Monday, November 16, 2015

New Dinner Menu at the Driskill Grill

Listed on the National Register of Historic places and dating back to the late 1800s, there are few places in Austin as classic, sophisticated, and embedded with history as the Driskill hotel. So when I was asked to take part in a sneak peek at the new dinner menu at the Driskill Grill, I jumped at the opportunity.

For inspiration of the new offerings, the team dug into the archives, looking at menus all the way back to the 1930s. One thing that stood out was that the dining experience was always aimed at just that - an experience. Menus would try to offer something new, different, and almost exotic. So, the new menu offers just that - outside the box items - but with a "stay local" twist. For example, the foie gras is French inspired, but all ingredients are sourced locally.

We started the night in Chef Troy's office, which doubles as the perfect chef's table, finely decorated in deep, rich wood and warmth. Bubbly was popped open as we nibbled on some of the classic bar bites, including my favorites like the spiced nuts and bacon wrapped dates.

Waiting at the table was a generous slice of Cambozola Black brie blue cheese with sweet onion jam, drizzled Saba, and topped with house made bread crisps. The cheese had the slightest hint of truffle and just melted in your mouth. The sweet onion jam was a welcome compliment to the flavor.

Next up was the crispy softshell crawfish. Yes, that's right - crawfish. And boy oh boy was it delicious! It had all the taste and crunch one would look for. Served with a classic Texas caviar. 

Keeping with the exotic yet exquisite theme were the Hill Country Wild Boar Chops. Finished with an apple cider-honey glaze and served with a goat cheese pecan cream, it was all very seasonal and local.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Squash Carbonara with Pancetta and Sage

It's the time for all things pumpkin and squash and I'm hitting it hard this year. So here I go with yet another deliciously homemade dinner that warms my heart, mind, body, and soul this season. It's a Squash Carbonara pasta with Fried Pancetta and Sage courtesy of Bon Appetit.

Now, this is not your traditional Carbonara pasta - there's no egg yolk (so thankfully for me right now, it is pregnancy friendly). And listen, I'm right there with you that you can't beat the addition of an egg, especially with a runny yolk, but don't be sad, be surprised! With this recipe's butternut squash puree, there's a sauce that truly does compare. It's a creamy, smooth, and very satisfying seasonal substitution!


1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
4 ounces of pancetta, chopped
1 Tablespoon of Fresh Sage, chopped
1 Tablespoon Butter
1 Butternut Squash, peeled, seeded, and cubed
1 Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
2 cups Chicken Stock
12 ounces of Fresh Fettuccine Pasta
1/4 cup shaved Pecorino cheese, plus extra for serving
Salt and Pepper