Just wanted to share some of our highlights from the Austin Food & Wine Festival… an eating extravaganza that Jack and I were so excited to attend last weekend. We had an absolute blast sampling food from so many fantastic chefs.
These snapshots are from Friday night’s Taste of Texas, the late night party Sips & Sweets, and Saturday night’s Rock your Taco event.
Special thanks to C3 Presents and Food & Wine for inviting us to be official 2013 AFWF Lifestyle Ambassadors.
(bottom left kimchi grilled cheese photo credit Cambria Harkey)
South by Southwest starts today, so I thought I’d share some of our food truck favorites for any of you that’ll be passing through town. There are a lota trucks, so I narrowed it down to just the ones we think are the very best…
Go to the recipe “austin food truck guide”…
We’ve been eating out a lot more lately. I won’t mention any names, but someone dropped the camera earlier this month so we were forced to take a little break from our regular photo schedule. It’s been fixed for weeks now, but we haven’t entirely kicked the restaurant habit.
Last weekend we were at Kome, a casual Japanese place that we enjoy when we’re not in the mood to drop two hundred dollars on sushi (hi, Uchiko). But then again we don’t really come here for the sushi as much as their cooked food.
I especially love the Grilled Tofu – which sounds way to simple – but somehow they grill it better than I can (crispy on the outside creamy in the middle, and not falling apart).
And our favorite – the Yaki Onigiri with Japanese pickles (photo here). We ate a good many of these rice balls (or in this case triangles) when we were in Japan, but I love the crispy sear they put on them here. These are about twice the size as they traditionally would be, but I guess that’s the American way.
Jack and I have been going to the Dai Due dinners (prounced die do-aay) for a few years now and it’s something we really look forward to. I usually try to snag tickets once a year in the summertime for one of the seafood-themed dinners. (There are some obvious themes I can’t go to as a non-meat-eater — ie. “The Whole Hog” dinner).
The husband and wife team, Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield, take “local” to a crazy-person level (the good kind of crazy). While they set the dinner themes ahead of time, individual menu items aren’t decided until the last minute due to what’s immediately available. And every ingredient – down to the olive oil and the flour – are local. Seafood is from the Texas gulf “with a focus on “bycatch”, or overlooked and underutilized fish caught by fisherman seeking more well known and marketable fish.”
But really, these dinners are just fun. It’s fun to sit at a big table and eat family style with total strangers who all have a common love of good food. Of course, if you get stuck next to someone uninteresting, you are stuck with them for 4 hours (and this is why I’ll never go on a cruise), but this particular night, we lucked out. On our right was an oddly fascinating couple who raises their own bees. On our left was a couple that brought extra bottles of wine and poured us theirs when we ran out of ours. Ah, community…
*top left image: Jody Horton, from Dai Due’s website
(other photos via our instagram feed)
On the far end of east Austin is Contigo, a farm-to-table restaurant with arguably the best outdoor setting in town. Maybe it’s the long drive in the opposite direction of civilization, or the layout of the large communal tables, but the sky just looks bigger here… especially on this particular night when some moody purple & grey storm clouds were just beginning to loom overhead.
I love it here in the summertime because the menu is lighter and includes more veggie-friendly options. (In other seasons it can be a pretty meaty-pork-heavy place). But this time the highlights for me were: Shishito Peppers with Peanut Sauce (not pictured – we must have eaten those too quickly), Grilled Zucchini & Fennel with Smoked Tomatoes, and my top favorite, the Beet and Potato salad with Arugula and Caraway Seeds.
The cocktail highlights are the El Pepino (tequila, cucumber, mint, lime), and the Smokin’ Gypsy (vodka, benedictine, balcones brimstone, angostura bitters). I was way too full for dessert but I’m still kind of kicking myself for not trying the Smoked Peaches with white chocolate and oatmeal crisp.
Oh, and one last tip… probably don’t show up here without cowboy boots.