Monday, August 5, 2013

Bits and Bites

-- La Condesa's final tequila dinner for the summer is August 6th, tickets are $100, and can be purchased here.  

-- Crabbie's Ginger Beer, the UK's best selling alcoholic ginger beer has finally made it's way to Texas. To celebrate, Fado's will have a launch party on August 8th, beginning around 8 pm. The first 50 people get a free Crabbie's drink!  Full disclosure: their PR people contacted me, asking if I would mention on my blog, and sent me samples. I had never heard of Crabbie's before, but I am completely hooked! Serve over ice, with a twist of lime, and it's a perfect refreshing drink for this hot summer weather! Central Market Westgate has started carrying it as well. 

--  Pay It Forward with Daniel Curtis Benefit will be August 8th, 7 - 10 pm, $75/person at the AT + T Conference Center. The event benefits the Lone Star Paralysis Foundation, and has an amazing lineup of area chefs donating their time and talents.

-- Olivia will hold their 5 year anniversary dinner on August 8th, $125/person, TEN courses with drink pairings! Email for reservations:

-- Houndstooth Coffee is holding a Japanese Iced Coffee brewing class at their downtown location at 401 Congress, on August 10th at 4 pm, $30/person. Tickets can be purchased at either Houndstooth location. 

-- Starting August 11th, if you sign up for Austin Cake Ball's e-newsletter, you will receive a $5 off coupon to use online, and another $5 to use at either of their shops (5310 Burnet Road or at the Domain). 

-- Summer Sparkler Dinner benefiting the Sustainable Food Center, August 13th at Parkside, 5+ courses with sparkling drinks to match, $100/person, buy tickets here.

-- Independence Brewing tasting dinner at Olive + June, August 15th, 4+ courses, $60/person, buy tickets here

-- The Carnivores Ball, "the ultimate Texas Hill Country BBQ Party" will be September 15th at Ceres Park Ranch, featuring the barbeque of John Mueller, banana bourbon salted caramel pudding from Sugar Mama's Bakeshop, beer from St. Arnold, and live music. Tickets are $44/person.

-- Plinio Sandalio, pastry chef at The Carillon restaurant at the AT + T Conference Center, has unveiled some new lighter summertime desserts and digestif pairings, such as corn fritters with salted butter ice cream, spiced lime curd and cotija crumbles served with bacon moonshine!

-- There's a Kickstarter underway for a digital thermometer called Range that hooks into your iPhone or iPad, making your smart device into a smart thermometer.  Developed by an Austin company called Supermechanical.

-- Planet Sub, a sub and salad shop has opened in the Brodie Oaks shopping center on South Lamar (by Sprouts); from their website, another location is in the works for downtown at 9th and Congress.

-- Smashburger opens its second location on August 14th at 14028 N. Highway 183 (Cedar Park), with plans to open a third location in the Mueller development in late 2013. 

-- Mighty Bird, a new rotisserie chicken concept restaurant will open two spots, one at 2900 Anderson Lane and the other at 12200 N. Highway 183.

-- Royer's Pie Haven will open in the old Toy Joy at 29th and Guadalupe.

-- New food trucks I've seen in South ATX: Snap Foods (healthy!) at South Lamar and Bluebonnet and Potato.A (poutine) at South Lamar and Mary (behind Corner Bar). 

-- The new HEB at Mueller opened last week. Went to check it out with a few other foodies. The building is stunning, gorgeous architecture, and even sitting on the covered patio for lunch (close to 100 degrees out) wasn't bad at all. Gotta be honest though, the cafe food was mediocre (brisket and fried Brussels were decent) but other items were unexciting (egg rolls drowning in grease, chicken with strange texture in Asian chicken salad {probably previously frozen}, under seasoned salmon bowl). And the rest of the store is just like a regular HEB (though a nice one, like at Escarpment or 360/Bee Caves). Been there, done that.

-- To my major dismay, SPIN Modern Thai closed last week. I only ate there once, about 6 weeks ago, and it was one of the best meals I've had in a long time. A very informative interview with the owners ran in the Austin Chronicle; basically, they made some bad financial decisions coupled with major repairs that they couldn't recover from. One of the chefs says he will be assisting his sister get Titaya's back open later this fall.

-- East Side King trailer at the Grackle Bar has closed. (Bring it south, though there has been steady construction on ESK's brick and mortar spot on South Lamar!)

-- I had the pleasure of meeting former Top Chef contestant and Italian restaurateur Fabio Viviani at a food blogger meet-and-greet just prior to his book signing at BookPeople on April 30th. He oozes charm, talked non-stop, and was excited to meet a group of dedicated food bloggers. He asked for our cards, and said he was always looking for guest bloggers for his online magazine. Well, sure enough, about a week later, I was contacted by his PR team, asking if I'd like to write a guest post on lasagna, for National Lasagna Week. So if you saw my Summer Skillet Lasagna post from 2 weeks ago, that's the recipe I created for Fabio! You can see the entire issue here, and my lasagna is on page 12!

-- And now on Instagram! @southaustinfoodie