Last night my husband and I went to the inaugural dinner of Renegade Vittles, South Carolina’s first underground Supper Club. Here’s the deal. Word gets out about the event via media and word of mouth and people buy up the limited number of tickets (quickly). You may know the chefs. You may know a little about the food being served, but the location is a secret until the day before. The menu is a surprise until the night of the dinner.
The day I found out about the event, I called my husband to meet me for lunch. I read off the details: Chefs Joe Clarke from American Grocery, Aaron Manter from The Owl, Michael Kramer from Table 301, Anthony Gray of Bacon Brothers, and Jason Scholz from Stella’s Southern Bistro would be preparing a five course meal celebrating the pig. I think his mouth honestly hit the table. Our favorite chefs in Greenville. One meal. One night. I frantically poked and swiped away on my iPhone until I had secured two tickets to Dia De Los Puercos, the Inaugural Dinner of Renegade Vittles.
On Sunday, Renegade Vittles sent out an email letting ticket holders know that the event would be held at Greenbrier Farms in Easley. The invite said dress farm casual. BYOB. We were stoked. I reached out into the Twittersphere for suggestions on a good wine to pair with a pork dinner, assuming it would be made in many different ways. Darlene, Sommelier and co-owner of American Grocery, and coincidentally, on the of the brains behind Renegade Vittles, suggested Pinot Noir or the Spanish wine varietal, Barbarossa.
The night of the big event, we made our way to Greenbrier. When we pulled up to the farm you could see the sparkly lights that filled the event space leaking out into the dark night. You can rent the space, by the way. Folks, this is gonna be a long post. I can’t glaze over the night. It was incredibly beautiful, the food was spectacular and the company was rockin’ cool.
The long rustic barn tables surrounding the large fire pit in the center of the room were covered in burlap, and illuminated with candles. Mason jars were filled with water, and jelly jars were placed out for wine (or in my husband’s case, Bulleit Rye Whiskey). People mingled around the room, stood by the fire, shared their wine finds and chatted it up until dinner was served. I was so excited to see a few familiar Greenville faces. I won’t list everyone by name (hey, ya’ll!), accept to say that Mr. Greenville Bites himself was in the house (who I was so excited to finally meet outside of my computer). And I had the most fun with my table mates! I met a Gap Creek Gourmet fan, a new employee at Restaurant 17, and two of the owners of Greenbrier Farms, Natalie and Roddy Pick, who provided one of their Berkshire pigs for the evening’s meal.
(How does it work out that people have job-appropriate names? Do they pick the job, or does the job pick them? Hmmmm….) Chatter wasn’t a problem. But when the food came? Silence. A basket of biscuits and butter came out first. There was one biscuit left by the time I got to it, and I gobbled it right up with no problem. I would imagine it was made with a mighty helping of pork fat and it was spectacular.
Are you ready? Course One:
Joe Clarke and Lauren Limbird from American Grocery Restaurant prepared Grilled Cider-brined Ham with squash ravioli, bacon-fried brussel sprouts, chestnut puree, crispy shallots, and sauce moutarde. The saltiness of the pork, the sauces, the silky texture of the squash filling in the ravioli….eye rolling back in your head goodness.
*Excuse the lighting in my pics. I was grabbing all the candles I could find to illuminate the dishes in front of me. I’m seriously asking Santa for a camera. I love my iPhone, but it just doesn’t cut it sometimes. If you have better pictures than I do, please send them to me!
Michael Kramer from Table 301 prepared a beautiful Bourbon-brined Pork Loin with violet sweet potato, compressed apple, celeriac and amaranth. The most tender, lovely pork loin ever.
This picture doesn’t do this dish justice. Anthony Gray of Bacon Brothers Public House prepared Guinea Hog Pork Belly with bacon jam, ember-roasted carrots, asian pear, rye-braised shoulder, and trotter jus. There are no words. Just yum.
Here’s your lesson for today. Trotter? Pork foot/lower leg. Jus? In it’s own juice.
Chef Aaron Manter of The Owl Restaurant prepared a roasted pork shoulder in chorizo pork fat with chimichurri sauce and a sprinkling of cinnamon. We loved the dish. The cinnamon and sauce were amazing on the pork, but we all wanted more sauce for dipping, licking the plate clean, etc. It was gone too soon.
Stella’s Southern Bistro Chef, Jason Scholz, wrapped up the evening with a piece of Kasseler Rippchen (Brined Roasted Pork) and Suddeutsche Schweinekotelette (a Crispy Spiced Pork Fritter), sour apple cream, kohlrabi, scarlet queen turnips, pickled pastrami seeds, and pumpernickel crumbs. Bottles emptied, everyone lingered over the last bites and sips, not wanting the evening to end.
See those guys in the white jackets? Chefs. Greenville’s best.
Stay tuned to Renegade Vittle’s Facebook page for the next dinner, which is coming up VERY soon. Sorry folks, I begged for the date, but it’s on lockdown.