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Austin offers food adventures

Texas-sized flavor found on every corner

STAFF PHOTOS: BARB RANDALL - One of the places Dave Randall included on his parents tour of Austin was Jester King Brewery in the Hill Country.

We’ve passed the halfway mark in 2015, so if you’ve kept up with Lifting the Fork you have been introduced to about 26 new Food Finds already. Today’s Food Find is a restaurant discovered while exploring the food scene in Austin, Texas.

My husband Mark and I traveled to Austin to visit our son, Dave, who has called Austin home for nearly two years. He has adjusted nicely to his new community – loves the music, the food and the heat. Always an appreciator of good food, he is now a certifiable foodie. He has developed a perceptive palate while working at the Salty Sow, an American Gastropub. In preparation for our visit he had scoped out a number of restaurants for us to try and first on the list was the Salty Sow.

Between meals, the Randalls took in the sights of Austin, including seeing Willie Nelsons statue at the Austin City Limits studio.

The Salty Sow serves contemporary farmhouse fare made with ingredients sourced from local farms and purveyors. With locations in Phoenix and Austin, Chef Harold Marmulstein splits his time between both the sites and creates amazing dishes which have received national acclaim from Zagat, Conde Nast, Southern Living and other publications. He was selected in 2014 to prepare a five course menu at the James Beard House in New York City.

Dave ordered for us, since he knew the menu. We started with pastrami salmon with mustard-dill crème fraiche, Salty Sow charcuterie and cheese board, bacon and gruyere roasted bone marrow. The side dishes were incredible; most notable were the cauliflower and wild rice casserole and the crispy Brussels sprout leaves and the green chile grits. We shared a variety of entrees including candied pork belly, which was so delicious I was speechless. It was truly the best I’ve ever eaten. It was served on collard greens in a soy balsamic syrup which was the perfect complement to the pork. Another out-of-this-world entree was the beer brats served with apple kohlrabi slaw.

Marmulstein is truly a genius at combining flavors.

I hadn’t eaten kohlrabi prior to eating in at the Salty Sow. It’s a member of the cabbage family and the whole plant is edible; generally we eat the bulb and use the leaves as you would kale. Kohlrabi can be purple or green in color, is knobby and has the texture of a turnip with a taste similar to the broccoli stems. You don’t have to peel it, but it’s a good idea since the peel can be pretty tough.

Kolhrabi can be eaten raw or roasted, steamed or grated and made into fritters or soup.

Between meals we did some sightseeing. We toured the capitol building and downtown Austin and spent a cooling day at Barton Springs. Mark and I felt pretty hip using Uber and Lyft and staying in an airbnb. We highly recommend traveling this way.

We ended our stay with a visit to Jester King Brewery in the Hill Country. They specialize in sour beers, which seem to be gaining popularity in Austin and Portland.

People like to compare Portland to Austin and they do have similarities. It's a fun city I'll look forward to explore more.

If you go to Austin be sure to include a meal at the Salty Sow. In the meantime, Chef Marmulstein shares these recipes from the restaurant. Both are delicious and easy to prepare. The slaw is quick to make but Chef cooks his grits low and slow.

Learn more online at Saltysow.com and learn more about Jester King Brewery at jesterkingbrewery.com. Chef Marmulstein recently stopped by the New York City offices of Saveur to give its test kitchen staff a crash course on making grits. You can watch the video online at saveur.com/video-how-to-make-green-chile-grits .

Green Chile Grits

Bon Appetit! Make eating an adventure!

Kohlrabi Apple Slaw

2 each red or green kohlrabi, peeled

2 each Fuji apples

1 cup sweet onion dressing (recipe follows)

1 teaspoon chopped chives

Salt and pepper to taste

Julienne kohlrabi and apples. In a bowl, mix the two with the dressing, chives and season. If too dry, add more dressing.

Serve with beer brats and whole grain mustard.

Zeb’s Sweet Onion Dressing

4 cups sugar

2 cups cider vinegar

2 each large onions, minced

1 teaspoon dry mustard

4 tablespoons celery seeds

2 tablespoons salt

1 1/5 quarts mayonnaise

Bring sugar, vinegar, dry mustard, celery seed and salt to a boil. Add minced onions and remove from heat and cool. When cool, whisk in mayo and check seasoning.

Green Chile Grits

Serves 10-12

4 cups stone ground white corn grits, soaked overnight

4 cups whole milk

3 poblano peppers

1 bunch cilantro, leaves and tender stems (about 1 cup packed)

2 sticks unsalted butter

Kosher salt

Drain and rinse the grits in a large sieve, and then place them in an 8-quart saucepan or Dutch oven and stir in the milk and 4 cups water. Bring the grits to a boil, and then reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 2 hours.

Meanwhile, heat the broiler. Place the poblanos on a foil-lined baking sheet, and broil, turning as needed, until blackened on all sides, about 20 minutes. Place the peppers in a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap. Let the pepper stand for 10 minutes to steam, and then peel and discard their skins, stems and seeds.

In a small pot of boiling water, add the cilantro, and cook until bright green, 1 minute. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice water. Drain the cilantro and spread it on paper towels to dry. Scrape the cilantro into a food processor along with the peppers and puree until smooth.

Remove the grits from heat, and stir in the poblano puree along with the butter. Season the grits with salt before serving.

Recipes courtesy of Chef Harold Marmulstein, The Salty Sow, Austin, Texas

Randall welcomes your food questions and research suggestions. She can be reached at 503-636-1281ext. 100 or by email at brandall@lakeoswegoreview.com. Follow her on Twitter @barbrandallfood.



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