Justin Fox Burks
I'm thinking it's the cumulative good vibe for this weekend’s Heritage BBQ that’s keeping the remnants of Hurricane Isaac in check. Or maybe it’s the holiday weekend’s full moon. Either way, Friday night’s kickoff party on the rooftop of the Peabody was upbeat and sociable with some of the city’s best bartender’s moving far beyond bourbon on the rocks.
Tasting stations also offered lots of good eats from such stand-out restaurants as Las Tortugas, Interim, Trolley Stop Market, Grove Grill, Acre, Lunchbox Eats and the young chefs from L’ecole Culinaire. While all the plates were good, the ones I ate first and last were two of my favorite.
First on my plate was this delicious mini-sandwich from Lunchbox Eats: fig smoked, beer braised pork hock with peach and green tomato chow chow, veggie slaw and cornbread toast. An adorable name tag on an appetizer pick garnished the plate. I immediately ate another. Before leaving, I spotted Jeffrey Dunham’s dish from the Grove Grill: sweet potato and pickled summer squash with pork belly lightly tossed with a lovely mayonnaise made with rendered pork fat, olive oil, vegetable oil, lemon juice, mustard and Worcestershire Sauce. (At least, I think that’s what Dunham said. Taking notes in the dark while drinking cocktails can be, well, a little unreliable.)
Speaking of cocktails, the party’s mixologists were fun to watch, tossing together bourbon-based libations with finesse. Sherianne Bangham from Acre mixed Templeton Rye with cardamom infused simple syrup, fresh lime juice and ginger beer. She also tossed in a few cardamom seeds for good measure. Her cocktail made me rethink my resistance to bourbon. So did a drink by Chris Ferri, bartender from Sweet Grass, who shared his recipe with me. I'm rechecking the amounts, but look for the drink in an upcoming post.
In the meantime, remember the Cochon Heritage BBQ continues tonight with a pop up dinner at Sweet Grass. (You can still make the 9 p.m. seating!) The menu looks great, promising dishes like these: Mexican Soda Pulled Pork Torta, Thai Pork Slider with Green Curry and crispy noodles with mint.
The weekend’s main event is Sunday afternoon at the Columns downtown. There's also cheese and wine seminars in the morning at the Peabody. Click here for complete ticket information.