Mayer Hawthorne and the County: Foodies At Heart

Mayer Hawthorne and the County may be known for their funky soul-inspired sound, but did you know their frontman is a bonafide foodie too? He took a break from prepping for his upcoming whirlwind North American tour (beginning April 16, with the FOOD & WINE Festival as one of the first stops) to give us his Festival hitlist as well as a few of his own secret culinary tricks. The crooner also weighs in with his opinion on the perennial Texas vs. California taco debate.

Spoiler alert: Austin might have some work to do. That said, luckily he’ll be in the heart of the action, performing at every taco-lover’s dream event on Saturday, April 28, The Rock Your Taco Showdown. Nine of the nation’s top chefs will go head-to-head in the live throwdown, but only one will walk away with the taco crown. Festival VIPs will also get in on the action and taste samples of the chefs’ taco creations.

You’ve mentioned before that you don’t really have any food TV favorites because, simply put, watching people cook on television makes you too hungry. Given the fact that the Austin WINE & FOOD festival is essentially a live, interactive cooking show where you get to bounce around and actually sample the dishes, you’ll finally be able to solve that problem! So are there any classes or demos you’re hoping to stop by? I’m such a little kid when it comes to food, so I’m definitely gonna check out Cereal: It’s Not Just For Breakfast Anymore. And as an artist who tours all over the world, Global Street Food with Andrew Zimmern sounds dope too. I would love to learn how to make some of that stuff.

Putting you in the chef’s seat, tell us a little bit about what you’d whip up when…

1. You’re out to impress someone special… I make the best banana creme pie. I’ve been perfecting my recipe for years. My Dad and I have a contest every year to see who can make it better and I won last year!

2. You only have 30 minutes and the ingredients in your pantry… Pasta is easy and fast. I like egg noodles with alfredo, chicken sausage & sun-dried tomatoes.

3. You’re on the road… On the road I get homesick, and I don’t have much to work with, so I make peanut butter & jelly sandwiches to remind me of home.

We’ve read that you — as a current LA-dweller — also have a soft spot for tacos. Having played shows in Austin on multiple occasions, you’ve likely sampled some of our city’s top taco contenders. Thoughts on LA vs. Austin? Any restaurants/food trucks/secret spots you have to try while you’re in town? LA is hard to beat when it comes to tacos. The only place that came close was Jaime’s Spanish Village. I was devastated when they closed! But I get Mexican food all the time, so when I come to Austin, I’m all about the BBQ. I always try to hit Rudy’s or Salt Lick. And my secret spot is Hoover’s Cooking out on Manor Rd. Sweet potato biscuits, what?!