Austin Foodie Bits ~ Food and Wine Events for the Week of August 23

Hatch Green Chilies Roasting

Hatch Chilies Roasting - Courtesy of Central Market

I don’t know about y’all, but I’m hoping and praying that the weatherman’s promises that our 100+ degree days are over are true. I’m about done with this crazy heat. And speaking of heat, the Hatch chile festivities about town are in full swing, so I hope you’ve found a way (or two or three) to take advantage of our local passion for the green veggie grown in a small town in New Mexico. And as we look forward to September, there are some great things in store for Austin Food Lovers:

  • Austin Restaurant Week is scheduled for September 19 – 22 and September 26 – 29. This is the best way I know to expand your local restaurant horizons and maybe add a new spot or two to your favorites list.
  • Hudson’s on the Bend is featuring an all-local Hill Country Tasting Menu. Chefs Jeff Blank and Kelly Casey were inspired tasting by ingredients are from our local farmers and ranchers when they created this menu and the ingredients are antibiotic and growth hormone free. Paired with Texas wine this is a great way to experience the best of Central Texas ingredients on a plate.
  • Flemming’s is debuting a new Flemming’s 100 wine list complete with tastings. Each Thursday in September you can taste 20 of the wines on the list for just $25 while you enjoy light hors d’oeuvres. This is a budget-friendly and fun way to discover a bevy of new wines.

But before we rush headlong into September, August still has a few more days and events to hold our attention. This week you can look forward to a nice selection of tastings, wine dinners, and cooking classes, all designed to offer you new experiences and expand your horizons.

Be Spontaneous – This Week’s Events

  • August 25: Mazzei Family Italian Wine Dinner – The next Italian wine dinner at Mirabelle features their good friend and femme fatale wine-pro extraordinaire, Chris Berry. Mazzei is the Italian vintner family, most famous in the USA for wealthy industrialist, Phillipe Mazzei, being a life-long friend of America’s founding father and very 1st wine enthusiast, Thomas Jefferson. Mazzei and Jefferson planted 400 acres of vineyards next to Monticello in Virginia, which remains to this day one of the best vineyards on the East Coast. The Mazzei family’s wines are beautiful examples of the movement in Italy, especially in Tuscany, of long established estates returning to their more traditional stylings of wine after 25 years of flirting with blended Italian varietals made more like Bordeaux and California Cabernet Sauvignon. Chef Michael will pair their wines with a special dinner featuring monk fish, pork tenderloin, strip steak, and more. $65/person. 7:00 pm. Mirabelle. Call 512.346.7900 to reserve.
  • August 26: Heritage Pork Dinner Featuring the Kocureks – Pork that comes from living outdoors eats grasses and nuts, grows to a delicious plumpness, and is neither white nor dry. During this five-course dinner prepared by local expert Larry Kocurek you’ll be able to taste the goodness of a heritage pig and enjoy the company of fellow food lovers. The menu features pork belly confit croquettes, fennel and orange sausage, wild boar loin, and more. The dinner is BYOB so you can bring along your favorite adult beverage. $75/person. 6:30 pm. Swoop House. E-mail to reserve
  • August 26: Hatch Chiles and Vegetarian Global Cuisine Cooking Class – The unique flavor profile of Hatch chilies makes them a great addition to international recipes. Join Indian vegetarian cooking expert Chaya Rao as she makes Hatch chile cheese enchiladas, Hatch chile salan with cumin basmati rice, Hatch chile peanut sauce with tofu satay, and Hatch chile pesto with penne pasta. $45/person. 6:30 pm. Whole Foods Culinary Center. Reserve online.
  • August 27: Upscale Burgers Cooking Class – Given that it’s great grilling weather for 10 or 11 months of the year here in Austin, it’s probably a good idea to have a few different burger recipes up your sleeve. In this cooking class you’ll learn how to make burgers from elk and lamb as well as how to spice up a typical beef burger with Chorizo. Hosted at the Barbeques Galore in Lakeway’s swanky new cooking studio, you’ll enjoy a tasty dinner while you learn to make these burgers at home. $40/person. 6:00 pm. Barbeques Galore. Reserve online.
  • August 28-29 & September 4-5: 14th Annual Becker Vineyards Grape Stomp – If you’ve ever wanted to plant your tootsies in a barrel of grapes and stomp them into the beginnings of wine, now is your chance. Becker Vineyards is turning the annual grape harvest into a giant festival complete with concessions, picnics, and souvenirs. Take the whole family out for a trip to the Hill Country. Free. Saturdays 10 am – 6pm and Sundays 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
  • August 28: Gentleman Jack Engraving & Tasting – If you’re a fan of Jack Daniels, or you love someone who is, take this unique opportunity to taste Gentleman Jack and get your bottle engraved. Free. Twin Liquors Galleria. 4:30 pm
  • August 28: Time-Life Cookbook Series Tasting – Michael Vilim grew up cooking out of the Time Life cookbook series. The best food writers in the English language wrote these encyclopedias of regional cooking in the 50’s and 60’s while living abroad in their adopted homes. During this tasting StrEAT will feature recipes by Santha Rama Rau Matte, who wrote the Indian edition of the series. You’ll taste ten different dishes paired with specially selected wines. $25/person. 6:30 pm. StrEAT. Call 512.628.0288 to reserve.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • September 9: Smile Never Fades Gala – Professional photographer and author Bill Bastas lost his wife to breast cancer in 2006. During a meeting with the director of the Austin affiliate of the Susan G. Komen Foundation that the idea of his first book, The Smile Never Fades, was born. The Smile Never Fades’ fourth annual gala, “A Night on the Town” will take place September 9th at the Long Center beginning at 6 pm. The gala benefits the Breast Cancer Resource Centers of Austin (BCRC), an organization that provides a caring network of breast cancer survivors to answer questions and provide support to the newly diagnosed. The name of the gala is inspired by the realization Bill came to when viewing snapshots of his wife through the years, from her childhood to adulthood: “I noticed that one thing was the same in all of her pictures, her beautiful smile. From the time she was a child until the time I lost her, her smile never faded and we want that spirit to live on through this event and the funds we raise for the BCRC.” The event will be catered by Sterling Affairs Catering and Events and will feature an extensive menu including highlights such as seared duck breast, beef tenderloin, mini baked potato grill and miniature desserts. Most importantly, some of the ladies featured in the Smile Never Fades book and listen to their amazing stories. $65/person or $100/couple. The Long Center. $6:00 pm – 10:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.

Plan Ahead – Events in the Next Three Weeks