10.36am, Tuesday 19th April, 24 Diner, South Lamar Avenue, Austin, Texas, USA
Morning folks, it definitely is flooding down here in Texas – in the immortal words of Stevie Ray Vaughan. I had a very ‘lumpy’ flight down to Dallas from Chicago on Saturday night late…..and a very ‘tail heavy drag along then bang the nose down’ landing at DFW airport – and we were probably one of the last flights allowed to land. Well done the lady captain on United UA782….really well done! Then Dallas had on and off torrential rain and lightning storms all day Sunday, so I went across to Deep Ellum, an old inner city warehouse district that’s having a massive revival, and hid out for the day. Just walking along Main Street, it was the All Good Cafe that looked too good to go past….
And at the All Good Cafe – I was introduced to the real Texas style chili – no beans, all meat, tomato, spice and cooked down gravy. The story goes that the cafe’s owner went to the legendary Terlingua Chili Cookoff, tried every chili there, and morphed the best of everything into the All Good version. And my opinion? It’s the best chili I can recall having in this country – all slight sting and slow burn……in a good way! And behind that cup of chili is a grilled cheese sandwich, loaded with roasted green chiles. I chased part the green chile cheeseburger trail in New Mexico last year, and it was my first time with this particular flavour – unique to these southern parts, probably transplanted from Mexico. I definitely need to start growing them in the Barossa.
And next time I’m in Dallas, the All Good Cafe will definitely be on the list. Apart from anything else, you have to love a place that uses empty Patron tequila bottles as the soap dispenser in the bathroom! That’s style right there!
Back to the hotel, and an early night as the rain belted down, and the sheet lightning sat for seconds in the sky. Packed my gear and checked out on another stormy morning in Dallas, was picked up by the Australian Wine Biard educator for the North American region – Mark Davidson – and off to a local donut spot for a quick breakfast sandwich breakfast…..
And on to the venue for our “Australia Now” event – 20 different Australian wines presented to the Glazers distribution sales team and local trade for the Dallas region in a ‘walk around’ tasting…..preceded by a two hour Masterclass for the reps alone. The Masterclass was a wine set snapshot of what’s happening in Australia today, hosted and comments by a panel made up of Mark Davidson, myself, Matt Lane – VP for the Americas for Torbreck, and D Lynn Proctor – Penfolds Winemaking Ambassador and supperstar sommelier from the ‘Somms’ movies.
Excellent session, with most reps not having been to Australia, or ever having the opportunity to see such a range of premium Australian wines open in the one spot. Across the board there were so many ‘I just didn’t know that this is what Australia did or tastes like’ comments, and there was a genuine residual excitement about the whole Australian wines of some provenance story, so mission seriously accomplished. Tomorrow we will repeat the same event here in Austin.
We were going to do the whole event in Houston as well – today as a matter of fact, but seeing as that city is more or less under water from the completely un seasonal storms, with a state of emergency in place – we cancelled yesterday afternoon and came straight through to Austin last night. We stopped at West, a little town off the highway, as they make pretty great ‘kolaches’ – the local fruit filled sticky buns.
Lucky for us then that the late show at The Continental Club was my favourite American performer – Dale Watson, the Texan Troubadour, and his Lone Star all session muso backing band. So quite the fitting Texas honky tonk finish really to an Australian Wines on display day. See you when it’s Wedensday and we’re doing it all again.