Eating and meeting across the Hub CityBy BETH BUNCH,
On Sunday night I joined 40 new friends as we became Certified Foodies. Jealous, aren’t you?
We took part in VisitHburg’s inaugural Culinary Crawl to kick off Restaurant Week in the Hub City. Kristen Brock, Programs & Promotions manager, and Paige Hunt, director of Sales & Visitor Services, were our tour guides for the four-hour evening, which was a progressive dinner of sorts.
After meeting at a designated spot, we boarded a bus – a real one, with air conditioning, reclining seats, etc. - and with special Certified Lanyards, off we went on our big adventure.
There was a group of women from Laurel who used the event as a girls night out.
There was a mother/daughter trio with one of the daughters coming from Madison to participate with her Purvis relatives. There were wives/husbands (who had been dragged along or were told they were going to a football game in one instance), buddies, pals, BFFs and those few who decided to brave it on their own.
Our big adventure began at the Courtyard by Mariott, as we headed into the lobby area where specialty drinks and foods (specialty flatbreads, quesadillas and meatballs) had been prepared just for us.
We ate, drank and visited for the better part of an hour before loading back up for our next destination – Hotel Indigo at the District at Midtown.
Here we sample applewood smoked meatballs in a tomato gravy and sipped a Bacon Bourbon Apple Cider. It was healthy with an apple slice adorning the cocktail glass.
It was the first time many in the group had visited the hotel with its Art Deco adornments.
The fifth floor suite, which looked out over The District and front campus, was a place I could see myself spending some time. And the bathrooms in both the suite and a regular room were incredible. And in each room I found our Signature magazine. Yea!
Thomas Jenkins provided entertainment here.
We boarded back up with Hunt counting heads to make sure no stragglers were left behind.
We were like little kids on a field trip pairing up with a buddy or two.
Doubletree at the intersection of 49/59 was our next destination.
Most recently a Holiday Inn, the hotel has undergone a massive renovation and repurposed itself as one of only two Doubletrees in the state. It was very nice and most accommodating.
Here we had the most incredible shrimp and grits, with huge shrimp and creamy grits, which was paired with a blueberry-infused rum martini.
Both the executive chef and hotel manager went from table to table to talk to everyone and their hostesses for the evening were on top of things. Paul Williams provided entertainment that was perfect for dancing by some and singing along with others.
And as we departed, each foodie was given a box of the Doubletree’s famous chocolate chip cookies, which I knew nothing about. Fabulous!
Our final stop of the evening was Hilton Garden Inn, where dessert awaited.
Here we dined on a German Chocolate Cake of a different variety, but scrumptious, just the same. Andrew Glose provided entertainment.
In each of the venues we had the opportunity to tour rooms or suites and see what was available to guests.
From here we could walk up the hill and across the street, which we all needed after a food-packed evening, to our awaiting cars.
It was a fun night filled with new friends and adventures and a wonderful way to kick off Restaurant Week in the Hub City. Unfortunately, you’ve already missed #Midtown Monday, #Taco Tuesday and #EthnicEats Wednesday, but you’re just in time for #GetDowntown Thursday, #FriYAY Friday, #BreakfastinTheBurg Saturday and #BrunchBurg Sunday.
But really, you didn’t miss anything. Living here or visiting on a regular basis, you can enjoy all the wonderful eats the Hub City has to offer as often as you want.
Beth Bunch is the managing editor of The PineBelt NEWS. She loves to cook, bake, and occasionally eat.