Rachael Ray’s SXSW party is the only event where people don’t seem to mind to stand in line for food.
The crowds show up early, usually around dawn, to get in line for her annual Feedback Party, an event she hosts to say thank you to a home-away-from-home that she loves. For 11 years, that party has featured free Tex-Mex/barbecue/Southern to the audience, which can listen to the two stages of music while they wait for food.
On Saturday, at least the second time the party has falled on St. Patrick’s Day, the party kicked off with bagpipers playing for the people who were already standing in line when the doors opened at 10 a.m.
Per tradition, Bob Schneider and Ray’s husband’s band, The Cringe, kicked off the string of bands, which this year also featured Salt-N-Pepa, Kurt Vile and Girl Talk.
When I caught up with Ray after the first few acts, she was beaming. “They crushed it,” she said of the sets from Schneider and The Cringe, but she was most looking forward to Dr. Pepper’s Jaded Hearts Club Band, a Beatles cover band (and supergroup) with Muse’s Matt Bellamy and drummer Dom Howard. (Make sure you check out their clip singing “Helter Skelter” with Paul McCartney, Ray advised.)
As for the food, she joked, “We wanted to take it to the dogs — d-a-w-g-s –, so we had a vegan/vegetarian corn dog and Hebrew National hot dogs, plus three meat sloppy joes, so it’s the whole barnyard.”
The highlight of this year’s menu was the refried bean- and roasted tomato salsa-topped hot dog, with the pimiento cheese- and Fritos-topped dog coming in second. I loved the sloppy joes and the idea behind the tomatillo gazpacho, but the latter was a little too chunky and presented more like a green salsa.
You can find the recipe for those tomatillo gazpacho shooters here.