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This week in food: Andrew Zimmern crushes on local chefs, Brooklyn Brewery invades Austin and more

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Andrew Zimmern Austin Food & Wine Fest
During Austin Food & Wine Fest, Andrew Zimmern fell hard for a few local chefs.  Courtesy of Austin Food & Wine Festival
Austin Photo: Author_Layne Lynch

This week in Austin food, Jack Gilmore spilled the beans on his unorthodox grilling contraption, Andrew Zimmern fell for a few of our favorite chefs and Austin Beerworks turned three. Read ahead to see what else you missed in this week's food news.

Brooklyn invades Austin
24 Diner hosts Brooklyn Brewery President Steve Hindy on Friday, May 2, from 5 to 7 pm. In honor of Hindy's visit, 24 Diner will feature $4 pints of Brooklyn Lager, Brooklyn Summer Ale, Brooklyn Sorachi Ace and Brooklyn Hammarby Syndrome. The New Yorker is in town to discuss and sign his latest book, The Craft Beer Revolution at Book People. Chef Andrew Curren described his deep infatuation with Brooklyn Brewery to CultureMap:

"Brooklyn Lager has been my favorite beer since my New York days working at Barbuto in the West Village. When we opened 24 Diner, Brooklyn Brewery’s products had just arrived in Texas, and I immediately laid claim to one of our six taps. I actually met Steve in Brooklyn years ago and have enjoyed many long conversations with him over a glass… Steve is one of the most interesting people you will ever meet, whether he is sharing his foreign war correspondent stories, the history of Brooklyn Brewery’s evolution or his plans to build, along with brewmaster Garrett Oliver, a brewery and beer curriculum at my alma mater, the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park. It's our pleasure to welcome him to Austin."

For more information, check out the 24 Diner Facebook event or Hindy's Book People book signing right across the street.

Andrew Zimmern falls for a few of our favorites
Andrew Zimmern recently detailed his epic Austin Food & Wine Festival experience on his blog, citing 15 key highlights, including Paul Qui. No. 1 is, not surprisingly, the Top Chef Texas victor. "[Paul Qui] has confirmed for me that the Next Big Food Trend is indeed, and I’ve been saying it for years, Filipino food. And after an incredible meal at Qui, I have no doubt Paul is the guy who’ll bring this amazing cuisine to the forefront of America’s mainstream dining scene," Zimmern said. He also dotes heavily on the Gilmores' new fire truck contraption and Ned Elliott's decadent pig head tacos. Check out the full blog post here.

The Gilmores' amazing vertical rotisserie
Have you guys seen this epic Vine video that celebrity chef Richard Blais posted? It pretty much sums up the amazing contraption that chefs Jack and Bryce Gilmore used during Austin Food & Wine Festival. Jack Gilmore explained the genesis of the machine to CultureMap.

"Basically, when I cook chickens or quails over live fire, I like doing them rotisserie style. I saw a smaller version of the spinner in the magazine and decided we could do that, but on a larger scale — vertical rotisserie, if you will. So I went to Dave from Texas Ovens, he did my home outdoor oven and Bryce’s at Odd Duck, and asked him to make this for us. This was the first time we used it, so it was a learning curve," Gilmore said. "We got the goat heads from Windy Hill Farms and thought it would definitely yield a fun response from the crowd, and it did! Pig heads were going to be too heavy to hang, but the goat heads were just right. In addition to the fire truck, the contraption definitely brought on the 'wow' factor."

Contigo announces new restaurant
Contigo owners Ben Edgerton and Andrew Wiseheart are planning to open a new eatery. The culinary duo announced an exciting, vegetable-focused restaurant, Gardner, this past weekend at the Austin Food & Wine Festival. Chef Wiseheart is still in the early stage of planning and execution, but Edgerton gave CultureMap a small glimpse into the plans. "The vegetable dishes that Andrew has created at Contigo have been some of the most popular dishes that we have served. Both Andrew and I love vegetables, as do many of our guests. Contigo allowed us to build a menu around meat, and Gardner will allow us to build a menu around vegetables."

Uchiko hosts benefit for resident artist
Uchiko is hosting a benefit for their resident chalkboard artist, Jasmine Johnson, on Sunday, May 8 from 8 pm - midnight. Johnson, whose work can be seen in places like Uchiko, Uchi, Mettle and Weather Up, underwent back surgery in April, and like many creatives, doesn’t carry insurance to cover the costs. Uchi Culinary Director Philip Speer and a handful of other local pastry chefs and bakers have banded together to help the artist. The benefit will feature live music from Bob Appel, Holiday Mountain and the Silver Foxes, original pieces created by Johnson available for purchase and a plentiful cakewalk put together by the city’s finest pastry haunts, including Odd Duck, Barr Mansion, Amity Bakery, Uchi and more. What’s more, one dollar of each drink sold will go toward paying Johnson’s medical expenses. Tickets are $10 at the door, and donations can be made directly through Go Fund Me.

Qui talks rabbit 
Paul Qui is featured in not one, not two but three videos from the Austin Food & Wine Festival. In the first, Qui tutors viewers on how to easily break down rabbit, the very protein that comprises one of his signature dishes: Rabbit Seven Ways, which the chef eloquently explains in another clip. "The Rabbit Seven Ways was actually inspired by Beef Seven Ways, which is a traditional Vietnamese dish," Qui told CultureMap. "I chose to use rabbit in the dish because it was something I could source locally, and I knew I wanted to highlight a local ingredient."

Austin Beerworks celebrates anniversary
Austin Beerworks celebrates three years in business this Saturday with the "Austin Beerworks' 3rd Anniversary (OMFG!!!)" party. And due to high demand, tickets to the brewery's ever-popular Saturday tour must be purchased beforehand. Tickets are going fast, so you'll want to purchase yours ASAP, like right now ... Congrats to the brewery on getting past the terrible twos.

Austin Restaurant Week participants announced
The full lineup of participating restaurants for Austin Restaurant Week, which takes place May 11-14 and May 18-21, has finally been released. A handful of the popular dining destinations includes Apothecary Cafe & Wine Bar, Cafe Josie, Foreign & Domestic, Olivia, Swift's Attic, Uchi and many more. To see the whole list or make reservations to the event, visit the Austin Restaurant Week website.

The Homesick Texan dishes on new book
Speaking of book signings, James Beard Finalist Lisa Fain will be at Book People this summer to discuss her newest work, The Homesick Texan's Family Table. The Texas native has made a name for herself preparing homemade Texas dishes on her blog, Homesick Texan. Fain will be in Austin on two separate occasions to discuss the new book: June 10 at Book People and September 26 at Byte of Texas. In preparation for her tour, Fain detailed her love of Austin to CultureMap.

CultureMap: What are some of the dishes featured in the book that relate to the city of Austin?

Lisa Fain: My new book is about making memories at the table with those that you love, and there are several recipes in the book that are inspired by Austin. For instance, Potato-Chorizo Breakfast Tacos, Cochinita Pibil and Peach Salsa are all things I’ve enjoyed when visiting town.   

CM: How have you seen the culinary scene in Texas transform in your visits back?

LF: It’s been interesting watch Austin grow over the years. While sometimes parts of town don’t look at all like the Austin I used to know, I still find that the creative, independent and laid-back spirit of Austin is still very much present.

CM: What are some of your favorite Austin stops when you come to visit?

LF: This trip is brief, but one place I’m looking forward to trying when is Valentina’s Tex-Mex BBQ. Two of my favorite cuisines combined into one!

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