Eat! The city feels like it’s poised for a sprint. It’s the start of the social food season in Austin– that mad dash from SXSW to summer that’s chock full of festivals, fundraisers, and plenty of great food. Here are some of the biggies I’m looking forward to this year:


There was quite a crowd at the 2011 Taco Experiment. Photo courtesy of The Food Experiments.

Austin Smoke Experiment
March 10, 2013

Each year, there is wonderfully inventive food programming on the periphery of SXSW if you know where to look. I really enjoy the “Food Experiments” series of cook-offs, which focuses on a central theme each year and invites amateur and emerging cooks from across the city to compete. “Smoke” is the flavor du jour for 2013, and I can’t wait to see what my fellow bloggers and other amateur chefs in town are going to create. There are 25 competitors, and Brooklyn Brewery is a sponsor of the event as well, so your $15 ticket will get you plenty of nibbles and booze.

Wine and Dine with Paul Qui
March 21, 2013

When Paul Qui opened his Hole in the Wall location of EastSideKings, the city fell all over itself to go slurp ramen in an alley by campus. It’s no surprise, then, that the buzz for his new brick and mortar, Qui, has reached a dull roar in advance of its opening. Austin’s Top Chef will be offer a sneak peek of the restaurant in a 5-course dinner with wine pairings benefitting the Austin Food and Wine Alliance. The $250 tickets will likely sell out quickly, so go join the Alliance’s mailing list to get first dibs when they’re released.

East Austin Urban Farm Tour
April 15, 2013

If you want to learn more about the food community in Austin, I can’t recommend any event more than the East Austin Farm Tour. This tour showcases four of Austin’s urban farms:  Boggy Creek Farm, HausBar Farms, Rain Lily Farm, and Springdale Farm. Along with farm tours, each stop will feature chef tastings and wine and spirit pairings. The $45 tickets benefit the Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance; it looks like ticket sales have been delayed, so check the Farm Tour website often to snag a pair when they’re released.

Chef Jesse Griffiths at the 2012 Live Fire! Photo courtesy Austin Food & Wine Alliance.

Chef Jesse Griffiths at the 2012 Live Fire! Photo courtesy Austin Food & Wine Alliance.

Live Fire!
April 25, 2013

This is where the locals will be before the Food and Wine Festival begins. Chilling out on the grounds of the Salt Lick, and enjoying Texas beef prepared by some of Austin’s favorite chefs (and probably a few out-of-towners.) The chef lineup hasn’t been announced yet, but the Austin Food and Wine Alliance has earned a reputation for working with the best, so it’s sure to be big. Tickets will be sold on the Food and Wine Alliance website in advance of the event.

Austin Food and Wine Festival
April 26-28, 2013

Dozens of superstar chefs are coming to town for the second annual Austin Food and Wine Festival, and a few locals sharing the spotlight as well. I attended the Food and Wine Festival last year, and it was heavy on the bacchanal. According to event organizers, this year’s programming is more balanced, and one can only hope there will be more food at the festival to soak up all those wine samples.