April 18, 2010 - The Sunday Fair
   The continual rains that reinforced the wildflowers that decorated the drive to the Texas Hill country Wine & Food Festival’s Sunday Fair had once again turned the Salt Lick Vineyards into a mud pit.  With the throngs lined-up to enter the white tents that had sprung up in the fields, and the ankle-deep mud desperately topped with hay, the atmosphere resembled a traveling circus from my youth.  Note to organizers:  poorly chopped cedar trees do not make acceptable trail materials in attempts to cover the mud.
     This year's Sunday Fair - like Friday night's Stars Across Texas - proved to be much smaller than previous years, both in participating vendors and the number of attendees.  Ever since the Festival moved the Sunday Fair closing event from Georgetown's San Gabriel Park to Driftwood's Salt Lick Vineyards, the crowds have dwindled.  I understand wanting to allow one of your sponsors to host the event, but the Vineyards are hard for the Festival's target market to access, and the location is in the opposite direction of the target population.  I'm just saying…
   Nevertheless, crowds lined-up to sample the wares of restaurants and vineyards alike.  The local purveyors Salt Lick Bar-B-Que had to wait an hour for their samples to arrive, so long lines formed at favorites that included Trattoria Lisina, the restaurant at Damian Madola's neighboring Mandola Estate Winery.  Their offering of marinated olives, bacon-wrapped treasures, and crunchy bruschette proved very popular.
   Also garnering long lines were Spec's with their array of sandwiches, Whole Foods with locally-sourced greens topped with lamb and pea puree, and Greenling with a wonderful assortment that included spinach and strawberry salad with feta and olive tapenade on
homemade cheese bread.
   Dagars Catering also drew a long wait to sample their stuffed tuna steaks, lobster salad, and filo-wrapped beggars' purses.  Their busy location kept the lone Teo Gelato server dipping samples as fast as she could move her arms.
    We took my parents, who delighted in meeting the parade of friends and associates we kept encountering.  The highlight was Retro Bizarro chefs and owners Michael and Amanda Joyner, who brought their young son Arthur - dressed in a pint-sized chef's coat - to meet his hero, guest celebrity chef John Besh.  Already an adventurous diner, Arthur kept our spirits from becoming as damp as our feet.

(Photo of Chef Arthur and Chef Besh by Amanda Joyner)

April 17, 2010 - Rare and Fine Wine Auction
     We are having a few problems with our digital camera, so check back Monday night for our recap of The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas annual Rare and Fine Wine Auction.