Archive | May, 2014

Austin Food & Wine Festival: Sunday Fun Day

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Sunday at the Austin Wine and Food Festival started early in the morning with a new crew of chefs taking over the fire pits. The team from Luke in San Antonio constructed an elaborate “quail” tree, roasted a whole hog and even made a lovely strawberry sauce on the fire. SundayFest_Luke_Quail SundayFest_Luke_Pig SundayFest_Luke_Berries

The Gilmores, with dad Jack (Jack Allen’s Kitchen) and son Bryce (Barley Swine & Odd Duck) both manning the pits, switched from pigs to goats, with Bryce cooking cabrito on the fire truck spit and Jack roasting the heads on the “meat carousel” with the chickens. SundayFest_Gilmore_GoatHeads

Chef Ned Elliott of Foreign and Domestic was roasting pig heads on his fire and making tacos from the tender meat. SundayFest_ForeignDomestic2 SundayFest_ForeignDomestic1

No surprise that pitmaster Aaron Franklin’s (Franklin Barbecue) brisket and ribs inspired a patient crowd waiting patiently for a bite of the tasty ‘cue. In between carvings, the chef handed out beers. SundayFest_AaronFranklin

Some of the hardest working folks at the festival were the crew from Salt & Time with a chef showcase on Saturday and a discussion on Sunday at the Austin Food and Wine Alliance tent, complete with tasty bites of their charcuterie.

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Sunday’s Grand Tasting featured a number of great finds. Stephanie McClenny of Confituras launched her lovely Hill Country Wine Jellies featuring Texas red and white wines. SundayFest_Confituras_WineJellies

Austin-based Bloody Revolution paired their bloody mary mix with San Antonio Cinco Vodka for a nice morning eye-opener. You can find the spicy mix at your local H-E-B. SundayFest_BloodyRevolution_Cinco

I was delighted to discover two new-to-me restaurants based in my Allandale neighborhood.  The Mighty Bird is a fast casual restaurant that specializes in rotisserie chicken and chicken-centric tacos, wraps and salads.  Their Hatch green chile chicken salad and chicken chorizo samples were delicious and I’ve stopped the Anderson location twice since the festival. SundayFest_MightyBird2

And, I am anxiously awaiting the opening of Fork & Vine in the space formerly occupied by Casa Chapala at Anderson & Shoal Creek.  The New American restaurant will have a lengthy wine list and, based on the samples at the festival, some impressive food. With this restaurant being less than a block from my house, you can imagine how excited I am. (Open, open, open!)

I ended the festival with nibbles from one of my favorite chefs in town, Chef Shawn Cirkiel of the Parkside Projects (Parkside, Olive & June, the Backspace, Chavez).  The soup and charcuterie were balanced and lovely – just what I’ve come to expect from Chef Cirkiel. He then shared a story of the work they’ve been doing in his restaurant group to take care of their team, extending insurance to every (not just full-time) employee and how that had recently helped one of their dishwashers.

As I headed for the gates, I was reminded that all the fun of the festival is about promoting an industry that not only supports the chefs and stars, but everyone who who works with them. It makes a difference where you eat, because the money you spend supports real people, with real lives from the purveyors supplying the restaurant to the dishwashers and servers to the star chef who just signed your arm. Choose wisely!

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May Texas Food Events

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The Great Austin Food Race
Wednesday, May 14, 4-7pm, Block Party 7-9pm

The Austin Food & Wine Alliance is hosting The Great Austin Food Race, a scavenger hunt featuring Austin food businesses. This year will be East Austin!

At each location teams will earn points for completing interactive challenges and gain clues for the next stop. Proceeds will benefit the AFWA’s Culinary Grant Program.  Learn more and register your team here! 

True Beef Film Fundraiser Dinner
Thursday, May 29, 6-9pm

The Texas Beef Council and Pflugerville High School are proud to present “A Night Under the Stars”. Come meet the culinary and agricultural students behind True Beef, their fearless teachers and get a sneak peek of a segment of the film. The filmmakers will also be in attendance.

Enjoy a cocktail hour, sponsored by Dripping Springs Vodka, followed by dinner and wine pairings, prepared by James Beard American Classic Honorees Tom & Lisa Perini. Don’t forget those dancing shoes for the live music! Purchase tickets here.

Maifest
Saturday, May 31, 1-7pm

Saengerrunde Hall is opening their doors for the 2nd Annual Austin Maifest!  Enjoy 10 of Central Texas’ best-known breweries showcasing German-style beers and live music from Czech Melody Masters, Los Kolaches, Off the Grid and Sour Bridges with full access to the rooftop biergarten and bowling alley. Benefiting Foodways Texas. Grab tickets today. 

 

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