Austin Food & Wine Festival 2015

Alcohol, because no great story starts with

‘that one time I ate salad’


All great things start with 3 ingredients Food, Drinks, and Sun. Then you mix in a DJ here and invite the cool crowd there, there, and over there. When the ‘cool’ crowd no longer consists of the jocks and cheerleaders but some of the best chefs, beer, wine and liquor distributors around, I’d say you have the recipe for throwing a successful party..err I mean event!

We all know, and can relate to the meme, “Alcohol, because no great story starts with ‘That one time I ate salad.’” Now there may have been a few kick-ass salad dishes out there (tuna tartar does not count), but the intoxicating smell of meat on the grill and cocktail shakers ringing in my ears had me bee lining to back of the Grand Tasting tents.

Prepared with an empty stomach, I made the rounds to each and every booth with the full intent of sampling everything at least once. From the tasty meats at Stiles & Switch BBQ,, to Olive & June’s sausage links with aioli,  Teo’s creamy gelato and oh my.. Tim Love’s lamb chop – divine – I was well on my way to a full belly! I waited in a very long line for those lamb chops, not even going to lie about that, luckily it was next to Teo’s gelato, so no complaints here.

As the weekend lineup of events boasted amazing how-to’s, seminars, and sampling bites and drinks created from the minds of top talents within the nation, the dilemma of cashing in early after a day in the sun or making it to the evening dinner was a no brainer. Once the sun sets and the Texas sky graces us with its utter beauty displaying a blanket of pinks, purples, oranges and reds the nightly events kicked off.

Thursday night’s Feast Under the Stars provided a “one-of-a-kind dining experience that offers locally sourced, 5-course meal- each prepared by five award-winning chefs from the festival.”

Diners were also provided with select wine pairings and cocktails and cocktails for each course, while chefs such as Tyson Cole (Uchi/Uchico), Tim Love (Lomesome Dove, love Shack, Queenie’s Steakhouse), Jason Dady, Matt McCallister (FT33), and Erica Waksmunski (Red Star Southern) reveal the creative approach to their dishes.

Friday night’s Taste of Texas held in Republic Square Park was the fourth installment of the Austin Food + Wine Festival boasting an “all-star lineup of talent from the Texas culinary scene serving up dishes that reflect their signature style.” After diners enjoyed an up close and personal sampling of the chef’s signature dishes, they enjoyed a live musical performance by Jamestown Revival. Beverages provided by Rioja Wines, Beer by Stella Artois, and signature cocktails crafted by Hendrick’s Gin.  The local chef lineup included Tatsu Aikawa from Ramen-Tatsu-ya, Allison Jenkins of laV, Clinton Kendall at East Side King, Ned Elliott of Foreign & Domestic, and Scotty Szekretar of Violet Crown Management.

The featured band, Jamestown Revival, is “deeply rooted in harmony, they merged the sounds of the South with classic American and Western rock.” Moving from Magnolia, Texas out to L.A. they developed their first full-length album, UTAH, that is “heavily autobiographical, telling the stories of their adventures, their discomforts, and their observations.”

Known as “one of the world’s most exciting wine regions,” Rioja is located in northern Spain and is the country’s oldest and most prominent wine- producing area of this time.


  • The three sub-regions that comprise Rioja (Rioja Alta, Rioja Alavesa and Rioja Baja), each have their own unique characteristics, but across the board, Rioja is defined by quality, heritage and integrity, as well as tremendous diversity.


  • Rioja’s red wines are mainly produced from Tempranillo, a varietal that reaches its finest expression in Rioja. Rioja wines are classified by their aging, with Crianza, Reserva and Gran Reserva as the most commonly found categories. One of these category seals is on the back of every single bottle of Rioja and guarantees its origin.


  • More than 200 brands from Rioja are available for purchase in the U.S.

-Austin Food + Wine

Follow our story to learn more about Riojan Wines and Ana Fabiano, acclaimed author who created the definitive book on Rioja titled, The Wine Regions of Rioja.

Saturday was the day! Also declared the hottest day of the year, trust me I have the sunburn to prove it (idiot), the AFAW FEST featured the Chef Showcase where ‘delectable bites by Top Chefs around Austin and Central Texas’ were available to meet and comment on the inspiring plates they dished out for the event. Excited by the caliber of chefs featured on the line up, I was proud, that although our small, new start-up of a digital magazine we have featured quite a few of them. From Josh Jones at Salt & Time to the boys at Bufalina, we have also had the opportunity to dine with the best of them!

Check out their stories, here and here!

Saturday night’s Austin Food + Wine event featured the Rock Your Taco Celebrity Chef Showdown where diners watched the country’s top chefs in action while they go head-to-head, “adding their own take on the tortilla wrapped treat.” Sampling each creation by the competitors and washing it down with signature paired cocktails Herradura Tequila and Tito’s Handmade Vodka, wine Rodney Strong Vineyards, and beer by Stella Artois while listening to the “old sound soul” of Lee Fields & The Expressions. Local talents included Tyson Cole (Uchi & Uchico), Tim Love (Lonesome Dove, Woodshed Smokehouse, Queenie’s Steakhouse, Love Shack, White Elephant Saloon), Paul Qui (Qui and East Side Kings), and Andrew Wiseheart (Contigo and Gardner).

I have always dreamed of going to an event such as this. As my first experience in attending the Food + Wine Festival, let alone as a proud Austinite celebrating in my hometown, I am beyond impressed. The organization and variety of talents showcased during the 4 day-long event were the perfect ingredients of what made a FOODIES dream! In trying things I never would have paid money for when dining at a restaurant (kangaroo anyone??) I am now more open minded for those types of experiences. The phenomenal dishes the chefs put out not only peaked my interest in stepping out of my comfort zone, but solidified the confidence that I have within these creatives and because of the Food + Wine Festival I will definitely be stopping by these restaurants instead of my usual go-tos!

Until next year, CHEERS!

For Inquiries:                                                                      Photography by: Chisum Pierce