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Friday, June 20, 2014

Hot Wells Harvest Feast: How two dudes planned one of year's best shindigs

Posted By on Fri, Jun 20, 2014 at 11:41 AM

Sometimes the best events are the most laidback (actually, most of the time). Myself along with a few hundred of the worst Spurs fans ever joined artist/caretaker Justin Parr and chef Robbie Nowlin on Wednesday, June 18 for a night out at Hot Wells. Monies raised went straight to the Hot Wells Conversancy.

Billed as a Harvest Feast, the event included 17 or so of Nowlin's best chef-buds for a night of bold bites, booze, baked goods and so much exploring. Here's  quick pictorial recap:

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I began the evening with this roasted veggie dish prepared by Jesse Perez and his team at Arcade Midtown Kitchen. The dressing was light enough to not overwhelm the rest of the offering and the veggies were tender, while still retaining some crunch.

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Last year's event called for a seated multi-course dinner. Not the case in 2014–guests were encouraged to explore the ruins while noshing on bites and cocktails.

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One of the best offerings of the evening came via Boiler House's executive chef Jeff White. Buttery bacon grits, joined fontina green chili grits, smoked bacon relish and truffle caviar. No holding back for this guy.

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White in action. Seriously–these scallops were dreamy.

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Look for a new temporary item via Say She Ate this weekend, as chef/owner Brandon McKelvey dished out this acidic and bright pork schnitzel with cucumbers, red onion and fennel, pulled just minutes before serving from the Hot Wells garden.

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Presentation is key–Ostra's Ernie Estrada wowed guests with his salmon grilling.

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Estrada's plated (cupped?) dish with sweet mustard.

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Entertainment? How about the rap stylings of SAPD's Pokell & Dooley.

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Organizers Justin Parr (left) and Robbie Nowlin (right) kept things organized throughout the night.

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My favorite cocktail of the evening was the Sassy Lil' Peach cocktails via The Brooklynite, made with bourbon, iced white tea, lemon, rose petals and sirop de peche. Just right for the 90-degree heat.

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Secret chef Josh Cross (formerly of Oloroso) served up a classy chicken on a stick with pickled radishes, grilled onions and a sweet glaze.

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Perhaps the best part of the evening was how much fun the chefs were having across the board. Here's Fruteria's Zach Garza cheesin' for the camera while making gorditas with Queso Oaxaca, rajas and chile de arbol salsa.

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Garza also called dibs on the garden's jalapeño and apple mint crop for this spicy agua fresca.

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I'm kind of a slut for desserts. Houston's Rebecca Masson of Fluff Bake Bar made my dreams come true with peach raspberry pie w pickled peaches, raspberry fizzy chocolate, buttermilk ice cream & pie crust cookie. I may or may not have come back for seconds.

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She's obviously so cheerful 'cause she runs on baked goods and rainbows!

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Feast's Stefan Bowers (not pictured) and sous chef Ezekiel Cavazos served up a lamb belly and pork shoulder taco with cilantro slaw on a lamb fat tortilla. I'd take these over boring pastor any day.

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Pastry chef for Las Canarias & Ostra, Christopher Jara, brought mini cupcakes to the party. The chocolate-peanut butter and bacon was great, but my favorite was the chicken and waffles cupcake (not pictured 'cause I ate it too quickly).


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Host Nowlin's rabbit rilletes reminded us that rabbit's are effin' delicious.


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