Live Fire took over Salt Lick Barbecue’s Pecan Grove in Driftwood last night for over 550 guests. Presented by the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, the fifth annual "beef-centric" event brought together chefs from across Texas to cook up the best beef dishes they could come up with for hungry guests. Eater photographer Robert J. Lerma was on hand to capture the scene.
- The lucky attendees who chose to partake in the park and ride option at the Palmer Event Center got to pregame on a luxury bus with glasses of champagne on the way to Driftwood. The screens on the bus played an Austin Food and Wine Alliance promotional video featuring Aaron Franklin (who was absent from this year’s event) at least four times.
- The outdoor space was split into two sections, both lined with vendor booths. The crowds never got overwhelming, and there weren’t any ridiculously long lines, though more people tended to wait for booze than food.
- Among the offerings were Vox Table, which should be opening soon in Lamar Union, and El Chile Group’s upcoming Latin seafood concept Alcomar. Vox put beef cheek and tongue into what a chef described as a take on hot pockets.
- Alongside the meaty dishes were intriguing dessert options including the chocolate truffles topped with crispy, spicy chicharrones from St. Philip. Elsewhere from Texas, inventive Houston pastry Rebecca Mason concocted cold hazelnut drumsticks filled with praline ice cream and werther's curd and topped with fizzy chocolate cocoa pebble crunch.
- To quench thirsts, wine, beer, and cocktails were served, including Garage’s Indian Paintbrush, which was dubbed the Official Drink of Austin this year.
- Some guests were seen carrying their own food trays with wine glass slots from previous Austin Food and Wine Festivals, which make handling dishes and drinks easier.