Another Austin Food & Wine has come and gone, and I for one can’t wait for 2015. One of the most fun, intimate festivals in the country. Without further ado, some of the best moments (and one sort of ugly one) from this year’s party:
1. Paul Qui has confirmed for me that the Next Big Food Trend is indeed, and I’ve been saying it for years, Filipino food. And after an incredible meal at Qui, I have no doubt Paul is the guy who’ll bring this amazing cuisine to the forefront of America’s mainstream dining scene. I’ve waited nearly two decades to experience dinuguan (pictured above) in a fine dining…or Austin’s version of fine dining…restaurant. Qui’s is superb. His pulutan snacks are perfectly executed, homey and far from fussy, and the flavors sing.
2. C3 Presents knows how to throw a party. This is one of the most authentic, heartfelt festivals in the country. The food is killer, the music always rocks… from the folks running the event to the people attending, I just can’t say enough good things. I am so proud to have been with you guys from the beginning. Charlie Jones & team: you nailed it again.
3. Topo Chico. It’s one of the best sparkling waters on the market. Try it. And why can’t I stop calling it Topogigio?
4. Graham Elliot looks amazing, and more apparently it’s so obvious that he’s feeling great too, which makes my heart want to explode with happiness. Love ya buddy & hope you kick the Chicago Marathon’s ass this year!
5. Don’t call Georgia Pellegrini “Barbie” (not gonna name names, but you know who you are!). She might be blonde and she is very beautiful, but there’s a lot more going on there. She’s a true pro, and she walks the talk. She’s smart, a great writer, and has real chops in the field AND in the kitchen. Her venison taco that she served on Saturday night was one of the best bites of the weekend. And guys, it’s 2014, don’t ever call any female Barbie unless that’s her actual name… especially a woman like Georgia who carries a gun and knows how to use it.
6. Tim Love. One of the nicest guys in the business and one hell of a chef (those foie tacos?!). His enthusiasm for all-things Texas really makes this festival one of the best. And a shout out to his team–you guys busted your ass for days and it paid off (especially Dani… you were everywhere this weekend! Don’t know how ya did it!). Kudos.
7. John Currence could be my cousin. Same haircut, same clothes, same tendency to gush about how much we adore our kids. I love this guy!
8. Mike Lata & Jason Stanhope: Superb chefs, with great skills…. but the ladies on my team couldn’t stop talking about how Lata looks like “Coach Taylor” and that Jason is “adorable.” They also said some other things that were very complimentary, but I don’t want kids to read it.
10. Whole Foods Austin: Please make your Minnesota siblings cooler! From your kombucha & juice bar to your assortment of delicious breakfast tacos, you’ve got it all going on. If the Twin Cities WF locations were even half as good (though the new downtown location is pretty stellar), I couldn’t help but spend all my money there.
11. Cuvee Coffee’s Black & Blue: Variable temperature brewed, nitrogenated coffee, served cold on tap. I want. I need.
12. Between Wayne Mueller, Aaron Franklin & Tim Rattray, there is a whole lotta amazing BBQ in Texas. I’m still fighting off a smoked-meat hangover. Loved our panel and the three of you have my address in case you have anything lying around the kitchen that you need to get rid of.
13. Speaking of meat, the Gilmore family’s (I’m talking Jack Allen AND Barley Swine) retrofitted firetruck is the ultimate tailgate situation… and don’t even get me started on Ned Elliot’s pig head tacos. Insane.
14. How was Chris Grdovic able to pull off WHITE JEANS ALL WEEKEND? No spills! WTF? I have sauce stains on every piece of clothing I brought…
15. I love this shirt.