2014 Rock Your Taco
Jack Allen at the Fire Pit
2014 Taste of Texas
If I could dream up the perfect vacation, it would look a lot like the Austin Food + Wine Festival. This foodie would happily forgo sandy beaches and palm trees for a weekend of good food and great wine. But for those of you who may need a little push before scheduling your trip to Austin, here’s a quick rundown of the fare and festivities kicking off Friday, April 24.
Arriving fashionably late is the last thing you want to do at this festival. Schedule your check-in a day early for the pre-festival Feast Under The Stars. After all, what could be better than an exquisite family-style alfresco meal under the good ole Austin skyline? Held at Auditorium Shores, the five-course prelude will be collaboratively prepared by chefs Tim Love (Lonesome Dove Western Bistro, Love Shack, Queenie’s Steakhouse, White Elephant Saloon, Woodshed Smokehouse); Tyson Cole (St. Philip, Uchi, Uchiko); Jason Dady (Tre Trattoria, Two Bros BBQ Market, Shuck Shack, Tre Enoteca, The Duk Truck, B&D Ice House); Matt McCallister (FT33); and Erica Waksmunski (Red Star Southern). Tickets for the event are $225 (includes wine pairings and parking) and must be purchased separately from regular festival passes.
Start your first official day at Republic Square Park for Taste of Texas. Revel in the sounds of Jamestown Revival‘s musical performance while indulging in signature dishes prepared by Tatsu Aikawa (Ramen Tatsu-Ya); Alexis Chong (Sway); Ned Elliott (Foreign & Domestic); Omar Flores (Casa Rubia); Diego Galicia & Rico Torres (Mixtli); Dustin Harvey (Eastside King); Allison Jenkins (La V); Steven McHugh (Cured); Wayne Mueller (Louie Mueller Barbecue); Hugo Ortega (Hugo’s Restaurant, Backstreet Café, Caracol Restaurant); Michael Sindoni (CBD Provisions); Blaine Staniford (Grace); Quealy Watson (Hot Joy); Cori & Heng Xiong (Mala Sichuan); and Justin Yu (Oxheart).
DAYS 2 & 3:
The last two days of the festival will unleash a whirlwind of cooking demonstrations, book signings and interactive stations with chefs preparing dishes over firepits. This year’s festival will heat things up with twice as many firepits as last year and will include culinary heavy hitters David Bull (Congress); Thai Changthong & Paul Qui (ESK Thai-Kun); Terrence Gallivan & Seth Siegel-Gardner (The Pass & Provisions); Jack & Bryce Gilmore (Jack Allen’s Kitchen, Odd Duck, Barley Swine); Jorge Hernandez and Paul Qui (Qui); Pat Martin (Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint in Nashville); Tandy Wilson (Nashville’s City House); and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo & Gardner). Chef and Austin Food + Wine Festival partner Tim Love will share tips, tricks and recipes with attendees during his highly anticipated grilling demonstration — which happens to be one of the largest hands-on demonstrations in the world.
Head to the tents for The Chef Showcase, where festival-goers will sample an assortment of tasty bites from the Lone-Star state’s finest culinary talent. But let’s not forget about the wine! The festival features an all-star lineup of sommeliers, beverage directors, mixologists and craft-beer experts, including David Alan, aka the Tipsy Texan; master sommeliers Devon Broglie and Craig Collins; Food & Wine executive wine editor Ray Isle; La V sommelier Vilma Mazaite; and author Mark Oldman.
Saturday night brings the ultimate taco showdown with Rock Your Taco, a signature tasting event where chefs face off in the battle for best taco. Bask in the sounds of Lee Fields‘ live performance while sampling succulent flavors from the likes of last year’s winner, Richard Blais (Flip Burger, San Diego’s Juniper & Ivy) and Chris Shepherd (Underbelly). Need to wash down those tacos with something sweet? Head to Sips & Sweets, Saturday’s late-night dessert party at Mellow Johnny’s. Guests will enjoy signature cocktails and sweet treats from pastry chefs including Mary Catherine Curren (Easy Tiger, Arro); Thomas Calhoun (Lenoir); Janina O’Leary (La V); Callie Speer (Swift’s Attic); and Finney Walter (Olivia).
Tickets for the 2015 Food & Wine festival are on sale now. The All-In Pass ($550) includes access to cooking demos, firepits, food, wine and cocktail tastings, book signings, Grand Tasting experience on Saturday and Sunday, as well as access to both Taste of Texas and Rock Your Taco evening events, the Sips & Sweets after-party and a registered spot at Tim Love’s grilling demo for one of the days. The Weekender Pass ($250) includes access to cooking demos, firepits, food, wine and cocktail tastings, book signings and Grand Tasting experience on Saturday and Sunday. Individual tickets can also be purchased for Friday night’s Taste of Texas ($150), Saturday night’s Rock Your Taco ($200) and Sips & Sweets ($75). Get your tickets here.
Get a jumpstart on packing with these festival essentials: