CADILLAC CAFÉ TO FEATURE
AUSTIN’S CULINARY TALENT
AT AUSTIN FAN FEST FUELED BY SHELL
AUSTIN, Texas (Nov. 11, 2013)—One of the most popular spots at Austin Fan Fest fueled by Shell will be the Cadillac Café, where some of the city’s top culinary chefs will be preparing their specialties and sharing their cooking expertise with race fans.
The free fan fest located in downtown Austin encompasses most of downtown Austin’s renowned Warehouse and 2nd Street entertainment districts and will open Thursday, Nov. 14 through Sunday, Nov. 17. The fan fest will feature fun activities, exhibits, food and music for all ages in celebration of the FORMULA 1 UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX at Circuit of The Americas race weekend.
Austin Fan Fest fueled by Shell will showcase 12 activity zones over 12 square blocks bounded by San Antonio Street (west), 5th Street (north), Congress Avenue (east) and 2nd Street (south). The fan fest hours will be: Thursday from 5 p.m. to midnight; Friday and Saturday from Noon to midnight and Sunday from Noon to 8 p.m.
The Cadillac Café will be hosting executive chefs from Austin’s most popular restaurants—Sway, The Bonneville, El Alma Restaurante Bar and Garrido’s Restaurant & Bar. The Cadillac café will be located in the 2nd Street District, on 2nd street between Guadalupe and Lavaca, and will feature multiple culinary demonstrations throughout each day of the festival.
In addition to showcasing unique Austin culinary talent, Cadillac will feature the world’s fastest family of production cars at the Cadillac Café. Beneath the hood of the Cadillac V-Series rests a 6.2L V8 engine with 556 HP and 551 lb.-ft of torque, capable of propelling you from 0-60 in as fast as 3.9 seconds. From the revolutionary Magnetic Ride Control to its race-inspired low center of gravity, the Cadillac V-Series was schooled on The Nurburgring, the proving ground for the finest production cars in the world. Experience the adrenaline rush in person.
Festival fans that visit the Cadillac Café will also get to relax in the Sony 4K Lounge, a lounge-style environment featuring Sony ‘s new 4K Ultra HD TVs. Fans will get to experience the rich color and stunning contrast of the 4K HD TVs while listening to live music that will be emanating from the Mobil1 stage.
The executive chefs will be cooking up their specialties from Thursday through Sunday on the following schedule:
|Thursday, November 14||
Friday, November 15
|Saturday, November 16||Sunday, November 17|
|N/A||The Bonneville-3:00||G.H. Mumm-2:00||The Bonneville-3:00|
Award winning Sway, featuring modern Thai food, was named one of the 50 Best New Restaurants in America by Bon Appetite Magazine. Executive chef Alexis Chong will feature outstanding tastes in a menu developed by executive chef Rene Ortiz and Food and Wine Magazine’s Best New Pastry Chef, Laura Sawicki. Sway is located at 1417 South 1st Street.
Upscale New American cuisine is featured at The Bonneville, where they serve classic cuisine with a contemporary twist in a modern but comfortable environment.
Located at 202 W. Cesar Chavez, the Bonneville features chefs Jennifer Costello or Chris Hurley.
Garridos is a modern Mexican restaurant with a patio overlooking shoal creek in downtown Austin. The menu is 95% gluten free, all natural and fresh ingredients. The executive chef is David Garrido and the restaurant is located in downtown Austin at 360 Nueces St.
El Alma is the culmination of two great friends—a restauranteur and chef—bringing to life a fresh and flavorful approach to Mexican flavors in a cozy neighborhood restaurant. Chef Alma Alcocer came to Austin in 1989 from Mexico City and her restaurant is one of the locals regular stops located at 1025 Barton Springs Road.
G.H. Mumm will be doing a champagne tasting. G. H. Mumm, situated in Reims in northern France, is one of the largest Champagne producers worldwide.
For further information on Austin Fan Fest Fueled by Shell and the Cadillac Café, visit www.austinfanfest.com.
*UPDATE* 3/3/14 So sad to say- Cinnamon’s has closed its doors. Happy to say Philip Speer is working on a new bakery/cafe called St. Philip. Trace has a new pastry chef I have yet to check out but fortunately Janina O’Leary passed up big city offers to stay in Austin at the new brick and mortar for very popular food truck La V, opening this week! Steven Cak expands his dessert offering along with parkside’s expansions with chavez and olive and june. And finally Jodi Elliot will also be opening her own bakery very soon called Bribery. I will do a full post along with a couple of new spots once all of these open. It has been a very sweet year in desserts in Austin!
It is time once again for the AFBA city guide! I drew the difficult task of bringing you the cities best desserts. It is such a broad category, I decided to give a shout out to some of my favorite pastry cases and trailers available at any time your sweet tooth might be calling you and then focus on the high end dessert porn available at Austin’s finest restaurants.
One of my first jobs was as a baker at a small chain that specialized in cinnamon rolls located at the Lincoln Village shopping center. The same little store is now an independently owned bakery called Cinnamon’s run by French Chef Loic Duchesne. The cinnamon rolls are huge, buttery, and delicious, just like the ones I remember from the summer I gained 10 pounds. Chef Loic does a booming business with the soup and salad crowd as well as American favorites like chocolate chip cookies but just like a corner patisserie in Paris, there are a rainbow of pastel macarons and chocolate croissants ready to whisk you away on a virtual visit to the City of Lights.
Another one of my favorite dessert cases is at Vespaio Enoteca. While Vespaio is one of the best Italian places in town and worth a long leisurely visit, more often I find myself in a rush and the case here carries a nice assortment of European style desserts and breads as well as charcuterie and antipasti perfect for a picnic on the go. Just need a bottle of Pinot and you are ready for whatever Austin adventure awaits you.
Hillside Farmacy could also be known as Chef Sonya Cote’s favorite things. The walls are lined with local products, most of which have little in common except that Cote likes them. And she does have great taste. The pastry case is an assortment of local bakers and their best products, many of which are usually found only at the weekend farmer’s markets. So sleep in on Saturday and check out Hillside instead.
The Flying Pig, a giant fresh fried donut covered in bacon and maple icing, has long been one of my favorite indulgences courtesy of Gordough’s, one of the first trailers to start the current dining craze in Austin. I have not had the pleasure of visiting their new brick and mortar, Gordough’s Public House, which offers sandwiches and burgers made from donuts as well as craft cocktails and a fine assortment of beers but I have heard great things. Even the salads are served with a “piping hot garlic donut.”
My other trailer pic is Holy Cacao, which is most famous for its yummy cake balls but I am in love with the frozen hot chocolate. Most shakes I find too thick and cloyingly sweet but the folks at Holy Cacao start off with a European style super thick hot chocolate, add it to Bluebell chocolate ice cream, and top it off with enough ice to keep it slushy without watering it down. SO. FREAKING. GOOD.
One of my favorite desserts last year was the Popcorn and a Movie by Callie Speer at the wildly popular Swift’s Attic. I was also impressed with a seasonal apple dessert I had but unfortunately the lighting is not exactly photographer friendly. The food at Swift’s is imaginative and flavorful and so are the desserts. They recently started a brunch on Sunday’s with Foie Gras PB&J Pancakes that I must try. Mmmmm, foie!
Yet another Austin chef as a semifinalist for a James Beard Award Rising Star is Janina O’Leary from Trace. O’Leary has a long list of prestigious chef’s she has worked with like Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller, and Pichet Ong. But she brings her own sense of color and balance to the desserts she crafts at Trace. With all of her prestigious training, I am anxious to watch this talented hand blossom into her own super stardom.
Jodi Elliott is the pastry genius behind Foreign and Domestic. She has recently started a Bake Sale on Saturdays at the restaurant. The sale starts at 10am and lasts until they run out, which means, get in line by 9:30 and be happy with whatever you get. But try especially hard to get some popovers if you can.
My top 4 dessert places, well, the pictures pretty much tell the story. Fantastic, creative, blending of the savory with the sweet, gorgeous, works of art.
First up is Steven Cak at Parkside
Next up is Philip Speer and Andrew Lewis from Uchiko-
Next is the delightful Erica Waksmunski of Congress
Finally, one of my favorite people in the pastry world, Plinio Sandalio from the Carillon.
John Mueller Meat Co
Continuing the revered institution of Texas meat markets, John Mueller Meat Co is bringing the traditional butcher and smokehouse back to Austin, Tx.
John Mueller Meat Co will be opening up shop on February 20th on the East Side, sharing a lot with Kellee’s Place at 2500 E. 6th St. Boasting a trailer setup, picnic tables and Texas music streaming from the speakers, customers will also be able to purchase beer from Kellee’s and are welcome to eat their meals inside.
Traditional smoked meats of brisket, beef ribs, sausage, pork ribs, pork shoulder and turkey will be available, as well as classic sides such as baked squash, potato salad and pinto beans. In addition to meals, John Mueller Meat Co will also serve as a butcher shop and artisan grocery, selling handcrafted sausages, seasoned meats, homemade relishes and barbecue sauces.
JMMC takes it’s name from talented meat master John Mueller, a legend amongst the barbecue circuit and a third generation Texan meat merchant. Though, don’t dare call him a pit boss: “I’m not a pit boss. I’m not a pit master. I’m a cook, I cook for a living” says Mueller.
Eating at John Mueller Meat Co will be reminiscent of a great cookout at your buddy’s house; says Mueller: “We’re gonna offer you the biggest backyard BBQ in Austin. Y’all c’mon down and stay a while”. The location is mere minutes from the Downtown area, and was selected for it’s nostalgic connection to Mueller; “I first came to Austin and set up on the East Side. It just made sense to go back”.
Operating hours for John Mueller Meat Co will be Tuesday thru Saturday, from 10.30am until sold out. With large capacity pits, they hope to ensure the meat is available for purchase as long as possible.
Though the location and experience is new, meat fans can still expect to encounter Mueller’s trademark crotchety brand of “customer service”, and of course, he’ll still be handing out free beers to those waiting in long lines. Some things never change.
We have been blessed this year with a relatively mild summer, especially compared with last years record breaking days over 100 degrees. The 5th annual Dripping with Taste Festival in Dripping Springs, TX had the advantage of a beautiful new location at the Texas Hill Country Olive Company as well as a first cold front of the season that brought temperatures into the low 90’s (don’t laugh, that is a cold front for central Texas in early September!) Record crowds doubled the attendance of last year and led to some crowding issues but the wines, beers, and food for tastings were plentiful and delicious!
Some of my favorites of the wines available for tasting included the Gotas de Oro from Wines of Dotson Cervantes, a crisp bite of fall stone fruits in a glass, an easy drinking Cabernet Claret from Spicewood Vineyards, and a delightfully dark and complex Dolcetto that is not sweet despite the name being Italian for little sweet one from Duchman Family Winery. General admission patrons were only given 6 tasting tickets and many of the food samples were 2 or more. Additional tickets were available for purchase for $1 each but so were bottles of wine. Many festival goers including myself chose to use their tickets for food tastings and purchase a favorite wine to share with others. This strategy also helped avoid the overcrowding in the tasting room.
In addition to the wineries on hand, many of the local breweries were represented as well including Independence, Jester King, Thirsty Planet, Live Oak, and Real Ale. Choosing my favorite among the beers is like choosing a favorite child. It has been a pleasure watching the brew scene explode and mature over the last decade in Austin. As hard as it is to choose, I would have to say my favorite of the day was the Devil’s Backbone from Real Ale because it is seasonal, hard to find, and very easy drinking despite its high alcohol content of 8.1%.
The food at the festival kept me going with all of that alcohol. The folks at Wednesday Dinner deliver a 3 course meal to the Dudley’s Wine Bar at 6pm for only $10 per person and the mussels they served at the festival had me wishing I lived closer to Dripping Springs. The curry and coconut broth had me licking the bottom of the bowl! Kate’s Place in Wimberley was serving up what they called “Ultimate Mac and Cheese”. That sounds like a challenge to me, so I had to try it. The cheese was creamy, the pasta toothy, the crumb topping crunchy, and the addition of tomatoes, not too many, just enough for a textural contrast made for a nice surprise. Although not my “ultimate” mac and cheese, it was definitely good enough to put Kate’s Place on my list of places to visit soon.
My favorite bite of the day came from the Nutty Brown Cafe. My hands were full and I actually had run out of tickets. I planned to go by some more and come back to Nutty Brown but one look at the unctuous bowl of Shiner braised short ribs over a steaming bowl of horseradish mashed potatoes and I had to have some immediately! The chef was nice enough to front me some and I was so glad he did! The short ribs were fork tender in a savory broth over a bowl of creamy potatoes with just a hint of kick from the horseradish. Very rich and perfectly paired with the Dolcetto.
Of course, we cannot forget desserts! And there were plenty of those as well. Some of the standouts were Better Bites Bakery which offers delicious vegan and gluten-free cake balls and cupcakes. Their products are available in Austin by delivery as well as at People’s RX among other places. High Street Chocolates from Comfort, TX offer handmade chocolate bars with a spicy kick. Rolling in Thyme and Dough is a bakery in Dripping Springs that offer fresh loaves of bread and sandwiches as well as an assortment of desserts and baked goods including a decadent chocolate dipped fig. Roadside favorite Navidad Farm Pecans had a selection of their specialty nuts and candies including a rainbow of brittles.
In addition to all the food, there were vendors with handcrafted goods, live music all day, and culinary demos plus a huge bar for tasting the delicious olive oils and balsamic vinegars available from our host at Texas Hill Country Olive Oil.
I came early to the fest and intended to leave mid afternoon because of a later event but I had so much fun with the weather, the music, the food, the wine and especially all of the friendly folks I met, I stayed long enough to actually get a bit of a sunburn on my back. Lounging at one of the tables provided for patrons, I met a steady stream of friends both old and new, exchanging glasses of wines and advice on must try bites of food. I will definitely be returning to the Hill Country for next year’s fest and even sooner to visit new places and friends.
Austin is extremely lucky to be one of the first cities to get a Google Community Manager who plans outreach activities like interactive tours, power user parties, SXSW fun, and a million other things designed to promote the Google brand. Whitney Francis is the whirlwind planner behind all this fun and you should definitely follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and of course, Google+ for your chance to attend one of her soirees.
I have been lucky enough to get to go on the BBQ bus, the beer bus, and now the mac and cheese trolley as a reward for doing reviews and entering a contest through what used to be Google Places but is now the new and improved Google Local.
A dozen of us met at 11am on a Saturday to experience the mother of all carb load trips. We boarded a former Dillo Trolley to head out on a quest to visit some of the top rated places to get macaroni and cheese in Austin.
Our first stop on the tour was at the home of Austin restaurant royalty, Hoover’s. The man himself was there to greet us. We were treated to three versions of the mac and cheese including a green chili and a chili mac version but my favorite was the original. It was a creamy, homestyle classic version with a gooey bright orange sauce just like Mama used to make.
The consensus on the trolley was this version of cheesy goodness would make a perfect side dish to some wonderful crispy fried chicken or smokey barbecue. Not a fancy gourmet version but simply delicious homestyle goodness.
Second stop on our tour was at a place I had heard good things about but this was actually my first visit to Cover 3. This was a decidedly upscale version of the classic and a true stunner. The creamy sauce enveloped a toothsome bowl of pasta, topped with a semi-boneless grilled chicken and crispy strips of pancetta that lent a smokey, salty punch to the dish. I will definitely be making a return trip to Cover 3 to check out their happy hour and some of their other dishes soon.
Last stop on the carb trolley was at one of my favorite’s, Jack Allen’s. Love the brunch, love the happy hour, love the patio, and especially love the chef. Of course, you know that Bryce Gilmore of Barley Swine is his son but did you know that Jack and Hoover both are responsible for raising a generation of chefs in Austin through the various restaurants they have been at both separately and together? Kind of appropriate that we visit them both on a tour dedicated to a favorite comfort food.
For me, the mac and cheese at Jack Allan’s was the perfect combination of gooey comfort homestyle and gourmet fancy upscale. The achiote rubbed chicken was a delicious addition to the dish, moist and piquant. The dish was hot like lava but once it cooled enough to taste, the creamy sauce was accented with stringy bits of chewy cheese.
The rest of the group was pretty evenly split over favorites. For sure, they were all fantastic and I will be returning to all three soon both for more mac and cheese and to try some of their other offerings as well.
Big thanks to Whitney and Google for yet another fantastic trip. I cannot wait to see where the next bus takes us.
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.
Austin has a ton of dessert options, from trailers to fine dining to bakeries you are sure to find something to satisfy that sweet tooth.
Two of the best restaurants in town are Uchi and her sister restaurant Uchiko. You may have heard of them, Tyson Cole won a James Beard Award last year for best chef Southwest and if there is any justice in the world, Paul Qui will be crowned Top Chef tomorrow night. As ethereal as their food is, I always save room for dessert. Sometimes two.
Director of Culinary Operations at Uchi and designer of desserts Philip Speer was just nominated for a James Beard Award for the third time. His plates are as beautiful as they are tasty. Speer uses familiar flavors and combines them with bold techniques to make a sophisticated presentation. One of his biggest sellers is the peanut butter semifreddo which came to him one day when he was making a sack lunch for his daughter.
My next post talks about the Social Hour they offer at both restaurants. If you go, make sure to try the desserts as well.
The Carillon is the restaurant located at the AT&T Executive Center on the University of Texas Campus. This is one of the best restaurants in town that nobody seems to know about. It is probably due to the fact that it is located in a hotel/conference center run by UT and is only open to staff for breakfast and lunch but it opens for fine dining to the public in the evening and it is outstanding. I have been a huge fan of the executive chef, Josh Watkins, since his days at the Driskill. As much as I love Watkins’ food, his dessert program did not do justice to his high caliber food. That problem was recently resolved with the addition on Plinio Sandalio to the team.
Sandalio originally comes from Bolivia but spent most of his life growing up in Houston. He is known for his daring desserts that combine savory elements like foie gras or offer surprising twists like flavored pop rocks. I always look forward to his inventive design.
Huge tip- the restaurant validates for its parking garage. It is one of the few places downtown you do not have to worry about parking.
Additional fine dining desserts:
Tons of pastry cases around town including many Mexican bakeries that you should try but that is subject to a whole separate post. Here are a few of my favorite European style bakeries:
Do not forget the trailers! Far more delicious desserts than I can count but here are a few of my favorites: