SXSW 2014: Rachael Ray Feedback House

Hot dogs, beer, and live music – It was an affair I’d have all over again. Yup, that’s how I spent my SXSW in Austin this year – Attending Rachael Ray’s annual Event, with this year to include a Park’s Finest & Blue Moon pairing tasting. What American doesn’t love beer and hot dogs?

I haven’t attended SXSW the last few years, and I live in Austin! I know, I know, shame on me. Thank goodness for my invite to the Rachael Ray Feedback Event this year! It was the only event I had attended, which left me feeling happy that I went. Conveniently located just a short few blocks from the Saltillo Austin Metrorail stop, was the venue where the event took place, the CTC Garden. It was very Austin-y with it being an outdoor, open roof event, music stage to the right, chairs and chill spots to the left. We proceeded towards the back to a very-blue cottage where the Park’s Finest tasting had commenced. To my surprise, we were all greeted by the famous Chef Jill Houk (Renouned recipe maker and chef) and Keith Villa (CEO and Head Brewmaster of Blue Moon Brewing Company)! These fabulous two, guided us through our tasting and were so gracious to chat with us while we stuffed our faces with hot dogs, washed down with cold beer! These delicious Franks are new on the market and I’m not sure when they’ll hit the shelves, so sit back and taste this sneak-peek with me if you’re a hot dog fan!

  1. We began with the Park’s Finest Signature Season dog topped with a raspberry mustard, paired with the Belgian White Blue Moon. The fruit in the mustard really brought out the orange in the beer, without letting the seasoning of the dog become overwhelming, if it was paired with another sauce or beer. This was my favorite pairing, and also my favorite flavor of hot dog choices. It’s seasoned flavor was just right, and the subtlety of the fruits in the sauce and beer made for a perfect medley. Beer Tip: You don’t necessarily have to squeeze the juice of the orange garnish in the Belgian White, since the flavor and oranges are already brewed in the beer. The garnish is typically used for aromatherapy. I remember Keith also mentioning that his specific choice of picking Valencia Orange peel for the Belgian White, was because of the sweetness of that orange complimenting the other ingredients well.
  2. Moving on to Park’s Finest Slow-Smoked Hickory dog topped with a mild white cheese, paired with the Summer Honey Wheat Blue Moon. The mildly-sweet cheese brought out the smoky flavored dog, while the crisp and refreshing Summer brew swept the flavor over all my little taste buds – they were happy. This brew was my favorite, as it didn’t make me feel bloated, yet still was delightfully bubbly and perfectly filling. The sweetness  of the honey and orange peel of the beer was a very nice finish to the bold flavors of the hot dog. Beer Fact: Blue Moon uses Kosher ingredients, drinkable for anyone on a Kosher diet!
  3. The last, Park’s Finest Cracked Dijon Mustard dog topped with caramelized onions, paired with the Pine in the Neck IPA from Blue Moon. This was my least favorite, only because I am not a fan of Dijon mustard – Everyone else raved about it! The caramelized onions sweetness balanced out the bold flavors of the Dijon very well…enough for me to be a little less apprehensive towards the mustard flavor! Chef Jill and I got to talking about IPA’s. She loved em’, me? not so much. Typically they’re too bitter for me, but this Pine in the Neck really hit the spot. With a toasty caramel flavor, not too much hops or bitterness, Chef Jill and I agreed on this for sure…we loved this IPA! Hats off to ya, Keith!

Although I wasn’t able to attend the Feedback Party the following day, Rachael Ray, please have me out next year for SXSW, I will definitely come out again…it was the most fun I’ve had in Downtown Austin in a long a while! Check out my photos of the event, along with some shots of the famous CeeLo Green & Blondie rocking it out on stage!


My brother and I were lucky enough to have squeezed on the metrorail, we stood the whole way because it was so packed!


My brother’s snazzy jean-jacket wearing self, sporting an Official Rachael Ray Feedback Guest Badge


Left to right: Smoked Hickory, Cracked Dijon, and my favorite – Signature Seasoned. YUM-MY! I wish I had one of these hot dogs right about now…


It was an honor to meet and speak with both Keith & Chef Jill. They were super down-to-Earth folks, and very happy to hang with us!


There was even more delicious food out back, but I didn’t get to try any until they were all sold out!


Jeni’s Ice Cream…wow…best Ice cream ever! Here is the Moonshine Pecan Pie & Loveless Biscuits and Peach Jam flavors


I got hungry again. My favorite toppings with the Signature Seasoned Ball Park’s Finest: Carmelized onions, cherry tomato, chipotle ketchup, house made spicy relish


Seen performing here was my fav band of the day: Black Cadillacs from Tennessee


Photo Courtesy of Ball Park® brand: Fans rocking out to Blondie performing on the Park’s Finest Stage at Stubb’s BBQ for Rachael Ray’s Feedback Festival in Austin, TX.


Photo courtesy of Ball Park® brand: CeeLo Green closes out the 7th annual Rachael Ray Feedback Festival from the Park’s Finest stage in Austin, TX to a packed house.


The very-blue houses’ Patio, where we enjoyed our Hot dog and Beer tasting


Loved the decor and aesthetics, Austin is Awesome!


Cheers to you! Don’t forget to like and share this post! Subscribe to my blog, if you love food and drink as much as I do!

Find me and my brother on Instagram, if you’d like to see any video clips of the music of SXSW! @Breatheeatlive @Chunsta

My brother and I with Blue Moon's CEO Keith, and Chef Jill

My brother and I with Blue Moon’s CEO Keith, and Chef Jill

Disclosure: All views and opinions with regard to the product or company itself, are my own, and not influenced, nor reviewed, by the company, prior to this posting.


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