by Deirdre Goggins
Honestly, I am a carpet bagger who was born in New Jersey and raised in San Francisco. Almost 10 years ago, I moved to Austin to have a better quality of living and one day being able to retire. It was a decision that had to be made after seeing women grow older on the 56 bus to the city and who never seemed to retire. I did not seek to be one of them and wanted to be able to enjoy the good life.
One of my favorite things about living in Austin is the local energy on events, how so many garb the old UT burnt orange t-shirt on game day, support local live music that has grown into two of the most amazing music events that many from the across the country and around the world come to Austin. The travelers bar hop to hear different bands or can be soaked out in the rain at Zilker Park. Austin has a new event to add to its list of staples, the Austin Food & Wine Festival each April. Chef Tim Love has been the back bone of spreading the festival to various venues around town. He is joined by Jesse Herman, Food & Wine and C3 Presents.
The January 20th launch party was held at Lonesome Dove, located at 419 Colorado Street in down town Austin. This is the second Lonesome Dove restaurant owed and operated by Tim Love. Chef Love has several restaurants and this is our local in the Love line-up. The restaurant reflects the west with a sophisticated style. The dining room is inviting with tasteful racks of antlers, brick, cow hide banquettes and natural sun light. White table clothes and lighting finish off the room. Never did I feel that I was shifting thru the line at a chuck wagon waiting for the pile of beans to be dumped on my tray. The menu brings a continuation of Chef Love’s brand of wild game such as wild boar, elk, and game hen. Menu continues with interesting twists of rabbit and rattlesnake sausage, blue corn lobster hush puppies and great sides as western plaid hash. As in other Love restaurants the hand cut steaks are the anchor for the established menu and feature Wagyu Tomahawk of Australia beef and Buffalo Ribeye with a well-rounded wine list.
The party featured Lonesome Dove’s Wild Game Fettine, thin slices of sausage featuring rabbit and rattlesnake; elk and pork with blue berries and garlic; followed by lamb while perfectly paired with the Tim Collins cocktail. (Yes, named Tim not Tom.) The floor was shared by Paul Qui of Qui restaurant located on East 5th Street, who prepared an outstanding Smoked Texas Wagyu Short Rib with Acharra. The intense marbling of the tender Wagyu beef and the pickled green papaya Acharra was a perfect pair and the dish was a show stopper. Jimmy Bannos of Heaven on Seven, Purple Pig and Juicy-O with Jimmy Jr. brought Braised Beef Navel with Applesauce Terrine, Winter Squash and a Pedro Jimenez Sherry Reduction. The plate had a lot of facets to it with the cured meat, molded applesauce, squash and sauce. All of it work beautifully and was an intricate dance for the palate. Simi collection of Sauvignon, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mumm Napa Prestige Brut circulated around the room as we all experienced what is to come at the Austin Food & Wine Festival.
The Austin Food & Wine Festival kicks off on Wednesday, April 20th at the Driskill Hotel with Napa’s Trefethen Family Vineyards to celebrate 130 years of hospitality. The meal will be prepared by Executive Chef Troy Knapp and Trefethen Vineyards will be presented by Hailey Trefethen. Thursday, April 21st the return of Feast Under the Stars, an alfresco family styled meal brought by notable chefs David Bull, Tyson Cole, Omar Flores, Ford Fry, Janina O’Leary and Tim Love. Auditorium Shores will serve as the venue while guests dine on five courses.
To get your foodie weekend started the Taste of Texas will be held on Friday, April 22nd at Republic Park with an exclusive line of up of Texas chefs including the likes of Tatsu Aikawa (Austin), Matt Balke (Dallas), Richard Blankenship (Dallas) Luis Colon (San Antonio) Mary Cuclis (Houston) to name a few. The party will include music while you dine on the signature dishes from the best of the Lone Star State.
Saturday, April 23rd Auditorium Shores’ grounds host the core festival events including cooking demos, interactive stations and instruction for cooking over fire pits, food sampling and book signings. Chefs include local favorites such as Andrew Wiseheart of Contigo and Gardner; Jack Gilmore of Jack Allen’s Kitchen; Paul Qui of Qui; Ned Elliot of Foreign & Domestic; Bryce Gilmore Barley Swine, Odd Duck, Kent Rathbun of Abacus, Hickory, Jasper’s and Blaine Staniford of Grace, Little Red Wasp. Tim Love will continue his grilling demonstrations for participants with an “All-In” ticket. The day will include a visit to the Chef Showcase tent with signature dishes from a host of known chefs.
The evening continues with the Rock Your Taco event and will be judged by Andrew Zimmerman of Bizarre Foods, Christina Grdovic of Food & Wine, and Graham Elliot of Graham Elliot Bistro. The competition will attempt to knock off last year’s winner Tim Love who will be competing against a field that includes Amanda Freitag (Chopped), Aaron Sanchez (Chopped), Ming Tsai (Simply Ming) Jimmy Bannos & Jimmy Bannos Jr., Hugh Acheson, Jason Day, Jonathan Waxman along with several others.
Sunday, April 24th will include a new offering of a Gospel Brunch with steel pedal guitarist Robert Randolph and the Voices of the Greater Calvary Gospel Choir. The day will also include the attractions of Saturday with the cooking and grilling demos, and the Chef Showcase tent.
As the 2016 Austin Food & Wine Festival rings in its fifth anniversary, the people of the Hill Country and Austin will be out in force to take part. I am so glad I unpacked my carpet bag and plan to stay in Austin for a while to enjoy what makes this city weird….