Weekend Field Trip: Jester King Brewery + Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza

Having been a fan of Jester King’s high-end craft beers since they hit the market a few years ago, visiting the brewery has been on my Austin bucket list for sometime now. Jester King specializes in making food-friendly, farmhouse ales in large format bottles. Their brewing process is inspired by techniques commonly used at small, rustic breweries found throughout southern Belgium and northern France. (Read more about their unique process here.

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Jester King Brewery

As for the beer tastings, no two weekends are the same at Jester King Brewery. The brewery’s focus on small production means the tasting menu is consistently changing. While guests will find staples like Jester King’s popular La Petit Prince, they will also get the opportunity to sample seasonal beers as well. Continue reading Weekend Field Trip: Jester King Brewery + Stanley’s Farmhouse Pizza

July Happenings, Part I: Quesoff, Pig Roast, and More

Quesoff IV

Quesoff IV

It might be the middle of the summer slow down, but Austin’s event calendar is just getting hotter. Here are a few top picks, with more to come soon!

Central Market Wine Week Wednesday, July 9 – Wednesday, July 15

Central Market kicks off its annual celebration of all things wine on July 9 with a week long lineup of events that includes cooking classes, sommelier wine dinners, and winemaker meet & greets. Check out the full range of events here. Want a simple, budget-friendly way to unleash your inner wino? Stop by either location on Thursday, July 9 from 5-8pm for the ‘let the good times stroll’ event to enjoy samples, wine 101, and more for $10/per person. Details here.

Monday, July 14 – Austin Restaurant Week Wrap Party + Pig Roast

Tribeza is hosting the official Austin Restaurant Week Wrap Party on Monday, July 14. Benefiting Meals on Wheels and More, the bash will celebrate a successful spring ARW with a pig roast, live music, Deep Eddy cocktails, and a few area chefs beginning at 6pm. Tickets for the event, held at the Meals on Wheels HQ, are $20 and available for purchase here. 3227 East 5th Street, Austin, TX 78702

Quesoff IV at the Mohawk Saturday, July 19 from 2-6pm

Arguably the greatest food throwdown of the year, the Quesoff IV at the Mohawk, returns on Saturday, July 19 from 2-6pm. With over 20 teams competing in four queso categories, this year’s event is primed to be the best one yet, especially with competitors representing some of Austin’s best restaurants. In addition to spicy, meat and veggie, the competition has added a new wild card queso category, meaning prepare to expect the unexpected. There will be DJ beats throughout the afternoon and of course, plenty of cold beer available for purchase from Mohawk’s expansive list.

The event is free with RSVP (here). Chips for queso tasting can be purchased for $5/bag. The Mohawk, 912 Red River. 

Continue reading July Happenings, Part I: Quesoff, Pig Roast, and More

Summer Drinks: Happy Hour at The Hightower

Looking to mix up your happy hour routine? I recommend venturing a stone’s throw east of I-35 to check out The Hightower. With its sleek interior and casual covered patio, it’s got the right atmosphere for a post-work spot well into the hot summer months.

The Hightower has a solid list of (very good) craft cocktails – it is a new spot in Austin, after all – but it’s also a place one can order a vodka soda without fear of a side eye. There is also a nice selection of wines by the glass, though the beer selection could use some work.

Corpse Reviver #2

Corpse Reviver #2

As for menu options, The Hightower offers a number of shareable small plates in addition to a handful of larger entrées. I recommend starting with at least one order of the fried chickpeas coated in a spicy-sweet blend of seasonings. Served on top of an orange peel aioli, the sauce acts as a citrusy glaze when tossed with the warm chickpeas.

 

Fried Chickpeas - $4.00 reg/$2.50 at HH

Fried Chickpeas – $4.00 reg/$2.50 at HH

The blistered green beans ranked a close second to the chickpeas. The dish’s creamy honey mustard sauce and crispy leeks was reminiscent of a green bean casserole in the best kind of way. Thanks to the addition of farro and candied pecans, it’s a hearty than expected small plate offering, especially under $7.

Blistered Green Beans - $6.50

Blistered Green Beans – $6.50

 

Though I am suffering from a case of fried Brussels sprouts fatigue (#firstworldproblems), Continue reading Summer Drinks: Happy Hour at The Hightower

Guide to Summer in Austin, Part I

Memorial Day Weekend has come and gone, which of course means Summer 2014 is officially upon us. Austin’s event calendar is chocked full of ways to live large this summer, no matter how sweltering hot it gets outside. In Part I of your official Austin Summer Guide, we’re running down a few weekly and biweekly top picks!

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Have A #NOBUMMERSUMMER

Join the best club around by downloading your official #nobummersummer card, available here. The annual summer bingo card of fun was started in Summer 2012 as a way to honor Esme Barrera. From drinking margaritas to dancing in the rain, the card is a great way to infuse a little extra fun in your summer months.

Blues on the Green – Every other Wednesday; June 4th -August 6 in Zilker Park

One of the most popular events of the summer is undoubtedly Blues on the Green. Held every other Wednesday at Zilker Park, the KGSR-sponsored event offers free live music by local and visiting artists. Blues on the Green kicks off on May 28 at 8pmwith Saints of Valory. Full schedule and other details can be found here. 

 

Sound & Cinema – Every other Wednesday; June 18th-August 20th@ the Long Center

Beginning June 18, Sound & Cinema returns to the Long Center every other Wednesday evening. Presented by Do512 and Alamo Drafthouse, the events offer a little live music followed by a screening of a classic flick once the sun goes down. Continue reading Guide to Summer in Austin, Part I

Blackbird & Henry

In the mix of this springs many restaurant openings, Chef Mark Schmidt opened Blackbird & Henry just north of West Campus, offering upscale quality eats in a neighborhood environment. Prior to relocating to Austin, Chef Schmidt was the former owner and executive chef of the much-lauded Café 909 restaurant in Marble Falls. Having been once since it opened, Blackbird & Henry had been very much on my list of places to return. After hearing rave reviews from coworkers reporting back after I had recommended it, I decided it was high time to revisit the restaurant – this time during the newly added lunch service.

Salmon Ceviche - $12

Salmon Ceviche – $12

We started with a promising sounding salmon ceviche marinated with charred tomatoes and jalapenos off the day’s specials menu. Though I expected a little more kick from the jalapenos, the tomatoes added an unexpected depth to the dish. A tad more lime wouldn’t have hurt, but overall it was a solid start to our meal. Moving on to the main event, we opted for the Smoked Trout Salad and the Blackbird Burger.

Smoked Trout Salad - $11

Smoked Trout Salad – $11

The combination of smoked trout and hardboiled duck egg with crispy green beans and endive created a dish that was both refreshing and hearty. The whole grain mustard dressing gave it that perfect tangy kick which added a nice depth to the dish. Continue reading Blackbird & Henry

#AustinRW Budget Eats: Austin Restaurant Week 2014

Happening now, Austin Restaurant Week provides the perfect way to test the waters at a new restaurant or visit an old favorite without breaking the bank. Visit one of several participating restaurants during lunch or dinner to enjoy either a two-course prix fixed lunch or three-course prix-fixed dinner. Prices range from $12-17 for lunch and $27-37 for dinner. Austin Restaurant Week takes a timeout for the weekend but returns in time for Sunday brunch on May 18 through May 21. Check out the list of participating restaurants here. The best part about this week? $2 of each meal benefits . . . → Read More: #AustinRW Budget Eats: Austin Restaurant Week 2014

April Happenings, Part II: Urban Farm Tour + Crawfish Boils Galore

Here is Round #2 of Austin’s top events happening around town. Check out my previous picks here!

Located just a hop, skip and a jump away from some of Austin’s best restaurants, these farms help to give new meaning to the phrase ‘locally sourced.’ On Sunday, April 13, you are invited to celebrate our local growers during the 5th Annual East Austin Urban Farm Tour.

From 1-5pm, tour four of Austin’s premier urban farms while enjoying small bites created by favorite local chefs and food purveyors using seasonal ingredients grown in the gardens around you. In the spirit of Sunday Funday, there will also be plenty of local beer, wine and craft cocktails served at each stop along the way. Tickets (available here) to Sunday’s Urban Farm Tour are $50/per person with proceeds benefiting the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance.

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Participating Farms include:
Boggy Creek Farm
HausBar Farms
Rain Lily Farm
Springdale Farm

Check out the amazing lineup of food artisans, restaurants, & beer, wine and spirits distributers participating in Sunday’s event here!

 

‘Tis the season for crawfish! It’s a well known, scientifically proven* fact the best springtime parties always include a ‘boil. Get your Cajun on at one of these seasonal celebrations:

Saturday, April 12

The Stuffed Cajun Meat Market presents the Louisana Swamp Thing & Crawfish Festival on Saturday afternoon. Hosted by Roadway Events, the bash includes 7,000 pounds of crawfish boiled to perfection. Head to the Statesman’s parking lot (305 S. Congress) for a beginning at 11am for a full day of crawfish, cold beer and music. Tickets are $20/per person. More details can be found here. 

The Buzz Mill will host a crawfish boil on Saturday from 3-8pm. In addition to mudbugs, there will be live music and cold beer. More details can be found here. The Buzz Mill, 1505 Town Creek Drive, 78741. Continue reading April Happenings, Part II: Urban Farm Tour + Crawfish Boils Galore

Drinks and Eats: Whisler’s Austin + Dumpling Happiness

Opened by Lustre Pearl, Clive, et al vet Scranton Twohey, the East Sixth bar Whisler’s quickly became a favorite since opening last spring. Housed in the former home of the historic East Side dive bar Rabbit’s, the space was given a complete overhaul of the old stone building’s interior prior to opening.  Save for its faded logo on the building’s façade, there is little reminder of the space’s former tenant in the revamped space, thanks largely to a glamorous and stately new bar. At the same time, Twohey was certain to create a space that felt at home in the neighborhood as well as played homage to its predecessor. The result is a bar that lacks the pretention one expects from a typical East Side upscale cocktail joint.

Whisler's Austin

Whisler’s Austin

As for the cocktail program, Whisler’s offers a number of seasonal offerings as well as a nightly punch option. Don’t see something you like? Whisler’s bartenders are more than happy to spend some extra time discussing something that may strike your fancy. Thanks to this friendly staff and outstanding craft cocktails – combined with its casual atmosphere – Whisler’s is the type of place you can convince even the most strangely east side adverse friend to meet for a drink.

Continue reading Drinks and Eats: Whisler’s Austin + Dumpling Happiness