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SBWFF 2011: Thrillist's BBQ and the Blues

At Thrillist's event, BBQ and the Blues, a huge line stretched from the entrance of the Oasis, at the Raleigh

Hotel, toward Collins Avenue last Saturday night. The fine smell of barbecue just over the wall inspired impatience.

Once inside, guests didn't know whether to grab a drink

from one of the Zacapa-sponsored bars or get in line at the food stations. A

visit to the bar was met with a question from the bartender: "Are you in the

mood for something sweet, something tart, something strong?"

Something tart was my answer.

The cocktail was an interesting and unique blend of Zacapa Grand Reserva rum,

passion fruit purée, a splash of Tabasco sauce, and lime juice with crushed mint on top.

Zappa-sponsored cocktails
Zappa-sponsored cocktails
John Zur

Just minutes into the event, the sparse offering of highboy tables had been claimed by one person speaking on behalf of four or more, who were nowhere to be seen. Others took the couches and cabana, where shoes and bags marked the territory.

Chef John Rivers' Texas brisket shooters and bacon wrapped smoked jalapenos
Chef John Rivers' Texas brisket shooters and bacon wrapped smoked jalapenos
John Zur

4Rivers Smokehouse, with friendly and hospitable pit master and owner John Rivers manning the station, served Texas brisket shooters, bacon-wrapped smoked jalapeños, and the
only dessert of the evening, banana dream pudding shots.

Tyler Florence
Tyler Florence
John Zur

Tyler Florence, host of the evening, was anything but amicable as he ignored guests and the media. His frantic plating resulted in a sloppily presented and less than thrilling Santa Maria tri-tip with buttermilk toast, bread-and-butter pickles, piperade, black-eyed peas, and chickweed.

The lines were reminiscent of Disney World
The lines were reminiscent of Disney World
John Zur

Sugarcane's Chef
Timon Balloo offered the most balanced, generous, and delicious plate: braised beef short ribs, vegetable kimchee, and cornbread muffins that were buttery and moist. He eagerly took photos and conversed with guests.

The Royal's Chef John Rivers' mesquite short rib with emmentaler grits
The Royal's Chef John Rivers' mesquite short rib with emmentaler grits
John Zur
The Southern band that came on 45 minutes after the event began
The Southern band that came on 45 minutes after the event began
John Zur

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