Sooo I finally got to experience Dining with Darius Cooks! If you’re not familiar with Darius, he is a food blogger, recipe creator and author. You can check him out on Facebook @Darius Williams, Instagram @dariuscooks or on YouTube by clicking here. Anywho, I was supposed to go to an event of his in St. Louis last year, but since St. Louisan’s buy everything but event tickets(yes that’s shade) he had to cancel. (Correction- he cancelled for health reasons but y’all DO NOT buy tickets for events in STL and I’m standing on it.)
Here I am in New Orleans, home of some of the best food in the country, waiting to be wowed. He prepared 7 courses and when I first started I was pretty confident that I could make it. After course 3.5 my confidence slowly withered. My parents ain’t raise no quitter, so I persisted.
Imagine being with your family on a holiday. Everybody is sitting around eating and you finally get to sit at the “Grown folks table” and eat on the “good china.” I had truly been delivert! Great music is playing, I’m talking about Luther, Anita, Switch, Earth, Wind & Fire, and some Isley Brothers. Yes, all the jams! Anyway let’s get to this food.
There were about 25 people and we started with the Red Kool-Aid Sangria. I think people missed the word sangria because they were throwing it back. Then it kicked in, and they slowed down a bit. This is around the first time Darius suggested we pace ourselves.
The first course was mixed greens with smoked turkey and watermelon chow chow. If you’re not familiar with chow chow, it’s pretty much a relish. Chile, that Watermelon chow chow is now mandatory with my greens. Ohhh and that honey cornbread Mmm mmm.
I almost lost my mind when he announced the 2nd course, seafood mac n cheese. Lawd! I didn’t bring the Lactaid(silently says prayer) but it was so creamy and cheesy with shrimp and crawfish. You can tell this wasn’t just some milk and cheese, because his béchamel sauce was the perfect consistency and not too rich.
Darius must have a thing for collard greens and I’m glad that he does. The third course was smothered chicken over collard green risotto(drops mic, walks off stage) Like, seriously guys it was fire! The chicken was seasoned and the gravy on it wasn’t too heavy and while I’m not a huge risotto fan, his was divine.
The fourth course consisted of salmon with a collard pesto, summer salad w/ lime dressing topped with crispy leeks. Yes, there’s a fillet of salmon somewhere under all that goodness. I have no words. If I had to choose one, it’d be mouthwatering!
Course five… this course right here, baby! Have you ever prayed for a sign, and then boom you got it? Well, I knew something epic was coming, because Luther Vandross “Here and Now” started playing. I love me some Luther (see blog post “Wait for Love..”)Then it came, shrimp and grits! It was so good! They were mascarpone grits with sautéed shrimp in a white wine sauce. Amazing!
By the time the sixth course came I was done. Like really… he kept reminding us to pace ourselves but even a sample of everything was a lot. Out came the braised beef short ribs over garlic potato purée. I literally ate one piece of beef and a spoonful of potatoes. They were equally as delicious as the previous dishes, but I had to save room for dessert.
Lastly, the dessert was salted caramel banana pudding. I was so excited and just knew it was going to be a homemade custard like grandma use to make. While I was wrong(playas mess up) it was still rather tasty and not overly sweet.
Overall I really enjoyed my time Dining with Darius. He took the time to speak with everyone and explained each dish in detail. Communication of food allergies were taken care of beforehand. The intimate setting was a huge bonus and the house was beautiful! Everyone was friendly and we even planned to book on the same night the next time he comes to New Orleans. There was so much food and drink to take home, now I understand why he suggests you bring Tupperware. I wasn’t prepared for leftovers but next time, I’m on it.
While I’m not sure if he’ll continue doing this, he has opened a restaurant in Atlanta called Greens and Gravy and also has a new one on the way called Soul Crab. After this experience, I will gladly travel to taste WHATEVER Darius is cooking up in the kitchen. He truly blessed my stomach.