PASS THE PEAS
Saturday at High Water Fest started with an extravagant brunch on the scenic lawn of Quarters H at Riverfront Park. Guests queued up for bloody marys and oysters on the half shell from seafood darlings 167 Raw.
Once seated under the big white tent, guests were treated to nine courses of brunch — yes, nine. With chefs Kevin Johnson (The Grocery), Jacques Larson (Wild Olive), and Mike Geib (167 Raw) in charge, this wasn’t a regular pancakes and sausage affair.
Guests were treated to smoked amberjack with lentils, red shrimp toast with radishes, lamb merguez with braised chickpeas and poached eggs, and so, so, much more. Many of the guests predicted a nap on the High Water lawn might be in order after the meal. At least it was a perfect day for an al fresco siesta.
Charleston is clearly spoiled here when it comes to food, and luckily that trickles all the way down to the festival scene. But summer bodies be damned, this past weekend at High Water Fest was all about eating for sustenance and alcohol absorption. Whether opting for the disgustingly delicious loaded fries from Delaware-based Hebros Kitchen, or the dish practically invented for a festival hangover, the Wakey Bakey (with bacon, egg and potatoes), from hometown heroes Roti Rolls, there really were no bad choices — questionable life choices of course, but not a questionable bite on site.
Despite the 80 degree weather, the meat sweats clearly weren't a concern for those who went for a hearty brisket sandwich from local favorites Lewis Barbecue or the "Magnum Pi," a beef hot dog covered with smoked pork, from Delaware-based Dank Dogs.
But to cool down, beer seemed to be the poor hydration method of choice, so it was surprising to see our breweries get the side-chick treatment by a heavy push for Lagunitas and Modelo, considering that local beers were only sold at sample sizes for essentially $3.33 a sip.
And oh yeah, there was some music too. But all things considered, the first year for the festival should be considered a success by all those involved. It will be interesting to see where they take it from here and how they can grow sustainably without losing the intimate and distinctly Charleston vibe.