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Greenville, South Carolina
Great weather, a business-friendly environment, and exciting events are putting Greenville on the map
It doesn’t have the hipster buzz of nearby-ish towns like Asheville and Charleston, but Greenville, South Carolina is on the up-and-up. To make it “the most liveable and beautiful city in America,” Greenville’s multi-term mayor has pushed through incredible civic initiatives, creating low-rent artist studios along the Reedy River and trading a highway in favor of a pedestrian bridge overlooking Falls Park. Miles and miles of hiking and biking trails call for exploration, and 300 days of great weather invite exciting food and music festivals to take over the city. Signature fests include euphoria, a four-day food-and-wine fest in September, and Artisphere, a mid-May blowout when dozens of art and food vendors descend on the main drag.
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The appeal: Speaking of getting in on the ground floor, it may already be too late to call yourself an early adopter of Greenville. As it’s making a lot of lists these days—and for good reason—you’ll want to get in before the secret’s fully out.
Stay: Animal fans will find plenty to love at Aloft Greenville Downtown, which features a dog adoption program in the lobby. Guests can even take the dogs out along the on-property dog walk.
Do: Arts and culture make up a large part of the social calendar, so be sure to schedule time for favorite events like Artisphere, culinary-centric euphoria, and the Greenville Scottish Games.
Eat: Well, Greenville, where do we start? With your plethora of delightful restaurants, the onus of choice is upon us, so here are some standouts: Jianna for modern Italian in a beautiful atmosphere and Willy Taco Feed & Seed for hand-held flavor bombs with a margarita chaser.
Check out the below to see all of the other cities that must be seen in 2019!
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Sunday of euphoria food, wine, and music festival goes something like this:
The morning starts with some well-earned and worth-it pain from the previous three days — pain from dehydration, pain from not being 22 anymore, pain from eating way too much because it was all right there in the open and no one was judging.
And then there’s the pep talk — you’re a professional and an adult, you’ve previously met adversity with vigor and pizzaz, so why should the next eight hours of eating and drinking be a problem? (See above for reasons.)
But, regardless, you arrive Sept. 23 to the tents near Fluor Field for the outdoor Sunday Brunch, which is the best deal of the weekend, and you are suddenly overwhelmed with the urge to drink a blood orange mimosa, which you chase down with a cup of Due South Coffee cold brew. Solid move.
Then it’s on to the food. Barbecue was the theme, but it wasn’t just about the meat. Two of the most refreshing bites were a salmon lox with marinated cucumbers and salmon roe from The Darling Oyster Bar (Charleston) and a quickled (quick-pickled) cucumber, shallot, and preserved summer chillies from Watershed (Atlanta).
But this is no time to focuss on health food. In terms of the meat, hands-down the best bite of the day was Elliott Moss’ (Buxton Hall Barbecue, Asheville) whole hog barbecue with greens and green beans. And to be clear, the greens and beans were absolutely the best part because they were cooked under the hog in those magical salty, fatty drippings.
Meanwhile, South Carolina Chef Ambassador Sarah McClure of Southside Smoke House (Landrum), turned out a “Figgy Pig Slider” that Charleston food blogger and published author Candice Townsend said was her favorite bite during brunch. Neither of us is wrong.
Another function of these big tent events is to introduce new talent coming to the Greenville market. HenDough from Hendersonville gave us a sneak peak at the doughnuts they will soon be slinging at Gather GVL food hall in the West End. Another new HenDough concept coming to Gather, Mercado Cantina, showed off its Mexican-inspired chilaquiles.
The brunch-time entertainment was provided by the killer acoustic band My Girl My Whiskey & Me, who elicited cheers and whoops after almost every inventive cover they played.
Not to be outdone, over on the main stage, the Greenville County Schools Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown showed off the culinary talents of four current students and their Michelin-starred sous chefs. The winner, with a hoisin-glazed salmon, was William Stephenson of Mauldin High and his side-kick chef Brandon Jew of Mister Jiu’s (San Francisco). Stephenson’s winning recipe will be added to the Greenville County Schools menu for the duration of the 2018-2019 school year.
After a brief hiatus between events, it’s time for Sunday Supper. There’s a reason this event sells out quickly every year. The family-style dinner at the Wyche Pavilion on the Reedy River with the chefs cooking on a stage at the end of the structure closest to Larkin’s is the perfect showcase of Greenville as both a tourist location and food destination.
There’s also a reason those who bought tickets early either don’t show or give their tickets away. Two-ish words: couldn’t hang. But for those of us brave (or stupid) enough to push through the euphoric exhaustion, there’s no other place we’d rather be.
This year, North Carolina chefs Joe Kindred of Kindred restaurant and Craid Deihl of Hello, Sailor showed why they continue to receive high praise from national press. The dishes, such as deviled hamachi collar, Grandfather’s Pickles, a watermelon salad with puffed black rice, Greenbrier Farms porchetta, and whole roasted snapper were approachable but certainly not ordinary.
The Lazy Goat’s chef Wilbert Sauceda rounded out the chef crew, adding an eggplant zalouk “lasagna,” along with green beans and roasted cauliflower.
After 14 savory dishes were served with accompanying bourbon cocktails, it was time for three desserts (and yet another cocktail) from Kindred and Hello, Sailor corporate pastry chef Justin Burke-Samson and The Lazy Goat pastry chef Tania Harris.
By the end of the night, the sun had set, the tipsy folks were cheers-ing to anything that came to mind, and the country tunes of up-and-comers Reverie Lane reverberated from the pavilion in a final send-off.
Cheers to another successful, sensory-overloading, and perfectly exhausting euphoria weekend. Bring on the juice cleanse.READ THE FULL POST
The South is famed for its food, but some cities stand out as culinary destinations even among the red-hot competition. Greenville, South Carolina’s burgeoning dining scene continues to draw travelers from all over and national accolades for its fare. (Fitting, since Greenville is home to Michelin’s North American headquarters.) In fact, Zagat has named Greenville the “#1 Under-the-Radar Southern Food Destination,” Southern Living “One of the South’s Tastiest Towns” and Esquire “The Next Big Food City of the South.” The menus and festivities are ever-changing, but this fall is a great time to visit.
Four choices to consider this fall, for foodies and road-trippers alike
In the south, the fall is always welcome, as hotter days turn into mild ones and the leaves put on a show. If you’re wanting to take full advantage of this time of year, consider these four events that offer plenty of food, drinks and activities for the whole family.
euphoria, presented by Lexus: This highly anticipated weekend-long event includes exclusive tasting events, cooking demonstrations and wine seminars, as well as multi-course dinners and live musical performances. It features domestic and international wines, celebrity chefs, master sommeliers, and national recording artists. Founded in 2006 by platinum-selling singer and songwriter Edwin McCain (who does, in fact, perform during the festival) and restaurateur Carl Sobocinski (of the famed Table 301 Restaurant Group), this annual event shines a spotlight on Greenville, South Carolina’s thriving culinary and arts communities. Proceeds from euphoria fund Local Boys Do Good — created to benefit local non-profit organizations.
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Plenty of districts capitalize on National School Lunch and National School Breakfast weeks as a launch pad for promotional events. In Prince William County, Ronk’s team came up with the idea to hold a National School Lunch Week Chant Challenge two years ago. Students submitted two-minute videos promoting school lunch or nutrition with cheers and rhymes. The district was amazed that a third of its schools participated, including many high schools. The winner at each level was given a giant check for $500 that the school could spend on wellness programs, such as gardens or a rock wall.
When Ronk delivered the check to the winning high school, she was blown away by the enthusiasm—and still gets goosebumps remembering it. Cafeteria staff were featured in the winning video, and they stepped out to be recognized at the awards presentation, too.
“It’s easy to get the little kids more excited about being in the cafeteria, but [at the high school], they went crazy,” Ronk says. “The walls were shaking. We had the cafeteria staff walk out. I think the staff had no idea how their students thought about them. I was really touched by it. Our ladies were, too.”
Partnerships with local restaurants, culinary competitions and even a food festival round out the special events in Greenville. Cafeteria Takeovers began at the district in 2016 as collaborations with some of the higher-end local restaurants where students aspire to eat. Chefs work with cafeteria staff on the entire menu, including dishes like a whole-hog barbecue or certified Angus beef short rib sliders with truffle fries. To stoke foodservice career ambitions, the program has also held culinary competitions since 2015. Teams of four high schoolers spend two weeks perfecting their recipes before having a live cook-off. The winners get their recipe on a school menu.
And Euphoria Greenville, a four-day food, wine and music festival that regularly draws Michelin-starred chefs, gives the Greenville school food program more visibility. During the festival’s Sunday brunch events, which bring in around a dozen of the nation’s best pit masters, Urban arranges for four kids to prepare food on stage in front of almost 400 people as part of a kids’ cooking competition.
“It’s the coolest collaboration,” he says. “Everything drives participation in one way or another. Through our pop-up events and competitions, we get different press and different publicity. We show that we’re committed to providing the greatest school food possible.”
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When Keanu Reeves surfaced at Euphoria, a four-day food festival in Greenville, South Carolina, alongside three-star Michelin chef Curtis Duffy, a few questions arose, the most pressing one being: Why is Neo/John Wick/Ted Logan/Johnny Utah attending a food event in the Carolinas? It turns out he was speaking with Duffy at Michelin’s North America headquarters, located in Greenville, on their mutual admiration of food and the international tire brand. (Some relevant background: Reeves, in partnership with Gard Hollinger, owns an exotic motorcycle company called Arch Motorcycle.)
The tire company is the same Michelin that rates restaurants by one, two and three stars, and the very same organization that connected Reeves and Duffy at the beginning of 2017 at a Pilot Sport 4S tire release in Palm Springs. “I knew that Reeves had built motorcycles with his partner, Gard,” Duffy said, prior to their first meeting. “That was always of interest to me. When I knew he was coming out there, I wasn’t star struck because of who he was. It was more about, I want to know this guy because of the motorcycle side.”
Reeves and Duffy’s friendship quickly evolved over their shared interests: motorcycles and food. “He’s super passionate about motorcycles, and I’m super passionate about motorcycles,” Duffy says. “I don’t build them, but I can respect it and understand what goes into it because my father used to do it.”
It was Duffy’s third year at Euphoria and his second year of making the 14-hour trek from Chicago to Greenville on his motorcycle. In the midst of preparing for a highly-anticipated Michelin dinner and “Healthy Lunchtime Throwdown” (an annual kids cooking competition) at Euphoria, Duffy managed to sneak away with Reeves, Gard and Arch’s Heath Cofran for a picturesque bike ride through the Blue Ridge Parkway in North Carolina.
The next day, a Michelin dinner at The Lazy Goat showcased the food of Duffy, Dominique Crenn and Michael Mina. It was here that the bike and dining connection started to make sense. Each bite of the dinner promised something new and unexpected: a rice paper chip for crunch, Vietnamese herbs for flavor, Japanese Miyazaki beef so tender that it melted in your mouth. Each ingredient contributed to the overall dining experience, just like technical components make up the anatomy of a quality bike.
A brief one-on-one with Reeves backed this up: High end components are to Arch bikes as quality ingredients are to Duffy’s creations. “It’s making sure we keep the integrity of the dish,” Duffy says, when cooking outside of Grace in Chicago. “If we’re going to do it, we’re going to bring Grace to the restaurant we’re cooking in. What you experienced tonight [at the Lazy Goat] is exactly what you’d see at Grace.”READ THE FULL POST
This past week, chefs, food enthusiasts, cocktail nerds, wine tasters, beer drinkers, and celebrities descended on Greenville, South Carolina, for culinary festival Euphoria. What followed was four days of tasting tents, concerts, cooking demonstrations, wine class, multi-course dinners, and plenty of stalking of the big stars in town.
Actor/motorcycle enthusiast Keanu Reeves was the most-talked about guest in attendance — anyone lucky enough to get a photo promptly posted it on all their social media feeds. Reeves was in town to talk about Arch Motorcycle Company (he’s a co-owner) and attend the Michelin-starred dinner on Saturday, September 23, at The Lazy Goat.Eater CharlestonREAD THE FULL POST
Named one of the “10 Southern Food Festivals You Need to Taste” by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “Top 20 Events in the Southeast,” and praised in USA Today, Oprah Magazine, and The New York Times – euphoria highlights Greenville’s culture, depth of talent and outstanding revitalized downtown.READ THE FULL POST
It took me a week to recover from Euphoria. At least that’s my excuse for being a week late with this post. Between wine seminars, tastings, parties, and dinners, Greenville’s wine, food, and music festival tuckered me out.READ THE FULL POST