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

Monday, May 26, 2014

2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival Rock Your Taco

One of my favorite events from the Austin Food and Wine Festival is Rock Your Taco.  Here's some photos of the fun. 

Here's team Uchi, the 2012 and 2013 Rock Your Taco winners.  If you've had your head in the sand, you might also know that this team is working hard to open St. Philip.  I follow Kerstin, the blonde front and center next to Tyson, on Instagram, and her photos of St. Philip are to die for, repeatedly.  Keep and eye out for their opening in a few months. 

@Fedmanwalking and I had a nice long chat about John Currence of City Grocery in New Orleans.  And I will also sing the praises of Chef John.  His tacos were not over the top radical, but they had a well-executed familiar yet interesting component.  I actually had three servings of his tacos.  I'm guessing that be made tiny tweaks to make his taco really stand out.   I would have eaten more, but I had to save more for other tacos.

Chef Chris Sheppard offers me one of his tacos in a lettuce shell with cilantro and carrots for garnish.  Don't forget to congratulate Chef Chris on his recent James Beard nomination. 

Here's the winning taco from Richard Blais.  It was sweet, savory, and floral all at the same time.  If interesting is what you are looking for, this was the taco to get.  I heard that the servings ran out early.  If you didn't get to have one, trust me on interesting.  And that's interesting good!

And here's the man himself.  His taco and his service is always styling.  I'm not sure if there are any more of those shirts left, but I'd definitely wear it. 

This delicious bite was from Monica Pope.  It was Asian inspired flavors served in a butter lettuce shell.  Very tasty!

This was Tyson Cole's taco this year.  A puffy taco of wonderfulness. 

After the winner this year, Richard Blaise, was announce.  The volunteer culinary students wanted their photo taken with their the celebrities of the Austin Food and Wine Festival.  One students was so excited that she had to text a friend.  It probably started with "OMG!"

And here's another one of the students with Tim Love, Andrew Z., Graham Elliot, and Ming Tsai. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

2014 Austin Food and Wine Taste of Texas

The Austin Food and Wine Festival's Taste of Texas brought some great finds from Dallas and San Antonio.  I'm so glad to see that chefs from other Texas cities were getting some love. 

This braised beef cheek by Grace in Dallas was a standout dish.  It was so tender, juicy, structured, yet delicate.  It was really one of the best pieces dishes served that night. 

This was the egg from Ramen Tatsu-ya.  Topped with a savory mix of bacon and onions, this was nostalgic bite of heaven. 

Here's Diego Galicia of Mixtli in San Antonio with his nephew's Flat Stanley and my Google Glass. 

His offering was blue corn masa macaron.  It was quite tasty.

Here's the adorable Jason Dady presenting dishes from his new venture, Umai Mi

Fried rice, shallots, and basil = yum. 

Another great hit from Houston, Chef Terrence from Pass and Provisions.  He's making deep fried lamb ribs. 

These were probably some of the best "non-traditional barbeque" ribs.  They were first deep fried, dipped into a sweet sauce, and covered with sesame seeds and greens.  Oh, so, delicious. 

And lastly, here's an egg crepe and sausage offering from Lenoir.  I love their interpretation of crepes!

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival FIRE TRUCK

Most. Awesome. Firetruck. Ever.

My enthusiasm for this red hot ride is barely containable.  This is why food in Austin in awesome.  As if Jack Gilmore isn't already one of the most kickbutt chefs, he brings this BEAST of a grill.  This is a real fire truck with a fully functional horn.  On one side, there are pull out grills.  On the other, beer taps and a margarita machine.  On top, you have a spit for roasting whole animals. 

Here's the side of the fire truck.  It isn't fully tricked out yet, but you can see where it is going.

Also, don't forget that Jack Gilmore is a huge supporter of the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation.  He's donating another $12,400 from the Carl Miller Queso on his menu, and that just for the last quarter from April 2013.

Someone on top of the fire truck took a photo of me with Mark Escobedo from South Texas Heritage Pork.  Mark and Kelley Escobedo are from Florence, TX, and they sponsored the pasture raised, custom fed, artisanal heritage pork.

Here's a view of @ATXfoodnews and @BlindedBite from the top of the fire truck.

Here's the back of the truck.  Climb right up to meaty happiness.

There was also a tree of quail.  Just hang them up for grilling.

And here's the size of the fire truck with the beer taps.  It looks like currently on handle, we have Real Ale's Fireman's 4 and 512's Bruin.

Here's the grill on the top.

This wasn't on the fire truck, but it is still photo worthy.  Tortillas and corncakes.

And here's the man himself, Jack Gilmore and Chef Chris.

You might find this a bit disturbing, but the Asian in me finds this delicious.

I guess this does look kinda disturbing to have animal heads hanging about.  Who cares?  It is awesome.

Another view from the top of the fire truck.

And a panorama from the top of the fire truck. 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

2014 Austin Food and Wine Sips and Sweets Dessert Party

Sips and Sweets was another great additional to last year's line up of events.  I was very excited to see it come back.  Treat yourself to some dessert porn.  If you get excited by what you see, don't be shy.  These sweets came from Angel Begaye of TRACE,Janina O’Leary of LaV, Sandi Reinlie of Vespaio and Enoteca, and Erica Waksmunski of Congress and Second Bar + Kitchen. Kevin Dundon of Tourism Ireland also provided delicious treats, but you'll have to go a little further to enjoy his desserts.  

I'll let the pictures do the talking. 

Monday, May 12, 2014

2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival with @ChefMingTsai

The 2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival brought a delightful and very entertaining guest, Chef Ming Tsai.  I've started watching Ming on East Meets West when I was still a kid.  Meeting Ming wasn't a crazy adrenaline thrill; it was more like meeting my one of my people.  Speaking of my people, there is a celebration of Asian food on May 17th, 2014.  I probably mentioned it a few times before.  Here it is again.  Austin is finally growing an ethnic food scene.  Some of the people leading the charge of introducing ethnic cuisine to Austinites are Ramen Tatsuya, Rene Ortiz, Jae Kim, and Paul Qui

If you read my blog, you might already be familiar with ethnic cuisine.  However, the majority of Austin is not.  There are still plenty of people who think that if soy sauce was in the recipe, it is Asian.  There are still people in Austin who are still unaware of edamame or Thailand and Taiwan are two different cultures and countries.  Unless you're Asian, you probably haven't had to explain why you would eat cow tongue or have to explain "dim sum" as Asian tapas.  Anyways, check it out - May 17th, 2014 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Asian American Resource Center

Back to Chef Ming, here's some tidbits about on why he's like my brother from another mother.  I also crowd sourced a few questions prior to interviewing Ming, to be answered below.

1. Ming played squash professionally.  He also played ping pong at the Kim Crawford tent at the festival.  Video of him playing ping-pong while wearing my Google Glass below. 

2. He plans ahead.  His advice for people who have painful repercussions including death from food allergies is to call ahead to restaurants.  Call a day in advance at least and ask about the accommodations they can make for food allergies.  If they act like they are bothered with your allergies, move on.  Anaphylaxis shock isn't worth it.  There are other restaurants out there who will be happy to make sure that you can enjoy a meal without a trip to the emergency room. 

Long-time buddies, Kent Rathburn with Ming.
3. A friend inquired about his favorite dim sum.  The answer should have been obvious: Din Tai Fung.  There's only a few locations in the USA.  I'm certainly going to check them out the next time I'm in Seattle or LA.

4. And he drinks Texas beer.  He's holding the Austin Beer Works Pearl Snap.
5. Another person asked what to substitute for peanut allergies.  Ming said, "Just leave it out to be completely safe.  Many dishes are delicious without it!"  Or, he said you could start using seeds in place of nuts.  Pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and other seeds are a perfect substitute for peanuts.  You might event use those wasabi peas to get a spicy crunch in dishes.  I added that line.  If it isn't a good swap, you can blame me.

Pictured with Tim Love
6. And his favorite soy sauce?  He told me it was on the his website.  Wan Jan Shan, of course. 
7. Ming taught us a trick for getting food off the side of your food processor - lean it from side to side while it is on.  No more stopping your food processor to scrap down the sides.  Just lean to the left. To the right.  To the left.  To the right. 

8. And just for fun, here's a cocktail recipe using TY KU, a gluten free sake.  If you're gluten free, this is an endorsed choice for you.  The Asian Mojito:  2 oz TY KU Sake Silver, Fresh Mint, and Squeeze of Lemon/Orange.  There are many other recipes available for your imbibing pleasure. 


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

@JesterKingBeer Dinner at @UchikoAustin Photo Post

Here's a photo post from the vault.  Back in Jan. 2012, Uchiko did a fantastic Jester King Beer Dinner.  With American Craft Beer week around the corner, Uchi, Uchiko, and Uchi Houston will be hosting beer pairing dinner May 12, 14, and 18th.  You can grab tickets here:

Here's the photo evidence of the past dinner with Jester King.  I don't know what will be in this year's dinner, but it'll be just as kickbutt!