items
and wines from 25+ of California's top vintners; Some of the
area's best chefs, incl. Alessandro Cartumini, Quattro Restaurant and
Bar, Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley; Daniel Patino, Michael Mina's
ARCADIA, San Jose; Xavier Salomon, The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay; and
Cal Stamenov, Bernardus Lodge, Carmel Valley, will serve hors d'oeuvres
and discuss wine pairing options with guests. Music by the Magnolia
Jazz Band. Live auction and gourmet supper in the garden. $300 pp.
Visit www.vintageaffaire.org or call Vista Center at (650) 858-0202.
Everett Potter's Travel Report:
I consider this the best and savviest blog of its kind on the web. Potter is a columnist for USA Weekend, Diversion, Laptop and Luxury Spa Finder, a contributing editor for Ski and a frequent contributor to National Geographic Traveler, ForbesTraveler.com and Elle Decor. "I’ve designed this site is for people who take their travel seriously," says Potter. "For travelers who want to learn about special places but don’t necessarily want to pay through the nose for the privilege of staying there. Because at the end of the day, it’s not so much about five-star places as five-star experiences." THIS WEEK: PARIS
Eating Las Vegas is the new on-line site for Virtual Gourmet contributor John A. Curtas., who since 1995 has been commenting on the Las Vegas food scene and reviewing restaurants for Nevada Public Radio. He is also the restaurant critic for KLAS TV, Channel 8 in Las Vegas, and his past reviews can be accessed at KNPR.org. Click on the logo below to go directly to his site.
Tennis Resorts Online: A Critical Guide to the World's Best Tennis Resorts and Tennis Camps, published by ROGER COX, who has spent more than two decades writing about tennis travel, including a 17-year stretch for Tennis magazine. He has also written for Arthur Frommer's Budget Travel, New York Magazine, Travel & Leisure, Esquire, Money, USTA Magazine, Men's Journal, and The Robb Report. He has authored two books-The World's Best Tennis Vacations (Stephen Greene Press/Viking Penguin, 1990) and The Best Places to Stay in the Rockies (Houghton Mifflin, 1992 & 1994), and the Melbourne (Australia) chapter to the Wall Street Journal Business Guide to Cities of the Pacific Rim (Fodor's Travel Guides, 1991). THIS WEEK:
Family Travel Forum (FTF), whose motto is "Have Kids, Still Travel!",
is dedicated to the ideals, promotion and support of travel with
children. Founded by business professionals John Manton and Kyle
McCarthy with first class travel industry credentials and global family
travel experience, the independent, family-supported FTF will provide
its members with honest, unbiased information, informed advice and
practical tips; all designed to make traveling a rewarding, healthy,
safe, better value and hassle-free experience for adults and children
who journey together. Membership in FTF will lead you to new worlds of
adventure, fun and learning. Join the movement.
All You Need to Know Before You Go
MARIANI'S VIRTUAL GOURMET NEWSLETTER is published weekly. Editor/Publisher: John Mariani. Contributing Writers: Robert Mariani, John A. Curtas, Edward Brivio, Mort Hochstein, Suzanne Wright, and Brian Freedman. Contributing Photographers: Galina Stepanoff-Dargery, Bobby Pirillo. Technical Advisor: Gerry McLoughlin.
Any of John Mariani's books below
may be ordered from amazon.com by clicking on the cover image.