Small bites: Pirate cocktail fundraiser

COCKTAILS AWEIGH: The Junction created this mix of fresh-juiced watermelon, tequila, house-made falernum syrup, lime, and basil as its entry in Spirit Savvy's Raucous Pirate Cocktail Competition. The event is raising money to support LEAF youth arts programs. Photo courtesy of The Junction

 Raucous Pirate Cocktail Competition

Arrr! Pirates — and their cocktails — are invading WNC! Asheville’s cocktail-focused event production company, Spirit Savvy, is partnering with LEAF Community Arts to host the Raucous Pirate Cocktail Competition, a two-week-long event that kicked off on July 24 and leads into LEAF’s annual fundraiser, Benefit of Culture, at Highland Brewing on Thursday, Aug. 7.

For the competition, participating local bars have created their own unique, pirate-themed drinks to be evaluated by six mystery judges who will covertly visit each bar before Aug. 7 to sample the entries. The winning concoction will be announced at the pirate-themed Benefit of Culture event, and the identities of the secret judges will be revealed.

Bars and restaurants onboard for the adventure are: Seven Sows Bourbon and Larder, 131 Main, Village Wayside, The Junction, Green Room Bistro, Cucina 24, Ben’s Tune-up and Ambrozia. The public is encouraged to get in on the fun by visiting participating businesses and ordering the LEAF Pirate Cocktail — $2.50 from each one sold will benefit LEAF Schools & Streets and LEAF International youth art education programs.

“I am working with LEAF because I am a big believer in the power of music for children,” says Spirit Savvy Executive Producer Mary Rich. “There’s lots of music in [my] family,” says Rich, whose daughter plays drums with local band the River Rats and whose son is into music production and often plays bass for Red Honey.

The main event, Benefit of Culture: A Pirate Hullabaloo, should be a family-friendly evening of musical, swashbuckling fun, with a pirate costume contest, music by Sirius B and a secret guest artist, performances by LEAF Schools & Streets Circus Performers, roving performing artists and a silent auction featuring a custom-built gourd banjo made by local banjo maker Joshua Grant. Food from HomeGrown and Highland Brewing beer are included in the ticket price. Proceeds from the event benefit the LEAF International and LEAF Schools & Streets programs.

Benefit of Culture: A Pirate Hullabaloo takes place 5-10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7, at Highland Brewing Co., 12 Old Charlotte Highway. Tickets are $35 for individuals, $60 for a family of four (two adults, two children) and $75 VIP. Children age 10 and younger are free. Tickets are available at


Asheville French Quarter

Michel Baudouin, chef and owner of Bouchon and Crêperie Bouchon, recently announced an ambitious project that will add a new Creole/Cajun restaurant and an event venue to the Lexington Avenue Courtyard downtown. RendezVous will be a midsized private space designed to accommodate a variety of events. Lafayette, the new restaurant, will feature Louisiana Cajun and Creole cuisine prepared by chef Tres Hundertmark, who recently returned to Asheville after a stint as the executive sous chef at House of Blues restaurant and The Foundation Room in New Orleans. With the announcement of the new ventures, Baudouin has dubbed the courtyard, which already houses his two current restaurants, the Asheville French Quarter. Baudouin predicts that the addition of the two businesses will bring 40 new living-wage jobs to the city, according to a press release. For those who want a taste of what’s to come, Hundertmark is previewing Lafayette menu items every Thursday evening at Bouchon. and


James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner

The annual James Beard Foundation Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner Series lands in Asheville on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at The Market Place restaurant, and three of Asheville’s culinary celebrities will be part of the five-chef lineup. Dan Rattigan of the French Broad Chocolate Lounge and Elliott Moss of the twice-weekly pop-up restaurant Punk Wok will join host William Dissen of The Market Place in representing Asheville as they prepare a multicourse dinner alongside James Beard Best Chef of the Southeast 2014 winner Ashley Christensen of Raleigh and three-time Best Chef of the Southeast finalist Anthony Lamas of Louisville, Ky. Mixologist Sara Strom of Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica, Calif., will create cocktails using locally made Troy & Sons whiskey. Tickets are a hefty $175 each, but the experience should prove to be memorable.

6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, The Market Place, 20 Wall St.



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