John Coltrane’s version of My Favorite Things is one of my favorite songs – a tune I seek out to soothe my soul and center me on hectic days. As I listen, I make a mental list of things that make me happy. Anyone who knows me would tell you that raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens wouldn’t make my list, but a lovely grapefruit sorbet or fun new restaurant is very likely to appear.
Lillian and I decided it was high time to start sharing the culinary side of that list. Each month, we’ll share some of our favorite recipes, bites and finds from the previous month. And without further ado, here are a few of our favorite things from February.
I love grapefruit and am thrilled when Sweet Scarlets, Ruby Reds and Rio Stars appear in Austin markets. While you may not want ice cream on this chilly day, this Grapefruit and Mint Sorbet recipe is a perfect way to save the last of the season grapefruit for the hot days to come. Enjoy!
Wine & Food Foundation of Texas Toast & Roast
I was lucky enough to spend last Friday afternoon visiting a few Hill Country wineries and was reminded of how outstanding some of our Texas vintages are. You can sample some of Texas’ best next Sunday, March 1st, at the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas’ Toast & Roast event. Sip Texas Monthly’s Best Wines of Texas and nosh on food from Chef John Bates of Noble Sandwich Co. I’m expecting an epic Texas afternoon.
It’s not often that I’m completely surprised by a restaurant. When I was invited to a media dinner at Fixe, I accepted, but wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew Chef James Robert has Southern roots and that the early word was positive, but not much more than that.
Then, Chef Robert and crew wowed me. Everything from the food to the service to the atmosphere was fantastic, and not just because I was at a media dinner. I watched other tables who were clearly enjoying their evening and every bite. I can’t wait to go back and encourage you to put it high on your list.
Several folks have asked me where they could learn to cook and I’m delighted that I can direct them to a growing number of outstanding classes, many with a seasonal focus. The Sustainable Food Center has increased their offerings and added a knife skills class, something every home cook can benefit from.
If you prefer spicier flare, Chef Jam Sanitchat offers classes at her South Austin restaurant Thai Fresh. I learned so much from her in my class that I was inspired to buy her cookbook.
And, of course, I’m a huge fan of the Central Market classes, offered across the state. Not a day goes by that I don’t use some trick or technique that I learned in one of their classes. I’m particularly looking forward to the upcoming class with Chef Virginia Willis, no relation, but a friend and great Southern chef. She’ll be offering classes in all 5 Central Market cities.
Meridian Hive Meadery
One of my favorite things to do on Friday evening is to pop by East End Wines for their free wine tastings to meet a new wine maker or learn about an unusual varietal. On a recent Friday night, Meridian Hive Meadery was sampling their mead wines.
To be honest I was scared to try it, not being a lover of sweet wine, but I was delighted I did. Meridian Hive has the most balanced mead wine I’ve ever tried and even the “sweet” Haven had a spicy bite of ginger to counteract the sugary peach. It was delightful and refreshing, and I look forward to trying it again.
What have you nibbled or sipped that you loved this month? We’d love to hear about your favorite things.