Austin Foodie Bits ~ Food and Wine Events March 25, 2011 Edition

I think, just think, our town may be recovering from the hangover of SXSW. And that’s all well and good except it’s time to jump head first in to the Hill Country Wine and Food Festival followed quickly by Austin Restaurant week, Easter, and Mother’s Day. Before we know it school will be out and it will be summer.

Whoa – let’s put on some breaks there.

I’m pretty sure this endless list of great food and drink opportunities is a quality problem that we’re lucky to have. Rather than be overwhelmed, consider the collection of upcoming epicurean delights to be a menu at your favorite restaurant that you can sample as your stomach and wallet allow. There are also plenty of opportunities to give back to Austin and the world along the way, so we can truly do good while eating well.

In the Spotlight

Texas Hill Country Wine and Food Festival LogoThe Hill Country Wine and Food Festival kicks-off in less than a week and some events are already sold out. This year’s events promise to be outstanding so if you haven’t purchased your tickets yet, I’d get on that before the weekend is over. I published a guide to the festival last week that can help you choose your events if you’re still undecided. For a bit of pre-festival fun, Whole Foods Market and Twin Liquors will be holding a trio of tastings that highlight the wine and spirits featured during festival events and a chance to enter to win free tickets to the festival. Be sure to stop by one (or more) of these fun tastes of what’s to come:

  • March 25, 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Spirits tasting at Twin Liquors Hancock
  • March 26, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Wine tasting at Whole Foods Market Flagship and Gateway stores featuring Robert Mondavi and Ruffino wines
  • March 27, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. Spirits tasting at Whole Foods Market Flagship and Gateway stores featuring Don Miguel Gascon

Austin Bakesale for Japan LogoOn April 2 Austin food enthusiasts, bloggers, and more will come together for a city-wide bake sale to benefit those impacted by the devastating earthquake in Japan. You can stop by one of five locations around town to purchase a tasty treat (or two or three). If you want to do more than nibble and nosh you can become a partner or volunteer. You can donate directly to AmeriCares on behalf of the bake sale. It’s evens like this that make me proud to be a food lover in Austin. I hope you’ll participate and donate next week.

Be Spontaneous – Events in the Next Seven Days

  • Through March 29: Central Market Eat the Heat Festival –In storewide soirees dedicated to the joy of spice, Central Market is featuring spicy products like salsas, olives, and chips along with freshly prepared foods like habanero orange pork tenderloin and jalapeno bread. A perfect companion to the al fresco dining our current weather is affording up, this celebration of all things spicy is a fun addition to your weekly grocery trip.
  • March 26: Beer & Cheese Class – Learn the nuances of enjoying these two boon companions in the latest offering at the NXNW Brewery Beer School. Start the class with a tour of their brewery then sit down to find out how to select the best combinations of beer and cheese. $35/person. 11:00 am. Call 512.4676969 to reserve.
  • March 26: French Wine Tasting – There’s much being made in the wine word of the 2009 vintage of French wines. Stop by the Austin Wine Merchant on Saturday to taste some of their favorites and decide for yourself if 2009 was a truly great year for French wine. Free. 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm.
  • March 26: Urban Roots Farm Tour and Work Day – Join Slow Food Austin and local food enthusiasts to help work a local farm for half of a day. You’ll leave with a bag of fresh vegetables and the great feeling that comes from making a difference in local food. $20/person donation. 9:00 am – 12:00 pm. Purchase tickets online.
  • March 27: Whole Chicken Class – You can turn the humble chicken into a lovely and budget-friendly dinner with a little know-how. Learn how to break down a chicken like a pro then how to turn it into chicken sausages, stock, pate, and more. You’ll never look at a chicken the same way again. $85/person. 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm. Reserve online.
  • March 27: Uchi Cookbook Signing – Nationally acclaimed Chef Tyson Cole has written his first cookbook which has, not surprisingly, also earned national acclaim. Attend this free book singing at the Central Market Cooking School (copies are available for purchase in the cooking school) and have a chance to ask Chef Cole your questions, get his John Hancock on your cookbook, and enjoy music by the Kevin McKinney Group. 4:00 pm – 6:30 pm with music to follow from 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm.
  • March 27: Asti Be An Artist Benefit – Enjoy a wine and a three course dinner accompanied by performances from Darden Smith and Sahara Smith at you contribute to a good cause. What a better way to spend a Sunday evening? $75/person. 6:00 pm. Buy tickets online.
  • March 30: Tablas Creek Wine Tasting – Take your taste buds on a tour of Paso Robles, one of California’s hottest wine making regions, during this tasting at the Austin Wine Merchant. Free. 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm.
  • March 31: Chef Showdown IV – Enjoy the fruits of the culinary labors of chefs from Fleming’s, Trace, and Southwest Bistro while supporting the Central Texas Make a Wish Foundation. In this Top Chef style throwdown local chefs will use locally grown ingredients to make dishes served during that evening’s dinner service. The ticket price includes wine pairings. $100/person. 7:00 pm. Reserve at or call 512.480.2035

Plan Ahead – Events in the Next Month

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