A round of applause will not suffice for this year's celebration of today's (and tomorrow's) food, wine and spirits talent. The execution of this year's Austin Food & Wine Festival has left a permanent mark on the city, just as Chef Tim Love's autograph has left a mark on my forearm with pride.
I always value my everyday visits to Austin restaurants, both old and new; but Austin Food & Wine Festival reminded me of the combined skill and talent that is, more often than not, taken for granted around here. The consistency behind these chefs' performances and personalities is noteworthy. Josh Watkins of The Carillon and Allison Jenkins of La V prepared to-die-for short ribs and black bass tartare side-by-side in lighthearted contentment. Paul Qui's pork tongue knocked it out of Butler park. Fork & Vine's fried alligator with homemade Sriracha pulled me back for thirds. The Bonneville's messy lamb pastrami reminded me of my favorite NYC deli. And don't even get me started on Frank's gator sausage beer fondue with slow dough pretzel.
The steep ticket price was well worth it. I believe I sipped and snacked on far more than the money I paid. Austin understands quality, and this roundup did not disappoint. I finally took home a Confituras keepsake of strawberry balsamic preserves, and I think I tried too much wine to differentiate...although the Duchman Family Texas Sangiovese and Flowers Chardonnay were memorable.
Texas, you done good.