Austin Foodie Bits ~ Food and Wine Events for the Week of August 30 and Labor Day

Glass of wine by the lakeIf the increase in traffic wasn’t a enough of a clue, school is back in session and we’re rushing head-long into the fall even though we’re still pushing 100 degree days. Things are a bit quiet on the food and wine scene about town as well look forward to Labor Day weekend and the last hurrah of summer. There are some great cooking classes and tasting to be had this week, and as we get deep into September the events will definitely pick up.

In the mean time, remember that Austin Restaurant Week is September 19-22 and September 26 – 29. Look for a post from me in the next couple of weeks highlighting the best values and most interesting menus among the participating restaurants. Given the great value the restaurant week represents, many venues fill up quickly, so if you’ve already found a must-taste menu, make your reservations sooner rather than later.

Be Spontaneous – This Week’s Events

  • August 30: Hatch Chile Quick Fire Challenge – Parkside chef Shawn Cirkiel is facing off against Larry Guilbeau in an Iron Chef-style, with Hatch chilies as the main ingredient. They’ll each bring their own personal style to the mixing of green chilies with chicken thighs, shrimp, and watermelon. Not only will you get to enjoy the fruits of their competition, but you’ll learn new techniques to use in your own kitchen. $50/person. Central Market Cooking School. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • August 30: Brad Sorenson Fan Appreciation Night – ASTI cook Brad Sorenson did a valiant job of making his way through several weeks of the Next Food Network Start competition. And even though he didn’t win, we’re still proud of our hometown contestant. On Monday night he will be whipping up a collection of specials at ASTI including spinach and arugula salad with gorgonzola vinaigrette, pancetta-wrapped chicken with risotto, and a favorite pizza. 5% of the proceeds from the sales of Brad’s dishes will be donated the American Cancer Society. Be sure to stop by to congratulate Brad and taste his inspired creations.
  • September 2: Aunt Pearl’s Hatch Chile Fiesta – Aunt Pearl’s cooking classes at Central Market aren’t like any other cooking class you’ve ever attended. Full of tasty food and non-stop hilarity, they offer dinner and a show in a whole new format. In this class Aunt Pearl takes on local favorite Hatch Chilies, and she’ll use them in biscuits, soup, enchiladas, and more. The class is almost full, so make your reservation quickly if you want to partake in the comedy and the food. $50/person. Central Market Cooking School. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 2: Cooking with Tequila – Twin Liquors and Barbeques Galore are teaming up to teach you how to cook with spirits. Enjoy the shiny new cooking school at Barbeques Galore in Bee Caves and special guest Pepe Zavada, owner of Z Tequila, while you learn to make grilled romain salad with tequila dressing, shrimp in tequila lime cream sauce, flank steak with tequila BBQ sauce, and tequila rose bread pudding. $50/person. Barbeques Galore. 6:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 2: Date Night Mexican Fiesta Cooking Class – I love the date night cooking classes at Whole Foods Whole Foods because they are such a great alternative to a typical date night. You enjoy time together as a couple, enjoy a great meal, and lean a few new kitchen skills you can use in your home kitchen long after the class is over. During this class you’ll make grilled corn, shrimp-stuffed poblanos, rice pilaf, and curros. $145/couple. 6:30 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 3: Entertaining with Bacon – Everything’s better with bacon, and the nice folks at Barbeques Galore are devoting an entire class to the myriad ways you can use bacon in party food. You’ll learn how to wrap quail in bacon, stuff a pork loin with sausage and then wrap it in bacon, and even how to make candied bacon ice cream. It promises to be piggy good time for everyone. $50/person. Barbeques Galore. 6:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 3: Great Names, Great Values Wine Tasting – Today’s economic environment has generated some great values among some of the best names in the world of wine. Mirabelle chef and wine connoisseur Michael Vilm has challenged his friends to find the best labels that, for a short time at least, have excellent pricing for the consumer. All 10 of the wines on the tasting menu have scored between 90 and 92 by various publications including Wine Spectator and Robert Parker. This fun tasting is a great way to begin Labor Day holiday weekend and is offered at a very attractive price point. $25/person. Mirabelle. 6:30 pm. Call 512.346.7900 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