Austin Foodie Bits ~ Food & Wine Things to Do, September 13 Edition

Cutting board with summer ingredients, cheese, and wineThe end of August and the beginning of September were a little quiet in our lovely city. I was starting to wonder if Foodie Bits Should just take the month of September off. And then my inbox exploded with information about all sorts of fun for Austin Food Lovers’. In particular, the mid-point of September seems to be a precipice beyond which a mountain of fall food and wine events is hidden. There are about 20 separate events in this week’s list, and as we look forward to the first weeks of October, food festivals abound. So, get out your stretchy pants and your calendar – both will get a workout in the coming weeks.

But, before I jump into the lllllooonnngggg list of events for this week, here are three activities that span the next few weeks that I’d like to especially call out.

  • The Tipsy Texans, Austin mixologists extraordinaire, are starting their Fall Tipsy Tech, a 12-week intensive program that covers all aspects of “recreational mixology” (aka enjoying and making excellent cocktails). While this is designed as a full curriculum that includes a certification for those in the professional mixology business, it’s also a great opportunity for casual cocktail lovers. You can take the whole series of classes or just drop in for one or two. The series starts with a class that stars with the origins of alcohol in pre-modern medicine, travels through cocktail history from the golden age of the 19th century to the “noble experiment” of Prohibition and its aftermath, and concludes with the modern cocktail renaissance that has taken place over the last decade. After that there will be a class one every major category of spirits, molecular mixology, garden-to-glass bartending, and more. There will also be special field trips and group activities along with the classes. I’ve talked with the Tipsys and this is going to be a blast. The fee for the series is $375 for the full course ($325 for members of the United States Bartenders Guild) or you can audit individual classes for $35/each. Learn more and register on the Tipsy Tech site.
  • Central Market Brewtopia BannerCentral Market’s Brewtopia is a celebration of all things beer from September 22 to October 5. The event will feature meet-and-greets with brewmasters from around the country, tastings, lessons on pairing beer with food as well as cooking with beer, and more. During the festival, Texas favorite Chef Kent Rathbun will lead From Pint to Plate, a class designed to teach you how to pair beer with a variety of flavors. If you’re a happy hour fan, to sign up for the Beer Round-Up, and sample over eight different beers paired with an array of CM treats.
  • Remember that first installment of Austin Restaurant Week starts next Sunday (September 19-22 and September 26 – 29), so get on those reservations.

Be Spontaneous – This Week’s Events

  • September 13: Celebration of the Bicentennial and Centennial of Mexico
    – 2010 marks the beginning of the bicentennial celebration of Mexican Independence from Spain and the centennial celebration of the Mexican Revolution. Austin will get to take part in a five-city celebration of these important Mexican milestones with an unmatched gala designed to replicate the experience of dining in one of Mexico’s best restaurants. Diana Kennedy will her newest book and the cuisine will be amazing. This is a true opportunity for lovers of Mexican food and culture to treat themselves. $250/person. The Long Center. 6:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • September 13: Jezebel Wine Dinner – Join Parind Vora, the chef and owner of local favorite Jezebel, for a late summer wine dinner. The menu includes brushetta with bacon, Halibut au Poivre Vert, beef tenderloin sashimi, and chile relleno made with chocolate mousse and candied poblano pepper. Your tastebuds are sure to be tantalized. $60/person. Central Market Cooking School. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 14 and 15: Texas Olive Ranch Harvest and Gold Crush – Visit the Texas Olive Ranch out in Carrizo Springs to watch the harvest and the pressing of the 2010 oil. You’ll be able to sample the oil and learn more about this local provider. Free. Call Karen Lee at 512.466.3816 or Jim Henry at 214.325.5787 for more information.
  • September 14: Saint Arnold Beer Tasting – St. Arnold founder Brock Wagner will be at the Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek location for a beer tasting paired with a multi-course meal. The event will also include “beer-related media and general beer-larity” so it’s not your average food and wine tasting. $45/person. 7:30 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • September 15: Maker’s Mark Whisky Dinner – If whisky is your style, you’ll enjoy this special event at the Highball featuring a four-course dinner with whisky in the dishes and paired on the site. From crab bisque to beef tenderloin and crème brulee, this dinner has something for every whisky lover. $57/person. 7:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • September 15: A Journey with Food and Wine – Eric Maczko is the Executive Chef at Pine Ridge Vineyards. In this class he’ll show you how to blend French traditions with California cuisine and pair the results perfectly with wine. You’ll enjoy dishes like sea scallop ceviche, slow-cooked pork roulade, and grilled hanger steak. $65/person. Central Market Cooking School. 6:30 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 15: Saracina Mendocino Wine Dinner with Owner and Winemaker John Fetzer – Many of the iconic California founding families of wine are seeking out new wine growing regions that are reminiscent of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. Mendocino has attracted many such famous vintners and John Fetzer, a well-known name in California wine, has developed a 600-acre bio-diverse property in Hopland, California. The main ranch is home to Saracina Vineyards, a small-production, state-of-the-art, California Certified Organic (CCOF) winery and the first wine caves in Mendocino County, carved out of solid rock over a two-year period. Join Fetzer himself for an evening of wine and a paired dinner featuring seared scallops, grilled lamb chops, and more. $65/person. Mirabelle Restaurant. 7:00 pm. Call 512.346.7900 to reserve.
  • September 15: Seafood Grill and Chill on the Patio – Paggi House Executive Chef Shane Stark is firing up the outdoor grill for a series of casual communal patio dinners for a Grillin’ & Chillin’ dining series. This first dinner features fresh fish, shrimp, crab and the season’s best fruits and vegetables along with the opportunity to chat with Shane grillside. The dinner will be accompanied by buckets of local brews including Real Ale’s seasonal selection, Fireman’s #4, Full Moon Pale Ale, and Rio Blanco Pale Ale. $25/person. Call 512.473.3700 or e-mail to reserve.
  • September 15: Supper Friends Dinner featuring Larry Kocurek – The Supper Friends dinning club is teaming up with local chef Larry Kocurek yet again for an intimate event at Swoop House. This menu includes butternut squash soup, grilled shrimp and grits, cast iron seared beef tenderloin, and petite pecan tart with a cinnamon apple empanada. All Supper Friends events are BYOB. $60/person. Reserve online.
  • September 15: Macroons Hands On (cooking class) – Macaroons seem to be all the rage these days, and with the help of the folks at the Whole Foods Culinary Center you can learn to make your own flavorful combinations at home. In this hands-on class you’ll learn traditional French baking techniques and make four different types of macaroons. $65/person. 6:30 pm – 9:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 16: Bounty of Summer Harvest Chef’s Table – As summer comes to an end, it’s the perfect time to enjoy as much local produce as you can lay your hands on. During this special dinner, Healthy Eating Specialists Michael Frei and Dan Marek will serve up a bounty of vegan goodies that even the most hard-core carnivore will enjoy. $30/person. Whole Foods North Lamar. 6:30 pm. Call 512.542.2243 to reserve.
  • September 16: Slow Food Austin Happy Hour – It’s time again for Slow Food Austin’s monthly happy hour. Join fellow Slow Food supporters at Eastside Café as you nibble on garden appetizers and drink win in the garden and tea room. This is a great way to meet others in town who are passionate about the slow food movement. The event is free, but please RSVP to 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • September 16: Sideways Date Night – Dinner and a movie is the quintessential date night activity, but go beyond the passé to the intriguing by treating your date to a menu paired with the movie. Chef John Bullington is preparing dishes specifically to compliment the wine because, well, the movie is all about the wine. $50/person. Alamo Drafthouse Lake Creek. 7:00 pm. Buy tickets online.
  • September 17: Firefly Sweet Tea Vodka founder meet and greet – Firefly is the original hand-crafted sweet tea vodka. Distilled four times and infused with tea grown five miles from the distillery, this is a truly unique spirit experience. At this event you’ll get to meet the founder of Firefly, taste his wares, and ask him questions. Free. Twin Liquors Hancock. 4:00 pm – 7:00 pm
  • September 18: Whole Foods 30th Birthday Celebration – Whole Foods is turning 30 and they want you to celebrate with them! Enjoy an afternoon of fun and tasting with locally-made treats from 40 producers along with fun activities for the whole family. There will also be chef demonstrations in partnership with GO TEXAN and music to tap your toes to all afternoon. Free. Whole Foods N. Lamar. 12:00 pm – 5:00 pm
  • September 18: Tour of Italy Wine Tasting – Join local chef Michael Vilim and Domaine & Estates Austin Wine Manager, Greg Cataldofor a tasting of 10 of the best Italian wine values in the market. These wines are also terrific representatives of the many, diverse wine regions in Italy, so you’ll take a tour of Italy’s wine regions along the way. The wines will also be paired with some great Italian street food and appetizers for a complete culinary experience. $25/person. StrEAT. 6:30 pm. Call 512.346.7900 to reserve.
  • September 18: Perfect Pie Dough (cooking class) – For something with such simple ingredients, the perfect pie crust eludes so many of us. Conquer your fear of pie crust once and for all in this hands-on class. You’ll learn to make crust and turn it into all sorts of decorative toppings for pies. $65/person. Whole Foods Culinary Center. 10:00 am – 12:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • September 19: Hudson’s on the Bend Cooking Class – Join Jeff Blank at his home for a celebration of Hudson Day while you learn to make lobster bisque soup, seared tuna, grilled tenderloin, and chocolate raspberry torte. $135/person; 11:00 am; call 512.689.0133 or email at for more information.
  • September 19: Kocurek Family French Sauces Cooking Class – Learn to make the classic “mother” sauces and you’ll be able to build on your knowledge to create all other sauces. After you practice your sauce-making, enjoy a buffet of selected items from the Kocurek Charcuterie weekly market offerings with complementary wine. $55/person. 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. E-mail to reserve.
  • September 19: Faraday’s Second Annual Salsa Contest – The wonderful kitchen store in Lakeway is hosting their second-annual salsa contest. The winner scores a VITA MIX blender, and the rest of us get to enjoy some fun salsas. Enter your own salsa or come by for a public tasting between 3:00 pm and 5:00 pm.

Eat Well, Do Good

  • September 13 and 14: Dining for Life – Celebrate Austinites with AIDS and those who serve them by dining out on Monday and Tuesday of this week at a restaurant participating in Dining for Life. You’ll enjoy a tasty meal and Aids Services of Austin will reap the rewards. Local favorites including FINO, Eastside Café, Manuels, Mirabelle, Fonda San Miguel, and Vivo are all donating portions of their receipts to this great cause. Some restaurants are only participating on one of the two days, so be sure to double-check the participant listing and then go forth and dine.

Plan Ahead – Events in the Next Three Weeks



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