I’ve been desperate to try one of the hundreds of food events that happens in Austin every year. The idea of having so many chefs illustrating their entire personality into one bite of food sounds like going to an art show of flavor. I finally bit the lamb bullet and the fat that shot into me was incredible.
There were many chefs, breweries, winemakers, knife makers and even a gin maker at this event. Also, salsa, because it is Texas. The dishes ranged from BBQ to Thai food and Latin food and Mediterranean to microgreens with braised lamb shoulder. They were all delicious and a few really stood out with flavor and texture. Talking to the chefs about their creations did feel a bit like speed dating. You had to go fast because others were waiting in line, and even if you fell in love you still had so many other options to go check out.
What We loved:
Steve Mchugh of Cured created a bite of food that tasted like he asked the lamb how it wanted to be cooked. I have found that every bite I have had of his food honored the animal or the plant that it came from. He had lamb with a piece of sugar cane jammed into it with a fermented vinegar he crafted inside a whiskey barrel. The lamb was filled with juice and plumped up to perfection. The sugar cane was delicious to chew after and entirely edible. There was one chef who went very avant-garde by spinning a recipe after the name of the event by literally making a jam out of lamb. Get it? Lamb jam? Haha. Anyway, it was delicious and probably the most creative thing on display.
There were so many exciting flavors and creative twists that it was thrilling to walk around and taste how delicious lamb is, especially in a country that is just learning about how wonderful it is.
Another beautiful part was being able to eat as much as you wanted. For an all you can eat lamb interaction with endless booze that only happens once a year, this event is worth going to.
What was Frustrating:
The amount of people jammed into this event felt overwhelming for me. I wanted to stay a few hours and feast on an amount worthy of the ticket price, but I really felt the need to find solitude more. If you tried to talk to a chef for too long then people would arrive behind you to get their mouth lamb jamming again. The number of flavors also crashed when they all came together as the chefs were not designing a collaborative flavor menu. This makes total sense, but I realized I would rather spend $70 at an omakase experience where the flavor all flows and there is time to relax and enjoy every bite.
A great impression of what to expect from the closed styles of food surrounding a single animal chosen by some amazing chefs. Would we go again? Probably not. It was a bit overpriced, even with the free liquor. Some of the chef’s plates were better than others. The fact that there was nowhere to sit and the tables for eating were so small, you sometimes had to wait, holding onto your bag with a piece of lamb in one hand waiting in line just to stand up to enjoy it. Because of this, there was also not much of a chance to interact with the fellow Lamb Jammers participating in the event.
There was an epic moment before leaving where we crashed out on the Van Zandt lobby couch, caressing our lamb filled stomachs, that we got to speak to a lady couple that came down and rested on the other couch. We all discussed how delightfully full we are and then passed out into food comas.
Three and a half stars.