SXSW came and went this month, and although the festival as a whole felt (slightly) smaller, there were still plenty of events and spectacles to partake in. Pop culture restaurants popped up with free food (Los Pollos Hermanos, Twin Peaks’ diner), Aaron Franklin’s collaborated with José Andrés and Andrew Wiseheart, lines were insane for Rachael Ray’s queso-filled buffet at Feedback show, plus there were plenty more.
With that, here are Eater’s SXSW hangover observations. If you missed out on the festival’s food programming panels during the SouthBites track, we’ve got you covered over here.
— The most SXSW event: a party with Soylent cocktails and barbecue covered in Soylent sauce with a performance by Wu Tang's GZA.
— This year’s first of two SouthBites dinners brought together José Andrés, Aaron Franklin, and Andrew Wiseheart. The dinner was set up like a typical food event: the chefs cooked outside in the rain, and people lined up to grab dishes from each respective table, underneath tents, of course. As Andrés (who was proudly wearing an "I am an immigrant" shirt) was checking on things, he proclaimed, “I love rain.” He made a paella with rabbit and chicken, Franklin sliced up brisket served along with sausage and an an Iberico pig rillette, and Wiseheart (whose restaurant Chicon hosted the dinner) dished out pastrami ribeye.
— Another Andrés gem: “We want you to get drunk so the food tastes good.
— Overheard at the Andrés/Franklin/Wiseheart dinner: “I don’t know any of the professional chefs.”
— By the end of the dinner, Andrés, his staff, and Wiseheart were partaking in porron, and Andres was smoking a cigar.
— Andrés also popped into Franklin’s pit room to check out how that brisket is made.
— Michael Chernow, owner of Seamore's and co-founder of The Meatball Shop, had to miss the second SouthBites dinner with Emmer & Rye’s Kevin Fink and Portland-based chef of Beast Naomi Pomeroy, in order to make it home before the blizzard that hit the Northeast last week. The lengthy multi-course meal showcased the talents of each chef with golden tilefish, lamb tastings, and salted caramel goat’s milk ice cream anchoring the menu.
— Overheard: “I gained ten pounds last year during SXSW even with all the walking.”
— The Impossible Burger, the completely plant-based patty that looks so much like meat, it even bleeds, popped up during The Roots' SXSW closing party.
- Jason Sudeikis bartending at Highball Getty/WireImage
- Jose Andres dishing out his paella at the SXSW SouthBites dinner Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- Aaron Franklin slicing brisket at the SXSW SouthBites dinner Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- Black’s BBQ dishing out free barbecue before the SXSW premiere of Barbecue at the State Theatre Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- Crawfish at Tim League’s SXSW boil Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- Director Nacho Vigalondo and Macon Blair battling it out at Tim League’s crawfish boil Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- The Impossible Burger at the Roots’ show Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- The automated avocado machines at the SouthBites trailer park Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- Laura Sawicki’s theater floor brownies at the M&M pop-up Elizabeth Leader Smith/EATX
- Bombshell chefs Britt Castro and Callie Speer making M&M floats Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- Bombshell’s M&M floats Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
- SXSW SouthBites trailer park Nadia Chaudhury/EATX
— The feature-length documentary Barbecue (100 minutes of meat) includes a close look at Texas barbecue, spotlighting Black's BBQ, Louie Mueller Barbecue, Smitty’s Market, Snow’s BBQ, Stiles Switch BBQ & Brew, and others.
— Before Barbecue’s SXSW debut at the State Theatre, Black's Barbecue gave out free barbecue to people waiting for the film, as well as those waiting for Terrence Malick’s Song to Song next door at the Paramount.
— Celebrity sightings: Twin Peaks actor Kyle MacLachlan at Stiles Switch BBQ and Brew, Seth Rogen, James Franco, and Bill Nye at Sophia's; rapper Warren G at La Barbecue; and a whole bunch of people at Wu Chow, as usual: Dev Patel and Orlando Jones, Giancarlo Esposito (a.k.a. Gus Fring from Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul), Sarah Wayne Callies, DJs Jazzy Jeff and Z-Trip, Rachael Ray and Anne Burrell.
— Rachael Ray chatted about potential future opportunities in Austin — possibly developing Moxie, her SXSW pop-up shop on South Congress, as a permanent thing. She also vaguely mentioned doing a restaurant “or something” in the city.
— The line for Solange’s show at YouTube was so long that someone ordered Home Slice pies for everyone who was waiting.
— Voodoo Doughnuts created one of its famous doughnut portraits for MacLachlan’s Twin Peaks character, Agent Dale Cooper.
— Someone gave actor Octavia Spencer a bottle of Franklin Barbecue sauce on the red carpet of her film Small Town Crime.
— Actor Jason Sudeikis and director Nacho Vigalondo tended bar at the Alamo Drafthouse’s Highball after the debut of their film Colossal. Vigalondo shook up drinks, but Sudeikis asked everyone if they wanted cans of PBR instead.
— At Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League’s crawfish boil, directors Vigalondo and Macon Blair stepped inside giant Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em-style robots and battled each other.
— M&Ms took over downtown coffee shop The Hideout with the help of some of the city’s pastry chef mavens, who concocted free special desserts using the candy. Bribery Bakery's Jodi Elliott whipped up doughnut grilled cheese sandwiches sprinkled with M&Ms, Callie Speer previewed Bombshell with an ice cream float, and Launderette’s Laura Sawicki’s theater floor brownies.
— Country singer Garth Brooks played a surprise set at honky tonk Broken Spoke.
— Sommelier June Rodil poured out early cups of natural wine before her panel on native cuisines, or as she liked to call it, punch.
— Washington DC-based group WeDC showed off the city’s chefs during a special dinner. Alta Strada’s and Tico’s executive pastry chef Alex Levin wowed with a “dessert storm” made of four dishes. DC mayor Muriel Bowser was also in attendance.
— For avocado dishes without human interaction, SouthBites’s trailer park featured automated vending machines, which made up customizable dishes like guacamole.
— Barbecue Wife founder Catherine Stiles won beer company Samuel Adams’ pop-up pitch competition. She'll receive a business grant of $10,000, Samuel Adams' mentorship, and more.
— HBO poured preview glasses of its newest Game of Thrones wine (no more beer for now), a red and a Chardonnay, which will be available in the spring.
— People swarmed staffers with trays of free Taco Bell items during the Feed the Beat showcase.
— Skull & Cakebones offered up an $8 toast bar at Pitchfork's day parties, which includes "cake toast."
— Snickers-inspired chocolate martinis were served alongside those candy bar dinners with Rene Ortiz and Kati Luedecke (who placed her Snickers churros in the candy wrapper).