Austin is the state capital, home to the University of Texas and lays claim to being the “live music capital of the world.”  Some Austinites have adopted the unofficial slogan “Keep Austin Weird” referring to a desire to protect small, unique, local businesses from being overrun by large corporations. Originally known as Waterloo, Austin is situated on the Colorado River. Congress Avenue Bridge, the first bridge across the Colorado River, is home to the world’s largest urban bat colony.

Frister, a combination of friend and sister, was first coined in 2001 on our first, now referred to as, Fristers trip to Cancun. Over the fourteen years since we’ve traveled to Miami, NYC, Sedona, Wintergreen, DC, Atlanta, Charleston and Austin. Over the fourteen years since we’ve traveled for bridal showers, weddings, baby showers and birthdays. Fourteen years of travel, fourteen years of fristerhood and over three decades of friendship.

We start things off right with Pimms cup at Second Bar + Kitchen and a delicious fried egg and avocado sandwich.Dinner at Fixe, an upscale Southern eatery, serves us the flakiest and buttery-ist biscuits and the perfectly balanced sweet and savory, crisp and moist fried chicken.

We thought we were crashing a wedding at our hotel but it turned out to be a fundraising event for Texas Oncology. Deterred by the PowerPoint presentation on research statistics we decided to just stop for a photo and goody bag.

We selected Austin for the annual Austin Food + Wine Festival which is a multiple day event featuring some of the most talented celebrity chefs and sommeliers. The Grand Tasting is “where guests can sip, savor, mix and mingle their way through an impressively vast number of the country’s top wine, spirits and culinary exhibitors”.

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The JW Marriott tent featured three different cocktails and our first sunglasses of the weekend.

We posed for photos and chatted with Gail Simmons of Food and Wine and Top Chef judge.IMG_3085

Rosé tasting with Master Sommelier Devon Broglie.

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Towards the end of our first day we discovered the Hendricks tent. They had a contraption mixing their “Very Unusual Negroni”, served hibiscus punch from the seat of the motorcycle sidecar and poured the classic gin and tonic. Our day quickly shifted from fun to spectacular.

Top Chef Season 9 winner, Paul Qui and his crew presented a food demonstration titled “Ktiss The Chef.” He sauteed and stirred while answering questions from the audience.

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The Grand Tasting Day Two

In addition to all the culinary exhibitors The Grand Tasting features two fire pits manned by an accomplished lineup of chefs, grilling and smoking meats and creating savory dishes.


Chef Tim Love leads a hands-on grilling class complete with smoke, swearing and shots.

In a cocktail class led by Fred Parent of Hendrick’s, our buddy, we stirred and mixed two cocktails and a punch.

After two days of sampling and tasting our Austin Food + Wine Festival experience comes to an end.


Uchiko, fine Japanese dining in a farmhouse setting, serves us our last dinner and some of our most delicious bites of the trip.
Our visit to Austin would not be complete without enjoying some live music. We lucked out and caught Leah Nobel’s set at The Blackheart.