Last evening, the Texas winners of the recent American Cheese Society Competition 2011 displayed their award-winning cheeses at Celebration Restaurant. What a great turnout! The room was SRO with cheese lovers. It was so crowded I could barely get around the space to sample all of the cheeses and during my attempt to do so, I dropped my camera and the last hundred I shot are out of focus. However, I was thrilled to taste Pure Luck Farm and Dairy’s Hopelessly Blue goat cheese, Mozzarella Company’s Hoja Santa goat cheese, and Brazos Valley’s creamy cheddar. All of the cheesemakers and cheeses in attendance are listed below, along with the photos I salvaged. These people work their butts off to produce some fine cheese. Buy it. In quantities. Go Texas cheese! (And Rangers!)
Jump for the glorious cheeses.
Raya has told you where to go if you want to watch the game in public. However many of us prefer to view the game from the comfort of our own couch with a few friends and dogs. A commenter, who wants to party at home, asks what she can cook to represent each team. I know you will be tempted to say roasted a few Northern Cardinals. There are six of them in my front yard this very second. You can buy Nolan Ryan’s beef at Kroger and maybe do some toasted ravioli.
I say we get this party started! Get creative. Go Rangers!4 Comments »
This dinner event may be too groovy for words, but I’ll give it a shot. Our favorite forager Tom “Spiceman” Spicer is teaming up with Chef David Anthony Temple (aka underground chefDAT) and Artizone.com to present “Dinner in the Garden.” The event, benefitting the Family Place, takes place on Sunday, October 30 at 5PM. The food, paired with wine, will come from Artizone supported local farms and vendors or, if you speak DATspice: “Chef DAT will compose a one of a kind dinner concerto in 5 movements, to be performed in Spiceman’s urban garden with an orchestra of wines to match.” Oh, yeah. Get down on it for $100 per person. Tickets here . Phone answered here: 214-325-4642.
A couple of years ago we threw a cheesemaker appreciation reception at Celebration Restaurant. Well, we’re doing it again on October 27. Join us from 5:00 to 6:30PM as we taste the Texas cheeses that recently won American Cheese Society awards. Come meet Paula Lambert (Mozzarella Co.), Rebeccah Durkin (Brazos Valley), Amelia Sweethardt (Pure Luck), Edgar Diaz (Three Happy Cows), Dave Eagle (Eagle Mountain), and Dr. Anne C. Jones (Latte Da Dairy). And as always, the affable Meaders Ozarow (Empire Bakery) will be there with the bread. Check out all of the award-winning cheeses below. See you there!
Jump for the glorious cheeses.
To get an idea of how the grape variety is doing, I emailed eight Texas wineries that produce Roussanne from Texas grapes. Seven responded, and all agreed to send a sample bottle of their current vintage. Two of the wineries had two wines to offer so both were included. I also bought wines from from elsewhere to use as benchmarks so their was a broader base to judge the Texas wines. To pick these, I went to Jasper Russo. Many of you know him for plugging his food trucks promotions in the comments on SideDish but, in his spare moments, he is actually the consumer wine director for Sigel’s. I asked for the names of the three best Roussanne wines from anywhere in the world in his stores and the three he recommended all happened to be from France (he didn’t know the reason that I was asking). I purchased two of them and we were up to eleven bottles for the tasting. Continue reading "Is Roussanne the Next Breakthrough White Wine in Texas?"
The groovy folks at the Texas Agriculture Department really know how to throw a party. They also do a great job of promoting Texas food through their GO TEXAN program http://www.gotexan.org/. Each year they present a week-long celebration of Texas products by asking restaurants all over the state to create special fixed-price menus which consist of Texas products. The series of events, which runs from July 25-31, benefits local food banks.
Todd Staples, a man with a perfect last name for his job as Agriculture Commissioner, has this to say: “More chefs are working directly with farmers and ranchers to bring you fresh Texas food. The GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up is Texas’ only statewide dine-out week and is a great time to savor the best meats, vegetables, fruits and wines, while helping hungry Texans.”
The details are below. Continue reading "GO TEXAN Restaurant Roundup Week Starts July 25"5 Comments »
Recently I asked Seth Martin, winemaker and owner of Perissos Vineyard and Winery whom I profiled here, about the status of the 2011 Texas wine grape harvest. I was well aware that 2010, a stellar year, would be a tough act to follow. He was kind enough to send photos of his grapes.
Martin talks about the 2011 harvest from his vineyards close to Burnet in the Hill Country. “I’d say excellent. The biggest single variable is that we did not have any late freezes at our place,”Martin said. “We have had enough water to keep the vines from dehydrating too much and as of the past week or so the wind has backed off a bit. Because of the lack of rainfall and unseasonable heat (3.7″ of rain since January) the disease pressure has been low.”
He sent this picture of his Syrah. Note how much vivid blue coloration is present in the grape skins. That means that they are close to ripeness so Martin must monitor the must weight (sugar), total acidity and pH of the grapes on a daily basis in order to catch what may be a spike in levels in a very short time. “So, overall I’d have to call this a good year so far,” Martin said. ” If we don’t get any rain, which I actually don’t want at this point, then the harvest will be early 9like 2009) and we can wait for mature flavors to develop. Sugars are starting to increase rapidly. Flavor comes last.”
At the Southwest Foodservice Expo I caught up with Gary Kelleher of San Luis Spirits. The last time SideDish talked to him he was offering his Dripping Springs Vodka. Now, he has made a Texas gin! He talked about how he made it.1 Comment »
Can you walk and chew gum? Then you can drink Texas wine and tweet! I’ve participated in this monthly Twitter chat and while it’s a little hard to get a word in (difficult for me, anyway), I’ve always learned some unique facts about Texas wine. Tonight the Texas Department of Agriculture will announce a major new initiative designed to promote and support restaurants that offer Texas wines. Locapour? IJS.
Jump for directions. Continue reading "GO TEXAN Twitter Tasting Tuesday is Tonight"
My mother grew up in a small town outside of Archer City, Texas. A couple of nights a week she watched her mother go out in the back yard, grab one of the many chickens running around the yard and snap its neck. A couple hours later the former “pet’ was devoured for dinner. It wasn’t a trend; it was how they lived.
Now having a groovy chicken coop in your backyard or on a patio in New York is trendy. The gals over on the D Home blog have the scoop on the “must have” coop. If you want to get your backyard bird party started, the folks at Northaven Gardens have the knowledge and supplies. I’d rather have a goat.
Dang, I almost forgot. Tonight at 7PM, you can join in the fun. Winos all across Texas will “chat” about Texas wine on Twitter. Here’s the deal.
Tonight’s guest is Katy Jane Bothum, executive director of the Texas Hill Country Wineries. She’ll be talking about plans for the Hill Country Wine Trail’s road shows around the state, the upcoming Austin Wine and Music Festival taking place Memorial Day weekend, and other updates from the #2 fastest-growing wine destination in the nation.
As part of Twitter Tuesday, pick up one or more of these three wines from Texas Hill Country Wineries – Bending Branch Winery Tannat, , Dry Comal Creek Vineyards 2009 Black Spanish, and Becker Vineyards 2010 Viognier.
To chat with Katy Jane, follow her on Twitter @TexasWineTrail and use the hashtag #GOTEXAN.
Jump if you don’t know how to Twitter. Continue reading "Hey Twitter Followers: It’s GO TEXAN Twitter Tuesday"
Not that we need a reason to head to one of the best places in our great state, but if you are looking for something to do over the first weekend in June an event notice came a across that would make me take the drive down I35 featuring our own Paula Lambert, sitting beside some of the best culinary names in the business, to judge the first Edible Texas Wine Food Match where chefs will compete using local Texas ingredients paired with Texas wine. See details below or click here:
Edible Texas Wine Food Match, presented by Edible Austin and The Texas Food and Wine Gourmet. This first-ever culinary competition challenges chefs from Central Texas to create regional food to pair with appellation wines of Texas to bring out the best in both. Held on Friday, June 3, 7 to10 p.m. at the AT&T Conference Center in Austin, the competition is an official event of the 2011 International Association of Culinary Professionals’ national conference.
Guest judges include Jacques Pépin, world-renowned chef, television celebrity, author and culinary educator; Francois Dionot, founder and director of L’Academie de Cuisine; John Besh, chef, restaurateur, author and television personality; Michael Bauer, executive food and wine editor for the San Francisco Chronicle; and Paula Lambert, cookbook author and founder of the Mozzarella Company. Five Central Texas chefs, chosen by a panel of preliminary judges, will vie for the perfect pairing that reflects the soil, grapes, wine and food of Texas in three courses for 150 guests. Proceeds from the event will benefit the newly launched nonprofitTexas Center for Wine and Culinary Arts in Fredericksburg, Texas.
Continue reading "Here Is A Great Reason To Head To Austin"
Last night’s dine around dinner and wine tasting took place on the grounds of Perini Ranch. Chefs and wineries cooked and poured for over three hours. I was a bad reporter. I didn’t take notes or shoot many pictures because I wanted to just experience the evening. However, I ended up with a few videos and pictures that paint a picture of some of my fondest memories. (Earlier reports here and here.)
I was most impressed by chef Marco J. Martinez of Matt’s Rancho Martinez. Marco is the youngest son of the late, great Matt Martinez, Jr. Marco created a “Southern plus prairie plus Texan” dish which consisted of a thick waffle covered with smoked rabbit and jalapeno cole slaw. I’d give second place to Chef Tim Byres of Smoke. He served melt-in-your-mouth ribs with a sassy chimichurri sauce and blue cheese spiked grits. As always, Jacques Pepin floated around the crowd chatting and sampling the food by Texas chefs. He is perhaps the kindest man in the business.
Go below for video and pictures. And make plans to attend next year (April 20-22). It’s an intimate event and the proceeds go to supporting graduate fellowships to students studying vititculture and/or enology at Texas Tech.
On with the show. Watch Jacques Pepin drink red wine. Katherine Clapner spin sugar. Greg Bruni make my favorite new wine!2 Comments »
Last night was the fancy kick-off Champagne reception followed by a 5-course seated dinner in a luxurious tent behind Perini Ranch Steakhouse. The 50-mph winds died down just as the first bottle of Veuve Clicqout popped and the crowd of close to 200 walked the grounds of Lisa and Tom Perini’s ranch. This is the 7th annual Food & Wine Summit at Buffalo Gap organized by the late Fess Parker of Fess Parker Winery & Vineyards, Dr. Richard Becker of Becker Vineyards, and Lisa and Tom Perini of Perini Ranch Steakhouse.
Special guests included Jacques Pepin and his daughter Claudine. In their honor Dallas chef Stephan Pyles created an “Inspirations from France” menu (pictures below) and each dish was paired with wines from Texas, France, or California (or all three!). The evening was emceed by Master Sommelier and Glazer’s guru Guy Stout and Tiffany Collins of the Texas Beef Council. The highlight of the evening was a surprise appearance by the Hardin Simmons Cowboy band (video below). The red dust floor went flying as diners stood up to dance. Even Jacques and Claudine took a little waltz across the Texas dirt.
I’m a hardened veteran when it comes to food and wine events, but last evening’s dinner was not only unique, it made me proud to be a Texan. We make some fabulous wine. And food.
Go below for the show. Continue reading "Special Report: Buffalo Gap Food & Wine Summit 2011"7 Comments »
I’m happy to report that some newspapers still have a budget! Last week, at the request of their sports department, the New York Times sent restaurant critic Sam Sifton to advance the local food scene. He did a fairly good job of flushing out a few out-of-the-way places. I was happy to read that Sifton connected with BBQ Snob, Daniel Vaughn. Here is Sifton’s piece. And his follow-up blog post. I have left a link to SideDish on the NYT blog, but doubt it will get past moderators. So read it and leave comments. I’m going to opening night party for the media tonight. I will direct all of them to this link. So, bundle up and let’s send them to taste the real Dallas/Fort Worth.5 Comments »
Would you like to join a “conversation”about Texas wines? Get your Twitter on tomorrow when the Texas Department of Agriculture hosts the first Texas Twitter Tuesday. Here’s all the press release news that is fit to print.
2 Comments »
LEARN ABOUT TEXAS WINES 140 CHARACTERS AT A TIME
BY JOINING TEXAS TWITTER TUESDAY
AUSTIN, Texas – Jan. 20, 2011 – Wine lovers around the world who want to know more about Texas wines, promising varietals, Texas terroir, the growth of the industry and other GO TEXAN topics can now chat virtually with experts and other Texas wine enthusiasts on “Texas Twitter Tuesday.”
You will have to jump for MORE.
One of the best cheeses in Texas is made at Veldhuizen Farms. Bosque Blue is a Stilton-like blue cheese from Veldhuizen’s herds in Dublin Texas (the same town that gave birth to Dr. Pepper!).
With that in mind we are happy to pass along the latest news from Veldhuizen Farms:
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We pleased to announce the launch of our new & improved website!
If our website were a cheddar, we’d say it’s SHARP!
See for yourself here. Enjoy this accomplishment with us by taking 15% off your next purchase of cheese! Use coupon code NEWWEB online, or print off this email and bring it in to the shop. Limit 1 redemption per customer. Valid on cheese purchases only, up to 8 total pounds. Whole wheels excluded. Not valid on shipping. Expires 2/28/2011. If you’d like to order more than 8 pounds for delivery, please call the shop to do so, at (254) 968-3098. We’ll be glad to apply the discount to the first 8 pounds of your order.
Great work is being done (and created for happy tasters) by the outstanding local chefs who participate in the Chefs for Farmers events, as we have noted previously (in Dallas October 19 and Ft. WorthDecember 5). The organization, started by Chef Matt McCallister (formerly with Stephan Pyles) and his dynamic wife Iris, is designed to raise awareness for using local ingredients from local farmers in the area will give a portion of the proceeds of their next dinner to The Family Place, one of the areas most important centers helping families with the goal to end domestic violence.
This time dinner recognizes one of Dallas’ classic spots - Highland Park Cafeteria, with Dallas chefs creating two dishes, served via the cafeteria line, using farm fresh, local ingredients. While in queue guests will be able to visit with the participating chefs about their dishes while listening to the DJ sounds of Jennifer Miller and Paul Perendes.
The group of chefs participating in the dinner is yet to be released but we do know Chef McCallister will be back in town to participate. The $85 tickets don’t seem to be available yet, but they will be available here shortly. This looks like it will be a great night of food and friendships for a great cause. If you can’t make it out to the dinner, keep the goals of Chefs for Farmers in mind. Regional farmers like Tom Spicer, JT Lemley and the Tassione’s are producing amazing crops from our local Texas soil. The Friends of the Dallas Farmers Market page has a handful of them that participated in their roundtable ealier this year with their locations.2 Comments »
Disclaimer: Let me preface the following by saying that I was raised by Pennsylvania Dutch parents, which explains a lot about what I’m about to say:
When I was growing up, the list of what my parents “didn’t believe in” (mayonnaise, private cars, food made by strangers, and tuna from a can) was almost as long as the list of what they actively feared (avocados, botulism, spices of all kinds, and activities that attracted more than four people). That being said, both going to the State Fair and eating spicy foods were completely out of the question. (My only experience of going to a Fair came in 1976 when our elderly neighbors staged a pity-abduction and took my brother and me in the back of their wood-paneled Travelall. Sidenote: once we got there, I was both too thrilled and too afraid to eat anything.)
So, imagine the illicit charge I got (as both a food writer and Fair virgin) as I noshed my way through the tastings at last night’s Fair Food sneak peek in the Food & Fiber Pavillion. From this year’s bumper crop of TX commestibles, three standouts made my list for best bets for stocking the goodie-corner of my pantry.11 Comments »
This Saturday is the Dallas Wine Trail. It’s a great chance for Dallas consumers to visit and taste wine at the four bonded wineries in the city limits. You check in at either Times Ten Cellars or FUQUA Winery anytime between 11am and 5pm. You receive a crystal Dallas Wine Trail tasting glass and your ticket which entitles you to taste three wines at each location. After tasting at your starting point, you drive to each of the other wineries . The other two wineries taking part are Calais Winery and Inwood Estates Vineyards. The wineries are about 15 minutes apart so if you spend 30 minutes at each winery the whole tour will take you about a leisurely three hours. Please note: no tickets are sold at the door. You have to order them in advance through the Dallas Wine Trail web site.
This event has always sold out in the past so order quickly to avoid disappointment. Also, start early to avoid the afternoon crowds. There is food at each location and plenty of opportunity to talk to the winemakers.3 Comments »