Gwen Fowler



Coastal Uncorked gets underway this weekend

Posted 4/20/2012 11:30:00 AM

The third Coastal Uncorked gets underway April 22-29 in a new home with new events but with some familiar celebrity guests.

Chef Louis Osteen, a James Beard award-winning chef who recently returned to Pawleys Island to open Louis’ at Sanford’s, will be joining the Lee Brothers, cookbook authors Ted and Matt Lee, as judges for the Chef’s Challenge on April 29.

The main events of the Myrtle Beach food, wine and spirits festival will be on the oceanfront this year.

“We moved most of the festival down to old pavilion site, just mainly so we could grow the event,” said Heidi Vukov, owner of Croissants Bistro and Bakery and one of the founders of the festival.

For its first two years, the centerpiece of the festival was a trolley tour that took participants up and down Ocean Boulevard with stops at businesses, mostly hotels, where they were treated to food and drinks. The event was popular but the potential for growth was limited.

This year, a tent village will be set up for food tasting from 10 restaurants, including such popular spots as Sea Captain’s House Restaurant, and Chestnut Hill.

Retail vendors and live music will also be at the site.

Admission to the grounds is $10, but a $30 tickets gets you into one of three grand tasting sessions on Friday or Saturday, April 27-28. In addition to food samples, there will be more than 200 wines and about 25 beers to sample, and a barbecue sampling by Osteen.

Tickets sales are going well, Vukov said. During a meeting one morning almost three weeks before the festival, a computer set up to ding each time a ticket is sold showed people in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Atlanta buying tickets.

The events begin with Restaurant Week 2012, from April 22-29, with 19 Grand Strand restaurants offering special dinners for $20.12.

Wine and theme dinners are also being offered, such as a tequila dinner at Abuelos, a champagne dinner at Sea Captains, a whiskey dinner at Thoroughbred’s, a cooking class and dinner at Brentwood Restaurant and Wine Bistro, a “blend your own Bordeaux” dinner and seminar at Croissants, and a brewer’s dinner at Gordon Biersch Brewery Restaurant. Prices range from $50 to $100.

During Sip, Savor and Stroll, a new event on Thursday, April 26, participants can visit shops in The Market Common and stop in restaurants for wine and food tastings. Tickets are $10.

Another new event, Sip and Shop on Friday, April 27, will be an afternoon of visiting boutiques on the north end of Myrtle Beach for shopping, wine and appetizers.

The festival ends with the Chef’s Challenge on Sunday, April 29, an Iron Chef-style challenge where local chefs will partner with area farmers and fishers and try to out-do each other. The chefs competing are Bradley Daniels of Croissants Bistro and Bakery, Andrew Gardo of Sea Captain's House, Corbett Rourk of The Dunes Golf and Beach Club, Eric Wagner of Horry-Georgetown Technical College and Eric Masson of The Brentwood Restaurant & Wine Bistro. Masson won the competition last year. Tickets are $50.