Long before Austin became a bustling hub of live music, technology, and food trucks, it was a simple capital city, dominated by politicians and lobbyists. That city, on the eastern edge of the Hill Country, was the Austin of Lyndon Baines Johnson’s day. Though Johnson didn’t live in Austin for much of his life, the city made a mark on the president from a young age. He was only 10 when he began accompanying his father, a state representative, to the Capitol, where he became enchanted by the legislative process.
This week was Rebecca Meeker's last at Congress. The former chef de cuisine has left David Bull's restaurant to become a chef and project manager for Larry McGuire's and Tommy Moorman's growing restaurant enterprise.
"I'm very excited for the opportunity to work with Larry and his team," Meeker told Texas Monthly. "They're extremely creative and I truly admire the work they've done so far."
At Sway, any perch at the long kitchen counter is the catbird seat. I sit here whenever I can, even though joining friends at one of the restaurant’s massive square mahogany tables has definite appeal if I’m in a party mood. But it’s a live cooking show at the counter, as one person pounds lethal-looking Thai chiles in a huge mortar, another harvests fresh basil from a wooden box, and yet another deep-fries a whole red snapper. The people-watching is great too.
It looks like Lance Armstrong's public disgrace and looming legal problems may have left him homeless. Well, less one home, anyways. The former cycling champion-cum-living cautionary tale has sold his treasured Austin home, according to the Austin American-Statesman.
More than half a million votes have been tallied, and Austin has been named one of the top ten Tastiest Towns in the South by Southern Living magazine. (Funny enough, the Huffington Post recently snubbed Austin, calling it one of the ten most overrated travel destinations in the country.)
The people have spoken: Foreign & Domestic's Jodi Elliott is Food & Wine's the People's Best New Pastry Chef.
The Austin chef was nominated in the Central Region category a few weeks ago, along with Barley Swine's Kyle McKinney, Swift's Attic's Callie Speer, Congress' Erica Waksmunski, Oxheart's Karen Man, and Underbelly's Victoria Dearmond.
When Rene Ortiz left, Alexis Chong quietly stepped to the helm of this swanky Thai spot. Questions about its future are now moot: the girl is on fire. Raw New Brunswick oysters deftly dressed in a house-made nam jim gave a touch of citrus and a bit of heat to the creamy ocean morsels. A whole branzino, flash-fried till it curled and then topped with clouds of coconut cream and a sweet spicy trail of red jam, was simply delicious.
The little vintage trailer on a vacant lot in East Austin is still relatively new, but Tom Micklethwait has quickly gained a reputation for a changing lineup of excellent meats and sausages (like a beef and pork kielbasa and a firm lamb sausage). He’s even been known to get fancy (pork belly andouille, anyone?). Barbecued pork ribs and pork shoulder are moist and delicious, and the brisket (smoked over oak for at least ten hours) is good while it lasts.
Legendary barbecue curmudgeon John Mueller has migrated to Austin’s east side, where his sizeable fan base lines up early to get Flintstone-esque beef ribs and magnificent fatty brisket, deeply oak-smoked and looking as if it’s been dredged in coarse-ground black pepper. The pork shoulder is out of this world, with a touch of sweetness and a great crust. In fact, we’ve hardly ever had any meat that was less than excellent.
Crazed ramen addicts are stomping through town like so many Godzillas, in search of a perfect bowl. Michi, formerly a trailer, has relocated to an old Quonset hut, wasting no money on superfluous interior design. We began with tasty burnt ends of chashu, delicious roasted pork—good fusion cuisine, that—on a bed of rice topped with bonito flakes. A bowl of sapporo ramen, with sprightly noodles and a traditional cold soft-boiled egg in milky miso-rich tonkotsu broth, came with a pat of butter to add if we liked (we did).