The most elegant venue that I visited during this year’s SXSW is from Scandinavia. The House of Scandinavia featured companies, celebrities, entertainment and food from the Scandinavian countries. Promotions of a country, a region and cities are not unusual at SouthBy. Basically, they are showing that they too are cool and are great opportunities for high-tech startups.
I didn’t stay very long but it gave me a chance to look at Fare Ground, a brand-new Food Hall in downtown Austin. The developers took an underutilized and dated office building and transformed it into a worthwhile destination. And, while dramatic architecture like this is nothing special in bigger cities, it shows the increased worldliness of Austin. This is not the same sleepy city I moved to back in the early 1990s.
The food at House of Scandinavia was outstanding. Though I’m not a vegetarian, I thoroughly enjoyed this heathy and delicious spread. Frankly, I don’t find most vegetarian dishes in the U.S. very appealing. We haven’t built a culture for it here. In India, for example, I ate mostly vegetables because it was done so well. I later learned that these dishes were created by Scandinavia chefs. Too bad. I would go to a restaurant with this kind of food.
From what I read online, lokal. was the pop-up restaurant that created the dishes featured at the House of Scandinavia; the restaurant is not listed as a regular tenant at the Fare Ground Food Hall.
At least the architecture is enticing and showcases the increased sophistication of Austin. In fact, the wood lattice and airy feel seems very un-Texas like. Dare I say, perhaps, it looks more Scandinavian in appearance?
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