Every Monday we bring you the SL Hot List, a round up of the five latest and greatest things to hit the South. Consider it your weekly update on our region’s most buzz-worthy food, culture, and style news.
1. The Second Line opens in Memphis. Chef Kelly English is giving Elvis a run for his money in terms of celebrity status in his hometown of Memphis. Well, not quite, but he is one of the city’s most beloved restaurateurs and followers are about to get another taste of his Southern Louisiana-inspired cuisine when the sister eatery of his bonafide hit, Restaurant Iris, opens up this week. The Second Line features the same pledge to classic Creole grub, but in a slightly less refined environment than Iris—as evidenced by the name, the “second line” parades in New Orleans follow the main act and are known to be a bit more uproarious and risqué. Snack on Natchitoches meat pies or crabmeat and fresh corn hush puppies before tackling the extensive po’boy selections (there are nine) and seafood plates.
2. 44th Annual South Carolina Bluegrass Festival in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. If you like your country music with a little less pop and a bit more fiddle, the South Carolina State Bluegrass Festival isn’t one to miss. This three-day event is an ode to the music that was first heard resonating through the trees and hollers of the Appalachian Mountains. From November 28-30, hourly performances kick off at the Myrtle Beach Convention Center, featuring acts like Larry Sparks & The Lonesome Ramblers, Dailey & Vincent, and The Little Roy & Lizzy Show.
3. The 9th Annual Rock & Shop Market. Here in the South, there are no excuses for bad gift givers (you know who you are), given we’re surrounded by some truly amazing artisans. The Rock & Shop Market (November 30) at the Durham Armory is your chance to redeem yourself and have your pick at the products of more than 75 Southern artists like Raleigh-based Good Girls Studio that makes one-of-a-kind jewelry from pieces found at antique stores and estate sales; Fleet Co. that crafts handmade leather goods in Asheville, North Carolina; and Hawks and Doves that designs pieces using only vintage feed sacks. The event, set to the tune of local bands and DJs, is catered by local Durham food trucks (Gussies, Will & Pops, and Pie Pushers, just to name a few) and beer from Fullsteam Brewery.
4. Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails in Jacksonville. What better way to wash down the Thanksgiving bird than to check out Moxie Kitchen + Cocktails opening today in Jacksonville? Chef Tom Gray, previously of Bistro Aix, focuses on bringing distinctly American flavors (gathered from his own travel experiences) to the plates—and glasses—of Moxie with a locally sourced and natural approach. Each menu item will likely be something you’ve heard of before, and probably tried at some point, but with the type of reworking that has brought chef Tom two James Beard Foundation award nominations—think short ribs with a Dr. Pepper glaze and chicken and waffles with waffle pudding and pepper jelly. The cocktail Walk Don’t Run is a perfect pairing—Four Roses Yellow Label Bourbon with Aperol, Cocchi Americano, and barrel-aged bitters.
5. November 28 release of Garth Brooks’ Blame It All On My Roots. Garth Brooks’ Southern roots have been song fodder since his early days in the music industry playing in clubs and bars in his native Oklahoma. 128 million records later, Garth is the highest-selling country music singer to ever live, and ranks third in best-selling music artists of all genres. He trails only behind The Beatles and Elvis Presley. Clearly he doesn’t do anything small, as evidenced in his latest venture, the eight-disc box set, Blame It All On My Roots. Four CDs will feature Garth covering his favorite songs from other artists (think “Dock of the Bay,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” and “Maggie May”), two CDs hold a 33-song selection of Garth’s greatest hits, and the last two contain music videos of his hits, along with live performances from his three years of sold-out shows at the Wynn Resort in Las Vegas.