Food & Drink » Food & Drink Etc.




Amuse-Bouche was the guest Saturday of Chef Johnny Hernandez at his Pearl Farmers Market family-style feast — MesAlegre, “joyful table” — and we were as impressed as the two Austinites across the table, who headed back up I-35 with tales of our city’s all-around loveliness. CIA (as in Culinary Institute of America) grad Hernandez serves up to 30 diners al fresco at the Pearl on Saturdays, incorporating ingredients from the vendors into the menu. The emphasis, accordingly, is on fresh vegetables, which accompany grass-fed meats and farm-raised tilapia. We dined on seared L&M Ranch beef served with roasted peppers, a salad of fresh tomatoes, lightly dressed cucumbers topped with a basil-pecan pesto, and a tangy potato salad. The roster was top-notch, too: ’09 stylist Ric Marmolejo and crew were settled in with a supply of wine (you, too, may BYOB), and A-B enjoyed the company of our new mayor, wife Erica, and baby girl Carina, who appears to have inherited her father’s quiet equanimity. Castro doesn’t drink, btw, but he does have a sweet tooth; the pumpkin-bread dessert (topped with vanilla-bean ice cream and a brown-sugar sauce) disappeared the moment it was set in front of him. Make your own reservations at $12 children/$20 adults, seating at 11 a.m.

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