The 2018 Guide to Good Health is here! FIND LOCAL DOCTORS & HEAR FROM EXPERTS close

Austin Food and Wine Festival

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

From celebrities to celebrations, cuisine to libations, Austin hosted the best of the best from around the city, world and nation.

By Molly McManus

Saturday, April 28:

The day began bright and early at Auditorium Shores with Tim Love’s hands-on grilling demonstration. I happened to be in the Alder Tent, admiring Top Chef judge Gail Simmons’ cooking lesson on easy food to prepare in the home. While Iron Chef and sushi master Masaharu Morimoto drew laughs, hoots and hollerin’ from the tent next door, Simmons catered her seminar to the mostly Texan audience. My mouth began to water (I hadn’t eaten yet) at the sight and smell of her steamed mussels. To complement, Simmons concocted Texas-size biscuits. As she added the ingredients one by one (chives, cheddar), she began to mix in the most important component: bacon. With desperate cries from the audience of, “More! More!” Simmons looked up.

“Wow,” she exclaimed. “You guys are feisty in the morning!”

Welcome to Texas.

For our lunch break, the Grand Tasting consisted of three large tents with more than 100 vendors, the food provided by all local establishments. My favorites? The organic tamales from the Gardener’s Feast, Henri’s artisan cheese, Cornucopia’s flavored popcorn, Terlato Wines’ white blend, Evolution and Alexander Valley’s Cyrus Bordeaux blend. And Zilk’s bacon-flavored hummus? Yes, please! I’ll also never forget Aurelia’s Spanish chorizo, which sent my mouth in to heavenly bliss.

Filled to the brim, the afternoon continued with scorching sun and windy weather, creating some difficulties for my next seminar on the allure of rosé with author and wine writer Mark Oldman. While the wine might have been a little warm and a bit dusty, I was still able to enjoy the experience.

“Pink doesn’t get enough respect,” explained Oldman, as we all sat with five different glasses of rosé in front of us.

He’s right. Rosé has gotten a bad rap and he was there to set the record straight. The first glass we tried was from a $70 bottle of Perrier-Jouët, a Champagne rosé that was by far my favorite. Oldman shared with us this helpful hint: The finer the bubble, the better the Champagne. The Perrier-Jouët was no exception to this rule. Oldman also provided us with some important food-pairing tips for rosé.

“There’s hardly a food that does not go with a rosé,” he clarified, a huge reason as to why it’s his favorite. However, he did have one suggestion: barbeque. He proposed bringing a chilled bottle of rosé on your next visit to the Salt Lick.

Feeling a little buzzed, I headed over to hear mixologists Jim Meehan and Nate Wales give a presentation on how to pair the right tequila with the right salt. The duo explained their shared desire to bring “a culinary style of drink to customers.” We tried a shot of tequila paired with a salted sangrita, which is a chaser consisting of citrus, spice, tomato and lime. We also tasted a to-die-for version of a Paloma salted with a Hawaiian pink rim.

“A cocktail is only as good as its weakest ingredient,” Meehan advised.

Basically, don’t use a sub-par liqueur if you are using top-shelf liquor; it ruins the drink.

With the heat of the day behind us, the Rock Your Taco Celebrity Chef Showdown was a night to remember. Held at Republic Square Park, nine of the nation’s top chefs competed with their variations of the taco. Tyson Cole, Masaharu Morimoto, Marcus Samuelsson, Jonathan Waxman, Tim Love, Tony Mantuano, Michelle Bernstein, Elizabeth Karmel and Christina Tosi all participated, making it entirely too difficult for me to decide. With each taco, I would exclaim, “This one’s the best!” Luckily, I wasn’t making the decision. So when Uchi’s Tyson Cole won with his pork jowl with grilled corn and cilantro taco, I was filled with Austin pride.

To cap off the evening, the soulful Mayer Hawthorne and The County performed an outstanding set, giving attendees a chance to dance off some of those taco calories. I left feeling alive and well, if not slightly weighed down.

Sunday, April 29:

TV personality, food writer and chef Andrew Zimmern gave a morning talk on global street food. He taught a Moroccan cooking lesson, creating a goat taco. See a trend here? A Cordon Bleu student assisted as Zimmern did some prepping.

“Beautiful!” he shouted as she rolled out some dough.

God, it’s great to see a chef all fired up about flour. When he gave the taco out to a lucky audience member, the man ate in silence. When Zimmern asked if he liked it, the man nodded.

Zimmern motioned to his own bald head, “Huge ego, low self-esteem. I’m on TV. You could be a little more excited,” he joked.

At one point during the talk, Zimmern mentioned he didn’t like walnuts. When asked why (after all, the man makes a living off of eating weird food) he responded, “I’m allowed to not like things, right? I mean, I like fermented raccoon anus.”

I guess you can’t argue with personal preferences.

That afternoon, Chef Michelle Bernstein made Spanish tapas. The hilarious Bernstein had nothing but compliments for Austin.

“You are the nicest, most jubilant people I’ve come across,” she said.

The Miami resident and restaurant owner admitted to Austin having a better culinary scene, gushing about all the food she had tried while visiting.

Bernstein made a lemon calamari and squid tapa placed on a bed of black rice, its color coming from octopus ink, which is actually quite flavorful. She gave different nutritional tips along the way, explaining, “I studied nutrition before I got [to be a chef], but then I tried foie gras.” (Foie gras is the fattened liver of a waterfowl.)

When Bernstein’s talk finished, I made my way to the Grand Tasting only to be reminded of the ridiculously good food and beverages that awaited me. Judge’s Hill’s braised pork, queso fresco and roasted corn dish was delightful, while Ranch 616’s Frito pie took me back to late nights at 7-Eleven. In a good way. My favorite was Beanito’s chips, which are made from actual beans. They also happened to be topped with mouth-watering pulled pork. Majestic Fine Wines had a chilled pinot noir that was incredible, and I received a lesson on different types of eggs from Vital Farms. Did you know that if an egg carton is labeled “cage-free/free-range,” the birds are actually completely overcrowded and indoors?

All in all, the Austin Food and Wine Festival was a complete blastorama. Besides the five pounds added to my midline and the excruciating sunburn on my back, I left the festival with a ton of new knowledge, ideas for cooking at home, wine I need to purchase and restaurants to try, feeling more connected than ever to the culinary community of Austin.




  1. You ave made some really good points there. I checked on the internet for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this website.

  2. Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It as on a completely different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Wonderful choice of colors!

  3. I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as no one else know such detailed about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks!

  4. This very blog is definitely interesting and diverting. I have picked a lot of interesting advices out of it. I ad love to return over and over again. Cheers!

  5. Wonderful blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News. Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I ave been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  6. Usually I do not learn post on blogs, but I wish to say that this write-up very pressured me to check out and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, quite nice post.

  7. It’а†s in point of fact a great and helpful piece of information. I’а†m glad that you simply shared this helpful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  8. Sweet blog! I found it while surfing around on Yahoo News. Do you have any suggestions on how to get listed in Yahoo News? I ave been trying for a while but I never seem to get there! Appreciate it

  9. You made some decent points there. I checked on the net for more information about the issue and found most people will go along with your views on this site.

  10. This particular blog is really entertaining additionally informative. I have picked up a lot of interesting things out of this amazing blog. I ad love to come back again and again. Thanks a lot!

  11. Spot on with this write-up, I actually suppose this website needs far more consideration. I all in all probability be once more to read way more, thanks for that info.

  12. So happy to have located this submit.. Is not it wonderful any time you come across a fantastic submit? Enjoying the post.. appreciate it Fantastic thoughts you ave got here..

  13. This awesome blog is definitely entertaining additionally amusing. I have chosen many handy tips out of this amazing blog. I ad love to return again and again. Thanks a bunch!

  14. Yay google is my king assisted me to find this great site!. Don at rule out working with your hands. It does not preclude using your head. by Andy Rooney.

  15. Wow! This could be one particular of the most helpful blogs We have ever arrive across on this subject. Basically Fantastic. I am also a specialist in this topic so I can understand your hard work.

  16. This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your feed and look forward to seeking more of your excellent post. Also, I ave shared your web site in my social networks!

  17. You have made some decent points there. I looked on the net for more information about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this web site.

  18. Thank you for the auspicious writeup. It in fact used to be a enjoyment account it. Glance advanced to far delivered agreeable from you! However, how can we communicate?

  19. You can certainly see your expertise in the work you write. The world hopes for more passionate writers such as you who aren at afraid to mention how they believe. All the time follow your heart.

  20. Wow, superb weblog format! How long have you ever been blogging for? you made running a blog look easy. The overall glance of your website is great, let alone the content!

  21. My partner and I stumbled over here by a different page and thought I might as well check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking into your web page yet again.

  22. IA?AаЂа†ve read several excellent stuff here. Certainly value bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much attempt you set to make this kind of wonderful informative website.

  23. Nice blog here! Additionally your website loads up very fast! What web host are you the usage of? Can I get your associate link to your host? I want my website loaded up as fast as yours lol

  24. Your style is so unique in comparison to other people I have read stuff from. Thank you for posting when you ave got the opportunity, Guess I all just book mark this blog.

  25. Wow, fantastic blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you made blogging look easy. The overall look of your web site is excellent, as well as the content!

  26. I will immediately seize your rss feed as I can not to find your email subscription hyperlink or newsletter service. Do you ave any? Kindly allow me realize so that I could subscribe. Thanks.

  27. This awesome blog is really awesome additionally factual. I have found many handy things out of this amazing blog. I ad love to go back again and again. Thanks!

  28. You, my pal, ROCK! I found exactly the info I already searched everywhere and simply couldn at find it. What a perfect web-site.

  29. We stumbled over here by a different web page and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so i am just following you. Look forward to checking out your web page repeatedly.

  30. Incredible! This blog looks just like my old one! It as on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Superb choice of colors!

  31. Very nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wanted to say that I have truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts. After all I all be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again very soon!

  32. We all speak a little about what you should speak about when is shows correspondence to simply because Maybe this has much more than one meaning.

Leave A Reply