Austin, Texas is obviously known for its wealth of iconic and trend-setting restaurants; they seem to be popping up by the minute, to the point where we cannot even keep up. There are moments when we have mistakenly taken for granted the booming food scene surrounding us; but there are also those rare occasions in which restaurants actively ask us to stop and appreciate the causes behind such a beautiful city.
The community of Austin cafés, bars, trailers, and the like are uniting to showcase communal talent and the city to which they serve. During Eat Out For Good (click to reserve your spot), beginning this Sunday August 3 through August 13, over twenty spots are creating special menus with proceeds benefiting local non-profits. From Finn & Porter and The Bonneville to Odd Duck and NO VA, you will simultaneously serve Austin's non-profits and be served by Austin's finest talent.
Today, I'm sitting down with Chef Brian Malarkey, the celebrity mastermind behind Searsucker (one of the Eat Out For Good participating restaurants), winner of Top Chef and judge on numerous Food Network shows. His culinary resume will stun you, and his light-hearted persona will charm you. Keep scrolling for the latest and greatest Caramelized Conversation. . .
YOUR MOST UNFORGETTABLE RESTAURANT EXPERIENCE?
I have two: The first was the lobster dinner where I asked my wife to marry me. The second was when Jose Andres cooked me 30-something courses at his mini bar in Washington, D.C. -- magical, whimsical and intriguing.
SEARSUCKER IS A PERSONAL FAVORITE AUSTIN SPOT, AND I ALSO ENJOYED HERRINGBONE IN LA JOLLA. WHAT WAS YOUR INITIAL VISION WHEN FORMULATING THE ECLECTIC AMBIANCES OF THESE RESTAURANTS?
Searsucker is my home -- very comfortable and approachable, very personal and warm in a quirky sort of way. Herringbone is where I want to live when I grow up -- probably no time soon. . .
WHAT DO YOU LOVE MOST ABOUT SAN DIEGO?
It's still a relatively small city where you get to know the chefs, farmers, surfers -- the community. And of course it's on the ocean and 70 and sunny almost every day. The fact that it's named after a whale's vagina is just a bonus! Stay classy, San Diego!
FIVE FRIDGE ESSENTIALS?
Cured meats. Great cheese. New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Organic pressed juice. BUTTER.
HOW DO YOU ADD SWEET TOUCHES TO EVERYDAY EXPERIENCES?
YOUR SIGNATURE COCKTAIL TO BEAT THE SUMMER HEAT?
Watermelon, jalapeño and my booze of choice.
RESTAURANT OWNERSHIP IS NOTORIOUS FOR ITS NARROW WINDOW FOR SUCCESS. WHAT'S YOUR TAKE ON CONCEPTUALIZING RESTAURANT IDEAS THAT REALLY STICK?
#team. Great staff with approachable, great food and a fun ambiance. . .And learn from your mistakes -- that location thing is kind of important.