Austin Foodie Bits: September 21, 2009

French fries in packetAfter last week’s foodie frenzy, this week offers us a bit of recovery time, with fewer events to choose from but still plenty to keep us all occupied and satisfied. The highlight of the week of course is the second half of Austin Restaurant week. If you haven’t had a chance to try a restaurant for the first time or visit an old favorite for a new twist on their menu, be sure you do before Wednesday. FINO and TRIO, two of my favorite places in Austin have events this week as well, and make sure to look ahead to late September and early October to start planning for the GO TEXAN Restaurant Round up, Tour de Vin at Whole Foods, and more.

On a personal note, I’m off to the first ever BlogHer Food conference in San Francisco this week. I’m looking forward to meeting with and learning from a host of other food bloggers. Watch my Twitter feed for updates and pictures of tasty food. If you have any recommendations for must see/eat places in the Bay area, please share!

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • [DO GOOD] September 20-23: Austin Restaurant Week (Part II) – Restaurant week is the best possible way to experience some of Austin’s finest dining without breaking the bank. For $25-$35 per person you can sample the culinary talents of Austin’s best chefs and support the Sustainable Food Center and AIDS Services of Austin. Forklore on Austin 360 has a nice intro to the event if you’ve never participated and want to know more about it. Which great Austin restaurant will you try first?
  • September 22: Shop the Season Cooking Class – Alex Duran, Malaga’s Executive Chef, takes you on whirlwind tour of shopping for seasonal ingredients and putting together an entire menu based on them. I’ve taken this class in the past and it’s not only fun, its chock full of useful information and techniques. Because the class is hands on you’ll making your own dinner according to recipes Chef Duran devises on the spot, and you’ll have a chance to learn a collection of techniques from him right there in the kitchen. Seating is limited so reserve now if you’re interested. $65. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm.
  • [NEW] September 23: FINO Chef’s Table Savory and Sweet – As I discovered a couple of years ago when I first tasted dark chocolate and blue cheese together, when paired properly, savory and sweet can be a sublime combination. This week, Executive Chef Jason Donoho and Pastry Chef Andrea Bearce from FINO will combine their talents to offer a thoughtfully paired menu of delights sure to please the palate. Call 474-2905 to reserve. 6:30 pm. $75 for dinner with an optional $35 wine pairing.
  • September 25: TRIO Wine Dinner – A wine dinner at TRIO is an event every lover of food and wine should experience at least once. This latest dinner features bouillabaisse, ham and eggs, Niman Ranch pintade, Dorper lamb, and an amazing dessert that involves dark chocolate, hazelnuts, and raspberries. All of Chef Todd Duplechane’s amazing food will be expertly paired with wines selected by sommelier Mark Sayre. Seating is limited, so reserve now. Call 685-8300 for reservations. $95.
  • [NEW] [DO GOOD] September 26: Cystic Fibrosis Fundraiser and Auction at Vino 100 in Cedar Park – Find your way up to north Austin this Saturday to spend a few dollars, have some great wine, and support a good cause. This all day fund raiser will include wine tastings, light appetizers, and a silent auction. All of the benefits from the auction plus a portion of those from the tastings will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as they search for a cure. All day. $10.

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks

  • [NEW] September 28 – 30: Flavors of Austin Kickoff at Frank – Isn’t restaurant week a wonderful thing? Don’t you wish it could go on all year long? Flavors, a project put together by Launch787, will allow us to do just that, with a focus each week on a different Austin restaurant. Starting on September 28 with flights of hotdogs at Frank and then moving in weekly succession to Austin greats like Cipollina and Primizie, Flavors will highlight a single restaurant with a special menu and portions of the proceeds benefiting the Sustainable Food Center. Try a new restaurant each week of the year and expand your Austin culinary horizons.
  • [NEW] September 29: Pasta Workshop – When I was little I remember my grandmother buying a pasta machine and making her own pasta on Sundays. While I’ve bought pre-made pasta for most of my adult life, I think there’s something soothing and slowing about making your own pasta from scratch. If you’ve ever want to know how to mix your own dough and craft your own pasta, this class will get you started. You’ll make linguini, fettuccini, and filled ravioli, along with a collection of sauces. 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. $65. Reserve online.
  • September 30:
    Royal Fig Supper Club at Caffe Medici
    –Local caterer Royal Fig is hosting another great supper club, this time at Caffe Medici. The menu includes scallops with a truffled quail egg, squid ink ravioli, roast pork loin with turnip greens, and espresso panna cotta. Each course will be paired with gourmet coffees, a new twist on the art of food and drink pairing. This is upscale fall comfort food at its best. $75. 7:00 pm.
  • [NEW] October 2-4: Fall Creek Vineyards 5th Annual Texas Fall Fest and Auction – Join the Aulers, some of the nicest people you’ll ever meet, and the cultivators of Fall Creek Vinyards, in a three day festival of food and wine. Some of Texas best chefs will join in a celebration of Texas food and wine in the lovely hill country. The weather looks to be beautiful and the experience will be memorable, so hop online to learn more about the event and procure your tickets.
  • October 2-4: Oktoberfest in Fredericksburg – Food and drink, arts and crafts, shopping, and more, all in celebration of German culture and Fall. Take a day trip out to Fredericksburg to enjoy this annual event with friends and family. $6 for adults, $1 for children, or buy a two-day pass for $10 or a three-day pass for $15. Hours vary by day.
  • [NEW] [DO GOOD] October 8: Tour de Vin at Whole Foods – This event is easily Fall’s preeminent Austin food event. Benefiting The Wine & Food Foundation of Texas, Tour de Vin is a get-your-passport-stamped style wine and food tasting featuring the best domestic and internationally-inspired cuisine in Central Texas. Aquarelle, Buenos Aires Café, Primizie Osteria, Satay, Z’Tejas are just a few of the restaurants who will be sharing sweet and savory nibbles. To top it all off, the event will be held on the Whole Foods Rooftop Plaze during one of our most beautiful months of the year. Enjoy food, wine, and good company – all under the beautiful starry Texas sky. $50 for Foundation Members, $75 for the general public. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • [NEW] October 10: Dai Due Supper Club Herb DinnerAfter a bit of a hiatus, the Dai Due crew is back and opening the October supper club season with an herb dinner at the American Botanical Council’s hidden garden off of Manor road. Take a tour of the grounds then enjoy a 7 course dinner that will highlight a specific herb grown on the grounds. 5:30 pm. $75. BYOB. E-mail to reserve.
  • [NEW] October 10: International Wine and Food North America – Chefs Robert and Paul from the Central Market cooking school are joining forces again to take you on a tour of the food and wine of North America. Drink wins from New Mexico, Texas, California, and more as you taste dishes created just for the occasion. I’ve attended several of their classes in the past and highly recommend them not only for great food and wine, but for a fun evening during which you’re sure to learn many things. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. $60. Reserve online.
  • [NEW] October 14: TRIO Pancake Dinner – The Four Season’s newest fundraising event will resurrect the popular “breakfast-for-dinner” concept with a Pancake Dinner at TRIO. The special menu will feature four different pancake options for the evening’s dinner, in addition to their regular a la carte menu. 50 percent of the proceeds from pancake sales will benefit Seton. For $15 for adults and $7.50 for children, this event is a fantastic deal. I’ll be there – will you?
  • [NEW] October 17: Dai Due Venison Workshop – Deer hunting is a popular past time here in Central Texas, yet many hunters turn to a deer processor when it’s time to turn their prize into dinner. This workshop will show you how to process the entire deer and utilize every single bit of it with no waste. Co-taught by “…Tink Pinkard, a professional hunting guide and bona fide East Texas good ol’ boy that knows his way around firearms and food..” it promises to be not only educational but fun. $225 which includes dinner at the Venison Feast on Sunday at Montesino Farm in Wimberley. 2 pm – 6 pm. E-mail to reserve.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • September 28 – October 2: GO TEXAN Restaurant Round-Up – Texas restaurants bring to the dining table a vast array of culinary styles and flavor profiles. You can stay within the bounds of the state, and very often your county, and have myriad dining experiences that celebrate the talents and harvests of our great state. This fall, Texas will celebrate those restaurants that are committed to serving great local ingredients and pouring Texas wines during the Restaurant Round-Up. When you dine at a participating restaurants around the state you’ll not only have an opportunity to taste the best of Texas, but in many cases you’ll be supporting local food banks like Austin’s own Capital Area Food Bank. And, as if dining on great food from our great state to support critical charities isn’t enough, the event includes a whole passel of giveaways you can register to win by completing a very short survey that will help the GO TEXAN staff better serve the interests of our state’s diners an restaurants. My good friend Jodi at Tasty Touring just put together a preview of some of the Central Texas menus for this event – take gander and mark your calendar.
  • [UPDATED] October 8: Parkside 1st Annual Pink Party – Parkside is one of Austin’s best restaurants and they are supporting the community by hosting a fund raiser in support of the Susan G. Komen foundation. They will have pink bubbles and cocktails, lovely nibbles from Chef Shawn Cirkiel, music, and schwag bags. This event screams “Girls Night Out!” if ever one has – although I bet the guys would have a blast too. Either way, grab a group of friends and plan to support this important cause. Tickets for this event are now $50. Buy one today!
  • October 21: Slow Food Austin Fund RaiserSlow Food Austin is hosting their first fund raiser and it promises to be a fun and tasty event. Learn all about raw milk cheeses from Whole Foods’ Global Cheese Buyer Cathy Strange. You’ll get to taste complimentary beers from Austin’s (512) Brewery and honey from Round Rock Honey. The lovely Barr Mansion is hosting the event, so it will be a feast for the eyes as well as the tastebuds. For only $50 ($40 for members) you’ll learn a lot, taste some great food, and support an important cause. 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.
  • October 21: 7th Annual Film & Food – The Austin Film Festival is hosting its yearly fundraiser in support of the Young Filmmakers Program designed to help kids ages 9-18 explore creativity and build literacy skills via filmmaking and screenwriting. A host of local restaurants including the Blemont, Eddie V’s, Jezebel, Roaring Fork, and Ranch 616 will provide great food while attendees enjoy music and bid on items in a silent auction. The Driskill is a beautiful venue and the cause is a great one, so get out your fancy clothes and come out for a fun and tasty evening. $85. 7:00 pm – 10:00 pm.


  1. The Four Seasons pancake dinner sounds fun!

  2. I can’t wait to see Parkside’s shwag bags and, of course, enjoy the pink bubbles & cocktails!