Having Steph Barna drag you out of bed is no way to start the morning, but here I am, fresh off last nights bender of a shindig, stuffed full of braised beef with white chocolate, scallop ceviche, and Brock’s outstanding hay-smoked pheasant.

The festival opening was everything promised, and more. Quentin Baxter and Co. brought the house down, rocking the stage with some rather funky beats, and the chefs put out the best grab-a-plate fare that I’ve seen in quite some time.

We headed into the night afterwards and stumbled on the private afterparty at C4B. Highlight of the night: they already have t-shirts with “slap happy” printed on the back. The beer flowed and we hobnobbed with U-Chef Bob, sporting his signature green jacket, Ted Lee of boiled peanut fame, Mr. Beard himself, Mike Lata (and his beautiful girlfriend Emilee), and even Chris Hastings, Hot & Hot Fish Club in Birmingham. Hastings is one of my favorite chefs, much in the style of Lata, and its always good to talk shop.

Tonight’s official afterparty takes place at Charleston Grill. So, start begging your connected buddies for one of those wrist bands — otherwise, stay glued to EAT.


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