This weekend marks the return of the Austin Food & Wine Festival. Like SXSW and ACL, attending Austin's massive food festival works best with a plan.
Eater has done the advance scouting of the schedules, opening and closing times, and sponsor areas, so you can make the best of your experience (and significant ticket investment). Here are some suggestions for Sunday's party at Butler Park below; check out the Saturday guide, too.
10:30 a.m.: Arrival. Arrive early, grab a beer, and post up at a grill for Tim Love's seafood demo, which always hits capacity early.
11:00 a.m.: Tim Love (Grilling Area). Tim Love's ZZ Top-blasting, salty language-filled, and utterly massive live grilling demo has become the signature event of the festival. This year's theme is surf and turf, so seafood grilling and wine chugging should ensue.
12:00 p.m.: Andrew Zimmern (Mesquite Tent). The Travel Channel fixture and friend to all chefs demos his recipes for Shad Roe and Egg Toasts with Bottarga. Zimmern is excellent at both teaching and describing food, so this should be entertaining and educational. As always, grab a coffee or drink on the way into the tent, and for the big names, line up 15 minutes early.
12:30 p.m.: Hit the Fire Pit area for grilled bites from Bryce Gilmore, Jack Gilmore, Aaron Franklin (!), John Russ (Lüke), and Ned Elliott. Quite the lineup here today.
12:45 p.m.: Hard Cider Buzz (Austin Food & Wine Alliance Tent). Stop by to meet Argus Cidery founder Wes Mickel and sample his tart and unique local beverages.
1:00 p.m.: Ray Isle (Pecan Tent). Isle's seminars are pithy, smart, and (crucially) full of quality wine samples. Isle's topic is pairing, and he'll focus on wines that go with charcuterie, cheese, and other perennials. Sit toward the front, as he'll often ask questions and award his wine guidebooks to those with the correct answers.
1:45 p.m.: Visit the grand tasting tent for samples from parkside's Shawn Cirkiel, LaV's Janina O'Leary, and La Condesa's Rick Lopez. Beverage tip: look out for wines from Byron, Hall, Joseph Phelps, and Siduri.
2:00 p.m.: Be On Que (Rodney Strong Tent). Andrew Zimmern will moderate a discussion with legendary pitmasters Wayne Mueller and Aaron Franklin. Wine will be served, and the conversation should be spirited.
2:30 p.m.: Run one last gauntlet through the grand tasting tent for some final sips and bites before your weekend gluttony pass expires.
· All Austin Food & Wine Festival Coverage [EATX]