Andrew Zimmern. Marcus Samuelsson. Marc Murphy. Brian Malarkey.
Tim Byres. Tre Wilcox. Tim Love. Aaron Franklin. Paul Qui.
Where can you hang out with the likes of these national and local food greats all in one place? The answer is The Austin Food & Wine Festival, coming up at the end of the month. Time to break out the stretchy pants and sterilize the wine helmet.
The annual Austin Food & Wine Festival is the South by Southwest of food. That's the short description, anyway. There will be famous people, plenty of live music, tons of food and lots of drinking. And the price is comparable, too: A full "Savor Pass" costs around $850, only instead of a week, it's less than three days.
So yeah, it's not exactly a value-minded excursion. It's an experience for those who want to eat, drink and rub elbows with culinary stars, and who can afford to drop some serious cash to do so.
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There is, however, a less expensive option: the $250 two-day "Taste Pass." From what I can tell, the big differences between the two passes are that the Savor Pass gets you reserve parking, access to an exclusive "SAVOR Lounge," which features some private tastings as well as ALL CAPS, plus an extra year of FOOD & WINE Magazine (the Taste Pass comes with a 1-year subscription). The Savor Pass also includes the Friday night party called Taste of Texas, with 20 Texas chefs, drinks and live music from Delta Spirit and Whiskey Shivers. It also gets you into an event on Saturday called Rock Your Taco, which is not sexual in nature, but rather a bracket-style competition wherein 16 chefs fight for the title of Taco Champion. OK so maybe that is sexy, after all. Or is that just me?
If your stomach whispers "YES!" but your wallet screams "NOOO," you can follow the festival on a selection of social media, including the mouthwatering Instagram. Or you can just check out this glorious image of Andrew Zimmern in a scarf in front of a red background. Drool, amiright?
Better yet, follow along with me as I attend as an Official 2013 AFWF Lifestyle Ambassador AKA one lucky-ass bitch. And no, you can't come with me. I don't even know you; that'd be super weird.