Carolina Crossroads Winter Media Dinner
Two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to be invited to a complimentary media dinner at Carolina Crossroads in Chapel Hill. Carolina Crossroads is located inside the Carolina Inn, which has received 4 diamonds from AAA for the last 16 years. The restaurant has received 11 consecutive 4-star AAA ratings and 13 consecutive 4-star ratings from Forbes, which is quite an accomplishment. This night was a whirlwind tour of Chef James’s winter menu offerings. By whirlwind, I mean we had twelve dishes over seven courses, counting an amuse-bouche. Insanity!
I learned a lot about the Carolina Inn from a few of our dining companions at this dinner: Martin Armes, their publicist, and Jack Schmidt, their general manager. Both men are charming and take obvious pride in being associated with the Carolina Inn. Jack is especially proud of being part of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill system and that proceeds from the inn and restaurant fund the North Carolina Collection at the UNC Library. Indeed, the Inn has a resident historian who is available to give tours about the Inn’s nearly 90-year history and the bar, with its newest remodel, shows off a large collection of illustrations from the Daily Tar Heel.
One cannot subsist on anecdotes alone, however, so Chef James started us out with a cold version of an appetizer normally served warm on the winter menu.
First, apologies for all these food pictures—my photography was not up to par this evening. Second, that’s a seared scallop served with arugula pesto, NC trout caviar, orange, and pickled radish. The caviar imparted a lot of salt that the char of the scallop soaked up beautifully. The pickled radish, orange, and pesto made a nice trio of complements.by