Friday, July 15, 2016

Garrison Brothers Bourbon

I had friends in town a few weeks ago, and we took a drive out to Hye (just past Johnson City on Hwy 290) and Garrison Brothers Distillery. Billed as the first legal distillery in Texas, bourbon is their craft. I am not a big bourbon drinker, and I couldn't really tell you what Garrison Brothers tastes like, but it was a fun trip to check them out. A word of caution: it's presently hot out, and you will be outside almost the entire time you are there for the tour. They actually close for a couple weeks in July every year for routine maintenance and because of the heat (really? why not in August?!) so if you're planning to go, check their website first. Plus you'll probably want to buy your tickets in advance ($10/person), especially if you're going on the weekend.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon
Named the American Micro Whisky of the Year by the 2014 Whisky Bible.
When you arrive, there's a nice shady area under the trees and the gift store where you check in. Then your group loads up into the back of a flat-bed trailer that's hitched to a Jeep. You go up the hill, maybe half a mile to when the distillery actually lies. Did I mention it's hot? And dusty?

They get their wheat from their farmland across the road, and the corn comes from the Texas panhandle. After they are ground, mixed with barley, and allowed to ferment for a few days, the mash is put into the copper distiller. The out-product is called white dog, which is the bourbon before it's aged. This thimbleful was like tasting pure alcohol! Then it goes into oak barrels, where it's aged for a minimum of three years. Check out their video for more info on the process.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon grainery
The grainery
Garrison Brothers Bourbon grains
The grains
Garrison Brothers Bourbon still house
In the still house
Garrison Brothers Bourbon still house
They've added more copper stills in the past few years.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon oak barrel aging
Aging in oak.
Garrison Brothers Bourbon signed bottles
 Bottles are hand-dipped in wax (they often need volunteers for this!) and then signed and numbered.

Garrison Brothers Bourbon
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Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Fit Foodie 5K

Fit Foodie Race Weekend Austin

If you've been following my blog and social media posts, you know that I recently spent two weeks in Japan. And while the overall Japanese diet is one of the healthiest around, there were lots of noodles and rice along the way. I am excited to be a race ambassador for the upcoming Cooking Light + Health Magazine Fit Foodie Race Weekend, hosted by John Hancock. The Austin event is June 24-26, with the main 5K race/walk being Saturday morning at Mueller.

There's a reception Friday night, followed by the race itself on Saturday with lots of sponsor booths, culinary demos, and mini fitness classes. On Sunday, there will be a cardio sweat session for those inclined! The main race on Saturday is $35 to register, but prices will go up to $55 on Monday, June 13th, so hurry up and join me! I'll be the one walking! :)
Fit Foodie Austin 5k Mueller course map

A portion of the event proceeds go to the American Diabetes Association. Until then, I'll be checking our some of my old Cooking Light cook books for healthy inspirations!

Friday, June 10, 2016

The Best Foods I Ate in Japan

I just returned from a two week trip to Japan. Here's a look at what I ate!
Soba Noodles from Ukiya
Soba and tempura from Ukiya, outside the Nishiki Market
Soybean crackers at Nishiki
Fresh soybean crackers at the Nishiki Market
Soymilk donuts, also at Nishiki
Ippudo Ramen spicy bowl
Spicy ramen bowl from Ippudo Ramen
Ippudo Ramen traditional pork tonkotsu bowl
Traditional pork tonkotsu bowl at Ippudo
Karu hot pot
Hot pot place called Karu
Tofu and eggplant
Tofu and eggplant at a teppanyaki place
Pork tonkatsu
Pork tonkatsu with miso soup
Foie gras at Motoi
Foie gras with mango at Motoi, a French one-star Michelin restaurant
Wagyu beef with seven kinds of peas/beans (sugarsnap, snow, edamame, lima, fava, petit and I never figured out the last one!), also at Motoi
Unagi donburi (grilled eel) in Oyabe
Unagi donburi bowl (grilled eel over rice) in a rural town called Oyabe, near where my paternal great grandparents are from. This was one of my most favorite meals the entire trip.
Sashimi  in Kanazawa
Gorgeous sashimi place at Kusunoki in Kanazawa
Eggplant with miso
Grilled eggplant with miso also at Kusunoki
Goma tofu
Goma (sesame) tofu at Natadera Temple
Kanazawa-style ramen
Kanazawa-style ramen (traditional pork broth cut with dashi to lighten it a bit)
Oysters at Omicho Market
Oysters bigger than my hand at Omicho Market in Kanazawa

Kuroman Market Osaka
Making oobanyaki and takoyaki at Kuroman Market in Osaka

Tako pops
Tako pops
Kabocha squash at Kuroman Market
Kabocha squash at Kuroman Market
Okonomiyaki in Osaka
Okonomiyaki in Osaka
Matcha Tea
Matcha tea

Friday, May 27, 2016

Japan: A Teaser

Konichiwa from Japan! I am getting ready to board the train from Kanazawa to Osaka. I have documented just about every meal and will have lots to share! But since writing from a cell phone isn't easy, here are a couple pictures to tease you!

Kanazawa style ramen
Goma (sesame) tofu
Wagyu beef in the market

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bits and Bites: Austin Food + Restaurant News

-- Slow Food Happy Hour at Barley Swine, April 28th, 5:30 pm
-- April 30th, Jack Allen cookbook signing at Treaty Oak Ranch, 1-4 pm
-- Stolpman Wine dinner at Parkside, May 2nd, $75/person
-- South Congress Hotel will celebrate Cinco de Mayo along with First Thursday with margarita specials and live music from 5 - 9 pm.
-- Contigo anniversary party, May 7th, 5 - 9 pm. 
-- The Official Drink of Austin, benefiting the Austin Food + Wine Alliance will be May 12th, 7 pm at Fair Market; tickets $55/person.
-- CelebrASIA, a celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. Free admission, cooking demos, kids activities and cultural performances.

-- The 24th Annual Dining Out for Life will be May 17th; over 50 participating restaurants will donate proceeds to AIDS Services Austin.
-- Certified American Grown Flowers will hold a dinner at the Texas flower farm, Texas Specialty Cut Flowers on May 21st, catered by farm to plate Chef Sonya Cote. It's the first time the Field to Vase Dinner Tour has stopped in Texas.
-- The Austin Food + Wine Alliance hosts a dinner with legendary chef Jacques Pepin (who will be at the Long Center earlier in the day), June 5th at Launderette, $285/person.
-- Spun Ice Cream and Anjore team up for an "Ice Cream Social Supper," June 16th, $75/person.
-- The Fit Foodie Race Weekend is coming to Austin June 24-26 at Mueller. I've been accepted as a Race Ambassador. Get your tickets now, and stay tuned for more details! Use SOUTHATXFOODIE as the promo code and get 10% off! Tickets for the Fit Foodie 5K Race are priced at $35 until May 23, 2016, and $45 until June 23, 2016, so be sure to register before prices increase!
Fit Foodie Race Weekend

Kentucky Derby events, Saturday, May 7th
-- Watch party at Hotel Ella, $15/person, which includes valet parking, lawn games & special drinks.
-- Viewing events at Cantine, Roosevelt Room, drink.well
-- Get your julep supplies at Metier.

Mother's Day, Sunday, May 8th
-- Central Standard at the South Congress Hotel, 11 am - 3 pm, $45/person
-- Goodall's Kitchen at Hotel Ella, 10 am - 3 pm, $44/person
-- The Carillon at the AT+T Executive Center, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm, $65/adults + $25/under 12
-- Visconti Ristiorante at the Hotel Granduca, 10:30 am - 2 pm, $72/adults + $35/under 12
-- Estancia Churrascuria is celebrating Mom on both Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner
-- Andiamo, 11 am - 2 pm, $38-45/person
-- Dine, 11 am - 3 pm, $45/person, buffet
-- Olive + June,$42/person
-- Prelogs, 11 am - 2:3- pm, $39/person
-- While not food specific, the 2nd Street District retailers offer a variety of promos: Milk + Honey Day Spa has a makeup consultation for $75 (normally $200); Teddies for Bettys offers 20% off Saturday from 6 - 9 pm; Sikara + Co will donate 30% of jewelry sales to Ballet Austin.

-- Creole-inspired Ophelia is now open at 507 Calles Street (the old Mettle, and also owned by Bridget Dunlap). I was able to attend a media tasting last week with my blogger friend Curious Notions. Her favorite was the vegan crab cake, which you really wouldn't know was vegan! I really liked the catfish with slaw and chimichurri. Lady boss and Louisiana native Lynzy Moran knows her way around the kitchen! Can't wait to see what else she will come up with.
Ophelia Austin vegan crab cakes
Vegan crab cakes
Ophelia Austin catfish
Catfish, slaw, and chimichurri
Ophelia Austin frog legs and waffles
Frog legs and waffles
-- Tiny Pies has opened at the old Lick (which moved a touch north to Lamar Union) at 2032 South Lamar
-- Pieology Pizza is now open in Mueller
-- L'Oca d'Oro will be opening in Mueller in May.
-- Modern Market is coming to the Arboretum area.
-- Rumors of Cane Rosso Pizza opening in the old St. Philip in Sunset Valley in May.
-- Hotel Granduca is now offering high tea, Friday - Sunday from 2 - 5 pm, $45/adults + $22/under 12, reservations required.
-- Reservations for June seatings at Otoko will go on sale May 1st at 9 am; a portion of the sales will benefit Kumamoto earthquake relief via the Japanese Red Cross.