family-style lunch bliss & folk healers on wheels

I was invited to attend a special media lunch today for this year's Food & Wine festival.  (Weekday La Condesa lunch?  Yes please!)  We met at Malverde (the bar above La Condesa), where we were greeted with wine and Tim Love, who'd come down from Fort Worth to hang out with us!  I'd never actually gotten a chance to talk with him at last year's festival, but he certainly looked like he was the chef having the most fun.  :)  He was a really nice guy!  After some hobnobbing, we sat down to a multi-course, family-style meal prepared just for us... feast your eyes on this...

el menu

their market salad- today's featured squash and a slow-cooked egg.. must replicate!!

Malverde's beautiful altar

this picture does not do it justice: you're looking at Berkshire pork belly, bleu cheese, piloncillo caramel, apple-brown butter puree, and tequila-poached pear sope

quite possibly my favorite-- quinoa-stuffed chile rellenos with a pepita salsa in tomato broth

cross-section of chicken flautas

elotes!  I battled my fear of corn-in-teeth for a couple juicy bites

And of course our meal ended with sweet perfection by pastry chef Laura Sawicki.  Pictured at the top of the page is a cocoa nib crunch ice cream sandwich with cardamom, white chocolate espresso mousse, pear, and coffee crumble.  She is by far my favorite pastry chef in town.

chowing down like one big, happy media family

I was also lucky enough to be seated right next to Tyson Cole, who I got to chat with throughout lunch.  He was a super sweet and funny guy, and told me all about his pickiest customers (his daughters!) and how in awe he constantly he is of Paul Qui, who he described as being as unbridled in his crazy kitchen creativity as a "bag of cats" (lol).  We both agreed we can't wait to see what tricks he has up his sleeves after all his world travels... and eagerly look forward to the brick-and-mortar Eastside Kings opening!

Later at night, I checked out the very well-received opening of La Botanica, a business catering to all your herb/oil/tincture needs.  My friend Tamara just opened it with two other friends, all graduates of the Wildflower School of Botanical Medicine.  The trailer is tucked behind Tillery Street Plant Company, whose lovely greenery transforms the space into an urban jungle of sorts.  I couldn't imagine a better spot for La Botanica to be housed!  Their opening was so successful, I had a hard time even getting into the trailer, let alone getting many good pics inside, but here are a few to give you an idea of some of the wares they are peddling....

beautiful anointing oils 

attunement tools...must find out more about these..

tinctures made from crystals! 

desert dream salve

The store has a combination of items made by the owners, as well as products sourced from other apothecaries-- I saw items from other parts of Texas and New Mexico.  They manage to pack a lot into that little trailer!  They carry everything from wands and pouches and jewelry to tinctures, (I was intrigued by the ones made from crystals, shown above), infused honeys and syrups (and infused vodkas for the opening!), herbal smoke packets, solid perfume, incense, salves...and everything is packaged and labeled just beautifully.  I really need to return on a slow day and pick their brains about many of the products' benefits and uses (I thought I had basic herb knowledge until I started picking up their curious little jars and droppers and turning them over in my hands, fascinated!).  They are also planning to host workshops and classes out of the space.  So glad these ladies opened up this unique  trailer with such pure intentions to share their vast herbal and botanical knowledge with Austin!