Spending the afternoon day drinking and stuffing your face with tons of delicious bites by nationally acclaimed chefs? Sounds like my kind of party! And once a year, the Austin Food and Wine fest kicks off at Auditorium Shores to let us do just that. This year I was invited with a media pass to cover the fun and you bet I took full advantage of it. Literally I had to prepare mentally and physically for how much food was about to be consumed.
So please be prepared, whether you’ve attended a food fest before or not. Food fests are not for the faint of heart. And I say that after having grown up in Austin, Texas, live music capital of the world. Not to mention our home turf food scene is 100. I’ve attended ACL for as long as I can remember, and I’ve even flown out of state to attend Lollapalooza over the years. And yes, food is a huge aspect of those types of music festivals, especially in foodie cities like Austin and Chicago.
But as you can imagine, the Austin Food and Wine scene is a dedicated 48+ hours to food, food, and booze. And if you’re smart like me, maybe it’s food, booze, and food. IDK, definitely PSA to go into this type of festival hydrated, and drink throughout. Your body will thank you later.
You basically are allowed to drink and eat in a park in the middle of Austin in the middle of spring. It’s hot but there’s still a slight cool breeze, the city skyline is there, and it’s just an overall fun time between tastings, installations, live fire cooking, etc. My pro tip is to start at the back, and work your way up. Hitting as many tents for food as possible, obviously keeping your glass full, but aim for the food first. They have been known to run out, which is inevitable bc you can’t just prep indefinite food, so just come prepared and focus on food first.
What I truly do love about this type of event, is you will see up close some of the outstanding women and men of the hospitality and service industry. The chefs, restaurant owners, personalities, and the like that make up not only Austin’s eclectic food and beverage scene, but the surrounding cities even stretching nationally too show up and are cooking in front of you, plating in front of you and serving you. It’s so fun to walk by and see a chef from your favorite restaurant out and about with the community.
The event has some signature events, which the most notable one is the live grilling event led by festival creator and chef Tim Love. Love has a restaurant in town called Lonesome Dove, and is a Dallas man himself. But he runs a live cooking class and it’s always a hot ticket in town. In previous years this was coupled with the main event, but as of this year it’s a separate higher ticket price item. I did not attend, however that is my goal for next year *fingers crossed*.
The main attraction is the actual festival, two days, pretty much 11-3ish both days. And I will say you are forever forewarned, there will be a huge dance circle in the middle at around 2:30/3pm and it will be the highlight of all your efforts getting to that point. So be sure to fill your glass up and bring some bites to get down to.
Another fun event that gets you over the hump from day 1 to day 2 is Rock Your Taco, again a separate higher ticket price item, but this one I have attended. It’s cool because it’s at Fair Market which is one of my fav venues in town. AND This is where some of those national chef’s come to play, like this year my favorite Chicago chef, Stephanie Izard came down to delight us with her Goat Mole taco pictured below. And champion of the night was Jamie Bissonnette, an award winning chef from Boston who took home the taco crown.
All in all, I loved getting to schmooze, booze, and stuff my face with so many of my friends who happen to be involved in this fantastic event so thank you for making Austin Food and Wine fest what it was, until 2019!
Now here are some fun photos from the event: