April 19, 2009 - “Stars Across Texas” at Texas Hill Country Food and Wine Festival
I do it every year. I eat too much at the annual "Stars Across Texas" event.
One of the signature events for the Texas Hill Country Food and Wine Festival, the culinary and vintner extravaganza features dozens of Texas' best restaurants and just as many wineries from across the nation - all showing off their best creations to the legion on culinary patrons. This year, the event moved to The Long Center, which provided a wonderful backdrop for the food and wine artistry.
However, this was the first time that I can remember there being no live entertainment at the event. You move to the Long Center, but leave out the entertainment? Really?
Anyway, my adventure partner Brian Alford and I stopped by practically every booth, and schmoozing with fellow journalists Addie Broyles and Michael Barnes from the Austin American Statesman along the way. We also chatted with chefs Tyson Cole from Uchi, Elmer Prambs from Trio at the Four Seasons, and Jeff Blanks from Hudson's on the Bend. And we ran into Austin ex-pat - and Iron Chef competitor - David Bull, who was promoting Bolla in the Stoneleigh Hotel & Spa in Dallas along with his new online interactive cookbook, Bull's Eye.
Short ribs were offered by several restaurants, served with various versions of grits, couscous, and citrus slaws. And as usual, some scored, and some bored. Culinary highlights for us included:
- August E's in Fredericksburg: wild Aoudad sheep in a saffron crepe with wild berries
- Uchi - pork belly on sautéed Brussels sprouts and apple, and an all-pistachio dessert (candied pistachios, pistachio cream, and pistachio sorbet)
- Driskill Hotel: beef tartar on dried ice spiked with Italian grape soda (very impressive!)
- Hudson's on the Bend: buffalo tenderloin with Shiner Bock mashed potatoes
- Bolla in Dallas: salt-cured beef carpaccio
- Navajo Grill in Fredericksburg: lamb sliders
The Carillion at U.T. had the most impressive display, featuring a veal dish and a peach and goat cheese terrine. But our favorite was a venison tartar on a foie gras buttered puff pastry with three sauces. I just forgot to write down what restaurant created it!