A ‘Taste’-ful experience at the Mint

Special guests join the latest ‘Taste of the Mint’ tour

With a menu well-seasoned by salt, 22 people enjoyed the latest installment of the “Taste of the Mint” program on Wednesday evening – among them, the inspiration for the evening’s dining, artist Motoi Yamamoto of Japan.

“Taste of the Mint” allows participants to sample small plate and drink pairings at two world-class restaurants housed within Mint Museum Uptown: Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth restaurant and e2 emeril’s eatery. Then, the group heads inside the museum for a special tour. Future dates are scheduled for March 20, April 20, May 15, and June 26 and will be themed around the Mint’s upcoming F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, Design) exhibition. The series will resume monthly dates in fall 2013, and “Taste of the Mint” experiences are also available by appointment for groups of 10 to 25 people with at least 30 days’ notice. (Click here for details on group tours and click ‘Experiential tourism’).

In addition to Motoi Yamamoto, special guests during Wednesday evening included Brad Thomas, the Mint’s curator of Modern & Contemporary art; and Oscar Roldán-Alzate, organizing curator of the upcoming exhibition Sociales: Débora Arango Arrives Today, from Museo de Arte Moderno de Medellín, Colombia. After dining with guests, Motoi resumed work on his large-scale saltwork, Floating Garden, in the museum’s atrium and answered a few questions from participants.

The evening began inside Halcyon, where Chef Marc Jacksina led a presentation entitled “Interactive Tomatoes,” demonstrating the difference in taste between three varieties of salt. The same tomatoes tasted remarkably different when paired with lava salt from Hawaii, Jurassic salt from Utah, and fleur de sal from Portugal. The course was paired with a Tarragon Salty Dog cocktail (in a salt-rimmed glass, of course).

Next, Jacksina introduced cabbage fermented in kosher salt (resembling simplified sauerkraut) paired with salmon, and for dessert, guests lingered over a scoop of rich salted caramel ice cream. But the evening had just begun, because it was soon time to head downstairs to e2 emeril’s eatery.

There, manager Jeff Wakem led demonstrations including a lesson in how to shuck an oyster, and chefs explained the process for curing bacon (in salt, of course), and braising it to be served on top of crostini. The signature cocktail for the evening, Zydeco Punch, included a splash of South American pisco liquor. Finally, it was time for the evening’s second dessert – a chocolate ganache tart with a light sprinkling of grey salt on top. “Salt balances, and it’s very necessary in any form of cooking,” said Stephanie Nikolic, the restaurant’s pastry chef. A dry Zinfandel wine was the perfect pairing to bring out the chocolate taste.

Once inside the museum, guests marveled at both the atrium installation and the smaller one being installed on Level 4 to remain in place during the run of Motoi Yamamoto’s exhibition, through May 26. One guest asked how Motoi developed his process for applying salt to the floor. His response: His parents owned a motorcycle repair shop, and all his life he was accustomed to the small plastic bottles they filled to oil the machinery. Those same bottles are what he uses to create his works of art.

Taste of the Mint: An Appetizing Restaurant and Museum Experience

Satisfy Your Cravings at Mint Museum Uptown

The Mint Museum is partnering  with two  world-class restaurants who share space with Mint Museum Uptown at Levine Center for the Arts to offer visitors and tourists a brand-new, one-of-a-kind food and art experience. Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth and e2 emeril’s eatery are joining the Mint for “Taste of the Mint,” which will launch Tuesday, October 16, at 4 p.m. and will continue as a recurring program offered to both locals and visiting tour groups.

“Guests are invited to become food and art connoisseurs for the day,” said Hillary Cooper, the Mint’s director of communications and media relations. “They can explore a food tasting tour at two remarkable restaurants and then satisfy cravings for art at our world-class art museum.”

The experience, lasting roughly three hours, begins at 4 p.m. at e2 emeril’s eatery at 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts with a small plate and beverage pairing, accompanied by a talk from a restaurant expert about the food.  After approximately 45 minutes, guests will then proceed up one floor to Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth, where they will receive another small plate and beverage pairing and presentation. Finally, they will enter Mint Museum Uptown for a customized tour of the groundbreaking new exhibition Against the Grain: Wood in Contemporary Art, Craft, and Design. With museum hours lasting until 9 p.m. that night, guests can continue to journey through extraordinary  works of art from the museum’s American, Contemporary and Craft + Design collections.

Guests can reserve a spot in “Taste of the Mint” by contacting Kacy Harruff at kacy.harruff@mintmuseum.org or 704.337.2018, or registering online at http://www.mintmuseum.org/happenings/138/taste-of-the-mint. The program costs $45 per person or $35 for Mint Museum members.

The Mint developed this program in cooperation with Visit Charlotte, which is responding to an increased nationwide demand for “experiential tourism,” combining sightseeing with participatory experiences, among tour groups. Beginning immediately, the Mint and the two restaurants will accept reservations on demand for “Taste of the Mint” experiences from group tours of up to 25 people. “‘Taste of the Mint’ is aimed at fostering community engagement and bolstering Charlotte’s tourism efforts. We look forward to introducing new audiences to each unique venue,” said Cooper.

The program will again be offered to the public in conjunction with the upcoming Mint exhibition F.O.O.D. (Food, Objects, Objectives, and Design), scheduled to be on view from March through July 2013 at Mint Museum Uptown.

ABOUT E2 EMERIL’S EATERY

e2 emeril’s eatery draws from Emeril’s Restaurant in its purest form – comfort, warm service and delicious food, with an easy approach and an eye towards the future of modern American dining. e2 emeril’s eatery features an eclectic menu that highlights Emeril’s passion for elevating American classics. Located at 135 Levine Avenue of the Arts, Ste. 100, e2 emeril’s eatery is within easy walking distance of uptown Charlotte’s numerous art, business, and cultural attractions including The Duke Energy Center, Mint Museum Uptown, Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African American Arts + Culture and Knight Theater (which together comprise the Levine Center for the Arts).

ABOUT HALCYON, FLAVORS FROM THE EARTH

Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth opened in November 2010 as The Mother Earth Group’s first restaurant and their flagship fine-dining destination.  Located in Mint Museum Uptown, the restaurant’s menu reflects both the principles of Executive Chef Marc Jacksina, and The Mother Earth Group as a whole, placing emphasis on supporting local farmers and highlighting seasonal ingredients.  The concept of the restaurant can be described as Southern-Inspired Farm-to-Fork cuisine with a menu that changes every two months or so, as quickly as a farmer’s season may evolve.  On any given day, farmers, fisherman, shepherds and more deliver their crop and product to our doors directly – which is a tradition we have prided ourselves in since the beginning.
At the bar, mixologist Maggie Ruppert has pioneered the cocktail culture of Charlotte as a growing foodie city through her unique flavor combinations, knack for original creativity and use of local and nostalgic ingredients.  From Troy & Sons moonshine to house-made tinctures and syrups, Maggie’s cocktails are truly one of a kind – with enough options to suit any diner’s palette – from sweet to savory – Benton’s bacon to Crème de Violette.

The ambiance of Halcyon is inspired by a painting that hangs in the dining room featuring the Greek goddess Halcyon, created by South Carolina artist Harriett Goode.  The natural textiles and one-of-a kind wooden tables from local-area wood craftsman Gary Marcus help make your overall dining experience at Halcyon a truly elegant and memorable one.  Located on the second floor of Mint Museum Uptown, the floor-to-ceiling windows and expansive patio seating offer some of the best views of uptown Charlotte and the perfect spot to enjoy a cocktail and Snack Board at any time of day.

Executive Chef Mark Jacksina
General Manager Ashley Swensen
Mixologist/Assistant Manager Maggie Ruppert
Owners Jill Marcus & Karen Teed

For more information about Halcyon, Flavors from the Earth or The Mother Earth Group, please contact Rachel Wormser at Rachel@TheMotherEarthGroup.com or 704.377.4202 ext 13.