After sampling Austin's finest BBQ at Ironworks (Day 1), then grubbing on Austin's "grab and go" street foods (Day 2), it was time to have a proper sit-down meal to round out the SXSW 2011 culinary adventure. On a recommendation from a friendly Austin-based colleague, my fashionable and fab co-worker and I headed to Moonshine Patio Bar and Grill, right in downtown Austin. And we weren't the only ones - the place was packed with fellow SXSW'ers - biz folks, musicians (saw Fitz there!), and other locals coming to check out shows. Built circa 1835, Moonshine is housed in one of the oldest commercial buildings in Austin that was previously home to (among other things) a general store, an overnight home for rural settlers, and a pre-Prohibition era saloon. Moonshine honors the building's long Austin history by serving-up innovative takes on classic American comfort foods to satisfy the biggest of appetites.
It was a tough decision between "Pecan Crusted Catfish with Crawfish Tails, Homemade Hot Sauce and Brown Butter Sauce" and "Broiled Rainbow Trout with Cornbread Stuffing and Chile Sage Butter." I decided on the Trout because I have never had fish stuffed with cornbread (and I love cornbread) so it was a must. For my side dish, I figured "go big, you're in Texas" so I ordered the Baked Macaroni (at this point - health considerations have been tossed out the window like a cheating ex-husband). My friend ordered the Smoked Half Chicken because it came with Dr. Pepper BBQ Sauce - an uncommon find! As we waited for our dinner plates, we munched on Moonshine's famous seasoned popcorn and cornbread muffins (both complimentary with every meal), and I sipped on a Sauvignon Blanc (my fav white) from a TX vineyard.
Moonshine's hefty portions certainly epitomize the ol' saying "Everything's Big in Texas!" It's a good thing we had been walking a lot! My trout was out of this world! The fish was perfectly cooked and melted in your mouth; the sage flavored sauce nicely complimented the herbs in the cornbread; and the baked macaroni was a perfect ramekin of cheesy down-home comfort; and lastly - look at that - there are even veggies! The carrots were a touch sweet (perhaps maple glazed) which paired well with the sweetness of the cornbread.
When the very-friendly server came around asking if we had saved room for dessert the realistic answer was "No - I have consumed my body weight in butter" however what came out of our mouths was "we could do a bite of the Sweet Potato Pecan Pie." Holy hell - what arrived was A LOT more than a bite! It was a whole pie! A mix between traditional pecan pie and a cake, the crust was a little thicker than a normal pie crust. It was drizzled with a brown sugar glaze and topped with a huge scoop of vanilla ice cream. Needless to say it was spectacular, and we may have had a little more than just a bite, then gave the rest to our appreciative fellow SXSW'ers at the neighboring table.
Others recommended sushi or Italian food restaurants in Austin which I am sure are great, but for me... when in Rome... you get me.... this was a perfect last meal in Austin.
And after that mega-meal, I took a few minutes to re-group before hitting the town hard for the last night of running around...
The Day 3 band highlights:
SPEAK: An up-and-coming foursome actually from Austin, these guys are young, energetic, and infuse their pop sound with well-placed electro-beats. I was excited to see them play SXSW because I have been digging their EP "Hear Here" (available on iTunes) and they certainly lived up to my expectations! Recently signed to Atlantic, their full length LP should drop sometime this year - look out for it and see video below! And as a side note, They played this day time show at perhaps the coolest venue of my SXSW experience to date - The roof of the Whole Foods, just right outside of downtown Austin. If you like Whole Foods, the Austin flag-ship location is like Disneyland!
Fitz and the Tantrums: If you have been following along, you already know I dig this band have been looking forward to seeing them at SXSW (see this post for videos and more about Fitz). It was an 11:15 PM show and it was packed - We had to fight, wheedle, and plead our way in, but we did it! And it was awesome! The guys wore their trademark skinny ties and Noelle rocked a gold short dress (a la "Dream Girls"). They danced, they played their hearts out, the audience was totally into them and singing along - I was happy :)
And now it was on to my final show for SXSW 2011, and it was far far away from the Fitz show. Hardly able to stand on my kankles at this point, but undeterred, I turned to the best mode of transportation in Austin - a pedi-cab. I am a pedi-cab lover - these boys (and girls although, I only happened to ride the gents ;) ) are super friendly and get you where you need to go FAST with little regard for silly traffic laws. I wish we had these in LA (although people would hate them and run them over). Oh and isn't "Pedi-Cab" a great name for a band? Chew on that Austin youth. Thanks to one of Austin's finest on the right, I made it on-time to catch The Head and the Heart's final SXSW show.
The Head and the Heart:
A Seattle-based 6-piece folk-ish rock group, H and H finished out their last SXSW show with a high energy bang! The audience was so amped a few guys jumped on-stage (far left guy and middle dude) and were promptly handed shakers to join the fun. H and H is authentic and their songs are diverse - some introspective & mellow others lively & folksy. I loved their use of violin and long-keyboard flourishes - I was bopping along! Recently signed to Sub-Pop, their current self-entitled LP (available on iTunes) will be emimently re-released. Look out for it and see below!
Phew!!! Until next year darling Austin...
Thanks to all of you wonderful readers for following me along.