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

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Film + Food + Focused on Good for Lights. Camera. Help. @NPFilm Nov. 4th.

It should be no surprise to anyone that the food community and food awareness in Austin is snowballing.  It should also be no surprise that the communities are joining together.  With the Austin Film Festival in our rear view mirrors, here's another event combing film, food, and good.

At this fantastic affair (one that you're significant other will approve!), you'll get to taste delicious locally, sustainably grown food from across Austin, prepared by gourmet locavore chefs.  You'll get to watch short films about important food issues.  And you'll get to learn from local food community leaders about the causes they support and how film has elevated the discussion. The event is on Nov. 4th from 6-9 pm at CTC Gardens (just east of I35 on Cesar Chavez).  Tickets are $20 online, and you can also donate directly to Lights. Camera. Help. if you like!  Get your tickets here:

This event will feature The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, The Sustainable Food Center, Farmhouse Delivery, The Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, in.gredients, the Natural Epicurean Culinary Academy, Johnson's Backyard Garden, Slow Money Texas, Slow Food Austin, Greenling Organic Delivery, and HOPE Farmer's Market.

With Delicious Food, Wine, and Specialty Drinks from:
Deep Eddy Vodka, The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, Amy Ramm of the Natural Epicurean Culinary Academy, Amanda Love- the Barefoot Cook, Amity Bakery, Pie Fixes Everything, Pate Letelier, austiNuts and more

Film + Food insights from:
Elizabeth Winslow of Farmhouse Delivery, Brad Stufflebeam of the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance, Brian Nunnery of in.gredients, and more

Get your tickets:

Proceeds benefit all programs of Lights. Camera. Help.!

*I'm friends with the founders of Lights. Camera. Help.  I'll be attending the event.  And so should you!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Film and Food Festival with Eye Candy- Oct. 19th

You know else is what's coming around the corner?  The Film and Food Festival on Wednesday, Oct. 19th from 7-10 pm at the Driskill.  I was lucky to be invited as a guest at the Film and Food Festival last year, and I  must say, this event did not disappoint.  Tickets this year are $90 for the public and $75 for AFF Members and Badge Holders.  Proceeds from the ticket sales and event auctions benefit Austin Film Festival's Young Filmmakers Program, which was founded to encourage students, ages 9-18, to explore their literacy skills through the arts of screenwriting and film making. Programs are offered free through AISD schools and partner organizations.  For more info, you can follow Austin Film Festival on Facebook at and on Twitter @austinfilmfest.

When you do make it to the event, I'll be at the Carillon table.  Don't forget to come by and say "Hi!"

I know, you might be thinking, how is this different from the other food events going on now?  Scroll down to the very bottom and you'll see.

Here's some of Chef Tony's lovely desserts.

Tony makes some of the most darling and tasty petite fours.

Swan cream puffs with chocolate.

Pumpkin chocolate cheesecake.  These are incredibly cute. 

Roasted pork tenderlion. 

Rabbit Rillette with mustard.

And after all the great eats, I even got to meet Edward Burns.  Yep.  That'll do. This festival comes with some nice eye candy.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Win Tickets to La Dolce Vita, Thursday Oct. 13th

La Dolce Vita.  Living the Sweet Life.  And yes, I do live the sweet life from time to time.  You too, can live the sweet life for a while on Thursday, Oct.13, 2012.  That sweet life includes tasting food from some of the finest chefs in the area and sipping on artisan spirits and fine wines.  Purchase Tickets here.   This year, you can also win a taste of the sweet life by supporting the 2012 participating restaurants and wineries.   The contest begins on Thursday, September 22 and ends on Sunday, October 9, 2011, and the winner will be announced on Monday, October 10. 
The rules of this contest has three parts:
  • 1. Entrants must check-in on Foursquare.
  • 2. Share their experience on Twitter by tagging @LaDolceVitaAtx
  • 3. Include the hashtag #ilpalio to be qualified as a contestant. 
The contestant who dines and drinks at the most participating restaurants and wineries during the weeks prior to the event will be deemed the winner and receive two free tickets to the event ($250 value).  List of participating restaurants and wineries below. 

PARTICIPATING      A Taste of Italy in Austin            Alamo Drafthouse Cinemas       
RESTAURANTS:      Andiamo Ristorante                   Austin Cake Ball
Blue Star Cafeteria                    Cannoli Joes
                             Chez Zee American Bistro          Cho Sushi
Cuatro’s                                   Creative Creations
                             Cuvée Coffee                           Contigo Austin
Driskell Grill & Bar                     East Side Showroom                                              
Eddie V’s Prime Seafood            Eleven Plates & Wine
                             Flemings Steakhouse                 Imperia
J. Black’s Feel Good Lounge      Judges’ Hill Restaurant
                             Kerbey Lane Café                      La Sombra Bar and Grill
Malaga Tapas and Bar                Maudie’s Tex-Mex
Moonshine Patio Bar & Grill       The Melting Pot Restaurant
                             NoRTH Modern Italian Cuisine    Objects of Confection
Paggi House                              Palmer’s Restaurant Bar & Courtyard
                             Parkside                                    Ranch 616                                
Satay Restaurant                       Sao Paulo’s Restaurant
                             Get Sum Dim Sum                      Siena Ristorante Toscana
Sterling Affairs Catering             SugarPOP Sweet Shop
                             Sugar Tooth Bakery                    SWB Southwest Bistro at the Hyatt
Tacodeli                                   Taj Palace Indian Restaurant
Taj Mahal Indian Cuisine            TenOak Bourbon House + Lounge
Texas Coffee Traders                 The Backspace                         
The Belmont                             The Carillon Restaurant
                             The Roaring Fork                       Urban: An American Grill
                             VIVO Lake Creek                        Word of Mouth Catering
Zed’s Restaurant                       Whole Foods Market Lamar Culinary Center
WINE & SPIRITS      Becker Vineyards                       Brennan Wineries
PARTICIPANTS:       Fall Creek Vineyards                  Inwood Estates Vineyards
                             Llano Estacado Winery              McPherson Cellars
                             Paula’s Texas Spirits                  Pedernales Cellars
                             Pleasant Hill Winery                   Republic Tequila
                             The Vineyard at Florence           TipsyTexan                     
Torre De Pietra Vineyards           The Vineyard at Florence          
Twin Liquors
And now for some photos from last year. *I attended as a media guest. 

Sweet cars go along with the sweet life.  Wasn't it gracious of me to lend them my daily driver for the event?

And there's my other car. Not only is does this event have fantastic food and drink, the location is pretty awesome. 

Lamb chops from Roaring Fork.  This and the green chile pork stew are probably my two favorite dishes at the Roaring Fork.

And the carving of a large piece of meat always makes me happy.

I found some macarons towards the end of the night.

And then there were these things.  I'm not exactly sure what they were meant to be called, but they were 1. neat 2. different 3. purple and 4. slightly creepy. 

Photo courtesy of Bread and Butter PR.
I'd have more photos of the event, but I was likely too busy stuffing my face to take photos before the sun went down.  That is the sweet life.   Hope to see ya there!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Ghirardelli's Pairing Party is more of a Chocolate Feast

Blog post and party sponsored by Ghirardelli.

To celebrate Ghirardelli's support to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Leslie Sbrocco (@BeaThirstyGirl) has  teamed up with Ghirardelli's to throw chocolate pairing parties.  After the parities, Ghirardelli Chocolate and will host a live tasting party and Tweet Chat on Intense Dark™ chocolate to be held Wednesday, October 5, 2011 at 5 PM PST/8 PM EST. They'll be tasting four varieties of IntenseDark—Evening Dream®, Twilight Delight™, Midnight Reverie® and Toffee Interlude®—and creating and sharing food and wine pairings. 
Here's some photos and recipes from my fun party.  Unfortunately, as the party host, I didn't have an opportunity to try many of the pairings.  However, guests' feedback was pretty clear.  The Sea Salt Soiree was the crowd favorite.  I would also guess by the amount of spirits that we went through, Paula's Texas Orange was also a favorite.  A big thanks to @SowGrowEatLive for bringing by some scotch to pair with the chocolates as well. 

Photo by John M. P. Knox.

Photo by John M. P. Knox.  There were a few gorgeous pairing kits filled with chocolate, wine charms, and almonds.  The packages put Tiffany jewelry boxes to shame. 

Photo by John M. P. Knox. Just a few of the bottles we enjoyed with the chocolate. 

Photo by John M. P. Knox.  Chocolate and salt are a lovely combination.  It isn't a big surprise that salty olives with chocolate could be a hit. 

Since our party was around a meal time.  I decided to make some meaty goodness in addition to the cheese plate.  I used this recipe for chocolate honey ribs from The Food Site with a few tweaks.  Instead of melted chocolate, I used cocoa powder to make sure that it was gluten free.  I also used gluten free soy sauce instead of regular soy sauce, and added a few dashes of liquid smoke.  Instead of regular ribs, I used pork riblets.  I really enjoyed the ribs and the sweet fatty goodness the honey and chocolate brought. 

I also made the Vietnamese goat recipe from Goat: Meat, Milk, and Cheese by Bruce WeinStien.   This photo was taken just half way through the cooking process.  I used two sides of goat ribs for this delicious recipe, and boy was it!  I would highly, highly, highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to start using more goat in their cooking.  The flavors of sweet onion, pungent fish sauce, nutty browned garlic, and spicy chiles married with falling off the bone flavorful meat was a darn fantastic dish.  I can't wait to use the same recipe with different cuts of meat. 

Ghirardelli full house!

Are those people having fun? The answer is yes.  Highly likely yes.

Just a few weeks prior to this party, @CookingEngineer introduced several of us to the Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream recipes.  That introduction turned into massive homemade ice cream making marathon in the Austin area.  The @CookingEngineer and I made several versions of the darkest chocolate ice cream recipe with varying levels of intensity and coffee flavors.  And ironically enough, my favorite ice cream of the spread was the hatch chile ice cream.  Big thanks to @CookingEngineer for bringing so many delicious ice creams. 

The perfect shirt for this party.  Chocolate + marshmallows + graham crackers = win.  No big surprise who came wearing it!

We didn't just pair chocolate with beverages; we also had chocolate in beverages.  @MadameCocoa was kind enough to bring two batches of Chocolate Liqueur - a whiskey version and a vodka version.  It is a Christopher Elbow recipe that you can make at home, and it is FANTASTIC!  If you don't feel like making it yourself, @MadameCocoa is happy to make them for you for $25 each.  That is probably the perfect Holiday gift for the chocolate and beverage lover in your life.  Thanks to @MadameCocoa for bringing it!

Little @VestaTheDog had fun with @Bepkoboy sans chocolate.