Food-o-File

Central Texas food and wine get national attention

The national food media spotlight is on Central Texas again this spring and summer. Maria Corbalan thoroughly charmed Food Network host Guy Fieri during a Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives segment on fresh fast food at Taco Xpress (2529 S. Lamar, 444-0261) in May. The homemade tortillas, tacos, enchiladas, and Maria's signature chimichurri always make for tasty TV... The editors of Food & Wine magazine certainly have a thing for Central Texas – they recently featured a story on a getaway weekend to Fredericks­burg, and a piece on "Airstream Cuisine" earlier in the spring showcased the portable comestibles of such popular Austin street vendors as the original Torchy's Tacos (1207 S. First, 366-0537) and Flip Happy Crepes (400 Jessie, 552-9034), with mouthwatering descriptions and great photos. A page in the July issue currently on the stands touts cocktails at the Belmont (305 W. Sixth, 457-0300), fine-dining at both the Driskill Grill (604 Brazos, 391-7162) and Wink (1014 N. Lamar, 482-8868), enchiladas at Zocalo Taqueria Fresca (1110 West Lynn, 472-8226), tacos at Torchy's, the fancy barbecue Sunday brunch at Lamberts (401 W. Second, 494-1500), and a bucolic Dai Due Supper Club (www.daidueaustin.com) farm dinner in the field at Boggy Creek Farm (3414 Lyons, 926-4650). Look for a story on the Austin restaurant scene in an upcoming fall issue of Food Arts magazine, as well... Perhaps the best national exposure the foods and wines of Central Texas could possibly receive is taking place at the annual Smithson­ian Folklife Festival in Washing­ton, D.C., this summer. The program "Texas: A Celebration of Music, Food, and Wine" is curated by Austinites Dawn Orsak and Pat Jasper and runs June 25-29 and July 2-6, under tents on the National Mall. The programming will focus on the musical, culinary, and winemaking heritage of the culturally and geographically diverse regions of Texas. Cooking demonstrations will showcase everything from barbecue to pho and kolach-making to correctly frying chicken-fried steak. (How's this for Texas culinary diversity? A cowboy cook, a NASA astronaut, and a Bhutanese immigrant cook will discuss Food in Remote Places.) Perform­ances in the music tent will encompass blues, swing, conjunto, gospel, Tejano, and country & western. Texas winemakers will offer informative, educational panel discussions on the best wines for Texas tastes and the best grapes for Texas terroir, demonstrate winemaking techniques, and answer questions from audiences. Central Texans participating in the event are Austin restaurateur Hoover Alexan­der, Burnet cowboy cook and chili pitchman Tom Nall, singer and Cajun cook Marcia Ball, winemakers Susan and Ed Auler of Fall Creek Vineyards, Karen and Jim Johnson of Alamosa Wine Cellars, Kathy and Gary Gilstrap of Texas Hills Vineyard, and Jason Englert of Grape Creek Vineyard. For more info on the presentation in Washington, D.C., plus a complete program schedule listing all participants, see www.folklife.si.edu/festival/2008/Texas.

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