Austin Foodie Bits: Early December Special Edition

How exactly is it already early December? Just a couple of weeks ago it was November and we had plenty of time to plan for the holidays and shop for thoughtful gifts. Now, the year is almost out and there’s so much to be done. In acknowledgement of the fact that our calendars are filling up with parties and personal errands, the list of food and wine activities throughout our fair city seem to be dwindling just a bit, so I’ve decided to only publish two Foodie Bits event lists this month – one now and one on December 15 that will include a run-down of interesting New Year’s Eve events. I’ll return to my (mostly) regularly scheduled weekly posts on January 4, 2010. Between now and then, look for some Foodie Bits extras that focus on fun places to treat yourself this holiday season, great local sources for foodie gifts, and more.

Before I jump into the usual list, I’d like to call out probably the most relevant and important series of foodie events happening in the near future: Edible Austin’s Eat Local Week. This yearly fundraiser and celebration of all that is local food goodness “is an invitation to Central Texans to explore and celebrate the abundance of local food and to raise money for Urban Roots, a youth development program that uses sustainable agriculture as a means to transform the lives of young people and to increase the access of healthy food in Austin.” Events kick off on December 5 and include an urban farm bike tour, a tea festival, a special screening of Fresh, a drink local cocktail contest, a gift fair, and more. Many local restaurants will feature special menus that will give you a chance to taste the best Central Texas food. Please take a few moments to review the calendar and select at least one event to attend. Our community is a better place because of our local growers and providers. They need our support.

And without further adieu, let the parade of events for the first half of the month begin.

  • December 5, 6, 12, 13, 19 and 20: Teddy Bear Teas at the Four Seasons – Somehow the holidays bring out the parts of us that enjoy more formal and refined settings, as evidienced by the abundance of teas about town this season. On of the tasties and most fun is offered at the Four Seasons and includes tea service, caroling, and a reading of Twas the Night Before Christmas. Such a fun event for parents and kids alike. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. $40 – adults and $30 – children 11 and under. Call 685-8300 for reservations.
  • [GREAT VALUE] December 5: Saturday Morning Cartoon Cereal Party at the Alamo Ritz – Time to pull out the long red winter pajamas with the feet attached! This special holiday fest at the Alamo downtown will show holiday episodes of your favorite cartoons with your favorite breakfast cereals served alongside to complete the experience. 12 pm – 2:30 pm. $10/person. No children under 6 allowed. Purchase tickets online.
  • December 5: Mother-Daughter Tea at the Driskill –Spend a little quality ladies time at the beautiful and historic Driskill. Enjoy tea sandwiches, sweets, truffles, and of course tea with other mothers and daughters looking to take a break from the hustle and bustle of the holidays. 3pm – 5 pm. Grand Lobby of the Driskill. $38 – adults. $20 – children 6 to 12. $10 – children 2 to 6. Call 474-5911 to reserve.
  • [DO GOOD] December 5: Home Slice Carnival-O-Pizza – On of Austin’s favorite pizza places is having a carnival that promises to be fun for everyone. A pizza-eating contest, “Hands on an Eggplant Sub”, and a pizza-tossing competition are just the beginning. Even better, the whole event benefits Austin Pets Alive. I know it may be a little chilly this Saturday, but bundle up the family and get out to enjoy the pizza. Keep an eye on the Home Slice blog for details on times and prices.
  • December 6: Dai Due Chicken and Dumplings Dinner at HOPE Market – The HOPE market is Austin’s new Sunday Farmer’s Market that even keeps proper weekend hours (11 am – 3 pm). To help celebrate the newest addition to our local farmers market scene, Dai Due will be offering a Chicken and Dumplings dinner that is sure to warm your heart. Stewed Countryside Farm chickens, simmered with any appropriate market-fresh vegetable they can get their hands on, will take shelter beneath fluffy herb dumplings. Market sides and pecan pies will complete the meal. What a treat as winter come to Texas. $40/person. BYOB. 7pm. E-mail to reserve your spot.
  • [DO GOOD] December 7: Cupcake Bar Eat Local Week Happy Hour at Finn & Porter – The Cupcake Bar team is at it again, pairing cupcakes and wine for a good cause. This time they are teaming up with Finn & Porter to support Edible Austin’s Eat Local week. Enjoy a selection of sushi and appetizers from Finn & Porter, an array of cupcakes that include pecan pie and sweet potato, and a selection of wines. Hans Stockenberger will provide entertainment. This is a great way to get into the spirit of Eat Local week and support local businesses. $45/person. 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Purchase tickets online or at the door.
  • December 8: Café Josie Wine Me Dine Me Sparkling Holiday Celebration – The holidays are just full of bubbly events and this one sounds fantastic. Enjoy a six course dinner paired with a collection of sparklers to jump-start your holiday season. The menu features salmon, lobster, crab, scallops, and tuna – a veritable seafood extravaganza. $75/person. 6pm – 9 pm. Call 322-9226 or e-mail to reserve your spot.
  • [FREE] December 9: Wine 101 at the Twin Liquors Marketplace Hill Country Galleria – If you’ve always wanted to know more about wine, the holidays are a perfect time to acquire some knowledge. Luckily for you, Twin Liquors makes it easy and cost effective with their Wine 101 session. Enjoy a few sips and learn about varietals in the brand new training room of the Hill Country Galleria Market Place. This event is free. 6:30 pm – 8pm. RSVP to
  • December 9: FINO Balcones Distillery Tasting – Founder & Distiller Chip Tate, from Balcones Distillery in Waco, TX, brings his Baby Blue & Balcones Rumble to the table. Enjoy Bar Manager Bill Norris’ Cocktails, Cask Samples and more. This dinner is also part of Edible Austin’s Eat Local Week & 15% of the proceeds will be donated to Urban Roots in Austin, TX. $90/person. 6:30 pm. Call 474-2905 to reserve your spot.
  • December 9: Blue Star Cafeteria Bubbles from Around the World – Pops the bubble early for a Champagne tasting. Hosted by Republic Wines, you’ll get fresh ideas on what bubbly to serve this holiday season, sip on several, and learn from the experts. Naturally, the bubbles will be paired with tasty appetizers from Chef RJ’s apps. $25/person. 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Call 454-7827 for more information and to reserve your spot.
  • December 10: Cooking By Design Christmas Cocktail Party Class – Get the recipes and know-how you need to throw a wonderful holiday party from Beth Pav, one of Austin’s best chefs and teachers. You’ll enjoy an intimate evening at her Hill Country cooking school along with an array of tasty treats. This is a very different kind of cooking school that everyone should experience at least once. 6:30 pm. $60/person. E-mail for more information and to register.
  • December 12: Dai Due Seafood Supper Club – Treat yourself to a citrus-infused extravaganza at a most interesting venue, The Plant in Kyle Texas. You’ll enjoy fresh fish from the Texas Gulf, the best Texan and Mexican citrus, and a bevy of seasonal veggies. You’ll make new friends along the way and celebrate the season in true style. $85/person. 4:30 pm. BYOB. E-mail to reserve your spot.
  • December 13: Thai Fresh Dinner at Rain Lilly Farm –Bangkok street food will find its way to Austin for one night, powered by local ingredients and the culinary expertise of Jam Sanitchat. Nosh on chicken from Dewberry Hills Farm, beef from Bastrop Cattle Company, vegetables from Austin Farmers’ Market and Sunset Valley Farmers Market and pork from Peach Creek Farm. $45/person. 4 pm – 7 pm. BYOB. Call 494-6436 or e-mail to reserve your spot.
  • December 13: Hudson’s On the Bend Holiday Cooking School – Learn to create Hudson’s favorites like duck diablos, hot and crunch shrimp, and elk wellington from the chefs that fuel Hudsons on the Bend. Treat yourself or share the event with someone special. You’ll leave with a full stomach and mind, as you learn cooking techniques from the best. 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. Call 689-0133 or email for more information and to make reservations.