Republic Square Park
Food & Wine Festival kicked off with the Taste of Texas event on a beautiful night in the heart of downtown Austin.
Aaron Franklin's brisket
Festivalgoers lined up for Aaron Franklin's famed barbecue brisket. He greeted each eager guest with friendly chit chat.
Shrimp and Grits
Chef Josh Russ of Lüke in San Antonio served up this Southern classic. He left the Gulf shrimp's heads on for shellfish fans to suck on.
Tuna in a can, reimagined
This delightful tin contained Chef Blain Staniford's play on canned tuna. Unlike the canned stuff, his tuna conserva is fresh and delicate.
Ned Elliott's Pastrami Beef Tongue
Foreign & Domestic's Ned Elliott whipped up the highlight of my evening: pastrami beef tongue with a silky foie gras mousse, pickled green strawberries, burnt milk, and wild basil.
Tim Byres and Tim Love
Chef Tim Love (Lonesome Dove etc. in Fort Worth) stopped by to check out chef Tim Byres's (Smoke Restaurant in Dallas) grilled Gulf oysters on the half shell.
Paul Qui's Kimchi Grilled Cheese
Top Chef Texas winner Paul Qui and his team from Qui, his soon-to-open restaurant in Austin's East side, kicked up scrumptious grilled cheese sandwiches with kimchi.
Gazpacho from The Pass & Provisions
Terrence Gallivan and Seth Siegel-Gardner served a springy green pea and ramps gazpacho out of marrow bones, topped with a brioche ball.
Jason Daly's play on Mexican street corn
Chef Jason Daly aerated corn purée onto lime halves and finished them with a sprinkle of chili powder to recreate the flavors of grilled Mexican corn.
Chris Shepherd's Wagyu Meatballs
Executive chef Chris Shepherd of Underbelly in Houston cranked out juicy Wagyu meatballs. He dressed them in a grapefruit barbecue sauce and ladled them onto a bed of cumin slaw.
Confections at Sips & Sweets
Pastry chef Erica Waksmunski of Congress assembled a stunning display of sweets to pair with cocktails at the Sips & Sweets after-party at Mellow Johnny's.
Cocktails at Sips & Sweets
To complement the numerous desserts, bartender Jason Stevens of Bar Congress mixed up a floral basil and grapefruit cocktail and a velvety coffee cocktail.
Philip Speer's unconventional chocolate cake
Philip Speer, executive pastry chef at Uchi/Uchiko, whipped up classic desserts with a contemporary spin. For example, he nuked a chocolate batter into chocolate cake in the microwave and made ice cream in a stand mixer by chilling it with liquid nitrogen. To prevent the ice cream from sticking to the sides of the bowl, he heated the spinning bowl with a blowtorch.
Plating his dessert
Philip Speer plated his spongy chocolate cake and cream cheese ice cream and topped it off with smashed raspberries.
Momofuku's Christina Tosi demonstrated how to make one of her current favorite cakes, which featured passionfruit and chocolate chips.
Heads to Tails Grilling Demo
Chefs Tim Love and Andrew Zimmern showed attendees how to grill up beef cheeks and tails, some highly flavorful but underutilized cuts.
Ready, set, grill
Attendees got their hands dirty at the popular yet searingly hot grilling area.
Austin's own Tiny Pies showed off their dainty creations. Butter pecan was a hit.
Beet and Kale Salad
Chef Josh Watkins of The Carillon Restaurant featured Austin's bountiful produce in a bright kale and beet salad during the Chef's Showcase.
Tèo's Oilve Oil Rosemary Gelato
Austin's own Tèo gelateria scooped unique flavors such as rosemary chocolate and goat cheese honey. They suggested that I sample their olive oil rosemary gelato on a crusty baguette. (Great advice.)
Feast's Squid Pro Quo
Chef Stefan Bowers of Feast in San Antonio pleased the crowd with this fresh and bright salad with tender squid and fava beans. He dressed it in a chili pine nut anchovy sauce and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Whole hog on fire pit
Tim Byres led the Smoke team at the fire pit to roast up whole hogs.
Whole hog tacos
The whole hogs were chopped up, dressed, and loaded on corn tortillas.
Allen Stone performed at Rock Your Taco Showdown
Allen Stone kept the crowd on their feet with live music on Saturday night at Republic Square Park.
Rene Ortiz's Brisket Pastrami Taco
The La Condesa team served up pastrami on rye tortillas with cooling cabbage.
Spiaggia's Tripe Tacos
Tony Mantuano and Sarah Grueneberg teamed up for their Italian inspired tripe tacos with freshly grated orange zest. A personal favorite, this took me back to eating at trippa carts on the streets of Florence.
Marcus Samuelsson dishes out goat tacos
Marcus Samuelsson wooed the crowd with his Ethiopian inspired goat tacos.
Fish Tacos with Thai Basil
Jon Shook and Vinny Dotolo (Animal and Son of a Gun in Los Angeles) finished their hard-shell fish tacos with fresh Thai basil.
Bryce Gilmore's Beet Tacos
Barley Swine skipped the conventional tortillas and used roasted beet slices instead for these goat cheese and crispy rice tacos.
Susan Feniger's Potato Stew Tacos
Susan Feniger smothered her tacos with a creamy potato stew. Messy to eat, but also hearty and delicious.
David Bull's Banh Mi Tacos
David Bull of Congress reinterpreted the taco by filling it with paté, pickled vegetables, and other banh mi ingredients.
Winner! Tyson Cole's Hamachi Tacos
The Uchi team sliced up fresh yellowtail for their yucca shell tacos, winning the Rock Your Taco Showdown for the second year!
Tyson Cole Wins the Rock Your Taco Showdown
Special guest judge Billy Gibbons congratulated Uchi's Tyson Cole when he won the Rock Your Taco competition for the second year.
Sel et Gras Party
Sel et Gras, a Paris-themed afterparty, took place at Trace at the W Hotel. Trace's executive chef Lawrence Kocurek sent out one indulgent French delight after another. Here he is holding escargot, that he farmed himself, prepared two ways.
More French Bites at Sel et Gras
Salmon tartare cones and beef tartare with horseradish cream were two of many elegant one-biters that evening. Other favorites included fried frog legs and foie gras donuts with blackberry jam.
Dessert display at Sel et Gras
Trace's executive pastry chef, and James Beard Award nominee, Janina O'Leary designed the afterparty's stunning edible display with the help of Pichet Ong.
Andrew Zimmern with his wild birds
Andrew Zimmern showing off a succulent confit leg of pheasant during a wild birds demo.
Lotta Lobster with Jonathan Waxman
Chef Jonathan Waxman demonstrated how to properly prepare this prized crustacean. He recommends putting live lobsters in the freezer for six minutes to "put them to sleep," then jab a knife swiftly into its head and boil softly in salted water for seven minutes per pound.
Sicily on High with Anthony Giglio
Author and sommelier Anthony Giglio hosted a tasting that featured wines from the slopes of Sicily’s Mt. Etna.
Ray Isle, Food & Wine's executive wine editor, walked attendees through the 2013 Wine Guide.
Sunday fire pit
Bryce Gilmore, Jack Gilmore, and Rene Ortiz teamed up at the fire pit to feed the crowd.
David Alan, the Tipsy Texan
David Alan shared his insight on Austin's rapidly growing craft cocktail scene. He also introduced his new book, The Tipsy Texan Cocktail Book, that showcases recipes and stories from bars around the Lone Star State.
Gin and Strawberries
David Alan designed a gin-based cocktail with muddled strawberries for attendees to sip on.