Austin
12:13 pm
Mon April 30, 2012

Love and Dust: Scenes From the Austin Food and Wine Fest

Thousands of gourmets and tipplers gathered at the Austin Food and Wine Festival this weekend. 

There was, of course, wine, but there was also sushi, macaroons and even Frito pie. And there was a scene you’ll have a hard time finding again: 200 charcoal grills all fired up at once on the shores of Lady Bird Lake. The coals were burning for Fort Worth chef Tim Love's "Grills Gone Wild" hands-on demo, where attendees learned the art of searing, resting and slicing a steak.

"Now I cook them medium rare. Cause I’m an American. Not only am I an American, I’m a ... Texan. So remember that," Love said as he whipped up the crowd. 

Love had some helpful tips for proper grilling, like pulling the steak off a minute or two before it's done point to do vital resting. Then, right before serving it, Love said, you can sear it off quickly on the grill. Then it will have properly rested but will still be hot for serving. 

He also espoused the importance of having a companion at the grill – in this case, tequila. Love had helpers pouring shots for many in the crowd. "You could consume more tequila today than you have in your entire life, but you know what? You’re gonna cook a bad-ass steak," Love said, adding, "or at least I’m gonna tell you that you did.”

The event suffered at times from too little shade, high winds, and a barren auditorium shores that on occasion resembled a dustbowl. Some booths even ran out of food 45 minutes before the end of the first “grand tasting” lunch. (Hungry festival-goers had the option of buying food from several trailers on-site.) But wine, beer and other spirits flowed freely throughout the day.

Despite some first-year hiccups, the festival succeeded in bringing together national food celebrities with many of the local scene’s culinary stars. Now if they could only find a grassy patch for next year.

Check out some scenes from KUT News photographer Filipa Rodrigues in the slideshow