From the Southern Foodways Symposium: "Miami Reveries", Hog Heads, & More
This morning, various speakers continued expounding on The Global South, with discussions on everything from the many cultural influences present in Biloxi, Mississippi (from Cajun to Croatian) to extremely popular Vietnamese-owned Cajun crawfish restaurants in California. The highlight, however, was once again the outstanding food: we enjoyed a sit-down lunch featuring Miami-based Chef Michelle Bernstein's hand-crafted four-course menu.
The lunch kicked off with Icebox Fried Chicken, which was wonderfully juicy and boasted an incredible breading. Our table wondered why it was called "Icebox" Fried Chicken, since it was definitely nice and hot when served. We never got an answer, but Chef Bernstein did tell us all later that while she serves the chicken on her restaurant's summer menu, she never really wanted to serve it at the Symposium! However, John T. Edge - the Southern Foodways Alliance Director and seeming Symposium maestro - insisted.
Next, we were served a Shrimp and Sweet Potato Ceviche. It was a light, creative shrimp ceviche full of unique ingredients like popcorn, sweet potato, and Peruvian corn.
For the main course, we enjoyed Braised Oxtail Stew with Gnocchi. Oxtail stew is apparently one of the most popular traditional dishes in Argentina. The stew had incredible flavor, and the gnocchi was light, very nearly melting in our mouths.
Lunch wrapped up with Banana Tres Leches Tian, a rich layered dessert. Banana cake soaked in tres leches formed the bottom layer, topped by dulce de leche pudding, whipped cream, and crumbled Nilla wafers. It was the perfect blend of traditional South American and Southern sweets!!
We're about to head over to dinner, which is titled "Barbacoa Births Barbecue". I don't know what all's on the menu for tonight, but I do know that 40+ hog heads have been smoking in an outdoor pit for nearly 18 hours...the tongue and cheek meat are supposed to be delicious....