South By South West – where people from all over descend to Austin, the live music capitol of the world and hub of tech innovation, for tech, film, and music. It’s exciting, enlightening and a little overwhelming.
10 days + 300,000 music-obsessed, social media-savvy, startup-enthused foodies.
Open bars, all you can eat buffets, puffs from the oxygen bar at Bing’s Recharge lounge, stuffing my face at Southbites, free car rides from Uber, hearing a couple of lines from Macklemore, while stopping to catch my breath at the Yahoo! lounge and Samsung Blogger Lounge (thanks for the brand new Galaxy S3!).
I kicked off SXSW this year by hosting a Food Crawl, bringing together techies and foodies to celebrate the best eats in Austin. Who says you can’t pull off an event under 2 weeks? 20,000+ registered RSVPs, 10,000 wristbands, 40 restaurants offering exclusive promotions, interactive secret map, 20 notable bloggers, and 10 featured start-ups launching from the biggest open space in downtown, The Long Center of Performing Arts. Highlights include exclusive Food Crawl menus from Fresh Off the Truck and Kenichi, who also opened their restaurant on Saturday for the food crawl, a food panel led by Tony of Food Trailers Austin and The Jalopy for creating the Koko’s Special. The event kicked off with an opening message with Babette from BakeSpace, Aida Mollenkamp from Food Network, and Bernard Huang from Food By People. A big shout out goes to the event sponsors, Food By People, and Austin 360 and Zagat for the mentions! To the thousands of people that joined me on this eating adventure, nom on and see you next year.
Days and nights consisted of non-stop eating, drinking, tweeting, networking, and more eating. Highlights included a 5-course yogurt themed dinner at Parkside with the lovely ladies from Chobani (the braised beef short ribs with green garlic and basil ice cream finale still sings to my tastebuds), 4 visits to Jeni’s Ice Cream for 3 creamy scoops of salty caramel ice cream, and an authentic French meal cooked by a charming Frenchman completed with my first French bise. All-you-can-eat mouthwatering Franklin’s BBQ, Coolhaus ice cream sammies, Chi’Lantro BBQ’s kimchi fries, Peached Tortilla’s pork belly tacos, late night indulgence of unspeakable fried foods and ‘Hey I just met you and this is crazy but, are you going to eat that? If not, can I have it?’ Here’s what Austin tasted like during SXSW.