Craft Beer, Fine Wine, Artisan Spirits, and Mouthgasmic Food.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Qui-pping is real, Qui Austin at the @AustinFoodWine Festival

Our hometown hero, Paul Qui, Top Chef Winner, and overall cool dude, is working hard on opening his new restaurant, Qui Austin.  Punny enough, he gave a presentation at the Austin Food and Wine Festival called Qui Ingredients.  For the presentation, he talked cheese.  And more cheese.  And how to make a fondue with really expensive cheese. 

Items to eat with the fondue.

Chef Tim Dornon is at the stove, starting the fondue made with a mushroom broth base. 

This is an awesome photo.  Chef Tim's glasses are fogged up.

Chef Paul talks about his inspiration for dishes. When asked what he always has in the kitchen, Chef Paul answered: citrus, fats, and vinegars.  With those three ingredients, just throw in some salt and textures and you have the makings of a tasty dish. 

Paul Kiry from Antonelli's Cheese says "Then there was CHEESE!"

The team chilling out at the Taste of Texas event on Friday night. The prepared an amazing kimchi grilled brie sandwich with apples.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Sel et Gras @AustinFoodWine Festival

Sel et Gras, French of for Salt and Grass, was the name of the amazing Austin Food and Wine Festival post party at Trace at the W Hotel.  Chef Lawrence Kocurek is the new head honcho in the Trace kitchen.  Previously of Kocurek Family Charcuterie, this man knows his animal products.  At the party and Food Republic's Interview sessions, the offerings were amazing.  The sliders, sausages, and pates were all well-executed. 

My favorite offering was the foie gras torchon.  The Sel et Gras party was very dimly lit, and I had to keep looking down to make sure that I wasn't eating straight up butter.  Words can't really describe the awesomeness, but I'll try.  The torchon had the flavor of foie gras (utterly delicious), and the smooth creamy texture of butter.  Every single morsel seemed to melt right into your mouth and coat it with rich unmani that makes you glad someone discovered foie gras.  You must try it.  If you have not tried Chef Lawrence's foie gras torchon, you have not truly lived.  Also, my pants barely fit now.  Thank you, Torchon. 

Chef Lawrence Kocurek.  Photo courtesy of Cultivate PR.
Chef Lawrence isn't the only big person who can make my cry tears of joy at the W Hotel.  Chef Janina O'Leary's a magician in the kitchen.  I've had many, many, many of her desserts (again, note my pants comment), and I won't bother making my own truffles because of her.  I had truffles, plain truffles, that were much like the torchon in behavior.  The truffles had stability and they held their shape.  Once they hit your mouth, they melted like a rich chocolate cream sauce.  I don't make my own truffles anymore.  I'll just stuff my face with Janina's truffles, and macarons, and cookies, and chocolate cake...... 

Chef Janina O'Leary, Magician in the Kitchen. Photo courtesy of Cultivate PR.

Here's some photos of the after party fun.  I'll reiterate that the party was very dimly lit.  Please enjoy my stylized photos. 

Some meats if you please. 

The party at Trace also featured a special guest: Pichet Ong, the Godfather of desserts.  Self-taught, Pichet Ong has won many awards and accolades. This man can also outrun and outeat me.  I have to try hard to keep up with him. 

Chef Pichet and Janina make absinthe cotton candy.

The tray of chocolate desserts ready for presentation. 

Pichet was probably tweeting about this dessert extravaganza.  I know I did.  Thank you to Chef Janina O'Leary for having me at this fantastic party.  And to think I was going to go home early that night!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rock Your Taco @AustinFoodWine Festival

Rock Your Taco was another fantastic event.  Our hometown hero, Tyson Cole, won again for the second year in a row.  And unfortunately, because their lines were so long, I never got a great photo of Tyson's taco.  Don't take that the wrong way.  Enjoy some photos of the fun!

The way that the statue stares at the roast is pretty darn funny.

Brian Malarkey will soon be opening Searsuckers in Austin, TX.

Vinny, Vinny, Vinny!!!

A chef at Animal's station prepared the tacos. 

Did you know that tacos sleep on a bed of basil?

David Bull's Bahn Mi taco.

Team Christina Tosi from Momofuku Milk Bar. 

Team Tony Mantuano and Sarah Grueneberg.  Sarah is my homegirl.  She grew up in Port O'Connor just 40 miles from where I grew up. 

And my lovely Laura Sawicki from Sway and La Condesa.

Pac Man.

Chef Rene Ortiz's taco  - Sway and La Condesa.

Close up of Rene's taco.

Chef Bryce Gilmore of Barely Swine.

Chef Bryce plates it up!

Awww...... BFF's forever!!!  Chefs Philip Speer and Tyson Cole from Uchi/Uchiko.

Chef Peter slices and dices. 

Here's the beginnings of the winning Uchi tacos.  I'll just use the excuse that I ate them all before taking a final photo. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

@AustinFoodWine Festival - Taste of Texas

Another great change with this year's Austin Food and Wine Festival were the evening events.  Neither of the evening events, Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco, were crowded or pushy.  The lines moved quickly, and people were having a blast the entire time.  While there were little changes to the naked eye and approximately the same number of attendees at the evening events this year, I have a feeling that the behind the scenes logistics were spot on.  Enjoy! 

Prior to joining the Taste of Texas, I interviewed some of the star chefs.  Here's Christina Tosi (Momomilkbar) and Paul Qui (Qui Austin and East Side Kings).

Andrew Zimmerm, Graham Elliot, and Merline Verrier.

The drinks are being poured for the crowd. 

A chef at Jason Daddy's table preps the limes.

Tim Brynes does a sexy hair toss in front of his grilled oysters.

Team Qui Austin smiles for the camera, kinda.  Jorge Hernandez (previously from Mini Bar by Jose Andres in DC)  isn't even looking!

Mmmmmm....... sammiches. I really love this photograph.  I think it captures the soul of why these guys excel in the kitchen.  They truly love their work. Chef Jorge smiles at the sammiches.  Chef Tim works methodically in making sammich lines.  Chef Paul looks on adoringly. 

The Qui Sammich: grilled with brie, kimchi, and apple.  It was quite fantastic.

Team Uchi!

Philly Speer burns up the Kitchen Aid as it freezes ice cream.  I'm totally kidding.  The Kitchen Aid was perfectly fine. 

Spring pea dessert and deconstructed banana fosters. 

Mouse wanted to come to the party with Pass and Provisions.  This was probably one of them most interesting ways to serve a soup.  One end was sealed, soup ladled in, and topped with warm brioche.   

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Austin Food and Wine Festival Meaty Fire Pit Photos

The Austin Food and Wine certainly has morphed from last year's feedback.  Major positive changes for layout and venue changes was a much needed. Not only did we lack the dust storms at Auditorium Shores, the festival grounds were also a bit smaller and cozier, in a good way.  There was enough space to walk, but enough excitement around to entertain. Additionally, the Grand Tasting Pavilion was set up in such a way that it never seems crowded even when it was open to all festival attendees. 

There were beers there too.  Wine, beer, we like it all. 

The Grand Tastings also featured Chef Showcases this year.  See some of the coolest business cards above.  Austin chefs rocked their dishes, which was a great added value over last years grand tastings.  Attendees were exposed to more foods, and local chefs could participate without having to tax too many resources. 

Another great addition was the fire pits in the center staffed by Jason Daddy and Tim Bryne's team on Saturday and Jack and Bryce Gilmore and Rene Ortiz's team on Sunday.  This allowed for attendees to taste foods outside of the demos and grand tasting.  This little piggy was prepared by Tim Bryne.

This little turkey is being roasted by Jack and Bryce Gilmore's team. 

I'm on my way to the final day of the festival (I voice to texted this post) and I'm very excited to see what the weather this year was absolutely marvelous we were blessed with sunny skies and just little bit of rain at the very end of Saturday night.  Overall this weekend was a total success.  I'm leaving with many more friends and great memories.

Those are some super jumbo shrimp by Bryce Gilmore of Barely Swine