NB: My apologies for the lack of posts, recently. My computer died and was in the shop for a while. Now, on with the Great Southern Road Trip!
If you haven’t already figured it out, a big part of this trip and my life is food. I love to cook for people, introduce them to new things and I love to try new things myself. In fact, I was very close to trying baby eel at Chez Phillippe in the Peabody Hotel in Memphis until I read that they were overfished, often counterfeited and $30 in addition to the already steep prix fixe menu… Anyway, way back near the beginning of the trip were the SXSW Film, Interactive and Music Festivals and Conferences, from which I have a lot of pix and video to come soon. But first, meat!
That’s right. On this, my 3rd visit to SXSW, I finally made it out to Lockhart, Texas and Smitty’s Market. SXSW Film Conference & Production Manager Jarod Neece was kind enough to put together a little outing of filmmakers, press and SXSW staffers on the last Friday of the fest and chuck us into a van for the 40 minute drive to the cradle of Texas Bar-B-Q. You see, Lockhart has not one, not two, not three but 4 “world-class” BBQ joints, or so they claim. I’ve only been to Smitty’s, and about Smitty’s I can swear that if there were a god, she’d eat there. There ain’t, so I guess that makes my analogy useless, but whatever. It’s some fan-fucking-tastic BBQ. Now, Texas is known for beef BBQ. if pork’s your thing, I would suggest you head to Tennessee, Arkansas, Alabama, etc. I’ll be writing plenty about the pork in those places, but for now, concentrate on the beef. Don’t get me wrong, they have the pork, but in Texas it seems like the swine is a secondary food source much of the time. I beg to differ, but when in Rome….
Last year’s Spin Magazine show at Stubb’s BBQ was pretty amazing, with the lineup of The Raveonettes, Vampire Weekend and X, among others. Talk about a super bill. Last month I posted some pix from this show and others and now…..X! Here’s a few pix of X from the Spin show and the rest can be found on my Flickr stream.
Billy Zoom. Is there anyone cooler?
Exene Cervenka can still bring it!
Last March at the end of South by Southwest then-SXSW Film Festival producer Matt Dentler drove indieWIRE’s Eugene Hernandez and Brian Brooks and myself out to a famous Austin-area restaurant called Hudson’s on the Bend. A reported favorite of Lance Armstrong, the Hill Country eatery is famous for rather detailed (and fantastic) food with a heavy accent on game. Be it venison, elk, antelope, pheasant or yes, rattlesnake, Hudson’s serves it, as well as lobster, trout, beef, rabbit, etc., etc., etc. and I’ll say up front, it was one of the richest, most diverse carnivorous and delicious meals of my life and if you have a free night before, during or after SXSW, it’s worth the 30 minute drive from downtown. I saved my write up until I started previewing SXSW 09 in order to make sure it’s fresh in your minds and to whet my appetite for my return visit!
One mark of a restaurant that takes food service and the art of fine dining seriously is the amuse-bouche (I prefer to use amuse-gueule, but that’s for another post…) that small palate starter that is not as common as it should be. This time it was a delicate pastry puff containing wild boar and Queso Chihuahua (No. It’s NOT.)
Appetizers run the gamut from sushi grade Ahi tuna tartare with a wasabi avomole, pickled ginger pico and crispy lotus chips to pistachio-crusted diamondback rattlesnake cakes (pictured below) over a spicy chipotle cream to Maine lobster, butternut squash and chipotle lobster risotto topped with granny smith apple and pepitas. Other appies include escargots, oysters, duck confit, crab cakes and prosciutto-wrapped sc allops, among others. Are you sensing a theme, here? If you are a vegetarian, don’t bother. There are some nice salads (one pictured below) and desserts, but otherwise, your food has a very delicious face.
NOTE: This entry has been updated to clarify the beneficiary of the Texas Film Hall of Fame Awards and to complete a sentence I, uh, forgot to finish last night.
So I’m a little behind in my blogging… Well, I have an excuse or two. First of all, I have a new gig! That’s right, the Rabbi has gone and gotten hisself some legitimate employment. Or at least some legitimate part time employment with a really cool start up. It’s a company called Cinelan and we’re a short film distribution and syndication company. Check out the website and you’ll see what I mean. It’s really cool!
The other reason is that I went and got myself sick with the influenza. That’s right. The good money I paid for a flu shot this year did me diddly since I went and got sick, anyway. Not only that, but I got sick at the exact worst time. Smack dab in the middle of SXSW. Lovely. Thanks are due, however, to my angels of mercy Mike Tully and Agnes Varnum, who both came by with soup and medicines!
Add to that getting stuck overnight in Fort Worth on the way down due to snow in Dallas and this has been a rocky trip. (Stay tuned for pix of the rattlesnake cakes that SXSW Film Festival producer Matt Dentler and I ate, though!)
Not only that, I am trying to get my apartment in shape to be sold. HUGE job. So to paraphrase Crash Davis, I’m dealing with a lot of shit!
Due to the aforementioned snow, I missed what was apparently a pretty amazing party at Lance Armstrong’s house. This, I was not happy about. It was a pre-party for the Texas Film Hall of Fame awards ceremony, which I was able to attend the following night and it was a dandy of a night. An annual benefit for the Austin Film Society (and not an official SXSW do), the cocktails, dinner, ceremony and auction are held each year at Austin Studios, a couple of miles north of the downtown Austin area. This year’s honorees were ZZ Top, Morgan Fairchild, Mike Judge, Jayne Mansfield (accepted by her daughter, Mariska Hargitay) and Urban Cowboy (accepted by Deborah Winger) and the night was hosted by non other that former CBS anchor and new legend (and born/bred Texan) Dan Rather. He’s way cool!
The evening went far more smoothly than most events of this size and it was actually pretty fun. Not only that, they served their pre-show cocktails in actual glassware, something some film companies should think about (I’m looking at you, Miramax!).
Here, John Person and Eugene Hernandez have a chat before the ceremony. That’s variety.com managing editor Michael Jones‘ hand on the left.
Mariska Hargitay’s speech in honor of her late mother was genuinely touching and towards the end she teared up pretty good. So did I.
More pix after the jump.
“Rehab” by Brit award winner and upcoming SXSW artist, Amy Winehouse. One of the many artists I am excited about seeing in Austin! She’s also playing at New York’s Bowery Ballroom (3/13) as well as L.A.’s Roxy Theater (3/19) and Spaceland (3/20). Definitely check her out if you can.