Austin Foodie Bits: Week of March 29, 2010

Spring has officially sprung in Austin, Texas. And while Mother Nature may deal us a round or two more of chilly, rainy, or windy weather, the forecast is great for several weeks of beautiful weather and no good excuses for not enjoying it. Given that this is both Easter week and Passover week, events are still a bit light. Once we get past this weekend though and into April proper, watch out! There will be more fun for Austin Food Lovers than you can shake a stick at. As you gear up for Spring this week, you can enjoy tastings, classes, wine dinners, and the second annual Funky Chicken Coup Tour.

What Are Your Easter Plans?

Before we dive into the bounty of events, have you thought about what you’re doing for Easter? Many of Austin’s best restaurants are offering special Easter brunch menus. If you’re thinking out is the way to go this Sunday, take a quick gander at the Statesman’s Easter Brunch Sampler complied by critic Mike Sutter. Most places not only take reservations for Easter brunch but may not be able to seat you without one. If you don’t have a reservation and expect to be dining out this Sunday, take the time to make your reservation sooner rather than later.

If you’re planning to partake in your Easter brunch or dinner at home this year, and if ham and lamb are on your menu, mosey on over to Fete and Feast proper to take a gander at guide to buying ham and lamb. It includes the skinny on what to look for when you procure these two spring favorites and includes links to some recipes to get you creative menu planning juices flowing.

Whatever your Easter, Passover, or Spring celebration plans are, happy Spring from my family to yours. Now, on to the events!

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • March 30: Hudson’s on the Bend Fling into Spring Wine DinnerJoin Chef Kelly Casey and wine steward Phillip Dubov for their first wine dinner of 2010. It promises to be an exciting one, with fresh flavors of spring combined specially paired wines. You’ll enjoy the wild flowers as you drive out to Hudson’s and any dinner there is sure to make for a lovely evening. The menu includes Fresh Rhubarb and Balsamic Marinated Fig and Goat Cheese Tartlet, Smoked Quail and Spinach Salad, Lavender-Crusted Lamb, and more. Seats are limited. $75/person. 7:00 pm. Call 512.266.1369 for reservations.
  • [FREE] Mach 30: Taste with the Winemaker – Steve Beckman of Beckman Vineyards – Join Steve Beckman, winemaker of Beckmen Vineyards, in a tasting of Rhone varietal blends from Santa Ynez. Beckman is one of North America’s premier wine makers and has helped establish Santa Barbara as one of California’s best-regarded winegrowing regions. Sample four of their varietals and chat with Steve about his vineyard and grapes. 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Twin Liquors Marketplace at Hancock.
  • March 30: Tapas! – Savor an assortment of Spain’s favorite appetizers in this cooking class. Tapas are as much fun to share with friends as they are to prepare, and you’ll get your fill in this hands-on class. The menu includes Empanadas de Carne (Meat-Filled Empanada), Tortilla De Patatas (Potato and Egg Tart), Calamares Con Cebolla (Calamari with Lemon and Onion), and Churros. $65/person. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Whole Foods Culinary Center. Reserve online.
  • April 1: The Engine 2 Diet – Join Rip Esselstyn, author of The Engine 2 Diet, as you learn about how plant-strong foods, the cornerstone his bestselling book, can change your life, your health and your kitchen. Rip will demonstrate his favorite dishes: Jalapeño and Cilantro Hummus, Red Lentil and Swiss Chard Soup, Black Beans and Ricem Mushroom, Spinach and Hummus Panini, and Lime Mousse. The book will be available at a special discounted price, and a book signing will immediately follow class. $35/person. 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm. Whole Foods Culinary Center. Reserve online.
  • [NEW] [FREE] April 1: Know It-Grow It Sprouts Slow Session – Join Slow Food Austin and learn about sprouts, the simple superfood, from PermaCulture extraordinaire, Doc JODY. In addition to expanding your knowledge of sprouts, Doc JODY will show you how to grow organic sprouts and delight you with some of her original recipes. As a bonus, there will be a special give away to whoever brings the most creative dish with sprouts to share. 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Sunset Valley City Hall. RSVP online.
  • April 3-4, 10-11,17-18: Bluebonnet Wine and Cheese Trail – For the first THREE weekends in April 2010, the wineries along the trail will offer a select pairing of two wines and two specially-crafted cheese dishes prepared with Texas cheeses from local artisans. As an added bonus, receive a packet of Texas Wildflower seeds at each winery you visit while supplies last. The Bluebonnets will be in full bloom, and with the late fall and winter rain, this Spring Bluebonnet Trail promises to be one of the most abundant yet. This is the perfect opportunity to see beautiful Texas wildflowers and enjoy fine Texas wine and fantastic cheese pairings. $25/person or $45/couple. Purchase tickets online.
  • [FREE] April 3: Funky Chicken Coup Tour – Learn all about raising chickens in your backyard, or just more about those who already do on this fun-filled self-guided tour of coops around Austin. The tour was great fun last year – read all about it in the Boots In The Oven recap to get a feel for what to expect. Grab some friends and meet some chickens. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • [FREE] April 3: Beer Tastings with Shiner and Bridgeport – Enjoy a 2-for-1 special and taste Shiner 101 and Black Lager, as well as the new Imperial India Pale Ale from Bridgeport Brewing. It’s the perfect time to stock up for the remaining basketball finals. 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Twin Liquors Marketplace At The Galleria.
  • April 4: Easter Egg Hunt at Jack Allen’s Kitchen – Jack is hosting an Easter egg hunt for the kidlets on Easter morning. Bring the kids out, enjoy his beautiful patio and order some appetizers (and maybe a mimosa or two). It’s a great way to start the Easter celebratrion and enjoy the beautiful Austin weather. 11:00 am. Call 512.852.8558 for reservations.

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks