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

** Editor's note: the owners sold the property towards the end of 2016, and have relocated to Roger, TX, northeast of Austin where they bought land and are planting crops.

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