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Join me in St. Croix For the Food & Wine Experience + Kevin Rathbun Demo!

(photo credit: Divi Carina Bay Resort)

OM!  This week has been so ridiculously intense  and disappointing in so many ways! For starters, I’m supposed to be in Paris RIGHT NOW at the International Cookbook Festival. But, not just to attend the festival. My move to Paris, which I’ve not talked about in detail (and won’t really here either) has been delayed by a serious case of pending decisions and  I won’t talk about WHY I’m not there, but I’ve stopped crying over spilled leche and decided to make the best of this week and weekend.

Paris is so passionately on my mind at this very moment, that I put my creative juices to work and started daydreaming of  events that would pacify my broken emotions. I got a last minute invite to the National Truffle Fest happening in Asheville, NC this weekend! Second to being in France, I’ll take 3 days of fancy tasting and educating myself on all thing truffles. You know I’ll be back next week with a mouth full of details and pictures.

I was satisfied with that invitation and settled back into my routine. But then I received the unexpected (but you know, I believe in claiming things by putting them out in the Universe). I got an invitation to go to St. Croix! Si, si, si! I’ll take 4 days on the island of pure indulgence in their Food & Wine Experience! Clearly, there was no reason to hesitate accepting. In the invitation I was offered to extend  and share with my readers a contest St. Croix is hosting, giving away a trip for two (2) to join what appears to be a super sexy Experience!

I see palm trees, hammocks, seductive dark men, big floppy hats, bottomless cocktails and more!

(photo credit: U.S. Virgin Island Dept of Tourism)

Aren’t you in for that!!?

This is where Kevin Rathbun comes into play. The Iron Chef winner has three much buzzed about concepts in Atlanta, not too far from me– Rathbun’s, Kevin Rathbun’s Steak and Krog Bar.  He’s also participated in the St. Croix Experience for the past four years and will be featured again this year as one of the celeb chefs.  Unbelievably, I’d not been to any of his resto’s, except to the steak house on one occasion to  celebrate a friend’s b-day. I didn’t get to eat there so I simply enjoyed the vibe. I’m so out of the loop sometimes, I swear! So,  knowing this local chef is in the island line up was a perfect preface to  finding out what he’s about before the festival.  I met up with him last night.

Over cocktails at the very chic but Southern-style vibe Steak and small plates and the rustic Krog Bar, Rathbun and I spoke candidly about building and creating his 3 restaurants, the behind-the-scenes of being in a commercial kitchen, winning Iron Chef, the not-so-inviting elements of being in the business (you know, shady business people, ordering, limited menus–see Kessler’s Open Letter to Atlanta Chefs), his visit to Cuba last year and the culinary hop to St. Croix, of course!

The latter, being the real purpose of our impromptu meeting, is something he thrusts himself into and has a “blast” at every year. What will be presenting this go round?!?! “Caribbean-style BB-Q will be my featured food, so I’m looking for a Caja China.” What!?!  Is this guy serious. I had to break out and tell him I’m cuban and know all to well about roasting lechon in the wood pit. We joked about me not eating pork and he continued recounting hist his trip to my Havana last year.

After 3 hours of  real talk, including some political rhetoric, and some super tasty plates at the Krog Bar (we had olives, Manchego with mince paste, crudo tuna, hummus with smoked paprika, mini pesto sandwiches and uber mini pistachio ice cream cones), we wrapped and agreed to meet on the beach, smoking up lamb, pork and what ever else he could come up with. The charge is to have an over-the-top week of culinary musings, tastings, exchanges, demo’s and plenty of sexy libations over sunset.

(Kevin and me at Krog Bar. Wacky pic taken on my iPhone)

Sooooo…. did I entice you yet!? Don’t you just want to be there, eating and soaking up all the lusciousness of island life? Sure you do! All you have do is enter the contest and click your fancy Loubous 3 times!

Here are the deetz, straight from the festival peeps:

Through March 8, you or your readers can enter to win a 4-night trip for two to St. Croix during the Food & Wine Experience (April 10-16) – which ForbesTraveler.com noted as one of the top international food & wine festivals.

There are two ways to enter:

1 – Complete an entry card at one of these restaurants, all owned by Chefs who will be featured at the 2011 St. Croix Food & Wine Experience:

◦ Top Chef Masters finalist Anita Lo’s Annisa restaurant, New York

◦ Top Chef Masters contestant Ana Sortun’s Oleana restaurant, Boston

◦ Iron Chef Winner Kevin Rathbun’s Krog BarKevin Rathbun Steak or Rathbun’s restaurants, Atlanta

◦ Iron Chef contender Roberto Treviño’s Budatai restaurant, Puerto Rico

2 – Readers who can’t make it into one of the restaurants listed above can go to TheDailyMeal.com and leave a comment about what you’re dreaming of eating in St. Croix.

There’s the deal, my friends! If you’re in Atlanta, check out any of Chef Kevin’s restaurants and pick up on of the entry cards! Warning: If you go to the Steakhouse, have  French martini by Amanda. She’ll have you nice after 4 sips! *wink*

Hope to see one of you in St. Croix next month!

* I gain nothing by chatting up the contest and doing so was no obligatory as part of my invitation on the press trip. I just think it’s cool that a local chef is going to be there and wanted to share with you all! Smooches!

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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55 thoughts on “Join me in St. Croix For the Food & Wine Experience + Kevin Rathbun Demo!

  1. Bren,

    U know I must win this!!! BBQ in St. Croix OMG!!! My husband will simply love it…and we so need a get away, before we launch our Smoked Meats BBQ BZ in May!!! OMGGGGGGGGGGGGG…..I see why you haven’t had a chance to respond to my msg Oh…how I/we would have loved to hear the interview with Kevin in person. I’m glad things are looking up for you with the Ashville Truffles trip…can’t wait to see and feel from your post. You’re such an awesome writer!! You are my fav Chica….love what u do…and still hope we can get a chance to meet-up soon!! Enjoy your week-end you deserve it!!!!

    Joi aka joiful

  2. *starry eyed* for St. Croix! Paris will work out…and it will all you want and more. I just know it! 🙂

  3. I want to go! I’ve never been to St. Croix! that would be a great trip for me and my hubby!

  4. I sympathize with you about Paris. It’s the most captivating city, and my husband and I are working hard to relocate there in the next handful of years. The first truffle I ever purchased was in Paris- how fun for you to go do all things truffe, and then hit St. Croix a nice consolation. Enjoy your trips. I’ll be submitting my St. Croix food desires!

  5. Yaime: definitivamente un paraiso para visitar!! can’t wait to go!

    Joi: I love your passion!! And, yes, I’ve been busy for this and a few other reasons, but we’ll connect for sure. Make sure you enter! Gots to be there

    CoCo: Paris is so amazing. I love that city!

    Chris: Ha… you should enter..

    Irene: I’ve never been either so I can’t wait. Will be fabulous!

    Jennifer: thank you for understanding… it’s so phenomenal and so magical and everything it’s cracked up to be! and now enjoying all things truffles. I hope you enter to the St. Croix event! Sexy times!

    DuoDishes: Ummm. Go on and enter girl… “poupette” — classic!! love it.

  6. bren ,me gustaria poder estar ahi en ese maravilloso lugar .por que es paradisiaco el mar me facina espero el que lo gane de vera lo disfrute

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