Friday, May 27, 2016

Japan: A Teaser

Konichiwa from Japan! I am getting ready to board the train from Kanazawa to Osaka. I have documented just about every meal and will have lots to share! But since writing from a cell phone isn't easy, here are a couple pictures to tease you!

Kanazawa style ramen
Goma (sesame) tofu
Wagyu beef in the market
Blogger Widgets

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Bits and Bites: Austin Food + Restaurant News

-- Slow Food Happy Hour at Barley Swine, April 28th, 5:30 pm
-- April 30th, Jack Allen cookbook signing at Treaty Oak Ranch, 1-4 pm
-- Stolpman Wine dinner at Parkside, May 2nd, $75/person
-- South Congress Hotel will celebrate Cinco de Mayo along with First Thursday with margarita specials and live music from 5 - 9 pm.
-- Contigo anniversary party, May 7th, 5 - 9 pm. 
-- The Official Drink of Austin, benefiting the Austin Food + Wine Alliance will be May 12th, 7 pm at Fair Market; tickets $55/person.
-- CelebrASIA, a celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month at the Asian American Resource Center, 8401 Cameron Road. Free admission, cooking demos, kids activities and cultural performances.

-- The 24th Annual Dining Out for Life will be May 17th; over 50 participating restaurants will donate proceeds to AIDS Services Austin.
-- Certified American Grown Flowers will hold a dinner at the Texas flower farm, Texas Specialty Cut Flowers on May 21st, catered by farm to plate Chef Sonya Cote. It's the first time the Field to Vase Dinner Tour has stopped in Texas.
-- The Austin Food + Wine Alliance hosts a dinner with legendary chef Jacques Pepin (who will be at the Long Center earlier in the day), June 5th at Launderette, $285/person.
-- Spun Ice Cream and Anjore team up for an "Ice Cream Social Supper," June 16th, $75/person.
-- The Fit Foodie Race Weekend is coming to Austin June 24-26 at Mueller. I've been accepted as a Race Ambassador. Get your tickets now, and stay tuned for more details! Use SOUTHATXFOODIE as the promo code and get 10% off! Tickets for the Fit Foodie 5K Race are priced at $35 until May 23, 2016, and $45 until June 23, 2016, so be sure to register before prices increase!
Fit Foodie Race Weekend

Kentucky Derby events, Saturday, May 7th
-- Watch party at Hotel Ella, $15/person, which includes valet parking, lawn games & special drinks.
-- Viewing events at Cantine, Roosevelt Room, drink.well
-- Get your julep supplies at Metier.

Mother's Day, Sunday, May 8th
-- Central Standard at the South Congress Hotel, 11 am - 3 pm, $45/person
-- Goodall's Kitchen at Hotel Ella, 10 am - 3 pm, $44/person
-- The Carillon at the AT+T Executive Center, 10:30 am - 1:30 pm, $65/adults + $25/under 12
-- Visconti Ristiorante at the Hotel Granduca, 10:30 am - 2 pm, $72/adults + $35/under 12
-- Estancia Churrascuria is celebrating Mom on both Saturday and Sunday, lunch and dinner
-- Andiamo, 11 am - 2 pm, $38-45/person
-- Dine, 11 am - 3 pm, $45/person, buffet
-- Olive + June,$42/person
-- Prelogs, 11 am - 2:3- pm, $39/person
-- While not food specific, the 2nd Street District retailers offer a variety of promos: Milk + Honey Day Spa has a makeup consultation for $75 (normally $200); Teddies for Bettys offers 20% off Saturday from 6 - 9 pm; Sikara + Co will donate 30% of jewelry sales to Ballet Austin.

-- Creole-inspired Ophelia is now open at 507 Calles Street (the old Mettle, and also owned by Bridget Dunlap). I was able to attend a media tasting last week with my blogger friend Curious Notions. Her favorite was the vegan crab cake, which you really wouldn't know was vegan! I really liked the catfish with slaw and chimichurri. Lady boss and Louisiana native Lynzy Moran knows her way around the kitchen! Can't wait to see what else she will come up with.
Ophelia Austin vegan crab cakes
Vegan crab cakes
Ophelia Austin catfish
Catfish, slaw, and chimichurri
Ophelia Austin frog legs and waffles
Frog legs and waffles
-- Tiny Pies has opened at the old Lick (which moved a touch north to Lamar Union) at 2032 South Lamar
-- Pieology Pizza is now open in Mueller
-- L'Oca d'Oro will be opening in Mueller in May.
-- Modern Market is coming to the Arboretum area.
-- Rumors of Cane Rosso Pizza opening in the old St. Philip in Sunset Valley in May.
-- Hotel Granduca is now offering high tea, Friday - Sunday from 2 - 5 pm, $45/adults + $22/under 12, reservations required.
-- Reservations for June seatings at Otoko will go on sale May 1st at 9 am; a portion of the sales will benefit Kumamoto earthquake relief via the Japanese Red Cross.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Bouldin Food Forest

At Third and Monroe Streets in the heart of Austin's Bouldin Creek neighborhood lies the Bouldin Food Forest, where residents Ben and Steph have transformed their yard into an edible garden. Along with a few other plots of land that they farm, they are able to hold a Saturday morning farm stand on the corner, as well as provide produce to neighboring (and neighborhood) restaurants, such as Odd Duck and 40 North. Thrilled to have this just a few blocks from my house!

Here's some of the Saturday farm stand:
Bouldin Food Forest
Herbs, kale, shishito peppers
Bouldin Food Forest
Corner of Third and Monroe
Bouldin Food Forest
Dried herbs, marmalades and t-shirts also for sale!
Bouldin Food Forest
Gorgeous kales and chard
On Sunday, April 10th, they held a tour/open house of the farm, and Ben explained the premise of permaculture: how to design a garden system that mimics nature's ecosystems. You want something that works with you, and turns problems into solutions. To counter Austin's weather and topography issues, he dug a series of berms, about 2 - 3 feet deep, filled them with logs and sticks, mulch and compost. The berms store water and slow the flow (towards the house) during heavy rains. There's a tree planted on each berm to help with erosion control; they've got plum, pear, key lime, grapefruit, meyer lemon, Mexican lime, pomegranate, and pecan to name a few!

The garden creates no waste; all the branch and stem trimmings get recycled back into the berms or into the compost box. They also encourage an integrated pest management system to let nature take care of itself, like encouraging wasps, which eat harmful caterpillars. While these look like bird houses, they are actually homes for mason bees, a non-honey producing variety who work 30-40% harder than honey bees. By attracting the mason bees, they in turn will help pollinate. Plants such as geranium and sage are also natural pest repellers.
Bouldin Food Forest
Bee boxes for mason bees
Bouldin Food Forest
Bees feed on borage flowers and help to pollinate
Bouldin Food Forest
Bouldin Food Forest
Baby grapes!
Bouldin Food Forest
Strawberries... they also have blueberries
Bouldin Food Forest
Bouldin Food Forest
Two varieties of kale and candy stripe beets pass muster from my personal produce inspector.
So if you want to be connected to where your food comes from, the Bouldin Food Forest is a great place to go check out! The farm stand is open Saturday mornings from 9 am - noon. Additionally, they work with Yard to Market Co-op in providing produce for the Saturday Sunset Valley farmers' market and the Hope market on Sundays.

Bouldin Food Forest -- website and Facebook page
Third and Monroe Streets
Austin, TX 78704

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Colossal Curry Cookoff

The Austin Food Blogger Alliance is hosting its inaugural Colossal Curry Cook-off, Saturday April 16th from 2 - 4 pm at Shangri-la at 1016 E. 6th Street. (Full disclosure, I am on the board of AFBA and the planning committee for the cook-off). The event serves as a fundraiser for AFBA so we can continue to bring awesome programming to our members and the Austin community.

We are still looking for a few more chef contestants; anyone who thinks they have a killer curry is welcome to enter, from home chef to professional. There's no fee to enter, contestants and a plus one/assistant receive free admission, the American Lamb Board is giving free lamb to any contestants who would like some, and Wheatsville Co-op is also offering a coupon. If you'd like to enter, email cookoff at austinfoodbloggers dot org. From Indian to Thai to Jamaican, meat or vegetarian, we want it ALL to be represented!

There will be prizes awarded by the judges to the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place finishers, as well as a People's Choice winner (so if you're entering, tell your friends to come!). And of course we need guests to judge the very important People's Choice category! Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 at the door if they're not sold out; get 'em here!       

Thanks also to Whole Foods, Trace, ACE Restaurant Supply, and Johnson's Backyard Garden  for prizes and in-kind support.            

Hurry, hurry, get some curry!! #ATXcurryoff

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Bits and Bites: The Easter Edition

Places for Easter Brunch (that's THIS Sunday!)

The Capital Grille, $49/adults + $15/children
The Carillon, $65/adults + $19.95/children
Eddie V's, $49/adults + $15/children
Estancia Churrascaria, $44.95
Hotel Ella, $65/adults + $27/children
Olive + June, 11a - 2p and 5 - 9p
Russian House, buffet
Sagra, $29/adults + $12/children
Tiny Pies has pies available

-- Johnson's Backyard Garden's annual spring picnic is Saturday, March 26th.
-- Prelog's anniversary celebration is March 25-27, with various specials. 
-- Metier is hosting a pop-up breakfast with  Chef Tyler Johnson and Pastry Chef Kyle McKinney, on Saturday, April 2nd, starting at 10 a.m. until sold out. These two are teaming up to open Delicious, a neighborhood "groceraunt" coming soon to South Lamar.
-- Texas French Bread hosts a four-course dinner with Springdale Farms, April 3rd, $60/person + $40/optional wine pairings.
-- April 7th, the Austin Food and Wine Alliance presents Live Fire! a meat and wine extravaganza at the Salt Lick Pavilion, $85/person with $20 option for park + ride.
-- The Austin Food Blogger Alliance (of which I am a member) presents the first Colossal Curry Cook-off, April 16th, 2 - 4pm at Shangri-la, $15/person (adults only). Interested in flexing your curry-making skills? Email cookoff at austinfoodbloggers dot org for contestant guidelines, or buy tickets (free for contestants) at the link above.
-- Waller Creek Conservancy's pop-up picnic will be April 16th at 6:30 pm. 
-- The Austin Food + Wine Festival, April 22-24 has published their chef's showcase. 
-- May 11th, Sustainable Food Center's Farm to Plate Event with over 20 local restaurant chefs. Tickets and more info here.

-- Manana Coffee + Juice inside the South Congress Hotel is now open.
-- Italic now offering Sunday brunch.
-- Lick Ice Cream is moving their South Lamar location a few blocks north to Lamar Union.
-- Dine at the Radisson is now offering a prix fixe dinner menu, Monday through Wednesday for $32
-- From Jack Allen's Kitchen, comes Salt Traders Coastal Cooking, a seafood concept in Round Rock, coming soon....
-- From the folks behind drink.well, a new bar (conveniently next door to Ramen Tatsuya) called Backbeat at 1300 South Lamar. 
-- Mama Fu's fast casual Asian is opening new locations in Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, and Cedar Park.
-- Chef Sonya Cote is now offering farm to table catering
-- Chicon (the former Gardner) at 1914 E. 6th is almost open.
-- Central Market has launched small-batch artisan ice cream pints, with flavors like Saigon Cinnamon, Coconut Ginger, and Tahitian Vanilla.

Round Up
You may have seen my individual posts for the Austin Food Blogger Alliance's City Guide; if not go back a post or two for my Best of South Austin, Best of South Austin food trailers, and Best Mexican in town. Here's the link to the ENTIRE City Guide! Bookmark it for great reference and please SHARE! :)