OM! This week has been so ridiculously intense and disappointing in so many ways! For starters, I’m supposed to be in Paris RIGHT NOW at the International Cookbook Festival. But, not just to attend the festival. My move to Paris, which I’ve not talked about in detail (and won’t really here either) has been delayed by a serious case of pending decisions and I won’t talk about WHY I’m not there, but I’ve stopped crying over spilled leche and decided to make the best of this week and weekend.
Paris is so passionately on my mind at this very moment, that I put my creative juices to work and started daydreaming of events that would pacify my broken emotions. I got a last minute invite to the National Truffle Fest happening in Asheville, NC this weekend! Second to being in France, I’ll take 3 days of fancy tasting and educating myself on all thing truffles. You know I’ll be back next week with a mouth full of details and pictures.
I was satisfied with that invitation and settled back into my routine. But then I received the unexpected (but you know, I believe in claiming things by putting them out in the Universe). I got an invitation to go to St. Croix! Si, si, si! I’ll take 4 days on the island of pure indulgence in their Food & Wine Experience! Clearly, there was no reason to hesitate accepting. In the invitation I was offered to extend and share with my readers a contest St. Croix is hosting, giving away a trip for two (2) to join what appears to be a super sexy Experience!
I see palm trees, hammocks, seductive dark men, big floppy hats, bottomless cocktails and more!
Aren’t you in for that!!?
This is where Kevin Rathbun comes into play. The Iron Chef winner has three much buzzed about concepts in Atlanta, not too far from me– Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun’s Steak and Krog Bar. He’s also participated in the St. Croix Experience for the past four years and will be featured again this year as one of the celeb chefs. Unbelievably, I’d not been to any of his resto’s, except to the steak house on one occasion to celebrate a friend’s b-day. I didn’t get to eat there so I simply enjoyed the vibe. I’m so out of the loop sometimes, I swear! So, knowing this local chef is in the island line up was a perfect preface to finding out what he’s about before the festival. I met up with him last night.
Over cocktails at the very chic but Southern-style vibe Steak and small plates and the rustic Krog Bar, Rathbun and I spoke candidly about building and creating his 3 restaurants, the behind-the-scenes of being in a commercial kitchen, winning Iron Chef, the not-so-inviting elements of being in the business (you know, shady business people, ordering, limited menus–see Kessler’s Open Letter to Atlanta Chefs), his visit to Cuba last year and the culinary hop to St. Croix, of course!
The latter, being the real purpose of our impromptu meeting, is something he thrusts himself into and has a “blast” at every year. What will be presenting this go round?!?! “Caribbean-style BB-Q will be my featured food, so I’m looking for a Caja China.” What!?! Is this guy serious. I had to break out and tell him I’m cuban and know all to well about roasting lechon in the wood pit. We joked about me not eating pork and he continued recounting hist his trip to my Havana last year.
After 3 hours of real talk, including some political rhetoric, and some super tasty plates at the Krog Bar (we had olives, Manchego with mince paste, crudo tuna, hummus with smoked paprika, mini pesto sandwiches and uber mini pistachio ice cream cones), we wrapped and agreed to meet on the beach, smoking up lamb, pork and what ever else he could come up with. The charge is to have an over-the-top week of culinary musings, tastings, exchanges, demo’s and plenty of sexy libations over sunset.
Sooooo…. did I entice you yet!? Don’t you just want to be there, eating and soaking up all the lusciousness of island life? Sure you do! All you have do is enter the contest and click your fancy Loubous 3 times!
Here are the deetz, straight from the festival peeps:
Through March 8, you or your readers can enter to win a 4-night trip for two to St. Croix during the Food & Wine Experience (April 10-16) – which ForbesTraveler.com noted as one of the top international food & wine festivals.
There are two ways to enter:
1 – Complete an entry card at one of these restaurants, all owned by Chefs who will be featured at the 2011 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience:
◦ Top Chef Masters finalist Anita Lo’s Annisa restaurant, New York
◦ Top Chef Masters contestant Ana Sortun’s Oleana restaurant, Boston
◦ Iron Chef contender Roberto Treviño’s Budatai restaurant, Puerto Rico
2 – Readers who can’t make it into one of the restaurants listed above can go to TheDailyMeal.com and leave a comment about what you’re dreaming of eating in St. Croix.
There’s the deal, my friends! If you’re in Atlanta, check out any of Chef Kevin’s restaurants and pick up on of the entry cards! Warning: If you go to the Steakhouse, have French martini by Amanda. She’ll have you nice after 4 sips! *wink*
Hope to see one of you in St. Croix next month!
* I gain nothing by chatting up the contest and doing so was no obligatory as part of my invitation on the press trip. I just think it’s cool that a local chef is going to be there and wanted to share with you all! Smooches!
Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.