Monday, June 30, 2014

three sweet Confituras-approved cherry recipes


This past weekend, I was invited to attend a Whole Foods workshop celebrating the harvest of my favorite fruit-- cherries! Stephanie McClenny of Confituras (the best jam company in town!) led the class. She started off selling her goods at the farmer's market before they made their way around town (including into a delicious jam mimosa at Salt & Time!). Now, her products will be available at the Domain location of Whole Foods too-- though she promises, no matter how big they get, she will never leave the farmer's market, where it all began! Scroll down for three delicious cherry-pickin' recipes!

8 reasons to make the trek to Tadashi


While there's no doubt that local ingredients are almost always going to be the better, fresher, and smarter choice, there are times when sourcing from afar actually makes the most sense. And, when it comes to sushi, it's almost unavoidable. Tadashi is actually sourcing their fish straight from Japan's Tsukiji Market, and Chef Sun Il is going beyond the typical tuna and standard salmon to introduce Austinites to fish he grew up eating in Korea which they most likely have not had in sashimi form: amberjack, bronzini, grouper, amberjack… 


Friday, June 20, 2014

gal pals getaways from coast to coast

scene from a girlfriend getaway I took this May: Yelapa waterfall!

Early this May, I took a trip to Mexico with two close friends-- the first time I'd gone on an all-girls getaway since college! Now I'm hooked and can't wait to travel more with gal pals! And hotels across the country are making it even more enticing to check in with your cronies in tow by offering special incentives and deals for groups. From Atlanta to Maui, I rounded up five luxe girlfriend getaways for this Forbes Travel Guide article.



Thursday, June 19, 2014

10 of the most dog-friendly spots in Austin

photo by Thien-Y Hoang

Tis the season for swimming at all costs-- and any dog-owners with a conscience will want to bring their furry friends along with them. And after said aquatic adventure, who wouldn't want a cold beer on a patio somewhere? Luckily, Austin is an extremely dog friendly city, and more places than not are okay with you bringing your four-legged +1 with you. Click here to see ten of the dog friendliest hangouts in the city. (Full disclosure: the gorgeous mutt in the photo above is my own!)

Monday, June 16, 2014

Monica Pope on Houston then, now, and beyond



Monica Pope decided at a young age that she was going to change the way Houston eats, one dish at a time, and she hasn't stopped since that early declaration. I sat down with her over a cardamom latte at the TOMS Cafe on South Congress to discuss her revolutionary return to real food, the lifestyle she's built around her passionate beliefs, and her hopes for Houston's culinary future. Click here to read the full Forbes Travel Guide article.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Written in the Kosmos: how Omar Rios found his balance

photo by Chris Perez for Citygram

Sometimes the most unexpected choices propel us in the right direction. Such is the case for Omar Rios, whose career path has been paves so organically, it's almost amazing that he didn't originally intend for it to lead him where he is now. Click here to read the full story behind Kosmis Kombucha!

Monday, June 9, 2014

Balance behind the bar: DIY vermouth with Lara Nixon

photo by Chris Perez for Citygram 

Lara Nixon is a living, breathing example of the adage "if you want something done, you've got to do it yourself." The bar craft maven, who co-owns Bad Dog Bar Craft with colleague Jason Stevens, just released a third craft bitter (this one Bloody Mary-inspired), travels the country teaching cocktail classes, and just published a children's book called A is for Absinthe: A Spirited Book of ABCs.

And that's when she's not busy with her full-time career as a child advocate with her own private practice, leading an eight-man crew team on Lady Bird Lake, or wrangling the number of hens and goats in her backyard…Click here for the full Citygram story!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Lunch Date with Georgia Pellegrini


While most culinary-focused events become celebrations of excess, it was refreshing to see this year's Austin Food & Wine Festival feature several more earth-friendly demos. South Carolina's Mike Lata gave a lesson on pickling, while Mississippi's John Currence showed audiences how to can fruits and vegetables for year-round enjoy.

And Georgia Pellegrini, the queen of DIY, shared tips for using discarded citrus peels, made chocolate bread pudding out of stale crusts, crafted body scrub from spent coffee grinds, carved a watermelon keg and waxed poetic on red wine popsicles.

I sat down to lunch at Salt & Time with this self-proclaimed "modern pioneer" to chat about the industrial food system, the state of the meat industry, and her new book.


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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Next in Line: Casey Wilcox


As Austin continues to grow and thrive as a culinary epicenter, we've seen certain big-name chefs grow to demigod celebrity status. But in kitchens, bars and restaurants across the city, there is so much more talent that goes unspoken. Next in Line is a series celebrating back of the house heroes who might just be the next household name.

In this edition I featured Casey Wilcox, the executive chef at Justine's Brassiere. who ended up in Austin via upstate New York, Vegas, and Memphis. Read the full Culturemap interview here!

Friday, May 30, 2014

5 breathtaking scuba adventures around the world

photo courtesy of Las Verandas

Certain underwater locals attract scuba divers from across the globe to seek out mysterious shipwrecks and encounter a wide spectrum of sea life. Australia's Great Barrier Reef will always have a devoted following, as will the turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean and the stories Great Blue Hole in Belize. But, seeing as the earth is 70 percent water, there are countless extraordinary places to dive while also avoiding the snorkel-masked masses. Check out these five awe-inducing scuba adventures that are just slightly off the beaten path, but no less exquisite.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Austin's liquid portal to Oaxaca


A dark, candlelit speakeasy of a room above Whisler's on East Sixth street just became home to Austin's only mezcaleria. Now owner Scranton Twohey and bar manager Cesar Aguilar are connecting Austinites with the culture and flavor of Mexico, one smoky sip at a time. Click here to read 12 reasons you should be there right now.



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

celebrate National Burger Day in Longhorn country


In a city where the Longhorn is a powerful, near-sacred mascot and the smell of smoke and firewood rises from these sidewalks, Texans do not take their burgers with a grain of salt. A line regularly winds down South Congress for Hopdoddy and the novelty of In-N-Out Burger still hasn't worn off. 

However, there are plenty of others to choose from, no matter what your preference. I rounded up some of Austin's best burgers for CultureMap in celebration of National Burger Day.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

saké: from Portland to your glass


This spring, when I visited Portland and the surrounding Willamette Valley wine country, the lush, green pastures popped with color from blooming stone fruit flowers. It was the perfect backdrop to explore some of the Japanese culture found in the region (as it relates to all things food and drink, of course!) 


I visited several izakayas, drank my weight in saké, discovered some amazing pairings, and also learned a thing or two about how it is brewed at SakéOne.


The two articles that just came from this grueling research just recently published:

Click here to read my Austin-American Statesman article on Portland's thriving izakaya and saké culture! 

Click here to read my Today Show article on saké in craft cocktails (with recipes)!


Friday, May 9, 2014

talking cooking and culture with Rick Bayless, mastermind of Mexican cuisine


I recently had the privilege of sitting down with Top Chef Master Rick Bayless for an interview during the Austin Food and Wine festival. I picked his brain on what it's like to adopt a culture as his own through a near-lifelong devoted study, and I wondered his thoughts on the state of Mexican cuisine within the United States. Click here for the full Forbes Travel Guide article!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

come for the steak, stay for the shake


Some people go to strip clubs for the food, right? (Perhaps the same people who read Playboy for its titillating articles??) While it's common to see marquees boasting terrifyingly cheap food specials ($4.99 steak and shrimp! $10 lobster! Free happy hour buffet!), I'd never heard much about the food at gentlemen's lounges," even after an informal poll of male friends. So I did what any curious journalist would do-- I set out to investigate. And it became my first article for Thrillist! Read the whole thing here.


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Next in Line: Albert Gonzalez


As Austin continues to grow and thrive as a culinary epicenter, we've seen certain big-name chefs grow to demigod celebrity status. But in kitchens, bars and restaurants across the city, there is so much more talent that goes unspoken. Next in Line is a series celebrating back of the house heroes who might just be the next household name.

In this edition I featured Albert Gonzalez, the new executive chef at Apothecary Cafe and Wine Bar. His world travels and studies of classic techniques influence the dishes he's creating out of an unbelievably tiny kitchen.. and who knew he was addicted to Cheerios?? Read the full CultureMap Austin article here!

Have a suggestion? Tweet me your #nextinline suggestion @wellfedlife!



Monday, April 28, 2014

2014 austin food and wine fest

put a fork in us: we're done!

Another Austin Food & Wine Fest has come and gone, and each year just gets better and better. To check out some of the highlights, read the rundown I wrote for Thrillist: Ten Things I Learned at the Austin Food & Wine Fest. However, there were many more things I didn't mention-- for instance, my interview with the legendary Rick Bayless or the several hours I chatted with Monica Pope at the Toms Shoes coffeeshop. Monica is a gem and I can't wait to visit Sparrow Cookshop in Houston next month!

Friday, April 18, 2014

the season for festing

courtesy of Wikipedia

Spring has sprung, which means fair-weather festivities are popping up all across the globe-- from concerts galore to spirited sporting events that last mere minutes. The following events are well worth the journey, and promise to provide the perfect transition into a summer of fun...

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 Culturemap Tastemaker nominees are saving the best for last

courtesy of Olivia

It's no secret that Austin's restaurant scene has blown up exponentially over the past several years. Its pastry chefs, in particular, are thinking outside the plate to produce innovative, playful desserts that are just as pleasing to the eye as they are to the palate.

Incorporating more savory elements than ever, and using techniques ranging from classic to molecular, the ten nominees for Culturemap's 2014 Tastemaker Award for Best Pastry Chef are bringing some pretty sweet competition to the table.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Donald Link dishes on the Southern home cooking that brought him back home

With two James Beard awards already under his belt and several more nominations currently on the docket, Donald Link has made quite a name for himself in the realm of fine dining. But the Louisiana natively techniquely began his career at the age of 15, crafting humble, homestyle dishes along his grandfather before going on to work at multiple restaurants in Louisiana and California…

The talented and humble chef took the time to talk about the Southern home cooking that opened his eyes to food, brought him back home, and continues to inspire him today.
photo by Chris Granger

Click here for the full Forbes Travel Guide story!