Gwen Fowler



Myrtle Beach's Coastal Uncorked a big success

Posted 6/1/2010 3:30:00 PM
If Coastal Uncorked is held next year – and I certainly hope it will be – you should definitely be in Myrtle Beach for it.

My husband and I spent Friday and Saturday afternoons enjoying a party that stretched from one end of Ocean Boulevard to the other. The Tasting Trolley was only one event of the Coastal Uncorked Food and Wine Festival. Last week, about 30 restaurants offered a $20.10 special for a three-course meal, and some restaurants sold out on those evenings. The week wrapped up May 23 with the Food Fight Gala, an Iron Chef-type competition featuring six Grand Strand chefs.

The champagne and charcuterie reception at the Caravelle Resort on Thursday was a nice party that also gave me a reason to learn the meaning of a new word. Charcuterie (pronounced shahr-KOO-tuhr-ee) refers to meat products, especially pork specialties such as pates. Meat was definitely the star of a fine spread, and one item that I found most interesting was boudin balls. This is a Cajun dish traditionally made with a boudin sausage, which includes a rice filling. Maybe it was the rice, but it struck me that the filling of the boudin balls seemed very similar to liver pudding. Maybe that’s not so far off, because liver pudding is made with pork liver, other types of pork and rice.

But on to the big party of the weekend, the Tasting Trolley. Participants could visit any of the 11 stops along the tour. Each location offered food samples, as well as samples of wine, beer or spirits. Many offered live bands. But some locations went all out and threw a themed party. For example, our favorite stop was the Caravelle’s pirate party. We were greeted by a pirate and directed to the party on the ocean front. Two of my favorite foods here were boiled shrimp – very big, fresh and delicious – and a shrimp creole served with a delicious grit cake on top.

Another popular spot was the Caribbean Resort, which had a pig on the grill and offered a full buffet line – barbecue, cole slaw, baked beans and more -- rather than samples. One attention-getter on the serving table was a roasted pig’s head with an apple in its mouth.

At the Island Vista, Mardi Gras masquerade was the theme. Along with wine and bourbon samples, Oysters Rockefeller and a chicken and andouille sausage gumbo were served.

Another big party was going on at the Landmark Resort, which held an Aztec- themed party at the pool, complete with a mariachi band. Crowds showed up here to sample fish tacos and other Mexican foods, but the real lines were for Sangria and margaritas.

On Friday afternoon, we visited several participating restaurants at The Market Common and were especially impressed with three. Roy & Sid’s offered several Southern appetizers, including fried green tomatoes and pimento cheese. At P.F. Chang’s China Bistro, our friendly host served us a warm sake with Asian-seared Ahi tuna, and then a cold sake with Dynamite shrimp. The bartender at Tommy Bahama’s Restaurant & Bar stayed busy making Crazy Cubans (see his recipe below), which he served in tiny, plastic martini glasses.

We saw lots of locals and tourists, especially on a beautiful Saturday afternoon, and the atmosphere on the trolleys definitely got rowdier as the afternoon went on. Most of the folks who participated seemed to love it, and while they partied they were helping build the future of the area’s hospitality industry. Some of the funds raised at the festival will go to Horry-Georgetown Technical College’s culinary school and Coastal Carolina University’s hospitality program.

Crazy Cuban recipe

1 ounce Tommy Bahama White Sand rum
1 ounce Cruzan Coconut rum
½ ounce Tommy Bahama Golden Sun rum
½ ounce 99 Bananas (banana-flavored schnaps)
3 ounces fresh pineapple juice
Mix all together. Serve over ice.