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By David Alan
Photography by Jenna Noel
A short time ago, the “cocktail revolution” began to blossom in major cities across the country—an uprising against pre-made mixes and poor-quality spirits; a renaissance of classic cocktails. The revolution produced a wellspring of world-class cocktail lounges in cities like New York, Seattle and San Francisco. Texas, however, didn’t fall under the spell quite as quickly. But things appear to be changing.
By Lisa Fain
Photography by Lisa Fain
“What do you think of the texture? Does it remind you of a turkey burger?” my friend Matt asked with a concerned look. “It’s very flavorful, but…you know…kind of dry.”
I had just made my first batch of charcuterie—the mighty bratwurst, the sausage of Oktoberfest. The texture of turkey burger was not what I had been aiming for.
Photography by Aimee Wenske
Young husband-and-wife pastry chefs Amanda and Mike Joyner were inspired to start their company, Retro Bizzaro, after watching the iconic Anthony Bourdain tour a defunct Twinkie factory on his TV show, No Reservations. Bourdain pointed out how the entire supply of leftover Twinkie filling had sat untouched, even by rodents, for so many years. This got the Joyners thinking. What if they could come up with a treat that delivered delicious, fluffy-cake enjoyment but wasn’t stuffed with . . . well, whatever constitutes the innards of an actual Twinkie?
Growing Home host Marla Camp talks to Michel Escoffier, great grandson of Auguste Escoffier and president of the Auguste Escoffier Foundation and Museum in southern France. Michel Escoffier is launching a network of Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in the United States with campuses currently in Austin and Boulder featuring a farm-to-table focused curriculum. On this episode of Growing Home, Escoffier talks about what motivated him in this venture and the influences his great-grandfather has had on the culinary world and his own life.
By Robin Chotzinoff
Photography by Marc Brown
Noble Pig Chefs John Bates and Brandon Martinez present Wild Boar Sausage with Shishito / Tomatillo Chutney and Romaine Sandwich: Broken Arrow Ranch boar sausage, Johnson's Backyard Garden vegetables and toasted Noble Pig bread.
By Meredith Bethune
Photography by Jo Ann Santangelo
A pickup truck carrying coolers full of eggs pulls up to a homeless shelter. The driver, Colby Smith, imagines the staff hollering, “Not that egg guy again! Lock the doors, turn out the lights!” As founder of Smith & Smith Farms, he will only sell eggs fewer than three days old, illustrating a firm commitment to providing a superiorly fresh product—something customers can’t buy in grocery stores. But in 2009, as a new farmer represented at only one farmers market, this ethos resulted in so many leftover eggs that the shelter started refusing his donations.
By Terry Thompson-Anderson
Photography by Sandy Wilson
A leisurely day trip through the scenic Texas Hill Country to Flat Creek Estate Winery culminates at a delicious destination. The successful growth and expansion of the winery since its opening on Valentine’s Day in 2002 closely mirrors the evolution of the modern Texas wine industry. Founders Rick and Madelyn Naber moved to the Hill Country near Lake Travis after Rick retired from his career as an engineer for a large industrial construction company.
Photography by Jody Horton
Seared Thunder Heart Bison salad with roasted Chioggia and yellow beets, Boggy Creek Farm arugula, Pure Luck goat cheese and balsamic vinaigrette by Sous Chef Matt Taylor at Wink.
By Suzanne Hurley
There’s nothing like harvesting your first crop of organic vegetables, and that’s just what Lydia and Juan Cruz may be doing right now, thanks to a group of Westwood High School seniors who descended on their backyard last summer. Guided by a Green Corn Project dig-in leader, the students spent four hot hours planting an edible garden at the Cruz’s home in Garfield, a small town east of the airport.
The students learned about double-digging and geometric planting, but also about the kind of difficult events that can derail lives. When Lydia Cruz told her story, they listened.
“Without your health,” she said, “everything can change in an instant.”
That instant came seven years ago, when Juan, then a construction superintendent, found that his left arm had grown too weak to roll up the window of his truck. His condition worsened over the next two years, until doctors finally diagnosed him with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative neurological condition.
By David Alan
If there’s anything to be said about Austin’s long summer, it’s that we have an abundance of outdoor activities. We heap limitless praise on our springs, lakes and barbecues, and we hold more races, festivals and other excuses for street closures than most cities can sustain. Not all of us, however, are athletic enough for the Danskin Women’s Triathlon, or liberated enough for a day of sunning at Hippie Hollow. Some of us are more inclined to celebrate Central Texas’s seemingly endless days of agreeable weather in a bibulous capacity, focusing on yet another glorious benefit of summer: the outdoor cocktail.
By Helen Cordes
Photography by Jesse Cordes Selbin
Want to know the secret that sparks loyalty—and raving addiction—to Wateroak Farms’s creamy, delectable goat goods? You’ll see it as soon as you round the curve of the bumpy lane that leads to Pam and Mark Burow’s “dairy goat haven” nestled among a thicket of magnificent water oak trees near Bryan. That’s where one recent spring morning, mama goats Sophie and Cornelia leisurely nursed their adorable babies and sauntered about the sunny, spacious corral.
Congratulations to Austin's winners picked by your online voting!
By Robin Chotzinoff
Photography by Marc Brown
On the 20th anniversary of his job as executive chef for the Z’Tejas restaurant chain, Jack Gilmore politely quit. “I believed in what we did, but it became too corporate,” he says. “My philosophy was to keep it local, keep it fun.” Jack was ready to live that philosophy. In December 2009, he opened Jack Allen’s Kitchen, which is local and fun, but also a 65-minute commute from his Marble Falls home to its Oak Hill address.
What’s the strangest cake request Karen Nichols has ever received? It would have to be the one from a nine-year-old boy who wanted “a giant chocolate-chip cookie with a school bus with Hannah Montana driving it, with a rainbow overhead,” Nichols says with a chuckle. “And that was just the beginning.” Nichols is the founder and president of Bake a Wish, a volunteer group that provides birthday cakes to shelters throughout Austin.
Anyone who’s driven the stretch of U.S. Highway 290 between Johnson City and Fredericksburg lately knows that it’s beginning to look a lot like Napa in the Hill Country; new wineries, and now tasting rooms, are popping up all along the road at an astonishing rate. But hang onto your hats, wine lovers, because the latest addition to the grape-strewn route is shaking up the status quo with a unique blend of great wines and marketing savvy.
By Kate Payne
Photography by Jo ann Santangelo
Last fall, my small garden was fraught with neglect after book-touring events took me everywhere, it seems, except my backyard. Thus, my delight in discovering a head of cabbage tucked within the rogue tangle was immense and deserving of a ceremony. I chose a celebration of sauerkraut.
Roasted-to-order Brazilian coffee and strong Belgian-style ale may appear to fall at opposite ends of the craft-beverage spectrum, but master roaster Joel Shuler, owner of Casa Brasil, and brewmaster Jordan Weeks, owner of South Austin Brewing Company (SABC), prove them to be a perfect pairing at their monthly Up & Down Tour—a fun, industry-level look inside the raw materials, production and tastes associated with these world-class beverages.
By Adrienne Martini
Photography by Leslie Washburne
My answer was the same, I’m sure, as it would be for many. No.
Houston coffee baron Avi Katz describes his new Bat City Blend in terms usually used only by winemakers: “A meritage of our best dark roast coffees...incredible depth and fullness...hints of smoky caramel and sweet blueberries are all balanced out with a touch of subtle earthiness.”
Katz’s employee David Alan considers it a “collaboration coffee.” An Austinite since birth, Alan works from his home town and wanted to promote a coffee that celebrated and supported something quintessentially Austin.
“I thought of Barton Springs and the bat colony,” he says, “and the bats got back to me first.”
They ended up with a sweet deal—50 cents will be donated to the Bat Conservation International for every pound of Bat City Blend sold. It’s a fair-trade, small-batch, organic coffee, made from a blend of Indonesian, Ethiopian and Mexican beans.
Taste it at Torchy’s Tacos (1207 S. 1st St., 512-366-0537), Botticelli’s (1321 S. Congress Ave., 512-916-1315) and Eastside Café (2113 Manor Rd., 512-476-5858) among other Austin locations. Or buy your own bag at Farm to Market Grocery or the Sunset Valley Farmers’ Market. katzcoffee.com