One of the perks of Cheapeats, is that we get to sample some great eating. Recently, we entered a contest sponsored by Bubby’s in Dumbo and won a seat at their Fall Symposium Dinner. “Free is Me” is our motto, so we gladly took our seat at the table.
The dinner we attended was “The Carolina Rice Kitchen with Glenn Roberts of Anson Mills.” Glenn Roberts is responsible for bringing back ancient and nearly extinct grains and offers these quality grains to chefs around the country. They’re almost like a winery of grains.
Low country cooking isn’t something I frequent, so the excitement was mounting. While the guests were arriving, we started with a drink at the bar. It gave everyone a chance to meet each other and relax before dinner.
While enjoying a glass of wine, a server approached me with a tray of pears wrapped in “Colonel Bill Newsom’s Country Ham” just to wet the appetite. I’m not a big eater of pork but this was the most amazing ham I’ve ever eaten. Similar to prosciutto, but better. Sorry Italy. It was salty & sweet at the same time and combined with the pears, PERFECTION. Oh boy, I’m am excited for dinner.
We were then asked to find a seat at the communal picnic tables while Ron Silver (Owner of Bubby’s) and Glenn Roberts (owner of Anson Mills) educated us on the history of Anson Mills and the menu planned – Land Raised Food with Flavor. I’m all about using healthy, natural and quality ingredients. This was right up my alley.
Pickled Shrimp on a Sea Island While Flint Grit Cake
I’ve had Shrimp and Grits before but nothing like this. The shrimp was moist with a hint of sweet and tang, all at the same time. The grit cake but light and airy, very much like a polenta cake, but better. You could taste the cleanness of it. AMAZING.
While we waited for the next course, bread baskets were placed around the table. What’s so special about a bread basket? Let me explain. These baskets were filled with the most incredible biscuits, breads and hoecakes.
The “Colonial Wheat” Biscut was TO DIE FOR. Crunchy on the outside and airy on the inside. It had an earthy depth that’s indescribable. The Benne Cake (sesame flour) Hoecakes were like corn muffins with the volume turned up. Sweet and crunchy. With a pat of creamy butter, this was a meal in itself. But wait….there’s more.
Sea Island Red Pea & Carolina Rice Hoppin’ John
Sweet Potatoes with Sorghum and Peanuts
Hoppin’ John is a rice and beans dish that originated in West Africa. The South added its twist with Black Eyed Peas, Bacon and Onions. Need I say more?
Sorghum is the 3rd most important cereal crop grown in the United States. A predominant characteristic is that it’s a neutral tasting grain. Combined with the creamy sweet potatoes and the crunch of the peanuts, this dish may well show up on next year’s Thanksgiving Table. Can I get the recipe?
Okra, not my favorite vegetable…at all!!! Too slimy for me. But this was dusted in cornmeal and fried. I tried it…I liked it.
Chicken And Dumplings with Collards
Chicken and Dumplings is the Jewish Penicillin of the South. A simple dish that can stand up to any formal dinner. The chicken was fall off your bone moist. The collards were cooked to perfection. The dumplings on top reminded me of matzoh balls, not what I would envision dumplings to be. (A small technicality) Combined with a sauce that was hearty, light, tangy and belly warming, it was a hug on a plate.
Buckwheat Cakes with Sorghum and Buttered Rum
Carolina Rice Pudding
Although I was stuffed, I made room for dessert. The Buckwheat Cakes were like pancakes soaked in butter and powdered sugar. But the rice pudding…. that was liquid gold in a bowl. A hearty whole grain rice in a creamy sauce with cinnamon and nuts. Very much like a sweet risotto. The most INCREDIBLE rice pudding I’ve ever eaten. (Do you think they’d notice if I walk out with the bowl?)
Needless to say, by the end of the evening we were all stuffed. But most of all, we were smiling. Thank you Ron and Glenn for a wonderful evening and incredible meal. If that was my last meal, I’d die a happy woman.
Happiness, $25 and under.