Tribeza’s Food Issue Debuts May 2021
Peek at our latest cover and see what’s stirring in Austin’s astounding food scene
By Hannah J. Phillips
Cover photographed by Jessica Attie
Executive Editor Hannah Phillips introduces Tribeza’s Food Issue, highlighting our cover story on the rise of Asian cuisine in Austin, a feature about creating farm-to-table cuisine and more from the magazine hitting newsstands in May 2021. Subscribe now to Tribeza to receive every issue of the magazine delivered monthly to your home.
When someone recently asked where to send a visiting friend for “food she can’t find in Chicago,” I scanned my mental directory of favorite Austin restaurants. Reviewing my list (and recent receipts) of go-to spots, I found the challenge harder than your average dining pick: After all, what makes a menu “authentically Austin”? Is it brisket from a famous pitmaster? Tacos from a neighborhood food truck? Elevated fare from an award-winning chef? What do we have on offer here that you simply cannot find outside Central Texas? This issue is proof of just how much even the scope of that question has expanded over the past few decades. Had you asked my parents the same thing in the ’80s or ’90s, their answer would have been wildly different; so would mine, for that matter, just seven years ago. Writing about Austin restaurants for the better part of a decade has given a front-row seat to the many ways that question is evolving, growing in tandem to our ever-changing skyline.
I believe that evolution is a good thing for our local food scene, evidenced by the increasing abundance of international tastes and talents Courtney Runn includes in our cover story, “Pass It On.” The feature focuses on four restaurants leading the rise of Asian cuisine in Austin, each helmed by a female chef bringing their diverse experience and artistic flair to the table. Tagging along with photographer Jessica Attie, I was amazed by not only the growing representation of cultural influences in our city—of which these four are just a fraction—but also by the aesthetic beauty presented on each plate.
As Austinites, we’ve come to appreciate the plate as canvas, elements of color and texture combined as visual appetizers for the victual adventure ahead. And while this admiration stems in part from living in the age of Instagram, we rightly esteem our local chefs as wizards of both palate and palette. Dig a little deeper, however, and you soon learn how reliant these artists are on their fellow food master, the farmer. In our feature “Dishing the Dirt,” we explore that codependent creative relationship and outline the arduous journey from pasture to plate.
Driving out to Driftwood on a foggy Wednesday morning, I had the distinct pleasure of holding a 3-day-old chick in my hands as Ty and Sara Burk traced their process at Westfold Farm. That batch of chickens won’t arrive in local restaurants for at least six weeks after our issue goes to print, a full 10 weeks or more from this photo by Taylor Prinsen. Likewise, the seedlings at Bouldin Food Forest, captured the same week by Travis Hallmark, won’t become Comedor’s signature salad until maybe early July. As we continue to celebrate the talented chefs crafting our farm-to-table menus here in Austin, this story highlights some of the heroes making those products available in the first place.
Both stories narrow the category of “authentically Austin” into two key components that I believe will guide how we answer that question for years to come. When I consider what you can find here that you can’t find anywhere else, my response revolves around the remarkable range of talent on display in local restaurants, and—thanks to our innovative local farmers—the ingredients themselves. We hope this issue will help continue to expand your own definition as you explore these pages.