Austin Foodie Bits: Week of January 18

The word Love done with letterpress type on white background.Austin seems to finally be over our collective New Year’s/BCS Championship hangover and back into our groove. More events are popping up around town, including special dinners paired with both tequila and scotch. You can taste a whole host of wine and beer this week, and of course continue to learn new things at local cooking classes. This Saturday I highly recommend that you make your way downtown to celebrate the new home of the Austin Farmers Market then take yourself over to Central Market for the second weekend of their Citrus Festival. There’s so much opportunity to get connected with your food and make healthy choices.

I’ll remind you again this week as I did last week: Don’t forget to make your V-day reservations. All of Austin’s best restaurants are planning special Valentine’s Day menus, but reservations are going quickly so make yours now or risk looking foolish as you dine at 11pm on a Sunday night. If you are in the mood for something beyond the traditional nice dinner out, consider taking your date to the Alamo Draft House for a special dinner and a movie pairing. Each Alamo is featuring a different movie and themed menu. Choose from Gone with the Wind at Alamo Downtown, Amelie at Alamo Village, or Charade at Alamo South Lamar.

What are you doing for the big day? I’d love to know – please share in the comments. And now, on to this week’s events.

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • [NEW] January 19: Pepe Z & Paula’s Tequila Tasting Dinner – There have been an abundance of wine dinners in the past few months, but this is one of the first Tequila dinners I’ve heard about and it looks to be tons of fun. Chef Jack will offer up five courses to be paired with the tequila of Pepe Zevada and citrus liqueur of Paula Angerstein. The event will be held in the private dining room of the newly minted Jack Allen’s Kitchen. With menu items like crispy oyster lettuce wrap, grilled vegetable relleno, pork carnitas, and braised lamb shank you’re sure t come away satisfied. 7:00 pm. $65/person. Call 852.8558 or email to make reservations.
  • [NEW] January 20: Alamo Iron Chef IV – The fourth edition of Alamo’s Iron Chef event will pit Alamo chefs John Bullington and Elijah Horgan against the acclaimed kitchen of Shawn Cirkiel of Parkside Austin. These 6th Street neighbors will battle it out with menus based on the movie A Streetcar Named Desire. Each chef will deliver to each of the 100 attendees a series of 4 dishes themed to the film. 4 wine courses will also be provided. At the end of the show, the audience will decide whose meals were tastier and more cleverly matched and timed to the movie. Alamo Ritz. 7:00 pm. $80/person. Purchase tickets online.
  • [FREE] January 20: Wine 101 Class – Learn all about wine from the experts at Twin Liquors. Get an understanding of varietals and wine styles, and sample the different wines covered in class. This is 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
  • [NEW] [GREAT VALUE] January 20: Digging For Gold Wine Evening – Finding wine gems takes more than a nose for good wine. You need to understand regions, varietals, and above all, wine values. Learn more about finding great wine at this event includes tastings of six wines along with appetizers and discussion with like minded wine hunters. Twin Liquors Galleria Marketplace. 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. $15/person or $20/couple. Purchase tickets online.
  • [NEW] January 21: Sushi Happy Hour at Finn and Porter – Champagne and sushi – what a lovely combination. This special happy hour at Finn and Porter will feature an array of sushi options including tuna, mango, and caviar salad, tuna and foie gras, and otoro nigiri / sashimi. Finn and Porter is a beautiful restaurant and fun place to meet friends as the work week starts to wind down. 5 pm – 7 pm.
  • [NEW] [FREE] January 22: Napa Valley Darlings Wine 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.
  • [FREE] January 23: Healthy Cooking 101 – Keep you focus on your New Year’s Resolutions with help from Whole Foods Healthy Eating Specialist. During this special mobile class you’ll walk around the store and get information on how to easily choose and prepare the most nutrient-rich and health-supportive foods. Whole Foods North Lamar. Meet at the Healthy Eating Desk in the produce department. 10:00 am.
  • January 22: Couples Cook Chinese New Year Dinner – Grab your significant other or just a significant friend and learn to make an entire menu in celebration of Chinese New Year. Dorothy Huang will teach you how to make chicken lettuce wraps, good fortune fish, happiness shrimp, pomegranate chicken, and Chinese New Year treats in this hands-on class. Central Market North Lamar. 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. $120/couple.
  • January 23: International Wine and Food – Burgundy – Take a virtual tour of one of the world’s most renowned wine and food regions with the help of Central Market’s food and wine experts. Chef Robert Jenkins will serve traditional favorites like cheese, gougeres, and Bœuf à la Bourguignonne, and chef/wine expert Paul Schunder will offer perfect pairings for each course. You’ll walk away from the class with a full belly and good understanding of the region. Central Market North Lamar. 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. $60/person.
  • [FREE] January 23: 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, Hancock Marketplace. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
  • [FREE] January 23: Merchant Du Vin Beer Tasting – Learn more about the world of high-quality imported beer with a little help from Twin Liquors. Join Robert Watts from Merchant du Vin Importers and taste fine beers from Pinkus (Germany) and Samuel Smith (England). Twin Liquors Galleria Marketplace. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm.
  • [NEW] [FREE] January 23: Know Your Food – Food seems so much more complex these days and it’s often difficult to figure out exactly where your food comes from or how its grown. During this free workshop you’ll learn more about adding whole grains to your diet, animal welfare ratings, sustainable trading, and more. Whole Foods North Lamar. 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm.
  • January 23: Austin Farmer’s Market moves to Republic Square Park – The Austin Farmer’s Market is moving into its new home in Republic Square Park! If you haven’t been to the market in a while, or if you haven’t been at all. Come out and support our local food producers, have some Dai Due biscuits and gravy or a taco for your morning breakfast, and even buy some local made treats for your pup. The weather appears to be cooperating, so come on down!
  • [NEW] January 23: Five Course Glenlivet Dinner at III Forks – We start the week with tequila and end it with scotch, with some beer and wine along the way. III Forks will be hosting a private five course dinner with acclaimed scotch maker, Glenlivet. All six of Glenlivet’s marques will be featured and paired with Chef Jamie Gutierrez’s creations. 7:00 pm. $80/person. Call 512.236.0124 to reserve your spot.
  • [NEW] January 22-24: Central Market Citrus Festival – It’s winter in Texas and the citrus are everywhere! From beautiful grapefruit to amazing blood oranges and every sort of citrus in between, Central Market is celebrating all things citrus. Visit either Central Market North Lamar or Central Market Westgate to sample citrus from around the country and get great ideas for how to use the citrus in your kitchen. Also, I was lucky enough to visit Central Market for a special Citrus Festival kickoff last week, so look for a post from me later this week with pictures and recipes all focused on the wonderful world of citrus.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • [UPDATED] February 27: Bad to the Bone Celebrity Chef Competition – Due to rain, this event has been moved to the end of February. More time to get your tickets! 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. Time TBD. $35/person. Purchase tickets online.

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks