Music Festivals

Tripping the Light Fantastic at SXSW

It's been far too long since we had a good, old-fashioned LSD miracle berry trip. The last flavor-tripping party was in September 2009 at then-new nightclub Ei8ht, and although Eating Our Words didn't attend, we heard it was still as big as every other miracle berry event that Jenny Wang has put on since throwing her first party back in 2008.

To refresh your memory, miracle berries are a fruit native to West Africa that resemble a cranberry in nearly every way except one: Once eaten, the Synsepalum dulcificum changes the way that foods and beverages taste for up to one hour. The fruit's flesh and juices interact with the flavor receptors on your tongue, causing sour foods to taste sweet, spicy foods to taste mild and sweet foods to taste oddly bitter.

Our own flavor-tripping experiences have never been disappointing. Among the favorite trippy food-bending experiences have been balsamic vinegar that tasted exactly like caramelized sugar (although it still burns your throat going down), goat cheese that tasted like a block of pure, sweet butter and bologna sandwiches that tasted like really good birthday cake.

Luckily, Wang is hosting another flavor-tripping party next Sunday, March 21, and you'll be able to try out the fruit for yourself. The party, which is part of the SXSW festivities, will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. at Emo's (603 Red River, in Austin) and costs $20 a person (and, coincidentally, another kind of tripping will likely be taking place outside at Emo's, where the High Times Doobie Awards are taking place all afternoon). Tickets can be purchased online, which is highly recommended, as the parties always sell out quickly.

Even if you're not in Austin for SXSW (and we recognize that the whole world doesn't stop and that there isn't a mass migration of people to the Hill Country for this one week each year), the party would still make a killer roadtrip for the afternoon. And who knows? You might even see a celebrity or two there.

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Katharine Shilcutt