When we heard there was a wine country outside of Austin (the Texas Hill Country AVA), we were immediately intrigued, mostly because, well, we had never really thought about the fact that winemaking was happening in Texas.
CHOW Tour Austin: Food Trailers Are King
Food trailers are everywhere in Austin, cooking and serving everything from donuts covered in Canadian bacon, hot pepper jelly, and cream cheese to vegan Frito pies. We visited two trailers that we heard were serving really excellent food: La Boite, a retrofitted shipping container turned coffee shop, and Odd Duck, where chef Bryce Gilmore serves food like quail, venison, and duck eggs—things that don't sound like you'd buy them out of an old orange trailer.
CHOW Tour Austin: Best Barbecue
If you go to Texas to document food, you'd better get your hands on as much barbecued brisket as possible. That was our guiding principle at least. We scoped out two versions of barbecue in and around Austin: Franklin Barbecue, which is manned by barbecue whiz kids who currently smoke and serve naturally raised meats out of three trailers in a parking lot, and the deeply historical Louie Mueller, just outside of Austin in Taylor, Texas, where they've been doing stuff the same way at this location since 1959. Here's a look at Texas beef, dry rub, and lots of smoke.
3421 N. I-35, Austin
Louie Mueller Barbecue
206 W. Second Street, Taylor
Mad Food Science at the French Culinary Institute
Where innovation begins.
Lobster Whipped Cream and Metaphorical Fish at Annisa
Annisa: elegant but not overwrought.
Love Starry Kitchen Enough to Kick a Hole in the Wall?
Pan-Asian comfort food packs a punch.
Shook and Dotolo, Playing with Balls at Animal
Los Angeles as a city of indulgence.
What Does Quinotto Look Like?
A visual survey of Mo-Chica.
Spiritual Rice Bowling at Chego!
Some of the best food at the best prices in LA.
Cave-Man Cooking, But Chic
Josh Skenes juxtaposes primitive and modern at Saison.
Earthworks on a Plate
Dinner at San Francisco restaurant COI.
Salami & Aperitivi Heaven
Adesso's abundance of cured meats in Oakland, California.
Confirmed Fans of Phan's Breakfast
There aren't many places like Out the Door, where you can get a coconut-caramel brioche, hot Vietnamese coffee, chicken porridge, and semolina pancakes with cherry compote.
Trying Our Hand at Video
Talking about the upcoming CHOW Tour.
CHOW Tour Portland: Sandwich Town
Portland is a town where you can find an impressive sandwich lurking around nearly every corner at places like the two we visit: Kenny & Zuke's and Olympic Provisions.
CHOW Tour Portland: Asian Small Plates
Two restaurants with chefs doing their own twists on Asian small plates in Portland: Whiskey Soda Lounge and Departure Restaurant + Lounge.
CHOW Tour Portland: A Chocolate Wonderland
A look at Portland's chocolate-making scene, starting with David Briggs's Xocolatl de David, then visiting Faith Dionne's kitchen, where she makes candy bars for her company Bees & Beans.
CHOW Tour Portland: Barrels, Booze, and Blowtorches
Two of Portland's cocktail artisans: Evan Zimmerman of Laurelhurst Market and Jeffrey Morgenthaler of Clyde Common.
CHOW Tour Portland: Put an Egg on It
Portland is obsessed with brunch. We visit Tasty n Sons and Pine State Biscuits.
CHOW Tour Portland: Land of the Food Cart
Portland's food carts are infamous, and offer overwhelming choice. If there's something you want to eat in the city, you can find it on a cart. We visited many carts, but we could only film with two, so we went with a couple of carts serving food we've never seen anywhere else: Viking Soul Food and PBJ's.
CHOW Tour Oakland: Frozen Desserts
Oakland is home to some amazing frozen desserts. We visit the new Scream Sorbet shop, where Nathan Kurz shows us the secret of the company's insanely creamy dairy-free desserts, and Nieves Cinco de Mayo, a shop introduced to us by John Birdsall from SFoodie, where Luis Abundis makes traditional Mexican-style hand-cranked ice cream.
Nieves Cinco de Mayo 3340 E. 12th Street, Oakland 510-533-6296
CHOW Tour Oakland: From Laos to Ethiopia
Every time we asked someone in Oakland what makes the city a great place to live and eat in, the number one response was the diversity. It's a place with nearly every cuisine you can think of, from soju bangs serving Korean drinking food to street-side champurrado vendors.
CHOW Tour Oakland: The Beer Revival
Many people don't realize that Oakland was a big brewing town all the way up until the late ’50s. Now, it's turning right back into one. At the heart of this revival is Adam Lamoreaux's Linden Street Brewery. We check out Linden Street, taste Adam's old-timey lagers, and also go to a couple of Oakland's coolest beer bars (where Adam delivers kegs by bicycle!): Beer Revolution and the Trappist.
CHOW Tour Oakland: West Oakland
Industrial West Oakland seems an unlikely spot to find a homey restaurant thriving, but on the Mandela Parkway Tanya Holland's Brown Sugar Kitchen is doing just that—and it's serving the most amazing waffles. Next we met up with Nikki Henderson. She runs the food-justice nonprofit People's Grocery, which is helping residents of the neighborhood build a better food system with equal access to fresh, healthy food.
CHOW Tour Oakland: Down-to-Earth Upscale
In the last few years, Oakland has seen a boom in casual upscale places to eat, but even at these fancier restaurants the down-to-earth vibe of the city comes through. We visited Camino and Plum.
CHOW Tour Oakland: Unpretentious Street Food
Way before people sold crème brûlée on the sidewalk, there was great street food thriving in Oakland that didn't involve tweeting or "liking" on Facebook. One of the Bay Area's biggest experts on the scene is John Birdsall, editor of SF Weekly's food blog, SFoodie, and a longtime Oakland resident. Here's a look at two of the highlights of the tour he took us on in the Fruitvale neighborhood: a spicy, French-dip-meets-torta stuffed with tender braised lamb, sold from a sweet ’70s van; and chicken grilled roadside out front of Taqueria Durango and served with an amazing cactus salad seasoned with toasted oregano.
Pipirin Taco Stand
34th Avenue and Farnam Street, Oakland
No phone available
CHOW Tour Austin: The Next Generation of Austin Cuisine
Austin's creative spirit is really evident when you meet chefs like Tyson Cole who are pushing the perception of the city's cuisine way beyond the barbecue and Tex-Mex stereotypes. Cole chats with us about how he ended up opening the upscale sushi restaurants Uchiko and Uchi in Texas and doing elaborate platings with fish as "meat LEGOs." We also visit two relative newcomers to the scene: East Side Show Room and Foreign & Domestic.
CHOW Tour Austin: Tex-Mex or Mex-Tex?
Austin has a ton of great Mexican food, from old-school Tex-Mex to authentic interior Mexican cuisine. We wanted to see the range, so we consulted Austin Chowhounds for a little guidance. On scrumptiouschef's urging, we learned some of the secrets behind a family recipe for enchiladas, complete with classic brown gravy, served at a bowling alley. There were also breakfast tacos at the tiny El Taco Rico trailer, another Chowhound favorite where every corn tortilla is made fresh, and a taste of authentic home-style Mexican cooking at El Mesón.
CHOW Tour Austin: Beards, Butchery, and Salumi
Given that Texas is a big meat state, it's not surprising that the local, sustainable trend is catching on. At the center of the local butchery scene is Jesse Griffiths, chef/co-owner of Dai Due. We also check out Salt & Time's cured pig parts just outside Austin, and then cruise up north to the Noble Pig sandwich shop, where the owners flip a duck inside out, cure it, and make a damn good pastrami sandwich.
Chowhound's Tour video series features two theme-based travel series. There's 2010's Innovation Tour, which uncovered food-related innovation in SF, LA, and NYC, from people mashing up different cuisines, to handing out free organic vegetables to low-income folks, to presenting old dishes in a new way. And then there's 2011's Handmade Tour, which sought out real people making real, authentic food—from pupusas being slapped together by hand out of a food truck to whole-animal-to-plate antelope tartare—in Austin (TX), Oakland (CA), and Portland (OR). Watch, travel, and eat along with us!