I spent my Sunday afternoon at the third annual Slow Food at Indie Grits Sustainable Chefs Showcase hosted by Slow Food Columbia at the All-Local Farmer’s Market on Whaley Street.
About a dozen Columbia top chefs showcased their creativity and signature food prepared with local, sustainable ingredients. The tasty fare included a variety of choices from a refreshing shot of strawberry and ginger beer, compliments of Motor Supply Company Bistro, and jello shots packing a lemongrass punch to a light, flaky and perfectly seared monkfish prepared by Chef Brian Dukes of Blue Marlin. Chef Andrew White, Tombo Grille, served up a mouth-watering cornish hen with a sweet peanut sauce presented in a lettuce cup that made your tastebuds sing.
Chef Mike Davis of Terra paired two southern favs in the form of BBQ over a mini grit pancake with a pickled relish. The result was a yummy burst of sweet heat. Quail seemed to be a recurring theme. All it took was one bite of Rosso Trattoria's delectable smoked quail and oyster mushroom ragu with sheeps milk gorgonzola to make a mushroom lover out of anyone. Hands down, my favorite bite of the afternoon was presented by Executive Chef Joseph Jacobsen, The Oak Table. The flavorful combination of a braised quail with its savory notes served over a marriage of true southern fare, grits and pimiento cheese, was incredibly tasty. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the next time I patronize The Oak Table I will find this amazing dish on the menu. A bit of sweetness also emerging from The Oak Table kitchen was a creamy lemon curd that proved to be oh so satisfying. Other bits of sweetness could be found on the next table over where Sean McCrossin of Drip Coffee and Drip on Main dished out dark chocolate with orange zest and dark chocolate with dark chocolate. One bite was simply euphoric.
I am anxiously awaiting my first order from Brown Box Veggies this upcoming weekend. Included in the box is red radish. This comes as quite the culinary challenge for me. In search of some inspiration, Saluda's did not disappoint. Adding a bit of flair to a simple salad of watermelon and feta, Chef Blake Fairies served the perfect pickled radish accompaniment. I seriously don't think I will eat "regular" pickles ever again.
Local foodies were encouraged to participate by showcasing their talents utilizing sustainable ingredients as well. A couple of my favorites included roasted beets, a cauliflower and kale puree, and Rosewood Market's Russian quiche. I will definitely throw a dish in the mix next year.
This food journey was one I will certainly take again. It was a super fun, enjoyable way to spend the afternoon. If you have never gone, I highly recommend you get a ticket next year!