The sixth annual Live Fire, benefiting the Austin Food & Wine Alliance, kicked off food festival season in Austin last night at the Salt Lick in Driftwood. Chefs from Austin, Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio flaunted their beefy dishes while a live band provided a bluesy soundtrack. Several wineries and breweries, including Hops & Grain and Jester King, were on hand to provide liquid refreshments, while pastry chefs including Jodi Elliott of Bribery Bakery and Laura Sawicki of Launderette provided sweet accompaniments to the savory dishes. Read on for more observations from last night’s affair.
- Going primal with a beef rib from Franklin Barbecue.
- An Emmer & Rye staffer mans the flames. [All photos: Melanie Haupt/EATX]
- The long line for Emmer & Rye.
- Tiny ice cream cones from Fluff Bake Bar in Houston.
- Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar.
- Evan LeRoy of Freedmen's.
- Strawberry, lime, and rosemary caramel parfaits from Bribery Bakery.
- Chef Rene Ortiz holds court at Fresa Chicken al Carbon's tent.
- Zack Northcutt of Swift's Attic.
- Josh Kaner of Pieous dishes out pastrami sliders and brownies.
- Garage mxing up Indian Paintbrush cocktails.
- Indian Paintbrushes, the official drink of Austin according to the Austin Food & Wine Alliance.
— The longest line of the night was at Emmer & Rye’s booth, hot on the heels of Kevin Fink’s recent coronation as one of Food & Wine’s Best New Chefs. Fink served a roti topped with confit short rib and arugula.
— Aaron Franklin brought a limited supply of enormous beef ribs, which a few lucky people walked around the grounds gnawing happily upon. He made a Walking Dead reference as he held onto a rib bone as an attendee pulled off meat.
— By 7:15, Franklin was sold out and those who’d missed out were left staring at a mound of bones heaped on a greasy table.
— Boiler Nine Bar + Grill’s Jason Stude provided a sneak peek of the forthcoming Seaholm restaurant with brown sugar brisket and a delicious beer bread cooked in a cast iron skillet and served with smoked beef fat butter.
— Other favorites were the pastrami sourdough slider with tart pickle and bracing whole-grain mustard from Pieous, the beef shank paella from Bullfight, and Swift’s Attic’s "Roast Beast" with roasted sweet potatoes.
— Spun Ice Cream’s Ashley Cheng gave enthusiastic explanations of the ice cream shop’s unique liquid nitrogen-blasted product while plumes of the fast-freezing liquefied element swirled around her and the audience. The outfit served up mint ice cream with jalapeno-beef fat shortbread and watermelon gelee.
— Houston-based Fluff Bake Bar represented with miniature ice cream cones filled with hazelnut ice cream and Werther’s curd. Proprietor and pastry chef Rebecca Masson shared that she’d be offering full-sized versions of the treats at her shop this summer, along with milkshakes and other treats featuring the rich toffee treat. She also reported that she’d be doing a few pop-up bake sales in Austin in the coming months.
— Overheard while waiting for Garage’s Indian Paintbrush cocktail, a heady mixture of Dripping Springs vodka, grapefruit juice, rosemary, and lime: "Be careful, this one's a panty dropper." "Good thing I'm not wearing any."