Friday, January 14, 2011

On a Local Mission - Week 1 Texas Rio Star Grapefruit

Last Friday marked the first day of my journey for the New Year to go on a local mission and find out more about what I am eating and where exactly my food comes from. I have decided to start with restaurants because I am a foodie on the search for the unexpected and between San Marcos and Austin there is a restaurant on just about every street corner within walking distances to each other.

To kick-off this local search I went to the Driskill Grill and Bar where they were showcasing Savor the Flavors of Texas Rio Star Grapefruit. The Driskill set up a special menu featuring grapefruit from the Edinburg Citrus Association which is otherwise known as Tropic Moon, established in 1932. I sipped on a delicious grapefruit concoction called the Driskill Bride and sampled "small bites" using Texas Rio Star Grapefruit on top of sushi, mussels, pork and cerviche. My favorite out of all them was the mussels. If I were not sitting at such a fine dining establishment I would have picked up the shells and drizzled the delicious grapefruit sauce in my mouth.

It was impressive to see the variety of ways Executive Chef Jonathan Gelman and his staff prepared these delicious Texas treats. Texas grapefruits are currently in season and ripe for the picking. This experience has encouraged me to go out and get creative with some of my own home cooked meals using Texas grown citrus.

On a Local Mission - Prep for the Journey

Over the years I have had the opportunity to talk to and get to know Marla Camp, who is known by many as the Editor of Edible Austin. If you know Marla, have heard her speak or even chatted with her briefly she lives and breathes supporting local and sustainable agriculture. Being around Marla has inspired me to take a new step in my life this year and find out more about where my food comes from. As Marla would say, "know your food."

So here I am, about to adventure into the unknown. Will I find what I am looking for? Not sure, all I know is there is much ground to cover and Central Texas is going to be my start. Through this journey I plan to visit restaurants, farmers markets, food manufacturers and stores with the a criteria of what is being featured that is local, what producer does it come from and did the creator of this item give it justice.

Stay tuned next week as I begin my On a Local Mission journey.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Taco Thursday

By the end of the week I am usually running on fumes to get through to Friday. My weakness and yearning of hope, is my Taco Thursdays. There is a small Mexican restaurant nestled in the crooks and crannies of San Marcos called J & L that makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Whether you go for breakfast or lunch, J & L always delivers. My favorite breakfast taco is called the Bobcat, which owner Julia provides three in this package, to-go and with salsa on the side. The Bobcat is not for the healthy breakfast eater, but will spark your taste buds with its authentic Tex-Mex spicy flavor of potato, charizo, egg and cheese. This delicious combination will make you want to order more, but word to the wise, they will fill you up fast. The Bobcat is perfect for the aftermath of a night on the town.

So my friends, here is to Taco Thursday. A solute to the Bobcat and J & L!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

William Chris Vineyards

During the holidays the hubby and I joined some friends for a wine tour in the Hill Country. During our day of travels we made our way to a new winery located in Hye, Texas called William Chris Vineyards. When we arrived we walked into an old farm house remodeled with original long leaf pine wood on its walls and floors. One of the most unique rooms used several 1920's style doors for its ceiling.

The best part of this visit was of course the Texas wine. William and Chris are two friends that were once working for other wineries and crafting their skills. One late night after a few beverages they decided they were grown up enough and should branch out on their own. These two gents joined forces and now are growing grapes and making some delicious wine!

Quality of wine is their staple, and anyone who tries it will see for themselves. This all-Texas wine is some of the best I have had in the Lone Star State. You can taste it all, the terroir, the oak barrel down to the grape. My favorite, although I could not afford a case, was their 2008 Enchante a blend of Malbec, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The grapes for this wonderful blend were grown at Granite Hill Vineyards.

Our group paid about $15 per person to taste their selection, but let me tell you the experience was worth it. After you have tried this, you will know what a good wine should taste like.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

TRACE at the W Austin

Today I had the joy of trying out a new restaurant at the W Austin called TRACE. I also had the chance to meet with their Forager, Valerie Broussard, who has dedicated herself and the restaurant to searching for sustainable and local products to feature on their menus.

My meal of choice was a crispy chicken salad, with fried leg, romaine, smoked quail egg, dried corn, scallion and buttermilk vinaigrette. The fried leg was perfect not greasy and not over-spiced.

The decor was fun, modern and made me feel like a classy grown up. This is definitely a dress-it-up-girl establishment and a great place for a friendly or romantic setting.

I look forward to going back again, as their local menu features change weekly.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Thrill of our Grill

Life is speeding by and with the price of meat increasing my husband and I figured out a way to spend some quality time together by grilling out without shelling out. We purchased some chicken leg quarters, some fresh farmers market vegetables, fettucini, pre-made pesto and shredded parmesan, romano and asiago cheeses all for under $15. It did not take long to heat up the grill and listen to our chicken sizzle and pop. After cooking the pre-seasoned leg quarters for 10-15 min. on each side we grabbed our grilling basket and threw in some fresh asparagus, sliced mushrooms and purple onion, seasoned lightly with sea salt and fresh cracked pepper.
Once the fettucini was done boiling I added in two table spoons of pesto topped with a few finger sprinkles of parmesan, ramano and asiago shredded cheeses. This grilled lunch did not take long as we soon found ourselves ready to devour our healthy yet inexpensive meal and enjoy some much needed one-on-one time together.

Cafe on the Square

Cafe on the Square is a breakfast hot spot in San Marcos. On the weekends one can find themselves walking up to a wonderful aroma of coffee and friendly chatter. This bustling restaurant serves some of the best breakfast tacos known to man. Each taco is filled to the max with your choice of two ingredients. You can take it easy with bean and cheese or spice it up with chorizo and egg, what ever the choice it always ends with one big delicious bite.