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!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

czech mates

Spoetzl Brewery, founded in 1909 and now the fourth largest craft brewery in the United States, has made quite a name for the Central Texas town of Shiner. But visit the self-proclaimed "cleanest little town in Texas," just an hour and a half southeast of Austin, and you'll find there's much more to it than good beer.

Monday, April 7, 2014

we built this city on Aperol!

photo courtesy of Chris Perez

Some say San Antonio's flourishing cocktail scene is hardly a recent phenomenon. Before Prohibition, it was one of the largest cities in the states-- and certainly the largest west of the Mississippi-- but as soon as the Volstead Act was enforced, its thriving downtown slowed down significantly. Jeret Pena, bartender extraordinaire Jeret Pena and owner of The Brooklynite,  says, "We're about to experience a critical mass that hasn't been seen since the beginning of the 20th century."

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Next in Line: Cesar Aguilar

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

In this edition, I featured Cesar Aguilar, bar manager at Whisler's on East 6th Street. Read on as he waxes poetic on fishing and admits to drinking like an old man. Read the full CultureMap article here!

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

Sunday, March 30, 2014

pearl revival

I've probably been to San Antonio 6 six times in the past 2 months, and anyone who follows me on Instagram can see I've mostly been eating and drinking my way through it. The city's culinary scene  is booming, as is the cocktail culture (more on that to come), and the historic Pearl Brewery is the community epicenter of this development right now. I wrote this article on the Pearl Brewery-- its history and continuing development-- for Citygram magazine. If you live in Austin and still haven't driven short distance, make it a point to do so this summer. San Antonio is a sprawling and culture-rich metropolis with a lot to offer, and a lot more room for growth (i.e. the infrastructure to sustain itself, which is more than I can say for Austin!) 

Click here for the full Citygram story!

photo courtesy of Chris Perez

Monday, March 24, 2014

the butler did it!

photo courtesy of the Viceroy Riviera Maya

Some luxury hotels feature restaurants with award-winning chefs and over-the-top gourmet mini-bars. Others boast amenities such as royalty-grade mattresses, top-of-the-line thread counts, and state-of-the-art sound systems. And still others are raising the VIP bar even more by providing unique concierges who strive to make their guests' stay as unique as possible...

Click here for my full Forbes Travel Guide story!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

true Cromance

Last weekend, the editor of Eater Austin approached me with a very enticing (and top secret!) mission... to photograph a magnificent meeting of culinary minds as Aaron Franklin (of Austin's Franklin BBQ) and Dominique Ansel (of the eponymous Soho bakery) traded a tale of two lines and brisket for cronuts...

And created an extraordinary sandwich using Franklin's brisket and Ansel's DKA pastry (a flaky and slightly sweet creation that was a perfect match for the succulent, thick cut and perfectly salted meat!)

After some serious Cromancing, Ansel and his chef de cuisine and Franklin and his wife Stacy (and baby Vivian) toasted with shots of Ansel's newest creation: chocolate chip cookie and milk shot glasses!

For the full story and the rest of the photos I took, check out the posts on Eater Austin and Eater National and drool away!

Monday, March 10, 2014

eat your way through sxsw

photo courtesy of Chavez

The 27th annual South by Southwest (SXSW) Conferences and Festivals landed in Austin on March 7 for 10 days of non-stop performances, panels, parties, and film screenings throughout the city, bringing visitors from all over the world. And while brisket and breakfast tacos should be eaten often and enthusiastically, opt for a memorable meal at one of the following restaurants, all of which are centrally located, yet feel worlds away from the hustle and bustle of the citywide extravaganza...

Monday, February 24, 2014

Five Luxury Hotels for a lavish Mardi Gras getaway

photo courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel

With Carnival season in full swing, New Orleans is already heating up and Mardi Gras is just around the corner. While there is no shortage of beads and revelry throughout the French Quarter, eperience the exquisite side of the festivities by staying at one of these Five luxury hotels. Click here for the full Forbes Travel Guide article...

Saturday, February 22, 2014

qui's tepache named Official Drink of Austin

qui bartender Justin Elliott presents the winning tepache 

Austin's best mixologists ecently went head to head in a friendly (and delicious) competition at the Official Drink of Austin event held at the AT&T Conference Center. The decade-old cocktail throwdown was open to bar teams this year, rather than individual bartenders, and the six finalists chosen to present were Whisler's, Weather Up, qui, drink.well, Midnight Cowboy, and The Four Seasons. Click here to read the full CultureMap story (tepache recipe included!)

Thursday, February 20, 2014

It Takes Two: four of Austin's power couples share their secrets to success

This time of year, love is on everyone's lips. So it seemed only appropriate to feature some of our city's most outstanding couples for Citygram's Admire issue. The duos featured are outstanding leaders in a number of industries, and proof of what can happen when teamwork is met with the love and support of a like-minded partner.

Kimberly Smith & Michael Hsu
Anthony Sobotik & Chad Palmatier
Emily Larson Orth & Ian Orth
Eileen & Arnold Van Den Berg

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Seven Unexpectedly Romantic Wedding Destinations

photo courtesy of the Inn at Palmetto Bluff

Planning a wedding can be a daunting task.. especially if you want an original and memorable location. We scoured the country to find out of the ordinary picks that will make your big day stand out from the rest. Consider planning a getaway to any of these seven romantic locations for a unique destination wedding...

Saturday, February 8, 2014

dinner and a movie: perfect together

photo courtesy of Foreign Cinema

Dinner and a movie is a classic double feature that never goes out of style. By why separate the two when you can indulge in delicious food while being immersed in a multi-sensory film experience? Today, there are more theaters than ever before offering full food and drink menus while you watching the latest Hollywood flicks (or indie works of art). Click here for the five theaters I rounded up for Forbes Travel Guide.

Friday, February 7, 2014

clean up your act

photos courtesy of Daily Greens

Didn't start the new year quite as healthily as intended? Don't worry-- it's never too late to adopt healthy habits, and a great way to kick-start your goal setting is by experiencing a juice cleanse or elimination diet. And since Austin is home to a variety of local juice cleanses and unique detox programs, cleaning up your act is almost unavoidable..

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Top 5 Romantic Getaways in Texas

photos courtesy of Casey Dunn, The Inn at Dos Brisas, Sage Hill Inn
 Above Onion Creek, and Mokara Hotel and Spa

Sunsets are second to none in the gently rolling hills of central Texas, which are speckled with getaways ranging from bohemian to majestic in appearance, but equally romantic in ambience. Even residents of the Lone Star state can take a short day trip and feel worlds away from their daily routine. Here, we found the five best places to get away with your main squeeze, whether for Valentine's Day-- or just because. 

Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 Austin City Guide #atxfoodguide

The Austin Food Blogger Alliance City Guide (#atxfoodguide) was created by AFBA in 2010 as a resource for visitors in town for sxsw. Each year, it's updated and expanded upon. (You might remember my epic eastside taco post from last year, or my all-inclusive guide to eastside food trailers.) This year, AFBA partnered with Citygram (woot! woooot!) to create an interactive version (link coming soon!) Since the format is a bit different, we all picked one or two establishments to feature...I chose one of my favorite taco trailers on the eastside, Veracruz All Natural, and a super fun Russian restaurant just west of I-35 called Russian House. Read on for the deets and do be sure to call establishments during sxsw to make sure they are operating under normal hours! Many downtown bars and restaurants become venues during the music madness!

You can't beat the veggie-packed Reyna taco at Veracruz All Natural!

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Next in Line: qui pastry sweetheart Monica Glenn talks chemistry and grace

Monica finishes halo halo with a tres leches pour

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

In this edition, I featured qui pastry sweetheart Monica Glenn who can't exactly say she started from the bottom.. in fact, she kinda just shot right up to the top! Read the full interview here!

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Unsinkable Amanda Brown

photo by Chris Perez

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Brown, the proprietor of Spruce Upholstery, for a feature in Citygram magazine. Not only does Amanda have a keen eye for interior design, but she's an inspirational DIYer who had the desire and drive to launch her skills into a successful reupholstery business now being featured on HGTV, Design Sponge, and Creative Bug.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

opulence reinterpreted at Hotel Ella & Goodall's Kitchen

The eye candy formerly known as the Mansion at Judge's Hill underwent a multi-million dollar renovation and just reopened this fall as Hotel Ella. The original architecture has been preserved and the interior given a modern facelift while staying true to the stylish feel once created Dr. Thomas Dudley Wooten's socialite wife with an eye for design, Ella Wooten (also the hotel's namesake). The hotel restaurant, Goodall's Kitchen and Bar, serves upscale classic fare in a cool slate blue dining room warmed by the glow of walnut tables left intentionally bare. 

Click here for my Forbes Travel Guide write-up of Hotel Ella (just given a FTG Four Star rating!)...and here for my write-up of Goodall's Kitchen.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Next in Line: Max Petty works hard, plays hard, busts moves!

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

At only 25, Max Petty is the chef de cuisine of Olivia, creating innovative, upscale farmhouse cuisine like it ain't no thang! Read the full interview here!

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