Austin Foodie Bits: Week of July 27

AsparagusInNewsWow, the end of July is a pretty busy time for food and wine events in our lovely city. If you are so inclined, you could go to a different event every night over the course of the next week to ten days. I’m really excited to see so many wine dinners popping up at a variety of restaurants and price points. I enjoy events like these because I always learn something about pairing wine and food, and my wine knowledge increases with each course. As a reminder, if you haven’t signed up to volunteer for the Cheese Society conference, you should. I’ll be there along with some of my other foodie friends and I promise we’ll have a great time.

If you attend any of these events, or any other great food event in town, let me know. I can’t go even a fraction of them all but can happily live vicariously through others.

Upcoming Events In and Around Austin

  • 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.
  • July 30: Share Our Strength Food Blogger ChatLearn more about food blogging and how foodies use Twitter from some of the masters including Michael Ruhlman, author of the wonderful book Ratio, and Jaden Hair, mistress of the Steamy Kitchen. This event will be Twitter-based which should be fun, and if you’re looking for some fellow foodophiles to follow on Twitter, they’ll be easy to find during this chat.
  • July 30: Murphy-Goode Winemaker Dinner – The Steiner Ranch Steakhouse out here in my neck of the woods is a beautiful place with an extraordinary view. If you haven’t been out to see for yourself, this wine maker dinner may be a good excuse for you to head on up to the lake for dinner and drinks. Murphy-Goode has been in the news lately thanks to their contest to find their new social media guru. Although the job search activity was off passing interest, their wine is much more than that. This five course dinner should leave diners with a good taste for Murphy-Goode wines as well as the culinary styles of the steakhouse on the hill. $65; call 512.381.0800 for reservations.
  • July 31: TRIO’s Dinner with Mark & Todd – TRIO’s perfect pair, Sommelier Mark Sayre and Chef de Cuisine Todd Duplechan are offering a five wine dinner featuring the wines of Alsace. The menu is filled with the best seafood of summer – mackerel, halibut, and shrimp in lobster sauce – and promises to be amazing. This dinner will showcase the best that Mark and Todd have to offer and sounds like a lovely way to spend an evening. $95; call 512.685.8300 for reservations.
  • July 31: Flavor Tripping at the Beldmont (Redux)Wednesday’s event was so popular they are doing another one on Friday. If you didn’t get to experience the miracle berry earlier in the week, you have another chance. Remember, these berries are rare and expensive, so this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Head on down to The Belmont for a fun Friday evening event.
  • 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 1: (512) Brewing Co 1st Anniversary – Local (512) Brewing Company is hosting their 1st anniversary celebration from 2-5 this Saturday afternoon. Tour their brewery, listen to some music, and maybe even get some schwag. And most importantly, taste their new ale (512) ONE. When you’re out and about on Saturday, stop by to support this great local business.
  • August 4: Royal Fig Vintage Elegance Supper ClubCatering company Royal Fig is teaming up with Allan House to offer a five course dinner with wine pairings. The menu sounds very tasting, featuring the best of the season ingredients like crab and blueberries, grilled figs, and peach melba. The seared pork belly and halibut courses sound particularly good. Royal Fig only hosts the supper club twice a season, and the limited guest list (no more than 30 people) will make for an intimate evening where you can enjoy dinner with old friends and even make some new ones. $69; purchase tickets online.
  • August 4: Cafe Josie’s August Wine Me Dine DinnerCafé Josie’s description of this event says it all. These dinners are “designed for the casual diner with an adventurous palate and who enjoys a little social interaction, and of course, great food and wine pairings.”
    Long beloved in Austin, Café Josie is a beautiful setting for a wine dinner, and the price can’t be beat: $55 for six courses paired with wine.
  • 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.

News and Tools You Can Use

  • One of my favorite restaurants, Roaring Fork, just recently announced a new no-fee rewards program that pays you back 10% of every dollar you spend with them. What are you waiting for? Sign up today at
  • Bite to Eat is a new(ish) site whose mission in life is to make it easier for diners to interact with restaurants online, in much the same ways that we interact with banks and stores. You can search their database of restaurants and filter for those that offer delivery and take out, and even order online which really simplifies the process of stuffing your face. Next time you’re ready to order out or have food brought to your door, take a gander at this site and see what you can find.
  • I try to pick interesting foodie events around town for this blog, but I’m a bit limited in time and scope. In addition to looking for this post from me every Monday, I recommend you bookmark two other great sources of food and wine event information. The Austin Chronicle Event Menu and Local Wine Events Austin listings.

Recent Good Eats

  • Frank Vienna Beef Hot Dog in a Flap Jacket with Mustard and CheeseFrank is a new addition to the warehouse district, replacing the old Starlight. They bill themselves as “Purveyors of Artisan Sausage” and after reading reviews on the Maggie’s Austin and Dining in Austin blogs, I put it on the “to try” list. On my first trip there I wanted to start simple, so I choose a hot dog wrapped in what I can only call a corn cake and topped with my de facto favorite toppings – mustard and cheddar cheese. I really liked the corn cake as a substitute for a bun, and the hotdog itself was very tasty. The Frank menu really takes the hot dog in new directions, with such interesting combinations as antelope and rabbit sausage with blueberry compote and sriracha aioli (aka the Jackalope), so on my next visit I’ll branch out. For now though, I can say if you’re looking for a good ol’ hot dog, Frank is a good place to start.
  • Lulu B’s Avocado Summer Rolls – This little trailer over off of South Lamar makes what are easily the tastiest summer rolls I’ve found in Austin. Rice noodles, carrots, cucumbers, and mint are wrapped in rice paper and rolled with a few slices of avocado. The creaminess of the avocado compliments the crunchiness of the veggies and when you dip the roll in peanut sauce, you have a perfect light summer lunch. The wait at Lulu B’s can be a bit, particularly around noon, but its well worth it. Be sure to consult their MySpace page for the hours of operation before you wander over for your very own summer rolls.