Dinner at Henri’s Cheese and Wine

As a devoted disciple to all things cheese and wine, I have been a ready-made fan of Henri’s Cheese & Wine since it opened, and now with a newly added dinner menu, there is even more to love about the South Lamar eatery. Henri’s Cheese and Wine has always offered an expanded lunch menu, but until recently, it shifted to a cheese, charcuterie, and wine spot come nightfall. However, a few months ago, Henri’s began test driving the idea of adding dinner by offering a series of regular nighttime specials, including its ever-popular burger and spaghetti and meatball nights. Now with Chef Keegan Archer at the helm, Henri’s new dinner menu features a diverse range of rustic yet modern small plates created using seasonal, local ingredients.

 

White Bean Dip & Seasonal Vegetables

White Bean Dip & Seasonal Vegetables

On this visit, we started with a white bean and crudité plate, which was more delicious than any such vegetable/dip dish should be thanks to an unexpected smoky flavor on the vegetables. Up next was a beautifully roasted quail dish served on top of a farro salad. The tender, juicy quail was delicious on its own but even more so when combined with the seasonal salad of fresh figs, thinly sliced cucumber, fresh herbs and goat cheese crumbles.

 

Roasted Quail and Farro Salad

Roasted Quail and Farro Salad

Continue reading Dinner at Henri’s Cheese and Wine

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

Brunch at La V Austin

With its glamorous, eclectic décor, warm service, and access to free flowing wine, spending Sunday brunch at La V is a must, especially when there is something to celebrate. Since La V falls into the higher end category of restaurants in Austin, visiting during brunch is a great way to sample goods on a smaller budget, especially with their recently added $12 bottle of rosé brunch special. And while the rosé special might have coax you in the door, it’s everything else – from the service to the food – that will entice a return visit, as proven by a recent leisurely Sunday spent at the east side restaurant.

Brioche Donuts - $11

Brioche Donuts – $11

Our meal started and finished on a high note, bookended by two ridiculous orders of La V’s brioche donuts. Light and airy on the inside and coated in cinnamon sugar on the outside, the donuts are perfection. Though the donuts, created from twice-proofed brioche, hardly need any help, La V ups the anti by serving them with a freshly made berry jam and vanilla bean pastry cream dipping sauce on the side.

The straightforward presentation of three high quality cheeses, fig preserves and crackers was another winning way to start the meal. I am not the hugest fan of soft, pungent cheeses, so I was pleasantly surprised to find La V’s plate offered a selection of three crowd pleasing yet interesting cheeses rather than sticking to an all-French lineup.

Cheese Plate - $12

Cheese Plate – $12

Continue reading Brunch at La V Austin

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

Austin Food & Wine Festival 2014 Preview: Interview with La V’a Vilma Mazaite

The 2014 Austin Food and Wine Festival is less than a month away, and what better way tostart the official countdown by talking wine with festival panelist Vilma Mazaite, the driving force behind one of Austin’s most impressive wine programs.

Lithuanian-born Advanced Sommelier Vilma Mazaite is currently the resident wine expert atlaV, a newly opened restaurant in East Austin. With a wine list boasting over 1,200 labels, including several rare vintages sourced from private collections and world-renowned wineries, laV is truly a wine lover’s dream.

Before she moved to Austin, Mazaite cut her teeth curating wine lists alongside some of the best in the business. Under the mentorship ofrenowned sommelier Rajat Paar, Mazaite helped to build the wine programs at several top Las Vegas restaurants before joining the team at Mario Batali’s famed Babbo restaurant in Manhattan. Mazaite next found her way to the prestigious five-star resort The Little Nell, located in Aspen, CO.

It was at The Little Nell where Mazaite fortuitously crossed paths with future La V Executive Chef Allison Jenkins, then leading the kitchen at one of the resort’s acclaimed restaurants. The duo, along with James Beard-nominated Pastry Chef Janina O’Leary, now comprise the restaurant’s all-women culinary team.

Like much of the culinary world, the wine industry has long been something of an old boy’s club, but thanks to emerging talent like Vilma, this won’t always be the case. During this year’s Austin Food and Wine Festival, Mazaite will lead a discussion highlighting some of the most innovative female leaders in the winemaking industry today.

laV-3

 

Join Vilma Mazaite for her Tour de Femme panel
Saturday, 4/26
1:00-1:45PM (Oak Tent)

 

Prior to moving to Austin, both you and laV’s Executive Chef Allison Jenkins worked together at The Little Nell in Aspen. What about this opportunity prompted the decision to relocate?

I really love Aspen and had a wonderful time working at The Little Nell. However, as wonderful as Aspen was, the opportunity to open a brand new restaurant and be able to put my mark on it simply doesn’t happen that often. Neither Allison nor I had any second thoughts about laV. Of course it was a scary transition and having opened just two weeks ago, we are really just getting our feet wet in Austin. But anyone who knows me would agree that I am not the type of person to look back. Without risk there’s little reward. I’ve taken a big leap but am excited about the possibilities.

Continue reading Austin Food & Wine Festival 2014 Preview: Interview with La V’a Vilma Mazaite

2/20-2/23 Weekend Happenings: Cheer-Up Charlie’s Reopening, Chili Cook-Offs, and more

From chili cook-offs to craft beer fest, this weekend is full of one food event after another. With so many good options, deciding what to do may just be the hardest decision you will make all week. But with the weather finally cooperating, that’s certainly not a bad problem to have. Even though the first ever Edible Austin Bacon & Beer Fest (mentioned here) is officially sold out, there are a number of alternatives to help you to start storing up for next winter this weekend.

Thursday, February 20

German Riesling Wine Dinner at Apothecary – 6pm

Looking for HH plans? Grab a seat at Apothecary Austin’s German Riesling Wine Dinner! Guests at the dinner will enjoy four different glasses of wine with food pairings all for $35/person. Not a bad Thursday if you ask me! The dinner kicks off at 6pm. Reserve your seat by emailing info@apothecaryaustin.com.

4800 Burnet Road #450, Austin, TX 78757

Friday, February 21

Cheer Up Charlie’s Grand Opening Party – 8pm

Start the weekend off right by celebrating the re-opening of one of Austin’s best bars. Cheer Up Charlie’s, which relocated to the former Club DeVille spot on Red River, is celebrating its new home with a bash this Friday. The free event will includes a musical line-up featuring White Walls, Silk Road, Gretchen’s Disco Plague, and more. Get the details here. 900 Red River, Austin, TX 78701

Saturday, February 22

YTAC 4th Annual Spice for Life Chili Cook-off – 2:00-5:00pm at Stubb’s

The Young Texans Against Cancer (YTAC) will host its 4th Annual Spice for Life Chili Cook-off on Saturday. In addition to a chili competition with a couple dozen teams (ie plenty of tastings), the afternoon fundraiser will feature a live set by Austin’s own Shakey Graves. Tickets to the event are $30/per person with proceeds benefiting the Young Texans Against Cancer organization. More details can be found here.

Spicewood Vineyards 6th Annual Chili Cookoff 2-5pm Continue reading 2/20-2/23 Weekend Happenings: Cheer-Up Charlie’s Reopening, Chili Cook-Offs, and more

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