Austin Foodie Bits: Week of July 20

French fries in packetOne of the great things about being an Austin food blogger is that I receive all kinds of interesting and useful bits of information about upcoming foodie fun around the city. It’s sometimes hard to work these into individual blog posts, and I often do that long after the fun is long over, making this information only of use to me which is really not in keeping with the spirit of this blog. To that end, I’m going to try to be better about sharing the information on a weekly basis before the events happen. I’ll also try to highlight any great meals I’ve had recently or new food-related information sources I’ve found (blogs, twitterers, Facebook pages, etc). I hope you’ll find this useful and please let me know if there’s something else I can include on a weekly basis to make this type of post useful.

Upcoming Events In and Around Austin

  • July 21: Taste of the Vine Euro Version – The Wine and Food Foundation of Texas regularly hosts wine education and fundraising events. This week, their local sommelier extraordinaire will focus on some classic European wines and weave some great tales in with the tasting. The tasting will be held at the Texas Culinary Academy and the cost is $35 for members of the foundation and $45 for non members. If you want to brush up on some Euro wine trivia for use at a future party or social occasion, you’d best sign up now.
  • July 22: Cissi’s Julie & Julia Movie Launch Party – The new Julie & Julia movie opens August 7, but you’ll have several opportunities before then to catch a screening of the movie. One of the first is a free event at Cissi’s Market this Wednesday from 7-10pm. The food promises to be great and what better way to enjoy a food movie but with great food and wine. Addie Broyles is also keeping track of Julie & Julia events on the Relish Austin blog.
  • July 22 – August 5: FINO Chef’s Table Series – The wonderful folks at FINO Austin, one of my favorite restaurants, started a “Chef’s Table” series this summer. Each Wednesday they feature a special combination of food and drink organized around a theme like FINO Classics, NYC Favorites, and Italy vs. Spain. Local blogger Crystal tells the tale of her experience at the Chef’s Table on her blog Poco-Cocoa. The price for each event is a bit different, but it’s well worth the cost to taste FINO’s great food and spend time with their talented staff.
  • July 23: Tony C’s Coal Fired Pizza Grand Opening CelebrationTony C’s is a wonderful pizza shop out in the Hill Country Galleria that brings New York-style pizza out to those of us who live out near Bee Caves, Steiner Ranch, and Lakeway. Their menu includes a nice collection of pizzas, a create-your-own pizza menu, as well as salads and pasta. The wine list is small but nice and the service has been excellent every time I’ve been there. They’ve been open for a while now but are having their official grand opening party on Thursday from 5:30 – 9:00pm. You can sample their fare with $2 slices, $2 Peroni Pints, and other goodies.
  • July 29: Flavor Tripping at the Belmont – Miracle berries (aka miracle fruit or Synsepalum dulcificum) are the fruit of a plant from west Africa that contain proteins which adhere to your tastebuds and change the flavor of other foods that you eat. Foods that are typically sour and bitter taste sweet when your tongue is under the influence of the fruit, so you’re in for a whole new tasting experience. Local food blogger Jodi Bart, of Tasty Touring fame, held a miracle berry tasting not too long ago and said it was a hoot. Next week, the Berry Fairy will host a tasting of this wondrous fruit at local hotspot, The Belmont. The cost for the tasting is $40 but you’ll be supporting a good cause (We Are Learning) and experiencing a whole new food adventure so it’s worth it.
  • August 1: Cupcake Smackdown – Austin boozy cupcake maker, Yelper, and blogger Jenny Chen (aka Miso Hungry) is organizing a cupcake competition to see which Austin cupcake shop reigns supreme (as they would say on Iron Chef). Local chefs and foodies, including yours truly, have been tasked with judging but there will also be a people’s choice winner and even a tasting just for our canine companions. Amateur bakers will also be entering their best cupcakes so by the time we’re all done, we will have truly surveyed the entire Austin cupcake landscape. The event is free but there will be a silent auction with proceeds benefiting the Texas Wine and Food Foundation.
  • August 8: Festival of Cheese – The American Cheese Society is hosting their annual four-day conference in Austin this year and the finale for the event is a festival of cheesy goodness that features more than 1,100 cheeses along with cheese “accessories” like wine, beer, and spreads. There are two ways that you can participate in the Festival. The first is to volunteer to help with the conference as a whole. The second is to pay $75 to attend the festival as a guest. Marshall Wright put together a great write-up on the event on his blog, Eat This Lens, if you’re interested in more details. The festival is from 5:30-9pm in the Governor’s Ballroom at the Hilton Austin.
  • Ongoing: Central Market Cooking School
    – I’ve been taking classes at the Central Market Cooking School for years now and am excited that they’ve finally moved their entire registration process online so it’s easy to sign up for classes, see what a full class’ waiting list looks like, and manage the schedule of classes you’ve already signed up. This new online tool should make the whole Cooking School experience better and I’m looking forward to using the system when the fall class schedule is out in early August.

News You Can Use

  • Texas Monthly name the top 50 burgers in Texas – The cover of the August Texas Monthly is a big fat burger and heralds the list of the 50 best burgers in Texas. Eight of the 50 are local to Austin, including offerings from Counter Café, Cover 3, Max’s Wine Dive, and Mighty Fine. Logan and Rachel of Boots in the Oven have already made their way to Counter Café to try the second best burger, and I’m planning on making a trip to Max’s very soon to try number 16. If you’re anywhere in the Lone Star State and hankerin’ for a burger, this list will help you narrow down your choices considerably.
  • Dishola Blog Buzz launches – My friends over at Dishola, the site that focuses on dish-by-dish reviews, have launched a fun new featured called Blog Buzz that highlights blogs of interest in their key cities. If you’re looking for a quick and easy overview of the most interesting food blogs, you should start here.

Recent Good Eats

  • Eddie V’s Sliced Wagyu Beef “Hot Rock” Ishiyaki – I celebrated my birthday and my successful Net Food Network Start casting call with dinner at one of my favorite Austin locations, Eddie V’s. New to their Austin menu is a Wagyu beef appetizer that you cook yourself on a hot black rock nestled into a bed of rock salt. Besides the fact that it’s very fun to cook the steak yourself, it’s an amazing taste of exquisite beef and just right if you want a little steak but not a lot. The beef is lightly seasoned with a Togorashi spice and comes with a Dashi broth for dipping after you’ve cooked it. I highly recommend this dish as either an appetizer (not sure if I’d share, it’s that good) or as a meal with one of their other appetizers or salads, and of course some truffled mac and cheese.
  • Blue Dahlia Chicken Salad Tartine – This little bistro is nestled just east of the freeway and is a perfect spot for lunch or after-work drinks. Their tartines, or open-faced sandwiches, are served on house-baked bread and on plates made of rough hewn slate. The chicken salad comes with pine nuts and dried cranberries, and is chock-full of chicken. It was almost more than one person could eat for lunch. Try it with a bowl of their gazpacho and a good friend for company.
  • TRIO at the Four Seasons Happy Hour – The TRIO happy hour is easily one of the best in town because it’s long (5-8pm), frequent (Monday-Saturday), and complete in both food and drink. You won’t find just one or two specials, but an entire menu and well-stocked wine list at very reasonable prices. The service is outstanding and the ambiance just perfect. I’ve spoken with their restaurant manager and he said that their goal with the happy hour was to create a wine bar inside at TRIO and they’ve accomplished that. I highly recommend the tuna, the truffle fries, and the lamb sliders, but really, you can’t go wrong with anything on their menu. Oh, and valet parking is complementary so you have absolutely no excuse to not try it out.


  1. Another foodie event for you!

    “Vintage Elegance”
    Royal Fig Supper Club at the Allan House
    1104 San Antonio St. in downtown Austin
    Tuesday, August 4, 2009

    5 Courses with wine and drink pairings, and live music $69

    Appetizer: Grilled Figs with Panchetta and Goat Cheese
    Salad: Crab and Blueberry Salad with Fried Egg
    3rd Course: Seared Pork Belly with Hen of the Woods Mushrooms
    4th Course: Halibut with Broad Bean Puree and Beets
    Dessert: Peach Melba Gallette with Creme Fraiche Ice Cream

    Seating is limited to only 30 guests, so purchase tickets early! To purchase tickets visit

    Royal Fig Supper Club is a truly unique dining experience and takes place only twice each season. Each event is held at a different venue around the greater Austin area and is limited to 10 to 30 diners depending on the location. These elegant 5 course dinners will allow you to taste the freshest ingredients of the season while meeting new friends in the process!

  2. 7th Annual Film & Food
    Wednesday, October 21, 2009
    Driskill Hotel – 604 Brazos
    7:00PM to 10:00PM
    Tickets: $85/ $70 for AFF Members

    To order tickets call 512-478-4795.

    Sponsorship packages available – CLICK HERE

    Austin Film Festival presents the 7th annual Film & Food, one of the most
    talked about food-centric events in the city. Held at the beautiful and
    historic Driskill Hotel, Film & Food is an evening of cocktails and
    incredible cuisine created by talented chefs who represent some of Central
    Texas’ most notable restaurants. Attendees will have the opportunity to
    bid on unique, exciting items and experiences during silent and live

    All proceeds from the ticket sales and event auctions benefit AFF’s Young Filmmakers Program. The Young Filmmakers Program was founded to encourage students, ages 9 – 18, to explore their creativity and improve their literacy skills through the arts of screenwriting and filmmaking. Programs are offered free through AISD schools and partner organizations.

    RESTAURANTS: The Belmont, Carmelo’s Ristorante, Driskill Grill, Eddie V’s
    Edgewater Grille, Garridos, Maria Maria La Cantina, Moonshine Patio Bar &
    Grill, NoRTH, Parkside, Polkadots Cupcake Factory, Ranch 616, Restaurant
    Jezebel, Roaring Fork, Siena Ristorante Toscana, Tokyo Steak House, Viking
    Home Appliances, Whole Foods Market and many more…

    COMMITTEE: Caplan/Miller Events, Linda Ball, Sam & Gigi Bryant, David
    Cano, Carla Click, Pat Dabbert, Allison Gueli, Karen Kopicki, Monica Lund,
    Forrest Preece, Chance Sampson, Ryan Shelton, Laura Vilches, Josh Watkins

    SPONSORS: Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, KVUE, Shweiki, Austin
    Monthly, Twin Liquors