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A common brick wrapped in tinfoil sits atop a split chicken in a scalding hot 20-inches-or-so-wide cast-iron skillet. Getting this thing into, or out of, a 500-degree oven seems a daunting task given the heft and heat, but veteran NFL offensive lineman Marshall Newhouse does it deftly, and practically one-handed. This ain’t his first rodeo, and he’s quite literally made a career of using his hands swiftly and strongly in restricted spaces.
This article first appeared in Edible Dallas & Fort Worth and is tailored to their readership. We appreciate its relevance, and are pleased to share it with our readers in its original form.
Despite what canned concoctions may lead people to believe, humble chicken soup can actually be a work of art. A broth, so goldenly hazy it’d make IPA drinkers jealous, surrounds crispy islands of croutons; carrots pop against this canvas, as do cannellini beans and seemingly sun-kissed zucchini, and a sprinkling of Parmesan and dill brings it all together with additional color, fragrance and texture.
Now is the perfect time of year to get out on the road and explore some great new spots — along with the old favorites, of course — both in and around Austin. When we started planning this issue, we wanted to make a point to shine a light on many of the unique food and beverage businesses popping up just outside of the city limits. As Austin expands and grows, the towns a quick drive down the road are developing right along with us.
Join us on a road trip through Driftwood, our neighbors to the southwest. Most Austinites have already taken the trip to visit the world famous Salt Lick BBQ , either to get your fill of barbecue or to attend a wedding (like mine) at one of their venues. But now, there’s so much more to explore in the area before you get your barbecue fix.
Cheers to getting out and exploring not only Austin, but all of the amazing towns Central Texas has to offer.
By Bambi Edlund
This neighborhood dive bar, new to the East Side, prides itself on good food and a friendly atmosphere. The Cavalier’s laid-back ambience is reflected on two mirrors flanking the bar — posted on them in bold lettering are the house rules, “No Religion” and “No Politics.” And the bar’s motto, “You Be You,” is displayed on the bathroom doors. Owners Chadwick Leger and Rachelle Fox have worked in the Austin food scene for years, and they recently opened The Cavalier to have a spot of their own. The culinary influences of Leger, originally from Louisiana, and Fox, who grew up working at her father’s Caribbean restaurant here in Austin, can be seen throughout the bar. The menu has a Southern touch, but Fox’s Caribbean roots peek through in the dishes. Stop by for a draft zombie cocktail, jerk chicken wings or boudin balls.
2400 Webberville Rd.
Photography by Nathan Beels
Jen Holmer El-Azzi lights up when talking about sourdough. “It’s like maaa-gic,” she says slowly and playfully with a big smile — like a good witch casting a spell.
Honey bees are, no doubt, an essential part of our food system, but we can’t give them all the glory for pollinating our plants. Long before these bees were brought over by European settlers in the 17th century, native bees were keeping the plants of North America pollinated.
It’s becoming increasingly rare to find undeveloped land for lease in Austin, so when Max Elliott found a city-owned plot not yet claimed, he jumped at the chance to use the land in a way that would benefit the surrounding community.
Sustainable Food Center brings together more than 45 farmers and ranchers every Saturday at our two farmers’ markets: Downtown (422 Guadalupe St.) and Sunset Valley (3200 Jones Rd.). Walk the aisles on a Saturday morning, and you’ll meet passionate folks selling local oyster mushrooms, pastured eggs and the best heirloom tomatoes around. But behind the bustling faces of these thriving markets is the reality that farmland is dissipating in Central Texas at a dizzying rate. Travis County alone loses the equivalent of six football fields of cropland to development every single day. In a region with a rapidly growing population and a huge demand for local food, this data begs the question: where are our farmers farming?
Eating locally produced food does more than satisfy your taste buds — it’s good for the environment, too. Supporting Central Texas farmers and makers is just one of the many ways you can help the City of Austin reach its goal of making our community carbon neutral by 2050.
From three different kinds of micheladas to a beer-can chicken and, yes, even dessert, these recipes all feature something we Central Texans love — beer. And, as always, we recommend using your favorite local brew for these dishes and drinks. We all know there’s no shortage of breweries to choose from.
Take a look at what our staff is enjoying this month.
Spring often takes the cake for Texans’ most beloved gardening season, but autumn is also an ideal time of year to put new plants in the ground. If your yard regularly requires an exasperating amount of water to stay alive, consider switching to a drought-tolerant landscape this fall.
Potatoes just might be the most universally loved and utilized member of the produce community. They’re customizable, filling and affordable (the median potato price in the United States was 72 cents per pound in 2018), and it seems there’s no end to the many shapes and textures a spud can take on. Consider, for example, the beloved French fry. You know a side dish is widely accepted when it's sold for 99 cents at fast food restaurants as well as alongside filet mignon at a vastly different price point. Therein lies the beauty and power of the potato. What else can be both an utterly low-brow treat and a high-end, starchy work of art?
Tempranillo can be a bit of an enigma. When searching for it in a wine shop, you may find it labeled under many different names, due to it being the fifth-most-planted grape variety in the world. While it’s best known for its home in Central Spain, Rioja, you might also see it listed as Cencibel, Tinta del Toro, Tinta del Pais, Ull de Llebre or, in Portugal, as Tinta Roriz.
On a gray, windy afternoon 10 days before Christmas and a week after the most spectacular snow in the memory of most Central Texans, I’m heading across the flat ranchland east of the Balcones Fault to Rockdale, Texas. I’m looking for Renda Graham, owner and operator of Bad Girl BBQ, a pink flamingo-adorned food truck open for business most Thursdays and Fridays in the parking lot of Stoney’s Liquor.
First let us define local. We’ve already been amazed at how many meanings that word can have. Within our 30-county area called Central Texas, local is the organic-vegetable-and-lemonade stand run by seven-year-old Alabel Chapin, her five-year-old brother Henry and their six-year-old friend Ford Martin.
(We happened upon them in Austin’s Travis Heights neighborhood—see “1,000 Words,”) Local is the family ranch outside of Fredericksburg owned by Chuck and Teppi Schmidt, who raise pastured, grassfed beef using organic principles. Local is the soon-to-open Big Top Candy Shop on South Congress Avenue—independently owned by Brandon Hodge—featuring an old-fashioned soda fountain.
It may appear counter-intuitive, but lingering over a rare treat of a real egg cream soda counts as the art of slow food. Local is Jesse Griffiths and Tamara Mayfield’s Dai Due supper club where lucky diners are served an all locally sourced menu, family style, at Rain Lily, a gem of an urban farm in East Austin. Tamara met Jesse delivering Rain Lily’s vegetables to Vespaio where he used to work as a chef. Local is exactly about making that kind of connection.