Austin Texas – Top Chef and Top Tastes – SXSW 2012

March 19, 2012

I make about six regular trips a year to locales all over the planet. On that list are Vegas, Florida, Europe and Austin, TX. The other journeys vary, but depend on the venue or organization paying me to go sample some wine, wonder or wild cuisine. *If you’d like me to come taste your menu or visit your resort, get in touch.

So, this March I jumped on JetBlue Airlines to Austin, TX for the annual South by Southwest Interactive Festival. While there, I played with some technology, did some work (outside of my cuisine world) and had some meals.

Here are the photos and the recaps…

Sushi at Kenichi Restaurant in Austin. As usual, delightful, fresh and delicious. Friend and manager Danielle stopped by during dinner to say hi. One of the top two meals I had in eight days in Austin this trip.

Unremarkable and overpriced gnocchi with greens from Parkside Restaurant in Austin. While the sauce had some character, the gnocchi were overcooked and the greens seemed to be an afterthought in both taste and presentation. I will give Parkside credit for the best Bloody Mary I had all week while in Austin. The spices and the hint of citrus, along with the inclusion of olives, made that beverages one of my most memorable.

The 1886 Cafe & Bakery at the Driskill Hotel was consistently good. In past years, I’ve walked across town to grab breakfast at the Cafe. This year I was a guest of the Driskill so I only had to stroll downstairs to my usual table to enjoy breakfast. In the two photos here, top is the State of Texas Waffle with Fruit. That belonged to Steve Garfield who enjoyed it very much. He offered me a taste, but I was enthralled by my aptly named and signature dish, Hippy Hollow. It’s goat cheese, tomato, spinach, eggs and country potatoes. Excellent.

Here are a few other dishes I had while in Austin. I’ll be doing longer reviews in later blog posts of a few different places like the Driskill Hotel and a place called Trulucks that I hadn’t visited before this year’s festival.