Whole Foods Market's flagship store is located in downtown Austin, at 6th and Lamar, and plays an active role in the local food community. Among it's long list of contributions, Whole Foods often serves as an incubator for developing culinary concepts, like the new WFM Test Kitchen, under the tutelage of new Global Vice President of Culinary and Hospitality, Tien Ho, who is "kicking off his tenure at Whole Foods Market with a food truck concept that will launch during Austin’s annual SXSW Festival. Tien and his team will use the food truck as a delicious way to test new food concepts for our Whole Foods Market prepared foods and bakery departments. The menu and concept will change every two months, testing new dishes and flavors that could become favorites nationwide. First on the docket are open-faced sandwiches, or tartines".
A tartine, traditionally, is a French open-faced sandwich with various toppings. The uber-popular avocado toast is an example. Tartinette elevates the concept with the Roasted Mushroom tartine served with a silky pistachio puree, a melt of taleggio cheese, with a lively sauce vierge and razor-thin radish shavings enhancing rich, earthy flavors. The sweet and spicy Carrot Tartare boasts tender green notes from fennel and a slow-heat finish of harissa. A personal favorite, the Slow Roasted Beets tartine is a sophisticate, perfectly pairing the deep red cubes with blue cheese, pears, pecans, and mildly spicy arugula greens.
The menu is unabashedly vegetable-forward, but adding proteins is an option. Salmon brochette was served with an off-menu kale-topped tartine, punched with peppery flavors, and roasted chicken pumped up the Crushed Peas tartine, seasoned classically with pecorino, lemon, and mint. The vegetable darling of the year, Grilled Cauliflower, became a belle of the ball with the addition of a perfectly fried egg, and imaginative pickled lemon and romesco sauce dazzled as complements.
Sweet-cravers will not be disappointed-- Figs a la Plancha, served with honey, goat cheese, watercress, and hazelnuts and a cup of tea-- sounds like the perfect antidote for a midday slump. Wait. That's a great idea.
Be back soon, y'all.
Note: As noted in the press release, below, Tartinette will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. each day. Whole Foods Market will update the concept, menu and name of the truck every two months to explore food trends, seasonal flavors and vendor partnerships, so get there quick to get a taste of their inaugural offerings.
There's a pretty good chance you'll run into me.