It’s not every day that I get to immerse myself in a city teeming with many of my passions- music, incredible food, and a worthy cause! I was lucky to soak in all three over the weekend of October 20-22 in beautiful Austin, Texas, the sight of the 2017 Formula 1 U.S. Grand Prix race and the latest Common Threads Chef Takeover event at the famous Driskill Hotel.
Common Threads focuses on the power of food to unite and change lives – a mission that’s also been driving me for many years! The organization strives to educate families about nutrition and food preparation, with the goal being to get 1 million kids on track to cooking for life by 2020.
The Chef Takeover series are “pop-up” dining experiences taking place in various cities where several chefs get together to create a special themed meal, have a silent auction and enjoy a special guest musical performance. Proceeds from these events go toward enhancing health and wellness programs in the local city’s school district and to funding the many important programs Common Threads helps carry out.
As you can imagine, my schedule was pretty jam-packed, but I of course made time to soak in the flavor – literally! – of one of Texas’ most eclectic cities. I wasn’t surprised to find more than one mouth-watering spot in this awesome intersection of great food and music.
It’s easy to see why The Steeping Room is consistently rated as one of the top 10 tea rooms in all of Texas. Despite what their name implies, tea isn’t all they do, as they have full breakfast, lunch and dinner menus and feature natural meats, organic dairy, cage-free eggs and gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan choices. In other words, you can enjoy a healthy meal and wash it down with what might just be the most amazing iced tea you’ve ever put to your lips!
It’s downright criminal if you spend time in the Lone Star State and don’t treat your taste buds to some authentic Texas barbecue! If you’re enjoying Austin, you don’t have to look any further than Lambert’s to check that item off the list. They’ve perfected the art of upscale barbecue without the presumptuous backdrop, considering they’re located in a very cool refurbished general store. Of course, it wouldn’t be Austin if you couldn’t satisfy your cravings while enjoying some great tunes, so when you’re out of the dessert coma their decadent coconut cream pie brings on, make your way to the upstairs bar for some awesome drink selections and live music!
It’s no secret that another must-have any time you’re in the southwest is Mexican cuisine. I came away convinced that some of the best selections this side of the border emanate from the kitchen at La Condesa, a sophisticated lunch and dinner locale in the 2nd Street District. The menu is overflowing with mouth-watering traditional dishes that are all guaranteed to please. I couldn’t have been happier after finally settling on authentic cochinita pibil taquitos with a side of habanero in escabeche, which sent my palate into a state of total bliss!