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Welcome Appetite for Texas

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I can’t believe it’s been 8 years since I started this blog. I was on a mission to find a better way to organize my annual family cookbook project and had no idea that it would lead to such an amazing adventure. I’ve published 425 blog articles, over 100 magazine articles and made some truly incredible friends and memories along the way.

The adventure isn’t over, but it is moving. When I started this blog there were two farmers markets in Austin and a handful of restaurants that worked with local farms. Now, there is a farmers market most days of the week and it’s the norm for local restaurants to have a relationship with local farms. I will always be dedicated to the local food movement, but I also have some other stories I’ve been itching to tell that don’t really fit this blog.

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I’m kicking off a few new projects. The first, Appetite for Texas, is a new culinary blog dedicated to all the things that make Texas food, wine, spirits and beer great. I’m also continuing my wine studies and will be geeking out about wine over on Bubbles & Boots.

My favorite part of the culinary world, isn’t the tasty food or the lovely glasses of wine, but the people who make it all possible. Next month, my good friend and colleague Natanya Anderson and I will be launching a podcast called Dishing Austin to tell the stories behind the plate. We can’t wait to interview some of our favorite food and beverage people and give you a chance to get to know them better.

Writing Kristi’s Farm to Table has been such a pleasure and I hope you’ll join me in this next round of fun with my new projects.

See you at the farmers market –

Kristi

P.S. A huge thanks to Sandra Ramos for creating all the new logos. You’re the best!

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Celebrating the Holidays with Small Town Texas Style in Granbury

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Sponsored post: I was fortunate to be a guest of the City of Granbury this summer and was delighted to discover this small town Texas gem.

As soon as the Thanksgiving leftovers are packed away, my mind wanders to fitting in some of my favorite Christmas holiday traditions. High on that list is a visit to a small Texas town or two to enjoy the holiday decorations and festivities in a more quiet, quaint environment. I often trek to Johnson City or Blanco to see the decorated courthouse grounds and am happy to add Granbury to the list of places with must see decorations.

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Photo courtesy of the City of Granbury

Despite being a lifelong Texan, I had never been to Granbury before this summer. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I received the generous invitation from the City to spend the weekend and what I found was a laid back North Texas town with plenty to keep an avid foodie entertained.

Like many small Texas towns, the square surrounds a historic courthouse and houses a variety of stores, hotels, restaurants and a theater. It would be easy to spend the day popping between shops or wandering down to the lake just a short walk away, but there are some pretty tasty incentives for leaving the square.

EighteenNinety Marketplace on the Granbury square

EighteenNinety Marketplace on the Granbury square

We took a short drive out to Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese to visit Dave Eagle and taste some of his award-winning cheeses.

Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese

Eagle Mountain Farmhouse Cheese

The area is home to several wineries as well, and far be it from us to pass up a winery sign. At Dave’s recommendation we ventured over to Barking Rocks Winery and sampled several of their wines. The 2008 Tannat struck my fancy enough that I bought a bottle to bring home.

Barking Rocks Winery

Barking Rocks Winery

Our final stop on our culinary tour was Revolver Brewing, one of my favorite Texas breweries. Revolver hosts an event every Saturday from noon to 3 pm with tastings, tours and live music. What a fun way to spend an afternoon! Thankfully, they also have vendors selling food and we had some tasty Del Norte tacos to munch on with our Blood & Honey beers. (P.S. You get to keep the glass)

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Band at Revolver Brewing

Band at Revolver Brewing

We wrapped up our day with a fantastic dinner at EighteenNinety Grille & Lounge. Downstairs is a marketplace packed with gourmet goodies to create your own meal (picnic supplies!) and upstairs is a lovely steakhouse dripping with Texas style.

Gourmet goodies at EighteenNinety Marketplace

Gourmet goodies at EighteenNinety Marketplace

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A perfect steak with the Montes Alpha Malbec at EighteenNinety Grille

Back at the adorable Heaven Hill Guest House located just off the square, we took advantage of the record player and stash of old LPs and danced the night away to Frank Sinatra and the Bee Gees. There may have been wine and giggling – a lot of giggling.

Heaven Hill Guest House

Heaven Hill Guest House

Patio at Heaven Hil

Patio at Heaven Hil

If you are looking for a great Texas getaway, head to Granbury. It’s cute, fun and everyone was delightful. There are traditional hotels, but check out the B&B’s and guest houses for a more intimate experience. And, if you need incentive to get that trip planned, the city is hosting their holiday Candlelight Tour this weekend (December 4th and 5th).

If you can’t make it this weekend, the square will be decorated through the holidays, the Granbury Theater Company is performing Mary Poppins through December 23rd and Lake Granbury Living magazine is hosting a Mary Poppins Tea on December 19th.

I left Granbury wondering why it took me so long to visit. Don’t make my mistake – plan your trip!

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Food and Wine Pairing with Chef Troy Knapp of The Driskill Grill

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Howdy! It’s your disappearing writer here. Sorry for the extended absence, but it has been a busy few months. Among other things, I spent the spring and summer studying for my Certified Specialist of Wine exam and I passed. Yay! You can expect there will be more wine posts in the future.

I’ve also helped launch a new series of classes with the Wine and Food Foundation highlighting food and wine pairing at area restaurants. It has been so fun to work with local sommeliers and chefs to explore both classic and unusual pairings. Executive Chef Troy Knapp of Austin’s Driskill Grill recently led a group of twenty Wine & Food Foundation supporters through a phenomenal three course tasting at one of our Perfect Pair classes.

Incredible food and wine pairings are usually a collaborative effort between a chef and sommelier as they each own a specific half of the equation, sharing some knowledge in the middle. Chef Knapp has an edge up on the pairing formula as not only is he an experienced chef, but he is a Certified Sommelier. He introduced our group not only to his wine acumen, as well as the new approach to the Driskill Grill menu which they unveiled that week.

butternut squash and vouvray

All the pairings were spectacular, showing off two different wines with each plating, I was wowed by an amuse bouche of butternut squash soup paired with 2008 Domaine Huet, Le Haut – Lieu, Vouvray Demi Sec from Loire, France. While a sweeter wine is not usually my first choice, the Demi Sec harmonized beautifully with the butternut squash and made me long for fall.

The crowd favorite of the night was Chef Knapp’s second course pairing of dry-aged Wagyu flatiron steak with a blind pairing of Temprañillo. Curious if the group could discern the Spanish Rioja (2006 López de Heredia Viña Cubillo Crianza) from a Texas Temprañillo (2012 Bending Branch), Chef Knapp had the group taste the two without giving a clue as to their origin.

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About half the group placed the wines correctly, but everyone was a winner because the perfectly grilled beef and Bending Branch Temprañillo were a match made in heaven. The dry cherry flavors married well with the steak served atop a carrot puree, roasted beets, summer squash and huckleberry bordelaise.

Ending the night with a 2008 Royal Tokaji paired with a hazelnut torte guaranteed that everyone left full, satisfied and as devoted fans of Chef Knapp and his team at the Driskill Grill.

To learn more about wine and food pairing, join us for the Wine & Food Foundation’s next Perfect Pair class class on Tuesday, October 20th at Arro or at one of Driskill Grill’s pairing dinners, the next one on Tuesday, October 13th is with Master Sommelier Guy Stout. You can learn more about Guy Stout and his journey in the wine world in his interview with Levi Dalton of the I’ll Drink to That podcast.

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