Austin Food & Wine Festival To Do List

The first day of the Austin Food & Wine Festival can be a bit overwhelming. The festival is large, and there is a lot going on. To help you navigate your way to the best of the fest, here’s a few tips:

  • Decide early which Cooking Demo and Tasting Session are your “don’t miss” choices, and arrive at their scheduled time early. They fill up fast. If you decide you can’t live without seeing Stephanie Izard or Lidia Bastianich, make your way toward the tent a half hour prior to the start, and scope out the crowd. For seated Tasting Sessions, if you want a chair near the front, time is of the essence.
  • Love this year’s tee shirt? Buy your swag when you see it, because it always sells out.
  • The spit buckets are there for a reason. You won’t always love what you’ve been poured. Ditch it, use a little water to clean your glass, and move on.
  • Hydrate with water. Yes, I said it. This is a marathon, not a sprint. Also, there’s nothing fancy about getting sloppy at a public event. Drink water while sampling wine and other alcoholic beverages. Indulge in those copious samples.
  • Apply sunscreen prior to the event. With the new bag size limitations, there’s not a lot of room to carry sunscreen with you.
  • Designate a driver, arrange for someone to drop you off or pick you up, do a rideshare, hail a taxi, but whatever you do, don’t drive under the influence.
  • Have fun on social media. Hashtag the event in your photos and posts: #AFWFest and follow the fun online.
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Best Bang for Your Buck: La Mancha’s Email Club

I’m not a huge fan of filling up my inbox with advertisements, but when it comes to restaurants I prefer to be in the know. Out of all the emails I sift through, La Mancha consistently comes through with the best bang for your buck in terms of exchanging your email address for food news.

La Mancha, a locally owned Rosedale Tex Mex joint, runs its marketing promo very simply: subscribe with your email and on Thursdays you’ll receive an email with a freebie offer such as flautas, queso, shrimp & crab rolls, guacamole and other goodies.  Thursdays are $5 Mexican Martini days, too.

What’s the fine print? You must show the email to your server, and you must order at least one entree.  Oh, and no more than one freebie per table. So let’s do the math on this Thursday deal: Mexican Martini, ($5) + freebie appetizer-sized item + El Camino Green Chile burger ($8.99) add fries ($1.99) = $15.98 in deliciousness. Mexican Martinis are normally a two drink pour, and cost $9 on every other day of the week.  The food freebie is a savings of around $4.99, give or take. You’ll save almost a ten spot on what you’d normally spend. That’s a win, folks.

Categories: Austin, Central Austin, Comfort Food, Family Friendly, Giveaway, Local, Queso, Tex Mex | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Best Bang for Your Buck: La Mancha’s Email Club

Loro Preview Party Benefitting No Kid Hungry

Photo Credit: Loro

Loro, the love child of Aaron Franklin and Tyson Cole, opens its doors on April 4th.  You can claim bragging rights at being the first to experience the highly anticipated menu at a preview party on March 29th benefiting No Kid Hungry, a national nonprofit dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger.  Tickets are $100 and available online.

An Asian smokehouse and bar, Loro has seating indoors and out, under hundred year-old oak trees. Patrons will order food and drinks at the bar, and there is a separate To Go area. The ambience and architecture was inspired by historic dance halls of the Texas Hill Country. The goal is a homey yet elegant feel, with windows and skylights allowing for the play of sunlight indoors.  Outdoors, the deck, garden and patios host relaxed seating options including rocking chairs.

The Loro menu was created by Chef Tyson Cole and Aaron Franklin with Chef de Cuisine James Dumapit to offer a variety of dishes that balance Southeast Asian flavors with the rich texture of traditional Texas BBQ.  The menu is divided into Snacks, Starters, Sandwiches, Rice Bowls, Plates and Sides.  The entire menu is available throughout the day with the exception of the Smoked Beef Brisket, which is available only at dinner.

The menu features dishes like Candied Kettle Corn with burnt brisket ends topping, making it a sweet, salty, smoky treat; Char Siu Pork Shoulder marinated in soy hoisin oyster sauce and fermented bean curd then roasted and grilled for a glazed caramelized finish; and Smoked Beef Brisket, a dinner-only dish that is marinated in Nuoc Mam and Thai gastrique and finished with herbs and chili oil.  The brisket is the “most literal combinations of our styles,” says Aaron Franklin.

“The complex flavors of Southeast Asian food, ranging from the acidity in citrus, to heat from a variety of spices, to all the clean fresh flavors of the herbs, create a balance that is the perfect counterpoint to the richness of smoked meat,” said Chef and Loro Partner Tyson Cole.

Austinites will, no doubt, be won over by the fusion from these two wildly successful restaurateurs. Join them at the preview party and nibble your way through deliciousness. Let’s hope the sake slushies will be available for sampling, along with wine and sake on tap, craft beers and cocktails.

Categories: Austin, Barbecue, Benefit, Food Event, Local, South Austin, Southeast Asian | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Loro Preview Party Benefitting No Kid Hungry