Beathard: Food and wine, what?
I was supposed to write a column this week about my experience at the Austin Food & Wine Festival.
It was going to be really fun: Mind you, I didn’t get a press pass for this event but a real, paid-for-by-me bonafide ticket with a wristband that came to the me in the mail here. But all the better because I was just going to have a blast with my friends and tell you all about it, compare it to our Food & Wine Classic and be a pro by the time the big day rolls around in Aspen/Snowmass this year.
But alas, weather affects things in locales other than just our own, and after days of rain that flooded roads and homes throughout Texas, the grounds of Auditorium Shores were deemed too saturated to hold an event and the festival was canceled just three days in advance. Never mind that it’s Texas and the weather turned out to be beautiful all weekend anyway: We got full refunds and that was that.
(Can you imagine if they did that here? Me either.)
With flights already booked and a readiness to see my little Austin family, I stuck with the plan and headed South anyway. Turns out making your own Food & Wine in a city with a huge dining scene can actually be pretty fun: Some of the restaurants that were supposed to serve at the festival gave the samplings they prepared to people who showed up with wristbands, so we spent Saturday afternoon restaurant-hopping through downtown. We even tried some apps at Lonesome Dove, which I’ve been wanting to try since I went to chef Tim Love’s demo here in Aspen last year. It was everything my little Texan heart had hoped for: a massive wine list, a menu of meat options ranging from wild game fettine to hand-cut steaks, and Texas country (note: there is a difference) playing in the background.
We even got some flatland hiking in through the lush greenbelt trail system along Barton Creek. Somewhere, it is spring, friends: The edges of the trails were in full bloom with cactus flowers, Indian blankets and baby’s breath. Thanks to the storms, little waterfalls were trickling down the cliffs toward the creek, and somehow the mosquitos weren’t out yet, so this little walk through the woods in the middle of the city was just the thing to thaw me out.
We finished that day with some Gulf Coast oysters and a movie, and spent the next doing kind of the same: More oysters (this time imported from a more distant coast), some shopping and some fancy coffee.
It wasn’t quite the Food & Wine weekend I was expecting to have (or write about), but it was a pretty relaxing, much needed post-ski season jaunt into a different climate and different food scene. I wish I had notes from the field to share with you, but I guess there’s always next year.
Jill Beathard is the editor of the Snowmass Sun. Email her at email@example.com.
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