PILOT MOUNTAIN — Despite a windy start and a few drops of rain as guests began to depart at the end of the evening, Pilot Mountain’s “Dinner on Main” by and large maintained its perfect record for perfect weather on Saturday.
The dinners are sponsered by Pilot Mountain’s Main Street Committee with support from the town board and benefit a local project or charity. The beneficiary of the first dinner in September was Minglewood Farm and Nature Preserve and Saturday’s dinner was in support of building a trail or greenway from the town’s center to Pilot Mountain State Park.
There is no particular charity associated with this project, according to Scott Needham, Tourism Development Authority (TDA) chair and event organizer, but the town and Main Street Committee will hold the funds raised, earmarked for use in building a trail.
“We found a large culvert under (Hwy.) 52,” said Needham. “And there is precedent in other places for using it as a part of the trail. We’re talking to rangers at the park about it. We’re talking to property owners. It’s starting to happen.”
A long table was set up along Main Street’s center line where guests feasted on food prepared by local and regional chefs from locally sourced ingredients.
Things got off to a rough start when bursts of high wind began to blow tents and awnings around the Town Hall parking lot where they had been set up as staging stations, information booths and a bar. One tent was lost before additional weights secured the remaining tents and several trucks were moved to form a windscreen.
“That got us a little behind,” said Needham. “But we’re getting back on track,” he said, as volunteer bartenders whittled down a line that snaked out into the street and down the block.
“We have 150 guests this time. That’s 25 more than last time,” said Chef Nikki Farrington, as she worked with her crew and other guest chefs to plate a salad course of Pickled North Carolina shrimp with Hedge Farm green beans, horseradish carrot ribbons, Kai’s quail egg and ginger vinaigrette prepared by her and Chef Chris Wishart.
Farrington said that she, Wishart and the other chefs involved, Jeff Bacon, Travis Meyer, Jay Pierce, John Bobby, along with their staff and volunteers all work together to make the evening happen.
Passed appetizers included Wishart’s Laurel Heights Farm port and pumpkin stuffed grape leaves, Farrington’s Raven Ridge pork and pretzel pops with Jameokee IPA, Crostini with eggplant caponata, Goat Lady Dairy chevre, candied bacon, Fair Share Farm micro pea tendrils by Bacon, and Urban Mushroom oyster and ramp bruschetta with Hedge Farm marjoram, Bertie County peanuts, Georgia olive oil, Goat Lady Dairy Providence and Sea Loves Salt by Meyer and Pearce.
After Farrington and Wishart’s salad course came entrées, Darcy Farm porchetta by Bacon, Braised Walnut Grove at Big Creek Farm short ribs by Bobby, or Vegan hoppin’ John with Southern John collard greens and foraged mustard flowers by Meyer and Pierce. Side dishes included Meyer’s Vegan collard greens, Bacon’s Broccolini with garlic and Romano and Wishart’s Smoked gruyère grit cakes.
Experience from the first dinner provided a few refinements for the second. Though the table down Main Street appeared to be one long table when viewed from the end, there were actually several breaks in it allowing servers and runners to get to diners on the other side without walking several blocks to get to them. Also, bottles of wine were placed on the tables and guests helped themselves.
“We tried pouring last time, and that was hard,” said Needham. “I think this will work better.”
The new system was popular once patrons realized what was going on.
“She’s got two bottles. Get her down here,” sang out Jan Scott of Pinnacle, spotting a well-supplied runner halfway down the table as diners at the far end got a bit dry.
Speeches were made, volunteers were congratulated, and guests enjoyed themselves, with one speaker remarking, “Some of you have had too much wine, but I’m not judging.”
Guests then enjoyed Farrington’s Fresh carrot and cayenne cake with sweet pea and Sanders Ridge Farm mint cream garnished with Roma Ready pea blossoms as a pink moon rose over Main Street augmenting the light provided by strings of white lights strung from one side of the street to the other.
When all the cake was gone, guests began to depart, and only then did a few drops of rain begin to fall.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.