Austin Foodie Bits – Week of March 1, 2010

February came and went in the blink of an eye. March is coming at us fast and furiously with big events like South by Southwest and spring break right in the middle to make it that much more interesting. As we begin have more of those beautiful days that make us all remember why we live in Austin, you’ll notice that the food and wine events are picking up steam. This is not a coincidence I’m sure. This week you’ll find a lovely collection of wine and food dinners, some free or very inexpensive tastings, a patio opening, some fun Oscar-related events, and of course the ever-present cooking classes. In short, if you’re an Austin Food Lover looking for something to do this week, you won’t be disappointed. Before we dive into this week’s event, I’d like to highlight a couple of things:

  • Yesterday I launched the newest incarnation of this blog, an entire section called the Austin Food Lovers’ Companion. My hope is that this new resources will bring those in Austin who love all things related to enjoying food and wine together with those who love providing great food and wine. If you haven’t taken a moment to browse the site, please do.
  • Restaurant Week continues through this week and into next. If you haven’t made your reservations, you should do so now. If you’re not sure where to start in making your plans, consult my hand-dandy guide to Austin Restaurant week. You’re sure to find an option (or two or ten) that fits your tastes, your budget, and your desired driving distance.

And now, on with the events.

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • [NEW] March 2: Republic of Jack Patio Party – Jack Allen’s Kitchen is expanding their operation to include a fantastic outdoor patio, and they are celebrating its grand opening with an all-night happy hour, melon-infused Don Julio Silver Tequila Margaritas, music, and a radio broadcast. If you haven’t been out to Jack Allen’s yet (or really, even if you have) now’s a great time. Bring a sweater and enjoy the clear early March evening. 4pm – close.
  • [FREE] [NEW] March 3: Whole Foods Gluten-Free Store Tour – Whether you’ve made a gluten-free lifestyle choice or have a specific dietary need, you may need support to learn all the ins and outs of your gluten-free diet. Whole Foods is ready to help. Tour the store in search of the best gluten-free products with knowledgeable guide, Anne Allen, of the Austin Chapter of the Alamo Celiac Support Group. 6:00pm. Sign up at the Concierge Desk or call 512.542.2243
  • March 3: Ironstone Wine Dinner – Jack Allen’s Kitchen continues their fabulous dinner series this week with a pairing of Ironstone wines and 5 courses of Jack’s tasty food. During the dinner Jack will share background on each flight and provide insight into Ironstone’s sustainable viticulture practices. 7:00 pm. $65/person. Call 512.852.8558 or e-mail to reserve your spot.
  • [NEW] March 3: St. Germain Dinner – Our good friends at FINO are hosting another in their series of dinners, this time with a focus on the tastes of St. Germain. The event begins with a cocktail reception followed by snacks and a 4-course dinner that ends with cupcakes from good friend Jenny Chin, aka Misohungry. 6:30 pm. $75/person. Call 512.474-2905 for reservations.
  • [DO GOOD] March 3: Louis Jadot Burgundy Dinner – Jacques Lardière, one of the most brilliant winemakers in Burgundy, is joining the Wine and Food Foundation of Texas and Mirabelle Restaurant in a fundraiser to benefit the Texas Sommelier Association. Enjoy a reception and 5-course dinner featuring Mirabelle’s fantastic food and expert parings from Jadot’s portfolio of wines. 7:00 pm. Mirabelle. $85/person. Reserve online.
  • March 3: EDMEADES Zinfandel Wine Dinner – Siena is pairing their Tuscan dishes with several Zinfandel offerings from EDMEADS. This 5-course dinner features Carpaccio di Bresaola, risotto, wood grilled medallions of Broken Arrow Ranch Nilgai Antelope, and other luscious offerings. $69/person. Call 512.349.7667 to reserve.
  • [FREE] [NEW] March 4: Meet Tal Ronnen, the Veggie Chef – Tal Ronnen, celebrity Veggie Chef and New York Times Best-Selling Author of The Conscious Cook will be signing copies of his book and cooking up a tasty plant-based food called Gardein (garden + protein) at Whole Foods. Learn more about his blend of vegetables and grains with a meaty texture that is an ideal source of protein for any meal along with other vegetarian cooking techniques. 11:00am – 3:00pm. Whole Foods North Lamar.
  • [FREE] [NEW] March 4: March Slow Session on Sustainable Sourcing – Seeing the words “local” on a restaurant menu and understanding exactly how much of a dish and which ingredients are local are two very different things. Join Slow Food Austin for this unique opportunity to start an ongoing community dialog about sourcing. The session will be moderated with a panel of three local food industry professionals: a farmer, a chef, and a buyer/forager. Please bring your questions and if you like, a dish to share. 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Flatbed Press. RSVP online.
  • [NEW] March 5: Ch Picque Caillou Evening – Pauilin Calvet, owner of Ch Picque Caillou in Bordeaux, will lead a seated tasting that will include wines of different varietals and from different years. Experience the terroir of Graves, situated just at the gate to the town of Pessac-Leognan, and considered as a historical birthplace of Bordeaux vineyards. 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Twin Liquors Hill Country Marketplace. $20/person. Buy tickets online.
  • March 6: Farm Tour of Johnson’s Backyard Garden – Slow Food Austin invites you to join them on a Farm Foraging Tour of Johnson’s Backyard Garden, a certified-organic produce farm and greenhouse operation. As a tour participant you will receive farm-grown Ark of Taste vegetable transplants to grow in your own garden. You’ll also learn more about a local Austin garden became the largest member-subscription farm in the southern U.S. 10am – 12 pm. Johnson’s Backyard Garden. RSVP to to coordinate ticket purchase.
  • [FREE] [NEW] March 6: Moet & Chandon Oscar Tasting – Its Oscar time and Twin Liquors is ready to help you find the perfect bubbly for your watching party. Moet is the exclusive Champagne of the 2010 Oscars, so what better to serve at your party? Visit either the Twin Liquors Marketplace Galleria or Marketplace Hancock to have a taste of the same Brut the celebrities will be drinking. 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
  • March 6: Throwdown Challenge – Do you have what it takes to cook under pressure? Sign up for this class at Central Market and find out. You’ll compete in a three-course meal cook off, complete with mystery baskets with themed ingredients and critiques from guest judges. Then, sit down to enjoy the fruits of your labor. The losing team will serve a seasonal dessert. 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. $65/person. Central Market North Lamar. Reserve online.
  • [NEW] March 6 & 7: Singin’ in the Rain Brunch – Enjoy a filming of a beloved Hollywood musical along with special dishes crafted by Alamo executive chef (and Singin’ In the Rain fanatic) John Bullington. The Alamo’s standard brunch fare will also be available. Saturday showing at 1:00 pm. Sunday showing at 12:00 pm. $6.75/ticket + cost of food. Buy tickets online.
  • March 7: Get Healthy with Whole Grains and Vegetables
    – Recent studies have shown that Americans should eat more vegetables and whole grains and less meat. So whether you are vegetarian or just looking for some delicious recipes that feature flavorful food that just happens to be meatless, you won’t want to miss this cooking class featuring private chef and author Robin Asbell. 6:30 – 9:30 pm. $65/person. Central Market North Lamar. Reserve online.
  • [NEW] March 7: Red Carpet Feast at Alamo South – Join the Alamo Drafthouse in their yearly Academy Awards Party paired with a specially prepared five-course feast inspired by Best Picture nominated films. The menu features oven-fired artichokes, fois gras, braised lamb, and more. 6:00 pm. $60/person. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. Buy tickets online.
  • [FREE] March 7: Getting’ Sauced BBQ Sauce Contest – The guys from the Man Up Texas BBQ blog and Franklin BBQ are giving everyone a chance to taste some of the best BBQ sauce Central Texas has to offer. At this free event you’ll enjoy sauce tastings, live music, beer from Saint Arnold Brewing Company, and more. 5:00 pm. Franklin BBQ. RSVP to

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks