Austin Foodie Bits: Week of January 4
Happy New Year! The last few weeks of 2009 were a whirl-wind, with food events left and right. When you throw in parties and gatherings, the holiday season was a treat for the taste buds but not necessarily for the waistline. It seems that 2010 will give us a bit of a break and start out at a comfortable and relaxed pace. The first few weeks of the month are light on events, but there are plenty of opportunities to learn a new thing or two about cooking, wine, and beer. From classes at Central Market and Whole Foods, to tastings at Twin Liquors, there’s a learning opportunity for just about everyone.
There is one big event thus far that has all the makings of a fun and tasty time. The Bad to the Bone Celebrity Chef Competition at Stubb’s will feature three of my favorite Texas chefs. It will be great to see Paul Petersen back in Austin, if even for just this event, and I know that Shawn Cirkiel will defend his home turf mightily against the likes of Paul and David Bull from Dallas’ Bolla. With great music to follow, this event will help us start the year off right.
Finally, as the holidays wind down and before the New Year gets into full swing, I’d like to encourage everyone to take the time to visit your local famer’s market to support and learn more about our local producers. There’s just something satisfying about a meal that’s made with local ingredients. Our local farmer’s market options include:
- Austin Farmer’s Market: Wednesdays at the Triangle 3 pm – 7 pm; Saturdays on 4th street (and soon in Republic Square Park) 9 am – 1 pm
- Sunset Valley Farmer’s Market: Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm
- South Austin Farmer’s Market: Saturdays, 8 am – 1 pm
- HOPE Farmer’s Market: Sundays, 11 am – 3 pm
- Boggy Creek Farm Market Days:
Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 am – 1 pm
- Markets in the Hill Country: Locations and times vary
Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events [1/4 – 1/10]
- [GREAT VALUE] January 6: Lunch Express: Light and Easy from Spain Cooking Class – Take a one-hour break from your busy day to savor the flavors of Spain, including Spanish White Beans with Spinach; Galician Pie; Sweet Potato Flan. The class includes a a demonstration of light recipes that are simple to recreate at home. Whole Foods, Lamar. 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm. $18/person. Reserve online.
- [FREE] January 6: Wine 101 Class – Learn all about wine from the experts at Twin Liquors. Learn about varietals and wine styles, and sample to different wines covered in class. A great way to dip your toe into learning to love wine, or to take your knowledge to the next level. Twin Liquors Hancock. 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- January 7: Heartwarming Stews and Soups Cooking Class
– For a few glorious months in Texas, we really get to enjoy warm soup on a cold day, and this cooking class will help you add to your soup repoitoir. Learn how to make tortilla soup, tomato-basil soup, vegetable Provencal soup, beef stew, and even chocolate soup. Central Market, North Lamar. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. $45/person. Reserve online.
- [FREE] January 8: Malbec Tastings – The folks at Twin Liquors offer tastings of different wines every Friday at select stores around town. This is a great opportunity to expand your horizons and learn about new wines. 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm. See the Twin Liquors website for specific locations.
- [VALUE] January 8: Friday Night Tasting: American Craft Beers and Cheeses – Say cheers to domestic cheeses and beers! Start your weekend off with this yummy tasting, which includes a selection of six American craft beers and six artisan cheeses. 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm. $25/person. Whole Foods, Lamar. Reserve online.
- [FREE] January 9: Wine 101 at the Whole Foods’ Wine Kiosk
– During this informal session in which you’ll compare and taste wines of different grape varietals, learn about specific characteristics to look for in each variety, and how to pair with foods. Ask questions and learn from Whole F1od’s wine experts. Whole Foods, Lamar. 10:30 am – 11:30 am.
- [FREE] January 9: Brooklyn Brewery Tasting with Nadine Jones – Enjoy a beer tasting with Texas Brand Manager, Nadine Jones. You will be able to taste several beers, including their flagship brand, Brooklyn Lager, and Local 1, a Belgian inspired strong golden ale. Twin Liquors, Hill Country Galleria. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
- [FREE] January 9: Beer 101 at the Whole Foods’ Beer Kiosk — Beer styles and flavors are just as varied as wine and cheese. Do you know the difference between a Pilsner and a Porter, or an American Pale Ale and an India Pale Ale? This informal session is perfect for the beer-curious. 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm.
Eat Well, Do Good
- [FREE] January 15: Bad to the Bone Celebrity Chef Competition – Stubbs Bar-B-Q is taking culinary competitions to a higher level by combining star chefs, audience text voting, and live music. Their Bad to the Bone even series launches with a competition featuring three of Texas’ youngest and most acclaimed chefs: David Bull, of Bolla at the Stoneleigh Hotel in Dallas, who was named as one of Food & Wine magazine’s Top Ten Best New Chefs in 2003; Shawn Cirkiel, executive chef of Austin’s Parkside Restaurant, recently named by Bon Appetit magazine as one of the “Hot 10 New American Taverns”; and Paul Petersen, star of TLC’s BBQ Pitmasters, author of Keeper of the Flame Interactive Cookbook, and former executive chef of Café Cenzio at the Gage Hotel. They will battle it out, each choosing a preferred ingredient to stump their competitors’ culinary prowess. Audience participants and a panel of noted culinary experts will sample the dishes and use live text voting to determine the winning chef. Ticket sales will benefit the Sustainable Food Center which helps more than 20,000 Central Texans access healthy, affordable and locally grown food annually. 6:00 pm – 9:30 pm.$35/person. Purchase tickets online.
Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks [1/11 – 1/31]
- January 12: The Artful Cuisine of Asti (Cooking Class)
- January 13: Mollusks, Mudbugs, & Mardi Gras with Terry Conolan (Cooking Class)
- January 15 – 17 and 22-24: Central Market Citrus Fest
- January 16: Slow Food Austin Farm Foraging Tour at Yonderway Farm
- January 16: Breakfast Breads (Cooking Class)
- January 22: Couples Cook Chinese New Year Dinner (Cooking Class)
- [FREE] January 23: Celebration of Austin Farmers’ Market Move into Republic Square Park
- January 23: International Wine and Food – Burgundy (Cooking Class)
- [FREE] January 23: Healthy Cooking 101
- January 26: Kitchen Fundamentals: Classic French Sauces (Cooking Class)
- January 30: Valentine’s Cookie Decorating (Cooking Class)
- January 30: Chocolate Lover’s Workshop (Cooking Class)