Central Market threw a lovely soiree last week at the French Legation to celebrate their love of all thing French. Today, May 9th, kicks off their in store celebration Passport France through May 22. Cooking demos, cheese, wine, and pastry specials will rule the aisles in a Francophile’s dream. I am rushing over to the bakery tomorrow to pick up some more of the Kouign Amann pastries I sampled at the Legation. These deeply caramelized cakes of butter and sugar are all the rage in Paris right now. At $4.99 for 4, I think I will be drinking cafe au lait and dreaming of the Left Bank soon.
It took me awhile but I think I am finally recovered from the bacchanalia that came to Austin at the end of April. The inaugural Austin Wine and Food Fest had a few logistical issues like high winds that led to a film of dust that covered everyone and everything and timing for the demos could have been better. But for the most part, it was a success. I was proud to play a role at the fest as the lead in charge of volunteer checkin. I also serve with the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance as Volunteer Coordinator which led to the opportunity. So I spent a good portion of the actual fest at Auditorium Shores working instead of drinking and eating as much as I would have liked to. Fortunately, there were several periphery events before that I was able to enjoy. Plus it was fun to have a behind the scenes view of the first year. It will be interesting to see how they adjust going forward.
Now for my food porn. First up was the fantastic dinner that Columbus Salame sponsored at the Carillon. Columbus is an artisan salame maker out of San Francisco that makes truly stellar handcrafted meats. Each of the courses included some of their product. As always, Josh Watkins and Plinio Sandalio gave me mouthgasms with their delicious dishes. You can find Columbus locally at Central Market and Antonelli’s.
Stay tuned for Part 2. Dessert dinner, Live Fire meat and pie, secret dessert party, and more Morimoto.
This is the lovely, luscious lemon tart I recently had at the W restaurant Trace. Turns out the pastry chef Janina O’Leary is a former protege of Pichet Ong, one of the best pastry chefs in the country. He will be in town for the upcoming inaugural Austin Food and Wine Fest. On Thursday night, Ong will be at Trace for a dessert dinner. I am so excited about this one, I will be leaving the Austin Food and Wine Alliance Live Fire event early to make it downtown in time for the dessert royalty. If you are a dessert groupie like me, call for reservations now. Here is the description from the Facebook page.
Start your Foodie Weekend early–Renowned New York Pastry Chef Pichet Ong and W Austin & TRACE Executive Pastry Chef—and former protégé of Chef Ong—Janina O’Leary, will be reuniting to host a multi-course dessert menu at TRACE at W Austin. Join us for a special three-course dessert dinner, that will tempt your palate in preparation for the weekend’s Food & Wine Festival. This collaboration includes a lineup of whimsical and delicious treats. Visit, http://
Named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in America by Pastry Arts & Design and author of “The Sweet Spot”, Chef Ong is known for his visually appealing and innovative desserts have been seen most notably at Spice Market, RM and 66 and he has been nominated for the James Beard Award numerous times.
Assorted Petite Fours
$25 per person/ $40 with cocktail pairings by W Austin libationist, Joyce Garrison.
Check out the menu for the upcoming gala at the Driskill on February 21. General admission is $85 and VIP is $125. Buy tickets here.
Austin-San Antonio Gala Tasting Menu
David Bull, Congress Austin
Pan-roasted Sea Scallop, Jicama-Mint Salad, Coconut Cream, Cocoa Nib, and Chocolate Mint
Ned Elliott, Foreign & Domestic
Australian Wagyu Flank Steak, Red Pepper Sauce, Fried Orzo, Poached Egg, Bacon, Togarashi, and Ham Broth
Aaron Franklin, Franklin Barbecue
Bryce Gilmore, Barley Swine
Grilled Rabbit Terrine, Bacon-Liver Mousse, French Breakfast Radishes, and Texas Onions
Rene Ortiz, La Condesa
Cervena Venison Tacos, Chipotle Harissa, Fennel Pollen Yogurt, and Bacon Fat Tortilla
Paul Qui, Uchiko
Sunchoke-Dashi Soup, Uni, Bottarga, Baby Carrots, and Zucchini Blossoms
Quealy Watson, The Monterey
Fried Chicken, Thyme, and Pickled Jalapeño
Andrew Wiseheart, Contigo
Cauliflower Gratin, Currants, Capers, Almonds, Garlic Cream, Parmesan, and Balsamic Reduction
Plinio Sandalio, Carillon
Grapefruit Sorbet, Grapefruit Supremes, Campari Pop Rocks, and Angostura Bitters Ice Cream
Philip Speer, Uchiko
Peanut Butter Semifreddo, Miso-Apple Sorbet, Peanut Brittle, Micro Wasabi, and Raisins
Michael Sohocki, Restaurant Gwendolyn
Pig’s Foot Terrine, Rooster Mousse and Deviled Eggs
Josh Watkins, Carillon
Cured Niragi, Beet Ceviche, Goat Cheese, and Citrus Vinaigrette
John Bates and Brandon Martinez, The Noble Pig
Italian Sausage Sandwich with Roasted Red Onions, Tomatoes, Provolone, and Basil Pesto-Aïoli
Tyson Cole, Uchi, Uchi Houston, and Uchiko
Hama Nabe: Baby Yellowtail, Koshihikari Rice, Farm Egg, and Soy Broth
Jason Dady, Bin 555, Tre Trattoria, and Two Bros. BBQ Market
Smoked Cabrito Ribs, Polenta, and Natural Jus
Jeret Peña, The Esquire
Cabin Fever: Highland Park 12-year Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Pecan Syrup, Fernet Branca, and Habañero Pepper
The Sacrilege: Chamomile-infused Pisco, Green Chartreuse, Lime, Honey, Egg White, and Cracked Pepper
June Rodil, Congress Austin
Beverage pairings with chefs’ dishes
Jonathan Gelmann, Driskill Grill
Purple Potato, Truffled Crème Fraîche , Petrossian Caviar, and Lemon (VIP Reception)
Herb-crusted Australian Lamb Lollipop with Spicy Apple Kimchee (Gala)
Reuben Sandwich: Organic Australian Brisket Pastrami, Sauerkraut, Tomato-Caper Dressing, Swiss Fondue, and Pumpernickel Bun (Gala)
The beloved Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival has now become the Austin Wine and Food Festival. April 27-29, 2012 marks the beginning of a new era for the Austin food scene. Food and Wine Magazine is teaming up with C3 Entertainment to showcase big name national chef stars like Masaharu Morimoto, Marcus Samuelsson, and Andrew Zimmern alongside Austin luminaries like Tyson Cole, Paul Qui, Bryce Gilmore, and Aaron Franklin. The idea is to make a destination festival along the lines of the South Beach or Aspen festivals. How will the Austin chefs stack up? Will the Austin foodie community support a fest that comes with a $250 minimum price tag? How will the festival organizers deal with unforeseen issues that are bound to come up with a new huge event? I cannot wait to find out.
OK, I know looking at other people’s pics can be as entertaining as watching paint dry. I was looking through the mountain of pictures I have taken over the last 2 years and these are my favorite food shots, people, and events that I have been lucky enough to eat, meet, and be part of. Hopefully you will see someone or something familiar enough to entertain you. The slideshow crops some of the pics in a weird way but you can click on them to see the full image. I purposely left captions off if you want to make a game of it and see how many you can identify. If you want to confirm any guesses, just leave a comment below.
Little known fact about most restaurants, very few employ a full time pastry chef. Most either subcontract the work out to a local bakery or order straight off the Sysco truck. Many times pastry chefs have to prove their worth by working both the savory and sweet sides of the line to make their positions economically viable. Sometimes there is the rare hybrid of ADD culinary chef and OCD pastry chef that excel at both. I had the pleasure of attending the winter gathering of three of Austin’s best pastry chefs at parkside on November 20 who wanted to showcase their abilities with a savory and sweet course each plus an amuse bouche, intermezzo, and petit fours along with wine pairings. So much delicious food!!! And a portion of the proceeds go to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. The next gathering of the Dessert Project will be in the Spring at Plinio Sandalio’s new home at the Carillon. I will definitely be there, hope to see you as well.
Did you get enough pie for Thanksgiving? Me neither, no such thing! Today the first 2000 to sign up for ClickedIn deals through this link will receive a voucher for a free 4″ pie.
ClickedIn is a new daily deal website from Time Warner Cable. They hope to add another avenue to advertisers including local businesses like Cutie Pies. The goal is a more sustainable marketing campaign versus the guerrilla tactics that leave many small businesses even worse off.
The heart behind Cutie Pies is Jaynie Buckingham. Being especially fond of pie, I have followed news of her since she first won a holiday pie contest at the Driskill. This inspired her to take her massive collection of family pie recipes and turn it into first a successful South Congress trailer and now a brick and mortar at 7329 Burnet Rd.