Wednesday, September 3, 2014

AFBA Happy Hour at Austin Winery with Chef Crusco #AFBAHH

 I am constantly blown away by how lucky I am to be living in a city where the food community is so close and so amazing. This past Wednesday the AFBA Happy Hour was at the Austin Winery. Not only were we set to sample some amazing wines, but Chef Crusco had created a special menu just for us! I was beyond thrilled to discover that there is a winery, with tastings, 30 minutes closer to my apartment than the ones I typically frequent. Score.

I ended up arriving embarrassingly early since my ride to and from the event had to be in town by 5:30 himself, and that's when my event began, so I sat outside and expected to wait in the sun for a half hour. Not the case. Soon I was ushered in by one of the "wine guys" who handed me a glass and got me started sipping on amazing wines. I got to meet each member of the Austin Winery team and was floored to discover the owners of the winery were my age! Successful young people, always an awesome thing.

I also got to meet Chef Crusco, who was extremely friendly and interested in chatting about blogging. As the other bloggers arrived we all sipped more fantastic wines and nibbled on the awesome menu.

My favorite was the Wild Hare Sauvignon Blanc, which I ended up buying a full glass of at the end and seriously considered buying a bottle of as well (I will need to go back and do so soon!). I'm not the biggest fan of reds, but the Old Vine Zinfendel was smooth and delicious, pairing well with the last few bites of the evening.

Now, for the food.

Gorgonzola Dates: Dates, Gorgonzola Dolce, Smoked almonds, orange blossom honey, citrus zest, parsley. I could have eaten handful after handful of these lovely little appetizers. They were absolutely delicious and perfectly balanced with sweet and savory.

Gazpacho de Tomates: Cold tomato soup, Sherry vinegar, Accoutrements of pepper/onion/olive/crouton. I LOVED this. I am not a huge gazpacho fan, but this was creamy and silky without the dairy! The flavor was rich and tasted like it was fresh from the farmer's market. It made me rethink my stance on cold soup for sure.

Coulotte Crostini: Smoke roasted Sirloin Cap Steak, Ground mustard-horseradish crema, fried shallots, oregano. I may have grabbed more than one of these as the servers made their rounds. Holy wow. The cut of meat was deliciously tender and the mustard sauce was perfect. If this was a main course it'd be my new favorite dinner.

Sauvignon Blanc + Citrus Granita: Austin Winery Sauvignon Blanc, lemon + grapefruit shaved ice, mint. This is hands-down the best summer dessert. Like an adult slushy, but classy. Perfect.
Alfajores de Maizena: Butter cookies, Homemade Dulce de Leche, Toasted Coconut. This was our take-home treat, and I failed to get a picture of it. Even my Designated Driver was handed a bundle, which was nice. They were delicious, buttery, crumbly little cookies. Spot-on.

The winery is open weekends for tastings, or weekdays by private event only. They're currently in their harvest season, so check their website to see when they will be open again.

Chef Crusco is available for private parties, check his website for details!


  1. I love this! I am Austin obsessed and every time I read your posts I get jealous. Need to plan a visit again soon!!


  2. Sounds like a bunch of really nice people - lucky you for getting there early! :-) Love the gorgonzola dates!

  3. Wow, that looks like a great event. The gazpacho, especially - it sounds delicious!

  4. I would've probably stolen that plate of dates then hightailed it to the front door (with a bottle of wine tucked in my skirt, of course).

  5. SUCH a fun event!! All that wine sounds so good.