2014 Viva Big Bend Food Fest

This is the 2nd annual Viva Big Bend Food Fest that has been held in the area known as “Big Bend” Texas. The host cities were: Alpine, Fort Davis, Marathon and Marfa.

I just love coming out to this area of Texas. The people, the landscape and the food are fantastic.

When we got into Alpine, the first place we went was The Saddle Club for cold beer and Epic Fries. I don’t know how they do it, but the fries remain crispy and fresh even with all the good stuff they put on top of it.

Our next stop was the Railroad Blues for the opening party. Big Bend Telephone was sponsoring the event and giving away samples of BBQ and fajitas, as well as magnetic koozies that came in quite handy! Tessy Lou and the Shotgun Stars provided live music. It was a great start to a great weekend.

The next morning we drove to Fort Davis for a Cowboy Breakfast at the Fort Davis National Historic Site. The fort was a military post from 1854-1891.

The path to the chuck wagon wasn’t very long and the smell of wood smoke and food was very enticing. We sat down in an oak grove and admired the mountains and chatted with friends, all the while eating biscuits with sausage gravy, eggs with pico and drank coffee cooked over a campfire….there is something about coffee done that way that I just love.

That afternoon, we planned to go to Marfa to visit the Marfa Maid Goat Dairy. But just like last year, we missed it.

Luckily, we did not miss the Tito’s Vodka Cocktail Dinner. This was a joint effort with Stephen and Jonathan Wood of The Saddle Club cooking 4 courses and David Alan the “Tipsy Texan” doing cocktail pairings.

#1 – roasted cabrito with avocado mousse and Jonathan’s Salsa in tortilla cups.

Cocktail: vodka, roasted pineapple, lime, cinnamon/clove syrup and tiki bitters.

#2 – pork belly carnitas, grilled marinated artichoke bottoms with a pickled watermelon radish salad and a drizzle of bacon creme.

Cocktail: vodka, pressed watermelon, mint and sugar.

#3 – jalapeño rubbed beef tenderloin, bacon with a drizzle of roasted jalapeño creme. The 2 side dishes were pepper jack cheese hominy and sautéed chayote squash.

Cocktail: vodka, Carpano Antica, Luxardo maraschino and bitters.

#4 – sopapilla cheese cake with agave nectar and local honey.

Cocktail: vodka, Cremes de Cacao and Menthe, frozen.

Everyone really enjoyed the evening. The one thing I thought interesting was that the men at our table preferred cocktail #1 and the women preferred #2…but we all liked #4!

Saturday was a blow out party at Big Bend Brewing with BBQ and the Doodlin Hogwallops providing music. We had samples of about 4 beers, one that we got a secret sip of was the Russian Imperial Stout (Motor oil smoky goodness. Loved it!) and got to look at the expansion construction of the brewery.

Because we were having such a great time catching up with friends and enjoying the beer and music, I missed the Tito’s Vodka DIY Infusion Class. I was told that the infusion ingredients consisted of teas, herbs and fruits…no bacon…Darn!

Our last night, we couldn’t decide between the Tiki Party at the Paisano, Movie Night at Airstreamland in Marfa or the Cow Dog/Plaine Party. We decided to stay in Alpine and go to Plaine (it’s a coffee/bakery shop) and eat Cow Dogs (the best hot dogs on the planet) and listen to music by Jon Hogan &  Maria Moss.

Sully got his Favorite Dog called the Mexican. It has pico de gallo, bacon, sharp cheddar cheese, mayo and ketchup.

I got the rarely available Moofalatta. It has olive tapenade, with provolone and Genoa salami wrapped around the dog. Just meaty, salty fantastic!

The next morning we packed up and left our home away from home (The Maverick) and faced our 8 hour drive back to Dallas with a great appreciation for food and friends we continuously discover in the “middle of nowhere”.

Thank You Stewart Ramser and everyone in the Big Bend Area for making the Viva Big Bend Food Fest so much fun!

Please go on the Viva Big Bend site to see all the stuff I didn’t have time to do, but I hope to do next year.

Cheers Y’all!