Gwen Fowler



Tasting Trolleys a fun way to experience Coastal Uncorked

Posted 5/14/2011 10:20:00 AM

The two-day Tasting Trolley of the Coastal Uncorked Food & Wine Festival took festival-goers from the north end to the south end of Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach Friday, with stops along the way for food and drinks.

My friends and I started at the north end of the route and plan to continue our trip on Saturday.

In addition to a beer garden at Plyler Park on the city’s new Boardwalk and a wine tasting at The Market Common, eight hotels have gone all out with themed offerings.

We started at the Caravelle, which showed off its 1950s Rock & Wine theme with a replica of an old-time soda shop, only the beverage of choice was wine. Hotel staffers served hamburgers, hot dogs and Cincinnati chili. Adding to the party atmosphere were statues around the oceanfront area of Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and Betty Boop.

Next stop was the Island Vista, where the theme was island paradise. This hotel is home to The Cypress Room, where Chef Michael McKinnon has earned a reputation for excellence. The food here was outstanding: blackened mahi-mahi with succotash and a salad made of lettuce, mandarin oranges, candied pecans, red peppers and chicken.

At Dunes Village, it was Mardi Gras, complete with beads, a jazz band, jambalaya and a crawfish boil, with potatoes, sausage, corn on the cob and crawfish.

Appropriately, the theme at the Caribbean was Caribbean. One of the favorite stops on last year’s tour, the popular and excellent barbecue meal made a return this year. And again this year, the father of Monty Morrow, general manager at the Caribbean, came from his Barnwell home to do the cooking, with help from friends and family. It was served with all the trimmings: fruit, potato salad, cole slaw and rolls. At one end of the serving line was a pig head with an apple in its mouth, a man dressed as a pirate walked around with a parrot on his shoulder, and a reggae band provided music.

Then it was on to the Breakers. To go along with the Far East theme, a temporary “Great Wall of China” had been built on the oceanfront. Kono Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar was serving sushi, and Breakers staffers were served delicious shrimp wonton with wasabi sauce.

Out last stop was at Plyler Park, where a band played while people sampled a number of beers, including some from New South Brewery of Myrtle Beach and RJ Rockers of Spartanburg.

That was plenty of good food and fun for one afternoon. We’ll be boarding the trolley again tomorrow.