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Taste of Hutson Alley: a recap and the upcoming Chili Cook-Off

Hola Hola Hola! This past week has been super fun and super busy. We had a meeting this morning to organize with our team, the College of Charleston Alumni, for Charleston’s Celebrity Chili Cook-Off and Oyster Roast to benefit the Charleston Animal Society. The Castejóns are so excited to get to work with my alma mater for this event! Alfonso and I are also hoping that our favorite honorary local, Bill Murray, will be the celebrity- one can dream. Click the event link above to donate to the Charleston Animal Society- look for the CofC Alumni team to help us win The People’s Choice! I’ll be documenting the event from the beginning to the end- starting with the chili prep, so look forward to a more detailed blog post later covering the event.

Now about last Thursday.

We attended Holy City Hospitality’s Taste of Hutson Alley to celebrate our 5 year wedding anniversary. It was a delight! The evening consisted of a sampling event followed by a wine dinner. Hutson Alley is a small pedestrian side street (an alley, if you will :) ) off of John Street in the heart of downtown Charleston. Doors to many of Holy City Hospitality’s restaurants open onto the alley. For the sampling portion of the event chefs and servers set-up tasting tables along the alley with different wines, signature cocktails, and foods served in their restaurants.

Taken from the back end of the alley with the event in full swing
Taken from the back end of the alley with the event in full swing

As you can see, Hutson Alley was beautifully decorated and the palm trees were a nice lowcountry touch (I assume those are always there, but they looked great with the lights.). Servers were very attentive and constantly passing around little plates of hors d’oeuvres. There were lots of seafood stations and all of the food was delicious!

Coast had a mouth-watering oyster bar set up. That pink oyster is not a lowcountry specialty, I think it was just the bright lights reflected in the glistening oysters. And thanks to the oyster man who let me bother him several times for pictures. Check out his bandaged finger- this is not an easy job!

Opening the oysters
Opening the oysters
Raw oysters ready to eat
Raw oysters ready to eat

Here’s everyone’s favorite Spaniard trying to pose with the oysters.

Pa' dentro!
Pa’ dentro!

I guess I took too long to take the picture because the foam went down on it’s own!

Foam went down, oyster stayed in the shell
Foam went down, oyster stayed in the shell

There was a grovin’ live band there as well. They played a lot of music in Spanish- even some songs that Alfonso recognized from home! I did not catch their name, so anyone who knows please volunteer the info, so I can give them much deserved credit.

The Band
The Band

Like I said, the seafood at the sampling event was the bomb. There was a hot station for mussels- which I can never resist. I also bothered this chef for pictures. Thankfully all of the staff was very accommodating! If I’m not mistaken, the mussels were from Rue de Jean.

The mussels chef
The mussels chef
Up close mussels
Up close mussels

I’m guessing it was a butter and white wine sauce, but whatever it is, you can just go ahead and replace my daily water with it.

The last sample we tried was the ceviche. Made with (I think she said) local Swordfish and a fried plantain chip. This was my first time ever trying ceviche and I am converted. I always thought I would like the flavor, but I wasn’t sure I could get through the texture of raw fish (well, cooked in acidity). The texture was normal and the taste was out of this world!

Local Swordfish ceviche
Local Swordfish ceviche

Before I talk about the wine dinner, I wanted to show y’all the signature cocktail. It was called Caramel Apple Ginger Sangria made by The Victor Social Club. They out did themselves with a combo of their housemade apple cider, local Red Harbor Rum, pinot grigio, sorghum, cinnamon, and rosemary. Honestly, we’re not really cocktail people,-we usually go straight for the wine- but this was delicious! Not at all too sweet and decidedly fall-tasting without lacking on the freshness.

Caramel Apple Ginger Sangria
Caramel Apple Ginger Sangria

After the sampling event we were pointed toward our designated restaurant for dinner. Ours was Vincent Chicco’s, an Italian restaurant.

Vincent Chicco's
Vincent Chicco’s

Each course in the dinner was paired with a carefully selected wine and was served at tables where strangers interacted. We were seated next to a lively group of 4- they, along with us, seemed to have had a dynamite time!

The first course was mouth-watering and paired perfectly with the Tuscan chardonnay Cabreo La Pietra, 2013. The crispness (this is my non wine expert word) worked beautifully with Vincent Chicco’s house made burrata with roasted tomatoes, aged balsamic, and marinated olives. It was a perfect first course.

Cabreo La Pietra Chardonnay, 2013
Cabreo La Pietra Chardonnay, 2013
House made Burrata with Roasted Tomatoes and Marinated Olives
House made Burrata with Roasted Tomatoes and Marinated Olives

The second course was actually on Alfonso’s culinary bucket list: Wagyu filet. Made by Michael’s on the Alley and served with garlic potato puree, asparagus, and bordelaise. The sauce was drinkable, not kidding. The puree was beautifully smooth and the Wagyu filet? It was to. die. for. Perfectly rare and juicy and accented, but not over-powered by, the bordelaise sauce.

I’ll just leave this picture right here for you to drool over.

Wagyu Filet with Garlic Potato Puree, Asparagus, and Bordelaise Sauce
Wagyu Filet with Garlic Potato Puree, Asparagus, and Bordelaise Sauce

It was paired with the Italian Masi Agricola Brolo Campofiorin Oro Rosso del Veronese, 2010. Deep flavored, smooth, and the only acceptable drink to wash down Wagyu beef with.

Wine pairing for the main course
Wine pairing for the main course

Our dessert consisted of chocolate and peanut butter. Enough said.

Presenting the Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse with salted caramel brittle and peanut butter powder. It was paired with a dessert wine, of which I did not get a photo.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse
Peanut Butter Chocolate Mousse

We had such a great time and got to try out lots of different local restaurants at once! If this becomes an annual event, we will definitely see you next year.


Don’t forget to support the Charleston Animal Society through the College of Charleston Alumni team and we will be back with a another post covering the Chili Cook-Off soon!

Have a great week everyone!

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