Hot Luck Fest is synonymous with a good time. As it should be, it’s put on by industry titans like Aaron Franklin of THE Franklin BBQ, Guerrilla Suit Principle and Mohawk owner, James Moody, and Mike Thelin, Co-Founder of Feast Portland. These guys know everything there is to creating a good ambiance for magic to happen whether it’s listening to your favorite band, or eating your favorite meal. Their magic, they combine the two over a series of events ranging from brunches in auto body shops, to tuna breakdowns at live music venues. 20+ bands, 50+ chefs, and 110% food times. It’s the hottest ticket in Austin every Memorial Day. And I’m going to share 5 things that I ate that were so memorable, I would like to be buried with them.
Not really buried, but ya know… They were THAT good that I want to eat them every day until I die, please.
- Fat Rice- Chicago
Chicago is probably my favorite city to eat in, and out of all the times I’ve visited there, I regrettably never made it into Fat Rice. (In my defense Chicago has a LOT of killer spots). Nonetheless, I’ve been a fan of Abe Conlons and to have him in Austin was a treat. And part of what makes Hot Luck so special since they really try to bring incredible national talent to town for our dining pleasure. Anyways, he made a beef cheek pending with an anchovy sambal, herbs, and cucumbers. It was both spicy and flavorful and for not ever actually having Fat Rice before, a huge win according to my belly. Something about asian spices just really gets me, and Abe clearly gets them so yum. Definitely making a b line there next time I’m in the windy city!
- Pizzeria Bianco- Phoenix
Let it be known I have been “off” pizza for a while. Let it also be known I ate about 10 slices of this Pizzeria Bianco pizza because it was THAT good. Simple, that’s all I can say about their approach. The pizza just tasted like heaven and I wanted to make sure I got my fix of it until the next time I visit Phoenix. A simple pistachio, red onion, and rosemary pizza. Who would have ever thought that those would go together on top of bread with some parmigiana reggiano, but it’s my new favorite pizza topping combination. So yall better get the pistachios ready.
- Safta– Denver
Alon Shaya is one of my favorite chef’s because his last name sounds like my first name but also because he’s a James Beard award winning chef from Israel and cooks some of the most delicious middle eastern food you’ll ever eat in America. Safta is actually in my second home, Denver. And fun fact, I just booked a reservation to eat there later on this month. Lucky me because I haven’t eaten at his restaurants yet outside of eating his food at Hot Luck in years prior. But for Hot Luck 2019, he prepped a hummus, golden raisin, and beef dish that struck all the chords in my soul. I’m really looking forward to continuing to follow Shaya’s journey because I’m pretty sure it will always lead to a happy meal.
- Franklin BBQ– Austin
The man of the hour, king supreme in Austin, Texas and Beyond. Aaron Franklin knows meats and man did I get the sweats. He made sure to bring all his friends out to show us a good time, but what a good host he was he threw in a few of his favorite bites too. My favorite was the opening event was AT Franklins. The whole place was shut down and we partied in the street. It was the kind of backyard BBQ you could hangout at all night, good friends, all the food you could want, and really really good vibes. Plus, randomly people would walk around with huge beef ribs and if you were a lucky passerby you’d snag one– like I managed to. So definitely count me into any and all of those hang out sessions from now on, please!
- Cuyo- Houston
All I know is I want more! The most perfect pillowed empanadas. Word on the street is Cuyo is opening a spot in Austin. But I settled for having them at Hot Luck because it meant I got to stuff my face with them for a night. And that we did. A mother daughter duo from Argentina, the restaurant will feature the holy dish and what I can only imagine is a menu that will leave me wanting more.
And just like that Hot Luck is over but as you can tell I’ve already got plans to make my way back to some of these dishes. Clearly I’m a big fan of all that Hot Luck does to feed my belly and my soul. It’s a fun event that spans different environments providing you the ultimate foodie experience, and it’s just a damn good delicious time. Hope for Hot Luck 2020 to see you out there! Party on, Austin!