Wilmington, NC (WECT) – As the holidays approach, I usually start cutting back on what I eat and drink. That’s because I want to enjoy all the fruits (high-calorie side dishes) that Thanksgiving and Christmas have to offer. So instead of drinking strong malt wine, I’ll stick to a light beer…or swap out a hearty bowl of beef stroganoff for a salad.
However, two foodie events presented themselves to me last week and it was something I couldn’t miss (even if I had to buy new pants on January 1st).
the first was Siege runner “Hops and Harvest beer dinner.” Executive Chef Jessica Capo and her team at Eating in the East Ocean Created a wonderful five-course meal paired with a selection of beers Hi wire fermentation. The event takes place outside, next to the resort’s beautiful marine park, with live music from Smokey Dunes playing throughout the evening.
Hearing the waves crash in the distance only adds to the relaxing setting, and then food and drink take that over the top. This event is always fun and everyone should try to attend Come fall, especially when dishes like “Octopus Tostada”, “Shrimp Empanada” and “Hot and Cold Salad” are served. The menu was definitely Latin in character, but I wasn’t really impressed until the 3rd course.
A dish consisting of locally caught red snapper, on a crunchy rice bun, swimming in a pool of cucumber honey manna, and citrus pepper jam was exceptional. Unlike the typical citrusy ceviche flavor, this aguachile was sweet and tangy. The paint was clean and really speaks to the quality of the kitchen staff. The dish was paired with a “Rasberry Fizz,” a light sour, that paired well with the sweet and savory sides of the meal.
The main course was cherry-and-coca-cola-cooked short ribs, on a bed of mashed goat cheese bananas, green beans, and yucca chips. The meat fell off the bone, every bite had a delicious caramel flavour. Goat cheese penetrated banana plants and gave an excellent creamy texture (I might steal this idea for mashed potatoes in the future). The rye accompanying a barrel of Barleween whiskey helps bring out the flavor of the short rib even more. It was a star-studded dish.
The dessert course included a chocolate-filled churros with a stout chocolate beer slash. A delicious treat for a great evening of food, drink and music along the ocean. Who can ask for more?
The second event was “Taste of Wrightsville Beach”. It’s one of the food and drink gatherings in southeastern North Carolina, and for good reason. There were over 20 different restaurants, breweries and wineries to sample their creations. It was my first time here, so I handled it like I was doing a beer festival…I basically raided every restaurant booth I came across ASAP. This means that a three-hour event essentially ended in 45 minutes for me (sweating food and feeling like I’ve gained 10 pounds in less than an hour), but I’ve had some delicious treats along the way.
While Eating in the East Ocean Win the Best Overall Dish “Beef Braised With Cocoa And Red Wine, With Black Bean Puree And Plantain Flakes”, I chose Port Land Grill “Balsamic-espresso-glazed beef rib over mashed potatoes, with pickled leeks, pomegranate, Tallow Beef breadcrumbs, and Microgreens” as the best dish (also won the public’s pick for best dish).
But make no mistake, almost every restaurant has hit the target. From Fish House’s “Southern Style Fish Stew,” to “Pimento Cheeseburger Sliders” at Poe’s Tavern, and “Redneck Oyster Rockefeller” at Bluewater Grill with bell pepper cheese, bacon, and collard greens.
I also proudly admit to having two portions of the Brasserie du Soleil “duck liver” with red wine…that was good.
I’m only sorry I didn’t get more pictures of what I ate, but carrying several plates and a glass of wine all at once is no easy feat! If you get the chance to come next year, I highly recommend you do, and there are rumors that you might really be a judge. I hope by then I can learn to walk by myself before the holidays.
Would you recommend a restaurant? Or find out the best-kept secrets you want the rest of Cape Fear to know? Vote for me at firstname.lastname@example.org I would like to introduce your choice. cheers!
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