La V's Allison Jenkins Preps for the Austin Food & Wine Festival

This weekend, a group of acclaimed food and beverage personalities will flock to Austin for the third annual Austin Food & Wine Festival, including Allison Jenkins of the newly opened La V in Austin. Below, Jenkins discusses what drew her to Austin, gender stereotypes in the kitchen, and her admiration for Rick Bayless.

Layne Lynch: The Austin food and wine scene is continuing to draw a lot of national attention these days. What’s going on in Austin that’s inspiring such creativity?

Casual Entrées

The name of this eatery, tucked away in a strip mall, does not do it justice. Inside its humble setting you’ll find some of the best chicken and waffles to grace a plate. Just one of the many choices for breakfast, there’s also migas, the fluffy scrambled eggs studded with freshly chopped jalapeños and covered with grated cheese. The lunch and dinner menus offer even more, with salads, sandwiches, and home-style items like meat loaf, chicken-fried steak, and some grilled selections too. Casual, yes, but tasty too. (4/14)

Joe's Pizza & Pasta

What appears to be a take-out-only pizza joint in a strip center actually has a dining room in the back where you can sit and enjoy authentic Neapolitan pizzas and fresh pasta. The Stuffed Pizza is not pizza with a cheese-stuffed crust but an entire thin-crust pie with a second crispy crust over your chosen toppings. We also love the lobster ravioli, handmade pasta pillows stuffed with sweet lobster meat and served in a sherry cream sauce. (12/13)

Arturo's

We’ve always thought nachos and margaritas taste better in Mexico. But somehow Arturo’s has exported the magic and more than fifty years of tradition from their Progreso landmark to the Valley. Here, at the brand-new location, they still make fresh-lime margaritas and just-right nachos, with slightly burnt cheese and sliced jalapeños. Go crazy and try the frogs’ legs with crunchy hand-battered onion rings or keep it basic with the crispy flautas, served with a tangy avocado cream sauce. (12/13)

Freedmen's

You can’t beat the ambience here; the saloon-style mirrored bar, antique fixtures, creaky wood floors, and mysterious nooks and crannies lend themselves to an afternoon of Sazeracs and Ramos Gin Fizzes and Moscow Mules, their fetching green lime peeking up over a frosty copper cup.

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