Real Writers of SB County-WBC14

It was one part Survivor, two parts American Idol.  Throw in a little Top Chef, a splash of Amazing Race, and a dash of The Bachelor and you have the Wine Bloggers Conference 2014.  I returned nearly a week ago, and although I have yet to process fully, as I was reflecting on the weekend, it occurred to me that it had several of the pieces that make a great reality show.  Timed events, surprises, legends, even a spat among the panel.

Take the first event of the conference. Discover Portugal: Influences Around the World.  There were stations in each corner of the room with food and wine pairings from India, Portugal, Brazil, and Japan. The food that I had a chance to try was delicious but it was the wines that made a lasting impression.

The event made me think of the viral videos we have all seen.  A little girl comes on the stage, slowly, with her head down. The audience looks at each other, not knowing what to expect. Can she hold her own? But when she opens her mouth, jaws drop.

When people think about Portugal, they usually think about port. Maybe they have had a lower end Vinho Verde. But when I poured the wine, they all had the same look of surprise. They had no idea what to expect, but as they swirled, smelled, and tasted, their eyes lit up.  Mineral driven whites, bold savory reds, large range, low price points.  American Idol meets Top Chef.  Think of the ratings.

This is where we move to The Voice, or the Biggest Loser coaching portion.  Corbett Barr of Fizzle gave us the pep talk, the how-tos of blogging, work-life balance, opportunity and ways to support one another.  We left inspired, ready to take on the blogosphere.

We moved to the panel of Santa Barbara County winemakers hosted by Larry Shaffer of Tercero Wines: Richard Sanford, Ken Brown, Rick Longoria and Bob Lindquist.  Wine lovers go on “hometown dates.”  How did they choose SBC?  Why is it unique? Why do the wines from Santa Barbara County deserve to move on in the competition?  They all received roses.

Speed Tasting.  10 wines in an hour.  Kind of like the auditions of American Idol but there were no humiliating moments.  Some made us stand up and applaud and some showed enough to move on.  Regardless, trying to evaluate after one “song” was a challenge indeed.  The first day we evaluated whites, reds the next day.  In order to Survive these sessions, you need to be a pro-spitter (glad I practiced!) but even all the spitting couldn’t save my tongue from the perils of too many tannins.

We learned about how the pros taste with Steve Heimoff, Patrick Comiskey, and Joe Roberts.  This was a fun session.  I wish we’d had more time to delve in deeper, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I loved Patrick Comiskey’s idea of looking for purity in his wines, at Riesling in terms of quality of light.  I guess that part differed from most reality shows. We tasted three wines, one chosen by each panel member and a “mystery” wine.  I guessed Italian, as did the panel, so I didn’t feel too bad when it was a Grenache from Australia.  (Huh?)  I guess I failed the quick-fire challenge.

This is where we entered the Amazing Race zone.  Ten busses, ten different excursions, ten mysteries.  It was starting to get a little “Lord of the Flies” meets “Titanic” in front of the hotel.  Grown men and women shuffling and pressing to get on certain busses.  At first I tried to follow my new-found friends, but decided I’d just embrace the unknown.  Talk-a-Vino and I paired up and got on a later bus.  Again, more at a later date.

If Wines of Portugal was the timid girl belting out a new take on an old hymn, Syrah of Ballard County was the farm boy who stands up and performs an aria that makes you weep.  AMAZING wines.  The soil, the topography, and the dedication of these growers and producers combine to create unforgettable wines.  For a full review of this session, I recommend reading SoloSyrah’s take. Who better to critique?  Reruns, please.

The Professional Wine Writers session was filled with good information, inspiration, and more than a few catty comments.  Steve Heimoff, Mike Dunne, and James Conaway shared insights into good writing, journalism, and interview techniques.  There were some great insights and some comments that left more than a few in attendance scratching their heads.  At times it felt like there was a gap in the realm of teacher/student.  It was kind of like Cat Stevens coaching Eminem on storytelling in music.  Both are great at storytelling, but the motivation and the audience differ greatly.  There can still be a lot of good information gleaned, but you need to respect one another to do your best learning.  Take what applies, question your motivations, move forward.

Taylor Eason may be the next Ryan Seacrest.  When tensions got high on the panel, she knew how to diffuse.  A smile, some redirection, and order was restored.  And, boy, can the girl throw a party!  Still, there were moments that felt like watching any panel that Simon Cowell is a part of.  It may get uncomfortable but he is great at pushing performers past their comfort levels and isn’t afraid to speak his mind.  You may leave feeling intimidated, but it will likely make you a better writer/performer.

Officially the conference ended as any good reality show does: a few awards, some dirty jokes, and a big announcement.  Congratulations to all of the winners and to my home state of New York for snagging next year’s conference!  We had already planned a trip north next summer so I know that I plan on being there.

No program is possible without the hard work of all the behind the scenes producers, sponsors, and casting.  Being a Scholarship Recipient was kind of like getting one of the 10 final roses so I need to thank all of you that made it possible.

The Producers:

Zephyr Adventures

Vincent Group Consulting

The Judges:

Thea DwelleCo -Founder / Scholarship Chair / Ambassador

Megan Kenney – Co-Founder, Committee Member

Cindy Rynning - Committee Member

Becca Yeamans – The Academic Wino

Shawn Burgert – A Wandering Wino

Melanie Ofenloch – Dallas Wine Chick

The Scholarship Sponsors**:

Rodney Strong Vineyards

MalmComm

Wine4.Me

Enobytes.com

hellovino

Tercero Wines

Cornerstone Cellars

**For a Full List of Event Sponsors see the Wine Blogger Conference Website.

 

*For those of you that are true reality fans, forgive any comparisons that were not correct.  While I do waste brain cells watching RHof Everywhere while folding laundry, I have minimal knowledge of the other shows.  The allusions were for creative purposes only.*

 

Training for #WBC14

Tomorrow is the day!  I’m so excited to be heading out to Santa Barbara county to meet and learn from some of the top wine writers.  But, I’ve got to say, I’ve been feeling a little out of my league.  So what is a girl to do?  Well, some training, of course.  And how does a SAHM find time for training with the littles out of school?  Well, put them to work, of course.

This is how a SAHM prepares for Wine Bloggers Conference 2014. 

WARNING: self-deprecating silliness follows.  No child-labor was exploited.  No alcohol was consumed.  Just some packing procrastination.

 

 

Now, it may be a little late to join my training program, (my trainers are really exclusive) but I won’t judge your techniques if you don’t judge my video production skills.

Thank you again to the sponsors and those who generously donated so that could be a part of this.  I hope I don’t lose my scholarship/credibility.  Santa Barbara, here comes trouble! Cheers!

 

S.T.A.R. Wars-Sunday Samples

This was a banner weekend in our household.  We introduced our children to the wonders of Star Wars.  I wish I could’ve captured my son’s face better last night, wide-eyed wonder, a glow stick light saber.  Completely enthralled, completely happy. A parenting high-point, for sure.

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Of course, we had to continue with a little teaser of Empire today.  And since I’m feeling the pinch to get some sample reviews in before I leave on Thursday we are going to go with the theme.  I’ll battle through the asteroid field of distractions and get some writing in while they find out how to keep warm in the frozen tundra. Egad.

Here are a few things I’ve been sent of late:

S is for Scotto Family Reds

The Heavyweight Cab was a little heavy for me, but the N.A.P.A.  label Michael’s Red is more enjoyable.  Dark fruit, a little baking spice on the nose.  Moderate tannins and mouthfeel.  The blend is Cab Sauv., Sangiovese, Barbera, Syrah, and Merlot.  A little of this, little of that makes it versatile.  Priced at 17, totally doable.

T is for William Tell Pinot Grigio Hard Cider

Cider is growing in popularity.  It is generally something I typically enjoy in the fall, but the addition of 15% Pinot Grigio takes this one into summer.  It cuts the cloying sweet that some ciders have and makes it more versatile, fresh.  Thumbs up.

A is for Alto Adige

Ok, I’m stretching here.  Il’ Ugo by Mionetto is inspired by a cocktail from the Alto Adige region of Italy. It is a sparkling wine with elderflower blossom.  They suggest serving it with mint and lime.  I found it to be a nice apperativ as is.  Herbaceous, pear, citrus.  Something fun and different.

 R is for Jamieson Ranch Vineyards

Last Monday, some fellow wine writers and I participated in the WITS2014 tasting.  We sampled six wines and tweeted our thoughts.  They were all good wines, but the consensus on the stand-out was the 2011 Double Lariat Cabernet Sauvignon.  Gorgeous nose.  Rich, black fruit, nutmeg, anise.  Great mouthfeel, long developing finish.  Really great wine.  Since two of us received the wines, we split them up after.  I almost picked up my glow-stick light saber.

Now, let’s talk bad ideas.  I know I may be setting off Star Wars fanatics on this one, but I think the addition of the computer generated imagery into the FIRST, ahem, Star Wars was a bad idea.  Call me a purist, but half the fun of the movie was the “How did they do that?” sense of wonder.  Get your CGI out of my 1977 movie please.

Another bad idea.  Deciding to leave on a camping trip three days after I get home from the WBC.  Two, really, since it will be after midnight.  The fact that I’m publishing my “Sunday” piece on Monday gives you an idea of how behind I am.  So with that said, I’m signing off, and may the force be with me.

 

Off the Beaten Path: Dry Creek Valley

If you’ve ever been to the wine country in Northern California, you’ve likely driven along the Silverado Trail in Napa or up Highway 12 in Sonoma.  You’ve probably recognized many of the names as ones you’ve seen on store shelves, interspersed with new names, smaller producers.  But if you head further north, beyond the Russian River Valley, things may begin to look a little different: a little more spread out, a little less crowded, equally beautiful.

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As you approach Healdsburg, you enter Dry Creek Valley.   This AVA is small, sixteen miles long, two miles wide, but don’t let its size fool you.  What it lacks in quantity of production, it makes up for in quality.  And when I refer to small production, I mean small production.  Generally, under 8-10,000 cases per year is considered small production.  Some winemakers are doing  around 600, while the average for the region 4,750 cases.  The valley boasts approximately 9,000 acres of vines and 70 wineries, 150 growers.

The region began producing wine in the second half of the 19th century, but like most regions, Prohibition took its toll on production.  When Prohibition ended it was down to only 4 wineries, including Pedroncelli which is still producing lovely wines.  It wouldn’t experience a resurgence until the 80s when it received its AVA recognition.

There has been a trend among wine lovers of late to seek out the smaller producers, the boutique wineries.  The idea is that if you maintain a smaller level of production, you can keep a better handle on the quality of fruit and the wine production.  This isn’t always the case, but if what I tasted at a recent dinner is any indication, Dry Creek producers are doing this very well.

I was invited to a media dinner with the people from Winemakers of Dry Creek Valley at Justine’s Brasserie here in Austin.  Because most of the wineries do not produce enough to be widely distributed, they need to come together to support the region, one another, and garner the attention they deserve.    The group consisted winemakers, the Executive director, the President of the Board, winemakers, local representatives, owners, and the Public Relations team.  We sampled Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon, dined on deliciously paired courses, and were given opportunities to speak with each representative.  From each person, I gained a unique perspective about the region, the dedication to the industry, the camaraderie and history or the region.

We sampled Sauvignon Blanc from Dutcher Crossing and Fritz Underground Winery (as mentioned for SB day).  We had Grenache, Cab, and the region’s flagship, Zin.  We tried larger producers like Ferrari-Carano and the smaller ones, (like 55 cases small) Estate 1856.  These wines were honest, balanced with depth.  They were as diverse as they were delicious.

We each took home a bag which included a bottle of wine.  My bag included a 2010 Ferrari-Carano Zinfandel.  This was a thoughtful, delicious Zin.  California Zins sometimes have a reputation of being fruit bombs.  This was nothing of the sort.  Bright, alive in the glass, great acid and complexity without being heavy. I told my husband it was like a dark chocolate covered cherry, dusted with espresso and black pepper.  Once I tasted it, I adjusted our dinner slightly: we were already having grilled steak but I added goat cheese mashed potatoes with lots of black pepper.  It worked beautifully.

So often, the people, the stories, the connection is what makes one wine or region stand out from the others.  Dry Creek Valley stands out.  The event was meticulously planned, but always felt warm and comfortable.  The people were sharing their lives, their families’ histories in a glass.  It was a wonderful evening.

When we drove through the valley last summer on our way to the Redwoods, we only made one stop.  I had made an appointment at Ridge Lytton Springs.  It was a wonderful experience with great wines, but I had no idea what was ahead.  As we left Geyserville in the morning, we passed sign after sign.  It was too early to stop, but I found myself quickly looking up all of the unfamiliar names.  At that time, I knew we needed to go back to that region.  And now that I’ve gotten a taste of the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley, I only want more.

Many thanks to Michelle McCue of McCue Communications and Ann Peterson of WDCV for the invitation.

Thank you Clayton Fritz of WDCV and Fritz Underground.

Thank Nick Briggs and Dutchers Crossing.

Thank you Rachel Schmidt and Estate 1856.

Thank you Kim Pettit and Ferrari Carano.

Thank you Dashe Cellars for sharing even though you couldn’t be with us.

Thank you Justine’s for the wonderful food and pairings.  Well done.

{I was invitied to this event as media.  The only compensation was the food and wine served.  The thoughts and opinions are my own.}

Being Enough this Mother’s Day

SAHMmelier:

I published this piece last year and it seemed to strike a cord with many readers. I thought I’d send it out again this year. Happy Mother’s Day to all. I see some good wine in my future this weekend.

Originally posted on SAHMmelier:

Last week I had the pleasure of chatting with other wine lovers and professionals about the great wines coming out of the Finger Lakes. We tasted Lemberger, Pinot Noir, and two Russian grapes that were new for me, Sapervi and Sereksiya. I always learn something from the producers and writers, but this year, one 140 character tidbit in particular keeps ringing around in my head. Julia Burke, NyWineWench, wrote “Nice of YOU to appreciate it (instead of comparing NY reds to Napa cab)! ” to which Mary Cressler of Vindulge responded, “No way!! NY is NY. CA is CA. OR is OR. Absolutely no need to ever compare to each other. They are who they are!” This idea is one that extends to other areas of our lives, doesn’t it?

If you have been drinking wine for any period of time, you’ve likely come across the idea of terroir, the…

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Virginia is for (Wine) Lovers

We all know what you’re supposed to do when life hands you lemons.  And when life hands you a 40 year old vineyard, you make wine.  When Scott and Martha Stinson were looking for a place to retire, they came upon the property which boasts an eighteenth century farmhouse and 12 acres of vines.

Scott’s background in architecture gave him the vision for the restoration of the Piedmont Estate buildings.  A love of French wines gave him and his daughter, Rachel, a vision for the vines.  Under the guidance of viticulturist and vineyard consultant Lucie Morton, they revived the soil and planted Sauvignon Blanc, Petit Manseng, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tannat.  They source from other Virginia growers as needed to create smaller production, French inspired boutique wines.

I had been hearing about the great wines coming out of Virginia but had not had the opportunity to try any so I was thrilled to receive the samples of Stinson Vineyards wines from Folsom and Sons.  In fact, I couldn’t wait to open them. I gave them a couple of weeks to settle and opened them for happy hour on the deck.

Without a kitchen, my options are limited for pairing fare, but thanks to a borrowed toaster oven, I pulled off something. The first one I opened was the 2012 Cabernet Franc.  When I think Cab Franc, I think green pepper, so I roasted some Shishito peppers.  It is one of my current favorite appetizers.  Toss them in olive oil and broil them until they blister.  Shave some parmesan cheese and sprinkle with salt and a squeeze (or three) or lemon.

It worked just as I hoped.  Really beautiful Bing Cherry notes and a pop of pepper.  Medium bodied, good acid, with a clean, bright finish.  Some Cab Francs have a bite at the end.  This tasted like lovely, unmanipulated fruit.

This past Friday was our first day in the 80s in a while.  After a very long week, it was time to open the 2012 Rosé.  The wine is 100% Mourvédre sourced from Horton Vineyards in Madison County, Virginia.  Pale salmon color, clean dusty nose.  I kept getting cinnamon stick at the end.  On the palate, pink grapefruit, good minerality, herbal notes.  Maybe tarragon?  Herbs de Provence? Whatever it was, it was delicious.  I could have paired it many ways.  Chicken salad with tarragon, grilled salmon with herbs and green olives, farro salad with feta, mint, parsley.  It is a versatile, food-friendly, tasty wine.

When I was growing up, the “Virginia is For Lovers” tourism campaign was in full swing.  If Stinson Vineyards is any indication, “Virginia is for Wine Lovers” is bound to gain a similar momentum.

 

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SXSW Tragedy-#austincares

Excuse the break from wine, but this takes precedence.
Last night at SXSW, as a result of unfathomable selfish, awful choices, two people lost their lives and several more visitors were injured, some critically.
This is a tragedy magnified by the fact that those people were likely visiting our town and are without a support system.  That’s where I need your help.

One look at my site and you can tell I am not tech savvy.  And as much as I’d love to be able to be multiple places at once, that can’t happen.  But we can. together.  Together, we can show the victims and their friends and families the support they need right now.

As many of you know, last year we were in the hospital for about ten days with a loved one.  It was a very difficult time, a time that would have been much more difficult without the support of friends.  Whether it was sending food, praying with us, or even bringing some wine when it got too much, their support made all the difference.

Let’s be the support for these visitors.

Here’s what I envision.  A site where people can list needs, and someone else can fill them.  A ride to or from the airport?  Someone to sit with for an hour?  Someone to wait for news while they catch a breath?  Food?  Help managing the insurance/billing?  I would list those ideas and more and you, the great community of Austin would jump in where you can.

It may not be much, but it will be everything for those hurting and the families trying to get to them.  Who can help?  Web design?  Spread the word?  Jump in.

In the meantime, I have set up this Lotsa Helping Hands site where volunteers can join groups and people can post needs.

https://www.lotsahelpinghands.com/c/715104/

and the Facebook page, Austin Loves SXSWers.
*update: SXSW has set up an organization to help that will launch this evening. That may be a great place to put our energies at this time. I will leave the site active for anyone still wanting to use it to post needs/availability. #sxswcares

Words of Devotion #MWWC7

The entries are starting to come in,  We have one more day to get in on the challenge so pour a glass of inspiration and show us what you’ve got.  Comment below with a link to your piece and I’ll add it below.

The birthday party is behind me, the Elsa dress was a success, but guess what showed up in its place?  Nothing like a fast moving stomach bug.  So far 3 down, I’m the only one still standing (Fingers crossed, probiotics downed).  I guess I could write about the wine I drank after the laundry I did, lysol I sprayed, and hours of sleep lost?  That is devotion, right?  Chances are it would be stream of conciousness dribble at this point, but sometimes that works.

I will try my hand at creating a poll a la Drunken Cyclist but I make no promises. In the meantime, check out the following entries:

Devotion; Why I Love Madeira by Foxress

Devotion by Spring of Autumn

Devotion to icon wine in the 1980′s by Confessions of a Wine Geek

Winegrower’s Devotion by Foodwineclick

A Fairy Tale of Devotion by An Edible Quest

An Excerpt from my Novel by Wandering Gourmand

Devotion: Why is the Wine Gone? by Wine Ramblings

Devotion: The Monthly Wine Writing Challenge by Wine Raconteur

True Devotion by Joy of Wine

In praise of Bacchus by Renenutet13

A dessert wine of Devotion for Valentines Day, Giovanni Allegrini Recioto Valpolicella Classico D.O.C.G by Educated Palate

MWWC#7:  Requiem for a Potholder by Armchair Sommelier

Devotion by The Sweet Sommelier

Tarima Organic Monastrell 2011 by Oenophilogical

Totally Devoted to Beaujolais by My Custard Pie

Devotion: The Politics of Wine by The Food and Wine Hedonist

The rules

  1. Write a post based on this month’s theme: “Devotion”.
  2. The post should be at least tangentially related to wine (after all, it is the name of the challenge!).
  3. The post should be more or less around 1000 words (I’m not one for hard and fast rules)
  4. Include the Monthly Wine Writing Challenge badge that was designed by the very first winner, The Armchair Sommelier.
  5. Once you post on your blog, link back to this post (or somehow notify me), and I will be sure to include a link here as well as on all subsequent posts about this month’s challenge.
  6. It would be great if you tweet a link using the hashtag #MWWC7.
  7. Remember to vote!

The all important dates:

Deadline for submission:  Monday, February 17th, 2014

Voting Begins: Tuesday, Febraury 18th, 2014

Voting Ends:  Monday, February 24th, 2014

Winner Announced:  Tuesday, February 25th, 2014

Previous winners:

If you’re looking for some inspiration here are the links to the previous winning posts:

MWWC1 – Transportation

The Armchair Sommelier

MWWC2 – Trouble

My Custard Pie

MWWC3 – Possession

The Wine Kat

MWWC4 – Oops

Confessions of a Wine Geek

MWWC5 – Feast

The drunken cyclist

MWWC6 — Mystery

SAHMmelier

Channel Your Inner ONJ-(#MWWC7)

SAHMmelier:

So, one thing is clear in the #MWWC7 Challenge. I am doing a poor job as host. I’ve been remiss in reminders and promotions. I apologize. I’m knee-deep in tile samples and cabinet quotes. I’ve been shaping satin and making pin-the-nose on Olaf games for my daughter’s Frozen birthday party. My creative juices are running dry, but hopefully things are different for you. Hopefully you’re using the snowdrifts and arctic attacks as fuel for your writing fire.

You’ve got ten days to show us what stirs your devotion. Or someone else’s. Or maybe you can just talk about what you drink when you watch Sandy serenade Danny. For some inspiration, check out Foxress’ love of Madeira on her blog, From Vinho Verde to Barolo with Love.

Send me your links when you have them and I’ll post below. In the meantime, stay warm and wish me luck on my attempt to sew an Elsa dress.

Originally posted on SAHMmelier:

wine-stain1-3

Last month I decided to join a group of very talented wine writers in a monthly creative writing challenge centered around…you guessed it…wine.  The competition began six months ago around the idea that it is easy to get bogged down in the facts and figures of wine writing.  The Drunken Cyclist thought it would be both unifying and inspiring to have a themed writing challenge and MWWC was born.

I was blown away to find that I won last month’s competition based on the theme, Mystery.  Apparently my encounter with the host with the most and his “friends” resonated.  What is the prize?  Having the honor of hosting the next month’s challenge.  That means coming up with a theme, broad but not too broad, that will inspire other writers to write, fiction or non-fiction.  So, after much thought…

If you look at the title and you’re a TLA (three-letter acronym)…

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Local Flavor: Hecho en Mexico

I remember the first time my husband and I went to Hecho en Mexico.  The restaurant had just changed from a deli, glass display cases and a nondescript environment, to a family owned Mexican restaurant.  It was a Sunday, after church, and we thought we would try going out to eat with children.  I can’t remember if it was child or children.  Honestly, those early sleepless years blend together, but I do remember feeling ill-equipped.  I vaguely remember the food.  I clearly remember not being able to enjoy any of it.

Fast-forward a few years.  We now have a few tricks up our sleeves.  Our children are older, we are wiser, and if we plan it correctly, we can all enjoy an evening out in REAL restaurants.  So a few months back we decided to revisit Hecho.  GREAT decision.  When we walked, I was amazed at the transformation.

20140131-165528.jpgColorful decor, walls lined with local artist’s work, and a WALL of tequila.  Because it was a Thursday night, they had live music.  Because it was happy hour, the apps were half price.  And because the house margaritas are DELISH, we knew we had found a new local restaurant.

Tacos al Pastor App

Tacos al Pastor App

We’ve since returned many times and we all have our favorites.  My son loves the Tacos al Pastor.  Smart boy.  They are on the appetizer menu or the lunch menu.  My husband goes back and forth between the Chile Relleno, which can be with beef or mushroom, and the Platon de Enchiladas which consists of a sampling of three moles.  Before coming here he didn’t even like mole.  It’s that good.   My daughter calls it the Nopalitos place.  A plate of those and some of my entrée and she is a happy girl.   She and I  think the stand out is the Chile en Nogada, a roasted poblano pepper with shredded pork, almonds, raisins, covered in a creamy walnut sauce with pomegranate seeds.  Delicious.   If your kids are less adventurous, no problem.  They have a $2 children’s menu with all the basics and beans, rice, or broccoli.

Holy Mole!

Holy Mole!

I also love the Diavola sauce, but it is not for the faint of heart.  We were there for breakfast one day and I ordered the Huevos Ranchero.  It was good, but I wanted a little more fire.  She suggested the diavola.  It took a little while so I thought she forgot.  No, she made me some.  Yes, that’s the kind of familial touch they have.

Cochinita Pibil

Cochinita Pibil

We like to go on weekend afternoons.  It is quiet and we don’t have to worry about bothering anyone or waiting with hungry kids.   But the evenings are fun, too.  Great energy and live music.  The last Wednesday of the month, they have a Tequila dinner.  Four courses with tequila pairings for $35.  Hard to beat that.  We still have yet to go, but it is on our list of things to do.

If you are not a house margarita person, don’t fear.  They have a huge selection of tequila and several specialty cocktails.  If you feel like a splurge, they have a tippity top shelf (my words, not their’s) margarita for $27.  Some day…

Now, is everything great?  No.  I won’t say that because some items need, in my opinion, some tweaking.  I don’t love the guacamole.  The cochinita pibil is beautifully presented, but after tasting my husband’s mole, the flavor wasn’t as exciting.  The flan is better than the Tres Leches.  But we really like this place.  We always feel welcome, the kids are comfortable, but it is a step up from the typical “family restaurant.”  I love supporting local businesses, restaurants, etc.  When you find a neighborhood gem, it is hard to let the secret out, but it is harder to keep it in.

The Nitty Gritty:

Address: 6001 William Cannon Dr Ste 301   Austin, TX 78749

Phone Number: (512) 301-0060

Hours of Operation: 9:00am-10:00pm

Takes Reservations: Yes

Wi/Fi: Yes

Website: http://hechoenmexico-restaurant.com/

This post was written as part of the Austin Food Bloggers Alliance’s contributions to the City Guide.  All opinions are my own and I received no compensation of any sort for this review.