The Austin Food + Wine Festival returned this year with top chef talent, sommeliers and winemakers from across the nation and Austin’s own acclaimed gourmet scene. Food tastings, libations and hands-on grilling demos were an experience unlike any other. This three day party took place Friday, April 28 – Sunday, April 30. A jam packed schedule of back-to-back events left this year’s guest satiated and satisfied. The beautiful Austin weather set the tone for a marvelous celebration of culinary culture in world’s rising culinary capital.
With so many scrumptious bites, tantalizing cocktails and chef sightings, how does one keep it all straight? My list of Austin Food + Wine Fest “BESTS,” highlights everything that I absolutely loved. Check out Gristle & Gossip’s Austin Food + Wine Festival Weekend Recap, below.
Best Bites | AFWFest
With over 100 Chefs whipping and serving that good good, one must take note of those dishes that stood out among the rest. Yes, I was the chick walking around Austin Food + Wine Festival with a mini notepad! So let’s start with the best bites. These bites were selected based on taste, presentation and cash bribes – LOL.
I noticed a trend of seafood and lamb on Saturday. Executive Chef Blaine Staniford from Grace Restaurant (Fort Worth) served the most succulent and juicy smoked lamb neck that literally fell off the bone. Albert Gonzalez and Austin Ewald of Grizzelda’s slayed with their smoked salmon tostada, while Central Standard’s Michael Paley’s minted pea toast with Gulf shrimp, with salad and pancetta was simple and elegant.
Sunday was all about beef, brisket and biscuits. Chef Jason Dady of, Jason Dady Restaurant Group (San Antonio) wowed guests with his thinly sliced beef tenderloin topped with smoked mustard seed and caramelized red onion. Knotty Deck + Bar (located inside Austin’s Renaissance Hotel) served the most delicious brisket sammi, topped with butter pickles and housemade bbq sauce. Stella San Jac (Dowtown Westin – Austin) served their famous #16 Biscuits topped with a strawberry ruhbarb puree, whipped cream and pistachio crumble. I totally get why these biscuits are famous. They were scrumptious.
Rosè All Day | AFWFest
Rosè flowed from nearly every tent at Austin Food + Wine Fest, but the best was served inside the comfortable living room of a custom-made Tiny Home. Paso Robles winemaker Austin Hope invited a few special guests to a private tasting of his new releases and library wines. Austin was super laid-back and made the guided tasting of his past & current vintages of Treana and Austin Hope wines quite memorable.
Two of the best tastemakers in the business, Winemaker Austin Hope and Chef Tim Love came together to create “Love and Hope,” a rosé that’s light, crisp and refreshing. Perfect for the Austin weather, this rose was quite the palate pleaser. Learn more and get your own bottle here.
Best Booth | AFWfest
The best booth goes to two of my favorites: Hendrick’s Gin and Glenfiddich whisky! Each booth was unique in it’s own way. The Hendrick’s booth was a two story old school distillery. The cocktails were made at the very top and poured into the metal piping, trickling out at the very bottom. The basil smash was a devilishly refreshing and easy cocktail. My gang enjoyed quite a few of those.
The Glenfiddich Experimental Dome was like one intoxicating science experiment. Guests enjoyed an adventure of the senses. Blind tastings, a Scotch vapor station, plenty of Scotch cocktails and even a Scotch and beer IPA pairing!
The awesome part about the festival is that almost every crumb and/or sip was delicious. The simple booths like Pure Leaf Tea and Barritt’s Ginger Beer were quite refreshing when the rosè sweats set in. Additionally, the cold treats were a total win on day one of the festival. The Paletas from Cafe No Sè and the Raspa’s topped with grasshopper salt from La Condesa.
As my Austin Food + Wine Festival | Weekend Recap comes to a close, I would like to congratulate all the Austin Food + Wine Festival chefs, chef de cuisine, sous chefs, sommeliers, brand ambassadors, festival staff and volunteers for a job well done. Check out my photo Gallery below!
See you in 2018!