By MATT CRANE
Starkville residents interested in a different dining experience this weekend can look no further than its very own Veranda.
On Saturday, The Veranda will host a specialized five-course menu and wine tasting event beginning at 7 p.m. Tickets are still available for $65 which includes tax and gratuity.
Amy Yates, Director of Marketing for the Veranda, said the event’s fun yet formal atmosphere will offer a unique culinary experience for area residents.
“We just like to do something a little more upscale and educational that you might not get every day,” Yates said. “I think it’s just fun for our guests to have a different experience, bringing a little different food and wine culture to Starkville.”
Amy Yates said chef and owner of The Veranda, Jay Yates, prepared a five-course menu and partnered with David Koenig from Southern Wine and Spirits in Jackson for the event.
“They’ve been on the phone a lot over the past weeks talking about flavor profiles, and Dave has been picking things out that will go well with each dish,” Amy Yates said. “Jay and David will be discussing things throughout the evening, so people will be able to learn a lot about the food preparations and the wines.”
Amy Yates said the evening will begin with a watermelon mint champagne cocktail and an amuse-bouche.
“The amuse-bouche will be shrimp with locally grown cucumbers,” she said. “As you arrive, the amuse-bouche is a one bite kind of deal that is supposed to get the appetite going.”
Amy Yates said the rest of the courses feature: scallops with local produce; a salad course; the main entree of steak frites with locally grown potatoes; and a dessert course of chocolate gelato with chocolate ganache.
“The steak frites is a New York strip, but instead of being grilled it’s pan fried, which is a popular dish in French speaking Europe,” she said. “The dessert is really like a gourmet sundae.”
Amy Yates said the wines for the scallops, salad and steak courses will feature blended wines.
“Blended wines are really in right now,” she said.
Amy Yates said the recent culinary trend of utilizing locally grown products is one The Veranda has embraced.
“It’s definitely a food movement right now of farm to table, and local farmers are clueing into this and selling directly to restaurants now,” she said. “Jay always grew up with his mom and grandmother cooking fresh vegetables out of the garden so this is kind of his wheelhouse.”
While Amy Yates said the event Saturday promises to be a fun, educational evening out on the restaurant’s actual veranda, she also looks ahead to a similar event the restaurant will hold later this month.
“We’re going to be doing this same concept but with craft beers,” she said. “If wine is not your thing, then the beer dinner is on Aug. 18 for $55, but the menu has not been decided yet.”
Tickets are still available for the wine tasting dinner Saturday at 7 p.m.
For more information, call The Veranda at 662-323-1231.