The Best Bites From Wine & Swine
Good weather, good food, good wine
By Virginia B. Wood,
2:00PM, Mon. Nov. 9, 2015
Wrist band: check. Wine glass: check. Pig snout: check. After a rainy Saturday, the skies cleared for a beautiful fall afternoon at the fifth annual Wine & Swine this past weekend.
The mouthwatering aroma of pork being cooked over wood fires wafted over the crowd on the brisk fall breeze Sunday afternoon. Live country music provided the party soundtrack and an old school cowboy stood on the saddle of his pinto pony, delighting onlookers with expert rope tricks. Foodies swarmed over the main street of the quaint Western village at Star Hill Ranch, sipping fine wine and sampling pork dishes from 18 top Texas restaurants. The talented folks of the Austin Food & Wine Alliance produced another winning event to benefit their community endeavors. The tasty pork bites ranged from the haute to the humble, with variations on pulled pork making the most appearances. Here are the highlights of our culinary trek down the porcine gauntlet.
We were eager to try something from one of Austin's new crop of Italian eateries and chef Nicholas Yanes and his crew did not disappoint. They filled a house-made bun with whipped Reggiano, shredded pork, and a tangle of greens under a dry dusting of more cheese. Bravo!
Punk's Simple Southern Food
Houston chef Brandi Key was dishing up her down home pork'n' beans topped with a chunk of spicy sausage, a slice of pork loin, and shreds of pork roast. Fine and simple indeed.
Nathan Lemley offered very crisp crostini with a flavorful smear of pork pâté graced with greens – a tiny, perfect party bite.
The NOLA-inspired visitor from San Antonio, helmed by chef/owner Pieter Sypesteyn, was doing a brisk business serving up lechon of pork stuffed with spicy chaurice sausage paired with peach bread pudding, all drizzled with a generous dose of Steen's cane syrup. Good eatin, cher.
Chocolatier Nicole Patel featured a trio of exquisite bonbons from her newly-opened retail chocolate shop in Cedar Park. Our favorite was dark chocolate filled with salted caramel.
Truth be told, we couldn't outlast the line for some of Aaron Franklin's pulled pork, but we can attest to the fact that he now generates the longest lines, no matter what he's serving.
Whole Foods Market
The team here was dishing out freshly fried wontons stuffed with pork and pimento cheese in little pools of a memorable red pepper jelly.
Charming co-owner Marco Silvestrini explained they weren't about to show up with an unsurprising bacon ice cream, instead opting for a refreshing scoop of cassata gelato sitting in a tiny lard pastry crust. Bellissima. Noble Sandwich Co.
John Bates and Brandon Martinez built a successful sandwich and deli company by excelling at pork cookery, and their deeply flavorful fall dish was everything we've come to expect from them – shredded pork with a rich pumpkin mole and red chile hominy sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. This dish as a very close second for my personal vote.
Fans of this graceful Southern restaurant discovered that biscuits aren't their only baking specialty. Slices of richly-flavored pork were stuffed into ethereal house-made Sunday dinner rolls and dressed with a sorghum mustard mayo slaw – a perfect marriage of classic Southern farm ingredients, complementary flavors, and textures. The crowd chose this as the afternoon's best bite and we concur.