72 Hours in Austin

At some pretty much unnoticed point in the last several months, Scott and I quietly slipped off and explored Austin, TX from the vantage point of the uber hip Hotel San Jose,  Below is a visual tour of our adventures, which involved many tacos, cool architecture, vintage shopping, and a wild night of dancing in a honky tonk bar which was (thankfully) never photographed.  But before we plunge into the bright colors, intense foods, and shockingly good vineyards of Texas, let’s look at a couple  REALLY good foodie happenings here at home (namely, Connecticut)

HBC six year anniversary

The first: The Hartford Baking Company turns 6 on September 1st – that would be tomorrow.  If you’re an early bird type, get yourself over there at 7:30 am for a lovely pour over of Giv or Stumptown Coffee and snag a free loaf of artisanal bread for yourself when they open their doors.  If you’re the sandwich type – stop by at lunch and get a $5 sandwich deal.  My personal favorite, now and always: the brie and jam.  So much carby goodness you guys.  Go.

zohara shareable

The second: Doro Restaurant Group will be previewing the cuisine of Zohara – their new Israeli restaurant – on September 8th at the stunning Sub Edge Farm.  Chef Dorjan Puka is taking the reigns, and if you didn’t already get tickets – unfortunately – it’s sold out.  BUT you still have one final chance to experience a Doro Restaurant Group Hadley + Occum with BRUNCH, cooked by none other than Scott Miller, on September 18th!  Tickets are available here and I would buy one soon if you’re interested – they will be going fast. I will be documenting the Zohara dinner in a future post and hungrily attending next week.

Without further ado, here is the promised photos of Austin.  Notes: Hotel San Jose is creative, perfect, and part of the Standard Hotel Group.  We deliberately seek out Standard Hotels when traveling – and for good reasons.  They are a hip paradise with the very best in paired down amenities and just the right amount of quirky hedonism.  The tacos, all the tacos, pictured, were out of this world attractive.  If I wasn’t a taken woman, I would probably date one of them.  The ones in the photos are from Torchy’s and Jo’s Coffee – respectively – Jo’s also does this turbo cold brew/ice cream/espresso mash up, which is what frappuccinos try and miserably fail to be.  The cocktail in the first picture is a Michelada – which neither of us was particularly into.  The BBQ was from Salt Lick, a bit downwind of Austin – where we took a quick day trip, simultaneously touring several local vineyards.  If Texas starts shipping wine out of the state – we will sign up immediately.  Rich terrain creates beautiful grapes.  Not pictured, but part of the fabric of the entire trip – the music scene.  Everywhere, all the time, live, original, funky, glorious music.  Rock and roll, country, bluegrass.  Play The Avocados on Spotify in the background for the proper vibe while reading this post.  Finally – the tail end of the photos are from San Antonio.  Pictured: a water taxi (too hot and touristy, would not recommend) and Hotel Havana (12/10 – would aggressively return).

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Local Foodie Goodness + A Food Fight with Hartford Symphony Orchestra!

“Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.” – The Dalai Lama

It’s a glorious time of the year for local food.  Ramps are in season, fiddleheads are in season – the first radishes and micro greens are making an appearance!  And going into the summer, Farm to Table dinners will be popping up everywhere (including the Billy Grant’s Farm Dinner series at Rose’s Berry Farm which I cannot wait to attend).  I’ve been spoiled this week with local foods, starting with Let’s Start From Scratch preparing my first ever delivery meal for me:

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Beautiful organic poblano peppers stuffed with cauliflower and black beans over quinoa.  Healthy and delicious!  As a busy working momma, this freed up valuable time to blow bubbles with a mermaid:

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Molly is local and will create scratch meals based on your dietary preferences using the healthiest and most seasonal ingredients available.  Highly recommended!

In other seasonal fare:

sweet acre

The good folks at Sweet Acre Farm are partnering up with the Hartford Baking Company to offer an organic, super convenient CSA this summer!  It will be available for pick up at the HBC Cafe every week from mid June to mid October.  Sign up for it here!

stumptown

And while you’re at the HBC, grab the VERY BEST cold brew, made fresh with Stumptown Coffee daily.  I’m mildly obsessed with it to be honest.

In other exciting foodie news, the Hartford Symphony Orchestra will perform their 4th annual “Playing with Food” night on Saturday, May 21st!  I’ve attended and had the pleasure of interviewing Carolyn Kuan – Head Conductor and mastermind behind the series – in the past years.  She is presented with a series of dishes from each participating chef.  She then pairs a piece of music with the dish based on what it would ‘sound’ like.  For instance, a tuba may play the role of a fatty piece of beef.  There is a visual representation of the dishes as well as a talk back with the chefs (from M & M Bistro, The Connecticut Convention Center, and Concorde Restaurant) – and this year – a twist!  The dishes will be judged by a celebrity panel emceed by the ever creative Jacques Lamarre!  As a classical pianist, it’s not hard to get me to attend the symphony under any circumstances, and I can say with absolute certainty from years passed that this performance will be a visual and sensory feast for all the senses.  And if you’re hungry – never fear- MAX Catering will provide small bites during intermission in the lobby.  Purchase your tickets here and join me Saturday night for a lovely evening of culture, food and fun.

(and an enormous thank you to my friends at the Symphony for providing me with my tickets)