This past weekend, Taste North Austin returned to the Domain for its sixth annual festival, where 20 restaurants served samples of their signature dishes and drinks. Over 3,000 people strolled along the sunny streets sipping sangria and savoring samples to live music by The Biscuit Brothers and Sauce.
“We are thrilled once again with the successful turn out of Taste North Austin at The Domain,” said Lauren Krumlauf, area director of marketing. “In hosting this event each year, we aim to provide our shoppers, residents and visitors a unique taste of all that North Austin has to offer by showcasing various area restaurants.”
Some of this year’s participating restaurants included Blackfinn Ameripub, Cru Food & Wine Bar, Kona Grill, NoRTH Italian Farmhouse, Top Golf, and Daily Grill, and I was honored to judge the festival alongside Rob Balon of KVUE-TV, Bettie Cross of KEYE-TV, and Hayden Walker of Texas Food Crawlers. Together, we judged each dish based on presentation, execution, taste, creativity and overall appeal.
The League Kitchen and Tavern came in third place for their flavorful cold rock shrimp tacos in a fried wonton shell topped with avocado mint jalapeno relish and crème fraiche. Second place went to Blue Baker for their salted caramel brownie, which had a nice sweet-to-salty ratio.
And finally, Urban: An American Grill took first place for their refreshing grilled watermelon, mango and Gulf shrimp salad topped with sweet chili vinaigrette and avocado crème fraiche.
“We feel that The Domain is the perfect setting to bring all of the many flavors together to excite the vibrant community,” said Krumlauf. “This year’s event was well-received by guests as we hosted area favorites, as well as restaurants new to the expanding North Austin scene.”
Chefs from Estancia Churrascaria grilled Brazilian-style sausage, bacon-wrapped chicken, and picanha.
Urban: An American Grill placed first for this grilled watermelon, mango, and Gulf shrimp salad with a sweet chili vinaigrette topped with avocado creme fraiche.
Urban's executive sous chef Paul Polizzi, general manager Ryan Speegle, and executive chef Bryce Murphree were thrilled to take home first place.
The League Kitchen and Tavern came in third for these cold rock shrimp tacos in a fried wonton shell, topped with avocado mint jalapeno relish and creme fraiche.
iPic Theaters served three types of angus burgers on homemade sourdough buns.
Blue Baker's toothsome salted caramel brownie won second place.
Taste North Austin judges left to right: Veronica Meewes of CultureMap Austin, Rob Balon of KVUE-TV, Bettie Cross of KEYE-TV, and Hayden Walker of Texas Foodcrawlers.
Blackfinn Ameripub served several samples-- this blackened Brie on ciabatta topped with mango apricot chutney was a popular item.
Blackfinn's booth featured a spinning wheel where guests had a chance to win a game night, girl's night out, champagne toast, and more at their upscale pub in the Domain.
Cru's sweet potato vichyssoise with slow braised short rib and chive creme fraiche was creamy, cool, and packed with flavor.
NoRTH served savory bruschetta bites with creamy crescenza cheese, asparagus, and Prosciutto di Parma.
The sun was no match for all the tasty bites and sips lining the street of the Domain.