We are what we eat, so we should know where our food comes from. At TRACE, a concept restaurant at W Austin, culinary enthusiasts can expect “traceability” of ingredients and truly sustainable, renewable, and organic products. From locally foraged produce to deliciously conscious cuisine, Chef James Zoller brings transparency to the dinner table. We got personal with the man behind the menu, talking his favorite recipes, his go-to Austin dish, and the impossible choice between sweet and salty.
Chef James Zoller’s favorite recipe using fresh ingredients:
Our current quail dish is all about locality. We’ve got Texas quail, local kale and a locally grown “Butterkin” squash, which is a hybrid of a pumpkin and butternut squash. We hit it with a bourbon caramel, and finish the dish with a pistachio butter.
His favorite local food vendors for TRACE:
Currently Farm to Table, Tecolote farm, B5 farms, Antonelli’s cheese shop, Lone Star Meats, and Easy Tiger.
Favorite dishes to serve in the colder months:
We serve warmer, more comforting food in the colder months. Braised meats and greens, root vegetables and giant pork chops.
Go-to signature Austin dish:
My signature Austin dish is Migas from Vera Cruz. All the way. As much as I love slow cooked brisket, sausages, and Texas BBQ tradition, there’s something beautiful about those damn breakfast tacos. Nothing in Austin (aside from my wife) makes me happier.
Sweet or salty:
If I had to pick between sweet or savory I might die. Honestly I’d probably pick sweet, I have a wicked sweet tooth!
Meat or veggies:
Meat all the way. This is Texas after all.
Meal or snacks:
Snacks rule – small plates! Sharing! That’s what I’m all about!
Eat in or go out:
Both? There’s so many awesome apps that bring dinner to my door step. But really I do love going out for a few drinks and sharing a three course meal or a bunch of small plates.
The last place he traveled and the most memorable dish:
Last place I traveled was San Antonio and we went to brunch at Hot Joy. They had miso-glazed sticky buns which were great and a beef Bulgogi benedict with lime hollandaise which inspired our latest brunch addition.
A foodie Insider Tip:
Trace can also be found at W San Francisco and W Seattle.