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Sunday Fair @ The Texas Hill Country Food & Wine Festival

Posted Apr 04 2011 8:58pm
As y'all know by now, I found out two Fridays ago (two Fridays past?) that I was going to be laid off from my teaching job , and would essentially be unemployed as of the end of the school year. Against the advice of my fellow teachers and most other people I spoke with, I did not go drink my worries away (unless the giant-sized Diet Coke they served me at Pluckers counts), but spent the night at home watching movies, and woke up pretty early Saturday morning, hit the gym, refreshed, and returned home to blog and sip my coffee. Luckily for me, I was logged on to twitter at just the right time, and my anxieties over being laid off were ignored as a quick google search and retweet later, I had won two tickets to the Texas Hill Country Wine & Food Festival Sunday Fair! Having been to the media launch for the festival, I was super excited to be able to attend the closing event....for free! The Sunday Fair was held at the Mexican American Cultural Center, and the line to get in started around noon (at least according to updates from @ChameleonCoffee on my now-favorite-form-of-social-media-because-it-has-given-me-the-means-to-win-free-tickets-to-food-events*)
*that would be twitter Thankfully, I had invited Teddy as my date, and she always gets everywhere early. A fabulous place-holder [and...um...friend? ;)] truly. [This photo was taken later, inside, when my hair had clearly been attacked by some wind, and my camera lens was attacked by humidity.]
Anticipation mounted as we could see all of the tents being stocked while we waited... ....and consulted our newly acquired vendor maps. Once inside, I was so overwhelmed by everything that I frantically started running around and saying, "We need to go there!" and "I want to try that!" and "Did I miss this?" until finally Teddy said, "We've got four hours. Chill out." In the end, we only needed three (hours, that is). But we sure accomplished a lot.
Chameleon Cold-Brew Coffee (goll, this stuff is good...)!
Pumpkin Pie Shooters...
...and Spinach Mushroom Quiche from Pie Fixes Everything . GIANT portions of rabbit pate from Trace at The W Hotel... ...and a tasting of some chocolate mousse. [I also scored some coupon cards. Lucky me. :)]
[I do not know why this photo is vertical. Perhaps my Canon was just that excited.]
There was a plethora of popcorn all over the fair... Reel Popcorn 's caramel corn was good...
...but their Curry Coconut flavor was great! [Sadly, if they were in an Austin Popcorn Company Throwdown I'm afraid their far away storefront location would be a huge detractor in their success. :(] Savory Spice Shop (the best substitute for Penzey's I can find in Austin...and the owner is a doll!) had popcorn sprinkled with Parmesan Pesto Sprinkle but the (sadly, not photographed) Honey Powder -coated popcorn was crazily good in an oh-so-surprising way. [I think I forgot to comment on this to Teddy , as we were on our way quickly down the line of tents...but seriously, did you just recognize the fact that they made powdered HONEY?!?] I loved the Roasted Red Pepper Gazpacho from Judges' Hill . [So refreshing...I went back for seconds.] I also give a huge thanks to Greenling for helping me pick out the the largest piece of apple, drizzled with local cheese and Round Rock Honey , that we could find. ["I just want a really big apple right now..."*]
*Who would say something like that? I wonder... I really enjoyed meeting the founder of FoodSmarty [and not just because of the brand name ;)]...
...after my failed test of gluten-free pizza crust, hers tasted wonderful. She even gave me a free brownie to take to my recently-diagnosed-with-GI-coworker. [Thumbs up on that!]
Blood Orange Serrano Jam? Yes, ma'am! Yes, this Ana's Jam needs a spot on top of some cream cheese at a Southern-style cocktail party near you. Although...the Confituras Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Preserves served on goat cheese might be even better. :) And even though I kept calling it Green Gala (clearly, I was in the celebratory mindset), I was loving the Sass Green Gaia "undressed" (oil-free) dressing. [There was miso involved...I don't remember what else, but Teddy thinks she can recreate it for me.] The Ultimate Taco Showdown featured some tasty tacos from Sazon ...
[Great pulled pork, but a little too much heat for me.]
...as well as a great bite from Izzos Tacos . My vote went for Zadunga 's offering, however. Simple, delicious, yummy avocado sauce with just enough heat.... I would have voted for this guy, however, if that had been an option. He won at the Ultimate LIFE Showdown. Best Dressed went to this guy We stopped by the Google hotspot booth, where you could put tags on your favorite restaurants and locations around town. My favorite location? Duh. The Smart Kitchen !
Sadly, I couldn't reach to the actual location of said kitchen, and apparently now cook under the sea...like Ariel. [And yes, I did make this comment to the person standing next to me. She was not amused.]
Although I scored a free T-shirt from Twin Liquors (which I gave to my roommate when I got home)...
...and sampled quite a few of their delicious wines... (of which, the Carl Sittman Sweet Red & Riesling were my favorites)
The winner of best 'giveaway' goes to the people of Veev . In addition to being able to make your own cocktail... ...choosing from raspberries, blackberries, and a variety of herbs (mint, basil, and sage)...
...the selling point (and the reason so many people--including me--waited in what was really the only line) was the free MASON JAR you got to take home. Yes. I will do anything for a free mini-Mason jar. [I didn't even care about the raspberry-blackberry-mint-infused drink inside.]
[Teddy made raspberry sage, and although the bartender/bartendress? looked confused...it was awesome.]
There was live music all day, and I now have a little bit of a musical crush on T-Bird & The Breaks . Not just because of his killer sunglasses... ...but because in another life I'm pretty sure I was a back-up singer who performed choreographed dance moves like these lovely ladies Clearly, I was not the only person enjoying the tunes. :) My favorite bites of the day, however, can only go to the Shrimp & Grits from urban:an american grill (Seriously: To. Die. For.) ...as well as the amazing Spring Vegetable Ceviche made by Whole Foods (of course it was good).
[This photo does NOT do it justice in the slightest, and for that I apologize. How can you go wrong with hearts of palm?]
As for dessert? The Sticky Toffee Pudding Company 's "I don't know how she does it" toffee puddings will always be relished by my tastebuds. And you know I love a good cake ball. Especially an Austin Cake Ball .
He uses dried cherries instead of raisins in the carrot cake. I don't think I've ever had one bit of carrot cake quite so "wow, this is actually more delicious than I ever thought carrot cake could be, and I LOVE carrot cake" good.
Wow. I'm exhausted just thinking about Sunday afternoon (and the workouts I'm going to have to do to overcome all of the excess).
But God Bless Texas... ...and God Bless bottled water.
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