Sunday, March 28, 2010

Umiya is Secret Gem in Cedar Park, TX

I was out driving and decided to eat lunch. I thought about having something different. After some thought, I decided to a try a place I kept driving by, but hadn't tried. It was a little Japanese sushi place called Umiya. I decided to try it. After eating there, I wished I had tried it sooner.

I was greeted by the friendly wait staff and seated immediately. The decor is very simple and the restaurant is small. What it lacked in size, it made up for in selection. The menu is quite extensive, but I decided to go with a lunch special. They had a sushi and sashimi combination for $15. So, I tried it. It came with a soup, miso, and a salad with a delicious dressing. The miso soup was excellent and full of tofu and very hearty.

While I was waiting, the sushi chef sent over a sample of one of his creation. It was a very delicious roll. I was very pleased and couldn't wait for my meal. The fish was extremely fresh and the portion size were large. I have seen portion sizes that were just shavings from fish. I was very pleased.

I will be trying a couple of their rolls later. If they keep up the quality, I don't think I will need to drive outside of Cedar Park to get great sushi. Also, the menu includes Korean food. So, I will be going back to try those dishes out.

My only issue is the music. It was a little too loud for me. Aside from that, the prices were very fair for the quality and quantity of fish. The wait staff did an excellent job and took very good care of me.

1540 Cypress Creek
Suite 106
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 257-0888

Kung Fu Buffet in Cedar Park, TX now open

There is a new Chinese buffet, Kung Fu Buffet, in Cedar Park, TX. I haven't tried it out yet, but will probably drop by later this week to check it out and evaluate it.

For those who are interested in going there first, here's the address.

401 E. Whitestone Blvd #C106
Cedar Park, TX 78613
(512) 259-8588

Saturday, March 27, 2010



Filled with Mouth Watering Recipes for Unique Cupcake Creations


Author Jennifer Ross spent well over a year testing cupcake recipes, interviewing bakery owners and collaborating with a professional baker to create her own confection, debut novel: THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE.

This charming novel tells the story of a young woman’s decision to leave everything she knows behind and start a new and delicious life for herself, after being jilted by her fiancé who was deemed the most eligible bachelor in Dallas. Before long she opens a gorgeous bakery called The Icing on the Cupcake and realizes that finding herself first is much sweeter than finding a man.

Complete with decadent cupcake recipes, THE ICING ON THE CUPCAKE is a fun summer read about a young woman experimenting with innovative ingredients—and with a life beyond her wildest dreams.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Jennifer Ross is a former Wall Street Journal reporter. She lives in Austin, Texas, where she bakes almost daily for her three children and friends.


Venerable Austin institution is reopened — and reinvigorated

AUSTIN (March 26, 2010) — A waterfront Austin dining institution is back, and better than ever.

Ski Shores Café, owned by the Fowler family since 1954, announced it will reopen April 2 under new management — serving the same great fare and now much more, in a vastly expanded, open-air facility now approximately double the previous capacity.

New Ski Shores Café amenities — spacious, indoor-outdoor dining and a full bar, table service and a full wait staff, an expansive deck, additional boat slips and even call-in, dockside delivery — abound in the longtime local favorite, which will now open seven days a week and operate year-round.

Long noted for classic American food in a lakeside setting, the café has added new menu offerings to the mix. However, Ski Shores’ loyal following will be pleased to learn that all of the iconic Austin eatery’s longtime, signature menu items remain, including the legendary Border and Scooter burgers, the popular pizzas, catfish sandwiches, famous fries, fried okra, and much more.

Led by Restaurant Freedom co-founders Rick Engel and Mark Turner, the Ski Shores Café management team brings years of entrepreneurial expertise and restaurant industry experience to this local waterfront icon.

“We are delighted to revive and update an Austin institution, keeping the great feel of Ski Shores intact, as a great place for families, boaters and our Lake Austin neighbors,” says Rick Engel, Restaurant Freedom CEO and co-founder. “This has always been a special place, and now it adds faster service and expanded attractions.”

“Ski Shores has always been about spending a day with friends on the water and stopping here — It’s one of the things that ‘makes Austin Austin,’” said Turner. “For fifty-plus years, people have come here to enjoy the unique waterfront setting. There’s something for everyone here and we have painstakingly preserved that legacy, while improving the experience.”


For more than 50 years, boaters (and jet skiers) have pulled right up to the dock to grab some refreshment and take in the relaxing views at Ski Shores Café, located just a short boat ride west of the 360 bridge (and by car, off 2222 near the end of long and winding City Park Road).

With the new additions and amenities of Ski Shores Café, today a visitor can:
Boat in, “tying down” at one of several new cleated boat slips
Disembark and walk across the expansive deck or hang outside at the new palapa bar
Be seated by wait staff – no more standing in line, or long waits
Order any original Ski Shores menu item, or choose from a variety of all-new menu offerings
Relax and enjoy scenic views, live music several days a week, or catch the game on several flatscreen TVs
Bring a laptop and jump online using the venue’s free wireless wifi
Grab basic boating amenities, such as ice, or sunblock
Order dockside delivery direct to your boat
Bring your dog!

Kids (and parents) can enjoy a gated playscape area, and everyone can go in the game room, or play washers or shuffleboard. Visitors also may order carry out, or if located in designated nearby neighborhoods, may take advantage of in-area, full-menu delivery.

Local business partners Rick Engel and Mark Turner have reinvigorated the eatery. The pair have a successful, long history of developing, operating, reviving and restoring Austin institutions. Engel and Turner are owners in, and operators of Austin restaurant concepts Little Woodrow’s, Austin Java, Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que and the Austin-area Texadelphia restaurants.

All of these, including Ski Shores, are supported by Restaurant Freedom, which offers a complete array of professional management services — including operations management, strategic marketing (including complete campaigns and social media), accounting, payroll, human resources, IT/POS support and more, for restaurateurs.
Ski Shores Cafe
2905 Pearce Road
Austin, TX 78730
(512) 804-0326
For more information, please visit

Friday, March 19, 2010

Getting Ready for the Summer Grilling Season

Although I grill all of the time, I tend to be a little lacks in cleaning my grill during the fall and winter seasons. So, I will be sending my time during the next couple of weeks cleaning and doing some work on my Weber grill.

Part of my cleaning will be to replace any worn or damaged components in order to make sure that my grill is performing perfectly. The last thing you want is a failure during a backyard cookout.

My cleaning and maintaining your grill there is no reason why it can't last you for a long, long time. I spend a lot of time working on and cleaning my grill. It is worth it just to see the smiles and hear the wonderful compliments.

I will be discussing over the next couple of weeks what steps you need to take to clean and maintain your grill.

Holy Cacao Celebrates First Anniversary with FREE Cake Balls

AUSTIN, TX – 3/21/10 – HOLY CACAO has created a Birthday Ball to give away for customers on Sunday, March 21st, 2010 (limit one per person, no purchase required).

The dessert shop, which specializes in several sweet treats, such as Cake Shakes, Frozen Hot Chocolate, S’mores (with marshmallows made from scratch) and a Hot Chocolate that is akin to a European Drinking Chocolate, has become well recognized for its Cake Balls.

A Cake Ball, like a chocolate truffle, is a handmade labor of love. First a cake is baked from scratch. After it cools, it is crumbled and mixed with frosting to bind it together and give it a truffle-like consistency. Finally, it is coated with chocolate. At HOLY CACAO, it is even placed on a Popsicle Stick to make it a bit more fun (and easy to eat).

The Birthday Ball is a traditional yellow cake, mixed with a butter cream frosting. It will be coated in dark chocolate and topped with festive sprinkles. No purchase is necessary on Sunday, March 21st, though the FREE Cake Ball will be limited to one per customer.

HOLY CACAO will also have additional Birthday Balls available for sale. They will sell for $2 each, 3 for $5.00 or a Baker’s Dozen for $20.00, as are HOLY CACAO’s regular six flavors. Check out the full menu and find out more at

Additionally, HOLY CACAO will be shooting an episode for the Food Network on Sunday, March 28th. Though the air date has yet to be announced, HOLY CACAO is excited that such attention continues to be placed on the Austin food scene and the timing of this shooting along with the One Year Anniversary provides a noteworthy coincidence.

HOLY CACAO will close early Monday, March 22nd to celebrate the anniversary and plan for the upcoming year with its entire kitchen and retail team. Sunday, March 21st HOLY CACAO will be open from 12-8. Monday, March 22nd, the hours will be 12-5.

Orders may be purchased directly at the trailer, phoned into 512-851-CAKE (2253), or emailed to As always, with advance notice, delivery is available in town for $5.00. Shipping can be arranged to other cities for the cost of 2 Day UPS shipping and a nominal handling charge.

Ellen Kinsey
512-851-CAKE (2253)
Holy Cacao
South Austin Trailer Park & Eatery1311 S. 1st Street
Austin, TX 78704

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Over inundated with SXSW?

Let me tell you about one more clutch scene. FREEB!RDS World Burrito is making SXSW proud, unofficially.

Please take a look at the lineup that’s playing at the FREEB!RDS stage at the St. Vincent de Paul Vintage Boutique & Thrift Store on South Congress. The four-day event will feature some of the best in American roots music produced by the folks at Sin City Social Club. Featured also will be local artisans, thrift store couture, a flamingo petting zoo, cold beer/refreshments and awesome grub from what else, FREEB!RDS!

A suggested $5 donation or the equivalent of a non-perishable canned goods/clothing gets you in the door.WHAT: FREEB!RDS Stage at St. Vincent de Paul Vintage Boutique & Thrift Store
WHEN: Mar 17 – 20th from 5pm – 8pm
WHY: Tis the season for music and burritos
WHERE: St. Vincent de Paul Vintage Boutique & Thrift Store, 1327 S. Congress Ave.Wednesday, 3/17Ruby JamesLynda KayAustin Collins and The RainbirdsThursday, 3/18ShurmanTim EastonThrift Store Cowboys Friday, 3/19Uncle Lucius Dave Insely & The Careless Smokers Leslie & The Badgers Saturday, 3/20The Deep Vibration T Bird & The BreaksOrgone

For more details please go to FREEB!RDS Facebook page at or feel free call or email me with any questions.

Hope to see you at the FREEB!RDS stage!



BBPR South
1600-A Virginia Ave
Austin, TX 78704
c - 501-350-3422
o - 512-382-7295

Monday, March 15, 2010

Majority of Vendors at Farmers Market in Sunset Valley Remain

Majority of Vendors at Farmers Market in Sunset Valley Remain; Now Called SFC Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley

Austin, TX - Sustainable Food Center (SFC), a local non-profit, has answered the call from the farming and small local business community to keep a farmers' market at Sunset Valley. SFC will begin operating a Saturday farmers' market next week under a temporary permit, March 20, pending approval by the Sunset Valley city council. A majority of the vendors from the previous Sunset Valley Farmers Market will be continuing to sell in the Toney Burger Center area and adjacent Pillow Street. Some farmers who have only been at SFC's Austin Farmers' Market downtown will now be at both locations. Now called the SFC Farmers' Market at Sunset Valley, the market will feature about 50 vendors to start, with a majority of them farmers. There will also be quality ready-to-eat and value added vendors, as well as a small group of artisans.

Customers are welcome to use the same ample parking that they are accustomed to, and are invited to stop by the Information Booth to learn about the change and how to continue support of the farmers. After an interim temporary period of operation, the market is up for review of an annual permit at the City of Sunset Valley April 6th council meeting.

The market hours remain the same, from 9 am to 1 pm, and the location of the market will move slightly to the east within the area. SFC's application with the City of Sunset Valley expresses an intent to run the market weekly, rain or shine, year-round. Farmers who have already expressed their commitment to remaining at the Sunset Valley location under SFC's management include Hairston Creek Farm, Johnson's Backyard Garden, and Swede Farm Dairy, among many others.

SFC is prepared to carry out our mission of cultivating a healthy community by strengthening the local food system and improving access to nutritious, affordable food. We institute a number of educational and accessible programs at the markets we operate, including the SNAP Lone Star program, Farmers' Market Nutrition Program coupons for fruits and vegetables during the summertime, farmers' product tasting tent, chef's demos, gardening workshops, etc. We are a local 501 (c)(3) non-profit and have been involved in the community of growing food for more than 35 years.

Find out more about SFC's family of farmers' markets and programs at and

The Austin Farmers' Market is the largest certified growers-only farmers market in the state of Texas. The certification from the Texas Certified Farmers Market Association requires that 51% or more of the vendor base consists of farmers. In 2009, the Saturday market generated estimated sales of $1.2 million, and had more than 104,000 visits. The Wednesday market in 2009 had more than 30,000 visits, with over $360,000 in gross sales. A spin-off effect of more than $1 million was generated by the two markets at surrounding businesses.

Austin Farmers' Market runs year-round on Saturdays at Republic Square Park, 4th and Guadalupe from 9 am - 1pm year-round. Also, Wednesdays at Triangle Park, 4600 Guadalupe at 46th and Lamar from 3 pm - 7 pm (Oct. - March) and 4 pm - 8 pm (April - Sept.). Free parking is available in covered garages and along the streets at both locations immediately adjacent to the market.

Note to media: SFC staff, farmers, and the City of Sunset Valley staff or members of the council are available for interviews. Please contact Clay Collins, the City Administrator at 892-1384, to coordinate interviews with Mayor, council or other City of Sunset Valley staff.

Susan Leibrock
Community Relations Director
Sustainable Food Center
512.236.0074 ext. 111

Ronda Rutledge
Executive Director

Suzanne Santos
Austin Farmers' Market Director