SXSW Keynote Mike D was one of the headliners at the 12th annual Rachael Ray Feedback party at Stubb's, but Jack Antonoff's Bleachers was the main act, with the former Fun. guitarist leading the crowd in song after song of sing-along pop in its finest form.
Not unlike Asleep at the Wheel at ACL, Bob Schneider traditionally opens the event, and he was followed on the south stage by The Cringe, helmed by Ray's husband, frontman John Cusimano, who ended their set with a cover of "Under Pressure."
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On the north stage, the crowd had a front row seat for sets from Palm Palm, Angie McMahon, Cautious Clay and Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real. Inside, the lineup includes the British folk Americana artist Yola and the percussion-forward Kolars, a duo featuring Lauren Brown, who tap dances as she drums. Equally impressive was Billy Raffoul's raspy solo act, accompanied only by the pedals at his feet. The soul-voiced singer from Canada, who now lives in Nashville, has a full-length album coming out this year. The Minnesota-based J.S. Ondara, who is originally from Kenya, dressed as the most dapper of the performers, wearing red pants and a red hat to brighten his poetic (and melancholic) acoustic set.
Mike D, Big Boi and Bleachers played into the crowd with hits and dance anthems and lyrics that feel good to shout, and Ray was in the photo pit for most of them.
Ray, who recently interviewed Michelle Obama onstage at at the Frank Erwin Center to mixed reviews, is about to release her latest book, "Rachael Ray 50," a book with "24 essays and 125 or so recipes, what I like to consider a scrapbook on being 50 and looking forward," she writes.
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The book isn't due out until October, but in April, her show "30 Minute Meals" will return for the first time since 2012, and the Food Network will air one new episode a day during the month. This is the 28th season of Ray's real-time cooking show, which debuted in November 2001 and has always featured her cooking a meal from start to finish. Ray's daytime talk show started in 2006, and continues production.
In this 12th iteration of Feedback, the menu at the party this year featured "Sloppy San Jose Sliders" with a rich, tangy avocado crema and "Smoked Brisket Sammies" with horseradish ranch, both of which were served on Martin's potato rolls. They also served slightly sweet Korean Cowboy Wings and breakfast taco with rajas and queso and the potato chip-crisp Tater Tots. Guests lined up for food when gates opened at 10 a.m. and continued to eat until they packed up the food just before 4 p.m.
Julie Martin, the granddaughter of the founders of the Pennsylvania-based Martin's Famous Potato Rolls, was attending her first SXSW, and she was delighted to see her rolls in the hands of so many fans. Her grandparents started making all kinds of pastries in their garage in the 1950s to sell at the local farmers markets. Now, the company focus mostly on rolls, the slightly sweet buns that are soft enough for a burger or lunch meat. The products are available mostly on the East Coast but in some restaurants locally, including Valentina's Tex-Mex Barbecue, LeRoy and Lewis, Shake Shake, Terry Black's and La Barbecue.
"We're always excited to work with Rachael Ray, You know she's going to make some good things with our rolls," Martin says.
Sloppy San Jose Sliders with Avocado Crema and Jalapeño Rings on a Martin’s Famous Potato Roll
1/2 pound fresh Mexican chorizo, cut from casings
1-2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
1 pound (80/20) ground beef
Salt and pepper
1 medium size onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, grated or minced
1/2 to 1 jalapeño, seeded and fine chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
3 tablespoons Worcestershire
3 tablespoon light brown sugar, such as the pourable variety
2 chipotle in adobo, pureed
1 (14-ounce) can fire-roasted crushed or diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 cup beer, such as Modelo Especial
1 cup beef stock, to keep loose, as needed
For the avocado crema:
1 avocado, pit and skin removed
1 cup Mexican crema or sour cream
1 garlic clove, grated or minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Juice of 2 limes
Salt, to taste
Mild and/or hot pickled jalapeño pepper rings, for topping
12 to 15 slider size potato rolls, such as Martin’s Famous Potato Rolls
Place a large skillet over medium high heat, add a drizzle of oil. Add the chorizo to the pan and let brown, while crumbling with a potato masher or the back of a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes. Remove from pan and reserve on a plate or bowl.
Pour out the grease, holding back about 1 tablespoon, and place pan back on the heat. Add 1 tablespoon of oil and the ground beef to the pan and let brown, while crumbling as you did with the chorizo, about 6-8 minutes. Return the chorizo to the pan, Season with salt and pepper and add the onion, garlic and jalapeno and let cook until onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes. Add the ground cumin and coriander, stir and let cook for 30 seconds and add the Worcestershire, light brown sugar, chipotle, tomatoes, vinegar and beer and stir to combine. Add stock, as needed, to keep loose. Let the mixture cook at a light simmer for about 15 minutes, or until the flavors come together. Taste and adjust the seasoning and consistency.
While the meat mixture is cooking, make the avocado crema. In a blender or food processor, combine the avocado, crema, garlic, cumin and lime. Blend until smooth and season with salt. Taste and adjust seasoning and consistency.
To assemble, place a big spoonful of the meat on the bottom bun, drizzle or dollop with avocado crema and top with pickled jalapenos. Makes 12 sliders.
— Rachael Ray