Austin Foodie Bits: Week of August 3, 2009

French fries in packetThis marks the third edition of my Austin Foodie Bits feature and it seems like folks are finding it useful. I’m going to keep putting it together as long as you tell me you like it. As I go along, I’m trying to tweak and improve the information I provide based on your feedback, so keep it coming. You’ll notice two changes this week. First, I’ve divided the events into things happening this week and things happening a little further out. I’ve also added a new section called “Eat Well, Do Good” to highlight upcoming charitable dining activities. While many of the events included in the post have a fund raising aspect, the ones listed in this section will give you the greatest opportunity to give back to the community while enjoying your foodie fun.

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • 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 tasty, featuring the best of the season ingredients like crab and blueberries, grilled figs, and peach melba. The seared pork belly and halibut courses look 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.
  • August 6: Winemaking: How To Do It, Who To Do It With– If you’ve ever wondered how to make your own wine, or if you’ve ever wanted to learn more about the Slow Food movement, you can satisfy both curiosities at this winemaking seminar held during this month’s Slow Food Austin Slow Session. The session is free and there are every free light snacks, but you can (and should) make a donation and bring a snack of your own to enjoy. You’ll get to meet some great folks, like Marshall Wright of Eat This Lens, and JB Brack of Austin Homebrew Supply, and you’ll be smarter for your efforts. 7-9 pm. Habitat Suites. Be sure to RSVP if you are planning to attend.
  • August 6: Maudie’s Moonlight Margarita Run – Run, drink and eat! What could be more fun? This evening run features food and margaritas from Maudie’s, and raises funds to keep our local running trails fit for running. This strikes me as a fun event to do with friends, even if you have to walk the 5k instead of run it.
  • August 8: Miss Jane’s Cool Tips for Summertime Sippin’– Summer and wine can go well together when you have a bit of know-how to guide your bottle selection. Miss Jane from the Texas Culinary will teach you all you need to know to pick wines for hot days and warm nights. $50. 1-3 pm.

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks

  • August 11: Greenling Lunch Bomb and Local Box Workshops at Thai Fresh – Four of my favorite things are coming together in one day: Thai Fresh, Greenling, the lunch bomb, and a local box workshop. At lunch, join other Austin foodies and enjoy fresh Thai cuisine crafted by a local restaurant that makes a concerted effort to support local producers. If you’ve never tried Thai Fresh, what are you waiting for? The food is amazing and so very fresh – it will make your day. That evening, Jam, the Thai Fresh proprieter and chef will walk you through how to make your own Thai food with the goodies found in a Greenling local box. I’ve taken a local box workshop previously and I walked away feeling empowered to use everything in my box. I highly recommend the experience for anyone looking to cook more at home with fresh local produce. The lunch bomb is free and the class is $25 for dinner plus wine (a great bargain). Call 512-440-8449 or email to RSVP for the cooking class.
  • August 11: Wine Making Class at Austin Homebrew – If you can’t attend the wine making class at the Austin Slow Food Slow Session, you have another opportunity to learn all about making your own vino later in the month. This class covers making wine from a kit, and will be followed by a bottling day on September 8. Just think how much fun it would be to gift your friends and family this holiday season with wine you made yourself. The class cost is $19.99, but if you complete the course you get a gift certificate for $19.99 so really, it’s free! 7-9pm.
  • August 12: Julie & Julia Feast at Alamo South Lamar – The foodie world has been salivating for weeks now in preparation for the release of what just might be the ultimate foodie movie: Julie and Julia. Instead of going to see this movie at any ol’ theater, you can have a culinary and cinematic experience at the Alamo Draft House South Lamar location. The evening’s festivities include a five course meal with five wine pairings, and of course a showing of the movie. Tickets are selling fast so get yours now. $75. 7:00 pm.
  • August 12: Sagra Lavender Festival– Sagra is a wonderful hidden gem near the UT campus that is perfect for drinks after work or an intimate dinner. On August 12 they will be roasting a whole pig and serving it up with seasonal vegetables and polenta. As if the menu doesn’t sound tantalizing enough, what makes this event even more amazing is that it’s free. Can you pass up free pig and polenta in good conscience? I didn’t think so.
  • August 14 – 16 and 21-23: Texas Hill Country Wineries Harvest Wine Trail – Kick off the Texas wine harvest with a self-guided tour of 24 of the Hill Country’s finest vineyards. Your ticket entitles you to a front-row seat to the harvest and the opportunity to put together a special collection of labels from this year’s wines. You’ll also receive a 15% on custom 3-bottle selections offered at each vineyard. Tastings are not included in the ticket price.
  • August 21: Va Piano Wine Dinner at TRIO– Mark Sayr, TRIO’s Sommelier extraordinaire, will be introducing his private label wine, created in partnership with Va Piano’s winemaker Justin Wiley, at this special wine dinner. Be one of the first to taste Mark’s new wine paired with Chef Todd’s incredible food, and learn more about all of the wines from Mark and Justin. I’ll be there and I’d love you to join me. $95, 6:30pm. Call 685-8300 to make reservations.
  • August 22 and 29: Fall Creek Vineyards 20th Annual Grape Stomp & Harvest Festival– Ed and Susan Auler, the proprietors of Fall Creek Vineyards, are just good people, and it shows in everything they do. If you’ve never been to Fall Creek and want to visit, or you’re a big fan just longing for a reason to go back, the harvest festival is the perfect time to make your way out to Tow, Texas. You’ll enjoy winery tours, great food from local chefs, live music, and the chance to stomp your own grapes! Ticket prices vary by event, so be sure to visit the event information page to find the event that is right for you.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • September 14 – 15: AIDS Services of Austin Dining for Life – In mid-September, restaurants around Austin will be donating portions of their proceeds to AIDS Services of Austin. The fund raising goal this year is $30,000, and all you have to do to help is go out to eat at one of the participating restaurants. Yep, it’s that easy. Enjoy a great dinner at one of Austin’s best restaurants and you’ll be supporting a very important local charity. You can also donate directly to the program, or even volunteer to be a Dinner Captain and get as many of your friends as possible to join you for a meal. I know, what a terribly difficult thing to do.

News You Can Use

  • Fixed Price Dinners are all the rage: Along with a collection of really great happy hours, local restaurants are offering exceptional fixed prices menus to entice you to get out and dine with them. Austin 360 recently put together a great roundup of these menus in one convenient place. Next time you’re considering dining out at a nice restaurant, but want to watch your budget, try one of the menus featured in the story.
  • Produce delivered directly from the farm to your table:
    Field Fresh is a new farm delivery service from Steele Farms that brings their freshly picked produce directly to your doorstep. What I like best about this service is they have three different levels of membership to meet your needs, and you’ll be supporting the farmer directly when you order, which is the right thing to do.

Recent Good Eats

  • Mulberry rocks!Although it’s been on my radar for a long while now, I hadn’t quite made it to Mulberry, and I’m really sorry it took me this long to get there. After our cupcake throwdown craziness last week, a group of us invaded the Mulberry patio to balance our pallets and our blood sugar. One of our group knows the chef, Austin native Zach Northcutt, so we were lucky enough to meet the chef and talk to him about his food. Zach’s food is interesting and unexpected, yet accessible, and he’s as down-to-earth as you’ll find. We tried the truffle tartar, figs with blue cheese wrapped in candied bacon, the meatballs, a collection of cheeses and meats, and the meatballs. Everything was spectacular. The service was great and the staff knowledgeable about the food and the wine. All I can say is, it make have taken me months to get there, but it won’t take more than a week or so before I’m back for more.
  • Sagra All-You-Can-Eat Mussels: The same place that is roasting a whole pig and giving it away for free on August 12 has an amazing mussels special every Tuesday. For $12 you can stuff yourself silly with traditional mussels in white wine sauce or go for the spicy sauce for a bit of kicked-up flavor. Of the two I liked the spicy mussels better, and if you want them extra spicy, just tell your waiter and he’ll relay your request to the chef. I can tell you from experience that they aren’t kidding when they say it’s all you can eat, it truly is. Before you wander off for this special, plan to eat a light lunch and take a couple of friends along with you so you can try both types.
  • Pulled Pork Bocadito from FINO:If I could only eat one thing for the rest of the summer it would be this lovely little slider from FINO. Jason has truly outdone himself with this morsel. The pork is tender and flavorful, and topped with a creamy aioli that’s just perfectly spiced to compliment the pork. The house-made bun is light and buttery, creating a perfect package just right for happy hour noshing. Trying it with a glass of pink bubbly just for fun.


  1. Thank you so much for mentioning our Slow Food Slow Session this Thursday. Hope you can make it too!

  2. I am already plotting ways to recreate those bacon-wrapped figs with the bacon I just cured and the figs soaking in irish whiskey! Mmmm….let’s go back soon!

    And love the Austin Foodie Bits.

  3. Can you add the Greenling Lunch Bomb and Cooking Class at Thai Fresh on the 11th? Here’s more info –

  4. Thanks for putting together such a comprehensive roundup!