It’s “Wine Time” in Texas which means there are festivals nearly every weekend to enjoy around the state. Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending the second annual Kalahari Food & (Not Just) Wine Festival in Round Rock. If you were unable to attend this year, definitely put it on your calendar for next year! Here, in no particular order, are five of our favorite things we enjoyed at this year’s festival.
Kalahari is HUGE and the festival spans the entire resort. (Be sure to wear comfortable shoes because you’ll easily get 5,000+ steps in as you enjoy the festival.) Every restaurant in the resort participated in the festival, showcasing one or more of their specialties. We enjoyed housemade meatballs in Sortino’s Italian Kitchen, followed by pepperoni pizza at Sortino’s Pizzeria. In Double Cut Steak House, we sampled the Nashville Hot Style Quail and chased it with the Double Cut Smoked Old Fashioned. Cinco Ninos had a mountain of chips & salsa to munch on, as well as Shrimp Ceviche. Our final stop was B-Lux Grill & Bar where we tried (unsuccessfully) to bowl a strike in the bowling alley, then stopped by the bar to try their Grilled Angus and French Dip Sliders with French Fries & Tater Tots. That was just some of the delicious food we had that day.
Cheers to Great Wine … and More
There’s a reason this festival is (Not Just) Wine. While there is definitely plenty of fine wine to sample (Caymus anyone?), you will also find a variety of spirits, cocktails and beer. The pours are very generous, too, so be sure to pace yourself. In addition to drink samples in each of the restaurants, tables with vendors could be found lining the hallways, in the lobby and outside at the Amatuli Outdoor Stage & Bar area. Some of the cocktails included an Old Fashioned, Whiskey Sour, Sangria, Margaritas, Cotton Candy Cocktail, Espresso Martini. Spirits available included a variety of tequila, vodka, gin and whiskey. A limited selection of non-alcoholic drinks, like Red Bull & Bubly, were also available.
Shout Out to the Locals
We loved seeing all the local wineries, distilleries and breweries represented at this festival. Becker Vineyards, Fall Creek Vineyards and Thirsty Mule Winery were a few wineries that we enjoyed sampling. Still Austin Whiskey, Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Blue Owl Brewing were also seen. Local residents also turned out in droves for the festival. Around every corner, we spotted a friend, neighbor or co-worker.
Live Entertainment Enhances the Fun
While the food and drinks were definitely the highlight of the festival, the live entertainment sprinkled around the resort added to the festive atmosphere. Live music, jugglers, stilt walkers and acrobats entertained guests as they strolled through Kalahari. Guests could also take a break from walking around the resort and attend Chef Demos in the convention center, as well as a Caymus Wine Flight tasting.
VIP Tickets Unlock the Ultimate Experience
The VIP tickets were worth the extra price. The festival began two hours earlier for those with VIP tickets. Guests began the day with the VIP Brunch Hour in the Kalahari Ballroom. There was plenty of food to eat from breakfast tacos to chicken & waffles. Drinks were flowing with a Bloody Mary bar and Champagne & Mimosas. Live musical entertainment in the center of the ballroom kicked the party atmosphere up a notch. After brunch, VIP guests were given early access to the festival. You know what they say, “You can’t drink all day if you don’t start early.”
Cover Photo Wendi Baird.
Wendi Baird is the Editor in Chief for Texas Lifestyle Magazine. As a fifth generation Texan, her roots run deep in the Lone Star State. She loves traveling and writing about her experiences.