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Edible Austin is looking to expand its sales staff as well as discover new contributors. Read More
by Mary Stanley
Mama says don’t leave home without your smartphone, but first make sure you have unlimited text and data download or you’ll come home from Europe with a phone bill bigger than Texas. Ask your cellphone provider for their best travel options. For a small fee, my provider allowed me to use my U.S. number while in Europe—to phone home or call my traveling companions, who also had U.S. numbers—and gave me unlimited data download and texting so I could freely use my apps and GPS. International calls were still very expensive, but I didn’t use my phone for talking. Instead, I used it to keep from becoming lost; to book trains, accommodations and dinner reservations; and to research a destination’s information, such as museum hours, history and photography. Here are some things I learned along the way.
The Beverage Issue
It is not likely that the readers of Edible Austin need to be educated about the virtues of drinking wine. However, it has been our mission—since our second issue in the Fall of 2007 when we wrote about natural wine vintner Lewis Dickson of La Cruz de Comal winery near Canyon Lake—to educate ourselves on the virtues of supporting the wine and grape-growing industry in Texas.
We started writing about Texas winemakers and vineyards that were getting it right when there were few champions of Texas wine, and nary a selection to be found on restaurant menus or quaffed in popular wine bars. Thanks to the research and passion of regular Edible Austin contributors such as Russ Kane (whose book “Texas Hill Country Wineries” is excerpted on page 50 in this issue) and Terry Thompson-Anderson (named a 2015 James Beard Award finalist for her book, “Texas on the Table”) we have learned a great deal along the way. And thanks to restaurateurs such as Ross Burtwell of Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg and Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due in Austin, you can now dine out in top restaurants featuring exclusively all-Texas wine lists.
What can those of us who have little control over the drought do to help our Texas farmers? Follow water conservation measures and drink more Texas wine. Cheers!
by Mary Stanley
In January 2006, I attended SIGEP (Salone Internazionale Gelateria Pasticceria e Panificazione Artigianali) in Rimini, Italy. This is arguably the premiere international fair for all things pastry, bread, pasta and pizza; however, six football-field-size halls are dedicated to only gelato. I fell head over heels in love with this softer, more intense cousin of ice cream. I learned everything I could, eventually bought my own equipment, opened my own gelateria in Brownwood, Texas, and began the task of perfecting my new obsession.
Early in 2013, a consortium made up of SIGEP organizers and representatives from Carpigiani (a gelato machine manufacturer), MEC3 (a gelato flavoring manufacturer) and IFI (a gelato case and bar manufacturer) spun the idea that there should be a sort of Olympics of gelato. There were already competitions for professional pastry chefs, chocolatiers and gelato masters, but none that challenged and rewarded the small, locally owned gelato shops and their proprietors, who are really the frontline ambassadors for gelato. The group called the new competition the Gelato World Tour, and each company in the consortium provided a necessary component for the contest.
The Fresh Issue
We use the word “fresh” a lot around here, it’s true—there’s not a single issue of Edible Austin without it. In our work, “fresh” is most often used to describe food, and rightfully so—it is our most compelling raison d’être. But with this issue, we’d like to expand our application of “fresh” to more than just food. We want to also focus on fresh concepts, solutions, directions—to the many questions and ideas introduced to our particular playing field that are met with a “yes” and then move forward to become reality, taking us with them. Fresh ideas from this issue include retooling classic Southern fare for a new palate (page 38), cleansing the skin with a surprising (though thoroughly ancient) ingredient (page 48), marveling at the collision of Texas wine and beer cultures (page 16) and finding inspiration in tragedy (page 18).
Of course, we also chose to debut Fresh now because this time of year invites change (this is the first time I’ve written the note for this page, for example). We eagerly look for, and await, new paths. And why not? The view from here is spectacular, isn’t it? It stretches for countless, forgiving miles to an end that is barely perceivable...a blurry pinprick on the horizon. The door of possibility is propped wide and the road ahead paved with yeses. In this and subsequent issues of Fresh, we’ll celebrate, and shine the spotlight on, the yes-takers and yes-makers among us—those who build with trust and leap without a net, the people and ideas that challenge us to consider food and life just a little differently. Do these things have the ability to change the world? Yes, and…
…welcome to Fresh.
Dawn and Robert opted for an intimate gathering with family and close friends. Most guests traveled in from the Midwest to celebrate this longtime couple’s nuptials, so Dawn and Robert wanted to give their guests the unique flavor of Austin while here. They chose a variety of local vendors to help complement the groom’s one-and-only request of a fried chicken dinner.
Photography: Alison Narro | Wedding Dress: Second Summer Bridal | Florist: Central Market | Venue: Palm Door on Sabine | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: BHLDN | Rings: Shane & Co. | Catering: Pink Avocado Catering | Beer: Austin Beerworks & Lone Star | Wine: Austin Winery | Band: Blue Channel Jazz | Groom’s Attire: Men’s Warehouse | Bride’s Shoes: Allen’s Boots | Groom’s Shoes: Converse | Desserts: Tiny Pies | Hair & Makeup: Urban Betty | Bridal Skin Care: Sauveur Skin Care | Party Favor Koozies: Feeling Printy | Rentals: Premiere Events | Rehearsal Lunch: Easy Tiger
By Anthony Sobotik and Chad Palmatier, of Lick Honest Ice Creams
I am definitely the one who does the vast majority of the cooking and all the baking in our household—and that’s just fine by me, as I’ve always enjoyed my time in the kitchen. When Chad does cook, it’s usually when we prepare brunch together on Saturday mornings. Brunch is, hands down, our favorite meal, and it’s the one meal we compose together almost every weekend. I typically do most of the heavy lifting while Chad makes coffee and prepares beverages. There is one exception to that general rule: Chad makes excellent scrambled eggs and has recently become quite the expert egg poacher. I’m not complaining one bit! He uses his grandmother’s decades-old egg poacher and the results are perfect every time. So, although our hearts are in the crafting of artisan ice creams, we decided it’d be appropriate for us to share our list of go-to tools for brunch. —Anthony Sobotik
How many kids in the U.S. can make a full-course dinner? According to dailymail.com, 30 percent of college students can’t boil an egg, while 18 percent can’t make a piece of toast. Is it reasonable to send kids off to college if they don’t even know how to cook an egg?
Like many others, I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could. I grew up in New York state, and these colder days remind me of the treks my family and I would take to yet another out-of-the-way Italian grocer—tracking down ingredients for our Sicilian holiday traditions. We shopped for live octopus and vials of cuttlefish ink for Festa dei Sette Pesci (Feast of the Seven Fishes), fennel with oranges for New Year’s Day and stuffed artichokes for Easter. Despite the abundance of Italians in the northeastern U.S., the climate certainly doesn’t reflect that of the craggy Sicilian coastline, so finding some of these products in the bleak gray of winter wasn’t easy. Celebrating our cultural heritage at the dinner table is common for many Americans, but the timing can seem a little off when it comes to the seasonality of ingredients.
When asked to prepare a meal with special meaning, Kim and Whit Hanks choose the classic Spanish dish paella—not only because it’s delicious, but because preparing it can be, should be, a team effort. The Hankses should know from team efforts, too—married co-founders and owners of Whim Hospitality, they share a passion for hard work, hospitality and celebrating happiness in all its forms, business and personal.
Natural. Grassfed. Pasture Raised. Organic. These are only a few of the marketing stamps, seals and buzzwords jumping off food labels strategically placed to catch the eye of would-be conscious consumers. While these potentially exclusionary options might not be for everyone (partly due to food accessibility and equity), the marketing world of messaging can be a tricky landscape to navigate for those seeking to make food purchases that align with their values of humane animal treatment, sustainable and regenerative practices, ethical and fair sourcing and/or health concerns, to name a few. According to Daisy Freund of the ASPCA, “Well-meaning people are making choices that don’t actually support their values.” The problem is three-fold: misleading descriptors, undefined terms and lack of accountability.
“Your diet is like a fingerprint,” says Dan Marek, school programs manager and chef for Whole Kids Foundation. “No single diet is going to work for every single one of us.” Marek is standing in front of a group of teachers in the Williams Elementary school cafeteria in South Austin, leading a healthy-eating workshop/cooking demo—part of the foundation’s Healthy Teachers Program. And despite his soft-spoken and gentle demeanor, he means business. He’s not here to school teachers on what they should or shouldn’t be eating or to tell them what products to buy (“I work for a foundation that’s sponsored by an organic grocery store, and I can’t even afford to buy organic 100 percent of the time.”) Instead, Marek’s mission is to arm the educators with both data and inspiration, so they can make their own informed choices about how to eat.
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Summer is the perfect season to chill out with refreshing food and drink, especially when our pups can stay cool along with us. From July 22 to 28, you can bring your pooch to a local patio and treat them to a fantastic summertime feast, thanks to Dog Restaurant Week. The fido-friendly menu includes options like pup's pastries, beef sliders and pumpkin truffles.
If the Cinnamon Toast Crunch chef decided to enter a homebrew beer competition in Austin, Hazelnut Crunch is what he’d probably make. Seriously, it’s got actual Cinnamon Toast Crunch in it, though to hear the beer’s real-life creators tell it, that part was sort of improvised. “We were sitting around eating Cinnamon Toast Crunch as we made it, so we just decided to dump some in,” says homebrewer Nathan Beels, who dreamed up Hazelnut Crunch with girlfriend Bonnie Evans. “It was only half a box, so I’m not sure how much flavor it imparted to the beer. It was just one of those, ‘Why nots?’”
Up a back staircase, in what was once a few small efficiency apartments above the Viscardi Family Grocery in the historic Clarksville neighborhood, there is now a classroom. Long gone is the grocery downstairs, replaced in 1975 by Jeffrey’s, one of Austin’s most iconic and long-lived restaurants that was reinvented and reopened in 2013 by the McGuire Moorman Hospitality (MMH) group as a modern fine-dining establishment.
Hunger is a serious issue in Central Texas, where one in six of our neighbors doesn’t know where their next meal will come from. That’s why the Central Texas Food Bank (CTFB) is always looking for fun, creative ways to engage the community in helping us serve those in need.
One glance at Chef Ren Garcia’s résumé and you’ll notice it reads like a who’s who or what’s what of the Austin culinary scene for the past three decades—Bouldin Creek Café, Vespaio, Dai Due and now, Micklethwait Craft Meats, are all there. It’s clear he has the chops to handle the chops…and brisket and ribs…working the pit at the popular barbecue food trailer, but interestingly, he wasn’t always a connoisseur, or even consumer, of such things. Garcia’s evolving culinary prowess all started when this once-devout vegetarian moved to Austin in his 20s (to play in a band, of course) and found that cooking was also his jam.
Stuck in traffic on north 183, I often wonder what goes on in all those sprawling, anonymous storefront office units and warehouses lining the highway. Most of it is probably pretty mundane—insurance companies, bookkeepers, medical supplies—but maybe, my daydreams suggest, there’s an episode of “Breaking Bad” going on somewhere in there. I would never think that tucked behind a custom 4x4 auto parts garage lives the burgeoning frozen pizza empire, Bola Pizza.
Chet Garner has made a career out of traveling the state of Texas, filming his Emmy award-winning show “The Day-tripper”—an approachable, sometimes adorably nerdy look at various characters and locales across the Lone Star State. It’s a career that’s inadvertently made him a Texas barbecue expert—he’s hit all of our local barbecue joints—but when he’s at home with his family in Georgetown, Chet and his wife, Laura, are squarely in what he calls, “the kid zone.” With four kids ranging from 2 to 9, the Garners tend to eat very simply.
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