Austin Foodie Bits: Week of November 2, 2009

Harvest Wine 2Halloween has come and gone, we’ve fallen back so we’re not waking up and dragging to work in the dark, and it’s officially November. It’s time to transition from jack-o-lanterns to pumpkin pies and start to consider the upcoming holidays. After all, there are only 53 days left until Christmas. Austin’s foodie events continue to occur at a breakneck pace as everyone tries to take advantage of our beautiful weather and the few weeks of downtime until Thanksgiving. This week features several opportunities to eat well and do good at a variety of price points, as well as a couple of very tasty special menus at local eateries. You can also learn how to make bacon and enjoy a celebration of food and wine. In short, there’s no shortage of foodie fun to be had by all.

Although not technically “events”, I’d like to highlight two things that fall into my “foodie goodness” category that readers of this post might like to know about:

  • A farmer’s market on Sunday. If you can’t quite make it to the various Saturday farmers markets, then there’s HOPE for you. Austin’s newest market is open from 11am – 3pm on Sundays in the corner of E. 5th and Waller Streets. In addition to local farmers and prepared foods, the market includes student DJs from Austin AMP, bike repair corners, yoga workshops from Empower Yoga, cooking classes from East Side Show Room, sustainable agriculture and landscaping from Big Red Sun and host free space for other non-profits and community groups as well as promote healthy living for local artists. I’ve spoken with several local food bloggers who’ve visited the market and they’ve said that while this market is smaller than others, it is a great option for a Sunday and includes some unique shopping and experience opportunities.
  • Butcher Shop breakfast at the Saturday market. I’m a big fan of the folks from Dai Due, not only because they throw great events, but because they make some really fantastic products. Starting next Sunday, November 7, they will be offering biscuits and gravy and fresh grilled handmade sausages for breakfast (or lunch, or both) at the Austin Farmer’s Market. From 9 am – 1 pm you can nosh on their goodies and even pick up some packages sausages, charcuterie, condiments, and ready to cook items. I’m already planning to serve their charcuterie at my holiday party and feature their chorizo in my Christmas morning breakfast tacos. Stop by and see them for a truly fantastic butcher shop experience.

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • [NEW] November 2 – 5: Yelp Drinks Week – Yelp is teaming up with some great local bars and restaurants to create a week-long happy hour that runs all day, every day. Each location will have a featured beverage or collection of beverages offered at 50% off, giving you the opportunity to try a new drink or a new place, or possibly both.
  • [NEW] [VALUE] November 2 – 4: FLAVORS of Austin at J. Blacks – Week 7 of the FLAVORS of Austin events features J Blacks Feel Good Lounge. The FLAVORS menu features perfect sharing plates giving you the chance to try everything on the menu for just $25 for 3 courses. The relaxed setting is a casual background for business or pleasure, so treat friends or co-workers, or maybe even clients, to a lovely evening this week while channeling your inner hipster.
  • [NEW] November 2 – 8: Wurstfest – Their website says it all: “A ten day Salute To Sausage celebration in New Braunfels, Texas”. Take a short drive down to beautiful New Braunfels in this perfect Texas fall weather to eat your fill of German food, listen to German music, and a whole host of special events. $8/day admission. Food and beverages offered for sale. Hours vary by day.
  • [NEW] November 3: RIP Gourmet “Mourning” HourGourmet magazine is no more. I’ve sadly flipped through the last printing and join food lovers around the country in a deep sadness not only for the loss of this amazing magazine but for the future we see in food and food publishing. Addie Broyles, our favorite Statesman food writer, is joining forces with FINO, one of my favorite local restaurants, for a wake for Gourmet. We’ll nibble on chef Jason Donoho’s great food and toast to our departed friend with bar manager Bill Norris and Tipsy Texan David Alan. I’ll be there – won’t you join us? $20. 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm.
  • [DO GOOD] November 4- 20: Les Dames d’Escoffier Food Fight Online Charity Auction – I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised to learn that professional women leaders in food, fine beverage, and hospitality have a world-wide philanthropic organization. Eating well and doing good just go so naturally together. The local Austin chapter of this organization will be hosting their first online event –a Food Fight — that will feature auctions of all sorts of interesting food experiences, including a VIP evening at Stubbs, a customized Oscar Party, an artisan cheese getaway for two in Oregon, and a holiday cookie party. The event promises to be a fun way to support this organization while bidding on unique experiences you can’t otherwise purchase.
  • [NEW] [DO GOOD] November 4: Harvest Mandala Food Drive –On November 4th, the Living Color Signature Course in association with the UT Fine Arts Council will be throwing a feel good block party on the Main Mall right under the Tower. You won’t want to miss this celebration of the harvest, complete with live entertainment, can mountain, and UT’s very own colorful mandala. Bring canned goods to donate, and the entire event supports the Capital Area Food Bank. 10am – 6pm. RSVP on Facebook.
  • [NEW] [VALUE] November 4: Cipollina Farmer’s Dinner – On the first Wednesday of each month, Cipollina offers a three-course prix fixe meal showcasing the foods of local growers. This Wednesday features the wonderful lamb raised by Loncito Cartwright. At $35, this is a great deal and it gives you a chance to not only enjoy a wonderful local spot but to partake in truly amazing local lamb.
  • [NEW] [DO GOOD] [VALUE] November 5: Grape Escape Benefitting Heart House – Heart House is a free afterschool and summer program dedicated to providing a safe haven and academic support to low-income children. For just $25 you can enjoy a variety of wines, a myriad of tasty dishes provided by Austin’s finest dining establishments, and an eclectic silent auction. As foodie fundraising events go, this is one is one of the easiest on the pocketbook and helps support a great local organization. 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • [NEW] [DO GOOD] November 5: Bringin’ Home the Bacon – Preservation Bacon is one of Austin’s best kept secrets. This Thursday you can join Greg Bass, the curator of said bacon, along with Austin blogger, photographer, and bacon maker extraordinaire Marshall Wright to learn the ins and outs of curing your own bacon at home. The event is free but donations are accepted to support the good work of Slow Food Austin. There will be snacks available, but feel free to bring your own contribution as all of the discussion of bacon is sure to make everyone hungry. RSVP required because seating is limited. 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. RSVP online.
  • [UPDATED] November 5: Texas Wine and Food Festival November Night to Remember – As we look forward to the Hill Country Wine and Food Festival in the spring, this event brings a taste of that event and an opportunity to support the organization as they prepare to tantalize our taste buds in 2010. Enjoy an evening of culinary enchantment prepared by Chef Jon Gelman expertly paired with wines from award winning winemaker Adam Lee and local celebrity winemaker Ross Outon in the splendor of the Driskill Hotel’s Victorian Room. The $100 price tag includes a four-course dinner followed by a lively auction of fine wines, private winery tours and tastings, chef prepared dinner parties, and many other fabulous items. 6:30 pm. For reservations call 512.249.6300 or email erika@texaswineandfood.org.
  • [NEW] November 6: Lou Lambert’s Casual Fall Dinner – Lou Lambert, owner of Lambert’s Downtown BBQ and Jo’s, will share the recipes for a tasty fall menu that includes acorn squash soup, chicken pot pie, and corn meal pancake. Lou is a fun teacher so you’ll leave with not only a full belly but a warm heart. $65. 6:30 – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • [UPDATED] [DO GOOD] November 6-7: MAX’s Wine Dive Austin Cellar Classic
    –MAX’s Wine Dive wants to help the Capital Area Food Bank offer 10,000 holiday meals to Central Texans in need while offering you some good deals on wine for holiday entertaining. The Austin Cellar Classic is a two-day event that features a Grand Wine Dinner on Friday ($80/person) and two Grand Wine Tasting sessions ($40/person) on Saturday. Guests attending the events will have the opportunity to purchase by the bottle or the case any of the wines served. For every total case purchased, the equivalent of 30 meals will be donated to the Capital Area Food Bank. MAX’s is not your ordinary venue, making these events all the more fun. Order tickets online.
  • [NEW] November 6-8: Central Market Wine and Cheese Celebration – The holidays are fast approaching and that means one thing: time to stock up on wine and cheese. Central Market is hosting their annual celebration of grapes and Gouda (and beyond!) with a weekend celebrating Wine & Cheese. Enjoy tastings and conversations with experts at both Central Market locations. I try to make it to this event at least once (okay sometimes two or three times) each year because it is a great way to sample a variety of goodies as I contemplate my holiday party menus. This event also features the biannual 20% off wine sale. Mix and match your 12 favorite reds, whites and bubbles and take 20% off the bunch.
  • [DO GOOD] November 8: Sustainable Food Center Inaugural Chef Series Benefit Hosted by La Condesa – To celebrate the importance of locally grown and harvested food, La Condesa will host the inaugural Sustainable Food Center Chef Series on Sunday, November 8 at 6:00 p.m. Austin’s most exciting and innovative chefs will be on hand to prepare an exquisite multi-course tasting menu featuring fresh meats and produce from the Austin Farmers’ Market. Experience amazing food from local chefs including ne Ortiz, executive chef at La Condesa, Tyson Cole, executive chef at Uchi, Shawn Cirkiel, executive chef at Parkside, Todd Duplechan, executive chef at Trio, Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due Supper Club, and Laura Sawicki, pastry chef at La Condesa. This will indeed be a night to remember. $150 with all proceeds benefiting the Sustainable Food Center. 6:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • [NEW] November 18: A Slow Taste of Tuscany Benefiting Urban Roots – You are invited to be part of a celebration across North America of Slow Food and Douglas Gayeton’s new book Slow: Life in a Tuscan Town. Join Slow Food Austin and Edible Austin in honoring the simple and superb pleasures of local, fresh food that has been prepared slowly and locally at Austin’s own Primizie Osteria. Tickets are $85 and include not only a four-course feast highlighting local ingredients, but an autographed copy of the book ($50 value), and a contribution to Urban Roots. Gratuity and taxes are separate. Reserve online at Open Table for November 18 and note “Tuscan Dinner” in the comments box. Seating is limited. To be sure you receive your book at the event, please reserve by November 6.
  • [NEW] December 5-12: Eat Local Week –Eat Local Week, Edible Austin’s winter fundraiser event, is an invitation to Central Texans to explore and celebrate the abundance of local food and to raise money for Urban Roots. Eat Local Week will kick off on December 5 at the Austin Farmers’ Market with the City of Austin’s proclamation and with support from GO TEXAN and other Central Texas communities. Dine out and shop locally, attend featured events, throw a dinner or cocktail party or simply make a home-cooked meal using local foods and beverages.

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks

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