April Happenings, Part I: Pop-ups, Picnics, Spring Dinners and More

April in Austin is always my favorite time of year: the weather is patio drinking perfect, the post-SXSW concert lineup is stacked with great shows, and it’s the birthmonth (yes month) of yours truly.  Considering the number of events on the calendar over the next few weeks, it seems I’m not the only with an affinity for April in ATX. Though my April has started off with a little bug not even ramen could cure, the wonders of modern medicine should have me back on track and ready to enjoy some of this month’s top happenings listed below.

WALLERCREEK

Don’t Miss the Waller Creek Picnic 4/12!

Saturday, April 5th

The Scrumptious Chef presents the Art of Charcuterie Pop-Up Dinner – 7pm
In what might be his best theme yet, The Scrumptious Chef ‘s RL Reeves, Jr. is hosting an ‘Art of Charcuterie’ pop-up dinner on Saturday. Held at Tamale House East, the menu includes some of the finest cured meats such as Benton’s country ham, a favorite of Thomas Keller’s The French Laundry restaurant. Non-meat dishes include jalapeno cheddar grits and Poteet strawberry cobbler – all of which are created from locally sourced ingredients.

The feast will be served beginning at 7pm. Full details and menu can be found here.

Sunday, April 6th
Henri’s Cheese & Wine turns two this weekend, and to celebrate, the shop is hosting a cheese and wine tasting on Sunday evening. Head to Henri’s from 7-9pm to celebrate with food, drink specials, and other festivities. More details can be found here. Henri’s is located at 2026 South Lamar, Austin, TX 78704.

Saturday, April 12th

2nd Annual Waller Creek Conservancy Picnic & Benefit – Palm Park at 6:30pm
The 2nd Annual Waller Creek Conservancy Picnic & Benefit returns on Saturday, April 12. Once again, several of Austin’s best restaurants are pitching in by offering gourmet picnic baskets available for prepurchase. Make it the fanciest picnic around by choosing a basket from the likes of Jeffery’s or LaV, or keep it casual with Home Slice or Counter Culture; either way, don’t wait too long to order because these baskets will get snapped up quick. If you can’t decide what to order, you are always free to bring your own spread. In addition, Easy Tiger and Antonelli’s have teamed up to offer a limited number of baskets available for purchase on site.

Each basket includes a full meal for two and will be available for pick up beginning at 6:30pm at the event. Prices range from $30-$150; full details, including a link to each basket’s menu, can be found here.

Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar Spring Wine Tasting – 2-4pm
Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar is hosting a spring wine menu tasting from 2:00 to 4:00pm. During the event, guests will test drive their new spring wine list paired with small bites from their new spring dinner menu. Tickets for the event are $25 per person and include all food and wine. Email info@apothecaryaustin.com to snag a spot. Apothecary Wine Bar, 4800 Burnet Road, Austin, TX 78756 Continue reading April Happenings, Part I: Pop-ups, Picnics, Spring Dinners and More

AFWF 2014 Preview: Talking Wine w/Craig Collins

What better way to continue our countdown to the 2014 Austin FOOD & WINE Festival than checking in with a person who has been instrumental player in the Texas wine industry for over a decade? Master Sommelier Craig Collins first discovered his love for all things wine while working at a Texas winery during his college days.
Collins-390x330

While most his classmates were more than likely drinking cheap beer and boxed wine, Collins followed his newfound passion with a semester abroad in Italy in order to deepen his understanding in the wine industry. Following graduation, he began a successful career as a wine consultant while working tirelessly towards gaining his prestigious Master Sommelier certification.

Meanwhile, former college roommate Andrew Curren was busy building his own successful culinary career while working in some of the best kitchens in New York. After relocating back to Texas, Chef Curren joined the Elm Restaurant Group in opening Austin favorites 24 Diner and Easy Tiger.

When it came time for the group to open their third spot, Arro, it was only natural Curren & Co. would tap Collins to help curate the upscale French eatery’s wine list. Together with friend and fellow Master Sommelier Devon Broglie, Collins created a top-notch, exclusively French wine list that is approachable, well priced, and unexpected.

A partnership years in the making, Collins officially joined the Elm Restaurant Group at the end of last year. In his role as Beverage Director, he not only oversees Arro’s wine list, but he is also busy curating Easy Tiger’s craft beer selection and its expanding list of reserve whiskeys. At 24 Diner, Collins matches Curren’s elevated diner food with fantastic wines from some of the best boutique wineries in California and Washington State.

For the Elm Restaurant Group’s forth concept, an Italian wine bar to open Summer 2014, Collins will have the opportunity to revisit his formative semester abroad as he puts together what will certainly be one of the best wine lists in town.

Join Master Sommeliers Craig Collins and Devon Broglie for their California Enlightenment discussion on Sunday, April 27 in Oak Tent. Based on his description below, it will not be one you want to miss!

Image via Arro Austin

Image via Arro Austin

 

At this year’s Austin FOOD & WINE Festival, you will be discussing the next wave of California wines. How has the region evolved as of late?

There are several winemakers crafting wines that are stylistically different than what we have seen from California vineyards in the past. Some are harvesting the grapes earlier (which creates lower-alcohol wines), while others are making amazing wines from non-traditional grapes such as Arneis and Ribolla Gialla.

Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay will always be king and queen of the region, but even some of these wines are receiving less oak treatment and less extraction. Each of these evolutions creates wines that are more approachable and food friendly. I am currently showcasing several of these innovative wines on the list at 24 Diner.

Besides California, which regions or varietals are you currently excited about? Continue reading AFWF 2014 Preview: Talking Wine w/Craig Collins

February Happenings, Part I: Exotic Meat Pop-Up, Wine Dinners and #BaconandBeerATX Fest

February is gearing up to be quite the month of events and new openings. Here are a few quick picks to get on your calendar ASAP, but there are plenty more updates coming your way, including a full list of Valentine’s Day happenings. Stay tuned!

Beer and Bacon Fest

February 4 – Mettle Italian Wine Dinner at 7PM

Mettle Chef Andrew Francisco will prepare an amazing five-course menu to be paired with a variety of Italian wines.  The dinner is $85/per person, and reservations can be made online or by calling 512.236.1022. More information can be found here.  Mettle . . . → Read More: February Happenings, Part I: Exotic Meat Pop-Up, Wine Dinners and #BaconandBeerATX Fest

2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival Tickets On Sale TODAY

Tickets for the Austin Food & Wine Festival officially went on sale this morning! The third annual festival, happening April 25-27, is without a doubt the city’s biggest culinary celebration. From Top Chef winners Richard Blais and Paul Qui to culinary legends Rick Bayless and Andrew Zimmern, the festival’s star-studded line-up of talent includes a laundry list of award-winning chefs and nationally recognized wine experts. While local talent has always played an important role in the festival, this year’s line-up goes the extra mile with a number of Austin’s chefs showcasing their skills at different stages throughout the weekend. As with past events, the festival’s highlights include two days of demos, Tim Love’s hands on grilling expo, and of course, the Grand Tasting Tent filled with all kinds of goodness from food artisans, wineries, top restaurants and more.

In addition to weekend’s festivities, organizers have added a one of kind preview event on Thursday evening to help kick off the festival. The Feast Under the Stars event, held at Butler Park, will feature a five-course collaborative dinner celebrating locally sourced ingredients. The Outstanding in the Field style dinner will feature five highly regarded Texas-based chefs, including Tyson Cole (Uchi), Chris Shepherd (Underbelly, Houston), Tim Love (Lonesome Dove, Ft. Worth), Kent Rathburn (Abacus, Dallas), and Jodi Elliot (Bribery, Austin). In addition to what’s certain to be an amazing menu, the all-inclusive dinner will include wine and cocktail pairings. Tickets for the Feast Under the Stars Event, priced at $185/pp, are sold separately from the AFWF passes and available here.

Don’t miss dishes like this ah-mazing Korean Braised Goat and Dumplings by Chris Shepherd; get your tickets TODAY!

2014 AFWF Kick-Off

2014 AFWF Kick-Off

Part two of the festival’s kickoff will commence on Friday evening. The Taste of Texas event, held at Republic Square Park, will feature live music, flowing drinks, and some of the best chefs from across the state. As the official VIP welcome party of the festival, 20 Texas chefs will be on hand to serving some of their very best dishes. Continue reading 2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival Tickets On Sale TODAY

Fall Foodie Happenings: Top Picks for Fall Fun

College football season officially kicks off this weekend, which can only mean one thing: Fall is right around the corner! Per usual, Austin has a plethora of events happening over the next few months to keep your social calendar full. With many events, like Texas Monthly’s BBQ Fest, releasing tickets imminently, it’s not too early to start thinking about what to attend. Here are a few picks that demand a Save the Date! 

Texas Monthly BBQ Fest 11/3

Franklin’s will be at Texas Monthly BBQ Fest on 11/3

September

In late September, the Lenoir Restaurant team will travel to New York City to host a dinner at the prestigious James Beard House, but a few lucky locals have the opportunity to enjoy a preview dinner before the team is officially Big Apple-bound. On Sunday, September 8, Lenoir will host an exclusive multicourse dinner with the same menu as the James Beard Dinner. The evening with commence with cocktails and canapés in Lenoir’s charming backyard garden followed by a seven courses dinner with wine pairings. Tickets for Lenoir’s James Beard Preview Dinner, available here, are $200/per person (dinner, wine, tax & tip are all included).

Bread and Circus Supper Club plans to give Barnum and Bailey’s a run for its money on September 27 with it’s A NIGHT UNDER THE BIG TOP & SideDish SideShow After Party. Held in honor of the group’s second anniversary, Bread and Circus Supper Club will transform The Palm Door into a big top extravaganza for a two-part night of events that includes dinner, music, and plenty of outlandish circus-themed fun. Guests are invited to join the party early for a whimsical five-course Supper Club dinner ($90 w/wine; $65/no wine) or pop in for late night revelry at the After Show ($8). Tickets for the evening’s shows are sold separately, though Dinner Party tickets include After Show entry. For the full details, including the menu, entertainment lineup, and ticket information, please visit the event webpage.

October

The 24th Annual La Dolce Vita Food & Wine Festival will be held on October 24 at Laguna Gloria to benefit The Contemporary Austin’s education programs. The annual foodie fest always features over 50 top Central Texas restaurants and wineries, and this year’s lineup of heavy hitters is certainly no exception. In addition to general admission tickets ($150/per person), La Dolce Vita organizers are also offering a limited number of VIP tickets ($200/per person), which includes access to a Cocktail Lounge curated by The Tipsy Texan. Continue reading Fall Foodie Happenings: Top Picks for Fall Fun

Happenings: Top Weekend Picks

There are two not to miss events happening Thursday evening:

The 9th Annual Big Reds & Bubbles hosted by the Wine & Food Foundation of Texas (mentioned here) will be held at the Driskill from 6:30-9:30pm.

Art Night Austin: Preview East  (mentioned here) will run tonight from 6:00-9:00pm at various galleries on the East Side.

Friday:

Austin 1st Annual Oyster Festival launches this Friday evening as a way to play homage to the crustacean sensation while raising funds for The Nature Conservancy of Texas as well as breast-cancer charity The Smile Never Fades. From 6:00pm until 12:00 am, enjoy . . . → Read More: Happenings: Top Weekend Picks

Happenings: Big Red & Bubbles Next Thursday!

One of the best events of fall, Big Red and Bubbles, returns next Thursday, November 8 from 6:30 – 9:30 PM and tickets are on sale now! Hosted by The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas, Big Red & Bubbles is a celebration of some of the best big reds, sparkling wines, and local cuisine. Held in the always-glitzed out Driskill Hotel, this event is the perfect kick off to the fall holiday season. Along with dozens upon dozens of fabulous wines for the tasting, local favorite restaurants such as Barley Swine, Salty Sow, the Noble Pig, and Swift’s Attic, . . . → Read More: Happenings: Big Red & Bubbles Next Thursday!

Happenings: Tour de Vin this Friday

Mentioned here, the Wine & Food Foundation’s annual Tour de Vin makes its triumphant return to Austin this weekend! Always one of the most fun events of the summer, the Tour de Vin is a wine and food filled extravaganza featuring chefs from some of Austin’s best restaurants serving up dishes to pair with offerings from over 15 acclaimed wineries. Along with world renowned food and wine, the evening will feature multi-cultural performances and a fantastic silent auction. The evening will benefit the Wine & Food Foundation’s programs. Learn more about the Foundation here.

This year’s event will take . . . → Read More: Happenings: Tour de Vin this Friday