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

Friday, April 22, 2011

Star Power Dinner at the Carillon with Kyle Maclahan, Animal Restaurant, and many others

I giant (I mean GIANT) thank you goes out to @MeetatTexas, the Carillon, and the staff for having @windaddict / @hopsafari and I over for The Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival Star Power event.  The evening from start to finish was just perfect. All photos by @windaddict/ @hopsafari.

There's the sexy Sandra Spalding of Twin Liquors strutting her stuff. 

Of course, Chef Brad Farmerie, Executive Chef of Public New York, was in attendance.  There were jokes about foie gras butter. Mmm....... foie gras butter.

Larry Kocurek of Kocurek Family Charcuterie plating up some of his delicious creations. 

A view from the back of the house.  Chefs from Congress Austin and the Carillon working together. 
Aside from the dinner, here a short list of little touches that made the night memorable.
  • The weather was breezy, cool, but not chilly. Dinner was served the courtyard under the stars, making this a truly Texan-y affair.
  • I'm not sure if the out of town guests and chefs were given the low-down on Austin food culture, but they sure fit right in.  Everyone, I mean everyone, was wearing smiles and you could see the excitement in their eyes.  This is true at all the other events as well.  One might think that it is stressful for the a chef to travel half way across the country, suffer from jetlag, and then prepare food in someone else's kitchen.  Not true for the troopers at this event.  There was nothing but happy faces and bubbly personalities at this event.  Some of the chefs were so cute, I wanted to put them in my purse and take them home.
  • I sat across from Richard and Bunny Becker from Becker Vineyards during the dinner, and they were just the sweetest couple you've ever met. 
  • There was some exciting energy at the event, and it was nice to see our friends all dressed up and having fun. 

I told you there were smiling chefs.  Chef Vinny in the back looks on. And now for the food porn.

Kocurek started off the evening off with Venison Prosciutto wrapped around Juniper-Canteloupe Geleé, Cheek-to-Cheek Terrine (Confit of Pig Jowl & Beef Cheeks braised in Red Wine) topped with Italian Fruit Mustardo and Port Wine Reduction, Pâté de Campagne topped with Caraway Mustard, and Shrimp and Crawfish Boudin Blanc on a bed of Bacon Leek Ragout with Sauce Americaine.  I especially liked the venison prosciutto wrapped around juniper-canteloupe gelee.  It had the flavors of prosciutto wrapped melon, and the texture of something exotic.  The other favorite was the shrimp and crawfish boudin blanc on a bed of bacon leek ragout with sauce (not pictured).  It was a fancy version of Louisiana flavors served in a bite.

The first course of the was rabbit, artichoke, English peas, meyer lemon and Saltine Sumac Tuile prepared by Chef Josh Watkins at the Carillon.  The salty, citrusy and meaty dish was delightfully Spring-y with the English peas and fresh crisp greens.

And the Chefs take a break to discuss things, Chef Josh, Chef Jon, and Chef David.

The next course by Chef David Bull from Congress was Salmon Belly, Sunchoke, Sunflower Sprouts and Seeds with a brown butter dijonnaise.  The salmon belly was ever slightly crisp on the outside and incredibly juicy with salmon flavor on the inside.  That is some of the juiciest and most flavorful salmon I've had. 

Chef David Bull takes photos of the quail dish.  Are we sure that he's not a food blogger?

Everyone looks on, waiting for their turn to taste.

During this next course, Kyle sits at our table for a little chatty time. 

Chef Jon Shook and Chef Vinny Dotolo from Animal Restaurant sent out an amazing Thai BBQ quail, scallion, citrus, cashew, and yogurt.  The Thai BBQ quail had amazing, I'm talking amazing flavor and tenderness.  The meat was oh-so-juicy and delicious.  That violet is strategically placed. 

Chef Jon brings out the pork ribs. Yehaw! Time for the pork.

Chef Jon and Chef Vinny's next dish was also a pleaser.  The balsamic pork ribs were so succulent, sweet, and with meatiness that would turn Fiona Apple into a carnivore and write an album about it.  They have set the standard for ribs. 

Chef Philly looking intense with the plating.

Lastly, the dessert by Philip Speer of Uchiko was Kaffir Lime, Avocado, Honeydew, and Cucumber.  This dessert was oh-so-light, citrus-y, and simply uplifting after the meaty meal.  There is no doubt in my mind that Philip is really just an amazing magician.  His concoctions with flavors and textures makes me wonder if he get his ideas from freaky dreams.  I've had some really freaky food dreams, like one which ended with me having a pet pig.  I showed the pig at dog shows. 

I caught Chef David Bull pointing at Kristi Willis.  I don't recall the topic of conversation, but it was apparently very funny.

It looks like Kyle has the Chefs on a panel discussion.  I'm pretty sure he's just thanking them. 

There's that sexy Sandra Spalding with Kyle Maclahan and myself. 


  1. So jealous! Looks like it was a fabulous dinner and you got such wonderful photos!!

  2. Ummmm. WOW!!! I'm so jealous! This looked like it was a amazing and the food looked absolutely divine. And, with Kyle there, you were basically in a modern day "Sex and the City"! ;)