Austin Foodie Bits ~ Food and Wine Events for the Week of December 13

In what can only be described as a final sprint before Christmas-fever (or fervor) sets in, this week is full to the brim of food and drink events. There’s something, or multiple somethings, to do each and every night of the week, and no matter your favorite foodie fun (dining, drinking, or learning), there’s an activity to suit every fancy.

While many of us – me included – aren’t quite ready for Christmas to be here, I can’t encourage you enough to look ahead to New Year’s Eve, which is just 17 short days away. If dining out is on your agenda, I’d recommend you make reservations post haste as all the best restaurants in town are filling up quickly. Every chef in town will have a fun menu planned, although Foreign and Domestic’s truffle menu has really stood out for me as a must-try this year. Regardless of where you go, if you’re going to go, go make your reservations soon.

In the Spotlight

Local cheese gurus the Antonellis are involved in not one but two fun events this week. This is perfect timing as we all start to think about our holiday party cheese selections (I’ll be visiting them for that very thing this week). On Tuesday, they are collaborating with FINO for another Wine and Cheese Conversation. This event will focus on local cheeses and 15% of the proceeds will benefit Urban Roots. Held at the chef’s table at one of my favorite spots in town, this is my pick of the week for a can’t-miss event. At $50/person this is a great deal and promises to be all sorts of tasty fun. On Thursday the Antonellis are joining forces with 512 Brewing Company for the Slow Food Austin Beer and Cheese Tasting. Learn more about how to pair beer and cheese as well as enjoy some other snacks from local producres. At $20/members or $35/non-members this is a lovely way to spend the evening and celebrate local food.

When I think about the holidays, I think about sparkling bubbles in a beautiful flute as a toast to old and new friends alike. If you’re like-minded or just want to find a new sparkler or two for the holidays, then add the Vino Vino Oodles of Bubbles Tasting to your Saturday calendar right this second. For $20 you can taste your choice of more than 50 sparkling wines and get a 15% discount on any two or more bottles of your favorites that you buy to take home. Bring some friends to compare notes with and, more importantly, to toast the season with.

Be Spontaneous – This Week’s Events

  • December 13: Slow Food Austin Slow Session on Brief History of Tamales – It’s the holidays and that means it’s tamale time here in Texas. If you’ve ever wondered about why tamales are as important as they are in Mexican cooking or where they originated, Claudia Alarcón will demystify this fun food and even show you how to make your own. The event is free but be sure to RSVP to Habitat Suites, 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm.
  • December 14: Austin’s First Barrel-Aged Cocktail – Lara Nixon, Brand Wrangler for Balcones Distilling, has teamed up with The Tigress to unveil Vieux Carré (1938), Austin’s first publicly served barrel-aged cocktail. Featuring Balcones Rumble, a unique Texas spirit distilled from wildflower honey, mission figs, and turbinado sugar, this cocktail represents one of the newest trends in cocktails. You can taste this concoction at local favorite the Tigress from 6 pm – 10 pm.
  • December 15: Olivia Farmhouse Delivery Happy Hour – Their last happy hour was such a success that Olivia and Farmhouse delivery are teaming up again for another celebration of the local food and chef connection. Chef Holmes will offer a special menu of small plates made from Farmhouse Delivery’s seasonal bounty and you’ll be able to purchase memberships for Christmas gifts or get a better feel for what sorts of farmstand goodies you might get in your weekly box if you join the Farmhouse CSA. 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm.
  • December 15: Wine 101 – As you shop for wine for parties or gifts, you don’t have to be intimidated by the myriad styles, regions, and years. In this free course, the friendly folks from Twin Liquors will teach you the basics of wine so you can navigate the wine section or a wine list with confidence. Twin Liquors Hancock, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. RSVP to
  • December 15: A Christmas Story with Mini-Feast – For many of us, A Christmas Story is a classic for our generation. We laugh, cringe, and delight in the characters’ antics all the while seeing a little bit of ourselves in the movie. You can enjoy this gem again on the big screen complete with a themed dinner. $30/person. 7:00 pm. Alamo Village. Purchase tickets online.
  • December 16: Oh Brother Where Art Thou Fest – George Clooney, the Coen brothers, bluegrass, and a four-course feast – what could be better? You’ll enjoy all of these things at the next event in the Food and Film Events Signature Series, featuring an intro by the Statesman’s Addie Broyles. This would be a great pre-Christmas gift for someone or a take-a-break treat for yourself, and a portion of the proceed benefit the Capital Area Foodbank. $60/person. Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar. 7:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • December 16: Crazy about Crab – Crab is abundant this time of year and you don’t need to go to a high-end restaurant to experience it when you have the know-how to make it in your own kitchen. During this class you’ll learn about the different varieties of crab and how to best prepare them. You’ll also enjoy a crab feast so you won’t leave with an empty mind or stomach. $45/person. Whole Foods Culinary Center. 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • December 17: Decorate a Gingerbread House class for kids – The only thing that can make watching your child revel in the fun of decorating a gingerbread house better is to not have to clean the kitchen up when the decorating is done. This weekend, let Central Market handle all of the details and your child handle the decorating. Everyone wins. $40/child. Central Market Cooking School. 10:00 am (5-7 year olds) or 1:00 pm (8-12 year olds). Reserve online.
  • December 18: Tamale Trade – Tamale making isn’t a solitary activity. Instead, it’s a group labor of love where busy hands and minds give way to chatter and even a little gossip. The folks at Whole Foods are recreating this tradition and will teach you the ins-and-outs of assembling tamales along the way. Make 3 different kinds of tamales and take some home to share with your friends and family. $65/person. Whole Foods Culinary Center. 10:00 am – 1:00 pm or 3:00 pm – 6:00pm. Reserve online.
  • December 18: Homegrown Holidays with Local Vendors – Whole Foods is bringing local food artisans and vendors together in one place to make shopping for holiday gifts and ingredients easy. Meet local purveyors, sample their wares, and take home a bushel of uniquely local goodies. Free. Whole Foods Flagship Store. 11:00 am – 3:00 pm.

Plan Ahead – Events in the Next Three Weeks