Editor's note: In celebration of our new Food section's launch, The Post and Courier earlier this month hosted its first "Enlightened Palate" event. The dinner at High Cotton, designed to enrich guests' future culinary experiences and enhance their online review-writing skills, featured three courses with wine pairings; a moderated discussion with the restaurant's chef, sommelier and general manager; and at-table consultations with critic Hanna Raskin.
Guests were sent home with a copy of Raskin's book, "Yelp Help: How to Write Great Online Restaurant Reviews," and an assignment: Review the event (ideally without using the words "scrumptious" or "yummy-o.") Many guests entered reviews, but the top submission came from Norma G. Lampariello of West Ashley.
Lampariello and runners-up Mark A. Christiansen of Summerville and Jocelyn Chabot of West Ashley won High Cotton gift certificates for their work.
By Norma G. Lampariello
The atmosphere at High Cotton is warm and clubby with comfortable seating. The decor is welcoming and puts one at ease. The staff are very courteous and knowledgeable. Tonight was a special occasion so there was a buzz of excitement in the air.
Our first course of foie gras torchon was a lovely cold preparation served with a small quick pickled salad of grapes, onions, and baby watercress paired with a candied orange brioche, which was a nice counterpoint to the rich fois gras. The wine was a late harvest Riesling, which we found much too sweet to be paired with this dish. The candied orange brioche was delicious but also very sweet.
Course two was rabbit haunch in a delicious Grenache reduction. The rabbit was tender, smoky and flavorful with the sauce but wished there was more of it on the plate. It was served with Sea Island pea pirlou, pickled mustard caviar and cumin glazed baby carrots. The carrots were luscious and tender. The mustard caviar was overpowering for the dish. The pea pirlou was dry, starchy and flavorless.
The wine, however, a Barbera D'Alba from Italy, was perfectly paired with the rabbit. It had ample body to stand up to the dish but not overpower it.
Course three was a creamy butterscotch pudding with cinnamon whipped cream, caramel glass and smoked sea salt served with a tawny port. The caramel glass was pure sugar heaven while the pudding was rich and bolstered by the smoked sea salt and cinnamon. The tawny port was a great complement to the sweetness of the dessert.