Sippin Sapporo at the 2014 Atlanta Food Expo

Chef/Humorist Vinny Verelli – 

Was at the 2nd Annual Atlanta Food Expo to emcee some culinary competitions and in my free time went around the trade show floor meeting exhibitors and learning about their products and services. The best booths were the ones giving away samples. And you can’t do better than a beautiful woman pouring beer. My favorite was the Sapporo Reserve.


What Chefs Cook For Chefs

American Academy of Chefs Gala Dinner: Part 2

As a follow up to my post of May 6 here are some photos and descriptions of the food served at the Daniel Islands Club on Monday, April 28, 2014 for the American Academy of Chef’s Gala Dinner.

settingAfter 8 appetizers from She Crab Soup to Caviar, from Smoked Duck with Port Cherries, to Southern Fried Oysters. Not to mention Alabama Crab Cakes, Blackened Shrimp and Pork Rillette with Peach Confit, we were ushered into the dining room. The place setting spoke volumes as what awaited us. Not since my meal at the James Beard House in New York had I savored as delectable and decadent a meal.



salmon mousseBig flavor in a tiny package. The banquet began with Smoked Salmon Mousse with BBQ potato chip and chive oil. The chips were bursting with flavor and would have overpowered the delicate mousse  had I eaten then together.  I savored tiny tastes of the salmon’s followed by the crispy chips. Served with a Franciscan Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Vally 2012


henNext came Guinea Hen on a Foie Gras, Celery Root & Wild Mushroom Duxelle. I was thinking I could make an entire meal of this, but we were just getting started.

Served with a Wild Horse Pino Noir, Central Coast 2012




scallopsThe Fish course was a cast iron seared jumbo scallops with a lump crab fava bean succotash.

Served with a Clos D Bois “Calcaire” Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, 2010



lambThe main course was a domestic lamb sous vide with a Merlot Demi with smoked Yukon potato au gratin and Lavender Heirloom Carrot. I meant to ask how long the lamb bathed before it was seared to perfection, but my mouth was full.

Served with a Hoge “Genesis” Merlot, Columbia Valley 2011


saladIn traditional Continental fashion the salad was served after the main course to aid with digestion. It was an Arugula Salad with Fried Green Tomatoes, Goat Cheese, Black Eye Pea Vinaigrette.
No wine was served with the salad.



desertFor dessert, Dulcey Mousse, Roasted Vanilla Bean Biscuit, Rasberry & Cocoa Nib. In addition a tray of petifores was passed.

Served with a Rober Mondavi Moscato D’Oro, Napa Valley 2012



A big thank you to all the chefs and staff of the Daniel Islands Club in Charleston, SC for this amazing culinary experience.


Best Corned Beef Hash

A Treasure on Queen Street


Pomegranate Mimosa

I’m not an early riser so I’m not likely to make it to breakfast.  But I can make it to brunch that curious meal for people who can’t make up there minds between breakfast and lunch. I cooked brunch at the Soho Charcuterie in New York on and off for 8 years, and there are certain things that I’m particular about. French toast and corn beef hash.

I was in Charleston, an amazing culinary destination, and decided to forgo the complimentary hotel breakfast of muffins and do-it-yourself waffles and take in brunch. But where to go? I was familiar with a number of establishments for dinner but was at a loss for meal at 11:30 AM. I decided to check out the brunch at Poogan’s Porch (see my post about my experience at the James Beard House) as they had french toast, although I was more in the mood for hash.

I turned onto Queen St. Passed the Porch and turned into a parking lot. When I emerged Entrancefrom the parking deck I saw an inviting awning and a long alleyway leading into a restaurant. It reminded me of New Orleans but a lot of Charleston reminds me of the Big Easy. On a fluke I checked out the specials listed by the entrance of 82 Queen. There it was, Corned Beef Hash. Kismet. The restaurant wasn’t crowed but that was to be expected. It’s mere steps from Husk and Poogan’s Porch. But I’m not a patient person and they had corned beef hash.  Did I say corned beef hash, I meant the best fricken corned beef hash I’ve ever had.  

When Mike set the the plate in front me by jaw dropped. It was beautiful. corned beef hash The perfectly cooked poached eggs rested on a pile of moist chunks of tender corn beef and three types of potatoes; Yukon Gold, Peruvian purple and sweet potatoes. To add the color were red, green and yellow peppers and red onions. A toasted slice of marbled rye finished the dish which came in handy for sopping up the egg yolk and delicate hollandaise sauce. Was it just the corned beef hash? I quizzed the 3 women at the table next to me and aked them what they had and it they enjoyed it. It was 3 for 3. The women said they come there often as they love to dine in the amazing courtyard.
Funny SpeakerNext time you find yourself in Charleston and want to avoid the crazy brunch crowds head over to 82 Queen street and relax in the courtyard and sip a pomegranate Mimosa. Back on Queen Street I overheard a tour guide driving a carriage full of tourists say that 82 Queen had the best She Crab Soup in Charleston.

ABOUT 82 QUEEN:  Serving lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the restaurant is spread throughout three buildings with eleven quaint dining areas including a turn-of-the-century courtyard featuring a mammoth Magnolia tree. 82 Queen is a three time winner of the ‘Best City Restaurant’ award from Southern Living magazine and five time recipient of the Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator magazine. Consistently called-on as a favorite destination for locals and visitors alike, this 300 year old address represents both the history and the cuisine of the Lowcountry.