Join our own Damian Mandola on Buddy Valastro’s, Next Great Baker at 8pm, January 14th on TLC as he appears as a guest judge. For those unfamiliar with the show, contestants compete in challenges that test their baking skills. One baker is eliminated each week. Cake Boss, and Fourth generation Master Baker, Buddy Valastro got his start when he took what he learned from his father and experimented to new horizons, making each cake request customized to the customer’s every desire at the family’s own, Carlo’s bakery in Hoboken, New Jersey.
While the explosion of restaurants in the heart of the city has been a welcome element of our city’s growth, sometimes one needs to leave his watch at home and escape the heated concrete of the city to decompress.
A trip out to Damian Mandola’s Trattoria Lisina offers a welcome change of pace and a chance to unwind, in true Italian fashion, for a meal that can stretch out its legs and linger for hours.
The 30-minute trip to Driftwood from downtown Austin may not transport you all the way to Siena, but the massive stone building set aside a winery just at the foot of the Central Texas Hill Country does its best to approximate the feeling of Tuscany.
Wine, Dine and Caffeinate
Damian Mandola's retirement plans morphed into this astonishing new endeavor where the Texas Wine Country meets Tuscany. In this grand restaurant, vistas of rolling hills laced with vineyards offer an idyllic backdrop for Italian gastronomic marvels (osso buco, anyone?) by chef John Lichtenberger, a transplant from Manhattan whose previous stints include a toque turn at Le Bernardin. Culinary offerings include pasta hand-rolled by Lichtenberger's wife, Carla; vintages imported from Italy; acres of prosciutto di Parma; classic pizze (which were packed up and sent with us for our tour at The Plant); and refreshing homemade gelati and sorbeti. Unwind the big unwind in this Driftwood epicurean experience on the way to Wimberley.