For a foodie town, Austin is lucky to be represented by such an amazing array of female chefs.
Brunching on a lovely autumn Sunday in November with 50 female Austin movers and shakers was cool and enticing enough, but eating food crafted by Austin’s most talented female rock-star chefs made it epic! The Bitchin’ Babes Brunch Nov. 13 took place at Peached Social House, a modern, airy event space that lent itself beautifully to this lovely get-together.
The three-hour soiree started with mimosas and passed appetizers. The crispy fig and yuzu lemon balm custard dumpling was a personal favorite. It struck a nice balance between sweet and tart, with a good mix of chewy and crispy dough. The other two apps were also fantastic. From Chef Bethany DiBaggio of The Peached Tortilla came a kombucha and purple-potato fritter with quail egg and micro shiso. The dish, served in a tiny skillet, was paired with an equally miniature fork. From Chef Amanda Turner of Juniper came a grilled broccoli, cheddar and chili arancini.
After the appetizers, we were seated at picnic tables and served our choice of assorted danish from Pastry Chef Susana Querejazu of Barley Swine and Odd Duck. The pastries were so delicious, I’d have been happy if the show stopped there. But then it was on to course one.
The first course was from Chef Turner: a sweet potato gnocchi dish served with breakfast sausage, maple syrup, arugula and black pepper. The sausage was, for me, the highlight of this well-rounded dish. Sliced thin and cooked to a light crisp, the sausage took on a pepperoni flavor. This course was paired with a drink called Bump and Run, composed of gin, lemon juice, blueberries and Champagne.
The second course was a dish of blackened catfish, forbidden rice grits, parsley cream, cured yolk and bacon, presented by Chef Sarah McIntosh of Épicerie. The addition of tomatillos made the perfectly cooked catfish’s flavor pop, and the forbidden rice grits added a rich, creamy quality to the delicious concoction. This course was paired with a drink called In Bloom, composed of St. Germain, strawberry and Champagne.
The third and final course was from Chef Janina O’Leary of Play Dough and consisted of a dark chocolate “baby cake,” a citrus and brown-butter brioche doughnut topped with dulce de leche (sweet milk) and salted chocolate butter cream. This dessert course was paired with a drink called Venetian Spritz, composed of aperol, prosecco and a sugar cube.
The entire meal covered a vast area of interesting flavor profiles, with everything cooked to perfection. The cocktails were light enough to be brunch-appropriate and each pairing was expertly well thought out and complementary of its respective course.
In the past few years, Austin has definitely become a foodie town, and it’s fantastic to see such amazing women ruling the roost. We can’t wait to see what next year’s Bitchin’ Babes Brunch brings.
Photos by Lisa Munoz.