18th Annual Heart & Soul Dip Dinner

By Candace Nelson - 9:57 PM

The 18th annual Heart & Soul Dip Dinner was held today at the East End Resource Center, and I attended for the first time ever. “A dip dinner is simply an event where attendees purchase tickets for $1 each. They use the tickets to purchase a ‘dip’ or serving-spoon portion of a side dish. Entrees and desserts range from two to four tickets, side dishes are one or two tickets and beverages are available for one ticket. It is very similar to the Taste of Charleston, only with good ol’ home-cooked soul foods made with lots of love," according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail. The dinner sees dishes from local churches, restaurants, sororities, and individuals who donate their specialty dishes in a competition to see who has the best bite. The money raised goes toward programming at the center. I bought $15 worth of tickets and got a to-go box to fill up with "dips" to take home. I do wish there was a menu available with the allotted tickets required so I could strategically plan. Instead, I started at one end and made my way around the room nabbing up whatever looked good at the moment. I started with chicken à la king with pastry from Carver Career Center. It's like an elevated pot pie and was a nice balance of homestyle taken up a notch. Next up for me was a potsticker with chili sauce and some curry over rice from Chow Thai. Both were just as good as you'd get in the restaurant, including a bit of heat from the curry. As I moved around the room, I saw some folks packing up as they ran out of items just 30 minutes into the event. I also saw some restaurants like Soho's and Johnnie's sharing some of their classic dishes. I ended up with a Mexican cornbread, which was OK, and kibbeh, which was unique, before finding the back table filled with different pastas. That's my happy place. Rigatoni, macaroni and cheese, and my favorite of the day, sausage and greens bowtie pasta, filled out the remainder of my plate. I had them piling scoops on top of other scoops. But that sausage pasta had a little bit of a kick and it was creamy and earthy, and I'm going to have to try to re-create it at home. Did you attend? If so, what were your favorite items?

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