Friday, March 2, 2012

Carolina Inn's Shrimp and Grits Throwdown

Culinary Tradition Meet Creative Carolina-Carrboro Chefs

by Lynne Brandon

Chapel Hill, NC -
Local residents and visitors from across the U.S. came out en masse for the first ever Shrimp and Grits Throwdown hosted at the historic Carolina Inn.

The friendly crowd had forks ready when “Eye of the Tiger” started playing and the seven Chapel Hill and Carrboro chefs vying for the title rolled up sleeves and started cooking. Shrimp sizzled, wine was poured and all had a great time tasting a myriad of recipes of the well loved southern dish. Every chef had to use two ingredients: shrimp and grits. After that all bets were off. Tabasco sauce, flash fried leeks, cashews, prosciutto bacon, corn, and other inventive ingredients permeated the air and whet appetites for the eager crowd. Northerners and Southerners compared notes and savored the moment.

After much sampling, local food writers and critics went with the creative style of Top of the Hill executive chef Trey Cleveland who showed his culinary chops from New Orleans and the Carolinas. Carolina Inn’s Crossroads Restaurant executive chef Jimmy Reale was a close second. Fans went with “heat” and chose the spicy Shrimp and Grits recipe from Vimala Rajendran of Vimala's Curry Blossom CafĂ© as the "Fan Favorite."

The first ever event was a culinary success that benefited a non-profit relief organization, and gave food aficionado’s the chance to experience a new twist on an old favorite.

Continue to read the winning recipe:

Top of the Hill Wild Mushroom Grit Cake with Shrimp

SoBo: Luxury B & B, European Cars and Sculpture

Where History and Love Collide
By Lynne Brandon
South Boston, Va. (Halifax County) - SoBo, or South Boston to outsiders, has a secret. Outside the small Virginia town sits a historic antebellum mansion once home to the affluent Bruce family in the 1800s. The mile-long driveway halts in front of the spectacular Greek Revival mansion that sits majestically on 685 serene acres dotted with native trees and magnolias.

Adjacent to the Dan River, Berry Hill is the perfect get-away for a romantic weekend, girl friend getaways, and yes, newlyweds. Brides have discovered Berry Hill, and in the summer the grounds are alive with laughter, love and celebration as families tie the knot under the wide open Virginia sky.

Leland Luck, the property’s faithful and enthusiastic historian, weaves a story of rich history in his tour of the “hidden in the hills” jewel. The great white home originates back to 1728 when it was first given to William Bryd II as a part of a land grant from England. Italian marble base boards, ornate ceilings and cherry floors connect the mansion to owners of prestige and good taste. The focal point of the house is the dramatic mahogany ‘horseshoe” staircase which displays the craftsmanship of freed Black cabinetmaker, Thomas Day.

In the late 90’s after lying dormant for several years, Berry Hill was restored to its former glory, making it a leisure destination and executive conference center.The mansion itself houses two large suites used primarily for wedding parties. Privacy lovers will enjoy the two smaller “mini-mansions,” small replica’s of Berry Hill on either side of the mansion, as well as 88 historic rooms with a view of the rolling Virginia landscape.

Rembrandt in America

Smithsonian of the South Pays Tribute to Master Artist
by Lynne Brandon

Raleigh's Museum of Contemporary Art hosted a rare exhibit that made a one-time stop in the South. For complete story, click on link.