Austin Foodie Bits – Week of April 26, 2010

Table set with spring flowers and decoreSomehow it’s almost the end of April. I’m not completely sure how we got here, but so say Spring has sprung is to be somewhat behind the times. Seeing how quickly time is passing this year, it might surprise you to know that Mother’s Day is less than two weeks away. Indeed, May 9 is upon us. If you’re planning on taking your Mom out for a lovely brunch or dinner, I recommend making your reservations sooner rather than later. Much like New Year’s or Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day is a popular day at restaurants and if you don’t have a reservation you may find yourself waiting for a couple of hours or resorting to something less than a special meal out. Most good restaurants around town will have something special planned for Mother’s Day, so call or visit their website for details. No matter what, if you need a reservation, don’t wait until next week to make it or your options will be significantly limited.

As we look forward to this week’s food and wine events, it’s a great time to improve your culinary skills or take a trip out to the Hill Country to enjoy the wildflowers and some Texas wine. The Austin Community Garden Tour on Saturday also looks to be a great way to spend some time outside with those closest to you. Finally, Josh Watkins of the Carillon is kicking off his new dinner series with a Wine Dinner that is sure to be an amazing event. Keep an eye out on events coming up in May. There are special dinners to enjoy as well as Cinco de Mayo celebrations, a cheese dinner with Josh, a vodka bottle signing with Dan Akroyd, and a wealth of learning opportunities.

Be Spontaneous: This Week’s Events

  • April 28: Kitchen Fundamentals – The Mother Sauces – An okay meal can be made great with the addition of a well-crafted sauce. When you have a good handle on how to make the four mother sauces, you’ll be ready to tackle any sauce you please. Learn all about these four important sauce techniques in this hands-on class. $65/person. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Whole Foods North Lamar. Reserve online.
  • April 29: Texas Wine Dinner at the Carillon – Get up close and personal with Chef Josh Watkins as he works his magic with the best available local ingredients and pairs the dishes with specially selected wines. This is a rare opportunity to understand how a chef thinks. $60/person. 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm. Carillon at the AT&T Executive Conference Center. Call 512.404.3655 or e-mail to reserve.
  • [Great Value] April 30 – May 2: Wildflower Road Trip – The wildflowers are amazing this year, our gift for suffering through the cold and wet winter. If you haven’t been out to enjoy them in all their glory, now is the time. Some of the best scenery is in and around the Hill Country’s best wineries, so you can enjoy a sip or two while you take in the sites. Way Out Wineries makes the whole activity easy. Simply select your starting winery to pick up your official souvenir wine tasting glass. Take it and your ticket to each winery for a complimentary wine tasting and a special wine and food pairing. $15/person. Purchase tickets online.
  • [NEW [FREE] April 30 – May 2: Meet the Maker Weekend at Whole Foods – Whole Foods is celebrating its favorite local vendors and you can join in the fun. Meet the vendors and try their wares. 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. Whole Foods North Lamar.
  • May 1: Breakfast in Paris – If you’ve ever wanted to learn how to make French pastries, now’s your chance. In this class presented by Tracey Heffernan, Pastry Chef Instructor, Culinary Academy of Austin you’ll learn how to make brioche toast, sugared palmiers, and crepes Suzette. If you want to do something special for Mom this Mother’s Day, take this class and you can surprise her with your new skills. $65/person. 10am – 12:30 pm. Whole Foods North Lamar. Reserve online.
  • May 1: Baking with Dr. Kraker – These days it can be hard to find bread and crackers that are free of preservatives and other artificial ingredients. The best option is to make your own, and in this class you’ll learn just how to do that. Taught by George Eckrich, Dr. Kracker Artisan Baker, you’ll learn the ins-and-outs of Knead 100% Whole Wheat and Whole Oat Bread, and Homestyle Whole Wheat Graham Crackers with Oats and Flax. $65/person. 3:00 pm – 5:30 pm. Whole Foods North Lamar. Reserve online.
  • May 1: Dishin’ With the Divas – Join the Beat Divas for an evening of music and good eats. You’ll enjoy maple-kissed asparagus bundles, shrimp zucchini boats, rosemary sorbet, grilled chicken kebabs, and killer devil’s food cake along with original food songs and lots fun. $50/person. 6:30 pm – 9:30 pm. Central Market North Lamar. Reserve online.
  • [FREE] May 1: Austin Community Garden Tour – Visit all of Austin’s community gardens in one glorious afternoon to really appreciate the local gardening movement. Along with garden tours you’ll enjoy food, demonstrations, and activites. This is a self-directed tour and would be a great activity to enjoy with friends and family. 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
  • May 2: Charcuterie Sunday – The Kocurek Family is hosting a special event to highlight the joys of freshly made charcuterie. Enjoy a juice bar to make your own mimosas (byob), and artisanal hot dog bar, a full charcuterie buffet, life music, and more. $50/person. 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Flamingo Event Center. Call 512.291.4461 or e-mail to reserve.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • May 6: Sustainable Food Center’s Farm to Plate Fundraiser – The Sustainable Food Center is hosting their third annual fundraiser at the historic Barr Mansion. Featuring the culinary creations of over 20 chefs, including Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due, Rene Ortiz of La Condesa and Josh Watkins of The Carillon, this event promises to be a beautiful evening focused on good eats and supporting local and sustainable food practices. $100/person. 6:30 – 9:30 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • [NEW] April 15 – May 26: Maggiano’s Make-A-Wish Foundation Fundraiser – A newcomer to the Austin food scene, Maggiano’s is making a commitment to our community by donating portion of proceeds from select menu to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Central & South Texas in the Austin regional office, for children with life-threatening diseases. When you enjoy dishes like their grilled steak bruschetta, baked tilapia with lobster, or star lemon cookies, you’ll not only be filling your stomach, you’ll be filling a need. Visit Maggiano’s in the Domain in the coming weeks to help make a difference.

Plan Ahead: Events in the Next 3 Weeks