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Menu for the Big Chill

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  Menu is in for the Big Chill on June 26. Tickets still available here.   Drinks Chameleon Cold-Brew   The Dude- Orange White Russian   Good Pop   “Pop”tails featuring Strawberry Lemonade and Hibiscus Mint   Bites The Carillon   Chilled Cucumber-Avocado Soup with Jumbo Lump Crab, Crisp Wonton and Yuzu-Koshu   Celtic Seafare   Irish Soda Bread […]

The Big Chill

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  It’s the coolest event in the hot Texas summer: the Big Chill! Join the Austin Food Blogger Alliance for a night to remember. Dress up and cool down with chilly bites from some of Austin’s top restaurants in the beautiful Bullock Texas State History Museum. Chefs from top Austin restaurants—including The Carillon, No Va, […]

Live Fire 2014

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It’s that time of year again! Since the more intimate Austin Wine and Food Fest has gone “Hollywood” or more accurately “New York” the only smaller Austin-centric event is Live Fire. Usually it is held the Thursday before the festival but this year it will be the week before on April 17. So come out […]

The Carillon

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  As a food blogger, one of the questions I get asked most often is what is the best restaurant in town? Of course, this is a loaded question highly dependent on what kind of food you like. I appreciate a greasy burger, bowl of queso, or slab of brisket just as much as fine […]

Tony’s Jamaican

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My favorite place on earth besides Austin is Negril, Jamaica. 7 miles of white sand beach followed by 7 miles of jagged cliffs, the most beautiful sunsets in the world, sounds of reggae and warm sand between your toes. And of course, Jerk Chicken (or pork!) So in between visits to Jamaica, when I am […]

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Michael Pollan on KLRU Overheard

Michael Pollan,  author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food,  will be in Austin next week for Edible Austin’s Eat Local Week.  Click to purchase tickets for what is sure to be a wonderful evening on December 10.  Or RSVP herefor a free taping Saturday morning December 11 at KLRU studios taping of Overheard with Pollan and Evan Smith.

Week of 1000 Cocktails Part 1

As the weather gets colder, Austin turns from the outdoor festival mecca to the indoor cocktail soiree.  I kicked the season off with a bang last week doing 4 parties in 1 week.  That may seem like a long weekend to some but it was a wonderfully exhausting tour of some of the best in town for me.

First up was the Amuse Bouche party at the Carillon.  Josh Watkins and his team came up with 8 delicious bites paired with matching wines.  The  guests were free to nibble and socialize between the stations and revisit their favorites as often as they liked.  My favorite was the lobster rillette with caviar and curry aioli but other bites included duck confit ravioli with duck consomme, grilled bronzino with chorizo, charred tomato and corn, and hamachi with foie gras mousse, citrus riesling chutney, and currant reduction.  

The service was impeccable with each station attendant giving not only great descriptions of the food but also the wines and why they were chosen to pair.  Unsightly dirty plates were quickly whisked away and fresh real silver readied for the next bite.  The best and the brightest stars in the Austin food scene were there as well making for a delightful evening of food related chatter.  The regular tables were all full as well as a private party going on upstairs but the kitchen cranked out small batches continually ensuring a fresh taste.  I hope they put on another show like this soon!

Next up was a fundraiser for the Sustainable Food Center which is a marvelous organization that promotes eating locally and runs one of the biggest farmers markets in the area.  When I saw the chefs list for the dinner, I immediately bought a ticket.  Seven of the best in town in one meal!  The dinner was held at La Condesa with a pre-dinner cocktail party upstairs at Malverde.  We even had mixologist rock stars including local legend Bill Norris.

Hors d’oeuvres from Zack Northcutt at Mulberry included Richardson’s farm pork sausage wrapped around quail eggs for a delicious scotch egg and foie gras hot dogs with chutney.   The spices used for the hot dog masked any of the delicate flavor of the foie but I appreciated the creative effort.

After munchies and cocktails upstairs, we were seated downstairs in a family style setting.  I was seated at a booth with a couple of very interesting ladies that I enjoyed getting to know as the best in local produce and meats were showcased for us by the finest chefs in town.  First up was Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club.  Get on Griffiths’ mailing list for dinners as well as charcuterie offerings at the farmers market.  The catfish terrine he made for the dinner that night came from fish so local that they probably had relatives swimming just blocks from us.  The fish was neither muddy tasting nor overpowering in this creamy concoction.  Fresh herbs and crunchy flatbread dressed up the common catfish.

Todd Duplechan from Trio was up next with gulf shrimp served on top of bear boudin.  Cajun boudin is basically a sausage casing stuffed with a rice dressing similar to dirty rice.  Crawfish, alligator, and pork are more traditionally used as the protein in a boudin, so the bear meat was a nice riff on the classic.  The taste of bear meat depends on age, size, and even what his diet consisted of but most closely tastes to me like a cross between venison and pork.

Rene Ortiz, our host at La Condesa, did not disappoint with one of the best bites in a stellar night with caramelized pork hock and belly, beetroot and chili marmelade, and watermelon radish and basil salad.  The pork was a meltingly tender blend of meat and fat encased in the thinnest crackle of a perfectly caramelized shell.  A spicy marmelade on top played off the sweet sauce beneath to strike a harmonic chord on the tongue.

James Holmes from Olivia served an absolute work of art with crispy braised lamb topped with bison bresaola with mustard tuile.  Bresaola is an air dried salty meat, so gourmet jerky bits on top of chicken fried lamb.  Delicious!  Somehow I have not found my way to Olivia yet.  But I will very, very soon.  Holmes even joined us at our table after his course and we chatted about his use of offal and other cuts of meat not commonly used like his famous lamb’s tongue.

Paul Qui from Uchiko has to be the hottest thing in town with the very successful launch of Uchiko in July as well as his wildly popular trailer East Side Kings located behind Liberty Bar.  He is kind of Austin’s version of David Chang taking Asian flavors and street food to a new level.  Tonight we had quail with fuyu persimmons, fried cashew miso, and marigold.  The delicate quail was cooked to perfection, only a shade past pink so it was still moist and tender.  Sweet persimmon on top with the crunchy fried cashew miso beneath blend to create contrast of taste and texture.

Shawn Cirkiel from parkside served a salad course with the best produce he could find at the farmers market.  There were ribbons of roots, veggie chips, table pickles, relishes, as well as fresh herbs and greens all arranged in an abstract canvas.  So much more than a simple salad, this veggie plate was an absolute showcase of produce all grown within fifty miles of Austin.


Dessert came from La Condesa’s Laura Sawicki with goat’s milk cremeux, apple and quince confit, and sherry gastrique.  Cremeux translates literally as “creamy”.  It is a cross between a mousse and a custard, very light.  The tart quince contrasted nicely with the apples giving a taste of fall to the barely set cream beneath.

Whew!  I’m worn out just reliving the festivities.  Next up is part two with a mixology class and a $500 bottle of wine.

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The Grange

A rare opportunity to sip on $500 a bottle Shiraz at the Wine and Food Foundation fund raiser at the Driskill. Tweet

November 18, 2010 0
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Mary Booth’s Favorite Lemon Tartlets

Mary Booth and I met at a Slow Food Austin potluck several years ago.  I made these tartlets because at the time I was hoping to launch a commercial endeavor selling lemon curd.  Mary was on the Slow Food Board and an enthusiastic supporter of local farms and food.  Because of health issues, she told […]

November 11, 2010 0
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christy111luv’s Custom Schedule for Gypsy Picnic 2010

christy111luv’s Custom Schedule for Gypsy Picnic 2010. Hope to see all my fellow foodies on Saturday! Tweet

November 4, 2010 0
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Marx Foods’ Iron Foodie 2010

While this may not be news to those that know me, Dear Reader, I am a bit competitive.  The Foodie Blogroll, a great resource site for food bloggers looking to network and monetize their blogs, holds several contests every month in conjunction with various sponsors.  Their latest contest really sounds intriguing so I decided to […]

November 3, 2010 2
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Pitchfork Fondue

Why have I never heard of this before?  I love meat.  I love fried things.  I love using yard tools for cooking utensils.  I ran across this concept researching answers for an online contest.  I am thinking this would be a great use for that big pot of peanut oil used to fry a turkey  for […]

November 1, 2010 0
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Culinary Handcuffs

One of my worst nightmares is discovering that I have developed an allergy to chocolate.  I cannot imagine never being able to enjoy my favorite indulgence again.  This morning I received an email from a member of our blogging group asking for recipes for a friend’s husband that has recently been given a laundry list […]

October 13, 2010 0
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Guide to Austin Restaurant Week Part 2

Kona Grill  Chain in the Domain.  That is not always a bad thing.  I like Jasper’s which is a chain in the Domain.  This is not Jasper’s. Lamberts Downtown Barbecue  Upscale barbecue by Austin darling Lou Lambert and his protegee Larry McGuire.  I actually worked for Lou at his very popular coffee house Jo’s for […]

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